first_imgA perfume gang have struck Co Donegal stealing more than €3,000 worth of fragrances.The gang has stolen €3,000 of perfumes from Donegal chemists.The organised gang of three women swooped at a number of chemists in recent days.The gang, who are known to Gardai, operate across the country. They arrived in Letterkenny last week and carried out a number of raids on local pharamacies.Garda Crime Prevention officer Sgt Paul Wallace told Donegal Daily that local shops must be vigilant.“This gang operate across the country. They were in and out before we even knew it.“We estimate that more than €3,000 of perfumes was taken in a number of incidents. They simply shoplifted the perfumes and moved on. “These gangs are simply building up their own cash reserves for Christmas.“Shopkeepers need to protect their premises and their goods. Staff need to be vigilant and valuable goods need to be placed close to tills,” he said.Sgt Wallace revealed that as the Christmas countdown continues, shoppers are being directly targeted.He revealed that the number of cars being broken into is on the increase across the county.“Break-ins to cars are up and people should not leave valuables in cars. “Thieves are watching people shopping and leaving goods in cars,” he revealed.The well-known Garda also revealed that mobile phones are a huge attraction for thieves in the run-up to Christmas.“The average smartphone is worth €350. You would not leave €350 down in a bar or in a shop. So why put down a phone and leave it unattended.“We are asking people to be vigilant around their phones as there are gangs specifcally targeting phones. “Recently a gang was caught in Co Wexford ready to ship out €500,000 of stolen phones to Spain for sale,” he revealed.The following is some crime prevention information from Sgt Wallace to coincide with Crime Preevntion Week.Local Activity.Divisional Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Paul Wallace will host information stands at main shopping areas in the County during this week where he will be available to give advice regarding security.Sergeant Wallace stated ‘The criminal can be deterred by taking simple steps which will delay, deter and defeat the criminal and will be available to give advice to the public, I will be present in Letterkenny,Ballybofey,Buncrana and Donegal Town at shopping centres during this week to meet the public and give advice’.The focus of the National Crime prevention Day of Action is in the following areas.1. Theft from shops.• 20, 176 theft from shop offences recorded nationally in the 12 month period ending September 2013, representing a increase of (8%). (Source CSO – Publication). (Divisional breakdown of recorded crime statistics available at• Research has shown that 2% – 3% loss of sales to shoplifting can amount to loss of 25% in profits.• There is a noticeable spike in theft from shop incidents around peak Christmas retail period.• There is no ‘typical’ profile of shoplifter to look out for; offenders come from all walks of life. Be vigilant for suspicious activity.• Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are busiest days of week for theft from shops.• Thefts peak between 2pm and 6pm, with 48% of all thefts from shops occurring in this four hour period.2. Personal Safety / Out and About.• Avoid travelling alone, where possible. Go with family, friends or neighbours.• If travelling by car, keep all doors locked. Be alert when parking and getting in/out of your vehicle.• On public transport sit as close to the driver or exit as possible.• Keep cash to the minimum. Carry only credit/debit cards that you need.• Keep wallets and purses out of sight; hand or shoulder bags should be kept close to the body and not dangling by the straps.3. Mobile phone theft:Facts about mobile phones:As of end of April 2013, 1,521 phones had been stolen in theft from person and robbery from the person incidents.They are particularly targeted late at night and at weekends when people are out socialising and not paying attention to their belongings e.g. they are taken from handbags that are left on the floor or from the counter at a bar.There have been incidents where phones are snatched from people’s hands while they are talking on them out on the street.Smart phones such as the iPhone are particularly sought after as they are so valuable. Stolen mobile phones have an average recorded value of €360 per handset.4. Residential Burglaries / Facts about burglaries:• 26, 211 burglary and related offences recorded nationally in the 12 month period ending September 2013, representing a decrease of (-8.9%). (Source CSO)• Burglars are less likely to enter a house with two or more security devices.• Based on trends from previous years, burglary levels spike in October, peak in November and remain relatively high in December and January.• The 3 main entry points into houses are rear window, front door and rear door.• 27% of all burglaries occur through the front door.• In Rural areas rear windows are used more often as entry points in burglaries, while front doors are used more often in urban areas.• 30% of burglars enter via an unsecured door or window in summer months.• In winter, residential burglaries are most likely to occur between 6pm and 10 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.• Commercial burglaries are most likely to occur between Friday and Sunday from midnight to 8 am.• Jewellery, cash and laptops are most stolen items in residential burglaries. These are followed by mobile phones, car keys, televisions, cameras and game consoles.• Distraction burglary most likely to occur on weekdays than on weekends, particularly between 12 noon and 6pm.• Residential burglary remains high with noticeable increase observed in burglaries of garden sheds, outhouses and apartments.Facts about distraction burglary:• A distraction burglary is where a falsehood, trick or deception is used to gain access to a property to commit burglary.• These burglaries predominantly target older persons.• Overall numbers of older victims of crime has been decreasing in recent years.• Distraction burglary is most likely to occur on weekdays than on weekends, particularly between 12 noon and 6pm.• Some of the most common distraction methods used are in relation to water or leaks, guttering, roofing and landscapingPERFUME GANG STRIKES CHEMISTS ACROSS DONEGAL was last modified: December 3rd, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:chemistsdonegalperfumesSgt Paul Wallacelast_img read more

Cosmic Accidents Are Not Scientific Explanations

first_imgSunday Meditation Oct 3, 2010 — The classic understanding of science is that it explains things with reference to natural laws, makes predictions, is testable, quantifiable, and falsifiable.  Depending on the branch of science, many researchers still attempt to hold to those ideals.  Eugenie Scott put it this way: “modern science operates under a rule of methodological materialism that limits it to attempting to explain the natural world using natural causes.”  Natural causes include natural laws, predictable patterns, probability, or combinations of these.  Pure accidents, by contrast, contain no explanatory power.  How satisfying would it be to hear a scientist explain a phenomenon by saying, “Weird things just happen sometimes”?  That’s tantamount to saying, “We have no idea.”  See if the following two articles from New Scientist’s series “Cosmic Accidents” can do better than that.    New Scientist has a headline: “Cosmic accidents: Inventing language, the easy way.”  What is this easy way of which reporter David Robson speaks?  Here’s how he explained it.  He picks up the tale as hominids migrate out of Africa to discover new habitats:Released from many of the selective pressures that had shackled their evolution, they began to change subtly.  Their calls, for example, had once needed to be very specific – one to signal aggression, one to announce feeding time and so on – and were hard-wired in the brain.  Any variation from a small inherited “vocabulary” risked a potentially fatal misunderstanding, so mutations that promoted greater flexibility were quickly weeded out.    In the new havens, however, mutations emerged that allowed more complex vocalisations, controlled by wider regions of the brain.  Ultimately, these morphed into huge learned vocabularies and flexible grammars that exploded the tight constraints on interpersonal communication.  A change of scene had accidentally created that most human of features: language.The key to the story is “mutations” that “emerged.”  If an environment itself could create language, every organism in the environment would end up talking.  Selective constraints cannot create anything, either.  They can only hold creative powers back.  In the end, Robson himself attributed the ultimate cause to chance: an accident created language – one time, in Europe but not in Africa, in humans but not in other animals.  Weird things just happen sometimes.    Attempting to explain how bacteria became humans, Michael Le Page wrote another entry for the “Cosmic Accidents” series: “One giant leap for a single cell.”  How did single cells cross the “chasm” between simple prokaryotes, like bacteria and archaea, and eukaryotes, which include everything from one-celled organisms to giraffes, orchids and humans?  Enquiring scientists want to know.  Le Page set the stage: “while bacteria never form anything more complex than strings of identical cells, eukaryotic cells cooperate to make everything from brains and leaves to bones and wood.”  Here’s his explanation:The countless simple cells living in many different environments on Earth have had over 3 billion years to evolve complexity.  It could have happened repeatedly – and yet it appears to have happened just once, perhaps 2 billion years ago.  All complex life is descended from a single common ancestor.     Why is that so?  Because, says Nick Lane of University College London, natural selection normally favours fast replication, keeping simple cells simple.  Then a freak event occurred: an archaeon engulfed a bacterium and the two cells formed a symbiotic relationship.  That transformed the dynamics of evolution, leading to a period of rapid change that produced innovations such as sex.  The incorporated bacterium eventually evolved into mitochondria, the energy generators of complex cells.Le Page added that “it seems there was nothing inevitable about the rise of the complex cells from which we evolved.”  If it was not inevitable in any way, shape, or form that science can get a handle on, where does science enter the explanation?    Once again, the heart of the explanation was pure chance: “a freak accident occurred.”  The prokaryotes were trying to evolve complexity for a billion years, but they just couldn’t.  Then a freak accident occurred.  The archeon was not trying to engulf the bacterium.  It had no desire or plan to do such a thing.  A freak accident occurred – something completely unforeseen, something weird.  It transformed the dynamics of evolution.  This freak accident, though, was pregnant with possibilities.  It “produced innovations such as sex” and mitochondria – you know, those little organelles with piston engines and rotary engines (09/22/2010).  Weird things just happen sometimes.    Other articles in the “Cosmic Accidents” series include Stephen Lawton’s chance explanation for the big bang’s fine tuning (New Scientist), Stephen Battersby’s chance explanation for antimatter imbalance (New Scientist), his chance explanation for the unlikely ingredients of our sun (New Scientist), David Shiga’s lucky impact theory for the origin of our moon (New Scientist), Richard Webb’s lucky fungus theory for our atmosphere’s oxygen balance (New Scientist), Graham Lawton’s lucky asteroid impact for the origin of mammals (New Scientist), Anil Ananthaswamy’s lucky rift theory for the growth of the human brain (New Scientist), and Stephen Battersby’s summary of the “certainty of chance” and the contingency of evolution (New Scientist).  “Our existence is perilously perched on a great pyramid of trivia,” he said.  Maybe that’s why all these freak-accident explanations are published by New Scientist, not by old scientists.Science is stuck with chance explanations sometimes.  We have no theory at this time for why one radioactive nucleus decays when it does, or why a photon goes through one slit instead of the other.  Usually, though, scientists can assign probability values, given a large sample size.  Watch enough radionuclei, and you can predict to a high degree of accuracy how many will decay within the isotope’s characteristic half-life.  Watch enough photons, and you can predict the pattern that will emerge on the screen.  If there were only one nucleus or photon, though, all bets would be off for predicting what would happen.  Scientists would have to admit, “We have no idea.”  Even in chaos theory, which camps on unpredictability, large sample sizes allow predictable patterns called “strange attractors” to emerge.    Given enough smokers, medical researchers can predict what percentage will get lung cancer; but all bets would be off for predicting the fate of a particular smoker.  If either outcome – the smoker lives, the smoker dies – could be “explained” by the probability value, then nothing has really been explained at all.  He dies: Just as we predicted, he was part of the 70% group that gets cancer.  He lives: He was lucky and beat the odds.  Opposite outcomes are encompassed by the theory.  The bottom line is, “We have no idea.”    When a scientist is reduced to saying, “We have no idea,” his or her opinion is essentially no better than anyone else’s.  For all a neutral observer could tell, a New Guinea shaman or the Oracle at Delphi has just as good an explanation for a phenomenon.  A scientist reduced to saying “Weird stuff just happens sometimes” has no claims over a theologian, for sure.  “Sheer dumb luck” as David Berlinski calls it is no explanation at all.  It is the antithesis of explanation.  If science gets reduced to sheer dumb luck, the Stuff Happens Law (SHL), it surrenders all claims to epistemic priority.  Possession of a white lab coat, a PhD, and a university professorship amounts to nothing more than costumery the shaman could put on, by all rights.    The GSA talking points say, “Science cannot be used, by definition, to study events or phenomena that cannot be perceived by natural or empirical senses and do not follow any natural rules or regularities.”  This statement, though intending to disparage creationism and intelligent design, rules out explanations that ultimately depend on “freak accidents.”  It therefore rules out so-called scientific explanations of the Big Bang, the origin of life, the origin of eukaryotes, the origin of sex, the origin of consciousness, and most of the subject matter evolutionists are interested in.    Darwinism itself is outside the bounds.  Why?  The root of its explanation is contingency – sheer dumb luck.  Darwinism is the SHL in different words.  Early critics of Darwinism pointed this out.  They were appalled that Darwin was introducing contingency into scientific explanation in an era when natural law was king.  Darwin believed he had found a law – the law of natural selection – but closer examination shows it is chance masquerading as law.  Nothing could be selected without random mutation, obviously, but selection itself is directionless – therefore random.  The environment is random.  “Selection pressure” is unpredictable; it pushes this way, and that: up, down, sideways.  Everything at the fundamental level is explained by freak accidents.  Whatever happens happens.  Darwinists cannot appear after the fact and say, “natural selection” did it.  That’s equivalent to saying, “A freak accident produced this outcome by sheer dumb luck.  Weird things (like eukaryotes, like language) just happen sometimes.”  As we have shown repeatedly, Darwin’s “law” explains opposite outcomes – therefore it explains nothing (12/19/2007 commentary).  Might as well invite the Delphic oracle, the New Guinea shaman and a gambler to give presentations at the Darwin convention.  On what basis could they be denied admission?  Their clothes?  Their taste in cuisine?  That kind of diversity already exists at science conferences.    Eugenie Scott, in her talking points on the NCSE website, used to say, “Science and religion are different.  Scientific explanations are based on human observations of natural processes,” where processes include laws, patterns, causes and logical deductions other than appeals to chance or so-called supernatural forces taken on faith.  The newer explanation, “What is science?” at NCSE web, emphasizes method and “ways of thinking” more than laws and cause.  “The process of science is creative and flexible.  There is no single scientific method used by all scientists…. All scientific conclusions are tentative.”    This looser description, more nuanced and postmodern, appears to have been adopted to insulate the NCSE from charges that evolution is unscientific.  But do the gains in defense offset the gains in offense?  Scott can keep evolution in science only by widening the tent.  If she looks carefully, though, she lets in the Delphic oracle and the New Guinea shaman.  After all, they have methods; they are creative; they are flexible.  They can even hold their conclusions tentatively.    To maintain a distinction in the wider tent, Donald Prothero adds the only claim in the article to epistemic priority: the hope of converging on the truth, whatever that is, somehow: “Science is not about finding final truth, only about testing and refining better and better hypotheses so these hypotheses approach what we think is true about the world.”  But in attempting to kick the shamans and oracles out, Prothero has let in a more fearsome group: the logicians and philosophers.  They will ask what he means by truth, what constitutes testing and refining if there is no standard of truth by which one can measure progress, and whether what one thinks is true about the world corresponds to what is really true about the world.  Prothero will need more than sheer dumb luck to get out of that predicament.    Have we gotten lost in a postmodern fog, where everyone’s opinion is equally valid and deserving of a hearing?  Fortunately, no.  Intelligent design (ID) identifies a measurable quantity, complex specified information (CSI), that can dispel the fog.  Intelligence is a known, testable cause of CSI – the only known cause.  And there is a threshold for separating chance from intelligence as a scientific explanation – the universal probability bound, based on the information content of the phenomenon under study.  Human language and eukaryotic cells are rich in CSI.  While ID cannot yield final truth, either, it provides an inference to the best explanation for measuring the confidence one can have in design as the cause versus chance as the cause.  This can be achieved by running the explanation through the Explanatory Filter (ARN).    With this background, re-examine the articles above and their explanations.  The “scientists” (if deserving of that honor) attributed the causes to freak accidents – sheer dumb luck.  But the phenomena under question – human language and eukaryotic cells, are rich with CSI that exceed the universal probability bound.  Chance is therefore excluded; design is the best explanation.     ID leads to another advantage: a theory of truth.  While ID restricts itself to design detection, additional logical inferences can be made once an inference to design has been made – just like when an inference that a string of bits contains a message, rather than being natural noise, leads to additional inferences about the content of the message and the nature of the sender.  Given that many phenomena (DNA, the human brain, and the universe itself) pass through the Explanatory Filter into the design explanation, it follows that a designer capable of producing a universe must be greater than the universe, therefore transcendent, and outside of spacetime, therefore timeless.  That provides an anchor point for truth to allow it to be timeless, universal, necessary, and certain.  Reflexively, it provides the preconditions for intelligibility that a scientist assumed to draw that conclusion.  It is therefore logically coherent and explanatorily rich.     So let’s kick the Know-Nothings (10/28/2009, 02/22/2008) mumbling sheer dumb luck and freak accidents out of the lab and give them new jobs in the caves of Delphi and the jungles of New Guinea.  Let’s welcome back ID scientists (the heirs of Kepler and Newton, Boyle and Maxwell) to clean up the mess and put scientific explanation back on track: chance for single events of low information content, probability for quantifiable events, natural law for predictable patterns, design for high-CSI phenomena with high information content.  Help achieve this if logical coherence is something you value in science.Suggested Reading:  David Berlinski, “The Deniable Darwin,” (1996) and “What Brings a World Into Being?” (2001), The Deniable Darwin and Other Essays (Center for Science and Culture, Discovery Institute, 2009).(Visited 46 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Serious business

first_imgView comments MOST READ Read Next “It was a hard-fought victory,” said Racela. “I knew all along that we were going up against a tough team in Rain or Shine. The breaks went our way down the stretch.”Bullock made both his free throws for a 114-112 Rain or Shine lead in the last 46 seconds, pushing the second-ranked TNT against the ropes.But Castro also made a pair of his own to force 114-all before a Jericho Cruz miss paved the way for that air ball/alley oop shot. Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight LATEST STORIES PBA IMAGESTNT relied on an endgame burst to beat Rain or Shine, 118-114, Friday night and finally nail the last semifinal slot in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.But just as soon as the final buzzer sounded, it dawned on TNT coach Nash Racela that they are going to be taking an even more difficult task of facing a rampaging defending champion Barangay Ginebra in the semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT Eagles try to stretch unbeaten run; Archers vow rebound “It’s gonna be tough, personally I saw the last game where they dominated San Miguel,” said Racela. “You know their (Gin Kings) strength, it’s their height and the coaches that they have.”They start their best-of-five semifinals series on Monday also at the Big Dome. On Sunday, the other semifinal pairing gets going when Star battles Meralco in Biñan, Laguna.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Final Four matchups bumped up on intrigue as it will pit squads belonging to rival business tycoons.The reigning champion Kings and the Hotshots are owned by San Miguel Corp.’s Ramon S. Ang while Smart/PLDT’s Manny V. Pangilinan owns Meralco and TNT. Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  But even without that curious subplot, TNT import Glen Rice Jr., acknowledged the daunting job ahead.“We just have to go out there and grind it out and see what happens,” said Rice, who topscored with 34 points including a put-back off a rare air ball by Jayson Castro that sealed the victory in the final 10.2 seconds.“It’s a pass, I guess,” differed the son of the famed NBA superstar. “He just happened to find me open.”The shot gave the Texters a 116-114 lead and TNT forced the Painters into a turnover to cement their entry into the semifinals after being forced to a knockout match by a gritty Rain or Shine squad.The Painters, who evened out a twice-to-beat disadvantage after a 106-102 win Wednesday, was in the thick of the fight all throughout until import J’Nathan Bullock threw away a chance to equalize in the last 10 seconds by a bad pass.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:08Palace: No need to release Duterte medical bulletin01:22Manila police chief: Cops tolerating illegal street vendors to get ax01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF presidentlast_img read more

Federer beats Zverev to reach last four at ATP Finals

first_imgThe 20-year-old third seed raced into a 4-0 advantage only to see the Swiss charge back to lead 5-4. Zverev earned a set point of his own at 6-5 but could not convert and Federer made his third set point count.The 19-time Grand Slam champion broke in the first game of the second set to establish an iron grip on the round-robin match but Zverev hit back in the fourth to get back on level terms.Federer only landed 43 percent of first serves in the second set and it finally cost him in the 12th game, when Zverev capitalized on his third set point to force a decider.The Swiss re-found his focus and some consistency on serve in the decider as Zverev’s level dipped, earning three breaks to close it out 6-1.Zverev has been touted as the leader of a pack of young players hungry to oust the creaking old guard but Federer, who has suffered only four defeats all year, shows no sign of slipping.ADVERTISEMENT “It was a good battle and I always enjoy myself at this beautiful arena,” said Federer, who has now reached the semi-finals 14 times.“I have so much fun playing in London and I have been so successful here. Thank you for making it such a special night.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“I’m happy and relieved that I can play freely against (Marin) Cilic, instead of it being a nail-biter. It’s been a tough group so to be through in two matches is great.”Both players were scratchy on serve at the start of the match but were quickly into the groove in a tight first set that saw no breaks of serve, though Zverev had to fend off two set points in the 12th game to force a tie-break. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Coming into the match Federer, 36, and Zverev had faced each other four times and each had won twice.This year, Federer beat the German in Halle but Zverev returned the favor at the Rogers Cup in Montreal.Earlier, also in the Boris Becker group, Jack Sock kept his dreams of a fairytale finish to his season alive, beating Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).“It’s been an interesting morning so far,” said the American. “The fire alarm went off at 4:00 am and we had to exit the building. But I love playing here in London. It’s an amazing atmosphere, you make me feel like home.”The top two players from each of the two groups of four progress to the semi-finals.Federer, who beat Sock in his first match, is the standout star at the tournament after the withdrawal through injury of world number one Rafael Nadal.Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are all long-term absentees from the Tour this season. MOST READ Read Next View comments CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates victory over Germany’s Alexander Zverev during their men’s singles round-robin match on day three of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 14, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRKRoger Federer held young pretender Alexander Zverev at bay in a gripping contest Tuesday to reach the last four of the ATP Finals and stay on course for a seventh end-of-season crown.The world number two saw off a spirited challenge from the much-hyped German 7-6 (8/6), 5-7, 6-1 in front of a boisterous pro-Federer crowd to become the first man through to the last four at the O2 Arena.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Stindl equalizer saves Germany’s 21-match unbeaten run John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

How To Tell If A March Madness Underdog Is Going To Win

When the NCAA men’s basketball tournament picks up full speed Thursday, many fans will tune in with the hopes of seeing one thing: upsets. Some no doubt will come on last-minute buzzer beaters, but plenty will probably be long-simmering, the kinds of games that you can’t look away from. Those games will be all about tension: The underdog can’t possibly hold on to this lead, can it?We can figure out the answer to that question. Or at least what we should expect to happen when an upset is brewing — specifically, at what point in the game an underdog with a lead is more likely to win than lose.I analyzed play-by-play data from every NCAA tournament since 2004, which is the earliest that second-by-second scoring data is readily available. I considered all games played by teams with different seeds, leaving me with about 700 games to analyze. In the analysis, I estimated the probability that a lower-seeded team (i.e., the better team, according to the selection committee) wins the game, depending on the score and the time remaining.At the opening tipoff, the underdog has a 29 percent chance of winning the game. But if the game is tied or the underdog is ahead with five minutes remaining in the first half, the probability of an upset is higher than 50 percent.1The green line in the first chart does not fully reach 100 percent because games tied at the end of the second half are included in the analysis.It is, of course, not that simple. There’s a big difference between an “underdog” that’s a No. 2 seed and one that’s a No. 16 seed.To better distinguish between these two cases, I split the data based on “big” and “small” upsets. Any game in which there was more than a four-seed difference in the teams’ seedings was considered a potential big upset, and the games in which the difference was four or fewer were counted in the “small upset” category. (A No. 10 seed beating a No. 7 seed is a small upset, a No. 11 seed beating a No. 6 seed is a big one, etc.)2Ideally, I would break up the data more finely by looking at each possible seeding matchup, but with only 700 games and 120 possible matchups to work with, there was not enough data. The graph shows the difference between the average upset, the big upset and the small upset. As you might expect, the big underdogs begin the game with a slightly lower probability of winning (about 20 percent). Also unsurprisingly, a big underdog with the lead does not cross the 50 percent win probability threshold until around halftime.But the results are very different when you look at small upsets. In these matchups, when the underdog has a lead or the game is tied at any point more than five or six minutes into the game, it’s likely that we’re going to see an upset.We all know, however, that all leads are not created equal. Through the rest of the article, I’ll split the data a bit further, based on how big the underdog’s or favorite’s lead is: a three-possession game (a lead of 7 or more points), a two-possession game (a 4-to-6-point lead), or a one-possession game (0-to-3-point lead).The figure above shows the results from this analysis.3The jaggedness in the raw data has been smoothed with cubic regression. When a game is close, within 3 points in either direction (gray), the average favorite is still more likely than not to win. But, assuming the game stayed within 3 points all the way through, the chances of an upset increase throughout the game. By the last few minutes, if the game is within one possession, the average better-seeded team has only a slight advantage in win probability. The probability that an average underdog with a two-possession lead (light green) will win crosses the 50 percent threshold with about five minutes left in the first half. And an underdog who leads by more than 7 points (dark green) perhaps shouldn’t be considered an underdog at all.4Although there are almost zero games in which a team is ahead by seven points in the first minute or two, the cubic regression allows me to estimate these probabilities. There’s more uncertainty about the exact estimates early in the game because there is less data, but this problem disappears just a few minutes into the game. Its odds of completing the upset are more than 50 percent very early in the first half.Things are slightly different in big upset situations; the underdog must wait until the second half for a modest lead (4 to 6 points) to trump the seedings.5The tangling of the curves in the middle graph shouldn’t lead us to believe that a 4-point lead very early in the game is better than a 7-point lead. It is more the result of a very small number of games with huge score differentials early in the game. Those open up the possibility of outliers influencing the shape of the curves on the left side. If, however, you’re watching a game in which a big underdog has a three-possession lead in the first half, keep watching because there’s a good chance that it’ll pull off the upset.In smaller potential upsets, an underdog with at least a 4-point lead (light and dark green) at nearly any point in the game has a better chance of winning than losing. The underdog wins about 40 percent of one-possession games (gray), regardless of the time remaining.So, as you watch games, don’t get too excited about a big underdog with a small lead, at least until the second half. If there is not a big gap in the seedings between the two teams, then the scoreboard, not the seedings, is what matters. And remember, this whole analysis is the aggregation of hundreds of games. Any one particular game can certainly defy the odds. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

Sports ticket prices could go up

The Ohio State Board of Trustees will vote Friday on a ticket price increase affecting football, men’s basketball and golf course fees for 2010-2011.Students would expect to pay $32 per football ticket in 2010, which is up 3.2 percent from last year.The proposal would require students to pay $15 for single basketball tickets, which is up 3.4 percent from this season. The upper level end zone seats sold on the day of the game will remain $10.The golf course annual dues for students would jump 2.7 percent to $575. Daily greens fees are not affected by the price increase. Athletic Director Gene Smith said officials need to increase the prices to offset operating costs, utility increases, financial aid, travel and the debt service.“The university has $200 million of debt service,” said Ben Jay, senior athletic director of Finance and Operations.The debt service has accrued due to the depletion of the reserve funds, renovations to existing facilities, new scoreboards and the $2.75 million lawsuit settlement to ex-OSU basketball coach Jim O’Brien.The athletic department pays $17 million each year to lower the debt service.The ticket price increases will generate an estimated $8 million in the next two years. Four million dollars will go directly to the reserve fund and the rest will cover operating costs, Jay said.The increase was calculated based on the assumption that in-state tuition will rise between 5 to 6 percent next year. Therefore, financial aid will have to increase 5 to 6 percent.“Financial aid will be just south of $1 million more to our budget,” Smith said.Smith says they are using conservative estimates because tuition is historically raised 5 to 6 percent.The athletic department has looked for other outlets to raise money, but revenue from concessions, merchandising and donations to the Buckeye Club are all affected by the economy.“We have put restrictions on budgets for each sport, such as limiting who travels with the team, setting maximum per diems at $45 per day, and not allowing surplus in budgets be spent elsewhere,” Jay said.The athletic department has both long- and short-term expenses to account for outside of the debt service.The department pays more than $2 million annually in rent to the Schottenstein Center and more than $2 million to Student Athlete Academic Services. The department also makes an annual donation of $1 million to University Libraries.In total, 25 percent of the Athletic Department’s budget goes directly back to the university, $29 million annually. read more

Commentary Ohio State mens basketball will need help of Amir Williams to

When Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta started sophomore Amir Williams at center against Chicago State Dec. 29, it might have raised some eyebrows. After all, it was the first time all season Matta had made a change to the starting lineup. But when the starters were introduced Wednesday night for OSU’s Big Ten opener against Nebraska, and Williams was still one of them, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Against the likes of Winthrop and UNC-Asheville, Matta favored the steady, yet generally unspectacular play of senior forward Evan Ravenel. But in losses to No. 1 Duke and No. 6 Kansas, Williams received more playing time than any other OSU big man. If the Buckeyes are to accomplish their goal of a Big Ten championship and a deep NCAA tournament run, they will need to beat teams with the size and talent of Kansas or Duke. And to do so, they will need Williams to play often, and play well. “It’s just been great to have a center,” said junior point guard Aaron Craft of Williams’ emergence in the starting lineup. “We haven’t had one in a couple of years.” Craft’s comment came off as a bit of a joke, likely a chance to poke fun at a teammate who’s in the limelight for the first time of his collegiate career. But it also cut to a hard truth; though Williams has been a member of the Buckeyes for two seasons, his inconsistent and sometimes soft play had left OSU without a center. Coming out of Detroit Country Day School in Birmingham, Mich., Williams was ranked by ESPN as a four-star prospect and the fourth best center in the class of 2011. As a freshman, Williams showed that the high-ranking might have been based heavily on unrealized potential, as he displayed an extremely unpolished game in limited action. This season, Williams has started to scratch the surface of his potential. He still makes mistakes-against Nebraska he whiffed on the opening tip, air-balled a shot in the post and allowed his man to drive for a couple of easy scores-but his numbers are up across the board. This is in part a product of receiving more playing time, but also likely an indication that he’s more comfortable on the court this year. “He’s just been playing great,” Craft said. “I think he’s doing a great job coming in and understanding how he can affect the game, and not stepping out of that.” Most importantly, Williams is thriving as a defensive anchor. Against Nebraska, the 6-foot-11 center blocked four shots, altered many more, and was a key factor in holding the Cornhuskers to just 30.4 percent shooting. “I thought they did a good job with their interior defense,” said Nebraska coach Tim Miles. “We were, what, 11-for-35 on 2s? That’s just ineffective basketball. We couldn’t get (our big men) going inside the paint, and that hurt us.” Nebraska, though, is hardly one of the best teams in the Big Ten. In fact, they might be one of the worst. The conference’s most likely contenders-namely Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State and Minnesota-all feature players that can score in the post. OSU’s success against the league’s elite hinges upon Williams’ ability to do what he does best. “(He needs to be) blocking shots, altering shots, (getting) offensive rebounds, put-backs,” Craft said. “It’s the little things that end up being big in big games, especially in the Big Ten.” Williams said he’s up for the challenge. “I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Williams said. “Every team in the Big Ten has that one center that can score the ball or run the court. I have total confidence within myself, I can matchup with anybody in the Big Ten.” read more

Ohio State center Billy Price named finalist for Rimington Trophy

Ohio State senior offensive lineman Billy Price (54) prepares to snap the ball in the fourth quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State is one step closer to having a Rimington Trophy winner in the middle of its line for the second year in a row.Redshirt senior Billy Price on Monday was named one of three finalists for the award, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding center. Last year, Ohio State center Pat Elflein won the award. Price would be the third Buckeye to win the award, following Elflein and LeCharles Bentley, who won it in the second year of its existence in 2001.Alabama’s Bradley Bozeman and LSU’s Will Clapp are the other two finalists for the award.Last year, Price was honored as a second-team All-American and was named to the first-team All-Big Ten team by both coaches and media. He was also named a third-team All-Big Ten member in 2015.A two-time team captain, Price is the most experienced player on Ohio State. Earlier this season, Price set the record for most starts by a player in program history. He currently has started 54 games and, with his start in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29, Price will set the record of 55 starts. In that game, he will also tie Elflein’s program record of 55 games played. Elflein and Price both made transitions from guard to center for their redshirt senior seasons.The winner will be announced during a presentation Thursday night. read more

Bahamas Light Industry Development Council Board Members Paid a Courtesy Call on

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppBahamas, July 22, 2017 – Nassau – Board members of the Bahamas Light Industry Development Council (BLIDC) paid a courtesy call on Ministry of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration the Hon. Brent Symonette on July 19, 2017 at the offices of the Ministry.    Pictured from left: Jonathan Cartwright  –  Cartwright’s Bedding; Perry Pinder – Blanco Chemicals; Christian Knowles – Aquapure; Walter Wells – Caribbean Bottling Co.; Minister Brent Symonette; Bradley Watson – Chairman/BLIDC (Caribbean Bottling Co.); Geoffrey Knowles –  Aquapure; and Karla Wells-Lisgaris – Caribbean Bottling Co.(BIS Photo/Derek Smith)last_img read more