19 Dec

Darwinizing of Religion Continues

first_imgIn an ongoing series for the Year of Darwin in Science magazine,1 Elizabeth Culotta wrote an article with the Darwinesque title, “On the Origin of Religion.”2  The editor’s summary acknowledges that “No consensus yet exists among scientists,” but sought the only answer in Darwinian terms: “in the past 15 years, a growing number of researchers have followed Darwin’s lead and explored the hypothesis that religion springs naturally from the normal workings of the human mind.  This new field, the cognitive science of religion, draws on psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to understand the mental building blocks of religious thought.”  Building blocks – there’s a suggestive phrase right out of origin-of-life labs.    Culotta began with a Darwin imprimatur.  “To Charles Darwin, the origin of religious belief was no mystery.  ‘As soon as the important faculties of the imagination, wonder, and curiosity, together with some power of reasoning, had become partially developed, man would naturally crave to understand what was passing around him, and would have vaguely speculated on his own existence,’ he wrote in The Descent of Man.”  Culotta acknowledged that “Darwin’s scientific descendants” are not quite so sure,” but we can trust them, because “potential answers are emerging from both the archaeological record and studies of the mind itself.”    Here’s a quick rundown on those potential answers.  Evolutionary sociologists are studying the propensity of humans to infer agents acting when things happen.  Evolutionary archaeologists are looking for clues of symbolic behavior.  Cognitive neuroscientists are looking for parts of the brain that tend toward “purpose-driven beliefs” that might be “a step on the way to religion.”  Evolutionary psychologists investigate “theory of mind” explanations that see people attributing mental states to others and to things.  Evolutionary anthropologists consider the social aspects of sharing beliefs in gods to develop social cohesion.  It’s Darwin’s game from start to finish.    Each discipline seeks to explain their piece of the religion puzzle in adaptationist, progressive terms.  The psychologists, for instance, reason that if people from childhood onward develop a tendency to see the natural world acting in a purposeful way, “It’s a small step to suppose that the design has a designer.”  Stewart Guthrie sees the invisible hand of Darwin in primitive man’s thinking processes.  “Guthrie suggested that natural selection primed this system for false positives, because if the bump in the night is really a burglar—or a lion—you could be in danger, while if it’s just the wind, no harm done.”  The anthropologists find other ways to see religion as adaptive: “By encouraging helpful behavior, religious groups boost the biological survival and reproduction of their members.”    Here, though, Culotta admitted others see such explanations as little more than just-so storytelling.  She quoted Pascal Boyer cautioning, “It is often said that religion encourages or prescribes solidarity within the group, but we need evidence that people actually follow [their religion’s] recommendations.”  Speaking of evidence, which is supposed to elevate science above other forms of explanation, she admitted to large gaps.  For instance, she said there is “a yawning gap between the material evidence of the archaeological record and the theoretical models of psychologists.”  The archaeologists have a hard time inferring beliefs from artifacts, and the psychologists are crying, “we need more evidence.”  What about the cognitive scientists?  They try to get at the roots of innate tendencies vs. learned beliefs, but they are crying for more evidence, too: “I haven’t seen lots of empirical evidence that you can get from there to religious beliefs,” said social psychologist Ara Norenzayan.  Culotta’s last sentence, quoting Norenzayan again, amounted to a promissory note admitting to gaps in evidence: “In the next 10 to 15 years there’s likely to be quite a transformation, with a lot more evidence, to give us a compelling story about how religion arose.”1.  Intro, “On the Origin of Religion,” Science, 6 November 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5954, pp. 784-787, DOI: 10.1126/science.326_7842.  Elizabeth Culotta, “Origins: On the Origin of Religion,” Science, 6 November 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5954, pp. 784-787, DOI: 10.1126/science.326_784.What’s this?  You were told that science was science, and religion was religion, and never the twain shall meet.  What are the Darwinists doing putting your dear pastor, priest or rabbi in the test tube?  Didn’t Stephen Jay Gould promise that science would stay out of religion if religion stayed out of science?  What is this “evolution of religion” talk?    As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, let us draw some parallels.  East Germany was one of the most tightly controlled ideological regimes in the communist sphere.  The thought police (Stasi) had informers everywhere and kept miles of files on everyone.  It was a crime to think outside the party doctrine.  As with all the communist dictatorships, religion was suppressed, although the regime allowed some puppet churches to operate for propaganda purposes (e.g., when U.S. diplomats visited, so that they could talk about all the religious freedom they witnessed).  What the puppet churches were allowed to say and not say, of course, was monitored and controlled.  Yet history surprised the dictators.  Their regime fell literally overnight, as thousands of freedom-starved East Germans rushed the gates at the first indication of hope, and Gorby refused to send in the tanks, stinging from Reagan’s challenge, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”    To communists, everything in the universe must be interpreted in the light of Marxist ideology.  Darwinians are cut from the same cloth; just substitute Darwin for Marx (who admired Darwin).  In fact, in the same issue of Science, the editors allowed Gretchen Vogel to call the fall of the Berlin wall a “mixed blessing” for East German science directors.  Are they feeling nostalgia for the good old days?  After all, Darwinists are dictators themselves with informers and thought police everywhere, looking for the slightest uprising in a classroom or school board that might challenge Dictator Darwin.  The Darwin Stasi (fronted by the ACLU, Americans United, PAW, NCSE) race into action to cut off any hint of the threat of “creationism.”  They court liberal theologians for propaganda purposes, allowing them to practice their faith as long as it is inside the science lab under the control of the white lab coated thought police.  All the pastors, priests and rabbis have to do to keep peace with the Stasi is pledge allegiance to Darwin.  See how tolerant they are?  Their captives, the renegade appeasers in theological garb, are in for a surprise that was expressed well by Brett Miller in this cartoon.    Don’t fall for the Party line.  It should be crystal clear that Culotta’s own imprimatur-blessed propaganda piece is fluff.  How long are suckers going to wait for their promised “compelling story about how religion arose”?  Sounds like the promised utopia that never arrives.  It’s a story, all right.  Where’s the evidence?  How convenient that every discipline is moaning about the need for more evidence.  Folks, without evidence, they do not have science!  Ignore the fMRI blips; they are trading in ideologically-guided speculation.  And they want to tell YOU how you are supposed to think.  Love freedom!  Tear down this wall!    As the Western democracies won by the human tide pouring through the opened gates, the creationists will win when freedom comes.  Jesus Christ said “You will know them by their fruits.”  Where laws have protected free expression of religion, the arts and sciences have flourished.  Where the Bible has been taken by missionaries, poverty and dictatorship has diminished.  And where informed and evidence-supported creation science is permitted, education will flourish, too.  Check the record; compare achievement of 19th century and early 20th century schools, where McGuffy Readers quoting the Bible were stock in trade and classes opened with prayer and science was done to the glory of God, with the awful record of dropouts and school shootings in today’s DODO schools (Darwin-only, Darwin-only).  Look at how home school students, often from Christian homes, are trouncing their politically-correct peers.  It’s the Christian schools that teach evidences for and against Darwinism.  They don’t fear losing their students.  The Darwin-only public schools rightly fear losing their students if the truth about the scientific evidence were allowed.  Forget creationism – the thought police don’t even allow scientific criticisms of Darwin to be heard.  This artificial selection imposed by Darwin-only breeders is producing monstrosities that could not survive in the wild.  You might even say it shows that the creationists are the fittest.    But all this is unnecessary posturing, because the Darwinists have no case.  We know this, because if we applied their very same reasoning to themselves (i.e., the evolution of Darwinizing speculation), their argument would collapse into a recursive black hole.  So while Culotta and her interviewees are swimming around like little Darwin fish scooping up the detritus on the bottom (animism, cult figurines, fMRI scans, etc.), they have not yet realized their ocean is inside the Christian fish.  They are feeding on gifts the Christian fish is bringing them (see 11/05/2009 and 08/13/2007 commentaries).  Like captives pretending to be autonomous, everything they depend on—logic, reason, evidence—is not of their own making.  The Christian fish is the universe of which nature is a subset.  If the Darwin guppies want to repent and help build up the true fish, they can provide nourishment for the truth.  If not, they can keep swimming in circles a little while longer till they get pooped out.(Visited 127 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

16 Dec

A Custom Builder’s First EarthCraft House

first_imgRELATED CONTENTGBA Encyclopedia: EarthCraft HouseAdvanced Framing Sealed crawl spacesNews:A Green Evolution in Western VirginiaBlog:Green Building Program RoadkillQ&A:A question concerning termite treatments What is a safe termite spray?Sometimes it’s too late to change the specsWe met with our third-party verifier — a great guy who really knew his stuff. While reviewing the Earthcraft checklist, we learned what he would be looking for and how to document what we were doing.Since we had been building custom homes for a number of years, we were already building a pretty good house — for example, we were paying close attention to flashing details. Once again, we were pretty surprised that we had enough points to qualify for a Tier I Earthcraft House without changing our specifications very much beyond the components we had already decided to include: the spray foam, conditioned attic, and sealed crawl space.We were even thinking, “We’re not really learning anything new or improving anything if we don’t end up changing the way we are doing things.” We wanted to try to get to Tier II or III and incorporate some new things in the mix. But by then, construction had already started, and we had used a traditional termite spray on the foundation. Under the Earthcraft program, you can’t achieve Tier II or III certification unless you use an alternative method for controlling termites — so were stuck at a Tier I.Lesson learned: you can’t make it up as you go along! One of the most important aspects of green building is thinking and planning ahead.Tentative steps toward advanced framingI think the biggest thing that we had to change was our framing techniques. Before we started down the green path, we took a great deal of pride in the fact that our homes were overengineered — so incorporating advanced framing techniques was hard for us to handle. Since we had to include three advanced framing techniques to get our certification points, we chose items that didn’t make us uncomfortable. We decided to use ladder “T wall” intersections, two-stud corners, and insulated headers.All of these techniques made sense to us — after all, removing lumber and adding insulation is a good thing. On a large custom home, we did not feel quite as comfortable with single top plates or 24-inch-on-center framing, so we chose not to cross that bridge quite yet.Our first steps towards advanced framing techniques represented a very small bump on our otherwise smooth journey to green.Inviting the public to watchWe intended to use our first EarthCraft house as a tool to educate people about green building. By now we had learned that the green building focuses on the process, the details, and the performance of a home — in other words, things that are hidden behind the walls. We wanted to prove that you could build a traditional-looking house and still build it green.We hosted several groups, walking them through the house during construction. To spread the green news, we also entered the house in the North Carolina Sustainability and Solar Home Tour.A disappointing HERS IndexWe passed all our inspections (including the blower door test and the Duct Blaster test) on the first try. Unfortunately, when our house was only half-built, our third-party rater decided to leave his company. Since his replacement was not nearly as knowledgeable, the verification process wasn’t as smooth as usual during the home stretch.However, these glitches weren’t anything that we couldn’t overcome. It also took a very long time to finally receive our certification — over two months. We never found out whether this was the fault of the verifier or the people at SouthFace who run the Earthcraft program. (I suspect it was our verifier.)Our HERS Index was a 69 — a bit of a disappointment. Since the house incorporated many new expensive techniques, including spray-foam insulation, we were hoping to do a little better than that. The HERS Index of our first certified green home was only slightly better than that of our first Energy Star home.Looking back, instead of installing expensive spray foam in 2×4 walls, we probably should have put the money towards 2×6 exterior walls, increasing the overall R-value of the assembly.Besides the high cost, another drawback of spray foam is the amount of extra foam that is shaved off the wall and ends up in the Dumpster. The scraps end up in a landfill where they remain forever. We were trying to reduce waste and recycle our trash to divert it from the landfill, but we ended up using a product that is inherently wasteful.The extra costs for the closed crawl space, spray foam insulation, certification, and other details added up to about $20,000 more than we typically would have spent.Unfortunately, when it came time to sell the home, nobody seemed all that impressed with our green building certification. That made it hard to charge extra for.We still learned a lot during the process, and overall was a positive experience. But we need to educate the masses.Danny Kelly is a co-owner of Kelly McArdle Construction in Charlotte, North Carolina. Having completed an Energy Star house, we wanted to take the next step in our “walk, jog, run” model. We were ready to jog – we decided to enroll a house in one of the many programs that certifies green homes.By this time, our knowledge had grown, and we felt like we were up to speed on all the new products and techniques of green building. The NAHB had formalized its Green Building Guidelines; we had read them and attended a brief seminar.Trying to decide which program to follow was a tough decision. We thought the LEED for Homes program had the best name recognition, but we were put off by the fact that the program required any fireplace to be equipped with glass doors. We knew none of our customers would want this, and we didn’t want to risk doing something in a spec home that could turn someone off.We decided to build a house that would meet the Earthcraft House certification. We wanted to go the extra mile with this house: we wanted spray foam insulation, a conditioned attic, and closed crawlspace. We were thinking green in a big way! Part 1: The Journey BeginsPart 2: Energy StarPart 3: EarthCraft Part 4: LEED and NGBSPart 5: Comparing the Systemscenter_img OTHERS IN THIS SERIESlast_img read more

3 Dec

Gangster Munna Bajrangi’s wife had flagged threat to his life

first_imgMore than a week before Purvanchal gangster Munna Bajrangi was murdered in a Baghpat jail on Monday, his wife Seema Singh had alleged that the Uttar Pradesh police along with some political leaders and officials were conspiring to get him ‘eliminated’ outside the jail in a ‘fake encounter.’ She had requested Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to step up her husband’s security.“The officials of the U.P. STF, U.P. police and some influential ‘safedposh’ people are part of the conspiracy. My husband’s life is under threat,” Ms. Singh told journalists at the Lucknow Press Club on June 29.Ms. Singh also said that during his stay at Jhansi jail there had been an attempt to poison him. While on Monday she was not available for comment and Bajrangi’s brother and nephew had their phones switched off, his lawyer Vikas Shrivastava, who was in Baghpat, echoed Ms. Singh’s theory. “It is a planned murder and done by the administration. Some politicians and criminals are behind it,” he alleged.In March 2016, Bajrangi’s brother-in-law Pushpjeet Singh, a lawyer who even pursued his legal cases, along with a friend was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Lucknow. This followed the murder of Bajrangi’s close aide Mohammad Tariq last year. A native of Puredayal village in Jaunpur district, Munna Bajrangi was born into a Thakur family as Prem Prakash Singh. After dropping out in class 5, he soon discovered his fascination for weapons and as per people who knew him, aspired to become a “filmy don.” He was barely 17 when he was arrested for possessing illegal arms. “After he came out of jail, he got involved with a local mafia don called Gajraj Singh and started working for him. On Gajraj’s call, he committed a couple of murders early on [first he murdered a local businessman in Jaunpur followed by the killing of a BJP leader]. He aspired to be a gangster,” said a distant relative of Bajrangi, requesting anonymity.In the 1990s, Bajrangi, who had by then become a notorious figure in Purvanchal with his extortions and murder cases, started working with jailed MLA from Mau and alleged gangster Mukhtar Ansari. In 1998, he even miraculously survived an encounter by the Delhi police.In 2005, he was accused of executing the brutal and sensational murder of former BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai at the behest of Ansari, who is still facing trial in the case. Around 400 bullets were fired at the MLA’s convoy by the assailants armed with AK47 rifles. The murder was allegedly a retaliation in the rivalry between Mr. Ansari and another Purvanchal gangster Brijesh Singh, with whom Rai was associated. The State had then declared a bounty of ₹7 lakh on Bajrangi, who was arrested in Mumbai in 2009. He faced over two dozen criminal cases, including those for murder, attempt to murder, extortion and gangster activities. .Over the years, Bajrangi had also developed political ambition and in 2012, while he was lodged in jail, he contested the Assembly election from Mariyahu seat in Jaunpur as an Apna Dal candidate. Though he lost, he stood third with a respectable 21% vote share. In 2017, his wife Seema Singh contested from the same seat but unsuccessfully.UP ADG Jails, Chandra Prakash, said it was a “big lapse” on the part of the officials that a revolver had been sneaked in. While police are investigating the motive behind the murder, Mr. Prakash said the accused Rathi himself faced several criminal cases, most of them in Uttarakhand. Rathi, himself an alleged gangster, had been shifted to Baghpat jail recently.last_img read more

7 Nov

Cowboys lasso Titans to claim back-to-back titles

first_img@Eden_RichardsThe Queensland Cowboys have gone back-to-back in the Men’s Elite Eight after defeating the Queensland Titans 6-3 win at the National Touch League in Coffs Harbour.The reigning champions led the match from start to finish on a beautiful night at C.ex Coffs International Stadium, showing their class from the early minutes of play.It was an unfortunate result for the Titans who had performed so well for the whole tournament, but even they will appreciate the class and talent of the Cowboys’ side.A two-touchdown performance from Cormac Hoch helped his side to a 3-1 lead at half-time and they used this momentum to skip away in the second half. Jack Hughes opened the scoring in the early minutes of the second half, giving the Cowboys a commanding 4-1 lead in the process.They went on with it in the 27th minute, scoring the easiest of touchdowns through Damon Moore to lead 5-1.A stalemate emerged for the next seven minutes, before Cowboy Lachlan Hoch grabbed his first of the night to make it 6-1 with a little over five minutes to play.The Titans scored a consolation touchdown in the 36th minute to add some respectability to the scoreboard, but Graeme Clancy’s efforts were not enough, with the scoreboard showing a 6-2 scoreline in the Cowboys’ favour.Clancy grabbed a third touchdown on the hooter but the celebrations had already started for the Cowboys who held on for a 6-3 win.It was a complete 40-minute performance from the Cowboys who opened the scoring very early in the match to grab the upper hand from the get-go.In fact it took just three minutes for the Cowboys to cross the line, with Braydon Hegarty crossing in the left corner.Cormac Hoch sliced through the Titans’ defence in the 10th minute to make it 2-0, putting his side in a great position in the process.But just minutes later, The Titans cut the deficit to one touchdown through the handy work of Clancy who crossed in the right corner.However, the Cowboys continued to pile on the pressure and it paid off in the 16th minute, with Cormac Hoch scoring a spectacular touchdown to put his side up 3-1. That’s the way it stayed at half-time, and the Cowboys used that momentum to go on with the match and claim the title.Queensland Cowboys 6 (C. Hoch 2, L Hoch, Hegarty, Hughes, Moore touchdowns) def. Queensland Titans 3 (Clancy 3 touchdowns)Related LinksMen’s E8 finallast_img read more

28 Oct

10 months agoMan Utd boss Mourinho loses rag in post-match interview

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd boss Mourinho loses rag in post-match interviewby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Jose Mourinho took aim at a reporter after their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.In truth United were second best all over the pitch and the defeat kept them eight points behind Arsenal in fifth place. Mourinho’s side have now conceded 29 goals this season in the league, one more than they did across the whole of last season. Asked if he believed the players are playing for him, Mourinho snapped: “What is that? Are you calling the players dishonest? You are asking me if they are dishonest.”I believe they are honest and you believe they are dishonest. A footballer has to give the maximum every day, every match, every minute, it doesn’t matter the manager, it doesn’t matter anything.”The club that pays him, the fans that are 24 hours per day in love with our club. It’s about respect for the club and the fans. The players that don’t do the maximum you are calling them dishonest. I don’t call them dishonest at all.” last_img read more

28 Oct

10 months agoMan City striker Gabriel Jesus sets sights on displacing Aguero

first_imgMan City striker Gabriel Jesus sets sights on displacing Agueroby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveGabriel Jesus is desperate to replace Sergio Aguero as Manchester City’s first choice striker.The 21-year-old has struggled for form since his close-knit family returned to Brazil after their UK holiday visa expired 18 months ago.But after scoring four in Wednesday night’s 9-0 win over Burton Albion, Jesus feels he’s back in form.”I’ve already forgotten the problems of last year and I’m really happy now,” he said. “My family is going back to Brazil, unfortunately, but that’s an issue just at home, not on the pitch.”I’ve had amazing days beside them, I’m grateful for the family I have, they are always beside me and allowing me just to focus on football.”I’ll miss them, obviously, but I’m mentally stronger now and I just want to play well, score goals and help the team.”He added: “Sure (I can do it) like when I first came here,” he told Esporte Interativo. “I’ve always respected and will always respect Sergio and the manager’s decisions, but it’s up to me to pursue a place in the team.”I try to show on a daily basis, training hard trying to get into the first XI.”I know Sergio is having an amazing season, but I’m here able to help whenever they need me.”I haven’t played a lot on Premier League this season and I want to help.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

17 Oct

Judge denies bail for BC man charged with alleged assaults of sex

first_imgVERNON, B.C. – A judge in British Columbia has denied bail for a man charged with a number of offences, including the alleged assaults of sex workers.Curtis Sagmoen appeared in provincial court in Vernon on Wednesday, where Judge Mark Takahasi ordered the 37-year-old to remain in custody.Sagmoen is facing nine charges, including three counts of assault, for alleged incidents that occurred between July and the end of August last year.Police have said the alleged victims worked as escorts in the North Okanagan and advertised their services online.Sagmoen’s lawyer has entered not guilty pleas on the charges, which are expected to be dealt with in three separate trials.Days after the first charges were laid last fall, RCMP searched a farm near Salmon Arm and found the remains of a missing 18-year-old woman, but no charges have been laid in connection with that discovery.(CKIZ)last_img read more

28 Sep

Louisville Favored in Final Four but Wichita State Could Become Unlikeliest Champion

This year’s N.C.A.A. tournament has not featured all that many great games — with some exceptions, like Michigan’s come-from-behind win against Kansas on Friday. The flip side is that the four teams that remain have all played exceptionally well, often dominating their opponents.Louisville won its first four games by an average of 22 points — the same margin by which it beat Duke on Sunday. Syracuse has won by 20 points, on average. Michigan’s margin of victory has averaged 16 points, despite the close call against Kansas. Even Wichita State, which has a chance to become the most poorly seeded team ever to win the tournament (and probably the least likely, statistically), has won its games by an average of 11 points.What follows is an overview of the four teams that remain — how their odds have evolved through the tournament and what their chances look like now.LOUISVILLE CARDINALSProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 52.9 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 22.7 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 32.4 percentChance of winning tournament now: 55.0 percentLouisville began the tournament as the nominal front-runner, with a 22.7 percent chance of winning the title according to the FiveThirtyEight model. Its odds increased sharply after its first two games and have continued to rise after wins against Oregon and Duke, and now stand at 55 percent.This is despite the gruesome injury suffered by the sophomore guard Kevin Ware on Sunday, which will affect Louisville’s depth. Ware had averaged just 17 minutes per game for the Cardinals, but he was productive when he played, shooting efficiently and averaging more than one steal per game despite the limited playing time. The FiveThirtyEight formula, which adjusts for player injuries, estimates that Louisville’s chances of winning the tournament would be closer to 57 percent (rather than 55 percent) if Ware were healthy. The intangible impact of the injury is obviously harder to gauge — especially after the Cardinals’ emotional second-half surge against Duke on Sunday.But there is little reason to doubt that Louisville is the favorite. Wichita State, its opponent in the national semifinal, is dangerous enough — but a favorable opponent for the Cardinals compared with Ohio State or Gonzaga. (The FiveThirtyEight model gives Louisville an 85 percent probability of beating Wichita State, which would translate to its being a 10 1/2-point favorite in the Las Vegas point spread.) Another bonus is that Louisville is the closest of the four remaining teams to Atlanta, the site of the Final Four games, and has had little travel throughout the tournament, which should help to ensure that it is well-rested physically under emotionally trying circumstances.MICHIGAN WOLVERINESProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 12.7 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 2.4 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 3.8 percent.Chance of winning tournament now: 21.2 percentThe FiveThirtyEight model viewed Michigan as underrated – but it thought that was even more true of Florida, and so had the Gators favored to win the South region. Instead, Michigan blew Florida out on Sunday.Still, Michigan provides some evidence for the hypothesis that the way a team finishes its regular season is not all that important — especially when one fails to account for changes to its strength of schedule. Michigan did not play an especially tough out-of-conference schedule this season, helping it go 13-0 in nonconference play. But the Big Ten was brutally competitive, and most of Michigan’s toughest games were stacked in the second half of its schedule. It’s not clear that Michigan played any worse down the stretch as much as it faced some tougher opponents.Michigan will present a clash of styles against Syracuse, and potentially Louisville. The Wolverines rate as having the best offense in college basketball, according to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, whereas the Orange and the Cardinals have dominated defensively. Michigan enters the semifinal as essentially even-money against Syracuse (the FiveThirtyEight model gives Michigan a 51.9 percent chance of winning). But the score isn’t necessarily guaranteed to be close: the Wolverines’ reliance on the 3-point shot could yield a blowout or an embarrassment depending on their accuracy from behind the arc.SYRACUSE ORANGEProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 11.7 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 2.0 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 4.8 percent.Chance of winning tournament now: 19.0 percentWe’ve found that in contrast to how a team plays in the late stages of the regular season, how well it adapts to tournament conditions does have some predictive power. Hence, the FiveThirtyEight model increased Syracuse’s chances considerably after its record-setting opening-round win against Montana, and after its subsequent solid play against California, Indiana and Marquette.The catch is that the other teams in the Final Four have also played so well that it isn’t clear that you would pick Syracuse even if you were determined to choose the hot hand.WICHITA STATE SHOCKERSProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 1.3 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 0.08 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 1.2 percentChance of winning tournament now: 4.7 percentThe FiveThirtyEight model gave Wichita State only a 1.3 percent chance of reaching the Final Four before the tournament began, or about 75-to-1 odds against. Does that imply that the Shockers’ having reached the Final Four represents a once-every-75-year event –about as rare as Halley’s comet?Actually, the math is a little bit more complicated than that. There are four regions, and in each one, there are a number of long-shot teams, so there are a lot of opportunities every year for someone to defy the odds. Instead, our pretournament model suggested that there was about a 16 percent chance (roughly 1-in-6) that Wichita State or any of the other 37 teams with under a 2 percent chance of reaching the Final Four would do so.Some of the historical cases of teams that defied even longer odds are well-known. Pennsylvania, in 1979, overcame what we estimate were 500-to-1 odds against reaching the Final Four — while Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 was about an 800-to-1 underdog.However, Wichita State’s accomplishment holds up well against some other Cinderella teams, including Louisiana State in 1986 and George Mason in 2006, both of which made the Final Four as No. 11 seeds. Wichita State was a No. 9 seed, and a reasonably good one. The problem is that being a No. 9 seed is probably more difficult than being a No. 11. A No. 9 seed will almost certainly have to defeat a No. 1 seed in its second game (as Wichita State did against Gonzaga) – eliminating the chance of getting lucky because the favorite gets knocked out early. In addition, Wichita State beat a very tough No. 8 seed, Pittsburgh, and a very tough No. 2, Ohio State — and the Shockers have made some of these wins look easy.The issue, as is the case for Syracuse, is that the accomplishments for the other three Final Four teams have been just as impressive — and they began with considerably better regular-season résumés than Wichita State. So the FiveThirtyEight model gives the Shockers only about a 5 percent chance of winning out.But what if they do it? The initial model gave Wichita State only about a 0.08 percent chance of winning the tournament, or about 1,200-to-1 odds against. If the Shockers win the tournament, they would probably qualify as the least-likely champions in history — displacing the 1985 Villanova Wildcats, who won as a No. 8 seed and faced a somewhat more favorable draw.A version of this article appears in print on 04/02/2013, on page B9 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Four Dominant Teams, With One Standout.,This year’s N.C.A.A. tournament has not featured all that many great games — with some exceptions, like Michigan’s come-from-behind win against Kansas on Friday. The flip side is that the four teams that remain have all played exceptionally well, often dominating their opponents.Louisville won its first four games by an average of 22 points — the same margin by which it beat Duke on Sunday. Syracuse has won by 20 points, on average. Michigan’s margin of victory has averaged 16 points, despite the close call against Kansas. Even Wichita State, which has a chance to become the most poorly seeded team ever to win the tournament (and probably the least likely, statistically), has won its games by an average of 11 points.What follows is an overview of the four teams that remain — how their odds have evolved through the tournament and what their chances look like now.LOUISVILLE CARDINALSProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 52.9 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 22.7 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 32.4 percentChance of winning tournament now: 55.0 percentLouisville began the tournament as the nominal front-runner, with a 22.7 percent chance of winning the title according to the FiveThirtyEight model. Its odds increased sharply after its first two games and have continued to rise after wins against Oregon and Duke, and now stand at 55 percent.This is despite the gruesome injury suffered by the sophomore guard Kevin Ware on Sunday, which will affect Louisville’s depth. Ware had averaged just 17 minutes per game for the Cardinals, but he was productive when he played, shooting efficiently and averaging more than one steal per game despite the limited playing time. The FiveThirtyEight formula, which adjusts for player injuries, estimates that Louisville’s chances of winning the tournament would be closer to 57 percent (rather than 55 percent) if Ware were healthy. The intangible impact of the injury is obviously harder to gauge — especially after the Cardinals’ emotional second-half surge against Duke on Sunday.But there is little reason to doubt that Louisville is the favorite. Wichita State, its opponent in the national semifinal, is dangerous enough — but a favorable opponent for the Cardinals compared with Ohio State or Gonzaga. (The FiveThirtyEight model gives Louisville an 85 percent probability of beating Wichita State, which would translate to its being a 10 1/2-point favorite in the Las Vegas point spread.) Another bonus is that Louisville is the closest of the four remaining teams to Atlanta, the site of the Final Four games, and has had little travel throughout the tournament, which should help to ensure that it is well-rested physically under emotionally trying circumstances.MICHIGAN WOLVERINESProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 12.7 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 2.4 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 3.8 percent.Chance of winning tournament now: 21.2 percentThe FiveThirtyEight model viewed Michigan as underrated – but it thought that was even more true of Florida, and so had the Gators favored to win the South region. Instead, Michigan blew Florida out on Sunday.Still, Michigan provides some evidence for the hypothesis that the way a team finishes its regular season is not all that important — especially when one fails to account for changes to its strength of schedule. Michigan did not play an especially tough out-of-conference schedule this season, helping it go 13-0 in nonconference play. But the Big Ten was brutally competitive, and most of Michigan’s toughest games were stacked in the second half of its schedule. It’s not clear that Michigan played any worse down the stretch as much as it faced some tougher opponents.Michigan will present a clash of styles against Syracuse, and potentially Louisville. The Wolverines rate as having the best offense in college basketball, according to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, whereas the Orange and the Cardinals have dominated defensively. Michigan enters the semifinal as essentially even-money against Syracuse (the FiveThirtyEight model gives Michigan a 51.9 percent chance of winning). But the score isn’t necessarily guaranteed to be close: the Wolverines’ reliance on the 3-point shot could yield a blowout or an embarrassment depending on their accuracy from behind the arc.SYRACUSE ORANGEProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 11.7 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 2.0 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 4.8 percent.Chance of winning tournament now: 19.0 percentWe’ve found that in contrast to how a team plays in the late stages of the regular season, how well it adapts to tournament conditions does have some predictive power. Hence, the FiveThirtyEight model increased Syracuse’s chances considerably after its record-setting opening-round win against Montana, and after its subsequent solid play against California, Indiana and Marquette.The catch is that the other teams in the Final Four have also played so well that it isn’t clear that you would pick Syracuse even if you were determined to choose the hot hand.WICHITA STATE SHOCKERSProbability of reaching Final Four before tournament began: 1.3 percentChance of winning tournament before tournament began: 0.08 percentChance of winning tournament before Round of 16: 1.2 percentChance of winning tournament now: 4.7 percentThe FiveThirtyEight model gave Wichita State only a 1.3 percent chance of reaching the Final Four before the tournament began, or about 75-to-1 odds against. Does that imply that the Shockers’ having reached the Final Four represents a once-every-75-year event –about as rare as Halley’s comet?Actually, the math is a little bit more complicated than that. There are four regions, and in each one, there are a number of long-shot teams, so there are a lot of opportunities every year for someone to defy the odds. Instead, our pretournament model suggested that there was about a 16 percent chance (roughly 1-in-6) that Wichita State or any of the other 37 teams with under a 2 percent chance of reaching the Final Four would do so.Some of the historical cases of teams that defied even longer odds are well-known. Pennsylvania, in 1979, overcame what we estimate were 500-to-1 odds against reaching the Final Four — while Virginia Commonwealth in 2011 was about an 800-to-1 underdog.However, Wichita State’s accomplishment holds up well against some other Cinderella teams, including Louisiana State in 1986 and George Mason in 2006, both of which made the Final Four as No. 11 seeds. Wichita State was a No. 9 seed, and a reasonably good one. The problem is that being a No. 9 seed is probably more difficult than being a No. 11. A No. 9 seed will almost certainly have to defeat a No. 1 seed in its second game (as Wichita State did against Gonzaga) – eliminating the chance of getting lucky because the favorite gets knocked out early. In addition, Wichita State beat a very tough No. 8 seed, Pittsburgh, and a very tough No. 2, Ohio State — and the Shockers have made some of these wins look easy.The issue, as is the case for Syracuse, is that the accomplishments for the other three Final Four teams have been just as impressive — and they began with considerably better regular-season résumés than Wichita State. So the FiveThirtyEight model gives the Shockers only about a 5 percent chance of winning out.But what if they do it? The initial model gave Wichita State only about a 0.08 percent chance of winning the tournament, or about 1,200-to-1 odds against. If the Shockers win the tournament, they would probably qualify as the least-likely champions in history — displacing the 1985 Villanova Wildcats, who won as a No. 8 seed and faced a somewhat more favorable draw.A version of this article appears in print on 04/02/2013, on page B9 of the NewYork edition with the headline: Four Dominant Teams, With One Standout. read more

18 Sep

Ajax boss An opportunity that we need to go for

first_imgErik ten Hag believes his Ajax side must go all-out for the opportunity they have at Benfica tonight in the Champions LeagueVictory for the Dutch giants will book them a spot in the knockout stages of the competition.Currently, Ajax lead Group E on goal difference from Bayern Munich and are four points ahead of tonight’s opponents Benfica.“This is the fourth game of the group phase, and it’s an important one. A lot is at stake,” Ajax coach Ten Hag told reporters on the club website.“We definitely have the possibility of getting closer to making it through the winter break in the Champions League. And it’s an opportunity that we need to go for.”Top 5 Atletico Madrid players to watch in next week’s UCL Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 With the Champions League about to start, we need to start talking about the Top 5 Atletico Madrid players to watch in the competition.Atletico…A late goal from Noussair Mazraoui handed Ajax a narrow 1-0 win over Benfica at the Amsterdam Arena last time out a fortnight ago.But former Manchester United defender Daley Blind doesn’t expect an easy time from Benfica in Lisbon tonight.“The next round is within our reach,” said Blind.“It’s not going to be easy, but it’s a huge opportunity. We are very aware of this. We’re going to have to do our best to grab those three points.”The Group E game between Benfica and Ajax will begin at 21:00 (CEST).last_img read more

17 Sep

San Diego Unifieds annual art exhibit performing arts award ceremony

first_img KUSI Newsroom, Posted: March 13, 2019 March 13, 2019 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Unified School District hosted its annual Student Art Exhibit today to showcase art from students around the districtThe exhibit included 640 pieces of art by students in transitional kindergarten through grade 12. Art from students at 12 high schools, 10 middle schools, 26 elementary schools are one K-8 school had their art featured in the exhibit.The district honored 16 students, teachers, staff members and parents with its Visual and Performing Arts Spotlight Award for outstanding contributions in the artistic fields. The four students receiving VAPA Spotlight Awards also received $250 scholarships.“As educators it is our responsibility to educate the whole child, and nurture our students’ artistic skills in order to unlock their genius,” said district Superintendent Cindy Marten. “Encouraging their success within the arts is just as important as reading and writing. We must learn to follow our creative instincts, experiment, try, fail, try again, be curious and go out and explore the world.” San Diego Unified’s annual art exhibit, performing arts award ceremony KUSI Newsroom Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more