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Big night for Fulham and O’Meara


first_imgFulham are preparing for a vital game at Craven Cottage, where a victory against Danish side Odense this evening would take them into the knockout stage of the Europa League.The Whites’ recent defeat against group winners FC Twente means they will go out of the tournament if Wisla Krakow pull off an upset against the Dutch club and Fulham fail to win their game.Bobby Zamora, a notable absentee against Swansea on Saturday, is expected to feature despite persistent reports of a bust-up between the striker and manager Martin Jol.O’Meara aims to take another step towards a major title.Fulham, Europa League finalists in 2010, also have Damien Duff back but will be without suspended forward Andrew Johnson and injured midfielders Danny Murphy and Steve Sidwell.It is an important night too for boxer Steve O’Meara, who takes on Nathan Weise at Bethnal Green’s York Hall.It will be O’Meara’s first defence of the southern area light-middleweight belt he won with a stunning first-round knockout of fellow West Londoner Ryan Toms at the same venue in September.O’Meara, 27, hopes to challenge for the British or Commonwealth title next year.“I’ve got plans for my future so don’t want any slip-ups in this fight,” he said.“If I’m going to get to where I think I can be, I need to be getting past fights like this and that’s what I intend to do.”Follow West London Sport on Twitterlast_img read more


Warriors’ Omari Spellman says he has lost 40 pounds since July


first_imgOne of the Warriors’ new centers says he’s a whole new man.Omari Spellman said Monday at the team’s media day that he is down to a slim 275 pounds after weighing in at 315 during NBA summer league.Spellman said he plans to lose 10 more pounds by the time the Warriors open the regular season Oct. 24 against the Clippers.Summer League, I’m pretty sure you guys saw, I was pretty heavy. In Summer League I was about 315,” Spellman said. “This morning before breakfast I was 275, so still want to …last_img


Darwin Blogs on Origin of Life


first_imgHe may not blog himself, but Darwin has disciples who blog for him.  There’s bound to be a lot of blogging this year with Darwin’s 200th birthday next month and the 150th anniversary of the Origin of Species this November.  Science began a blog called Origins with some entries from their Jan 8 issue.  Two of them deal with a subject about which Darwin had very little to say: the origin of life.    Carl Zimmer’s piece on the origin of life was made publicly available online from the January 8 issue of Science.1  He spent a few paragraphs reviewing Darwin’s rare comments about the origin of life (warm little pond and all), then dove into the pond to look around.    Zimmer treated the origin of life optimistically with very little mention of intractable problems like homochirality, salt, competing cross-reactions, concentration of essential parts, and the origin of genetic information.  To Zimmer, life from chemistry comes in two easily-bridged steps, each demonstrated in the lab.  Of course, everything happens completely naturally via unguided processes – a requirement to get the Darwin imprimatur.    First step: acquire lots of amino acids in a Miller-type lightning storm.  We know that Miller used the wrong atmosphere, and nothing happens in the presence of nitrogen and carbon dioxide, but there’s a workaround, he claimed.  The harmful nitrogen compounds that, unfortunately, form when the atmosphere is made more credible, can be soaked up by “buffering chemicals.”  Or, the necessary building blocks could have come special delivery by meteorites or around hydrothermal vents.  Whatever; “Raw materials were not an issue,” he reassured his readers.    Then, you make RNA.  The old simple way (building the bases and sugars separately, joining them and adding phosphate), was too hard.  He found John Sutherland [U of Manchester] willing to suggest a more circuitous reaction pathway.  Sutherland hasn’t succeeded yet, but promised Zimmer “We’ve got the molecules in our sights.”  They might have even formed in warm little ponds, just like Darwin imagined.    From there, it’s not a big conceptual leap to Step Two in Zimmer’s scenario: “The cell.”  Here he went to Harvard Medical School where Jack Szostak has cooked up a primitive cell membrane that is not a death trap (see the 04/11/2006 entry and the 01/17/2002 commentary).  Szostak claims his membrane lets the food in but keeps the RNA from leaking out (see 09/03/2004 for his earlier work).  All that’s needed are some hot and cold cycles, and presto – a living cell is within sight.  “Now Szostak is running experiments to bring his protocells closer to life,” Zimmer wrote.  “He is developing new forms of RNA that may be able to replicate longer molecules faster.  For him, the true test of his experiments will be whether his protocells not only grow and reproduce, but evolve.”  Once that happens, Darwin will take over from there.Fox News) even claimed “Life As We Know It Nearly Created in Lab.”  The triumphant article began, “Some chemical reactions occurred about 4 billion years ago – perhaps in a primordial tidal soup or maybe with help of volcanoes or possibly at the bottom of the sea or between the mica sheets – to create biology.”  That’s a lot of maybes.  In fact, Zimmer’s brief article used the word might nine times, could 15 times, may three times and emerged five times.1.  Carl Zimmer, “On the Origin of Life on the Earth,” Science, 9 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5911, pp. 198-199, DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5911.198.2.  Tracey Lincoln and Gerald Joyce, “Self-Sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme,” Science, Published Online January 8, 2009, Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1167856.Let’s first dispense with the latest fluff by Gerald Joyce.  His intelligently-designed RNA system has nothing to do with the origin of life.  A scientist wrote in and said that all he achieved was a joining (ligation) reaction, not a replication reaction.  Ligation is very common and normal for RNA chemistry.  Joyce just joined two short RNA molecules together; he did not replicate them.  To achieve anything relevant for life, Joyce would need to form (by chance) an RNA molecule 100 bases long or longer that could act as a template for its “antisense” copy, which in turn could be a template for its antisense copy that would replicate the original molecule.  Ligation is “mere chemistry,” our observer wrote.  Joyce’s experiment required intelligent input with a contrived environment (a beaker).  He interfered in ways a natural environment could not and would not, inserting his own “Goal-directed behavior, which includes the urge to have offspring – in short, a kind of awareness,” he said.  It is clear such things “are not related to the atomic world and its laws.”    Joyce’s new RNA molecule also contributes nothing to explaining the origin of the genetic code.  It is useless and fragile without an intelligently-guided, artificial environment, and a role in a complex system like a living cell.  It performs no function.  It can’t do “any totally new tricks,” Joyce admitted.  Now read that Fox News article and stand aghast at the hubris of the reporter – “The ‘creatures’ – wait, we can’t call them that! – evolved, with some ‘species’ winning out.”  Wow, now we even evolved a little Malthus.  The molecules are battling it out for scarce resources.  Where did self-awareness sneak in?    Speaking of winning out, you can’t win an intellectual game with a cheater.  How does Carl Zimmer and Science cheat?  Let us count the ways.  First, they withhold essential information.  They gloss over the falsifying difficulties and show-stoppers (see 07/11/2002 for 21 of them) that render their tall tales worthless.  A comparison of the 01/26/2008 and 02/15/2007 entries (to say nothing of our online book) reveals something of the magnitude of the problems.    Second, they insulate themselves from critics.  Put them in the ring with a knowledgeable critic of origin-of-life studies and they would drop dead from fear before the first blow.  Instead, with their muscly critics safely tied up and gagged in the trailer, the wimps sweep the audience off their feet with a very artificial, one-sided circus act showing off their strength.  They call this the “scientific consensus.”    Third, they associate their nonsense with Darwin to give it some kind of credibility.  Of course, they have to keep blowing hot air into the Darwin balloon to keep it from sagging, otherwise the public might laugh.  Darwin had nothing to contribute about the origin of life other than bald speculation.  Zimmer resurrects his corpse: “And if Darwin was alive today, he might well be willing to write a lot more about how life began.”  Big deal.  Words are cheap.  Facts of nature are recalcitrant.    Fourth, and worst of all, they changed the rules of scientific engagement.  Now, speculation is the “in” thing – the wilder the better.  Historian of science Frederick Gregory (U of Florida) once investigated late 18th-century science contests and noted the insistence on verifiable evidence.  Typically, these contests would say something like, “Do not offer hypotheses; support your answer with FACTS.”  The early evolutionary speculations by Lamarck, Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus, and Robert Chambers were harshly criticized by the scientists of the day because of the speculative nature of their proposals.  What few seem to realize is that the Darwinian Revolution was largely a coup by those who wanted more freedom to speculate and still remain in the science club.  Darwin elevated the status of hypothesis in science, facts and evidence be hanged.    Some leading philosophers of the day saw what Darwin was doing to science yet welcomed it (01/15/2004 commentary).  Others, like Adam Sedgwick (Darwin’s geology teacher), saw it and were outraged: “You have deserted the true method of induction!” he exclaimed in a scathing review of The Origin.  Scientists were for the most part not impressed with Darwin’s “science.”  Natural selection was largely dismissed for decades.  Where Darwin succeeded the most was in persuading his contemporaries, with his rhetoric and charm, to accept the general idea of evolution.  His scientific argument was like a Texas longhorn; a point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between.  He made the concept of evolution, though, seem scientific – a fallacy of glittering generalities.    As a result, Darwin invited the Starving Storytellers into the Science Lab and became their patron saint (12/22/2003 commentary).  Out went the harsh requirements for facts and induction; in came the imaginative tales.  You cannot carry on a scientific discussion with someone who makes up a story to bandage every falsifying wound (05/30/2008).    Oh, but you say, they have all kinds of lab evidence for their leaky fatbubbles (09/03/2004) and RNA worlds (07/11/2002).  No, they don’t.  Facts are just props for the story.  The story always comes first.  This is just another manifestation of their cheating.  They take their intelligently-designed apparati at multimillion-dollar academic institutions and presume to tell us that it says something about what time and chance did in an unobservable past.  They say, “it might have happened this way.”  Look how many times Zimmer resorted to the phrase “might have.”  No respectable scientist should stand for this coulda-woulda-shoulda form of science.  Science is supposed to stand for empirically-verifiable, observable, repeatable evidence, if anything.  Once you open the door to speculation, pigs can fly (1/26/2008) while you wish upon a star (12/05/2008).  So what if it keeps scientists busy?  Think alchemy.    Did it grab your attention that such claims are self-refuting anyway?  If I design an experiment with my mind that attempts to prove that chance and necessity were responsible for my origin, then I have abandoned science and envisioned a world of meaningless contingency just like that of the pagans.  What did I just do to my “scientific explanation”?  I have attributed scientific explanation to chance!  Talk about shooting oneself in the foot.    What a crazy, mixed-up world we live in.  The smart people we elevate as the knowledgeable ones (“scientists”) have let their hero Charlie undermine the whole basis for science, and yet they exalt him as the greatest scientist of all time.  In the 18th and 19th centuries, riding on the wave of Newton’s triumph of the discovery of natural laws (a very complex and controversial issue in philosophy of science), scientists felt compelled to find natural laws everywhere.  The new science of biology (formerly called natural history), was long thought to be too complex.  Natural historians felt resigned to stamp collecting and description.  Biology resisted all attempts to explain with reference to laws of nature.  Well Darwin found one.  John Herschel called it the “Law of Higgledy-Piggledy.”  It’s essentially the negation of law.  Darwin published his natural law, and it was – chance!  Great.  Now we can explain anything with reference to this simple principle Richard Dawkins ecstatically described in Expelled as the most “magnificently elegant, stunningly elegant” law in all of science: Stuff Happens (09/15/2008).(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


Special courts ready for World Cup


first_img27 May 2010People who disregard South Africa’s laws during the 2010 Fifa World Cup™ will be “red-carded” by the law, with 54 special courts set up around the country to handle World Cup-related cases speedily.Deputy Justice Minister Andries Nel told BuaNews that the 54 special courts, set up by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, were prepared for whatever the event threw their way.“The courts are ready,” he said in Pretoria this week. “A large number of acting magistrates were appointed this week, and practice runs have taken place at these courts.”Nel warned that the courts would not hesitate to deal with criminals during the soccer tournament: “Any hooligans or criminals who try their luck during the World Cup will also feel something – the red card of the law,” he said.Countrywide courts, two shiftsThe special courts – 34 at district courtrooms and 20 in regional courts – have been set up throughout the country. Most are expected to open on Friday, 28 May and will hear cases until 25 July.There will be seven courtrooms in Limpopo province, four in Mpumalanga, seven in the Eastern Cape, three in KwaZulu-Natal and two in the Western Cape. The North West province will get four special courtrooms, the Free State three and the Northern Cape two. Gauteng province will have the most number of courtrooms – 22 in total.To ensure that cases are dealt with speedily, the courts will operate on two shifts – a day shift from 7.45am to 4.30pm and a night shift from 4.30pm to 11pm.Constitutional obligationThe department said it had a constitutional obligation to ensure that the rights of all people within the borders of South Africa were protected.“In the furtherance of this constitutional mandate, the department is putting extraordinary measures in place to ensure that the cases involving the multitude of soccer fans and participating teams who will be coming from all corners of the world for the World spectacle are fast-tracked,” the department said.The South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, Legal Aid South Africa and the Judiciary are all involved in the Administration of Justice Plan, which will be implemented to deal with crimes associated with the World Cup.Avoiding disruptionThe dedicated courts would also avoid disruption to the normal judicial services for South African citizens, the department said.“These court rooms will deal with all 2010 Fifa World Cup-related cases. These dedicated court rooms are in courts which are mainly in host cities and located closer to the stadiums and ports of entry,” the department added.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more


Health and Wealth Webinar Highlights!


first_imgWebinar Health and Wealth RelationshipsWhat a great webinar: Health & Wealth Relationships, on Oct 11.  If you missed the webinar, you can still view the recording and obtain CEUs, 1.5  for RDNs and AFC-credentialed participants. You can also access the slides and resources noted in this presentation.Have you taken the Personal Health and Wellness Quiz yet? Did your score surprise you?  Did you find some room for improvement?As we learned in the webinar health and wealth are correlated.  Here are some interesting research  findings from the webinar:There is a negative association between BMI and income, especially among white females http://www.nber.org/papers/w11343.Regular exercise yielded a 6% to 10% increase in wages.Estimated overall annual costs of being obese were $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men.  Dor Ferguson, Langwith and Tan 2010 http://hsrc.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1211&context=sphhs_policy_facpubs.Individuals who engage in health search behaviors such as reading nutrition labels are more likely to engage in financial planning. What are the health and personal finance similarities and relationships?Problems develop slowly.Less stigma due to increasing frequency.Impacts job productivity, discrimination.Technical jargon, Medical terms and directions and financial terms and acronyms.Need for programs in schools and at work sites.People fear drastic changes and large numbers.Need for more “point of purchase” information.Advice needs to be realistic.Lack of limits causes problems.Restrictions help avoid problems.Drastic solutions have major drawbacks.Good health affects wealth. Higher productivity, fewer work absences.Live long enough to collect social security benefits.Money saved on smoking, health care bills, etc.Healthy people need to save more money for longer lifetime.People want quick fixes and are often a target for fraud.Denial and disconnects.Need for routine check-ups.Poor risk perception.Personal traits = Success.Many available resources.Government and employer intervention.Discussion Question:What personality traits are associated with positive health and financial practices? Obesity tends to be higher in the poorer populations.  The skills you need to manage your finances are similar to managing your health.Being healthy can be expensive, so it is natural to assume that you have to have a solid financial plan in place to maintain that lifestyle.Access to healthcare and financial resources.Access to food.There is a cycle of deprivation and ill health.People often cope with struggles by overindulging. Overindulging can happen with food or shopping/spending.Being unhealthy is expensive such as eating out and unnecessary snack purchases.Poor health leads to unemployment and unemployment leads to ill health.Overindulgence/lack of discipline applies to over-eating and over-spending.“Realistic” is different for each person. You have to start where they are and take small steps forward.Automatic Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions are a form of “restriction” because you pay yourself first.Healthier people can work longer too.A good way to think of it – restrictions control the behavior rather than stopping it. Like the bad stigma around the words “diet” and “budget” – restrictions create a plan instead.Happier and more productive!Being healthy will give you a good return on investment (ROI )for all those FICA contributions that come out of your paycheck. If you die before your first SS check, your ROI is “0”.Those of us who are lucky enough to have lifetime pensions get more the longer we live!Good example of  savings denial is Retirement Confidence Survey:https://www.ebri.org/pdf/surveys/rcs/2016/PR1157.RCS.22Mar16.pdfHow can we get people to look past today and see the work they need to do today to make sure they’re ready for later life?Healthy eating isn’t expensive; it’s just that unhealthy eating is cheap.Educate people that it doesn’t have to be expensive to be healthy by listing alternatives.Self-motivation.Delayed gratification.Relaxation no longer stressed.Ability to plan ahead.OrganizedGoal settersStructure, organization, motivation.DisciplinedOften more aware and proactive.Individuals with positive financial practices tend to be better self-motivated “go-getters.”DeterminationModeration/ balancePersonal driveSelf-awarenessPatienceDiscussion Question:How can practitioners foster positive personality traits?Work with clients to make sure their nutrition goals are specific to them to help build the motivation they need to work towards the goal.Motivational Interviewing; Determine what the client holds valuable.Coaching clients to see what their dreams are and the realistic steps they will take to get there.  Let them set the goals.Develop action plans linked to goals and values.Motivational Interviewing is a great start.A  form of taking control over their lives. The Personal Finance team did a webinar on motivational interviewing if you would like to learn more! Listening to the clientThe Personal Finance team also had a  webinar on Positive Personality Traits of Financially Fit PeopleIdentifying their existing positive personality traits and build off those.Help clients  break down big goals into baby steps.Listening to the client. Part of providing an environment that nurtures their capacity for mindfulness and self-awareness. Can be one path to helping them develop a more powerful personally grounded orientation for their efforts; helps them to develop a more internal locus of control, even in the face of constant external pressures. There’s been some fascinating research and discussion about how scarcity influences psychology & decision making, e.g. APA – The Psychology of Scarcity http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/scarcity.aspx.Financial incentives are not a permanent fix. Frequently there is temporary changes (during a program with financial incentives) have temporary results; when the program ends, old habits return.Financial incentives appear to change people’s health habits, at least in the short term. How much they impact health is another question.A workplace “wellness fair” brought in a machine to see skin damage from the sun – has made a big difference in my sun exposure.My brother stopped using tobacco when there would be a penalty with his insurance costs.My brother completed a Health Screening Health Insurance, and lowered his LDL over the year, and was incentivized by a lower premium, as a “reward” for better health.The threat of loss seems to be a stronger motivator.For  more information about health and wealth relationships please visit the website Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/.The SSHW workbook is free for downloading at http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/.   You can also order print copies of the SSHW workbook at http://palspublishing.cals.cornell.edu/nra_order.taf?_function=detail&pr_id=159&_UserReference=56E0D47A4BE703E050494E77  How can you use these techniques to help foster positive changes in health and wealth?This was posted by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and LinkedIn.last_img read more


Meet the new head of Torontos Inside Out film festival


center_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter In July, Andria Wilson and her girlfriend Jules Hobin packed their two cats into a U-Haul and left Halifax to start a new life in Toronto.“I just decided to go all in,” she said in an interview this week at a coffee shop on Richmond St.Her gamble paid off. Following a year-long international search, Inside Out announced Thursday that Wilson is the LGBT film festival’s new executive director. Inside Out is the third largest film festival in Toronto (following TIFF and Hot Docs) and Canada’s largest LGBT film festival. Facebooklast_img


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


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


Tamika Handfield encourages TCI to eat healthy


first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvideciales, TCI, June 15, 2016 – Now that summer almost is here residence of the Turks and Caicos Islands are being encouraged to continue leading a healthier lifestyle and eat healthy.Nutritionists Tamika Handfield, CEO of Nutrition in Demand said this is great time for people to take advantage of the summer weather and pull out that grill. One food mostly encouraged to eat this summer is fish.Ms. Handfield said according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics it is recommended person eat two servings of fish per week.  This will not only help improve your memory but also lower blood pressure.  She also said by eating healthier your brain and heart will thank you for it.  Nutrition in Demand is a nonprofit organization aimed at raising awareness to health and healthy eating.Next time, we tell you how Dance with Cinderella went, it was held over the weekend and is a major fundraiser for Nutrition in demand. Related Items:last_img read more


Lionel Scaloni happy as Argentina boss


first_imgLionel Scaloni is pleased with how well things have gone at Argentina and is looking forward to continuing coaching the national teamThe 40-year-old’s appointment as manager of Argentina hasn’t been widely welcome with the legendary Diego Maradona frequently criticising the decision.But Scaloni’s results in charge of La Albiceleste speak for themselves with just one defeat, which came against Brazil in October, and four wins in his first six games.Now the former Lazio and Deportivo La Coruña defender is looking forward to leading Argentina at the 2019 Copa America.“I am happy because the objectives we set ourselves were achieved,” said Scaloni, according to Fox Sports.Raheem Sterling, EnglandTop 5 best players from the international break weekend Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 11, 2019 After a fresh international break just came to an end, we need to talk about the Top 5 best players during this whole weekend.We…“To contribute players to this new team. I am happy to have the possibility to continue.”Scaloni’s only previous coaching experience came as an assistant for both La Liga side Sevilla and Argentina.He added: “It does not bother me that I do not have experience because it’s the reality. Any coach who starts, logically, has no experience.“I had the opportunity to be in an important technical body, in Seville and in the national team. I cannot get angry because it’s the truth.”last_img read more




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