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Skeptical Football A Tale Of Two Quarterbacks Struggling Against The Buffalo Bills


Like many counterfactuals, this is not an easy question to answer definitively, since having a kicker who is automatic from long range might have all kinds of ripple effects on the game that we can’t really foresee.(Although unlike many counterfactuals, it’s not a completely crazy idea: Thinking about a kicker who can usually nail it from 70 yards seems ridiculous to us now, but NFL kickers have steadily gotten better for at least 80 years, and they haven’t slowed down yet. In the 1960s, kickers made 13 of 129 kicks — 10.1 percent — from 50+ yards. In the past five years alone, NFL kickers have made 422 of 675 such attempts — for 62.5 percent. Since 2010, kickers have even made seven of 31 tries from 60+ yards — 22.5 percent.)If we simply replaced all a kicker’s misses with makes, an “automatic” kicker wouldn’t be worth much more than the worst kicker in the league. There’d be a few salvaged points here and there, but nothing major (kickers these days just don’t miss that often).But the real fun starts when we think about how a team would use a truly “automatic” kicker differently.To simplify the question, let’s assume the kicker makes 100 percent of his kicks instead of 95 percent — he’s “RoboKicker.” Using ESPN’s expected points model, we can identify all situations where a team would definitely want to make a FG attempt on fourth down if it knew it could automatically earn three points. A made kick is actually worth slightly less than that because the kicking team has to give up possession whether it makes the kick or not, but we’ll charitably give it full credit.2The actual value is probably somewhere around 2.6 points, but I think the charitable number is appropriate since the kicker is likely to be at least moderately more valuable strategically. So if a team is in RoboKicker’s range, it should want to attempt a field goal any time it’s fourth down and the expected value of its possession is less than three points. The value it gains from having that option is the difference between the two, and the kicker’s total value added is the sum of all those differences.This plot shows how much RoboKicker would be worth for an average team (since 2006) in expected points added per game, based on his range:This assumes the kicker would be just a normal kicker from longer distances than the one he’s automatic from, though if he was automatic from 50 yards he would probably be pretty good from 60,3Though if he were actually a robot, this may not be the case, as he would probably make about the same kick every time. which would carry additional value. But this is a fair first-order guess.The second wrinkle to @MattGlassman312’s question is its bit about RoboKicker being a No. 1 pick or an MVP. To answer that, we have to start to answer how valuable a No. 1 pick or an MVP is.Let’s use Peyton Manning as our stand-in for “best player in the league,” which helps us to answer at least the spirit of the question. When Manning was injured, the Indianapolis Colts’ average margin of victory dropped by 14.6 points per game (though this may have been in part because they were tanking so that they could draft Andrew Luck). And when Manning joined Denver, the Broncos’ average MOV rose by 17.1 points per game. But let’s assume that those years were outliers and assume that a typical MVP is worth about 10 points per game. To surpass that, RoboKicker would need to be able to hit from around 80 yards. (I confess, this is further out than I would have guessed.) Then, considering that even No. 1 picks have only about a 50 percent to 60 percent shot of ever making a Pro Bowl — much less of being MVP — I’d say being automatic from 50 to 60 yards would probably be sufficient to be worth the top pick in the draft most years.The Hacker Gods read FiveThirtyEight (or just love Andrew Luck)Last week’s games had a few outcomes consistent with this column’s most frequently asserted stereotypes. Most intriguingly, we saw win curve standout and two-time Gunslinger of the Week winner Andrew Luck4He won in Week 1 and again in Week 14 — you don’t remember? digging his own hole by throwing an early pick-6 that put the Colts down 7-0, and then climbing out of it to come back and win against the Houston Texans. This follows a similar Week 14 victory against the Cleveland Browns, when Luck was down 14 points in the second half after an early pick-6 (and a third-quarter fumble-6).If you’ve been reading Skeptical Football, you’ll know I’m generally pro-interception (at least certain kinds) — but as an indirect indicator of taking good risks. Normally, a quarterback will lose the games in which he throws interceptions. But so far in his young career, it seems like Luck has an uncanny talent for winning and throwing INTs in the same game. So, naturally, that got me wondering how these results compare to Peyton Manning’s and those of all other quarterbacks (since 2006):Luck shows a similar propensity for winning as his predecessor in Indianapolis, regardless of scenario. But the big caveat is that interceptions are often a function of losing as well as a cause of it. Generally this is because QBs make rational risk adjustments that lead to more interceptions when they’re behind.5There is also a smaller opposite effect, which is that QBs sometimes throw slightly more interceptions than expected in games they’re winning by wide margins, presumably because teams start playing a basic offensive set in blowouts rather than taking the extraordinary risk-avoidance measures they do to protect smaller leads. (Weird things happen in the NFL.) So to isolate the situations we’re most interested in, I limited the comparison to the number of interceptions thrown while the QB’s team was trailing (including only games in which the QB’s team trailed at some point):This is, of course, a small sample for Luck: He has two wins in the six games in which he threw two trailing INTs, and two wins in the five games he threw three. But those four wins in 11 games (36.4 percent success rate) are already more than Manning. Since 2006, Manning has just three wins in 24 games (12.5 percent) in which he threw two or more trailing interceptions, and all QBs since 2006 have only 56 wins in 1,025 such games (5.5 percent).Naturally, this relates back to my gunslinger hypothesis (that a quarterback can throw too few interceptions as well as too many). Andrew Luck is an example of someone who throws more interceptions than usual when his team is down, but wins more often. Overall, Luck has thrown one or more INT in 55.9 percent of games (19 of 34) in which he trailed and has won 52.9 percent of them (18 of 34). Other QBs have thrown one or more INT in 49.3 percent of games where they trailed, winning only 42.3 percent.You can continue like this for more drastic circumstances (more likely to require heavy risk-taking): Of the 19 games where Luck threw 1+ trailing INT, he threw 2+ in 57.9 percent (11 of 19) and won 36.8 percent (7 of 19). Other QBs have thrown an additional INT in 38.0 percent of such games and won only 16.3 percent (439 of 2,697).6And, if you need more: Of the 11 games in which Luck threw 2+ trailing INTs, he threw 3+ in 45.5 percent (5 of 11) and won 36.4 percent (4 of 11). Other QBs threw an additional INT in 30.3 percent of such games, and won only 5.5 percent.In other words, Andrew Luck is to gunslinging what Aaron Rodgers is to gunholstering.7However, for all that sound and fury about Luck, the actual Week 15 gunslinger winner was Mark Sanchez, who had two trailing interceptions for Philadelphia (in the third and fourth quarters), yet managed to take the lead (albeit briefly) in a game where the Eagles once trailed 21-0.Bonus chart of the weekAfter making the “team movement between 2013 and 2014” chart earlier, I thought it would be interesting to see how each team’s offensive and defensive performance has varied over the past five years. For this chart, I plotted expected points added per drive on offense and expected points denied per drive on defense for each of the last five years, and then connected them so you can see how each team has changed. Some teams have much tighter “shot groups” (Cleveland, New England) than others (Chicago, New York Giants), but I’ll leave you to look for yourself:Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Reuben Fischer-Baum. There’s a bit of a schism in sports fandom. On one side there are those who want more and more statistical analysis (Hi, everybody!); on the other there are those who think stats are overused and blanch at how sabermetrics and analytics have changed what it means to be a good fan.But I have a theory about this latter group: In general, they’re not really anti-stats. Virtually every argument about sports on TV or online is made using stats of one sort or another.1My wife, who is not a sports fan herself, describes “Pardon The Interruption” as “a bunch of guys shouting numbers at each other until a bell rings.” A typical exchange between talking heads includes one guy emphasizing one set of stats (“He throws a lot of touchdowns!”), which is then countered by another (“But he throws too many interceptions!”). Almost no sports fans are truly anti-stats, they’re just anti-complicated, hard-to-understand stats.And to some extent, they’re right. Over-reliance on advanced metrics can lose the forest for the trees, and vice versa. But, ideally, good stats aren’t meant to eradicate classic storylines or debates, but to lend context to them (and hopefully to shed new light on difficult questions along the way). As usual, let me illustrate with an example using Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.The Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers each played the Buffalo Bills in Weeks 14 and 15 of this season, respectively. In both games, the MVP-candidate QBs “struggled” statistically. This shouldn’t be a total surprise: Despite having games against Manning, Rodgers and Tom Brady, Buffalo has had arguably the best defense in the NFL this year (judging by expected points denied per play).But Rodgers’s and Manning’s stats seemed particularly bad. Each threw two interceptions, no TDs and fewer than 200 yards. Manning’s 51-game TD streak ended, and Rodgers threw just his fourth and fifth INTs of the season.The media wasn’t kind to either quarterback, but much of it was particularly brutal to Manning. Here’s the Colorado NBC affiliate: “Denver wins despite Manning’s worst game as a Bronco.” Meanwhile, a number of stories about Green Bay’s loss emphasized Rodgers’s lack of interceptions this year or the fact that his receivers dropped or tipped some key passes.But not all no-TD, two-INT, 180-yard games are created equal. For example, Manning’s two interceptions were pretty “good” as far as interceptions go: the first was 42 yards downfield (which is practically a punt), and the other was 18 yards downfield on a third-and-12 — with the Broncos up 21-3. In general, it’s a bad idea to judge a QB who throws a small number of passes in a game his team led wire to wire.Besides, touchdowns and interceptions can be fickle: For example, sometimes a significant part of QB efficiency can be accounted for by whether his team likes to run or pass on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. But a QB often has just as much of an effect on his team’s ability to run the ball as he does on its ability to throw it. (If all teams played optimally, game theory suggests he should affect them about equally, because opposing defenses should adapt to a stronger passing game by devoting more resources to it.)With some exceptions, it generally makes more sense to judge a QB by the outcomes of his team’s offensive drives. From this perspective, the difference between Manning vs. Buffalo and Rodgers vs. Buffalo was pretty stark. Here are the outcomes of each player’s drives by situation:Denver started out its game against Buffalo with a punt, then scored TDs on three of its next five drives (also, one of those drives ended in field goal range after Jacob Tamme fumbled a completed catch). Up 18 points in the second half, its offense stalled, particularly as it attempted to run more. But even counting those possessions, 10 (non-end-of-game) drives were turned into three TDs and one field goal. This may have been a bit of an off day for Peyton Manning, but that’s a good day for most QBs. Denver’s 2.18 points per drive was only slightly below its season average of 2.33, and was better than 24 teams have averaged in 2014. Green Bay’s offense, on the other hand, started out cold (punting on three of its first four drives), and basically stayed that way — ultimately scoring only 13 points on 13 drives.The point here isn’t to knock Rodgers or Green Bay. The Rodgers-led offense still leads the league with 2.7 points per drive this year, and with his TD/INT ratio (so beloved by media everywhere) still a league-best 7/1, Rodgers is still probably the MVP frontrunner. But we should understand the limitations of first-order stats that people are shouting about, and how they can be deceptive. What context do they include, and what do they ignore?Chart of the weekThe Seattle Seahawks’ defense has its own deceptive stats. The defending champions are in an odd spot. If the playoffs started today, the 10-4 Seahawks would play a wildcard game on the road against the 6-8 New Orleans Saints. And depending how the next two weeks go, they could easily end up as the top seed in the NFC, or out of the playoffs entirely.Two weeks ago, I introduced some “scoring curves,” and showed how Seattle’s defense (with the team 8-4 at the time) flirted with league average in many situations (such as when its opponent has a long way to go for a touchdown). Many readers expressed skepticism, particularly because Seattle has the best defense in the NFL by the old “yards allowed” metric, and is among the league leaders in points allowed per game (as well as yards per play against).I partially agree: I find it very unlikely that Seattle’s defense is average or below average. And I’m tempted to go further and say that it’s unlikely this defense is much worse than last year’s squad. But the stats show the defense has had a pretty huge regression to the mean in measurable defensive outcomes.To show just how much these kinds of things vary from season to season, I’ve plotted each team’s expected points allowed per play on offense vs. expected points allowed per play on defense, and then shown how this year’s iterations compare with last year’s:Seattle has had a pretty big decline on the defensive side, but this is to be expected: Last year’s results were a big outlier, and outliers are more likely to regress toward the mean. For example, Denver’s incredible 2013 offense declined similarly. Both remain among the top tier of teams for each respective side, but are much closer to the pack than they were last year.Once again, the context here is important, and this time for either side of the advanced-stats debate: Simply looking at basic defensive stats and saying that everything is fine with the Seahawks’ D misses a dramatic decline. But simply looking at the magnitude of the decline without considering the context would overvalue its importance.Twitter question of the week read more


Baseballs Kids Are All Right


When Derek Jeter retired last year, the pundits puzzled over who would be the next “Face of Baseball.” Jeter was the guy on the Wheaties box, after all. And more broadly, Jeter’s retirement seemed to close one era of baseball and open another. Without an elder statesman, the game belonged to the kids. But would there be enough excellent, prodigious young players to replace Jeter’s cohort? We already have an answer: The kids are damn good, and they’re part of one of the most significant youth movements in baseball in the past 25 years.Baseball’s excellence is supremely concentrated in its young players at the moment. To get a sense for the balance of power in MLB, I calculated the average age of all position players in the league while weighting each player’s age by how good they were in a given year (using wins above replacement1FanGraphs’ version.). For example, the age of an MVP-type player counts for roughly eight2Here, I am contrasting an average MVP-level of performance — about 8 WAR — with a below-average player’s performance — about 1 WAR. times as much as a below-average scrub because he’s eight times better according to WAR. So, if the MVP is young, he’ll pull the weighted average down toward him. By weighting the ages in this way, we get a sense for where in MLB the production comes from — specifically, whether it arises from the grizzled veterans or the youngsters.The youngsters are winning.Since the early 2000s, the MLB’s weighted age has consistently fallen, hitting its low point (of 27.76) this year. This graph tells us that in recent years, more of the positive value in the league has been coming from younger players.The twin faces of the youth movement are undoubtedly Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, still only 22 and 23, respectively. Despite the best efforts of opposing pitchers, Trout is performing at his now-routine MVP level. Harper seems to have finally discovered consistent success with an overwhelming power stroke. But Harper and Trout have been joined by a generation of super-prospects who are outperforming even the loftiest expectations. Kris Bryant is the most obvious, but others include Joc Pederson, Carlos Correa, Mookie Betts and Addison Russell.There are several ways that baseball’s production could be getting younger, but it turns out that there are two straightforward explanations. One is that the oldest players have become less productive. The second is that the youngest players are on pace to create a tremendous amount of value.Let’s start with the veterans. Players ages 333Roughly the oldest 15 percent of players in MLB. and up have produced only 24 WAR so far this year, on pace for the second-lowest total of the past 25 years. Over a full year, that prorates to 54.8 WAR, which is less than half the total achieved by the equivalent group of players around the turn of the millennium.It’s not clear what is driving older position players down. One possibility is that new pace-of-play rules are making it harder for older hitters to make use of their experience. On the other hand, older position players seem to be getting worse not only at hitting, but also with the glove — and even on the base paths.There could be a connection between the fluctuating pattern of production by older players and the steroid era. Certainly, some of the confirmed steroid users managed to be productive well into their 30s, suggesting that steroids might confer their beneficial effects especially upon older hitters. But in the absence of data on who used what steroids when and how, it’s difficult to pursue this idea beyond a hypothesis. Regardless of the cause, it looks as though the current trend of age and production is more of a return to the norm of the early 1990s than a novelty.At the same time, we are witnessing a historic youth movement. Just as the very old players have gotten worse, the youngest have become much better. Players 24 and younger4Roughly the youngest 15 percent of players in MLB. have produced 48.7 WAR this year, which puts them on pace for about 110 WAR in a full year. If it holds, that would be the most WAR put up by this age group since 2007.That year saw a generation of future stars cement their place in the league. David Wright, at that time 24, had his best season, an MVP-caliber effort. Wright was joined by a host of talent, from Troy Tulowitzki to Jose Reyes to Miguel Cabrera. In total, 13 young hitters put up WAR values greater than 4, in the neighborhood of All-Star-level performance. Many of those players, and even some of the tier below them, have gone on to become superstars.Young players have traditionally relied upon their defense to build their value, and this year is no exception. The 24 and under group typically performs anywhere from 100 to 500 runs below average on offense but makes up for it to some extent with 100 to 200 runs from their defense.5I am also including the FanGraphs positional adjustment here. Less than halfway through this season’s games, young position players have been worth 93 runs defensively. Prorated to a full season, this would be the best defensive performance for that age group since 2001, when the overall value of the youngsters was near its low point.Except today’s kids can do something those 2001 ones couldn’t: rake. With an average mark of 94.6, young hitters are putting up the best Weighted Runs Created+ (wRC+) since that marvelous 2007 class (which was at 99.2). The average wRC+ is set at 100, so the young players are adding decent hitting to their superlative defense. Much of the hitting stems from a power surge: The young hitters are racking up a slugging percentage of .400, slightly better than the league average of .397.6Relative to the league average, this is the second-best number in the past 25 years (second, of course, to 2007).The young players are even providing value with their baserunning. Reds speedster Billy Hamilton, 24, leads the way, but the group is already up to 27.1 runs of baserunning value (Hamilton alone is responsible for nearly a third of this number). If it holds over a full season, that will be the best mark since 1990.Some of these statistics will not hold up over the length of a full season because of injuries or regression to the mean, of course. And many of the averages will be distorted by September call-ups. But two-thirds of the total WAR in this year’s young group comes from the 10 best players, all of whom are firmly ensconced in starting roles.A wave of young talent has arrived, just as the old veterans are fading into irrelevancy. Whether your preference is for Nolan Arenado’s slick glove work, Harper’s absurd power or Bryant’s eyes, we are witnessing the rise of a generation of future superstars. read more


Tyrann Mathieu Drug Arrest A Strong Wakeup Call


Tyrann Mathieu, the former LSU star cornerback, says his arrest for possession of marijuana in October was a strong wake-up call about his future.“Sitting in that jail cell, it clicked,” Mathieu told ESPN’s Joe Schad this week. “Looking at those people, just staring at me. ‘You don’t belong in here.’ They wanted to come through the jail cell and get me. I’m scared now. Because it’s reality now. I don’t ever want to feel like this again. I’m not going to feel like this again.”Mathieu was arrested along with three other former LSU football players, including former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson. Before his arrest, Mathieu was dismissed from the team by Tigers coach Les Miles in August for a failed drug test.Mathieu, who was a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, said he became heavily dependent on marijuana after the Tigers 21-0 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in last year’s BCS championship game.Playing the Crimson Tide in his hometown of New Orleans was a little too much for Mathieu to handle.“And it really took me out of my preparation for the game,” Mathieu said. “I didn’t give up a touchdown, but I gave up four or five passes. Passes when I knew they were going to run that route. I mean, I knew they were going to run that route. But I didn’t prepare myself. I was worried about everything outside the game.”But Mathieu admits that if he could re-live that BCS championship period, he would handle things differently. He says that he would have remained in his hotel room and turned off his cell phone.When Mathieu received the news that he had been kicked off the team, he was crushed.“Devastating,” the emotional Mathieu said. “It’s all I had. Football. And to think back on it … for the BCS game, I abused myself.”Mathieu admits that Miles and Tigers head trainer Shelly Mullenix did everything possible to help kick his addiction to marijuana, but he ended up failing them and the school.“I had to accept the responsibility that I was never going to play for LSU again,” Mathieu said. “The only school that believed in me. And I didn’t even believe in them. I felt I was a loyalty person. Looking back, I didn’t know anything about loyalty. I could talk it, but you know, walking it, was a whole different thing. And when you realize you’re not loyal, that’s what hurts the most. When you realize you lied to people, that’s what hurts the most.”Marijuana provided an escape for Mathieu when it came to problems on and off the field.“I’d tell the world I abused myself though marijuana,” Mathieu said. “I abused myself through marijuana. Was I addicted to it? Maybe. Did I form a habit of it? Yes.”After Mathieu was forced to deal with the consequences of drug abuse, he re-enrolled at LSU and paid for his education. People close to Mathieu advised him to transfer and play lower-division football, but he did not.Mathieu is adamant that he has given up marijuana by going to rehab and counseling. He says he has removed the negative influences from his inner circle.He has declared for the 2013 NFL draft and has been training in south Florida with Patrick Peterson, Sr., the father of his former Tiger teammate and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.With difficult questions looming at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, Mathieu understands that he must be on his best behavior.“I know my mistakes throw red flags up. But I want people to trust me. When I get back on that field, I don’t want to get off. I don’t ever want to leave this game again.” read more


Tradeshows Post Moderate Growth in 2014


first_img “We are optimistic for the performance of the industry overall this year. Economic and job growth should continue to drive expansion in exhibitions,” says Allen Shaw, CEIR economist and chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc. The tradeshow industry continued its steady recovery following the market collapse in the late 2000s, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). The CEIR Index, a composite figure that accounts for net square footage (NSF), number of exhibitors, attendance and revenue of all major U.S. tradeshows, was up 1.8 percent last year. While the growth is slightly off the projected 2.0-percent return, it marks the fourth-consecutive year of positive gains. The group is forecasting continued improvement over the next three years, as well. Projections show 2.8-percent growth this year, followed by 2.4- and 2.0-percent gains in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Market-by-market performance varied considerably in 2014. Up 5.2 percent, financial, legal and real estate shows were at the top of the industry, followed by building, construction, home and repair (5.1 percent) and food (4.4 percent). Education (-3.0 percent), machinery and finished business outputs (-1.0 percent) were at the opposite end of the spectrum.last_img read more


Apple update lets you use iPad as a second screen


first_img Apple iPad See It Apple Jun 14 • Apple Music vs. Apple Podcast vs. Apple TV: What’s the difference? $249 $329 Amazon See It See also Apple Share your voice reading • Apple update lets you use iPad as a second screen Comments $249 Mentioned Above Apple iPad 2018 (space gray, 32GB) Best Buy 0:56 See All Tags CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Computers Mobile Apps WWDC 2019 See it $249 The news comes as software and services are taking on even greater importance for Apple. The company still sells millions of iPhones every quarter, but sales aren’t soaring like they used to. People are holding onto their phones longer, which makes it important to give them services that get them paying monthly. Apple has made augmented reality, mobile payments, streaming music and other areas key focuses over the past couple of years.   Review • Apple iPad 2018 review: The iPad for everyone Aug 19 • iOS 13 and iPadOS: How to join the beta, use the best new features on your iPhone and iPad Apple iOS 13: New Siri voice, camera tools, Dark Mode for iPhone New Mac Pro makes its debut, starts at $5,999 Apple gives the iPad its own OS Returning to Apple’s WWDC after 20 years, now with 5 OSes instead of 1 Get all the latest from WWDC This is a developing story. Follow our WWDC liveblog, and see all of today’s Apple news.CNET’s Shara Tibken contributed to this story. Sidecar turns your iPad into a second screen Jul 5 • RIP, iTunes. This is what happens to your Apple music now 46 Photos • See It Now playing: Watch this: Jun 30 • iOS 13 and iPadOS public betas: How to download and install them now Apple’s Sidecar app for MacOS Catalina lets you use your iPad as a second screen. Apple Apple unveiled plenty of new features for the iPad on Monday at its WWDC 2019 confab for developers — including one that works hand-in-hand with Macs.  WWDC 2019 Apple Event 2 WWDC 2019: A quick visual recap of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote “Sidecar” lets an iPad work as an external monitor for Macs running MacOS Catalina. Though this feature has been available from third-party apps for some time, Sidecar comes directly from Apple in its latest operating system. The iPad will be able to connect to the Mac both wirelessly and with a cable, and Sidecar offers Apple Pencil support. last_img read more


IBTimes Special Revisiting all Cricket World Cup Finals 1975


first_imgClive Lloyd lifting the maiden World Cup trophyTwitter/Cricket World CupThe upcoming ICC 2019 World Cup will be the 12th edition of one-day international cricket’s biggest event. 11 previous chapters have produced many memorable moments as well as some really disappointing ones. This 12th episode of the event promises to be one of the best, if the weather doesn’t play spoilsport – a possibility that can never be ruled out in England.The Final of this mega event has seen many different types of contests and performances. From some utterly sublime to those extremely anti-climactic. The 11 Finals have not always lived up to the expectations but have often produced great displays of batting and bowling skills.As we get ready for the latest edition of ODI cricket’s showpiece event, let’s walk through the pages of history and remember the most important features of the Finals of all 11 previous World Cups. In the first part we look at the decider of the very first World Cup.1975 – Australia vs West Indies (Lord’s)When the first edition of World Cup was played, most teams were not sure how to approach the tournament. It may not have been seen as that important also. West Indies, then starting to emerge as a powerful team and developing a formidable pace attack took on a strong Australian side in the Final at Lord’s. A large crowd of West Indian supporters, largely immigrants from the Caribbean, descended on cricket’s most hallowed arena to support their team. ICC World Cup 2019 – Team India Squad West Indies batted first and the most important moment of the Final came when Clive Lloyd was dropped off the bowling of Dennis Lillee on 26. This mistake proved to be very costly and the West Indian skipper, in the words of his Australian counterpart, Ian Chappell, ‘caned’ Australia. At a time when Sunil Gavaskar was happy to bat out all 60 overs of an ODI to score 36 not out, Lloyd smashed 102 off just 85 balls. West Indies ended up with 291/8.The Caribbean side didn’t have their famed four-man pace attack then. The only prominent name in the bowlers list was Andy Roberts. But a man destined to become one of the greatest players of all time made a huge difference. Except that he did it in a different capacity than the one he is known for. Vivian Richards played a key role in Australia’s inability to chase the target by producing three run-outs, including a brilliant one of Ian Chappell, the leading run-scorer for his team in that match. At a time when fielding was largely an afterthought, Richards showed his athleticism to great effect. Ian Chappell was left gobsmacked by the fact that Richards could even get to the ball which he thought was easily going to the boundary.At 233/9, it seemed all over for Australia but then, the legendary duo of Lillee and Jeff Thomson started resisting with the bat and suddenly, Australia seemed to be in with a chance. But that was snuffed out by, quite aptly, another run-out, the fifth in the Innings. With Australia falling short by 17 runs and 8 balls remaining in the innings, West Indies became the first World Champions in the sport, a harbinger of things to come.center_img Closelast_img read more


AlQaeda says Pakistani security forces detained wife of its chief Zawahiri


first_imgScreen capture from the video showing al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.SITE Intelligence GroupPakistani security forces have detained the wife of Al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and two other family members of the groups ‘martyrs’ for nearly a year, according to a statement released by the insurgent group on Friday.Al-Qaeda claimed that “treacherous Pakistani forces” captured the family members including Al-Zawahri’s wife a year ago as they left Waziristan, a former Taliban base bordering Afghanistan due to airstrikes, reported Associated Press.”We … hold Pakistan’s government and its treacherous army and their American masters responsible for their criminal acts,” the statement said.The current leader of Al-Qaeda, al-Zawahri is an Egyptian who took over the group’s leadership after US military forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s Abbottabad region in 2011. While Pakistan has not commented on the statement, Zawahiri is said to be hiding in the country.Al-Qaeda’s statement came a day after US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed the death of 9/11 mastermind’s son, Hamza bin Laden.The US official confirmation comes weeks after it was reported that he was killed during the last two years in an operation that involved the United States. Hamza who is believed, to be 30 years old, may have been killed before the US announced a $1 million bounty on him in February 2019.According to the documents found in the Abottabad house, Bin Laden was preparing Hamza to replace him as the terror outfit’s leader. Later on, Hamza was assumed to have donned the role of a deputy to the Alqaeda’s current chief, Al-Zawahiri.The United Nations Security Council reported that the deteriorating health of Al-Zawahiri has raised doubts about the global terrorist organisation’s succession.Pakistan’s war on terrorPakistan has often been accused of supporting terrorists in Afghanistan including the Al-Qaeda. Yesterday, the terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Asia Pacific Group placed Pakistan in its “enhanced expedited follow-up list”.The list, which is believed to be similar to be blacklisted, APG found the country non-complaint to 32 of the 40 parameters on money-laundering and terror financing.The announcement came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan said that 40 different militant groups were operating in Pakistan when the country joined US war on terror after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.”We were fighting the US war on terror. Pakistan has nothing to do with 9/11. Al-Qaeda was in Afghanistan. There were no militant Taliban in Pakistan. But we joined the US war. Unfortunately, when things went wrong, where I blame my government, we did not tell the US exactly the truth on the ground,” the Pakistani PM said as quoted by news agency PTI.However, India has accused Pakistan of its state-sponsor of promoting cross-border terrorism in the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.Earlier this month, Indian intelligence reports stated Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has given terrorist group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) full permission for conducting suicide bomb attacks in the valley and cause as many casualties as they can, without worrying about “collateral damage”.US President Donald Trump in the middle of negotiating peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and the Afghan government.The US government have stated that the withdrawal of US troops in a bid to end the 19-year war will be done over a period of time to ensure political stability and avoid security resurgence of Taliban’s state control in the region.last_img read more


UN warns of worsening humanitarian situation in Libya


first_imgUN warns of worsening humanitarian situation in LibyaFierce fighting for control of Libya’s capital that has already displaced tens of thousands of people threatens to bring a further worsening of humanitarian conditions, a senior UN official has warned.”As long as the situation continues, even if it just stagnates and continues like this, we can expect to see a continuing deterioration,” UN humanitarian coordinator for Libya Maria do Valle Ribeiro told AFP.Strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), on 4 April.”When we see the use of air power, the indiscriminate shelling of densely populated areas, it is very difficult to be optimistic,” do Valle Ribeiro, who is also the deputy UN envoy to Libya, said late Sunday.She was speaking after air raids by the LNA on Tripoli on Saturday killed four people and wounded 20 others, according to the GNA.”We continue to call for a respect of civilians, we continue to call for humanitarian pauses and most of all we continue to hope that the situation can return to a more peaceful settlement of the crisis,” she said.The fighting has killed at least 278 people and wounded more than 1,300, according to a toll released Wednesday by the World Health Organization.It has also forced 41,000 people to flee combat areas around Tripoli, do Valle Ribeiro said, while many remain trapped and in need of humanitarian assistance.Migrants at riskAmong the most vulnerable are about 3,500 migrants and refugees held in detention centres near the combat zone who are at “risk”, the UN official said.She said that 800 considered most in danger had been evacuated, after the UN and rights groups said gunmen attacked a detention centre south of Tripoli last week.Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said several migrants and refugees were shot and wounded in the attack.Libya has been mired in chaos since the NATO-backed uprising that deposed and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.People smugglers have taken advantage of the lawlessness, ferrying mostly sub-Saharan Africans from Libyan shores to Europe.According to the International Organization for Migration some 6,000 migrants are held in official detention centres in Libya. Hundreds more are held by armed groups elsewhere in the war-hit country.On Sunday Pope Francis called for “humanitarian corridors” to be opened to evacuate them.The UN official also voiced concern over a breakdown in basic services, including electricity and water supplies, and said more relief funds were needed for Libya.”We appealed for an additional 10.2 million (dollars) which doesn’t cover all that we foresee… but it covers at least the essential response for the first three, four weeks,” she said.During the first week of fighting, she said, “over a million schoolbooks” that were stored in a warehouse of the ministry of education were destroyed when the compound was hit.”Symbolically, it says a lot about the impact of such strife and clashes on not just the immediate survival of people but on the future of Tripoli children.”last_img read more


Raben Group Presents March on Washington Film Festival


first_imgThe Raben Group will produce The March on Washington film Festival July 13 until July 23. The opening event, “Songs of the Civil Rights Movement,” will occur on July 13 from 6:30 p.m.- 9.p.m. at Metropolitan AME Church, 1518 M Street, NW.  Each day consists of something new and enticing in a different location of the city. Through film, music, and the arts, the event increases awareness of important events during the civil rights era. For more information or to purchase you tickets, visit marchonWashingtonfilmfestival.org.last_img


Scientists go to great lengths to extend superlow friction


first_img Citation: Scientists go to great lengths to extend superlow friction (2015, February 13) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-scientists-great-lengths-superlow-friction.html Researchers investigated the superlow friction of the chain structures above. They found that superlubricity can theoretically hold for tens of cemtimeters and disappears above a critical chain length, which depends on a material’s intrinsic properties. Credit: Ma, et al. ©2015 American Physical Society In the new study published in Physical Review Letters, researchers Ming Ma, et al., have theoretically investigated the maximum length of a chain of particles that exhibits superlubricity. Their model shows that this critical length depends on the experimental parameters and the material’s properties, especially its stiffness. For very stiff materials, such as carbon nanotubes, the scientists found that superlubricity may hold for up to tens of centimeters, after which it abruptly disappears. “These results indicate an avenue for achieving superlow friction at the macroscale, and can potentially aid in the rational design of superlubric materials for nanomechanical applications,” Michael Urbakh, a professor at Tel Aviv University and one of the study’s lead authors, told Phys.org.As the scientists explain, superlow friction relies on a special arrangement of atoms on a material’s surface. In graphite, for instance, the surface atoms have a bumpy hexagonal arrangement like egg cartons/boxes. In certain orientations, two surfaces of graphite can mesh in such a way that the “bumps” can slide past one other effortlessly, and friction drops to almost zero. In contrast, when the same pieces of graphite are slightly rotated with respect to each other, their surface atoms can no longer easily slide, and the materials exhibit the familiar effects of friction. This kind of change in geometrical configuration can explain the abrupt transition between the frictionless and friction regimes in the researchers’ models. A shorter nanotube, or chain, exhibits superlubricity because its particles are mismatched, or incommensurate, with the underlying substrate atoms. Since the atoms avoid interlocking with each other, the chain easily slides on the surface. But for a longer chain, a mechanical instability triggers lattice matching at the chain’s leading edge. As a result, the particles become in registry, or commensurate, with the atoms in the substrate lattice, and friction suddenly increases.The researchers’ simulations also revealed that the critical chain length forms a sharp boundary between two phases based on interparticle distance: the distance between particles is smaller in the shorter chain than in the longer chain. At exactly the critical length, an abrupt jump in this distance occurs, along with the abrupt jump in friction. By better understanding superlubricity and its limits, the researchers hope to extend the effect to as large a scale as possible. Superlubricity could prove very useful for designing nanoscale systems with low wear and tear, and it could be even more useful if it could be extended to larger scales. “The challenge here is to scale up the size of the sliding objects without losing the perfect egg-box geometry necessary for superlubricity,” said coauthor Andrea Vanossi at the CNR-IOM Democritos National Simulation Center and the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), both in Trieste, Italy. “Normally, as the size of the objects grows, defects and imperfections comes into play. Only recently, thanks to the impressive advances in the synthesis techniques, has it been possible to produce defect-free, atomically perfect elongated nanostructures such as carbon nanotubes, graphene nanoribbons, and conjugated polymers. Once it is possible to have two large-scale, geometrically perfect surfaces rub against each other without friction, and to apply this material as a coating to ball bearings and moving machine parts, there will be huge savings ahead in the areas of energy, resource consumption, and maintenance.”The researchers are currently working to expand their approach to understand mechanisms limiting superlow friction between 3D materials. © 2015 Phys.org (Phys.org)—When nanosized pieces of graphite slide against each other, there can be virtually no friction between them. For many years, superlow friction, or “superlubricity,” was known to exist only on the nanoscale. Then in 2012, scientists first demonstrated superlubricity beyond the nanoscale when they discovered the phenomenon in micrometer-sized graphite. Building on this and related research, scientists in a new study have now theoretically shown that superlow friction could extend to lengths of tens of centimeters. More information: Ming Ma, et al. “Critical Length Limiting Superlow Friction.” Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.055501center_img Journal information: Physical Review Letters Friction almost vanishes in microscale graphite Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more