Maribor v Chelsea: Drogba starts, Costa among the substitutes

first_imgDidier Drogba starts up front for Chelsea in their Champions League game in Slovenia, while Kurt Zouma is at centre-back alongside skipper John Terry and Petr Cech is in goal.Diego Costa is on the Blues bench, as are Gary Cahill and the fit-again Ramires.Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Filipe Luis; Matic, Fabregas; Schurrle, Willian, Hazard; Drogba. Subs: Courtois, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Ramires, Oscar, Salah, Costa.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

Working for the Greater Good

first_img24 July 2006Want to help charity, give back to your community, donate skills, time and money and generally change the world – but don’t know where to start? South African philanthropy is now just a click of a mouse away, thanks to Greater Good South Africa. Greater Good raises support for the work of South African charities and promotes a culture of philanthropy in the country, with the ultimate aim of “eradicating extreme poverty in our lifetimes”.Through its comprehensive interactive website, the organisation creates innovative ways for businesses and individuals to help the work of non-profit development organisations of their choice.Greater Good fosters a long-term relationship between people and causes, encouraging donations of money, second-hand and surplus goods, skills and time.In return, it provides details on the objectives, activities and performance of charities, including clear information on their needs. The organisation allows donors to “experience the gift of giving” by providing ongoing feedback on how their contributions have made a difference.Greater Good is sponsored by the Shuttleworth Foundation, Noah Financial Innovation, Cadiz, Deutsche Bank, SAA Voyager, eBucks, American Express and Kaehlo.Its website has a well-stocked community noticeboard allowing charities to request money and services, and donors to offer money, goods and time to specific causes and organisations.Greater Good also runs a number of campaigns with innovative ways of helping charities. Recent campaigns include the Giving Exchange, Teachers Dream, Do It Day and Donate-a-Book.The Giving Exchange“The Giving Exchange aims to raise the bar for giving and receiving in South Africa,” says Greater Good on its website. “The challenge is for South Africans enjoying a 21st century lifestyle to effectively get resources to where they are needed most in our communities.”The Giving Exchange allows ordinary people, businesses and charities to meet and come up with new and effective contributions that involve more than money. It allows causes to access the expertise, skills, talents and resources they need.Some 125 charities are selected – by vote – to participate in Giving Exchange expos, held in major centres. The campaign allows donors to compare and select who to support, based on their own criteria.Teachers DreamTeachers Dream, a partnership between Greater Good and the Shuttleworth Foundation, aims to improve education by connecting donors to educators who need grants for projects that improve education in South Africa.More often than not it is teachers who have brilliant ideas of how to make maths and science come alive, how best to demonstrate life skills, how to show children the geography of the land and how to explore the arts.Exciting and worthwhile proposals – projects, outings, and activities – from dedicated teachers are posted on the Greater Good website. Donors may then contribute to fulfil that dream. Most Teachers Dream proposals require grants of less than R5 000 – time and goods can also be donated.“Many great educator ideas could easily come to fruition with support of relatively small grants,” says Greater Good. “In real terms, it actually doesn’t cost that much to take a class of Grade 4 learners to the planetarium or the Grade 10s to an inspiring exhibition.”At its launch, the Teachers Dream initiative received warm praise from Education Miniser Naledi Pandor.“Teachers Dream is inclusive,” she said. “Its reach transcends geographical space, enabling school communities that are remote or rural to be as connected to South African giving communities as their urban counterparts.“This project will give pupils an opportunity to realise their full potential by exposing them to a variety of career prospects.”An important condition of a Teachers Dream donation is that successful educators report back to funders. They are given a disposable camera to record their dream and post it back along with written feedback. Their report is then posted on the Greater Good website.Do It DayDo It Day takes charity beyond money. Greater Good has set aside 28 October 2005 as the day “South Africans will be rolling up their sleeves and assisting causes to achieve specific one-day projects”.The campaign aims to connect causes to volunteers so they can benefit from work and skills not normally available.In July and August development organisations all over South Africa and submitted one-day projects that need volunteers. Do It Day projects range from developing business and marketing plans to building, renovating and gardening. There’s something for everyone.The Do It Day projects are posted on the Greater Good website, and volunteers can sign up individually or as a team.Projects include an action fun day for Aids orphans, planting a tea garden at the Sparrow Skills Centre, developing a marketing and communications strategy for a positive parenting organisation, and both training in bookkeeping and installing windows and doors for the Siyakhula charity.Donate-a-Book“In South Africa, poverty excludes many children from the enrichment that reading brings,” Greater Good says on its website.“A brighter, better future for all South Africans becomes more likely if we are busy now raising generations of thoughtful, independent life-long learners – and reading is the key to that.”Greater Good encourages online donations to buy books, in support of the work of organisations such as READ, Biblionef SA, the South African Children’s Book Forum and the Athlone School for the Blind Braille Production Programme.Donation vouchers range in price from R50, which buys a book for a pre-schooler, to R5 000 – buying a starter library for a poor school.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Indiana Jones and the Mysterious Waterfall — Geocache of the Week

first_imgTraditionalGC3BH3Jby Valente Cruz SharePrint RelatedRaiders of the Lost Cache — Geocache of the WeekNovember 15, 2017In “Community”Top 10 Geocaches of the Week 2017December 27, 2017In “Geocache of the Week”When a geocache is more like a theme park. — Dead Men Tell No Tales (GC46ZT4) — Geocache of the WeekJanuary 29, 2014In “Community” Location:Aveiro, PortugalN 40° 52.163 W 008° 11.409 Indiana Jones and the Mysterious Waterfall — Geocache of the Week, GC3BH3JDeep within the wild greenery surrounding Rio de Frades canyon in Portugal, this T5 cache may put you in Indy’s shoes—or, maybe his wetsuit.Many geocachers feel an affinity for Indiana Jones and imagine they’re on amazing adventures in exotic locations, retrieving ancient artifacts worth millions of dollars. In all reality, many geo-adventures are closer to grabbing a lamp post cache from a parking lot on the outskirts of town, but the thrill is still there!  Difficulty:2Terrain:5center_img Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:More 1234567<> Those who brave this trek initially park at the Postman Trailhead, explore cache GCPZHC, then climb alongside the river until they reach the lagoon. Whatever your approach, it’s advised to bring at least 15 meters (50 feet) of rope, a helmet, and a wetsuit, because that water is COLD. Above all, don’t forget your waterproof pen. You won’t want to go through all this work for nothing!At the lagoon and waterfallThe container is located on the outside of the waterfall, but since you’ve come this far, shimmy up the slippery rocks and explore the tunnel behind the waterfall! This T5 is definitely challenging, but with 140 Favorite points and an 86% Favorite point rating, you know the effort is worth it. The cache page states: In order to complete the cache it is essential that they know how to swim well or, if not, they should wear a vest. As an alternative to swimming, you can climb the wall to the left of the waterfall and “uncork” next to it. You can also go down the river through canyoning, although the charm and challenge may be smaller than the climb.You must enter the tunnel behind the waterfall!It wasn’t until Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth movie in the series, that we actually see our hero go over a waterfall. Although that movie takes place in South America, this homage in Portugal is a fantastic way to take your adventuring to a new level.last_img read more

Getting Insulation Out of Your Walls and Ceilings

first_imgMore and more builders have realized the advantages of leaving stud bays empty and putting all of a home’s insulation outside of the wall and roof sheathing. If done correctly, exterior insulation can help produce a building that is almost airtight, very well insulated, and almost immune to water damage.The construction method was first developed in the early 1960s by the National Research Council of Canada. In its purest form, the method is known as PERSIST — an acronym for Pressure-Equalized Rain-Screen Insulated Structure Technique.Here’s how you build a PERSIST house:To some builders and building inspectors, PERSIST details seem counterintuitive or dangerous. One typical reaction is, “You can’t install peel-and-stick over your wall sheathing! It’s a wrong-side vapor barrier! The membrane will trap moisture! The walls can’t dry out!”Actually, the peel-and-stick works perfectly. The membrane acts as a combined air barrier, vapor barrier, and water-resistant membrane (WRB). Because the membrane completely seals the walls and roof, it produces an unusually airtight envelope.Since the membrane is on the warm-in-winter side of the insulation, it’s exactly where it belongs. All of the home’s framing and sheathing is on the conditioned side of the membrane, so these wood components are maintained at indoor conditions. That means they aren’t subject to swings in humidity or temperature; the framing stays stable and dry in all seasons, in all climates.On the exterior side of the membrane, there aren’t any components which are likely to suffer any moisture damage. Since the system includes a rainscreen behind the siding, any water that gets past the siding drains quickly from the walls.PERSIST has a few disadvantages. It costs more than conventional construction, because of the cost of the peel-and-stick membrane, the two layers of… This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Start Free Trial Already a member? Log incenter_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.last_img read more

Lethal Lukaku overshadows Pogba return to down Chelsea

first_imgManchester United Lethal Lukaku overshadows Pogba comeback with match-winning Chelsea showing Kris Voakes Man Utd Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 00:12 2/26/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(4) Romelu Lukaku Manchester United Getty Manchester United Premier League Manchester United v Chelsea Chelsea Romelu Lukaku The Belgian front man was far too much for his former club to handle as he scored one and assisted another in a crucial 2-1 win The varying twists and turns relating to Paul Pogba’s status at Manchester United may have commanded many of the headlines in recent weeks, but that has served to overshadow a vast improvement in Romelu Lukaku’s all-round game.On Sunday, the Belgian striker scored a crucial first goal and then superbly teed up the winner for Jesse Lingard as United came from behind to secure a vital 2-1 victory over his former club Chelsea at Old Trafford on the day that Pogba returned to the starting line-up to much pomp and circumstance.While there were many pertinent questions being asked of Lukaku’s top-level ability when he arrived in Jose Mourinho’s squad from Everton, the front man has gradually improved his all-round forward play to the point where he now provides a compelling presence in the channels and handles himself well with his back to goal. Far from his immobile, lifeless performance at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, this was a buccaneering showing from the big front man. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player His first goal against top-eight opposition all season being the pinnacle of an excellent personal display as United collected a huge three points in the context of the Champions League race. And the Red Devils have every right to be thankful for Lukaku’s display given their horrible start which forced Mourinho to change to a 4-2-2-2 formation midway through the first half and culminated in Chelsea grabbing a 32nd-minute lead.The goal they conceded was entirely of their own making even if Chelsea deserve high praise for the electric nature of the counter-attack which saw them go one up from a United corner. Pogba failed to jump for a header against Victor Moses, then Scott McTominay gave up tracking Willian and allowed the Brazilian to roam free into the box where he collected Eden Hazard’s pass and fired a fierce shot beyond David de Gea.While both De Gea and Victor Lindelof, who decided against putting in a challenge on Hazard, will accept some degree of culpability, the damage had been done already by Pogba and McTominay’s errors.The important thing for Mourinho’s side at that point was to deliver a response, and they were able to get on level terms within seven minutes thanks to a wonderful move which saw Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial both involved with short, intricate passes before Lukaku took a perfect first touch and slid home clinically with his left foot.It was a move which bore little resemblance to United’s play for the large part of a sterile first half, but they were much the better side for the majority of the second.Manchester United celebrate Jesse LingardBy the time they took the lead they were arguably deserving of the three points, while Lukaku had fairly entrenched himself at the top of the voting for the Man of the Match plaudits.Having forced a great save from Thibaut Courtois with a wonderful bicycle-kick shot, Lukaku then turned provider. McTominay slotted a ball into the channel, allowing the Belgian to get in front of Antonio Rudiger before heading goalwards and sending in an inch perfect cross for Lingard to head home.Eden Hazard Chelsea Paul Pogba Manchester UnitedWhile their play was far from convincing at times, United had shown real character to dig themselves out of a hole. Led by their manager’s bold decision to switch his formation, the players eventually got a foothold in the game and made the most of their supremacy after the break. It was also no coincidence that Nemanja Matic’s best performance in months came on the afternoon United bested his former team-mates.Pogba, too, was released to cause Chelsea some problems when Mourinho changed his approach, but while the Frenchman drifted in and out of the game there was just no keeping Lukaku quiet. He might have scored 21 goals before today, but this felt like a real breakout afternoon for him. It is the least he deserves after such an improvement in standards over recent months. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

What Happened At The 2015 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

FiveThirtyEight’s delegation made the pilgrimage to this year’s Sloan conference, a kind of mecca for anyone who’s obsessed with sports, data and retelling how they first felt when they read “Moneyball.” We updated all of Friday and Saturday from Boston, where Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and our own Nate Silver roamed the halls. Read on for highlights from the weekend. CORRECTION (Feb 28, 9:47 a.m.): A previous version of this article misstated the ages of Sam Hafetz and Jonah White. Saturday, Feb. 28 4:05 p.m. Friday, Feb 27, 2:20 p.m.The panel: “Basketball Analytics: Push the Tempo”The panelists: Shane Battier, Mike Zarren, Sue Bird, Mike D’Antoni, Pablo TorreAre basketball teams now so saturated with data and analytics that it’s hard to use them for a competitive advantage?Mike Zarren, assistant general manager for the Boston Celtics, raised an interesting point about what qualifies as analytics in an analytics age. “If I know how well a player slept last night, is that analytics?” The breadth of topics discussed — injuries, biometrics, pace, traditional positions, rest, incentives, shot selection, team chemistry — reveal what a truly broad spectrum of questions and answers fall under the umbrella of basketball analytics. However the field is defined, it all serves the same master: talent. Shane Battier, the poster boy for the adoption of analytic ideas at the player level, summed up the mission perfectly: “It’s about creating space to allow talent to do what they do.”Zarren returned to a well-worn focus at this conference — communication of insights — and defended that arena as the place where a competitive advantage still exists: “You have to use it, it has to affect the decisions you make. I don’t think there is a saturation of that yet.” — Ian Levy Friday, Feb 27, 11:55 a.m.Daryl Morey has been as instrumental to the rise of the Sloan conference as he has been to the rise of the Houston Rockets. Morey, the general manager of the Rockets, has steered the team to third place in the Western conference — behind MVP-candidate James Harden, whom he acquired in a now-legendary 2012 trade — and helped start the Sloan conference in 2007. At Sloan on Friday, I boxed him out to ask a few questions about advanced basketball analytics, specifically player-tracking data from companies like STATS’ SportVU technology. While he can’t divulge the details of the Rockets’ private statistics, Morey’s remarks about the publicly available numbers are especially insightful because the Rockets are one of the most stats-savvy teams — not just in the NBA, but in all of sports. — Andrew FlowersAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/flowers_morey.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Friday, Feb 27, 12:21 p.m.The Panel: “Valuing Franchises: How Sports Teams Break the DCF”The Panelists: Lyle Ayes, Aswath Damodaran, Joe McNulty, Randy Vataha, Abe Madkour (moderator)The recent sales of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Clippers for over $2 billion have opened up a new paradigm in sports franchise valuations. As shocking as the price of those transactions may have been, the mood at this Sloan panel was buoyant. In fact, panelists seemed to be most worried about prices getting so high that billionaires would be priced out of the market. As Lyle Ayes, managing director of the investment bank Evercore’s sports advisory practice said, “how many people can pay $4 billion for an asset?”Panelists thought the seemingly inexorable rise in franchise valuations was driven by the increasing value of media and content rights. Aswath Damodaran, an NYU professor who focuses on valuation (and FiveThirtyEight contributor), commented that across the entertainment industry, owning content is becoming king. Ayes cited the NBA’s massive new TV deal as evidence of this trend. He noted that advertisers put a large premium on live content like sports because viewers are relatively captive during the event. Interestingly, none of the panel members thought that a team’s performance had a large impact on valuation. The most important factor, according to the panel, was metro area population and GDP. The New York Knicks can command significantly more from their local TV rights for bad basketball than the San Antonio Spurs can command for good.Despite the increase in the real earnings of teams as media deals improve, panelists (with the exception of Ayes), broadly agreed that sports franchises still do not make sense as actual businesses. While they are relatively low-risk and uncorrelated with other potential investments, almost any analysis of the current cash flows — or lack thereof — will not find them to be great investments. As Damodaran noted, the supply of franchises is relatively fixed, while demand has been growing. The panelists did not see this dynamic changing any time soon. — John Ezekowitz Saturday, Feb. 28, 11:20 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, 9:50 a.m.There are bold-faced names headlining the ninth annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, sure. But for academics like myself the real action is in the research paper contest, where academics and researchers are hoping to create the kinds of insights that the bold-faced names one day treat as gospel. For these researchers, Sloan marks the culmination of what can be more than a year’s worth of work. The stakes are high: top prize is $20,000, with second place worth $10,000. For some of the PhD students submitting papers, that may equal their annual salary.But until now, the mechanics of how this contest is judged have largely been cloudy (see an overview of the 2015 contest here, or my personal experience submitting a paper to the 2014 contest here). On Friday, conference co-lead Paul Campbell helped clarify how Sloan makes its picks. “We try to be consistent about what we solicit,” said Campbell. “We kind of have our perspective on the validity of the method, and making sure that the academic and mathematical rigor is there. Also, do the results make sense?”The 2015 research paper contest began back in September, when Campbell and this year’s judging committee, comprised of various MIT student organizers and academic advisers, received 189 abstracts. Of that total, 68 were invited to turn in a formal paper for submission in mid-December. Paper submissions were placed into one of four tracks: basketball, baseball, other sports or the business of sport. The top two submitted papers from each track were given the opportunity to present at this year’s conference. In addition, 11 papers were given a poster in the halls of the convention center.Each of the eight finalists were allotted a 20-minute presentation on Friday. The judging committee identified the top presentation in each of the four categories based on a 50-50 split of the presentation itself and the originating paper.“We have an idea of what the best analytically rigorous paper is, but we want to see if it is presented well. It’s an equal weighting with [the presentation] and the paper,” said Campbell. The four papers still in the running for the top prize, are:Baseball: Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattBasketball: Counterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryOther Sports: Assessing the productivity of NHL players using in-game win probabilities by Stephen PettigrewBusiness of Sports: Diamonds on the Line: Profits Through Investment Gaming by Clayton Graham.Those four finalists are given an additional 10 minutes with which to make their case, this time in front of a larger and more general audience, including Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and FiveThirtyEight’s own Nate Silver.Those judges, according to Campbell, are asked to judge by something different than the last committee. “Which of these [papers] seems like the most applicable or potentially transformative within the industry?” $20,000 rides on the answer. — Mike Lopez Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:00 p.m.The session: “Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic”The speaker: Glenn FleisigWe’re in the midst of an epidemic of elbow injuries among major league pitchers. Twenty-five percent of current MLB pitchers have had an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (“Tommy John surgery”) and 15 percent of minor league pitchers have undergone the procedure. Over the last decade, the problem has trickled down to high school and little league players. In 1990, none of the baseball players coming to the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center clinic Tommy John surgery were kids. Today, one third of them are high school age or younger, said Fleisig, the research director at the American Sports Medicine Institute.What’s to blame for the epidemic of torn elbow ligaments? Are more players getting hurt? Or are we just better at diagnosing these injuries? Are doctors more willing to do the procedure? Or are patients more eager to have it?The answer, said Fleisig, is all of the above. Some players assume they should go in for surgery at the first sign of elbow pain, just “to get it over,” but that’s the wrong attitude. Best case scenario, the surgery can return a player to the career trajectory he was on before he got injured, but it won’t improve performance and not every player makes it back to play, Fleisig said.About 80 percent of major league players who get Tommy John surgeries make it back to the mound, but only two thirds of those who undergo the procedure make it back and stay there.Most elbow ligament injuries occur due to overuse. During the middle part of the pitch when the elbow is held upright at a right angle, the joint experiences severe torque. “It’s like holding a string with five 12-pound bowling balls,” Fleisig said. (That’s why doping raises the risk of an elbow injury — “If you’re on the juice you’re making your muscles too strong for your tendons and ligaments to handle.”)There’s a common notion that curveballs are dangerous, but the research doesn’t bear that out, Fleisig said. “We expected the curveball to have more torque than the fastball, but it turns out it has less.”Four things determine which players get injured — biomechanics, how much a player pitches, training and recovery. “It’s not one of these things or the other, it’s all of them,” Fleisig said.Wear and tear on the elbow is one of the most important factors, and when Fleisig’s group followed a group of 500 kids over a ten-year period, they found that pitching more than 100 competitive innings more than tripled the risk of needing a Tommy John surgery. Likewise, more than 80 pitches per game quadrupled the risk of injury, and kids who pitched when fatigued had 36 times the risk of having surgery.In an effort to cut the rates of elbow injuries among young pitchers, Fleisig and his colleagues have teamed with Major League Baseball to create Pitch Smart, age-appropriate guidelines to avoid injury. Suggestions include limits on the number of pitches thrown and not pitching when fatigued. “The best computer we have is right here,” Fleisig told me, pointing to his head. — Christie Aschwanden Friday, Feb. 27, 6:10 p.m.Walking into a conference at Sloan today I walked by yet another guy in a sports coat — and then did a double take, because this guy’s blazer sleeves were rolled up…and he was a 13 year-old. There are some teenagers running around Sloan but none looked younger than Sam Hafetz and his friends, Manu Hurskovitz, 14, and Jonah White, 14. After calling their parents for permission (hi, Mr. Hurskovitz!), I dragged them to our podcast table. There, Jody Avirgan asked what brought them to Sloan (it’s their second year attending), why they love sports analytics, and what they’d do if they became GMs of the Celtics. — Chadwick MatlinAudio Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/kidsatsloan.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Friday, Feb. 27, 4:43 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: Growing Soccer with Don Garber”The panelists: Don Garber, Grant WahlMLB and MLS share two letters and the pickle of how to balance tradition and innovation. Baseball’s struggle comes from within, as Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred showed earlier Friday. Major League Soccer isn’t as conflicted about changing rules and trying new technologies, MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. Its burden, unlike MLB’s, is its peripheral place in a global game.Garber said he wanted goal-line review technology, extra time put on scoreboards (instead of only a ref with a “Timex that probably cost 20 bucks” knowing how much time remains) and a whole lot more. “If I were king, we would have instant replay, we would have cameras on our players, we would be putting them on goalposts.” He’d put a microphone on the field. Players would wear GoPro cameras. He watched hockey players wear GoPros at the NHL All-Star Game and thought it was cool.But Garber can’t have all those things. Other sports’ U.S. pro leagues just need to get the owners to agree, but MLS needs the approval of IFAB, the International Football Association Board — or, as Garber called it, the International Federation of Somebody Who Has Something To Do With the Rules That’s Not Me. Garber’s message to IFAB: “Let us be the Guinea pigs.” He worries that the world’s most popular sport could lose its lead “just because of our structure. We should be able to use the power of our influence to lead.” — Carl Bialik Friday, Feb 27, 4:35 p.m.At last year’s Sloan conference, Dean Oliver was our ESPN colleague, leading analytics at the Stats & Info Group. This year, he’s here as the Sacramento Kings’ director of player personnel and analytics. I spotted him Friday huddled with a few of his peers from other NBA franchises. Oliver has been in the sports analytics business for three decades, and has seen it grow from a field wrestling with a lack of data to one with more data than it knows what to do with. He spoke with me about the similarities in working for teams and working for sports media, and about what it takes for a franchise to succeed at using analytics. — Carl Bialik Saturday, Feb. 28, 1:46 p.m.The panel: “Beating the Shift: Baseball Analytics in the Age of Big Data”The panelists: Sandy Alderson, Dan Brooks, Dave Cameron, Ben Lindbergh, Jonah KeriSloan’s flagship baseball panel largely focused on teams’ reactions to sabermetric findings. Alderson, the general manager of the New York Mets, spoke about the proliferation of defensive shifts, and how it has led to changes in the way certain players are valued — specifically right-handed power hitters.Along the same lines, no discussion of baseball analytics would be complete without some mention of strike zone analysis and catcher pitch-framing metrics. Despite the volume of research on the subject in recent years, the consensus of the group was that the market may still not be properly valuing catchers who “steal” strikes on the edge of the strike zone at a higher rate than their peers. Then again, part of that may relate to a theory that pitch-framing is a taught skill. (We’d have liked to hear more thoughts about how umpires doing better at calling an accurate strike zone has led to baseball’s aforementioned drop in run-scoring.)Finally, Keri asked the panel their thoughts about wins above replacement (WAR). The panel agreed WAR was a valuable framework, even if its individual parts can always stand to be improved. For his part, Alderson confirmed that teams use at least some version of it, even with its imperfections, because the idea of creating a cumulative statistic is appealing. — Harry Enten and Neil Paine Friday, Feb 27, 10:40 a.m.The panel: “Innovators and Adopters”The panelists: Shane Battier, Michael Lewis, Daryl Morey, Jeff Van Gundy and Jackie MacMullanPity Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant. Out for the season with injuries after performances well below their high standards, they’re now punching bags in Boston, at least according to the first session of the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on Friday.The other panelists treated the retired Battier more or less as Lewis depicted him in a New York Times Magazine article in 2009: the platonic ideal of the intelligent NBA player, one who incorporates insights from advanced statistical analysis to optimize his game for team success. (Battier initially resisted that framing, saying “it was about winning,” before eventually letting on that yeah, he was a pretty smart player.) LeBron James, with whom Battier won two titles in Miami, was the more typical player, open to occasional tastes of analytics-based tips.Anthony and Bryant, though, were depicted as the anti-Battiers, in a question by moderator MacMullan (who, like Battier, works for ESPN, which owns this website and sponsors Sloan). MacMullan noted their selfishness and focus on scoring over other ways of contributing to their teams. (To which my boss, Nate Silver, would respond that Anthony’s shooting makes his teammates better.) Battier made clear how much he relished having those two stars as foils, learning their tendencies so that he could neutralize their strengths when playing defense. MacMullan pointed out that Battier blocked more of their shots than any other player’s. Anthony also topped the Battier leaderboards for balls stolen and offensive fouls drawn. And the pair led another personal leaderboard Battier innovated: They gave him the most “looks of disdain” when they found out he’d be guarding them. — Carl Bialik Sunday, March 1 12:17 a.m.After what conference co-organizer Jessica Gelman said was a “heated discussion,” voters for the top research paper at Sloan reached a split decision and split the $30,000 prize pool between two papers. The winners:Who is Responsible for a Called Strike? by Joe Rosales and Scott SprattCounterpoints: Advanced Defensive Metrics for NBA Basketball by Alexander Franks, Andrew Miller, Luke Bornn and Kirk GoldsberryRosales and Spratt, both of Baseball Info Solutions, presented work suggesting that pitch framing, which has traditionally rewarded most of the credit to catchers alone, is actually a function of three independent participants: the catcher, pitcher, and umpire.Franks, Miller, Bornn, and Goldsberry — all members of Harvard’s XY Hoops group — used player tracking data to quantify individual defensive play in the NBA. The academic version of this group’s paper has been accepted at the statistics journal Annals of Applied Statistics.The groups behind the winning papers each received $15,000 for their efforts. Additionally, Bornn and Goldsberry, along with co-authors Alex D’Amour and Dan Cervone, received the conference’s top poster prize of $1,000 for “Move or Die: How Ball Movement Creates Open Shots in the NBA.” — Mike Lopez Saturday, Feb. 28 3:15 p.m.Will sports betting inevitably become legal in the U.S.? It sure seems like it.Momentum behind legalization has grown since NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times in November 2014 explicitly endorsing legal sports gambling. The facade of professional sports leagues that oppose sports betting is beginning to crack. And it’s clear why: money.Silver estimated the market for illegal sports wagering is currently $400 billion per year, though it’s likely that figure is inflated. But even lower-end estimates of around $80 billion still represent a huge market. Sports betting is already enormous in Europe, Australia and many other regions. State governments want in because of the potential revenues.Professional sports leagues are intrigued because they see gambling interest as a ratings driver, much like fantasy sports have been. (And, coincidentally, daily fantasy sports sites – with cash prizes – bear an eerie resemblance to gambling anyway.) Gambling is already inherently analytical; but the appetite of stats-savvy fans for geeky coverage about odds is growing. Jeff Ma, a contributor to ESPN’s new sports-betting site, Chalk – said gambling analytics would meet the demand from those with a “high-brow” interest.But there are major risks to legalization. The revelations that former NBA referee Tim Donaghy owed gambling debts and bet on games he officiated was a reminder of the long, scandalous history of how gambling can challenge the integrity of sports. Here, too, analytics can help. Ryan Rodenberg, a professor at Florida State University, suggested statistical scrutiny of betting markets would combat fraud and fixing. Several private European firms already specialize in such analytics.The panelists were asked that if they had to bet on legalization sweeping the country, when it would happen. The lines offered by the panelists ranged from 2-to-10 years. Dan Spillane, the Assistant General Counsel for the NBA, didn’t offer a timeline, however. He just said “years, not months.” — Andrew Flowers Friday, Feb 27, 3:28 p.m.The panel: “Commissioner’s Perspective: 1 on 1 with Rob Manfred”The panelists: Brian Kenny, Rob ManfredRob Manfred has a long history with Major League Baseball. And Major League Baseball has long tried to avoid letting its history weigh it down. In a wide-ranging interview at Sloan on Friday, one month into his tenure as league commissioner, Manfred sounded like a man trying to make sense of how to reform a game without hollowing it out.A few days ago, Manfred said that there was a universe in which baseball could shave eight games off its regular-season schedule “sometime down the road.” A reduction in the current 162-game schedule could make the sport’s playoff timing a little more flexible, and might increase fan interest in each game. At Sloan, Manfred said he chose the 154-game mark because it would take the majors “back to a number that’s already in our record books.” Could he see MLB going even lower, to 150? No, because then “you’re going to go have a record book with 150, 154, 162 …” Only in baseball, a sport hallowed enough to get the Ken Burns treatment, could the record book be more important than the ledger. Integrity is paramount. (Or as Manfred, who has worked for the league for nearly two decades, put it when talking about whether to reform gambling laws around sports betting: “Integrity, it’s Rule One.”)Yet this is a commissioner who clearly wants to find ways to change the game. Manfred has introduced rules to speed the pace of play, and said Friday he’s very happy with the replay system MLB added last year. He said that in the future — “past Rob Manfred” — the league could have a team outside North America, and before that, maybe even one in Mexico. Now that would be historic. — Chadwick Matlin read more

Glamorizing Brands

first_imgIn June 2007, Glam Media, a network of women’s fashion and lifestyle sites, passed NBC Universal’s iVilliage.com as the highest trafficked online media company targeting women, per ComScore metrics.The comparison drew the ire of iVillage’s president Deborah Fine who stated at the time it’s like comparing “apples to cauliflower.” Nevertheless, founder and CEO Samir Arora pointed out that ComScore measures them in the same space, an important distinction from the marketer perspective. To get there, Arora has crafted Glam Media as a publisher network that has grown to over 400 independently operated Web sites clustered around 20 “owned and operated” sites, which now attract about 25 million unique visitors monthly and 43.5 million globally, per ComScore, placing it among the top 25 Internet media companies.It’s a strategy that Arora claims traditional publishers have missed out on: Eliminating the “destination site” concept by harnessing the power of a carefully assembled network of independent publishers while simultaneously working the marketing side by creating the ad serving technology that injects large-format and interactive ad units directly into the content that best contextualizes them. A Package DealGlam Media, with offices in San Francisco for technology development and New York for media, officially launched during Fashion Week in New York in fall 2005. Since then the company has attracted over 200 advertisers that have purchased a variety of display and rich media ads that are designed to be as attractive and engaging as the content they’re positioned within.Arora compares the contextual package arrangement to a typical September issue of Vogue. “If you package content and advertising well the ads are not only desirable, they become as important as the content itself. If you’re reading a September issue of Vogue, is it for the ads, the content, or both?”According to Arora, it’s both. The fusion of compelling advertising and content is at the center of his company’s mission and something where he says traditional media have largely fumbled the ball. “Most of the traditional media companies were having a hard enough time trying to create content for the Internet and when they tried to bring the advertising experience into it they did not know how to translate the full-page glossy ads or full video immersion to the Internet.”Glam’s technology division has engineered two technology platforms—one that serves the ads across the network, called Glam Evolution, and one that allows site owners to format and syndicate their content across Glam’s various channels. The combination, says Arora, allows Glam to place ads with a high degree of contextual control.The ad-edit package is something Arora thinks traditional publishers are inherently unable to do, as long as they keep trying to shoehorn content that comes from a strictly print or broadcast heritage. “Content that resembles traditional media—print or broadcast—actually does not perform very well on the Internet,” he says. “It’s two different things. To engage users on the Internet you have to create highly visual and interactive content.Glam also produces custom “advertorial” content for its clients, which Arora says accounts for about 20 percent of overall revenues. These products are typically custom packages that include display and rich media ads, as well as interactive elements such as quizzes and microsites. Reebok signed such a deal with Glam in March 2007 for a six-week stretch to promote the launch of Scarlett Johansson’s shoe and apparel line.Revenues from advertisers are shared with the participating network sites, some making in the high six figures. The Network Effect, or Life in the ‘Mid-Tail’At the core of Glam’s business model is the network of publishing partners that cluster around the Glam-owned and operated anchor sites that represent each content channel. It’s a model that, says Arora, further separates the company from its big media competitors. “It’s the recognition that media on the Internet is not following the clustered hits business of traditional media—print or broadcast,” he says. “The top 10 magazines have a commanding share of market versus the next 50 or 100. And the same is true in television. On the Internet, this is not the case. For example, Yahoo as a media company has the largest reach of all the Internet, but accounts for 7 to 8 percent of the actual usage of the Web. There are tens of millions of Web properties in the mid-tail.”This “mid tail” is where Glam makes its home—methodically collecting blogs and other independently operated sites and merging them with the Glam publisher network, now numbering over 400 and arranged under a growing number of channels currently including fashion, beauty, shopping, celebrity style, glam living, entertainment and wellness.The point of an owned and operated site, says Arora, is to act as a gateway, or anchor, for its channel. These sites combine original content with content pulled in from the surrounding partner sites. “It’s part of a hub and spoke model for each of the clusters of channels,” he says. “That allows us to expose and support each of the publishers at the hub.”It is a model that has some very knowledgeable industry observers excited. “I have been arguing for as long as anyone would listen that the future of media is less about products and more about networks,” says media consultant Jeff Jarvis on his Buzzmachine.com blog. “It’s nice to be proven right. Glam is also an advertising network that supports the creation of content. That’s how you encourage others to produce more. So in the end, Glam is really a platform. That’s the key. Glam is a rare example of that and I say other media companies would be wise to follow suit.”Arora says Glam is in a position now where it can select partner sites for the women’s fashion and lifestyle channels from a waiting list, a process he likens to curating. “Our editors are both editors and curators. We start by making sure a site is targeted to women, then we look at editorial quality, then how we can package brand advertising with this publisher in a way that will make the ads desirable. What I don’t want to do is create a media company where users want to Tivo the ads.”Rapid GrowthArora declined to specify Glam’s revenues, which are based solely on its advertising model. However, a July 2007 story in Forbes reported revenues near $25 million for 2007. A Glam spokesperson declined to comment on that figure. Sequential quarter-to-quarter growth rates, says Arora, have ranged from a low of 40 percent to a high of 150 percent, and he expected the company to be profitable at the end of 2007. Costs, he says, are generally tied to the sales team, engineering and technology, and the revenue that is shared with the partner sites.Unique visitors have ballooned from 100,000 per month when the network launched, to 26 million currently. “And we have spent zero dollars on search or keywords to drive customers,” says Arora. If You Can’t Beat Glam, Join GlamThe company’s rapid growth as attracted its fair share of talent, and from the very sectors with which it is competing. Joe Lagani, former publisher of Conde Nast’s House & Garden, joined Glam last October. The magazine promptly closed after he left. John Trimble, who also joined in October, formerly oversaw brand advertising for Fox Interactive’s MySpace, IGN, Fox Sports, American Idol, and Scout.Additionally, Hearst and Lifetime have noticed the value of Glam’s network and signed partnership deals to syndicate content. Under the Hearst deal, Marie Claire contributes editorial content in exchange for inbound links to other Hearst magazine brands and subscription promotions. Cosmopolitan arranged to have its advertisers’ brands inserted into contextually relevant sites across Glam’s publisher network. And Lifetime, the women’s basic cable television network, partnered with Glam to create its own channel, essentially a vertical network of Web sites and blogs inside Glam’s network.MORE STARTUP STORIES:ArchitectCraftInternet EvolutionScientific AmericanWTWH Media More on this topic Rodale Partners with Glam Media Glam Gets $10M in Private Financing Glam Launches Video and Distribution Platform Are E-Media Companies—With Revenue—More Valuable? Women’s Network Eyes Men Glam Media Acquires Advertising Targeting FirmJust In Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest Restructuring The Atlantic Taps Creative Leadership | People on the Move The Atlantic Names New Global Marketing Head | People on the Move This Just In: Magazines Are Not TV Networks Shanker Out, Litterick In as CEO of EnsembleIQ Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the MovePowered bylast_img read more

Mattis to Remove Pentagon CMO over Performance

first_imgThe White House is looking for a replacement for John Gibson II, the Pentagon’s first-ever chief management officer (CMO), for a “lack of performance,” according to defense officials. Gibson, whose primary duty is reforming DOD’s business operations including real property management, remains in his job for now but his responsibilities have been scaled back, reports the Wall Street Journal. He was informed by Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan more than a month ago that leaders weren’t satisfied with the results of his work. Gibson’s expected departure suggests the department’s initiative to find savings within its massive bureaucracy and apply them to modernization needs — one of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ top priorities — is “foundering,” one official told the paper. “All of Mattis’ modernization ambitions lie in the money that Shanahan and Gibson were going to harvest out of the institution in savings and efficiencies,” the official said. “Without it, Mattis is truly in trouble.”DOD photo by Tech Sgt. Vernon Young Jr. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Surfing at the 2020 Olympics What you need to know about the

first_img Share your voice 2020 Olympics Tokyo 2020 shows off Olympic medals made from old phones Karate at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Everything you need to know Your guide to basketball at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics Everything you should know about skateboarding at the 2020 Summer Olympics How do athletes qualify to surf at the 2020 Olympics?Firstly, athletes must comply with the current Olympic Charter, the document that sets forth rules and guidelines for Olympic athletes and the Olympic Games. It’s a hefty 103-page file that includes rules such as the “citizenship requirement rule” (Rule 41) that states athletes must be a “national” of the country they represent in competition. And, of course, Rule 43, which details the World Anti-Doping Code and the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions.A total of 40 surfers (20 men and 20 women) will qualify for surfing at the 2020 Olympics. A maximum of four surfers (2 men and 2 women) can compete from each country’s National Olympic Committee — the governing body in each country that regulates athlete participation in the Olympics. Athletes will qualify for the Olympics if they meet performance qualification criteria at one of the following events: 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT): 10 men and eight women2019 ISA World Surfing Games: Four men and four women2020 ISA World Surfing Games: Four men and six womenContinental representation: With the exception of North and South America, the highest-placed eligible athlete from each continent at the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games (someone who didn’t yet qualify) gains one spot. For the Americas, continental representation comes from the highest-placed eligible athlete (who hasn’t already qualified through other events) at the 2019 Pan American Games. Host nation slot: The Olympic Games guarantees one male and one female place for the host nation, in this case Japan. If athletes from Japan qualify regularly (through one of the events above), the host nation slots will be reallocated to the highest-ranked eligible surfers from the 2020 World Surfing Games.See the full qualification criteria for more details.2018 Russian Surfing Championships in SochiThere are many types of surfboards, but the primary categories include shortboard and longboard. Olympic surfers will use shortboards, which are known for their pointed noses and excellent maneuverability.  Sergei Bobylev/Getty Images When and where is surfing happening?The 2020 Olympic Games surfing program will take place at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan from July 24 to August 9, 2020.Check out the full Olympic schedule of events here.What will the events be like? Surfing consists primarily of two disciplines: shortboard and longboard. At the 2020 Olympics, all athletes will surf shortboard. A shortboard refers to any board that’s shorter than seven feet in length. They usually have a pointed nose and are lightweight. They’re designed to be quick and accurate, and are more suited to fast and powerful waves than are longboards. In heats of 20 to 30 minutes, Olympic judges will analyze four athletes at a time, with the top two scores advancing to the next round. Because surfing conditions are so variable, the IOC has allowed for the surfing competition to take place over 16 days in the case that weather presents safety concerns or unfair circumstances.How will the athletes be judged?Judges will rate athletes on the type and difficulty of maneuvers performed. One example of an advanced surfing move is the aerial, where a surfer finds a ramp within a wave and launches off of the lip, gains air and lands back on the face of the wave. For even more jaw drops, a surfer would spin in a complete circle while in the air and still manage to land gracefully — a surfing move known as the 360.The judges will also account for speed, power and flow. Like other Olympic events, judges will score surfers from 1 to 10 with two decimals, for example, 7.91. Only one surfer may ride a wave at any given time, and athletes may lose points for failing to use common surfer etiquette, which rules that the surfer closest to the peak of a wave has right of way for that wave.  Fitness Sport and Outdoors Post a commentcenter_img Tags 0 The 2020 Summer Olympics Surfing will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Games in Japan. Athletes will surf at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba, Japan. Brian Bielmann / AFP/Getty Images 100 years ago, Duke Kahanamoku dreamt of surfing in the Olympic Games. He was a five-time Olympic medalist for swimming, but in between Olympic competitions and after his retirement, Kahanamoku, a Native Hawaiian and the “father of modern surfing,” traveled internationally to popularize the sport of surfing. Back in the early 1900s, it was known only to Hawaii, which had yet to become a US state. Kahanamoku would be proud to know that in 2016, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) unanimously decided to include surfing in the Olympic Games for the first time. Surfing will debut at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the new Olympic sport.last_img read more

Wipro net profit up 27 beats estimates

first_imgBangalore, Jan 18 (ANI): India’s third-largest Information technology (IT) services exporter, Wipro Limited, registered a 27 percent rise in quarterly net profit, topping estimates, bolstered by rising demand from overseas clients. Wipro chief executive officer, TK Kurien, aimed for a constant growth rate of four and four and half percent.last_img