Bioethics: Into the Storm Without an Anchor

first_img(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 On several fronts, scientists without a track record of ethical trustworthiness are pushing culture toward dangerous practices.Here are just a few new technologies that are changing the bioethical landscape:Fetal cells were injected into a man’s brain to try to cure his Parkinson’s disease. “It takes cells from at least three fetuses to treat each half of the brain.” (New Scientist)Brain implant trials raise ethical concerns (Science Magazine). The Obama administration is pushing this technology.The Pentagon’s gamble on brain implants, bionic limbs and combat exoskeletons (Nature): “fraught with ethical concerns” … “no guarantee that the Pentagon will actually listen to ethicists’ concerns.”An Italian surgeon is calling in the US for funds to support a head transplant as soon as next year. (Medical Xpress)Noninvasive prenatal testing works (Medical Xpress) and is proving safe and effective, preferred by patients (Medical Xpress). The technology, however, can be used for sex selection and decisions to terminate a pregnancy if genetic disease is found. “Results from a national study of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in women at high risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome will be presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics,” for instance.Embryonic stem cell research continues (e.g., Nature), even though scientists are well aware their use poses ethical questions, while induced pluripotent stem cells do not, and are becoming easier to produce (Science Daily).New Scientist ponders “an impossible, unethical experiment, but fascinating all the same” – putting children on an island and observing whether they develop morality. “Are we humans? or animals?” is part of the motivation for speculating about a real-world “Lord of the Flies” experiment.The rise of the “social algorithm” (e.g., Google tracking of population trends) could affect political speech and privacy. (Science Magazine)DNA profiling is leading to “a brave and uncertain new world” (PhysOrg)CRISPR/Cas9 is making genetic engineering of human embryos a real possibility (see our 6/05/15 entry).Evolutionary scientists believe that ethics and morality are reproductive strategies produced by natural selection, with no fixed moral compass. Secular materialists consider morality to reflect brain anatomy—nothing more.“Do cheaters have an evolutionary advantage?” (Science Daily). The very question presupposes that evolutionary advantage is what matters in life, whether or not cheaters prosper in the fitness game.High levels of moral reasoning correspond with increased gray matter in [the] brain (Science Daily). But is that correlation or causation?Why good people do bad things (PhysOrg); it’s all explained with strategy that can be manipulated by pragmatics, not by morality.Kids’ altruism reflects socio-economic status (Science Daily). If altruism can be manipulated by nature and nurture, it is relativistic.Scientists observe altruism and selfishness in brain activity (Medical Xpress); assumes secular materialism.Live Science offers a naturalistic explanation for a trending game that summons demons.Scientists are not always exemplary models of ethics.Retraction of scientific papers for fraud or bias is just the tip of the iceberg. (Ian Roberts in The Conversation)New study claims that $28 billion is spent each year on irreproducible biomedical research. (Science Magazine)Paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersal has written a new book documenting how scientists in his peer group have “misread our own story.” (Nature)Simultaneously, polls show that millennials are becoming the least religious generation ever in America (PLoS One). Devoid of a secure moral compass, manipulated by amoral scientists, subjected to easy-to-use technologies that devalue human life, what does the future hold?The voice from the pulpit is nearly silent now. Scientism has taken its place. America is picking up steam to race to become like Europe, where churches are being closed and converted to business uses or razed. The world is placing its hope in science, run by special interests, government regulators and moral relativists. Tools for death are being spread abroad. The “fetus” has no rights up to the moment of birth. Soon that will be true of the elderly and newborns. Since we didn’t learn from the 1930s, we are doomed to repeat the decisions that led to the slaughter of millions. Through all that time to the present, the one constant has been this: unquestioned allegiance to Darwinism and its foundation, secular materialism.Pastors, if you want to understand the intellectual history of all this evil, you need to read Darwin Day in America by John West. To understand its source, read Genesis 3. To understand its trajectory, read Revelation. You were called for such a time as this. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.last_img read more

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Infographic: Know your copyrights on World Book and Copyright Day

first_imgTo celebrate Unesco’s International World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April, an annual event that promotes reading and highlights the importance of creative ownership, we bring you an infographic on the basic concepts of copyright.In a digital age, when original ideas can move rapidly around the world within seconds, it is important that creators in all forms of media – music, film, art and books – understand the intricacies of controlling how their intellectual property is used, and making sure they are properly compensated for their original ideas.Illegal downloading and digital piracy are just some of the more notable ways that copyright can be violated. Plagiarism, unlawful appropriation and the illegal selling of media is a significant problem, in not only a technological sense, but also at a very real, grassroots level, particularly in South Africa and the rest of the continent.last_img read more

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Key facts about African swine fever

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Despite the Chinese government’s control efforts, the spread of African swine fever (ASF) continues in China. The official reports from the World Health Organization (OIE) now say there have been more than 40 cases confirmed in 11 provinces, including one in the far south of the country. Despite this geographic advance, some pig movement has been allowed to help with China’s domestic demand for pork.And, according to a recent Global Disease Monitoring Report by the Swine Health Information Center, Brazil has reported a case of classical swine fever (CSF) in their country. The Brazilian case, which was reported earlier this month, was in the country’s far north, which is not in a major pig-producing area. This part of Brazil was already not considered to be free of CSF.U.S. pork is not affected by the ASF outbreaks in other countries and is safe to eat.ASF does not affect humans and therefore is not a public health threat.Pork products from animals with ASF are safe to consume.The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has measures in place to prevent sick animals from entering the food supply.ASF virus is a highly contagious viral disease impacting only pigs, not people — so it is not a public health threat or food-safety concern.ASF cannot be transmitted to humans through contact with pigs or pork.Members of the pig family, including domestic wild pigs, are the only animals susceptible to the ASF virus.ASF can be transmitted to pigs through feeding of uncooked garbage containing contaminated pork products. The Swine Health Protection Act regulates the feeding of food waste containing any meat products to swine, ensuring that all food waste fed to swine is properly treated to kill any disease organisms.ASF is easily transmitted to other pigs through direct contact with infected pigs or their waste, contaminated clothing, feed, equipment and vehicles, and in some cases, by blood-sucking insects, including some tick species.Currently, there is no vaccine that protects against ASF.last_img read more

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The Roundup lawsuits: what is going on?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Evin Bachelor, Law Fellow, Ohio State University Extension Agricultural & Resource Law ProgramA jury recently returned a verdict awarding a California couple $2.055 billion (yes, billion) in damages after the couple alleged that the glyphosate in Roundup caused their cancer. This is the third California jury to be convinced that the Monsanto herbicide, which was acquired by Bayer last year, caused or substantially contributed to a cancer diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Thousands of glyphosate lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto/BayerOver 13,000 cases have been filed alleging almost the same thing: that a plaintiff’s cancer was caused by the glyphosate in Roundup. About two years ago there were only a few hundred such cases. News stories about large jury verdicts have caught people’s attention, as have commercials that some law firms have aired to find clients for this type of litigation. The vast majority of these cases have been brought in state courts, which have a reputation for being somewhat quicker than federal courts, but there are still over a thousand in federal courts across the country. So far, only three of these cases have reached a jury, and all have been in California. First California jury awarded a plaintiff $289 millionDewayne Johnson was a school groundskeeper who routinely used Roundup as part of his job. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014, and believed that his diagnosis was a result of at least two prior incidents where he was soaked with Roundup. His lawsuit against Monsanto in California state court was chosen to be the first case to be tried before a jury because his doctors did not expect him to live for much longer.The San Francisco jury sided with Mr. Johnson and awarded him $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages. Compensatory damages are meant to directly compensate for harm, and can include medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are meant to punish the party in the wrong and deter a similar course of conduct in the future. The judge in the case ultimately reduced the punitive damages to match the compensatory damages, leaving Mr. Johnson with a potential $78 million recovery. However, the decision is on appeal. Second California jury awarded a plaintiff $80 millionEdwin Hardeman sprayed Roundup on his property for about three decades. In 2014, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and decided to file a lawsuit two years later after learning about research connecting his form of cancer to Roundup use. His lawsuit was the first to be heard in federal court. This San Francisco jury awarded Mr. Hardeman $5.8 million in compensatory damages, and $75 million in punitive damages. However, the decision is also on appeal. Third California jury awarded the plaintiffs $2.055 billionThe first two cases certainly sent shock waves through the news, but the size of this third jury award sent more than just shock. The plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, are a California couple who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma within four years of each other. The jury awarded the couple $55 million in compensatory damages, along with $1 billion in punitive damages each. Bayer has promised to appeal this decision as well.Will the parties ultimately get these punitive damages? It is hard to answer this question just yet, but it is likely that the punitive damages awards will be reduced. Courts are often weary about awarding punitive damages absent bad intentions by the party being punished, and few verdicts result in a punitive damages award. When they are awarded, there are constitutional limitations on how large the award can be. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that a punitive damages award that exceeds a compensatory damages award by more than a single digit multiplier likely violates a party’s due process rights and is not likely to be upheld. This means that if a punitive damages award exceeds nine or ten times the compensatory damages, courts are to look at that jury’s decision with a high level of suspicion. However, such an award could ultimately be awarded if the evidence of bad intent merits such an award, and if such award is necessary to deter future bad acts.Bayer’s first hope on appeal is to have the jury decisions invalidated altogether by arguing that the juries were incorrect in linking these plaintiff’s cancer to their prior use of Roundup. In order to succeed, it must prove that the decisions of the three juries were against the “manifest weight of the evidence,” meaning that they relied too much on one pile of evidence leaning one way while ignoring a mountain of evidence going the other way. If it can succeed on this, then it would not have to pay damages to the plaintiffs. However, this can be a high burden for an appellant to satisfy because of our legal system’s deference to juries. If Bayer cannot succeed on avoiding fault, it would still argue that the jury awards are excessive.In the first case, the initial jury award had a single digit multiplier of roughly six; however, the judge viewed even that multiplier as excessive and reduced the punitive damages award to match the compensatory damages award. In the second case, the initial jury award had a multiplier of over twelve, which could give Bayer a strong argument on appeal if it is ultimately determined that it must pay the plaintiffs. However, Bayer is also challenging the basis of the jury’s decision on appeal.The third case is simply on a different level. The $2 billion in punitive damages is 36 times the compensatory damages awarded to the couple. The trial judge may respond like the first trial judge and reduce the compensatory damages award; however, that is not a guarantee. What is likely a guarantee is that Bayer will appeal. Does glyphosate cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma?This question will continue to be a debate for years, and we as attorneys are not in the best spot to make any sorts of determinations based on the scientific research. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a number of scientific studies say no; however, the World Health Organization said in 2015 that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans.” It was that announcement, and some research that followed, which triggered the wave of lawsuits we see today. Bayer is using the first set of research to defend its product, while the plaintiffs are using the second set of research to attack Roundup. The attorneys in the first three cases tried to undercut Bayer’s use of EPA and university research by arguing Monsanto had influenced the first set of research in a manner favorable to it.For better or worse, what matters in a jury trial is less what the science says, and more what the jury believes the science says. So far, three California juries have been convinced that there is enough science to say that glyphosate caused or contributed to the cancer of four plaintiffs. The first non-California cases are beginning to be scheduled for later this year, including in Monsanto’s former home in St. Louis. As of now, it remains to be seen whether the first three cases will be the outliers or the norms for the glyphosate litigation nationwide.last_img read more

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Google Is Prepping A Sneak Attack On Microsoft Office

first_imgIt’s another example of the growing tension between Microsoft and Google, evidenced by the Microsoft’s “rule-breaking” YouTube Windows Phone app and its use of an open API to talk to Google+ users via its Outlook.com Web site.Google chief executive Larry Page, for example, used his Google I/O keynote to call out Microsoft’s behavior as “really sad,” and said that Microsoft took advantage of the open API. “Being negative is not how we make progress,” Page said. “And most important things are not zero-sum. There’s a lot of opportunity out there.”Google Tipped QuickOffice Plans At Pixel LaunchGoogle acquired QuickOffice last year for an undisclosed sum, and the team went quiet. But we know that Google plans to add QuickOffice to the Pixel, because Google said so.At the launch of the Pixel a few months ago, Google’s Chrome chief, Sundar Pichai, said that it would take two to three months to add QuickOffice to the Pixel, but that it would be included with it. Since it wasn’t available when Google handed out thousands of Pixels to developers Wednesday, it must be coming soon.Looking back, Pichai actually spoke quite a bit about QuickOffice’s role within Google at the Pixel launch- but the media (probably correctly) focused on the Pixel hardware itself. Pichai set the stage for the Pixel handout by emphasizing, again and again, that the Pixel represented the best Chromebook experience for developers and early adopters: “if you’re living in the cloud, this is the best experience you can use,” Pichai said then.Microsoft Strikes… Too SoonMicrosoft clearly anticipated a QuickOffice launch at Google I/O. On May 10, it published a blog post that directly attacked the compatibility of Google Apps as well as QuickOffice. Jake Zborowski, a senior product manager at Microsoft, wrote:Productivity software is built to help people communicate. It’s more than just the words in a document or presentation; it’s about the tone, style and format you use to convey an overall message. People often entrust important information in these documents — from board presentations to financial analyses to book reports. You should be able to trust that what you intend to communicate is what is being seen. Google’s alternative to Microsoft Office, Google Apps, has always suffered from the fact that it offers a sort of “good enough” compatibility — fine for most basic document and spreadsheet tasks, but not enough to match certain Office features.Now Google is preparing to use technology from a recent acquisition, QuickOffice, to close that gap.In recent weeks, Google sources have told me that Google has been internally testing, or “dogfooding,” QuickOffice, which began life as a standalone productivity app that offers better compatibility with Office than Google’s own Apps. Now, however, Google is testing QuickOffice as a cloud-based service in its own Chrome browser.(Google already provides QuickOffice as part of its Google Apps subscription, specifically as an app for customers with Android tablets or iPads.)Why QuickOffice?QuickOffice uses the same .DOCX file format that Office does, allowing users to quickly edit and share the same files as Office users. QuickOffice compatibility probably means that more businesses and users will see Google Apps as a viable alternative to Office, wounding Microsoft’s Office cash cow. Google sources also say they’re confident that Microsoft won’t be able to block QuickOffice with licensing issues or other legal threats. Eventually, these individuals say, QuickOffice will become the foundation of Google Apps, although that’s still a ways off.The target, Google sources said, isn’t the full PC-based version of Office itself – although that might be a bit of spin. Instead, Google claims to think of QuickOffice as a competitor to Microsoft’s own Web-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel – which often deliberately fall short of full Office functionality. For now, that means running QuickOffice as a browser app, probably using Google’s Native Client technology, until Google’s engineers can integrate it directly with Apps. Tags:#Google#Google Apps#Microsoft#Office markhachman Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Related Posts center_img Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Zborowski’s post included several sample documents that users could download themselves for comparison’s sake, as well as a funny YouTube video that included Rob Schenider and Pete Rose, poking fun at the “gamble” that is Google Apps. In a supporting comment, Zborowski pointed out that Google doesn’t support the Open Document Format, suggesting that Microsoft is more open than Google.Google representatives shrugged off the post, noting that the example documents relied on Office functions typical users rarely touch, such as watermarks and odd text spacing. However, Microsoft’s post also noted that Office Web Apps can now be used within Android, leaving the Microsoft-Google competition within the Android tablet space as an app – Google’s QuickOffice – versus a cloud solution, Microsoft’s Office Web apps.The whole point of the Pixel, according to Pichai, is to show off the power of the cloud. Microsoft, for its part, is still largely wedded to the desktop application, and the $23 billion or so that its Business Division pulls in on an annual basis. (Office 365 doesn’t live in the cloud, although it has cloud hooks in SkyDrive and its subscription delivery system.) That’s a target that Google has attacked for several years now, with dueling customer announcements from both sides marking the ebb and flow of the battle.Micosoft may be right that Google Apps and QuickOffice don’t offer the full capabilities of Office. But they come close – and “close” has been the selling point behind Apps all along. QuickOffice looks like it could close the gap.Image Source: Google Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img read more

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a month agoLiverpool youngster Cain overjoyed with first professional contract

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Liverpool youngster Cain overjoyed with first professional contractby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveJake Cain says it’s a dream come true signing his first professional contract with Liverpool.The 18-year-old midfielder, who has been with the club since the age of nine, penned terms earlier this week.”It’s a dream come true really,” Cain told Liverpoolfc.com.”It has been one of my aspirations all my life and it has finally happened. I’m buzzing with that and all my family are made up as well.”I was at the Academy and Alex [Inglethorpe] called me into his room and offered it to me. I was over the moon to get it signed.” last_img

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Killer whales spotted in Vancouver harbour searching out seals Ocean Wise

first_imgVANCOUVER — Several killer whales have been hanging out in Vancouver’s harbour, entertaining onlookers and feeding on seals, sea lions and other cetaceans.Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, director of Marine Mammal Research at Ocean Wise, says the predators called Bigg’s killer whales are discovering hotspots with an abundance of harbour seals and Vancouver’s harbour may be one of those areas.The whales have been spotted in the harbour twice, and Barrett-Lennard’s research team has identified a group of five that came in on Tuesday as being a matriarch and her four offspring, between two and 18 years old.The pod that visited the harbour last week was also a mother travelling with three sons born between 1984 and 1997.The researchers are able to identify each killer whale by the distinctive dorsal fins and white saddle patches on their backs.Bigg’s whales, also known as transients, are still listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act but the population is recovering with about 300 animals, in contrast to southern residents, which feed mostly on chinook salmon.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Which NBA Playoff Teams Have The Most Star Power

Portland Trail Blazers15810102 ButlerPHI+4.0MillsapDEN+2.8 San Antonio Spurs15480000 Orlando Magic15340102 VucevicORL+4.5SiakamTOR+3.0 Detroit Pistons14250022 ConleyMEM+2.6 Boston Celtics16410113 IrvingBOS+4.1WalkerCHA+2.8 HardenHOU+8.0WestbrookOKC+5.3LeonardTOR+3.7 CurryGS+6.6PaulHOU+4.9Nurkic*POR+3.3 The NBA’s championship-caliber players, 2019 edition2019 NBA player tiers based on CARMELO-projected plus/minus talent EmbiidPHI+4.4GriffinDET+2.9 ALPHASBETASGAMMAS Golden State Warriors17941116 PLAYERTEAM+/-PLAYERTEAM+/-PLAYERTEAM+/- Milwaukee Bucks17391014 Philadelphia 76ers16730215 Indiana Pacers15440000 JokicDEN+6.8GobertUTA+5.1GreenGS+3.3 Cousins*GS+4.1BledsoeMIL+2.8 The NBA playoffs can sometimes come down to key role players knocking down clutch shots in important moments. But mostly, it’s all about the stars. The league revolves around its top players more than any other sport, and those players usually determine where the championship resides each season.So which playoff team has the most star power? One way to measure this is to break players into tiers based on their performance metrics. A few years back, my boss Nate Silver devised a system called “star points,” which awarded teams a score based on how many stars it had on its roster. Players in the top tier of stars (“Alphas”) are worth 3 points apiece, those in the next (“Betas”) are worth 2, and the lower tier (“Gammas”) are 1 apiece. Teams generally need at least 5 of these star points in total to begin thinking about a title run, and 7 star points is where a championship roster really begins to take form.Perhaps surprisingly, there aren’t any teams with 7 or more star points this season. The Golden State Warriors would have had 8 if DeMarcus Cousins hadn’t been injured Monday night, but Cousins is out indefinitely with a torn quadriceps and may miss the rest of the playoffs. That drops the Warriors into the co-lead with 6 star points, alongside Toronto. And that could mean a more wide-open postseason than we’ve been used to, in which role players might take on an even greater degree of importance.To calculate star points this season, I turned to the constantly updating player talent ratings from our CARMELO projection-system depth charts. (In the previous iteration of star points, Nate used an amalgam of various advanced metrics, but that was before our player ratings updated in-season.) After resetting the cutoffs for each tier to maintain a similar number of players of each type,1An Alpha now has a CARMELO-projected overall plus/minus of +5.5 or greater; a Beta has a projected plus/minus of less than +5.5 but at least +4.0; and a Gamma has a projected plus/minus of less than +4.0 but at least +2.5. I found that the NBA has six current Alphas (four of whom are active in the playoffs), 13 Betas (12 of whom are in the playoffs, but one of those — Cousins — is injured) and 17 Gammas (13 whose teams are in the playoffs, with two injured). In an unusual twist, two of this season’s Alphas — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — actually missed the playoffs. (Their intertwined soap opera is worth its own set of charts.) But among the postseason’s remaining star power, there are some interesting mixes of player tiers on the top teams.The Warriors might be a surprise with only one Alpha (Stephen Curry), one Beta (Kevin Durant) and one Gamma (Draymond Green). Durant didn’t quite qualify for Alpha status, in part because he ranked only ninth in Real Plus-Minus (and 18th in Box Plus/Minus) this season. Meanwhile, Green was downgraded to a Gamma because of a weak offensive season,2According to our mix of RPM and BPM, he was 0.9 points per 100 possessions worse than the average NBA player on offense, though his defense more than made up for it. Klay Thompson barely broke even in projected plus/minus talent (+0.1), and Cousins now appears to be lost for at least most of the playoffs. The usual caveats about the Warriors’ sometimes lax regular-season efforts apply, but based on performance metrics, this team’s name recognition might outpace its actual star power at this point.And yet, only the Raptors match the Warriors in that regard among postseason teams. They also did it in a very different way: Unlike Golden State, Toronto boasts no Alphas, but it does have one Beta (Kyle Lowry) and four Gammas (Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Danny Green and Marc Gasol). Wait … Lowry is a Beta and Leonard is only a Gamma? The difference between the two (+4.0 vs. +3.7) is so slim as to be splitting hairs, but Leonard had a surprisingly down year in RPM, ranking just 37th in the league, while Lowry ranked 20th. The broader point, however, is that Toronto has assembled an unusually deep stable of star talent. The team has long been known for its depth down the roster, but a series of moves helped turn that depth into something slightly different: a collection of quasi-star-level talent at the top of the lineup. How the playoff teams stack up on star powerCurrent CARMELO ratings and star points* for 2019 NBA playoff teams Utah Jazz16990102 DurantGS+4.6Oladipo*IND+3.1 Oklahoma City Thunder16730204 Los Angeles Clippers15000000 * Star points are based on a weighted total of a team’s stars, in which Alphas are worth 3 points, Betas are worth 2, and Gammas are worth 1.Team totals do not include injured players.Sources: ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com LowryTOR+4.0GreenTOR+2.8 Denver Nuggets16731014 JamesLAL+6.3TownsMIN+4.9HolidayNO+3.2 The Rockets and Sixers rank just below the Warriors and Raptors in star points with 5 apiece, but where in that group is Milwaukee, the East’s No. 1 seed? The Bucks have perhaps the Alpha of all Alphas this season in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But only one other player around him qualified as a star: Eric Bledsoe is a Gamma, while Brook Lopez barely misses the cutoff. Milwaukee’s overall lack of supporting star power would make it a historical anomaly if it does end up winning the NBA title.The Utah Jazz, in the midst of a brutal first-round matchup against the Rockets, also has very little star power (one Beta in Rudy Gobert). But they have a bunch of guys who just barely missed Gamma status: Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Ekpe Udoh and Donovan Mitchell all had CARMELO plus/minus ratings under +2.5 but greater than +1.5. If we added an extra category for “Deltas” — worth, say, a half-point per player — the Jazz would leapfrog Boston and be much closer to the top of the heap than the bottom.Regardless, there’s a reason that star points don’t track perfectly with a team’s CARMELO rating or its championship odds. Depth does matter some, even if the effect is less of a factor as rotations shorten during the postseason. And sometimes teams are simply built with a blueprint that helps them perform better than their star power would suggest (the Bucks are a good test case there as well), while others aren’t quite as good as their multiple stars say they should be (the Sixers could be lumped into that group).Before they blew a 31-point lead Monday night — and, more importantly, lost Cousins to injury — the Warriors were looking every bit the star-studded machine we thought they’d be all season long. Now, they are still sizable favorites to win it all, but their edge in star power is not quite as decisive as it’s been in recent seasons. We’ll find out soon enough whether that will matter in Golden State’s quest for a third straight championship, or if another team near the top of the rankings above can finally supplant the Warriors and build a star-powered legacy of its own. TeamCARMELO RatingAlphasBetasGammasStar Points Players By Tier Brooklyn Nets14780000 DavisNO+5.8LillardPOR+4.7SimmonsPHI+3.1 Toronto Raptors17750146 DrummondDET+2.7 * Out indefinitely with injuryPlayers in italics are on teams that missed the playoffs.Sources: ESPN, Basketball-Reference.com GasolTOR+2.5 CovingtonMIN+2.7 Houston Rockets17531105 AntetokounmpoMIL+6.9GeorgeOKC+5.2HorfordBOS+3.4 Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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Despite terrible showing last weekend San Diego State ready for Buckeyes

Courtesy of MCTSan Diego State running back Adam Muema (4) is tackled after a run during a game against Boise State Nov. 3, 2012, at Bronco Stadium. SDSU won, 21-19.Whether the Ohio State football team plays in the BCS National Championship Game at the end of the season could be determined in part by the strength of its non-conference schedule. San Diego State’s season-opening 21-point loss to Eastern Illinois won’t help the Buckeyes in that capacity.OSU was originally scheduled to play Vanderbilt this Saturday before the Commodores canceled that contest in October 2012 because of schedule changes in the Southeastern Conference. That left the Buckeyes scrambling to find a new non-conference opponent for the second game of their 2013 schedule. Enter the Aztecs.Instead of an SEC opponent, the Buckeyes are now scheduled to play a team who fell to a non-NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision school. Eastern Illinois plays in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, a level of Division I college football one step below the FBS.Aztecs coach Rocky Long said his team played “terrible” in the 40-19 loss.“We’re a pretty hurting football team right now,” Long said during a media teleconference Monday. “We expected to play better than we did. We were bad on offense, defense and special teams.”After losing to an underdog opponent, SDSU will be trying to turn the tables against the No. 3 Buckeyes Saturday.“We know we’re playing a great football team in Ohio State this weekend,” Long said. “We’re hoping to fix some things that we did wrong and play a competitive football game.”Although the Aztecs are coming off of a 21-point loss, junior linebacker Curtis Grant said the Buckeyes will not take their opponent lightly.“Everybody’s respected, so they got the same respect as anybody else that steps into the ‘Shoe,” Grant said. “When that ball sets down, it’s go time.”The Aztecs put up 440 total yards of offense, but were beset by four interceptions thrown by redshirt-junior quarterback Adam Dingwell. Dingwell threw for 318 yards, but only completed 27 of 63 passing attempts.Both Long and SDSU quarterbacks coach Brian Sipe expressed confidence in Dingwell bouncing back against the Buckeyes and said there are no current plans to make a quarterback change.“I don’t expect (Dingwell) to struggle,” Sipe said Monday. “I don’t see him on a hot seat. I’m absolutely convinced and I think the players are that he’s our man … he has intangibles that are very important to this team and I expect him to play well on Saturday.”Dingwell said he takes responsibility for the loss.“I’ll put that loss on my shoulders,” Dingwell said during a press conference Tuesday. “I didn’t play well enough for us to win, I didn’t get the ball in the end zone and that’s my job as a quarterback and a leader on this team. I’ve watched the film, I’ve seen what I’ve done wrong and now I just have to go out there and practice and (get) better.”While Sipe expects Dingwell to play better, he also expects the Aztecs’ offense to have a better balance between passing and running plays against the Buckeyes, after passing on 64 of 99 offensive plays last week.“(Running a balanced offense) was (offensive coordinator Bob) Toledo’s intent going into the season, we just found ourselves backed into a corner,” Sipe said. “Statistics tend to get skewed when that happens, but absolutely, we run a balanced offense here.”The Aztecs’ ability to run a balanced offense may have been affected by the loss of redshirt-junior running back Adam Muema, who left the game early due to an ankle injury. Long said Tuesday he expects Muema, who ran for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns last season but only gained 17 yards on 10 carries before his injury last week, to be “full speed” for Saturday.OSU coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday Muema could be the best running back the Buckeyes face all year.“When he went down, they weren’t quite the same,” Meyer said. “We’re preparing to see a heavy dose of No. 4 (Muema).”SDSU gained a total of 122 yards on 35 carries versus Eastern Illinois. While Muema’s injury may have played a factor in the Aztecs’ game on the ground, senior left tackle Bryce Quigley said responsibility also falls on the offensive line.“We have to be more physical up front,” Quigley said Monday. “We didn’t prove that we can run the ball. If we don’t do it on the field, then we have to resort to the passing game.”Defensively, the Aztecs are looking to bounce back after giving up 533 yards and six touchdowns to the Panthers.Meyer said the SDSU defense, whose base scheme uses three defensive linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs, could present a challenge.“It’s an odd-stacked 3-3-5 defense that they blitz, high percentage of pressures,” Meyer said Monday. “Their movement, they are a chaos defense that play really hard with some good players.”Redshirt senior safety Nat Berhe said the defense has to “move on” from the disappointment of last week.“I think we came in and we thought it was going to be easy, and that’s our fault,” Berhe said Monday. “We have to get everybody on the same page.”The Aztecs won’t be underestimating their opponent this week. Long said Tuesday he thinks OSU might be the “best team in the country.”“They’re as good as anybody else I’ve seen on film over the past 2-3 years,” Long said.Long said he considers OSU junior quarterback Braxton Miller to be the “leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy.”“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, he’s got a great arm,” Long said Tuesday. “He’s improved his accuracy tremendously since last year, and not only that, he’s a really big running threat. He’s hard to tackle, he makes people miss, he can outrun people. Let’s just put on ESPN and (see) what they say about him, because it’s all true.”The key to holding Miller in check will be whether or not SDSU can bring pressure and get to the quarterback, redshirt-junior defensive end Cody Galea said.“He’s a good quarterback, but they’re all the same,” Galea said. “If you hit them enough times, they’re not going to play as well, so you just got to get there.”As for Meyer, Long said he considers his counterpart to be “one of the top five coaches in the country.”“I think there’s a lot of good football coaches in the country,” Long said. “There are a few coaches in this country that have, I call it, magic. They have a special feel or touch that make their teams a little bit better than other teams that have similar talent. And now (Meyer is) at a place that he’s got really, really good talent, so he’s a great coach and he’s got talent with a little bit of special magic.”While Long had no shortage of praise for the Buckeyes, he said he is more concerned with his team improving than he is about the competition.“I sense that our team is upset and embarrassed about the way they played, and they’re more worried about getting better than they are about who they play,” Long said.Long said there are multiple benefits to playing OSU, including the $1.2 million that SDSU receives for the game, according to an Associated Press report.“There’s some real financial benefits,” Long said Tuesday. “No. (3), it gives your players an opportunity to compete against the best. Everybody that’s a competitive athlete wants to try to compete against the best to see where they stack up, so that’s the case, if we are competitive and play well, it could help some other things.”The Buckeyes will likely be considered heavy favorites to win this game following SDSU’s loss, but Long made it clear the team has not lost confidence in its goal of winning the Mountain West Conference title this season.“One game does not make a season,” Long said. “We’ve got a lot more games to play.”Kickoff between the 1-0 Buckeyes and 0-1 Aztecs is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium. read more

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Lazio fall for a scam worth almost 2 million euro

first_imgLazio have reportedly been scammed by an email and have paid 2 million euro for the final instalment for Stefan de Vrij, the former Dutch team Feyenoord’s defender, to fraudsters.According to SkySports, hackers who were well aware of the transfer and the final portion of the sum he was acquired for have tricked the club into sending the money to the wrong back account in the Netherlands.Maurizio Sarri, JuventusMaurizio Sarri satisfied despite Juventus’ draw at Fiorentina Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Maurizio Sarri was satisfied with Juventus’ performance on Saturday afternoon after finishing a tough game at Fiorentina 0-0.Lazio followed the instructions in the email they received, which claimed the Dutch champions were seeking the money to be transferred to the bank account in the email. However, since Feyenoord claims they have no idea about this email and the cash transfer, it is highly likely that Lazio have fallen for a scam.The prosecutor, who has been taking care of this case, has reportedly tracked the money in question to a Dutch bank account, which, however, has nothing to do with Feyenoord.last_img read more

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