“We have no idea why these galaxies grew so large so soon”

first_imgFive full-sized galaxies have been detected at the edge of the visible universe, reported Science Now.  This continues a trend over the last few years where astronomers have been detecting old objects at young ages (e.g., 07/25/2007, 09/24/2006, 08/18/2006, 03/31/2006).   “The galaxies, which are forming stars very rapidly, are big for their age, meaning that astronomers might have to rethink current ideas about galaxy formation.”    Rethinking looms big as a theme in the article.  The first stars were supposed to coalesce slowly into the first galaxies, but “this process was supposed to take billions of years.”  A team using data from Hubble, Spitzer and Keck telescopes confirmed these are Milky Way sized galaxies, not small members of a cluster.  “We have no idea why these galaxies grew so large so soon,” remarked Giovanni Fazio of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  “I think we still have a lot new to learn about what’s happening in the early universe,”This is not a surprise to creationists.  It is a surprise to big-bang secular cosmologists.  We hope the astronomers will rethink current ideas, but for significant progress, they will have to think outside the bang.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Promoting Constitutional Awareness with Play Your Part Ambassador Sihle Ndaba

first_imgOne of Brand South Africa’s domestic campaigns is the promotion of constitutional awareness, especially targeted at the youth. As such last week Brand South Africa visited Katleho Mpumelelo High School, in the far South of Johannesburg to share information on constitutional awareness. Accompanied by Play Your Part Ambassador, Sihle Ndaba, a multitalented, activist and actress,  who gave great emphasis on the importance of young people knowing their rights and understanding what the country’s constitution has to offer.           “The Constitution is the supreme law of our country – that is why it is essential that we all familiarise ourselves with its contents. It’s our goal that young people know and exercise these rights”, said Sihle in her welcome address to the learners.          The activation was an opportunity to engage learners on what the 16 days of activism campaign is all about and how learners need to  speak up against any form of abuse or violence whether  at home or at school so that they can get help. This is their constitutional right.“These kinds of activations are very important especially towards the festive season to motivate young people to understand their rights and taking care of each other. We are all aware of the social ills that young people face and this was to say to them they are not alone, they have the constitution on their side but everyone has to play their part and be willing to help,”, said Brand South Africa’s Stakeholder Relations Manager Ms Toni Gumede.Follow @PlayYourPartSA #Inspiredbymyconstitution #GetInvolved  to find out which school will be next and also share your thoughts.About Play Your Part:Play Your Part is a nationwide programme created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa.  It aims to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates and individuals, NGOs and government, churches and schools, from the young to the not-so-young.  It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.last_img read more

Tough life lessons from the 80s for a new generation of agricultural hardships

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest At 65, Les Imboden recently retired from farming after selling his operation that ran through a fair portion of southern Ohio. He is among the most financially successful farmers from Ohio in his generation and many of his successes (and failures) are rooted in the hard lessons he learned battling through the 1980s.“When I started farming, it was a way of life and when I said it was a business many people were offended by that statement in the 1980s,” Imboden said. “Farming is a wonderful way of life but you also have to pay the bills by treating it like a business. That seems like such an obvious statement now, but back in 1980 that is not how some people were looking at it.”Imboden’s hard advice for facing the present tough times in agriculture may still offend some in 2016 as a new generation of farmers face prices dipping below production costs, but sometimes those hardest-to-hear lessons can be the most valuable in challenging times. So, those who read on should prepare to be challenged.“I get calls and they are heart-wrenching. They are from people you would never expect. They don’t want people to know their farming operation is in trouble. I feel for these guys and their families and what they are about to go through. I totally empathize with them. I remember the thought of having to bail out of farming was terrible,” Imboden said. “People said the 80s couldn’t come back and I hope they don’t. I know most farms are financially better off heading into this, but still, it is going to be tough.”Imboden, who did not grow up on a farm, started farming in 1980.“I started farming at a really bad time and had no cushion. I was married and we had babies. I faced the humiliation of having to get hand-me-downs and buying thrift shop clothes for the kids. A man feels pride in providing for his family and when you can’t do that it hurts really bad,” he said. “I had young kids and I wondered how in the world I was going to make the $119,000 farm payment twice a year. Nobody should live like that. It consumed me. The tail was wagging the dog. The stress in the 80s was horrible. I was trying to make my farm work that financially needed $4 per bushel corn prices when market prices were $1.74. It just didn’t work. The era of massive consolidation had begun.“I learned several life lessons during the eighties that saved me financially. While scared to death, I am grateful that I survived the experience of that decade. So, here we are 36 years later, low $3 corn and high inputs. Cash flow is really challenging once again. The $7 corn and $16 beans are just a memory of the past golden years. Remember those statements about how we were in a new era? A new plateau? There were those of us with gray hair quietly saying, ‘Remember the 80s?’ Well, it depends if you survive the next few years if these are the very best of times or the worst of times. Some of you will survive and prosper; others will have to move on to a new life. Embrace the changes coming and prepare yourself. Survival of the financially fit wins out.” Address core issues firstImboden’s first piece of financial advice is not really financial at all.“It is extremely difficult to enhance your finances when core issues are at risk — your health, your relationship with your spouse and children. Have a core of solid friends that will tell you when you are headed in the wrong direction,” he said. “Have farming be a good part of your life but not your entire life. Did you get that?“I remember all too well not sleeping at night, worrying about how I was going to pay the bills. I was a young married guy with two children and I was mentally paralyzed about my finances. I was fighting depression. Depression is real and if left unchecked, it will ruin you, the farm and most importantly, it will destroy your family. Yes, I will never forget those days. Back then I certainly was not thankful that I was going through financially tough times. Additionally, that stress carried over into my relationship with my spouse and children. I regret that so very much. Selling out seemed like the worst possible option and I would be labeled a failure. So, I stubbornly pressed on. Everything we do has consequences, some good, some not. So, what can I offer as advice for those of you concerned about your financial future during these challenging times? Take a deep breath. Be thankful for what you have. Be realistic. Think faith, family and farm and in that order. I mean that!”With this as the basis for change and decision-making, here are more tips from Imboden’s “Times and change will surely show: History does repeat itself.” Farmland ownershipWhen I was at Ohio State, Carl Zulauf told the class: “You cannot afford to buy farmland.”Nobody loves to own farmland more than I do. But you must understand the price of farmland does not have to go up. Around the world there is plenty of ground that is able to sustain crops. Improved genetics have opened up new areas to produce viable crops. That is why we have $3 corn and it may become the new normal. I treated buying my farmland as a separate entity and I made sure that the cost of owning the farmland, including principle and interest, should never exceed what I could rent that land for. If you can do that it is a good investment. If you are paying more to own the land than what you can rent it for, you are better off renting it.Owning farmland is wonderful and I love it, but you have to separate out that emotion. If land is costing $4,000 or $10,000 or $12,000 an acre you still have to cash flow. If your main focus is to farm and produce crops or livestock, you need to control the land, but you don’t have to own the land to control it. I get that we want to own the land, but that comes with a huge cost. When things are like they are right now, your banker will want to know how you are going to pay for it. I went through that. I sold everything I owned to make some farm payments. Did it work, yes, but it was a good thing we had government supports or I wouldn’t have made it. Controlling the land is the important thing, and you can do that by leasing it.But, you have to put an asterisk with this. On the other side, you should understand there will be times of negative returns and sometimes you need to find a place of financial safety for your money. Where can you put money that is safe? It is not only the return on your investment; it is the return OF your investment. Farmland can be a safe place to park your money. You may not get a positive return within five years, but it still should be a relatively safe place. Everything is cyclical and we have started the slide down. How far it goes, I don’t know. My guess is 30%. Farmland may have a negative return for a while, but it is a safe haven for capital investment long term. You have to decide if you are a farmland investor or a farm production operator. They are two very different things. You can be both, but you have to realize that is what you are doing when you buy farmland.And when you do own farmland, you must communicate with your banker. That really helped me. Bankers wanted to work with me. They had a portfolio of non-performing loans. They wanted me to farm as efficiently as I could and pay them what I could. It got to the point in ‘87 or ‘88 that I had people asking me to farm their land without even paying rent because they couldn’t get anyone else to do it. Will we get to those days again? Probably not. But it was a wakeup call for me.Don’t get me wrong — I love owning farmland and ownership served me well, but that was not planned, it just happened. Treat land ownership as an investment, and it must compete with renting land, or you might get into trouble. You approach land ownership like owning commercial real estate, it either cash flows or not. Understand farmland cap rate. EquipmentFarmers are materialistic. Sorry guys, but we are. Should you own, rent, or lease equipment or maybe hire someone to do that particular operation rather than tying up capital? I like nice new paint as much as anyone else. My accountant, who is not from a farm, asked me if I realized how much I had tied up in equipment. She asked me how much I used the 4240, because it looked like I had only put 15 hours on it last year. When you start looking at things like that it makes you think.I came up with a general, simple set of rules. If I haven’t used something in the last year, it needs to go down the road. What are the absolute must-have pieces of equipment on the farm? For me it was the planter, sprayer and combine. I left out tractors. Those big honking four-wheel drive tractors are wonderful, but you might lease them for a month with warranties. We used to rent Caterpillar tractors in the spring for 30 to 60 days at a time with a full warranty. That hands down made more sense than owning one. It cost maybe $4,500 a month or something. You don’t need to spend $300,000 for something you’re going to use 200 hours a year.Does it take away the pride of ownership? Yeah, it does. But what is your goal in life? Is it to have a bunch of equipment in the shed or is it to have a good return on your investment, take a vacation and send your kids to a good college? It’s about choices. I know people who have more equipment than a John Deere dealer. I know one guy that had more than $25 million in equipment at one point. I asked him why. “Because I like it.” Well, that is an answer, and if that works for you that’s fine, but if you want to be efficient, that might be a problem.Moe Russell pushed me to get more efficient with my ratio of equipment cost to production. The first time he challenged me I said there was no way to do what he said. He gave be some numbers and I think at first I was at something like seven times the ratio he wanted to see. He got my attention. I argued and said there was no way but he gave me names and a phone number to call. After that, it actually became fun for me to get that ratio down as low as I could. I think my goal was to get my harvest cost per acre down to $7 and we did it. But we had to get more acres off per hour and it actually meant buying more expensive equipment — like an 18-row head for example.We did look at sharing equipment, which looks good on paper but was not very realistic. There is some value in the efficiency of ownership. I own a boat, which is a horrible investment. I would be better just to go rent one. I understand that becoming more efficient with owning equipment is really hard, especially if you’re an antique tractor owner like I was and you like to go out and polish that stuff. But it is all about getting the job done and deciding if you need to own that stuff or not. Embrace change and failure with a positive attitudeIn farming we have to have a positive attitude to plant a seed and hope it makes it into the grain bin andLes ImbodenPhoto by Stacie McCracken, Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association.doesn’t rot. But sometimes we can get a little too complacent and we’re a little too sure of ourselves. We need a failure now and then. Getting knocked on your butt every once in a while is not a bad thing, if you learn from it. What just happened and why did that happen? How do I keep that from happening the next time? You need controversy to shake you up a little bit so that you can think differently. It is a choice to be negative or positive. Being positive takes a lot less energy and makes life so much easier. You have to not only be ready for change, you have to embrace change and enjoy change. It is going to happen so you may as well use that change to make things better. Learn from othersNetworking with successful people is contagious and life enhancing. People from far away often offer the best perspectives about your farm, your life and give the best suggestions. I had to go outside my state and outside of the industry to find solutions that would work for ag. Networking and peer review groups with people who were business-serious really helped me. Talk to people you trust who push the envelope hard. A geographic separation was helpful. I met with a peer group three days a week, twice a year, and we would tear a place apart with a SWAT analysis. We’d interview the owners and the employees and the wives. People wanted to tell their stories and share them with us. We’d have employees tell us things like, “Yeah my boss is an idiot. He doesn’t know what he is doing and he won’t do this and he doesn’t get it.” When you do things like that it makes you think and look at your operation a lot differently.Alan Lines, an OSU ag economist, entered my life in 1985. He tactfully told me I had to change or I would not financially survive. I certainly did not want to hear that and I fought it for a while before I admitted he was right. OSU LEAD I in 1985 and 1986 pushed my buttons and really made me uncomfortable, but that’s what I needed. That was the beginning of me networking with people possessing much different values and perspectives about life and farming. It was the beginning of a new way of thinking for me. Thank goodness. It was a close call and I almost didn’t make it.TEPEN Group — a Top Producer peer review group — created a tremendous networking and a brotherhood that was absolutely life changing. Ironically, it was that group that brought me to the idea that it might be a good time to sell out. They were right. The success of TEPEN was in part because our members lived and farmed far enough away from each other as to not pose a threat. We were not competing for land, or employees, and we promoted openness and honesty and most importantly, trust. Honest assessment and vision made healthy growth possible.Make a network of friends that last a lifetime. Have family meetings away from the farm. Reach out for suggestions. Have ag-related mentors and non-ag mentors as well. Learn to think differently — outside the box. Be respectful and considerate of others, especially those with opinions different than your own. “Yes men” are your enemy. Seminars are often really good. Take good notes. Type them up and review them every once in a while. Continuing your education, both in agricultural and culturally, is vital to seeing the future and adjusting for challenges.Finding new and different attitudes makes a huge difference. I often learned from people several states away or from people in completely different occupations, especially those from outside of agriculture. Traveling really opened up my eyes to seeing things differently and it tore down my thinking that I was always right and that this was a world of consumers who must buy my corn, at my price. They don’t. Get away to hear different perspectives. It is business healthy! Business plan/life planWe Americans want instant fixes. Just add water and stir. But instant fixes rarely are permanent repairs. Long-term successes come from foundation building that we often are in too big of a hurry to concentrate on.Think several steps ahead, several years ahead. Think several strategies and have a plan B and an exit strategy. Yes, have an exit strategy. As a pilot you are taught to always scan for a safe place to land even when things are going well. Believe it or not, there is life beyond farming.It always comes down to basics. Design a plan and execute the plan. I am always looking for the next thing. Think strategically.Make a conscious decision to improve your future. Be realistic. Write down goals and improvements that need to be made. Review them. Make adjustments. Life has curves and setbacks. Don’t dwell on them. Work through or around them. Communicate them with your farm family. Manage riskThere are so many types of risk to manage. Everything you do is about how to minimize risks and how much it costs to protect against those risks.The most valuable areas of risk management depend on your situation. I had the largest irrigated farm in Ohio. Most of my farms were very drought-prone soils. I managed my drought risk by investing in irrigation, which increased yields and lowered weather risk.Have a marketing plan to address price risk. You’ve got to get over the idea of hitting the market high and avoiding the low. Nobody does that every time. You’ve got to have help. I don’t need the bragging rights of always hitting the top. I just want to be in the top third. How do I defend my position in price risk? Futures and options are how I did that. I knew what the worst-case scenario was and I knew exactly what it would cost me to lower my risk. It was so much better for me to do that than to be on futures or just wait on cash for when I felt it was a good price. I did basis contracts too. Marketing should be a top priority but seldom is.Think total risk management all the time — financial risk, marketing risk, liability risk, public relation risk, employee risk, regulation risk, family relationship risk, health risk, spouse risk. Could you end up with a divorce? Better think about it. Never take your marriage for granted. Do marital enrichment classes. Date your spouse. I may have been smart on some things, but I was dumb in this department. As Clint Eastwood said, “Just find someone you hate and buy them a house. It’s easier and a lot less painful.” Never in my life did I ever expect the biggest threat to my farm career would be a divorce. Better take this risk seriously. It was never going to happen to me. After 35 years of marriage, all of a sudden, I was divorced. Never say never. Do not rely on the governmentFortunately, in the 1980s there was help from USDA programs, but relying on government help was a huge mistake. We farmed for the program and that was the wrong reason. I remember various segments in agriculture did not have the financial safety net that grain farmers enjoyed. I remember seeing non-farm business such as equipment manufacturers and the steel and auto industries close up in the mid-80s. Farmers were graced by the public then and there were other segments that went out because the public did not endear them. Not fair, but true. That was the wakeup call for me regarding global economics and the politics of international and domestic subsidies. Rely on your abilities. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, “What do I bring to my farm operation? Could someone else do it better?” If so, your days farming are numbered. Set priorities and define successAlways put things into perspective. Remember, your farm should not be running your life. Your farm operation should be a part of your life, but not all of it. Some of us German-blooded farmers tend to love land more than our families. Not kidding! Better step back and prioritize what is really important in your life.Many people say I am successful, but that depends on your definition of success. Define your definition of success. Separate successful farming from success as an individual. If your goal is being a certain net worth or farming so many acres or serving on several boards — fine. It’s a personal choice not for me to decide. I had certain goals written down and unfortunately they were all financial. Big mistake. I neglected more important goals. When you take your last breath, hopefully you made a difference for those left behind. Make memories that last. Life is short and unexpected things change the landscape quickly.I never wanted to not be farming. I wanted to drop in my field. That is how I wanted to die.Recently, I had many life-altering challenges. Many shook my core foundation. Sometimes, I dwelled on the negative and reacted poorly. In the past two years I have been divorced, faced cancer and radiation, multiple major back surgeries, kidney surgeries, and several other health issues. I sold the last of my farms last month. I have moved out of state and am starting another, very different, phase of my life. Some things I look forward to, others, not so much. Hopefully I will be able to pilot my plane again. I love touring on my motorcycle. But my health has suspended those activities at least for now. I did not expect any of these things that hit me in the last three years, but nonetheless they consumed my life.I waited too long to address some of these problems because it wasn’t a convenient time. I told myself I had to plant. I had to harvest. I can’t have an operation now. I kept putting things off. Well your body and your relationships can only take that for so long before you go too far and then it’s not fixable.I have a grand piano in my house and for me to not feel the ends of my fingers and not be able to play the piano is devastating. I love to do that but my stubbornness in not taking care of myself when I should came with a huge price.I am in Tennessee now. I have a boat, jet ski and a plane and I enjoy life. But my most enjoyment ever, other than the thrill of having children, is standing out in a perfect, beautiful blue-green corn field three days after putting nitrogen on it. That is heaven to me. To stand out there watching the irrigator go around and almost hear the corn go, “Ahhhhhh” — that is the best of the best. I am so grateful that I had that opportunity.Don’t start your bucket list when you are 85 or when you find out you have cancer. Smell the roses along the way. Don’t be afraid to change your life. Make corrections. Health and happiness are fleeting. Never take them for granted. Love your spouse like she may not be there tomorrow. Encourage your kids to live THEIR passion, not yours. Life is short. Don’t waste it dwelling on negative times or negative peopleJust because you work hard 20 hours a day doesn’t mean you are going to survive. In Brazil, I met people who will work all day for a bottle of booze and $6. People tell me that’s not fair. Well, it may not be, but that is reality. You can’t whine your way out of a problem. You have to face reality and figure out how to compete. If I had not hit that wall in ’85, ‘86 and ‘87 and had I not been scared as badly as I was, I would have just been average, and inevitably I would have been weeded out.Concentrate on your core competencies — the things you do better than anyone else. If you are not among the best in something, you better change, or get out. Exceed expectations for yourself, for suppliers, customers, employees, investors, and most importantly, for your family. Become the very best you can be. Never let down from that horizon. Never.May your rows be straight and the rains come at just the right time. Good luck and God bless.last_img read more

Get ready for some cricketing action as ICC World Twenty20 kicks off in Sri Lanka today

first_imgThe moment one steps inside the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, it becomes obvious that one is in a cricket-mad nation.Hanging from the ceiling is a huge red banner that reads “20 times the welcome”, followed by the flags of the participating nations and the West Indies Cricket Board and Cricket Ireland.The ICC World Twenty20 that begins on Tuesday is indeed the flavour of the island nation, and cardboard cut-outs of the Sri Lankan cricketers adorn the entire 35km stretch of the road between the airport and the city centre.People from all walks of life are discussing Sri Lanka’s prospects of finally breaking the jinx of finishing runners-up in two successive ODI World Cups and the 2009 World T20, and they’ll get the opportunity to see how well their heroes have prepared on the opening day when they take on Zimbabwe in Hambantota on Tuesday.Sri Lanka is one of the toughest places to tour, not just because of the conditions but also the home team’s mastery over them.Featuring the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, ICC Cricketer of the Year Kumar Sangakkara, captain Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara and Ajantha Mendis, there is no doubt they will be among the favourites for the title.However, the fourth edition promises to be the most open in the short history of the World Twenty20, with six to seven teams of the 12 looking strong on paper.An overkill of India-Sri Lanka matches in the past few years hasn’t reduced the fans’ eagerness to see the superstars from the neighbouring country in action, with Monday’s India-Pakistan warm-up match being a talking point for many here.advertisementIndia’s batting looks capable enough with Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni showing form in the two warm-up games, as Monday’s performance showed, the bowlers will need to step it up a few notches.Pakistan look strong, especially after their build-up series win against Australia, but inconsistency remains their Achilles heel.Sri Lanka’s Group C mates South Africa are the other contenders for the ‘favourites’ tag.They have got together a squad that has hardly any chinks, but the other ‘C’ word- choking that they will need to lay to rest.West Indies players have often been accused of being Twenty20 mercenaries, but their best lineup can give any team nightmares about facing them.Big-hitting stars like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo are expected to be backed up well by the all-round capabilities of Andre Russell and the ICC’s Emerging Player of the Year, mystery spinner Sunil Narine.The Australians and the English can never be discounted either, no matter how fragile their new-look sides may seem on paper.The format is one that is imprinted on the mind of every Indian cricket fan like a recurring nightmare since the first round exit in the 2007 ODI World Cup- four groups of three teams each leading into Super Eights- and one mistake can draw curtains on the big teams’ campaigns.Three factors that each team will need to take into account are the pitches, which aren’t expected to be as spinner friendly as usual; the weather, which is expected to be fickle over the next week or so; and the improved ability of countries like Bangladesh and Ireland to cause upsets.last_img read more

The 2019 NBA Draft Class Is Short By Basketball Standards

Neil Paine contributed research. It isn’t that bigs are no longer effective in the pace-and-space modern NBA. As we previously noted, 21 of the league’s 50 most valuable players by VORP two seasons ago stood 6-foot-10 or taller, a high for the league since the ABA merger in 1976. This season, it was up to 26 players.In a league that seemingly gets longer by the minute, it’s telling that switchability — rather than height — is expected to dominate this year’s draft. This year’s NBA Finals pitted 6-foot-7 Draymond Green against 7-foot-1 Marc Gasol, and although the latter won the championship, the incoming archetype more closely mirrors the former. If things play out as ESPN’s latest mock draft suspects, this year’s lottery will feature a bevy of oversized guards, guys capable of being slotted at either guard or wing, bigs with the lateral quickness necessary in modern NBA defense … and one 7-footer.No longer can bigs be immobile. They must now move laterally at a high rate, tread water against guards on pick-and-roll sets and defend multiple positions on the interior. Positional flexibility is here to stay — look no further than Thursday night’s draft. A year after an NBA draft dominated by very large human beings, the draft class to be announced Thursday night should look a lot … shorter. Big men are obviously still alive and well in the NBA, but this class illustrates that the league now focuses on positional flexibility and finds itself firmly rooted in a style of play that prioritizes shooting, spacing and length over height.According to rankings from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, there isn’t a single player taller than 6-foot-7 projected to be taken in the first five picks and just one 7-footer forecast for the lottery. The average height of the projected Top 10 selections is 78.8 inches, or nearly 6-foot-7. While that may be well above the national average, by NBA beanstalk standards this would be the fifth-shortest Top 10 of any draft since 1985. It’s also a stark contrast to 12 months ago, when 7-foot-1 DeAndre Ayton went No. 1 overall, five of the first seven selections were bigs,1That list doesn’t include 6-foot-7 Luka Doncic, who is among the league’s tallest point guards. and six lottery picks were at least 6-foot-10. This season, only one projected lottery pick exceeds 82 inches.But just because this year’s draft has downsized doesn’t mean the incoming crop is all Lilliputian guards. The class is full of versatile wings, and surefire top selection Zion Williamson is an athletic marvel unlike anyone in recent memory. In fact, this draft class is perhaps the clearest encapsulation of the league’s transition away from the lumbering frontcourt.Take Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, for example, who is 6-foot-8 and among 20 players invited to sit in the green room. Last season, coach Mark Few tasked him with protecting the rim. Clarke proceeded to set the single-season blocks record and was the backline of the most dominant shot-blocking unit Few has had in his 20 years in Spokane. “I’m not 7 foot,” Clarke told FiveThirtyEight, “but I have really, really good timing by the basket. Even though I’m 6-8, I feel like I play like I’m much taller.”Juxtapose that with Tacko Fall, a 7-foot-6 skyscraper who will likely become the tallest player in the NBA since Yao Ming.2The son of Manute Bol, the tallest player in NBA history, is not the tallest person in this draft class. Bol Bol is only 7-foot-3. He’s coming off one of the most efficient scoring careers in the history of college basketball, but there’s a fairly good chance that he won’t be drafted Thursday night, a notion that would stun front office execs of yesteryear.Indeed, there was a time when the most coveted player in an NBA draft was a 7-foot, back-to-the-basket force, capable of controlling the game on both ends of the floor. From 1980 to 1992, nine of the top overall selections were at least 6-foot-10, with seven3Joe Barry Carroll in 1980, Ralph Sampson in 1983, Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984, Patrick Ewing in 1985, Brad Daugherty in 1986, David Robinson in 1987 and Shaquille O’Neal in 1992. checking in at 7 feet. But the NBA has changed in myriad ways since the draft was first televised in 1980. Nowadays, even the positions are different, as the 1-5 designation has largely be replaced by three options: guard, wing, big. As such, the coveted prototype for each classification has changed dramatically.“Most high school and college coaches would tell a big to stay back and protect the rim,” said Justin Zormelo, a personal trainer who specializes in analytics and has trained NBA All-Stars. “As you can see in the NBA, you can’t do that anymore.”Slow and plodding — like Roy Hibbert — is out. Quick, long and athletic — like Giannis Antetokounmpo — is in. It’s no coincidence that most of the players in the top half of this draft have been lauded for their ability to switch on defense or play multiple positions on the floor.“Being able to move laterally is important,” Zormelo said. “Understanding your length. Being able to play in different areas of the floor rather than just setting up in front of the basket. Developing a shooting touch. This is now critical.”Let’s look at the Top 5 frontcourt selections in this year’s draft: Williamson, De’Andre Hunter, Sekou Doumbouya, Jaxson Hayes and Rui Hachimura. Their average height: 80.8 inches. Compare that to previous years, and there’s a clear disparity. read more

Nissan is testing its weird InvisibletoVisible tech in Japan using 5G

first_img 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better Auto Tech Future Cars 39 Photos 5G Nissan Tags Nissan 0 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealouscenter_img Share your voice 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger value The Nissan IMQ concept hints at the company’s future designs More From Roadshow Post a comment Nissan came to CES 2019 with a system it called Invisible-to-Visible (I2V), a pie-in-the-sky imagining of future autonomous-vehicle cabins. While it seemed far off (real far off) at the time, the company is already testing aspects of the system in Japan with a little help from a major telecom.Nissan announced Tuesday that it’s testing its I2V technology at the Grandrive proving ground in Yokosuka, Japan. Because data and data processing factors heavily into I2V’s platform, the automaker partnered with Japanese telecom company NTT Docomo, which lends its 5G connectivity to the equation.This joint field test serves a few different purposes. First, it’ll be a test of how well NTT Docomo’s 5G network can handle the data being sent wirelessly to and from the vehicle. Nissan will also see how well its digital avatar communication system works. Yes, you read that correctly.Enlarge ImageIt’s hard to take a picture of invisible data connections, so, here’s the van Nissan’s using. Nissan I2V is some weird, wild stuff. For a quick overview, it basically takes in a whole bunch of data from the world around the car and brings that inside, highlighting important things like pedestrians, road signs or another car lurking in an obscured alleyway. That data can go to the cloud, where later, it can be used to help those in other vehicles. The real weird part is Metaverse, which beams three-dimensional avatars into the vehicle that can communicate with the occupants. It could be used for a variety of things — Nissan envisions professional drivers offering advice on a tricky line, or out-of-towners talking with locals to find a good place to eat. Heck, it could even bring your family along for the ride (even if you specifically left them at home).While the 3D avatars probably aren’t part of the equation yet, the less weird stuff sounds pretty close to what other automakers are doing in the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) space, so it’s good to see Nissan moving forward with this tech, which can really help drivers both now and in our far-off, 3D-avatar future.last_img read more

Using labour arbitrage to bring in Indian workers a mistake Cisco chief

first_imgJohn ChambersReutersTaking people from India to the US on work visas to take advantage of lower labour arbitrage may be a mistake, and companies must look at creating jobs in both countries, Cisco Executive Chairman John Chambers said on Thursday.Chambers is in India to announce the creation of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) which he says will take the relationship between the two countries, their companies and people to the next level, financial daily Economic Times reported.”You can’t go in and take a whole bunch of H1-B visas and displace American workers for a lower cost. That is just a mistake,” Chambers said. “The jobs which are being created have to be created in both the countries. It is not a win-lose (situation); both the countries can have dramatic job creation by working together,” he added.He said there are many examples of partnerships between two companies that have led to more jobs in both the US and India, and there is a need to communicate such instances better, rather than rare cases of job losses that are an exception. That’s an area where the avatar of US-India Business Council (USIBC) will be able to help by constant messaging etc., Chambers said. John Chambers and Narendra ModiReutersThe 67 year American executive has been a long-time supporter of India and an admirer of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I see the Prime Minister as one of the top leaders that I have ever met in my life. He has got a vision and a strategy; he knows how to execute them for India’s 1.3 billion people,” Chambers told to Mint in an interview.Asking about his working relations with present government, he said Modi knows how to form win-win partnerships that most people don’t. “He is moving faster than any leader in the world. I would give India an A in terms of progress over the last three years,” Chambers added.last_img read more

Will Jaitleys thumbs up to blockchain lead to govts own cryptocurrency

first_imgFinance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday that the cryptocurrency is not a legal tender in India.Creative CommonsThe Narendra Modi-led  NDA government reiterated its stand on cryptocurrencies as finance minister Arun Jaitley said in his Budget speech on Thursday that digital currencies are illegal in India, and that the government was not going to recognise them.The move is seen as an effort to control the proliferation of cryptocurrencies by the government, which has repeatedly warned investors in the country against the dangers of investing in digital currencies like Bitcoin. Jaitley’s comments, however, didn’t come as a surprise since the government was expected to announce measures to regulate cryptocurrency in India.”Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender and the government discourages its use. However, the government will look at the utilisation of blockchain,” Jaitley said in his Budget speech in Parliament, adding that the technology can help further boost the Digital India campaign. The Great India BudgetIBTimes IndiaAlthough the finance minister didn’t provide any details about how the government is planning to utilise the blockchain technology, industry experts believe that its adoption can be encouraging for the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector.”The government’s decision to explore the usage of blockchain technology, a shared digital ledger which has been fast finding favour with financial intermediaries, will help ease credit flows to MSMEs since it can track and record each and every transaction of individuals and enterprises on a shared network,” Vinay Kalantri, founder and managing director of The Mobile Wallet, told International Business Times, India in an email statement.The government’s decision to adopt the blockchain technology has also sparked fresh speculation that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) could eventually consider having its own cryptocurrency.The central bank, which is apparently uncomfortable with the non-fiat nature of the conventional virtual currencies, is already said to be looking at the possibility of a fiat cryptocurrency that can become the digital counterpart of the Indian rupee. Some experts also believe that the government is not entirely averse to cryptocurrencies.”The announcement on the cryptocurrency by the FM should not be misinterpreted to mean the cryptocurrency is going to be discouraged by the Government. The intention is more likely to regulate the circulation to avoid its use for illegal transactions,” Rashmi Deshpande, associate partner, Khaitan & Co, told IBTimes India, in an email statement. Is Bitcoin really a bubble?Creative CommonsHowever, the future of cryptocurrency exchanges remains uncertain in India. Some recent reports have revealed that several banks had frozen accounts of such exchanges in the country while the Registrar of Companies (ROC) had stopped registering companies that intended to act like cryptocurrency exchanges.”Businesses engaged in this will have to evaluate future prospects, but it has always been uncertain how Indian conservative monetary and fiscal policies will view this alternate form of currency,” said Sameer Sah, associate partner, Khaitan & Co.Thanks to the rise and rise of Bitcoin in 2017, cryptocurrencies have gained immense popularity globally over the past few months. However, the so-called Bitcoin craze has also come under government’s scrutiny as it can be used to evade tax or lure unwary investors to put money into Ponzi schemes.There have also been several instances when cyber attackers have hacked into investors’ accounts to steal a huge amount of money. A successful implementation of blockchain or paving way for RBI’s own cryptocurrency, therefore, require more clarification on several factors ranging from the KYC and transferability to ownership and security.”It will be important to understand the investment and longer-term strategic thinking that this new technology will demand from the Central Government,” J A Chowdary, special chief secretary and IT advisor to the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, told IBTimes India.”The government must deliberate the use of blockchain for smart contracts and blockchain-based KYC which will bring security, efficiency, and speed to a wide range of services and processes,” Chowdary, who is also the chairman and group CEO of Andhra Pradesh Electronics and IT Agency, added.last_img read more

Russia China with Bangladesh over Rohingya crisis FM

first_imgForeign minister AH Mahmood Ali. File PhotoForeign minister AH Mahmood Ali on Wednesday said the international community is much closer to Bangladesh than ever before over the Rohingya crisis which, he claims, an outcome of its diplomacy, reports UNB.”We’re working and the results are visible,” he told a press conference at the foreign ministry.The minister said there is no reason to think that China and Russia are against Bangladesh or in favour of Myanmar, making it clear that these two countries are with Bangladesh.Mahmood Ali said all the countries supported the Kofi Annan Commission’s report which means all the countries are with Bangladesh.”It’s not so easy,” the foreign minister said indicating that the solution to the Rohingya crisis will not come overnight.”We’re working to find a peaceful solution. We’ve kept nothing left. If necessary, we’ll send special envoys (to specific countries),” he added.Explaining progress over the Rohingya issue, Mahmood Ali said there had been no open meeting at the UN Security Council (due to opposition from members) in the past. Now such meetings on the issue are being held. This is also a progress.”The foreign minister said he will go to Myanmar after the home minister’s visit.He mentioned that two MoUs will be signed during the home minister’s Myanmar visit. “We’ll be able to resolve border-related problems [as well]. “Over 590,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh since 25 August amid relentless persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque and senior officials of the ministry were present at the press briefing.last_img read more