The Rangers Needed Better CPU Assistance

Posted On Sep 30 2019 by

For most of the first period at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, the newly renovated scoreboard above center ice displayed only the time remaining and a 0-0 score — not shots on goal, face-off percentage or the other data that it normally tracks.I thought this might be a ploy by New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. In Games 1 and 2 of the series — both comeback wins by the Los Angeles Kings — the Kings’ peripheral stats were more impressive than the Rangers’ (the Kings led the Rangers 87-65 in shots on goal, for example). Indeed, Los Angeles has a well-deserved reputation as a stat-savvy team that focuses on metrics related to puck possession and scoring opportunities, which can better predict game results than goals scored and allowed.No #fancystats for you, LA Kings! No moral victory on the strength of Zone Start Adjusted Corsi! You’ll have to win this hockey game the old-fashioned way: by scoring more goals than the other team!The stats clicked back on to the MSG scoreboard late in the first period. Soon after, the Kings scored, and they went on to beat the Rangers 3-0.But it was the Rangers who had more scoring opportunities. They had 32 shots on goal, compared with 15 for LA. Counting missed shots and blocked shots, their edge was 59-33.It can be tempting, if you have a passing familiarity with advanced hockey metrics, to take solace when outcomes like these occur or to curse your favorite team’s bad luck. How often does a team lose despite outshooting its opponent by a 2-1 margin, for instance?Actually, teams lose often. In playoff games since 1988, teams that took about two-thirds of the shots in a game (somewhere between 65 and 70 percent) won only 62 percent of the time. The chart below generalizes this data based on logistic regression and estimates how often teams win a game based on the number of shots they take.Much of this is simply a reflection of the fact that goals scored and allowed are a noisy statistic. A lucky deflection or two for the Kings, a great save or two by Jonathan Quick, and all those extra shots often go for naught.But another reason is that play changes once a team finds itself trailing. The shot count was even at 4-4 when the Kings scored with one second left in the first period. The Rangers piled on shots only once they trailed.The chart below shows how often a team shoots based on the game score. The data is based on playoff games since 2012. It includes blocked shots and missed shots, as well as shots on goal (these are called Corsi events in #fancystats terms) in 5-on-5 play.Teams down by one goal are shooting about 25 percent more often than their opponents at even strength. Teams down by two or more goals are shooting about 40 percent more often.Are those extra shots translating into goals? Actually, yes. In cases when it trails by two goals or more, a team scores about 2.4 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at even strength, compared with 1.8 goals for the leading team.So, at least in the playoffs, there’s been some tendency for the trailing team to recover (despite that it should be the slightly weaker team on average for having fallen behind). It’s like a mild version of the CPU Assistance that allowed the computer to make spectacular comebacks in games such as NBA Jam just when you thought you had everything wrapped up.It isn’t clear whether this represents rational behavior on the part of the leading team. It would be one thing if it were stalling just to get the game over with, reducing shots and scoring for both teams. But it’s actually allowing its opponents more shots and more goals — at the same time it’s taking fewer of its own.One possible explanation is the avoidance of penalties (to the extent they can be averted through more passive play). In playoff games since 2012, teams are scoring 6.3 goals per 60 minutes on the power play — nearly three times their rate at even strength. Shorthanded teams score 0.8 shorthanded goals per 60 minutes. Those long-term averages didn’t help the Rangers on Monday night, who went scoreless in six power play opportunities. read more


Derrick Rose Is Almost Playing Like His Old Self Again

Posted On Sep 30 2019 by

Going into this season, one of the biggest question marks for any NBA team was what the Chicago Bulls would get out of Derrick Rose. When Rose was healthy three seasons ago, he was one of the best players in basketball — and Chicago had the league’s best record. But in 10 games last season — his first action back after a torn ACL cost him all of the 2012-13 season — Rose was abysmal before tearing the meniscus in his other knee and missing the remainder of the season. He also struggled at the FIBA World Cup this past summer, giving rise to very real worries that Rose would never be able to reclaim his pre-injury MVP form.Fast-forward to Monday night, when Rose scored 24 points with seven assists in Chicago’s 102-91 win over the Detroit Pistons. It’s early in the season — Chicago is eight games into its schedule, of which Rose has only played half because of sprained ankles — but Rose’s numbers thus far suggest he’s getting close to his old level of effectiveness. And at the very least, he’s playing much better than he did a season ago.Rose’s performance was a mess last season. He had no trouble getting his own shot (his usage rate was 31.5 percent), but he was horribly inefficient when he did, posting a .446 true shooting percentage (the NBA average was .541). He struggled to get to the line, didn’t finish well within 10 feet of the basket and missed more than his fair share of long mid-range jump shots. He also turned the ball over on 16 percent of his plays (up from 13 percent during his great 2011 and 2012 seasons), assisted teammates at a career-low rate and was notably inactive on defense, where real plus/minus rated him worse than an average NBA player by almost a full point per 100 possessions.How bad was Rose in those 10 games a year ago? Statistical plus/minus estimates that a player posting the aforementioned numbers would cost his team about 3.8 points per 100 possessions relative to the NBA average. Research shows that the replacement level for NBA players is about two points per 100 possessions below average, so — albeit in a small sample — Rose played worse than the level at which a player should be jettisoned from an NBA roster.This season, he’s still consuming about 31 percent of Chicago’s plays when on the floor, but he’s put those opportunities to much better use, with a true shooting percentage of .566 (a rate even better than his .545 mark in 2011 and 2012). Rose’s free throw rate is surpassing its pre-injury levels, he’s finishing much better around the basket, and his assist rate (38 percent) is back where it was before his long hiatus. He’s even picking up steals at a career-high rate, and his pick-and-roll defense has been better, per Synergy Sports data.The only areas where Rose’s game has resembled its poor 2013-14 form have been turnovers — he’s still giving the ball away on 16 percent of plays — and mid-range shooting. But after the injury-riddled, awful pair of seasons preceding 2014-15, it’s highly encouraging to see Rose perform at a level comparable to his terrific 2010-11 and 2011-12 campaigns. read more


Why UABs Football Team Couldnt Even Last 20 Years

Posted On Sep 30 2019 by

The University of Alabama at Birmingham knew its football team was going to have to battle for survival from the start. In 1996, its first year of Division I-A ball, the team’s slogan was unusually defensive: “We’re here to stay,” the omnipresent banners and billboards around Birmingham read. Less than 20 years later, the team is gone.On Tuesday UAB President Ray Watts announced he was shuttering the football team, citing a study from an outside consulting group that determined the program would need to dramatically increase its operating budget in order to remain competitive. “We have considered many options to fill this financial gap, including through philanthropic support; but our informed analysis of current and past support and interest concluded that the gap is simply too wide,” Watts wrote.UAB faced two major problems, one of which was specific to its circumstances, and one of which is staring down all universities that have recently tried their hand at big-time football.The University of Alabama never wanted UAB to be a competitor, making life difficult for UAB even before a team arrived. Even though the two institutions share a board of trustees and a medical school, Alabama has been leery of UAB’s foray into major sports since Gene Bartow left his job as UCLA’s head coach to found UAB’s basketball team in 1978. Citing a range of grievances over recruiting and fan support, Alabama has refused to engage UAB on the court or on the gridiron. The Tide have faced the Blazers only once, in basketball, when they were pitted against each other in the National Invitation Tournament. UAB didn’t help matters by winning 58-56.In 1989, Bartow, UAB’s athletic director, started to put together a football team. Alabama’s athletic department was not happy. Its head coach, Bill Curry, was particularly adamant: “Not only would we not play them, we don’t understand why they are talking about bringing another football team into the University of Alabama system,” he said at the time. “I’m the only [football] coach in the University of Alabama system. We don’t need another football team at one of our other campuses.” In 1991, Bartow sent a letter to the NCAA accusing former and current Alabama coaches — including Bear Bryant — of recruiting violations.The system’s board of trustees has tended to represent Alabama’s interests over UAB’s, perhaps because the large majority of them are alumni of the Capstone. (Trustee Paul Bryant, Jr., for example, is the son of the legendary coach.) They’ve blocked UAB’s attempts to move out of the cavernous and decaying Legion Field and into a new stadium, and they nixed a deal for UAB to hire Jimbo Fisher, who would go on to win a national championship with Florida State.But even if the Blazers hadn’t been undercut by their own trustees, they still would have had a tremendous hill to climb, one that’s getting steeper every year as the gap between the haves and the have-nots of football continues to grow. UAB was in the vanguard of a recent trend of universities starting football programs from scratch with the plan to get to Division I as soon as possible, and reap the PR and financial benefits that come with a major football program. Nine other universities that are in or are about to join the Football Bowl Subdivision have started football programs since UAB did, and they share several commonalities.All of them are based in the South, and all of them felt they had a chance to succeed because of the prestige of the game and the fertile recruiting grounds in the region. But they’ve found it incredibly expensive to field a competitive FBS program. They all have losing records against fellow FBS schools, and they all receive substantial subsidies in order to keep their athletic departments afloat. They’ve had trouble attracting supporters, perhaps because most football fans in the region are already loyal to other teams. And as the Big 5 power conferences start to crank up the financial pressure — both with lavish spending on facilities and upcoming allowances for players — it’s possible that some of these programs could join UAB on the sidelines.Only one of the new teams looks like it’s making the leap to sustainability. South Florida not only has the highest attendance and lowest subsidy percentage of the bunch, it’s also the only school that’s made it out of the C-USA and Sun Belt Conference dregs and into the relative comfort of the American Athletic Conference. (That said, the team has regressed recently, winning only six games in the last two years.)The rest of the teams look a lot like UAB with slightly better attendance. They bring in far less than the average FBS athletic department, and all their athletic departments receive at least 60 percent of their revenues in subsidies — meaning that a combination of student fees, institutional support and state funding are used to cover the majority of their expenses.In his letter to UAB faculty about the shutdown, Watts specifically cited the huge subsidy as a reason the football team had to go, along with an unwillingness to shell out even more cash for upgraded facilities. If that’s actually the case, and cold numbers rather than system-wide infighting cost UAB its team, then there are plenty of other programs facing similar deficits.Watts claims the UAB athletic budget will stay the same even after the football program folds, meaning that more resources can be put toward other sports, including the basketball team, which has recently fallen on hard times after years of winning seasons. Perhaps UAB can look to the success of Virginia Commonwealth University, its former Sun Belt Conference foe, which eschewed the lure of football to focus on basketball. The Rams now play in the hoops-centered Atlantic-10 and regularly make deep runs in the NCAA tournament.Making the Blazers’ basketball team into a powerhouse won’t be a simple task. But it will certainly be easier than the existential struggle its football team just lost.CORRECTION (9:30 a.m., Dec. 8): An earlier version of this article misstated the year that Gene Barlow started UAB’s football program; it was 1989, not 1991. read more


Chad Ochocinco Released From Jail After a Week

Posted On Sep 30 2019 by

A contrite Chad Ochocinco apologized for showing disrespect when he slapped his attorney on the backside in court last week, and the judge released him from jail after only a week instead of 30 days.Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh accepted  the former NFL star’s  apology and cut his 30-day jail term for a probation violation to the seven days he has already served since the rear-swatting incident.Johnson, a flamboyant wide receiver formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, said in court that he’d had time to think about why his flippant attitude was wrong — especially in a domestic violence case.“I just wanted to apologize for disrespecting the court last time,” said Johnson, wearing a tan jail jumpsuit with his hands shackled at the waist. “I apologize. I did have time to reflect on the mistakes I made in this courtroom.”Johnson walked out of jail shortly after 4 p.m. and was met by his attorney, Adam Swickle, and sports agent Drew Rosenhaus. Johnson told reporters he was thankful to McHugh because she was the first person to get him to slow down and think about the path his life was taking.“No one has been able to do it, not even my parents,” he said. “I thank her. Everything she did was justified.”Asked if he hoped to latch on with an NFL team, Johnson said, “I just have to say my next move, my best move.”McHugh noted that in a previous hearing, Johnson had put his arm around a female prosecutor’s shoulders, prompting the prosecutor to tell him twice not to touch her. The judge also pointed out that when Johnson head-butted his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada of the reality TV show “Basketball Wives,” she suffered a 3-inch gash on her head that required eight stitches. The judge called those injuries horrific.McHugh also said Johnson failed to appreciate “the gift of probation” after pleading no contest to battery in the altercation last August with Lozada, which prompted her to quickly file for divorce. Johnson, 35, was in court because he had failed to meet with his probation officer for three consecutive months.“I find that’s an arrogant disregard for a court order,” the judge said.McHugh ordered Johnson to perform 25 hours of community service and attend domestic violence counseling sessions twice a week during probation, and she extended his probation an extra three months through mid-October.Swickle, the attorney who had his backside slapped, said Johnson will fully comply with all probation conditions and hopes to resurrect his NFL career. The six-time Pro Bowler was cut by the Miami Dolphins after his arrest for battery; he played most of his 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals followed by one year with the New England Patriots.“He understands that this is the kind of situation that can derail a person’s career,” Swickle said. “We’re very confident he will do what he should do.”Terrell Owens visited Johnson in jail on Saturday and tweeted that his former teammate was in “good spirits.”“I really didn’t know what to expect but to see the homie locked up is a very humbling experience, to talk to him via vid conference let me know that’s not where anyone wants to be,” Owens wrote. “I know he’s only in the county jail but to someone that has never been locked up…Jail is jail!” read more


Magnus Carlsen Wins A Game And The World Chess Championship Is Up

Posted On Sep 29 2019 by

Then Karjakin pounced. He forayed dramatically into enemy territory, capturing the pawn on f7 and sacrificing his bishop at the hands of black’s king in the process. For the first time in the two weeks of the match, what could honestly be described as a cheer erupted from the crowd in the Fulton Market Building in the South Street Seaport. Karjakin was on the attack!The serious threats thereafter posed to black’s king by white’s invasion allowed Karjakin to make up for his lost bishop a few moves later, trading rooks and winning black’s knight. But the offensive wasn’t enough. Despite a one-pawn advantage, the Russian couldn’t ensnare the Norwegian king, settling for a draw. In the position shown above, the computer preferred a less direct — but incredibly complicated — variation: sliding the queen to b3 first to provide some backup before the bishop attack. That approach may have been winning for the Russian. But computers and may-haves aren’t worth a whole lot at the World Chess Championship.The game was clearly drawn for the next hour, but Karjakin kept playing, swinging his queen around the board, bothering but never truly threatening Carlsen and his king. The Russian seemed to be lording his then 1-point advantage over Carlsen. At some point, the game wasn’t really about chess. It was about the players.“I’m just happy to survive,” Carlsen said afterward. His slid his rook, in the upper right corner, south one square, to h7. It didn’t look like much to me at first, but it cost him any chance of a draw. Karjakin, whose impenetrable defenses had helped secure an unlikely lead in the match, had crumbled. The issue with rook-to-h7 is that black can no longer address his many problems at once. His pressure points are the squares b7, the pawn next to his king, and e6, another lonely pawn. Tucking one rook behind the other limits its ability to help defend these. Indeed, the pawn on e6 would fall a few moves later, while b7 became a focal point of white’s attack. (Better, according to the silicon, was leaving the rooks be and taking the knight to h6.)This game was vintage Magnus, though, grinding down an opponent and pursuing a small advantage, undeterred, for hours. Karjakin resigned on the 75th move. This spelled relief for Carlsen fans. For those without a rooting interest, there was another reason to be excited — the match was tied, and faster tiebreaker games could be in store. And perhaps the player everyone had expected when they shelled out $75 for their ticket — the Mozart of chess — had finally started composing.A simple Elo-based simulation of the rest of the match puts Carlsen’s chance of winning in 12 games at 38 percent, and Karjakin’s at 10 percent. The chance of tiebreakers is 52 percent.2This is based on their current Elo ratings and an assumption that 70 percent of games will end in a draw. Dave Rabinowitz, left, and Jay Bonin. Photograph by Misha Friedman Despite notions that Carlsen would venture something exotic the next day, handling the white pieces, to secure a badly needed win, Thursday’s Game 10 saw yet another Ruy to start — the sixth in 10 games. The Spanish priest would be proud.Karjakin had a juicy chance to force a draw early on via perpetual check, which would have put him a huge step closer to the title, but he missed the opportunity. The grandmasters fought on. Unlike in the previous day’s game, however, the heaviest artillery came off the board, when queens were traded on the 24th move. But her loyal subjects survived: Not a single pawn was captured until the 34th move. These smallest of pieces formed an intricate lattice around and through which each of the grandmasters’ knight and two rooks had to navigate. Carlsen held a small edge, according to Stockfish, as the castles and horses were picked up, put down and rearranged in a shuffle worthy of an amateur Shakespeare production. It still looked somewhat draw-ish, as the chess commentariat is quick to say, until Move 56. Karjakin (black) had this to deal with: Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the defending world chess champion and No. 1 player, had a nice Thanksgiving in New York City: He won a game of chess. In the 10th game of the best-of-12 world championship match, on the banks of the East River in lower Manhattan, after eight draws and one loss, he finally triumphed Thursday in 75 moves and six and a half hours of play. The day before, he’d parried sharp threats from his challenger, Sergey Karjakin, the Russian world No. 7, fighting to a 74-move draw. The score is now tied at 5 in this race to 6.5 points and chess immortality.1Wins are worth 1 point, draws are worth half a point for each player, and losses are worth 0 points. If the match is tied after 12 games, speedier tiebreaker games will be played Nov. 30.Wednesday continued the match’s main theme: lengthy, tense draws, with one side scratching for survival. Thursday saw the first breakthrough for the Norwegian and a sigh of relief from his fans. And away from the venue, New York chess fans — and the city’s chess elite — kept a watchful eye on the match.The two grandmasters began Wednesday’s Game 9 with another Ruy Lopez — the fifth time this opening sequence of moves had been played in the match and the untold millionth time it has been played since its eponymous Spanish priest undertook the first systematic study of the sequence in 1561. It’s a natural way to start a chess game — two knights leap into action and then a bishop provides some tension.Things proceeded largely without incident until around Move 39. Karjakin, playing white, was clinging to a small positional advantage, per the computer chess engine Stockfish. Carlsen, playing black, opened the door for him even wider. Carlsen retreated his knight, from d5 to e7, on Move 38. Karjakin contemplated the position below for more than 26 minutes, burning his time allotment down to less than a minute. He glanced occasionally at the clock but mostly stared at f7, the square occupied by a lowly black pawn near his opponent’s all-important black king. The only American chess world champion of the modern era is Bobby Fischer, who won in 1972. There were high hopes that the list would double in length this year. Two Americans — Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura — competed in March’s Candidates Tournament for the right to challenge Carlsen. Caruana, who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, fell 1 point short; Karjakin beat him in the final round to clinch the spot.Still, this championship is resonating beyond the four walls of its venue with the chesserati in the Big Apple.On a recent match off-day, I visited the Marshall Chess Club in New York’s Greenwich Village. The club, along with the outdoor tables in nearby Washington Square Park that chess hustlers call home, is the beating heart of chess in the city. A 13-year-old Fischer played the “Game of the Century” there in 1956, and a corner of the club is adorned with memorabilia from his 1972 championship match. Stanley Kubrick and Marcel Duchamp have counted themselves as members. Carlsen has played there. The club celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.I was invited to a lecture about the first games of the championship match. I arrived early, and the unmistakable thwack of chess clocks echoed in the hall as I climbed the stairs to the main room. As I turned the corner, there was Caruana, the world No. 2 and top American player, playing speed chess as a crowd of about 15 gathered tightly around his table. He was seated under a sketch of the competitors for the 1935 world championship — Alexander Alekhine and Max Euwe. Alekhine was the defending champ; Euwe was a heavy underdog. Euwe won by a point. Fabiano Caruana. Photograph by Misha Friedman When Caruana finished his session, I asked him about the other, more public chess games taking place two miles south. He had put the disappointment of the Candidates behind him, he told me, and had been following closely, staying up “very late” to analyze a recent game. “It’s a very unusual match,” he said. “I think both players are probably not at their best. There’s a lot of psychology going on. Carlsen is normally not affected psychologically, but he has some sort of barrier in this match. He’s playing moves he wouldn’t normally play.”I asked him what we can expect. “If Magnus takes it to tie-break, he’ll probably win the match,” Caruana said.Alone in a back room of the club, two men sat at a chessboard in front of large picture windows. Jay Bonin, an international master for whom the club is a de facto office, was giving a lesson to Dave Rabinowitz, a lawyer who lives nearby. They’d both been following the Carlsen-Karjakin match faithfully. Rabinowitz was following online (“with some degree of comprehension”), and Bonin had attended a couple of games. But they had their complaints. Rabinowitz seemed to long for an age of chess not too distantly past. “Chess has evolved,” he said. “You can see them being very careful, and they were not going to make any egregious mistakes. It’s different from even the way it was 50 years ago.” Bonin would have preferred a different result at the Candidates. “I would’ve been more interested if there was an American player challenging Carlsen,” he said. “I’d root for an American.” Nevertheless, Bonin, who has played many thousands of tournament games and competed against a young Caruana, craved more coverage of the match. “I look in my daily newspaper, and I hardly see anything,” he said.Here’s some more: Game 11 is Saturday afternoon, and Game 12 is Monday afternoon. I’ll be covering them here and on Twitter. read more


How The Villanova And Duke Losses Shook The Bracket

Posted On Sep 29 2019 by

Some madness finally came to the 2017 men’s NCAA Tournament over the weekend, as overall No. 1 seed Villanova and No. 2 seeds Duke and Louisville fell. In the video above, FiveThirtyEight sports editor Chadwick Matlin looks at how the surprising wins by Wisconsin, South Carolina and Michigan affected the rest of the field.


Baseball Is Overrun By Adam Dunns

Posted On Sep 28 2019 by

When Adam Dunn came to the plate, he would pretty much always do one of three things: He would strike out; he would walk; or he would hit a baseball some 400-odd feet. With his propensity to produce these so-called “three true outcomes” — the three types of plays in which fielders play no role — the former Cincinnati Reds outfielder known as “Big Donkey” was the poster boy for a new generation of batters who swung for the fences and didn’t mind a strikeout or two (hundred).But he didn’t aim to be at the forefront of one of baseball’s most pervasive 21st-century trends.“You would think I would have gotten used to striking out and sucking. It devastated me every single time,” Dunn told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick in July. “At the time, I didn’t really pay attention to [strikeouts, walks and home runs]. I never looked at myself as that low-batting-average guy, but I kind of morphed into it. I always thought one day I would wake up and the old Adam would be back and we would roll.”Whether he meant to be or not, Dunn was always a harbinger of where the modern ballplayer was headed. And for better or worse, today’s game is filled with more Adam Dunns than ever before.In 2002, Dunn’s first full season in the big leagues, only three other players — Derrek Lee, Mike Cameron and Pat Burrell — joined Dunn with at least 25 home runs, 70 walks and 150 strikeouts. (Dunn went on to meet those thresholds nine more times, easily giving him the all-time mark for that kind of season.) But this season, an MLB-record 14 hitters are on track to meet those criteria. The kind of player who was once an oddity now has a place in nearly half of the league’s lineups.Dunn wasn’t the first hitter to specialize in excluding fielders from the action. Washington Senators outfielder Don Lock became the 25/70/150 club’s first member in 1963, and the Giants’ Bobby Bonds hit those marks in back-to-back seasons in 1969 and 1970. From then on, there was typically at least one Dunn-style slugger in the majors, and a variety of guys earned the label, including Greg Luzinski, Dave Kingman and Rob Deer.1All numbers prorated to a 162-game season. But their approach was also seen as a curiosity at best — and a liability at worst. “[Kingman] is regarded by many as one of baseball’s bad jokes, a flashy player but ultimately a loser,” Jonah Keri wrote in “Baseball Between The Numbers.”By the time Dunn hit the scene, however, the sabermetric movement was gaining popularity, and strikeouts were becoming more acceptable, as long as players offset them with power and patience. Likewise, teams were beginning to seek out hard-throwing pitchers with high K rates, creating a perfect storm of aligned incentives that helped lead to today’s three true outcomes-heavy game. So, from Dunn and a handful of others at the dawn of the 2000s, the number of hitters who take his approach — we’ll call guys who hit those 25/70/150 benchmarks members of the Adam Dunn Club — has only grown in recent seasons: Steven Souza Jr.Rays33841844.8 The Adam Dunn Club, class of 2017MLB hitters on pace for at least 25 home runs, 70 walks and 150 strikeouts in 2017, as of Aug. 20 Paul GoldschmidtDiamondbacks381051507.2 Justin UptonTigers34711735.9 Jake LambDiamondbacks35891632.9 Sources: FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference.com Some of these players count among baseball’s very best. Despite his recent slump,2Don’t say we didn’t warn you! New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge — whose 6-foot-7 frame brings to mind a right-handed version of the 6-foot-6 Dunn at the plate — ranks fourth this season in wins above replacement (WAR)3Using an average of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com versions of the metric. and is still in the American League MVP conversation. Likewise, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton are probably the front-runners for MVP honors in the National League — each projects to finish with around 150 whiffs, a minor footnote in their otherwise sparkling stat lines.Simply striking out a ton doesn’t automatically disqualify a player from being considered great anymore, as opposed to in the olden days when there was a stigma attached to strikeout kings. But some hitters can still overdo it; in fact, there are some legitimately bad ballplayers in the Adam Dunn Club these days. A year after Milwaukee’s Chris Carter smashed 41 home runs while playing what was generally agreed to be mediocre baseball,4As if to confirm this, Carter promptly got himself designated for assignment by the Yankees twice in two weeks this season. five of the 14 players tracking for membership in the club are also on pace for fewer than 2.0 WAR, which is generally the benchmark for a worthwhile major-league starter. One — Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays — is headed for a 26-homer, 91-walk season that will also likely be below the replacement level, quite possibly earning him the worst Dunn Club season in history. (And this is to say nothing of the further proliferation of Dunn-“lite” players such as Milwaukee’s Keon Broxton, for example, who check off the home run and strikeout boxes but don’t even draw enough walks to join the club.) PRORATED THROUGH 162 GAMES Joey GalloRangers46762003.8 Eric ThamesBrewers35821681.8 Jose BautistaBlue Jays2691166-0.8 Domingo SantanaBrewers26751802.1 Aaron JudgeYankees491192207.3 Khris DavisAthletics43742121.9 PLAYERTEAMHOME RUNSWALKSSTRIKEOUTSWAR Miguel SanoTwins37722263.4 Wil MyersPadres31711891.1 With baseballs flying out of big-league parks at an unprecedented rate — and batters getting rung up at a similarly historic clip — it’s a safe bet that Dunn’s brand of baseball is here to stay, at least for the time being. That means we’ll get to see more of both the highs and lows that come when a player swings as hard as he can and hopes for the best.As for Dunn’s view of the generation of hitters he helped spawn? In his interview with Crasnick, even Dunn himself was skeptical of an entire lineup of batters who hit like he did.“Everything evolves, and this is the era we’re in,” he said. “People see if you hit homers and drive in a lot of runs, you’re going to get where you need to get financially. Does it help a team if you have a couple of those guys? Yeah. But if you have nine of them, it’s going to be tough.” Giancarlo StantonMarlins60841596.8 Mark ReynoldsRockies34761791.3 read more


Torrence satisfied with choice to play football

Posted On Sep 28 2019 by

Few can say that they’ve accomplished their lifelong dream as early as college, but Ohio State cornerback Devon Torrence can. “I pretty much always knew I wanted to be here (at OSU),” Torrence said. “I didn’t take any official visits anywhere else, man. This was the only school I wanted to go to. I waited on a scholarship here. It was just a dream come true.” Torrence and his fellow senior teammates are looking to cap their college football careers by winning the National Championship. Anything less for this talented team filled with experience would be a letdown, for players and OSU fans alike. The Canton, Ohio, native grew up wanting to become a Buckeye and now he’s on the “Silver Bullet” defensive unit, which is largely considered one of the best in the country. As a freshman, Torrence was on the team when the Buckeyes lost to Louisiana State in the 2008 National Title game at the Superdome. Losing the game was tough, Torrence said, but it helped build the bond between him and his fellow seniors. “When you get a team that’s like that, that’s lost some and had some success, it creates that perfect gel of that team that’s hungry and just wants to get out there and win and fight for each other every snap,” he said. Senior linebacker Brian Rolle talked about the importance of having a good relationship with teammates and what Torrence means to the Buckeyes’ defense. “Me and Devon, it’s like big brother, little brother sometimes,” Rolle said. “We’re always picking on each other and talking trash to each other. We talk trash just knowing we want each other to get better. We study each other all the time. Me and him, it’s a great relationship.” Chimdi Chekwa plays cornerback opposite of Torrence and has helped improve his game. Torrence said their relationship also hits on the brotherhood theme. “Chim is just like a big brother,” Torrence said. “He helps me out with little things that can help with my game. He’s really smart and pays attention to a lot of detail. I consider myself a very raw athlete at the position. He’s a lot more seasoned than I am, I would say, with some stuff. A lot of times I rely on my athleticism to get me through. But he’ll break something down and give me a different perspective and put me into position to make a lot more plays.” After losing the National Championship game in New Orleans, OSU suffered a heart-breaking, last-second loss to Texas in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, which marked the program’s third-consecutive postseason defeat. Last season, in the starting lineup for the first time, Torrence and the Buckeyes came back to win the Rose Bowl — a memory forever ingrained in his mind, and his favorite since becoming a Buckeye. “People say that we were young that year. It was my first year out there (starting),” he said. “We had a great time out in California and it’s something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life — just winning that game out there and having a blast.” Rolle, known for playing with “swagger,” said that Torrence has plenty of his own and he’s always pressing his teammates to improve. “Playing with him is great because Devon, he’s a guy, I would say, probably has more swagger than I do,” Rolle said. “He’s always like ‘let’s go man, we got to get better today.’ We went through walk-throughs today and he came up to me and said, ‘You gonna get better today?’ He’s always pushing himself and always pushing others to get better.” Football wasn’t Torrence’s only passion. He was drafted in the 16th round of Major League Baseball’s amateur entry by the Houston Astros and played two summers of rookie ball for the Greeneville Astros in Tennessee. He didn’t quite have the same success as an outfielder as he did with a helmet and shoulder pads. The athletic speedster hit .149 and .151 in 64 games over two seasons for Greeneville. Baseball and football are vastly different sports, which require different mindsets. Torrence mentioned how difficult it was to bounce back from mistakes or bad games in football because there is a week between games to dwell on them. In baseball, there’s usually a game the next day to help forget about mistakes. “I think that was probably the biggest adjustment for me to realize, was my mind-frame around that. I can’t give up any plays around here and, if I do, I got to forget about them right away,” Torrence said. “In baseball you have the next day to go 3-4, a double and a home run, and make a diving catch in the outfield. You can 0-3 the next day and come back and go 3-3 the next, so I think that was probably the biggest challenge for me.” Torrence said it was difficult to be a two-sport athlete. The situation was trying because he played baseball during the summer, when his teammates on the football team would be preparing for the season. Getting a late start on football was a tough adjustment to make. “I was in a different world, I would say. I wasn’t in the same situation that a lot of people were in here. My situation was very different from all types of angles,” he said. Eventually, he caught up to speed with his teammates. The relationships he’s created with them are important to him. Torrence said he’s made numerous bonds that he plans to maintain. “Those guys will be my best friends for the rest of my life. (Jermale Hines) and (Chekwa), I can rely on those guys for anything I need, or anything they need they can count on me to be there — (It’s) the same with (Cameron Heyward) and those guys. We kid and joke around all the time with each other, but I know that if I was ever in a serious situation and I needed anything really bad, that those guys would have my back,” he said. “I’m just glad that I was fortunate to come here and develop the relationships with those guys for the future.” read more


Womens soccer 12 loss to Illinois

Posted On Sep 28 2019 by

Womens Basketball Jensen Caretti finds another family at Ohio State

Posted On Sep 28 2019 by

Ohio State sophomore guard Jensen Caretti shoots a 3-pointer during the Buckeyes’ 110-80 exhibition win against Ashland on Oct. 29. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorJensen Caretti never really knew her birth parents. At just 11 weeks old, she was put into the foster system, where she was placed with Sharon and Daniel Caretti. While some kids struggle in the foster system, Caretti used the love of her adopted family to thrive. Growing up in Clarington, Ohio, a town near West Virginia on the Ohio River with a population of 378 people, she became a high-school basketball star, and eventually earned a scholarship to play the sport at Ohio State. “My parents have always pushed me to be successful,” Caretti said. “They’ve always pushed me to go to the gym and to do my best.”Sharon Caretti and Daniel Caretti officially adopted Jensen Caretti, now a sophomore guard, when she was 2 years old.“My husband wanted to take a break from taking in more foster kids, but I said ‘please let’s just take one more,’” Sharon said. “The minute that he held her for the first time, he fell in love.” Jensen Caretti received her first basketball before the age of 1, and soon fell in love with the game. When she was a teenager, she dreamed of playing for a Division I school. That dream did not take long to become reality. Major college programs began to notice the 6-foot-1 guard, who was more athletic than just about every opponent she faced.Caretti was named Ohio’s Ms. Basketball, as well as Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year for her senior year in high school. She became a five-star recruit, was ranked the 31st overall player in her class and was offered full scholarships from a number of programs. But Ohio State was always going to be the place where she ended up.Her mother recalled that when Jensen was 6 years old, she said to her husband, “Wouldn’t it be cool if Jensen went to Ohio State?” And so she did.For now, Jensen Caretti recognizes she has limited playing time on an experienced team that has seniors Stephanie Mavunga, Linnae Harper and Kelsey Mitchell. Jensen’s playing time has been limited to this point in her career given the veteran presence on the team. But she has shown plenty to the coaches in her minutes that she could be ready for the bigger role that awaits her next season when five players leave the team.“Jensen is a big energy person,” associate head coach Patrick Klein said. “Every day you can count on her having a smile on her face and coming to practice ready to compete.”The numbers Jensen has put up this season do not jump out on the page. She averages 2.5 points per game in only 8.5 minutes per game. However, she said she prefers to pass and focus on defense rather than attempt to be the go-to offensive playmaker.Since Sharon is unable to be with her Jensen on a day-to-day basis, she said she is admires the closeness of the team and called it a “family away from home.”Jensen Caretti’s story is inspiring, it is one that also is far from over. “The best part about Jensen is, her story is going to be an amazing one when it’s all said and done at Ohio State,” Klein said. read more


Womens Basketball No 3 Ohio State cruises to 8745 win against No

Posted On Sep 28 2019 by

Ohio State redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga takes a shot during the Buckeyes game against the Boilermakers on Feb 18. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorThe Ohio State women’s basketball team, led by its five seniors, advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 87-45 victory against George Washington Saturday afternoon at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes will take on 11th-seeded Central Michigan in the second round at 6:30 p.m. Monday.The third-seeded Buckeyes handled the 14th-seeded Colonials in their first-ever meeting. Ohio State has now won 12 of its past 13 games and has scored less than 70 points just once in those victories. An 11-0 run to open the third quarter closed the doors for any possible comeback from George Washington, pulling ahead 50-27 midway through the quarter. The Buckeyes finished the third quarter with a 64-34 lead.Ohio State outscored George Washington 25-7 in the third quarter, going 10-of-17 from the field compared to the Colonials’ 3-of-18. George Washington turned the ball over four times, which allowed the Buckeyes to run in transition.Ohio State redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga finished the game with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks.  Senior forward Alexa Hart started her fourth game in a row and had 12 points and five rebounds. Senior guard Asia Doss, who sat out the entire Big Ten tournament with a sprained ankle, added eight points in 22 minutes off the bench.With Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell, the nation’s second-leading scorer with 24.5 points per game entering Saturday, only scoring 11 points, it’s hard to imagine the Buckeyes could score 86 points and win by a 42-point margin.“I think the good and positive about our team is that have just so many different players with so many different abilities,” Mavunga said. “If one person is down or one person wants to facilitate that day, someone could just easily step up. Another thing is that our team is has been really working on working as a team, playing hard, playing smart, playing together. With that comes passing more and driving and making the open shot rather than forcing it.”A 22-point second quarter saw the Buckeyes extend their five-point lead to 12 heading into halftime. The 3-pointer was not falling for Ohio State, so aggressive play from Mavunga and Mitchell powered the team in the opening half and combined for 23 of the team’s 39 points at halftime.In the first half, George Washington kept itself relatively alive thanks to 3-point shooting and questionable shot selection from the Buckeyes. But as their shots stopped falling and the Buckeyes got in rhythm, the team quickly fell behind. The Colonials’ leading scorer, senior guard Brianna Cummings, finished with just 14 points. George Washington struggled to find any sort of offense after keeping it relatively close in the first quarter, only trailing 17-12 after 10 minutes. George Washington shot just 27 percent from the field, compared to Ohio State’s 56 percent. After making four 3-pointers in the first half, George Washington made only one more the rest of the game. In addition to the Colonials’ shot not falling, they were outscored 46-20 in the paint.Following Ohio State’s victory over Maryland in the Big Ten tournament championship game, the team nearly had two weeks off since its last game. But Buckeye head coach Kevin McGuff said he was pleased with his team’s effort despite various miscues.“I think Steph got it right, in that we had stretches where we were really, really good, but we also had some stretches where we were sloppy, we had some silly turnovers,” he said. “We had some stretches in the first half where I didn’t like our transition defense, gave up a couple 3s. Overall, I think it was a really good performance from us, especially since we haven’t played in two weeks, but we just had some stretches where we could have been a little bit better.”On Monday, the Buckeyes will play the Chippewas, who upset No. 6 seed LSU on Saturday. read more


Baseball Dillon Dingler on pace to make Ohio State history

Posted On Sep 28 2019 by

Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler throws a baseball. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsIn 2006, Dillon Dingler was playing 7U travel baseball with his local Little League team in northeast Ohio. That same year, then-junior pitcher and current volunteer coach Dan DeLucia, the only three-time captain in the history of the Ohio State baseball program, was beginning his first year as captain. After being named captain for the 2019 season, the now-Ohio State sophomore catcher Dingler is on track to become the second player to accomplish the feat of being named captain three times. His fearless performance as a freshman made him a captain, junior right fielder and fellow captain Dominic Canzone said. “Just the fact that he can go out as a freshman and produce the way he did and be vocal like the way he did,” Canzone said. “He wasn’t scared of the moment at all.” Dingler posted a .244 batting average in 53 games a season ago. Adding 31 runs scored and 17 RBIs, Dingler was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team at the end of the season. In 29 of his 44 starts in 2018, Dingler had to start in center field, an unnatural position for him. This selflessness is a quality that did not go unnoticed, DeLucia said. “You have to make sacrifices and do things for other guys, and that’s why he is a captain as a sophomore,” DeLucia said. “He is a guy that is willing to do other things others aren’t necessarily willing to do for his team.” Although they play different positions and are separated by over a decade, Dingler and DeLucia are not so different. “I see a lot of similarities [between us]. He comes to the park every day just wanting to get better,” DeLucia said. “He’s the type of guy other guys want to be around.”Head coach Greg Beals emphasized Dingler’s natural ability to earn respect from his teammates. During the first day of conditioning last season Beals noticed how the team was breathing heavily from their drills. He noted, however, that Dingler was “walking back with a bowed-up chest.” “Just his presence is so strong, and it’s easy to be drawn to it,” Beals said. “He has developed leadership from his example and how he goes about his work more than anything.” This leadership, Dingler said, was developed under his head coach Bill Gamble at Jackson High School in Massillon, Ohio. “He kind of had me step into that role, too,” Dingler said. “As I was getting older, he told me to lead by example and be more vocal as well.” For an Ohio State team that will be leaning on a young pitching staff, leadership behind the plate is invaluable. The position of catcher is one of the most important positions in the sport, DeLucia said. However, Dingler, who played in the opening game for the Buckeyes against Seton Hall, has since been sidelined with a fractured hamate bone. Beals said his timetable to return is uncertain. DeLucia noted that Dingler always provides a good example for the other players, attacking every play with a steady mindset. “Some of the greatest baseball players ever have just that even-keel mindset and mannerisms, and that’s what he brings every day,” DeLucia said. Dingler enjoys watching catchers in the MLB in order to gather information, admiring how smooth and diligent the big-leaguers are. Yadier Molina, catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, is a player he especially admires. “I like watching what he does behind the plate and how he helps his team,” Dingler said. But before he tries to realize his dream of playing professionally, Dingler is living out his dream of putting on the scarlet and gray. “Just knowing that I had always wanted to come here and had always been a huge Ohio State fan and actually getting the opportunity to represent Ohio State and being able to put on the jersey was a tremendous honor,” Dingler said. read more


Unarguable case that care for elderly needs more money says NHS chief

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgdoctor  obese man  Lord McColl, a former surgeon said: “We are in the middle of the worst epidemic for 97 years – the obesity epidemic – which is, as you know, causing huge increases in diabetes, dementia, heart disease, joint disease, cirrhosis of the liver and so on.”Too much Government advice was focussed on the role of exercise in combating obesity, when “Exercise has very little to do with it. It is good for other things, but not for reducing obesity,” he said.”My reading of the evidence is the same as yours, which is that it needs to be both,” he said. “We’re not going to deal with the pressures of obesity simply by arguing for greater exercise. We have got to change dietary intake.”At the same hearing, the Health Secretary signalled that he would back tax rises for the NHS in the long-term. But Jeremy Hunt also urged young people to save now to pay for their old age.Mr Hunt said increasing spending on health and social care was a “sensible choice” he would support, if the economy is strong enough. “We are going to have to find a way of devoting a greater share of our national resources into health and social care without doubt,” he said. Jeremy Hunt  Jeremy Hunt However, he said this rested on a strong economy – with the biggest risk to the principles behind the NHS was if the economy went “pear-shaped”.“That is the thing that we all have to worry about most of all, I don’t think it will – happily we are doing better than many feared post-Brexit but that is the biggest single risk,” he said.”If the economy continues to grow then it is a choice for governments to continue with the current funding model. I personally think it is a pretty sensible choice and its probably the choice closest to what most British people want,” he told the committee.Mr Hunt said any funding increases should be made via taxation. But he said major changes were needed to help ensure the country could afford the costs of caring for a growing elderly population. “I do think we need to do some radical thinking about how we tackle that problem because at the moment we’re not in that place.”The name of the game is to find a way of getting people in their 20s and 30s to think that this is actually part of being a citizen to think about what’s going to happen when you’re much older – in a more realistic way than is currently happening.” The head of the NHS said there was an “immediacy” about the need for extra social care cash in order to relive pressure on hospitals Credit:PA  Obesity is one of the greatest problems facing Britain, peers heardCredit:PA Mr Stevens said the existing “triple lock” policy, which promises increases in the state pension, should in future be replaced by a “triple guarantee” which took account of an overall package of housing, income and care.“We need to go beyond just thinking about the health and social care funding and also think about whats happening in the benefits system, the pension system and so forth,” he said.The head of the NHS suggested that he might support long term moves to compulsory insurance to fund care for pensioners.“If we are looking at some form of insurance model it needs to be some form of social insurance model or mandatory long term care coverage, because I think you get market failure in private insurance markets for long-term care,” he told the committee.Labour peer Lord Lipsey asked him: “Surely the most immediate, now crisis-level, problem is that there just isn’t enough social care. You’ve got 26 per cent less people living at home supported by local authority carers. You’ve got 5,000 care home beds already lost in the last year and many more under threat. “So more and more, you’ve got to put up people in your hospitals because there is nowhere else to go. Isn’t that the priority crisis that faces us over the next few years?””Yes it is,” Mr Stevens told the committee.Peers also questioned the NHS chief executive on Britain’s obesity problem, with record levels of obesity among children. There is an “unarguable” case for an urgent cash injection into social care to fend off an immediate crisis in care of the elderly, the head of the NHS has said.Simon Stevens made the plea as he mooted long-term moves towards a system of compulsory insurance to cover the cost of care home fees, or care in the home.The chief executive said social care should be “first in the queue” for any extra funding available, agreeing with peers that the situation had reached crisis point.He told a House of Lords committee that the consequences of a deterioration in social care services had become “unarguable” with hospitals and elderly individuals bearing the brunt.“I think there is a very strong case for some immediate support now,” he told the committee on Long Term Sustainability of the NHS.“There is an immediacy,” he stressed.The head of the NHS urged the Government to think “more broadly” in the longer-term about the way benefits and care of the elderly is funded. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more


Football fan receives 56 separate tickets when he books split fare between

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgThe trip took the pair four hours and nine minutes and they stayed on the same train but were given different seats for each stretch of the journey.He told the Telegraph it was worth it, despite all the tickets.”Well I couldn’t believe it at first, but in the end it was actually worth it,” he said.”There were 56 tickets, so 28 each for me and my girlfriend, and we split them into four envelopes (14 each way for each of us), so it was manageable. “The only hassle was our reservation changed every couple of stops so we sat in two unreserved seats for the whole journey. “Sadly the journey was a waste of time because my girlfriend ended up slipping over as she entered the ground, burst her lip open, went unconscious and sat in hospital for four hours so we missed the match!” Travel from one end of the country to the other sets rail passengers back hundreds of pounds.An open return from Wick in Scotland to Penzance in Cornwall, leaving a week from now, is priced at £467.40 on Trainline.From Shanklin in the Isle of Wight to Buxton in Derbyshire is said to be the UK’s most expensive rail journey. An anytime return, leaving a week from now, costs £501.40.The TrainSplit website claims to save users money by helping travellers buy a series of cheaper tickets for a route.Giving the example of an off-peak fare between Birmingham and Leeds, the site says it can save passengers more than £20, with peak-time savings even higher.A spokesperson for Raileasy said: “Travellers using Trainsplit are paying on average 28 per cent less for their tickets than they would if they had bought them on Trainline for instance.”Football fans often have to make really long journeys which can be expensive but that’s where split ticketing comes into its own. It’s great if by split ticketing we are making these journeys more affordable so fans can get to away matches by train rather than driving.”Mr Heywood’s journey cost him £56 but the same discounted trip now costs £111.10, which is still a saving of £32 off the full direct fare from Newcastle to Oxford. Thanks to @LeeTurnbull91 for the worst advice AV ever received. Get a split ticket to oxford he said. FIFTY SIX TICKETS ARE YOU HAVING ME ON pic.twitter.com/RuEyBBVHrz— Jonny (@jonnyyy___) January 25, 2017 A man from Southampton also saved money off his rail fare after using a train spliting site and received a large bundle of tickets. The highest number of splits available are 13 and can see passengers travelling from Hull to Tiverton Parkway having their £124.40 fare reduced to £67.50, from Exeter to Durham a fare costing £278.90 is cut to £169.50 and Newcastle to Taunton reduced from £175 to £118.40.In May the  Rail Delivery Group is set to pilot a new pricing system on trains between London and Sheffield to remove unnecessary large fares and offer customers the cheapest option.It says the new system will mean more user-friendly ticket vending machines and make it easier to get the right ticket at the best price, either online or at stations. In a bid to save money on eye-watering fares, one football fan ended up with 56 separate tickets for his train journey to see his team play in the FA Cup.Jonny Heywood’s trip from Newcastle to Oxford with his partner took him to seven stations and saved him £30 after he used a split ticket website to get the cheapest fare resulting in him needing more than 50 tickets for the trip.But despite all his effort his team Newcastle Unite sadly lost 3-0 to Oxford and he spent the entire match in hospital A&E with his girlfriend after she fell over and injured her face on the way into the game. Despite his bad luck, after he shared a picture of all his tickets on Twitter, his story inspired many other rail users to try and save on their journeys by ticket spliting.His tweet has prompted other people to tell of their own thriftiness, including one football fan who posted a picture of a mound of tickets for a trip to see Southampton, which he said saved him £30. Passengers buying tickets at Stratford Railway Station in east London, as an overhaul of Britain’s rail fares is to be trialled to make it easier to buy the cheapest tickets. Credit:PA/PA rail tickets rail tickets Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more


Facebook fails to remove sexual images of children and reports BBC to

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgThe US firm says it has improved this system since an investigation by the BBC last year, which led to one man being sent to prison for four years. “It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation. When the BBC sent us such images we followed our industry’s standard practice and reported them to CEOP. We also reported the child exploitation images that had been shared on our own platform. This matter is now in the hands of the authorities.”Anyone with concerns about child sexual abuse content online can report it to the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 Facebook The images included under-16s in sexualised poses, pages aimed at paedophiles and an image appearing to be taken from a child abuse video.Among the items not permitted under Facebook’s community standards is “sexually suggestive content”.When examples of the images were sent to Facebook to highlight the issue, the company instead reported the journalists who brought them to their attention to police for sharing the pictures.It subsequently issued a statement: “It is against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation.”Mr Collins said it was extraordinary that journalists had been reported to the authorities when it was trying to “help clean up the network”.Facebook’s rules also forbid sex offenders from having accounts but five convicted paedophiles were found to have profiles which it failed to remove when it was brought to their attention, the BBC said.Mr Collins said: “I find it very disturbing, I find that content unacceptable.”I think it raises the question of how can users make effective complaints to Facebook about content that is disturbing, shouldn’t be on the site, and have confidence that that will be acted upon.” To test Facebook’s claim, the BBC used the report button to alert the company to 100 images which appeared to break its guidelines.They included pages explicitly for men with a sexual interest in children; images of children in highly sexualised poses and an image that appeared to be from a video of child abuse. Just 18 of the 100 images were removed.According to Facebook’s automated replies, the other 82 did not breach “community standards”. They included the apparent freeze frame.Facebook said it has since taken down all images referred to it which “were illegal or against our standards”.Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner for England, said she was “very disappointed” by the revelations.While the NSPCC said: “Facebook’s failure to remove illegal content from its website is appalling and violates the agreements they have in place to protect children.”It also raises the question of what content they consider to be inappropriate and dangerous to children?”Increasing numbers of children are contacting Childline with concerns about disturbing content they are seeing online, so it’s vital systems are put in place so social media platforms cannot play by their own rules when it comes to the safety of children.”Simon Milner, Facebook’s Policy Director UK, told the Telegraph: “We have carefully reviewed the content referred to us and have now removed all items that were illegal or against our standards.”This content is no longer on our platform. We take this matter extremely seriously and we continue to improve our reporting and take-down measures. Facebook has been recognized as one of the best platforms on the internet for child safety. facebook Among the images Facebook failed to remove was a still from a child abuse videoCredit:AP Facebook has come under fire for failing to remove sexualised pictures of children from its website – and then reporting the journalists who brought it to their attention to the police.Damian Collins, chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, expressed “grave doubts” over the social media giant’s moderation system.The issue came to light following a BBC investigation in which it used Facebook’s “report button” to highlight sexual images but found more than 80 per cent were not removed, with an automated response saying they did not breach “community standards”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more


Joanna Lumley to be awarded Bafta Fellowship the highest honour given by

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Joanna Lumley is due to be rewarded for her years of entertaining the world with her work in television.She is going to be given the prestigious Bafta Fellowship at an awards ceremony on the 14th May. Mrs Lumley will be honoured at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall.The Fellowship is given once a year and is the highest accolade bestowed by Bafta upon an individual.The award recognises an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games across their career.  Joanna Lumley OBE said: “Nothing could make me prouder or happier than being awarded this phenomenal honour. To be counted amongst the greatest talents and stars of our industry is an awesome gift: the BAFTA Fellowship is the grandest and most unexpected prize I have ever had the joy of receiving.” The 71-year-old actress has a career spanning 40 years, and she is as lively and hard-working as ever.She has already been given six Bafta nominations and two awards for Comedy Performance (1995) and Light Entertainment Performance (1993).Jane Lush, Chair of BAFTA, said: “From high-kicking her way into our hearts as Purdey in The New Avengers to showcasing her enviable comedic credentials with her portrayal of Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous, Joanna Lumley is a true icon of television, and so I am truly delighted that BAFTA will be honouring her with Fellowship this year, the highest honour that the Academy bestows.”Others who have been given the award for their work in television include Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, along with Jon Snow, Bruce Forsyth, Melvyn Bragg, Michael Palin, Trevor MacDonald, David Attenborough and Julie Walters.last_img read more


Everything we know about the Grenfell Tower blaze Why did it happen

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgHow many people have been killed and injured?So far there have been twelve confirmed deaths, but the Fire Service have suggested that number is likely to rise further, and it is unlikely any more survivors will be recovered from the building.  Have there been other tower block fires in London?In July 2009, six people were killed at more than 20 injured when in a blaze at Lakanal House, a tower block in Camberwell, south east London. What caused it?The cause of the fire is so far unknown, but residents had previously raised concerns that a ‘catastrophic’ event could happen. An action group of Grenfell residents said their warnings fell on “deaf ears” after highlighting safety concerns about the block.The group said there was one entry and exit to Grenfell Tower during improvement works at the block in Latimer Road and it had issues with evacuation procedures at the building.Following the fire, the group posted: “All our warnings fell on deaf ears and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”There are five theories being widely speculated on.Gas explosion – Residents said refurbishment work had recently been carried out with work on the gas supply to the flats.Faulty fridge – Witnesses described hearing one distressed resident apparently telling neighbours his faulty fridge caused the blaze.Faulty wiring – One of the safety issues they highlighted was faulty wiring and said a disaster cause by the problem was narrowly averted four years ago.Cladding on outskirts – Grenfell Tower was fitted with zinc rainscreen cladding and glazed curtain walling after a £10 million refurbishment. Experts have claimed this could have exacerbated the spread of the fire.Lack of sprinklers/exits – Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick said the Government has resisted calls to install sprinkler systems in high-rise blocks in the wake of the Lakanal House tragedy. The local Action Group also warned that there were not enough entries and exits to cope with a catastrophic event In all 40 fire engines and around 200 firefighters have been deployed along with police. The London ambulance service has sent its  Hazardous Area Response Team.What do we know about the building?Grenfell Tower was completed in 1974, so would have needed to comply with strict new regulations which ensured buildings would not fall down in the event of a blast, or a major fire.  However recent cladding works to the outside may have exacerbated the fire, according to experts at the University of Edinburgh.  London Fire Brigade told people to put wet cloths over their mouths to avoid inhaling smoke as they made their escape. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The building has been gutted and the families left only with the bedclothes they were wearing when they were evacuated.There were reports of a strong smell of burning plastic, thought to be white cladding that was installed on the building last year as part of a £10million refurbishment.Who is on the scene?Fire crews have been sent from North Kensington, Kensington, Hammersmith and Paddington and surrounding stations. Ali Yawar Jafari Hamid Ali Jafari said that he his 82 year-old father Ali Yawar Jafari had not been seem since the early hours of the morning as the family were trying to escape the blaze. He said: “He was with my mother and sister in the lift and she said the lift stopped on the tenth floor and he said there was too much smoke and he couldn’t breathe and he got out of the lift and then the doors shut and it didn’t stop again till the ground floor.” In May 1968 four people were killed and 17 injured when Ronan Point, a tower block in Newham, east London, partially collapsed after a gas explosion, which blew out several load-bearing walls.center_img The ambulance service has now said 68 patients have been taken to six hospitals across London, with 18 people in critical care.A further 10 patients made their own way to hospital.A ‘significant number’ of people are still unaccounted for. Police have said a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries. The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Nick Paget-Brown said “several hundred” people would have been in the block when the fire broke outThe Metropolitan Police have set up a casualty bureau for anyone concerned about their friends and family on 0800 0961 233.What about the missing?A number of children and elderly people are missing, as friends and family have appealed via social media for information on their whereabouts.Among them are a 12-year-old Jessica Ospina.Jessica’s other aunt, Sandra, wrote: “If anyone sees Jessica she should come to The Harrow Centre where the family are waiting for her. Or speak to any police officer to guide her”. According to several witnesses, the blaze started on one side of the tower block, before sweeping around the building and engulfing it in flames from the second to the top floor.Forty fire engines containing more than 200 firefighters have attended the scene. My 13 year old niece Jessie has become seperated with her family in the #GrenfellTower Fire please if you see her get in touch ASAP RT Pls pic.twitter.com/xNk5TEQR89— Ana Ospina (@MakeupAna) June 14, 2017 Smoke billows into the sky from Grenfell TowerCredit:Toby Melville/Reuters Smoke billows into the sky from Grenfell Tower What did witnesses see?Witnesses have spoken of hearing screams and seeing some people escaping using bedsheets as improvised rope ladders. Ali Yawar Jafari Where was the fire?It took place in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in Kensington, West London. The residential highrise was built in 1974 and contains 120 homes.The fire broke out shortly before 1 am, with London Fire Brigade saying it was called at 12.54 am.last_img read more


Lap dancing club spiked customers drinks and then overcharged for dances by

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

first_imgSetting out the scope of possible criminal activity, West Midlands Police said they were investigating financial “irregularities” where “large volumes of money were being taken from people’s accounts”.Superintendent Andrew Parsons said there had been 17 separate allegations totalling £93,042, going back to 2013. In one case, a customer claimed £19,400 was put through on their credit card without their knowledge.Another alleged “bouncers threatened to beat them up if they didn’t pay”.The report also detailed how people were allegedly charged a 10 per cent flat rate on card transactions.He added that the incident caught on the club’s own CCTV “appeared to corroborate previous reports that the dancers were getting the males very drunk and then getting them to use their credit cards”.A company linked to the premises’ card transactions found £1.6 million had been “credited” to the firm since January 2017, around the time the current licence was renewed.The police report concluded: “These premises are involved in serious criminality and serious offences are being committed at the premises.” Both of Birmingham’s Legs 11 lap-dancing venues have been closed following a meeting of city licensing chiefs.  Both of Birmingham’s Legs 11 lap-dancing venues have been closed following a meeting of city licensing chiefs. Credit: BPM MEDIAcenter_img A lap dancing club allegedly spiked customers’ drinks and then overcharged them for dances by £93,000, a trading standards report has found. One punter at Birmingham’s Legs 11 lap dancing bar was so worried their drink had been spiked after £9,000 was charged to their credit card that they bought a home drugs kit which tested positive for methadone.A critical joint police and licensing report into alleged “serious criminality” at the city centre club also revealed that undercover trading standards officers “were offered sexual services” in a locked VIP rooms for £1,000.Internal CCTV showed dancers “gyrating” against a customer’s body, “whipping him in his crotch area” with his belt, and “holding his nose … as if to restrict his breathing”, trading standards officers reported.West Midlands Police also reported that “intelligence checks” had indicated a link to “organised crime groups from Albania”.The Birmingham City Council report, compiled by trading standards, is recommending the lap dancing club’s licence be suspended, with a decision due on Monday. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more


Robots are better than doctors at diagnosing some cancers major study finds

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

Artificial intelligence is better than doctors at diagnosing some cancers, research has shown.The international study involved machines that were trained to detect signs of skin cancer before being tested against 58 dermatologists.It comes after the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said extra funds for the NHS must be used to expand the use of artificial intelligence to diagnose patients.The computer network was taught by being shown 100,000 images of malignant melanomas and benign moles marked with a diagnosis. It was then pitted against senior doctors to diagnose 100 of the most difficult lesions.The machines correctly diagnosed the malignant cases in 95 per cent of cases – significantly more than the 87 per cent accuracy achieved by dermatologists, the study found.The artificial intelligence also misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma, meaning fewer patients would be forced to endure needless surgery. Researchers from Germany, the United States and France used a form of artificial intelligence known as a deep learning convolutional neural network (CNN). This is an artificial neural network inspired by the biological processes at work when nerve cells in the brain are connected to each other and respond to what the eye sees.The CNN learns from images that it “sees” and teaches itself to improve its performance in a process called machine learning. “This would result in less unnecessary surgery.”The computer was more accurate even when compared with the most experienced doctors, the study, published in the Annals of Oncology, found.“These findings show that deep learning convolutional neural networks are capable of out-performing dermatologists, including extensively trained experts, in the task of detecting melanomas,” Prof Haenssle said.Researchers said such technology could be used to screen for skin cancer, meaning cases could be diagnosed far earlier. But they said the technology was likely to be used in conjunction with skilled doctors, rather than replacing them.Malignant melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. In the UK cases have more than doubled since the Nineties, with more than 15,000 cases annually. Four weeks later they were given the same tests, this time with clinical information about the patient, including their age, sex and position of the lesion.When doctors were given simply the images, they accurately detected 86.6 per cent of melanomas, rising to 88.9 per cent when they also had information about the patient. The artificial intelligence made a correct assessment in 95 per cent of cases based on images alone.“The CNN missed fewer melanomas, meaning it had a higher sensitivity than the dermatologists,” said Prof Haenssle. “And it misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma, which means it had a higher specificity.  Prof Holger Haenssle, the study lead author, from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, said: “The CNN works like the brain of a child. To train it, we showed the CNN more than 100,000 images of malignant and benign skin cancers and moles and indicated the diagnosis for each image.“With each training image, the CNN improved its ability to differentiate between benign and malignant lesions.”Once the machines had been trained, they were tested against 58 dermatologists from 17 countries across the world.More than half the specialists had at least five years’ experience.The dermatologists were asked to first make a diagnosis of malignant melanoma or benign mole just from the dermoscopic images, and to decide if surgery was required. Show more Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more


Britains first air taxis will be picking up passengers within four years

Posted On Sep 25 2019 by

Vertical Aerospace has built and flown the UK’s first electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, a significant milestone for the transport industry’s flying taxi ambitions Britain’s first ‘air taxis’ could be picking up passengers within four years, a technology company has claimed.Vertical Aerospace, a Bristol-based start-up founded in 2016, has built and flown the UK’s first electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, a significant milestone for the transport industry’s flying taxi ambitions.The firm said it had ambitions to make personal air travel on-demand and carbon-free.Equipped with four propellers at the front and back of a helicopter-shaped body, the vehicle’s vertical take-off and landing technology would allow it to travel between exact locations, without a pilot having to make diversions to an airport.The company obtained permission from the Civil Aviation Authority to operate the aircraft and in June flew a test flight in Kemble, Gloucestershire. It is currently capable of a five minute flight time at a top speed of 80kmph. The company has since flown a dozen test flights.The start-up said it one day plans to add autonomous flights and an on-demand service, meaning users could call a flying taxi to their location. The start-up said it plans to launch an intercity air taxi service by 2022.A number of different companies have shown interest in flying taxi services. Uber, the ride-hailing app, plans to launch a pilot scheme for electric flying taxis in Dallas and Los Angeles in 2020 through its uberAIR venture, while British firm Rolls-Royce announced in July that it has built a propulsion system for a flying taxi. Lilium, a German start-up, made the world’s first electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft in 2017. Mr Fitzpatrick said current short journeys by air were inefficient, with journeys to and from the airport taking longer than the inter-city flights themselves.“Passenger numbers for short-haul flights have exploded in recent years,” he said, “but as a result aviation is now a major contributor to climate change local air pollution. Congestion around airports has become a huge problem for flights of 500 miles or less.”OVO’s focus on renewable energy led Mr Fitzpatrick to make the flying vehicle electric as a means of reducing the carbon footprint of air travel, currently accounts for around 3pc of all Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions.Vertical Aerospace sees a big opportunity for the UK to take a lead in the flying taxi industry given its heritage in aviation.It aims to launch taxi services on specific intercity routes in the next four years, such as journeys from Bristol to London or Sheffield to Liverpool. But sector faces significant regulatory hurdles. In the US, the Federal Aviation Administration has met Uber’s flying taxi plans with caution.Mr Fitzpatrick said Vertical Aerospace was working with the European Aviation Safety Agency to gain certification for its next model. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Stephen Fitzpatrick, founder of Vertical Aerospace and chief executive of OVO Energy, an energy supply company, launched his project after a stint with British Formula One company Manor Racing.  Vertical Aerospace has built and flown the UK’s first electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, a significant milestone for the transport industry’s flying taxi ambitions read more