9 Dec

What I Learned Writing 2,000 Blog Posts

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now The blog metrics plugin in my WordPress install reports that this is my 2,000th blog post. It tells me that the words that I have written total 1,472,090 (but that plugin doesn’t count the 100 or so newsletters that I have written over the last 2 years). Here is what I’ve learned.I have been learning. There is no better way to discover what you know and what you believe that tops writing. The act of writing forces you to think things through. It forces you to make decisions. You are what you write, and you become what you write at the same time. I am still learning.I have been practicing. I am still not a great writer. But I am better than I was when I started writing daily, five years ago. It is nearly impossible not to gain some greater competency when you do something deliberately every day for years. I have been practicing writing, and I have been practicing what I write. All the great masters were practicing. You can practice too.I have been growing. I am a different person than I was five years ago. I have grown both personally and professionally, and a good part of that growth has come through writing and posting here, as well as the work that has come to me through this vehicle. Growing is something you do forever.I have been serving. I still hear from some people who reject the idea that you should share your ideas freely. They believe everything is a secret unless and until someone pays you. I disagree. Every week I receive emails from people who have been helped by something that I have shared here. Sharing is one way you make a contribution.I have been practicing awareness. You don’t know how many great ideas pass through you until you start writing every day. Once you start to need ideas, you start to become aware of just how many good (and bad, and fair, and exceptional) ideas pass through you. The demand for ideas creates a vigilance, and constant awareness (and a notebook). There is power in noticing what has your attention.I have been improvising. I am still improvising. My plan was to write every day, and other than a list of big ideas, I’ve had nothing else to guide me, except for a few role models. You don’t have to wait until you have the perfect plan to start. You just have to start.I have been making a ruckus. With a hat tip to Seth Godin. I have shared my ideas and my art. I have created work and put it out into the world. Seth always talks about the fear of being judged, and you will be criticized. But the people you want to reach will find you, and you them.I have created a body of work. What I have written is my work. The first book to come from the ideas here will be printed in 2015. But there are a half a dozen more books that will follow, all of which have come from work that started here. There are also the roots of some of the frameworks and methodologies I have created here. Your work is trapped inside you until you free it.I have been building relationships. I have made new friends. I have reconnected with old friends. I have developed new business relationships, many that have helped me create new relationships with people from around the world. There is nothing more important than relationships, and the people who you need to know and who need to know you can be anywhere on Earth.last_img read more

3 Dec

Now, a bridge collapses near Siliguri

first_imgA bridge collapsed near Siliguri in Darjeeling district on Friday morning, injuring a truck driver, West Bengal Minister Rabindranath Ghosh said.The truck, which was crossing the bridge, was hanging from the broken portion of the structure that connects Manganj area to Siliguri, a major city in north Bengal.No other vehicle was plying at the time of the collapse. The truck driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital and discharged after administration of first aid.”The truck driver suffered minor injuries and his condition is stable now. The bridge, built by the local Zilla Parishad [district council] is meant only for small vehicles and ambulances. However heavy vehicles such as trucks carrying construction material often cross the bridge at night. This, along with lack of maintenance, caused the collapse,” Mr. Ghosh, who is North Bengal Development Minister, told The Hindu.The bridge, in Phansidewa subdivision, is about 75 metre long and was constructed 15 years ago. Locals blamed poor maintenance of the bridge as the reason for the collapse.This is the second bridge collapse incident in West Bengal this week. A portion of the Majerhat Bridge on an arterial road in Kolkata collapsed on September 4.An bridge under construction on NH 31D near Siliguri reportedly collapsed on August 11.(With inputs from PTI)last_img read more

3 Dec

Parrikar discharged from Goa hospital; to continue treatment at home

first_imgAiling Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar was on Tuesday evening discharged from the State-run Goa Medical College & Hospital(GMC), where he was being treated since Saturday for complications arising from advanced pancreatic cancer he has been suffering from.According to hospital sources, Mr. Parrikar was admitted to the GMC on Saturday after he suffered internal bleeding. “Chief Minister has been discharged from GMC. His health parameters are stable. Will continue with his treatment at home,” a CMO statement issued on Tuesday evening said. After he was discharged from the hospital, he was taken to his private residence near here. The former Defence Minister was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in February last year.In the wake of the Indian Air Force action on Tuesday, a tweet by @Manoharparrikar said, “I salute the #IndianAirForce for its daring operations. It is a testimony to the IAF’s unparalleled strike capabilities. The new India under Shri. @narendramodi ji believes in its forces, & makes no compromise on terrorism & national security.”last_img read more

17 Nov

Dubai Test: Haris Sohail’s maiden hundred gives Pakistan upper hand vs Australia

first_imgHaris Sohail struck his maiden international century as Pakistan piled up 482 runs in their first innings on Day 2 of the first Test against Australia in Dubai on Monday.Sohail, playing only his 6th Test, scored 110 off 240 deliveries and was involved in a 150-run stand with Asad Shafiq (80) for the fifth wicket.Resuming on 255/3 on the second day, Pakistan were reduced to 260/4 before Shafiq joined forces with Sohail to revive Pakistan’s innings.The all-important stand was broken by debutant Marnus Labuschagne, who made Shafiq his maiden international victim.”I can’t explain how happy I am to score my first Test hundred,” Sohail said. “My mother told me last night that she wanted to see me scoring a century today.”Dubai Test: Day 2 Highlights | ScorecardAustralia negotiated the 13 overs and were 30/0 at stumps with Usman Khawaja not out on 17 and Aaron Finch batting on 13. Australia still trail Pakistan by 452 runs.Peter Siddle, pick of the Australian bowlers with 3/58, got the lone success in the first session when he had nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas clean bowled.Both Pakistan batsmen batted more fluently against the second new ball in the afternoon session as Australia’s bowlers couldn’t trouble them with either seam or spin.Part-time leg-spinner Labuschagne finally broke through just before the tea break when he lured Shafiq to drive the ball away from his body and got the thick outside edge to Paine behind the wickets.Australia did well through some smart ground fielding in the last session as Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 64 runs with Babar Azam (4) and captain Sarfraz Ahmed (15) both getting run outs.advertisementFinch dropped Ahmed in the first slip but made amends through a direct throw at the non-striker’s end to run out the Pakistan captain.Sohail, who raised his century off 223 balls, tried his favorite cut shot off Nathan Lyon (2/114) and was caught behind as Australia struck with regular intervals.Mitchell Starc, who toiled for over 32 overs and gave away 90 runs, finally got his first wicket when last man Yasir Shah got a thin edge while Siddle had Bilal Asif clean bowled.(With inputs from AP)last_img read more

24 Oct

How to Start Homebrewing, According to a Homebrewer

first_imgLee Heidel/The ManualWhat new bourbon are we pumped about? Which hiking trail are we exploring? Why is the next supercar so cool? The Manual is dedicated to helping men live a more engaged life. Each week, our editors and guests get together for a round-table discussion about what’s new, exciting, and unique in the men’s lifestyle world. So pop open your favorite brew, step into your man cave, and start streaming.For this week’s episode of Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Manual Podcast, the round-table — managing editor Nicole Raney, food and drink editor Sam Slaughter, and the inimitable host, Greg Nibler — is joined by Parker Hall, staff writer for The Manual’s brother site, Digital Trends.If you’ve never homebrewed a beer before, it might seem intimidating. What equipment do you need? How much does it cost? Am I going to screw up? Hall, an award-winning homebrewer and self-proclaimed beer nerd, tackles all of those questions and more. Should you use malt extract when brewing a beer? What the hell is malt extract, anyway? What about competitions — should you enter them and if so, when? Why Fresh Hops Are Essentially the Magic Sauce of Craft Beer The world of homebrewing is a rich one filled with tons of good people, countless gallons of beer, and a  slew of handy maxims. If any of those things sound good to you, check out this episode and find out if you’re ready to start brewing your own beer.If you have a question for The Manual podcast crew, give us a shout at podcast@themanual.com — we’re always around! You can check out Hall’s beer writing here and his tech writing here.Further ReadingHow to Start Homebrewing Beer on the Cheap3 Best Counter-Top Homebrewing Appliances‘Brewing Eclectic IPA’ is a New Book For Hophead HomebrewersBeards, Booze, and Bacon: Craft Beer Trends to Look Forward to in 2019 Learning About Finger Wrestling, Mountain Cheese, and More Fun from Germany Kicking It With Timber Joey of the Portland Timbers Soccer Team center_img A Rev-ealing Conversation About IndyCar Racing with Takuma Sato Editors’ Recommendations Talking Rum, Cocktails, and Tiki with The Bamboo Room’s Kevin Bearylast_img read more

22 Oct

Committee Delivers Recommendations on Municipal Expenses

first_img requiring municipalities and villages to post expenses of chief administrative officers and elected officials online strengthening expense claim policies and practices including requiring municipalities to have expense and hospitality policies requiring municipalities and villages to have a code of conduct strengthening municipal audits and audit committees clarifying the role of the Department of Municipal Affairs in ensuring municipalities comply with the Municipal Government Act Municipalities will soon post hospitality expenses online, based on a recommendation from a committee appointed to examine municipal expense policies and practices. Municipal Affairs Minister Zach Churchill supports the recommendations of the Joint Municipal Accountability and Transparency Committee released today, April 21. The committee included representatives from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Association of Municipal Administrators Nova Scotia, the Association of Nova Scotia Villages and the Department of Municipal Affairs. “I want to thank the committee for their due diligence in looking at this important issue,” said Mr. Churchill. “The work of this committee was meant to further support our municipalities in being open and transparent and I’m extremely pleased with their report.” The report contains key recommendations based on practices already used by some Nova Scotia municipalities. Recommendations include: The report notes additional opportunities to strengthen accountability, including performance management practices for chief administrative officers and the use of per diems as a standard practice. Although not specifically recommended by the committee, the Department of Municipal Affairs will require municipalities to post their hospitality expenses online. “As municipal leaders we want to do our best to be accountable to the people we serve,” said Bruce Morrison, warden of the Municipality of the County of Victoria and chair of the committee. “Preparing this report was an excellent opportunity to come together to highlight best practices and ways we can further support municipalities in expense reporting.” Amendments to the Municipal Government Act will be brought forward this spring to implement most of the committee’s recommendations. The full Joint Municipal Accountability and Transparency committee report is available online at: http://novascotia.ca/dma.last_img read more

17 Oct

Goofy unbecoming former US ambassadors blast Trump over Canada

first_imgWASHINGTON – A pair of former American ambassadors to Canada have criticized what they call unhelpful and counter-productive remarks from U.S. President Donald Trump about the northern neighbour.Barack Obama’s last envoy to Ottawa said publicly wailing about grievances actually makes it harder to resolve all the inevitable, routine trade irritants that pop up in a C$841-billion annual bilateral relationship.Bruce Heyman said the risk of taking public pot-shots is a tit-for-tat scenario: the other side feels a need to respond and then there’s a counter-response and an escalation thereafter, so that countries are settling scores rather than solving problems.“Words matter. Words matter diplomatically. Words matter with leaders. And I think the words that have been used have been unfortunate and have not been constructive,” Bruce Heyman told a panel in Detroit, organized Tuesday by the Council of the Great Lakes Region.”I think if we’re going to try to get things done . . . I think we would probably be better off using a different tone and style.”Heyman worked on some of the same issues Trump is complaining about — softwood lumber and dairy. But unlike Trump, the former Obama administration raised its complaints discreetly, in private primarily, just alluding to them in public and seeking to keep the dialogue positive.By way of comparison, on Tuesday alone, Trump raised his complaints about Canada, twice, without being asked, in public remarks and in a tweet where he threatened reprisals over ultra-filtered milk regulations.”We will not stand for this,” Trump wrote. ”Watch!”A former Bill Clinton ambassador agreed.In fact, James Blanchard put it more bluntly. ”It’s goofy stuff, unbecoming of our relationship and frankly unbecoming of the leader of our country,” said Blanchard, a Michigan governor before heading to Ottawa in the 1990s.He said a lumber dispute makes it harder to renegotiate NAFTA.His advice to Canada, when confronted by fiery presidential language, is to keep cool. “I don’t even think the president knows what he wants to do here. He just likes to negotiate and bully a little bit. Canada just needs not to overreact.”That was the same advice offered by several actors Tuesday. The former ambassadors, the Canada-U.S. Business Council lobby group and Brett Bruen, Obama’s former White House public-diplomacy director, all said the Canadian government should meet the complaints with calm.Heyman offered a series of more detailed policy recommendations on Canada-U.S. relations in a broader speech to the conference. He called Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau his best day as president and suggested following that up with:—The U.S. learning from Canada’s public-private infrastructure funding and work on joint border-construction projects.—The countries investing in defence in the Arctic and cyber defence.—Ivanka Trump pushing the administration to study Canada’s maternal leave program.—Maintaining funding for Great Lakes cleanup, which Trump has threatened to slash.—Having the U.S. formally celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday.Heyman said he kept working as ambassador after the election, calling members of Congress to bring Canada-U.S. customs preclearance up for a vote. In that busy, lame-duck session, he said it was hard to get them on the phone — so he started telling their offices it was a security issue and, suddenly, people responded immediately.The preclearance bill passed.Heyman said he offered to stay on as ambassador as the new administration searched for a replacement and also offered to brief the new team on Canada-U.S. issues: ”They haven’t accepted that offer yet, but that offer still stands.”The next U.S. ambassador has yet to be nominated.Meanwhile, the Canadian government appears to be following the advice to keep cool. Instead of sniping back, it’s been working on building alliances.One example of an ally, on softwood lumber, is the National Association of Home Builders. It has complained about a $3,000 price hike in housing related to wood tariffs. It’s probably no accident that some in government have begun referring to ”softwood lumber” as ”home lumber.”Federal ministers are now fanning out across the U.S., meeting people who benefit from Canadian trade.The latest was Treasury Board President Scott Brison, who spoke at the same Detroit conference as the ex-ambassadors. He also spoke about his ongoing efforts with American colleagues to co-operate on regulations, in an effort to trim product costs.Brison used a hockey analogy for that bilateral co-operation, one built upon the Detroit legend whose name will soon adorn a binational bridge, funded by Canada.”A Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist and a fight. It’s a bit like the Canada-U.S. trade relationship. . . . The fights only last about five minutes. So let’s keep our sticks on the ice,” Brison said in an interview.”Let’s put some pucks on the net in areas where there’s absolute agreement.”last_img read more

15 Oct

Kanye West a cowriter on Drakes Kid Cudi diss track

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Kanye West is listed as a co-writer on Drake’s controversial track which disses Kid Cudi.According to credits on streaming service Tidal, Kanye is listed as a writer and co-producer of the Canadian star’s song Two Birds, One Stone, in which he describes Cudi’s depression a “phase.”“My numbers are out of the world, no wonder they got me feeling so alienated/You were the man on the moon, now you go through your phases/Live for the angry and famous,” raps Drake in the track. But in a new curve ball, it has been revealed that Kanye is listed alongside Drake and frequent collaborator Noah “40” Shebib as a co-composer and co-lyricist on the tune.His involvement is especially interesting given his most recent support for his former GOOD Music label colleague and protege. Last month, Kanye called Cudi “the most influential artist of the last 10 years.” More recently, he asked his fans to sing Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1 in the singer’s honour during a recent stop on his Saint Pablo tour. Login/Register With: Twitterlast_img read more

13 Oct

Toronto stock market near flat and loonie up with US markets closed

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s main stock index finished on a near flat note Thursday, as U.S. stock markets were closed for their Thanksgiving holiday.The S&P/TSX composite index scraped out 0.72 of a point to advance to 16,074.30.Earlier in the day, the materials and energy sectors had helped push the Toronto market up modestly, as the health-care and consumer staples groups lost ground.“The positive performance this morning was the result of the resource sector. Both energy and materials were stronger on the day,” said Candice Bangsund, vice-president and portfolio manager at Fiera Capital.“In energy markets we’re seeing encouraging signs toward the rebalancing of the crude market. So we saw energy prices soar to a two-year high this week after a report that indicated a decline in U.S. stockpiles, while there’s also been a disruption in the Keystone pipeline that has helped to sort of boost that optimism that the market is going to find a better balance.”In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.65 cents US, up 0.09 of a U.S. cent. That marked the loonie’s third straight day of gains.Key drivers of the currency’s recent upswing are the weakening U.S. dollar and bullishness around the price of oil, which rose $1.19 at the closing of markets Wednesday.Commodities markets were also closed for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.On the Canadian marijuana front, Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s (TSX:ACB) stock was up about five per cent amid news that the Vancouver-headquartered pot producer intends to use its ownership of greenhouse design firm Larssen Ltd. to pressure other cannabis producers to enter partnerships that will further its aggressive growth plans.In a news release, Aurora said Larssen is involved with more than 15 cannabis industry clients globally, including five Canadian licensed producers. Shares of Aurora gained 32 cents or about five per cent to close at $6.74 on Thursday.In economic news, Statistics Canada reported retail sales in September were up 0.1 per cent to $49.1 billion for the month, boosted by sales at gasoline stations as prices climbed due to disruptions caused by hurricane Harvey.Economists however said it appears consumer spending has cooled after a hot start to the year.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

13 Oct

AMC Theatres unveils 20amonth rival to MoviePass

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theatre chain, on Wednesday unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the flagging MoviePass.The theatre chain announced a new service to its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, allowing subscribers to see up to three movies a week for a monthly fee of $19.95. That’s more expensive than the $9.95 monthly fee for MoviePass, but AMC’s plan gives access to premium format screenings like IMAX and 3-D.The new subscription model is the latest salvo in a heated battle for what the movie business most craves: frequent moviegoers. AMC, which has blocked MoviePass sales at some of its theatres, has been a vocal opponent of MoviePass’ model. But subscription services are popular among Millennials, who have proven difficult for theatres to attract.AMC Theatres chief executive Adam Aron pointedly noted Wednesday that AMC’s program was set at “a sustainable price.” Since MoviePass slashed its monthly fee, questions have mounted over the long-term viability of its economics.“AMC Stubs A-List is being taken to market at more than double the price of that charged by some of our competitors,” Aron said in a conference call with investors. “A good deal to consumers to be sure, but being done at a sustainable price point where we can be very confident that we will be profitable across the membership base and in turn, that we can share that increased profitability with our studio and premium format partners.”Added Aron: “Other discounters, by contrast, will continue to be hemorrhaging cash.”MoviePass has attracted 3 million members, but the stock price of the service’s parent company, Helios and Matheson, has dropped from $38 a share to 44 cents a share. MoviePass pays for full-priced tickets and sells them at a discounted rate in order to capitalize on user data.AMC Stubs A-List membership plan, which also features concessions discounts, will debut Tuesday. Unlike MoviePass, subscribers will be allowed to see all three movies on the same day, and can watch the same movie repeatedly. Movies won’t carry over if a subscriber sees fewer than three films in a week.AMC is estimating that subscription members will see an average of 2.5 movies a month. The theatre chain expects the service could cost the company $5-10 million in ticket revenue in the next six months, but that those losses are worth future gains.last_img read more

12 Oct

Zimbabwe UN cuts back food aid to millions amid serious funding crisis

“WFP still requires $140 million to fund its operations in Zimbabwe until the end of March 2009 – with a shortfall of approximately 145,000 tons of food, including 110,000 metric tons of cereals and 35,000 metric tons of other food commodities,” the agency said in an update detailing its first month of large-scale distributions in October.“There is currently no food in the pipeline for distributions in January and February – just when the crisis is reaching its peak and when WFP is aiming to assist over 4 million people each month.”In October WFP distributed 29,000 tons of food to around 2 million vulnerable people across the southern African country and plans to double the beneficiaries in November by scaling up its operations to reach almost 4 million hungry people in rural and urban areas. But it will have to cut back on the individual rations so as to provide something for all beneficiaries.“In the worst affected communities, people are surviving on one meal a day – at most,” WFP said. “There are widespread reports of people skipping meals for an entire day or eating wild foods such as baobab seeds and amarula fruit. Hungry families are being forced to exchange their precious livestock for buckets of maize.“Other families have no option but to beg for help or to resort to other desperate measures to survive – selling their few remaining household assets, migrating in search of work and food, pulling children out of school, etc.”In November, WFP aims to distribute around 46,000 tons to more than 3.3 million people under the vulnerable group feeding (VGF) programme and around 600,000 under the safety net programmes but will not be able to provide every beneficiary with a full food basket.“WFP needs additional donations urgently since it takes between six and eight weeks to transform a cash contribution into food on a beneficiary’s table,” the agency said. The November cereal ration has been cut from 12 kilograms to 10 kilograms per person per month and the pulse ration from 1.8 kilograms to one kilogram for all VGF beneficiaries and for people receiving take-home rations under the safety net programmes.“These cuts will allow WFP to stretch its available resources as far as possible but they will leave greater numbers more malnourished and more susceptible to disease,” the agency said.According to the latest UN figures, the number of people needing assistance will rise to 5.1 million, or 45 per cent of the population, at the expected peak of the crisis in early 2009, and WFP plans to provide aid some 4 million every month until the end of March – as long as there are sufficient resources. 11 November 2008The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that it is facing a serious funding crisis in providing life-saving aid to over 4 million people in Zimbabwe suffering the effects of a disastrous harvest, and it has already been forced to cut rations. read more

8 Oct

Protesters prevent Wigneswaran from entering NPC

Wigneswaran assured that he will look into their issue but the protesters were not satisfied.As a result Wigneswaran left after being unable to enter the Northern Provincial Council for its session today. (Colombo Gazette) A group of protesters blocked Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran outside the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) today.The protesters who were said to be unemployed degree holders, demanded answers from Wigneswaran for the issues they face.

30 Sep

The BCS Wasnt Any Worse Than A College Football Playoff Will Be

Modern life has become the algorithmized life, a data-rich dreamscape in which the solution to nearly every problem lies somewhere inside a spreadsheet. Every problem, that is, except for college football’s.On Tuesday night, the new College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee will release its ranking of the best teams in college football. It’s a list generated by 13 human experts1Minus Archie Manning. — they’ll have the aid of simple statistics, sure, but ultimately the committee and its members’ human biases are the ones accountable. College football has moved the onus from the machines to the men.But only because the machines got them in trouble. In an unlikely marriage,2For a sport that still clings to the distinctly 19th-century notion of amateurism in the face of furious resistance. college football became an early adopter of numerically driven policymaking in 1998, when it ratified the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to determine its consensus national champion.3To the extent that such a thing exists; Division I-A football is famously the only NCAA sport whose postseason is not governed by college athletics’ chief organizing body. Billed as an enlightened merger between the old-guard media polls — thus preserving the sport’s strong sense of tradition — and the computer rankings that so easily proliferated in the tech-boom ‘90s, the BCS was supposed to use data to help usher in a new era of college football.Instead, all it produced was controversy, revolt and a system so universally loathed that its demise was one of the few initiatives for which President Obama was able to marshall bipartisan support. A great deal of the criticism centered on “the computers,” a faceless army of machines that supposedly wouldn’t know a 3-4 defense from a 4-3. One of the biggest selling points of the College Football Playoff has been that it involves people who do know defensive formations.Yet there’s evidence that the switch from BCS to CFP won’t matter much, at least in terms of actually picking a champion with more efficiency. The big leap forward may simply be a lateral move.College football’s champion has always been more beauty-pageant winner than undisputed warrior. There are far too many teams — playing far too few games — to be able to rely on wins and losses alone as sole arbiters of worth. NFL teams make the playoffs through their records alone,4And, when necessary, an incredibly arcane tie-breaking process. but college football teams, marooned in various conferences, play schedules of vastly differing quality. Any endeavor to pick a truly national champion has to, by necessity, grapple with the balance between performance and strength of opposition.Originally, the media and coaches were the arbiters of who was great and who wasn’t, through the Associated Press Top 25 and the Coaches’ Poll. In theory, those who followed the sport most closely should produce a relatively equitable ranking of the country’s best teams. But the rankings became fraught with controversy and accusations of regional bias. The two major polls couldn’t always agree about which team was No. 1, producing a number of years in which multiple schools “won” the national championship. And college football’s longstanding system of bowl games, which act at once as postseason contests and meaningless exhibitions, occasionally complicated matters even further by contractually preventing the best teams from facing off even when there was clarity atop the polls.The BCS, which mixed polls with the supposed objectivity of computers, was supposed to fix all that. The existence of mathematical ranking systems in college football dated back at least 70 years prior, but since the AP began continuously issuing polls in 1936 these systems had never been the game’s preeminent selectors.It didn’t go smoothly. The computers became an easy punching bag for everything that fans and media hated about the BCS as a whole. “I think over the years, the computers were a scapegoat,” algorithm-maker Richard Billingsley told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach in August. “If there was an issue or if somebody didn’t like the results, it was the computers’ fault, and that wasn’t fair at all.”“Humans had more to do with the BCS than the computers did, but people were just wrong about it,” former BCS director Bill Hancock added. “I think the computers got a bum rap.”Even so, computer ratings played a large role in the BCS, and there were a number of reasons why the foray into data-crunching failed. First, the formula concocted by BCS creator Roy Kramer was inelegant, stirring the polls and computer ratings into an arbitrary statistical mishmash that included team loss totals and an arcane strength of schedule calculation. Also, it was badly overfit. As Stewart Mandel writes in “Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls,” Kramer “had his minions test the formula by applying it to past seasons’ results and making sure it spit out the correct two teams each year.” When future seasons5The ultimate out-of-sample test. failed to play out as tidily as the test sample did, the BCS endlessly tweaked its formula to retroactively “fix” whatever the previous year’s controversy was, rather than anticipating future fusses.And perhaps the BCS’s biggest sin of all was banishing computer rating systems that took into account a team’s margin of victory in its games. It was seeking to reduce the incentive for coaches to run up the score on overmatched opponents, but in doing so it also deprived the computer ratings of key data points. One of the most crucial findings in sabermetrics, across virtually all sports, is that the average margin by which a team wins or loses conveys more information than wins and losses alone. This is especially true in a sport like college football, where the sample of games is so small.Perhaps a computerized system could work if it were deployed with more skill. But college football’s decision-makers have decided instead that using no data — or at least a fuzzy interpretation of what’s available — is better than rigidly adhering to a defective model.And it may not make much of a difference.There will likely be a great deal of crossover between the playoff committee’s selection and the teams the BCS would have listed in its top four slots. In the estimation of SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, no fewer than 75 percent of the top four teams in the BCS rankings each year from 1998 to 2012 — and probably closer to 85 percent to 90 percent — aligned perfectly with the teams a hypothetical playoff committee would have selected had the current system been in place over those years.There also isn’t much distinction between the BCS’s and the CFP’s accuracy in determining the nation’s true best team. The CFP’s four-team bracket would be more likely to feature the deserving champion (a four-team playoff system has about a 45 percent greater chance of including the best team than a two-team setup like the BCS). But the CFP loses that advantage by forcing the top team to play an additional game, opening it up to becoming the victim of bad luck. According to past research of mine, a two-team playoff is won by the best team in the country about 29 percent of the time, while a four-team playoff crowns the best team at a 31 percent clip — hardly any improvement at all.The debut of the College Football Playoff is being celebrated as progress because it returns to the simplicity of human debate. But data and formulae ultimately weren’t to blame for the BCS’s woes, and it’s unlikely that its committee-based successor will reduce the number of college football controversies. Only an emotionless algorithm would have it any other way. read more

28 Sep

No need for Buckeyes to panic

This was supposed to be the year of eight for the Ohio State football team. The team seemingly had all the pieces to go 12-0 during the regular season and win the school’s eighth national championship. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor would also become OSU’s eighth recipient of the Heisman Trophy, thrusting him into Buckeye lore. Then, after the Buckeyes were beaten and battered by Wisconsin Saturday night, most fans gave up hope on the season. Everyone together now, take a deep breath. Through seven weeks of the season, three teams have ascended to the No. 1 ranking (Alabama, OSU and now Oregon). Verdict? No dominant college football team exists in 2010. Here’s a rundown of what the apparent national title contenders face the rest of the season. Oregon still has to play at Southern California, home versus Washington, home against No. 18 Arizona (who has already beaten Iowa) and at Oregon State. Its defense has put up good numbers but hasn’t faced a team as physical as USC or a quarterback with the shake-and-bake of Washington’s Jake Locker. No. 2 Oklahoma travels to No. 18 Missouri and No. 17 Oklahoma State before its regular season ends. It’ll likely face Missouri or No. 14 Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. The Sooner defense gave up 24 points to lowly Utah State and 351 rushing yards to Air Force. It isn’t going undefeated with a cupcake defense. After they face each other next week, all No. 5 Auburn and No. 6 LSU have to do is take on No. 7 Alabama, as well as the SEC East winner in the SEC championship game. Auburn gave up 332 yards passing and four touchdowns to Arkansas’ backup quarterback last weekend — in a little more than one half. LSU can’t decide who its quarterback is. Enough said. There will be a mid-major elimination game on Nov. 6 as No. 9 Utah and No. 4 TCU square off. The loser of the game is immediately eliminated from the title picture, and the winner isn’t guaranteed anything even if it doesn’t lose a game. Although it’s already beaten Wisconsin and won’t have to play OSU, I’m not sold on No. 8 Michigan State. One, it hasn’t played a game outside the state of Michigan yet. Two, it travels to No. 13 Iowa a week from Saturday. If the Spartans are still undefeated in two weeks, go ahead and crown them. The only team that will go untested the rest of the season is No. 2 Boise State. With that being said, a lot has to go right for OSU to re-enter the national title picture. On the other hand, the 2010 college football season is a masterpiece that is far from finished. And if recent history in college football has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected in a season with no clear-cut top team. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the chaos of the 2007 college football season. Week One: Appalachian State stuns No. 5 Michigan in the Big House. Week Five: No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Florida lose to unranked Colorado and Auburn. Week Six: No. 2 USC loses at home to 41-point underdog Stanford. Week Seven: OSU and South Florida rise to No. 1 and No. 2 after previous No. 1 and No. 2, LSU and Cal, lose to division foes. Week Eight: South Florida’s stay at No. 2 is short as it falls to Rutgers. Week 10: New No. 2 Boston College falls to unranked Florida State. Week 11: OSU suffers embarrassing loss on Senior Day to Illinois. Week 12: Not only is No. 2 Oregon defeated by Arizona, but it loses its quarterback, likely Heisman winner quarterback Dennis Dixon, to a season-ending injury while No. 4 Oklahoma is beaten by Texas Tech. Week: 13: No. 1 LSU is topped by Arkansas in a wild triple-overtime loss, and No. 4 Missouri beats No. 2 Kansas to move within one win of playing for the school’s first national championship. Week 14: No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia choke in the final week of the season, giving rise to No. 1 OSU and No. 2 LSU, which ended up being the first national champion with two losses. The Buckeyes need to win their remaining games, preferably quite handily, to stand any chance. Furthermore, they need a ton of help. I’m convinced Oklahoma, Oregon and Michigan State will each lose at least once. It would help OSU tremendously if Oklahoma and Oregon lost twice. Then, OSU needs the three SEC West teams to take each other out and produce only one one-loss team. Utah and TCU also both need to lose. If all of that shakes out, and depending on the voters, OSU might stumble upon another national champion game berth against an SEC team. Far-fetched? Yes. Impossible? No. As college football fans are well-aware of by now, nothing’s impossible with the BCS. read more

24 Sep

Diesel particulates potential underground health hazard

first_imgIn June 2012, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified diesel engine particulate matter as carcinogenci (Class 1) to humans; based on evidence that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.  This puts diesel particulate matter (DPM) in the same category as silica dust and asbestos.  The classification by the WHO has significant implications for mining, particularly where diesel engines are used in underground confined spaces.  Mitigation approaches include: the use of low emissions engines and source capturing techniques.  Managment of underground ventilation systems can be used as an additional layer of control mitigation.In this regard AMIRA is currently seeking expressions of interest in a potential proposal that would make use of the combined renowned tracer gas expertise of the ChemCentre and BBE-Snowden’s mine ventilation modelling and design expertise to optimize underground mine ventilation systems, particularly to maintain diesle particulate level below recommended concentrations. For more information please contact Chris Du Plessis chris.duplessis@amirainternational.comlast_img read more

22 Sep

Handball smarter than Swimming in Egypt

handball egyptQatar 2015 Political tension between the countries in Arab world caused many problems not only in handball world. FINA World Championship will be held also in Doha in December, but without Egypt national team which declined to participate due political conflict between two countries:– The decision was taken due to the political position of Qatar vis-s-vis Egypt since the revolution of June 30, 2013 –  federation head Yasser Idriss explained.Idriss also said that the Egyptian swimming federation was prepared to accept any punishment for its decision not to compete in the championships scheduled from December 3 to 7.Situation with swimmers want be repeated in case of Handball World Championship 2015 in Qatar. The Egyptian Handball Federation (EHF) has confirmed the Pharaohs will play at the World Handball Championship in Qatar.– Egypt will play at the World Championship taking place in Qatar – Dr Khaled Hamouda, head of the federation, told Ahram Sport following a meeting with Sports Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz. ← Previous Story Ademar Leon looking for defensive specialist Next Story → VIDEO: Jeffrey M’tima knocks down Dominik Klein! read more

21 Sep

DataGuardian flash drive includes nohassle password protection

first_imgThere are a number of systems that allow for the data on a USB stick to be protected. Some manufacturers automatically encrypt all the data, others have software that can be installed for restricting access. But Super Talent has decided to make it incredibly easy to protect your USB drive without the need to install or do anything extra other than plug your stick in.The DataGuardian USB flash drive comes password protected out of the box. There is nothing to install or setup other than deciding what you want the password to be. This has been achieved by placing the password protection in the firmware of the drive. That way, every time the drive is inserted into a computer the password request pops up. Remove it and the data is protected again.As the protection system is in firmware you cannot accidentally delete it, and no one can remove or disable it. Super Talent also state that the DataGuardian protects against Autorun malware ensuring even if you put a malware-infected file on your drive it won’t be able to infiltrate a system.Three DataGuardian USB 2.0 models are available offering 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of storage space. Super Talent has yet to release pricing details.Read more at the Super Talent press releaseMatthew’s OpinionEveryone wants their data protected and this seems like the simplest way to add it to the drive. The user need do nothing, but every time the drive is inserted it requires a password. While a little annoying if you are constantly inserting and re-inserting, it gives you peace of mind that no one is accessing the data on it without your say so.What we don’t know is how easy it would be to bypass the security. Super Talent clearly list it as “consumer-grade security”. Does that mean in the right hands this password system can be bypassed? You could say that about any drive with any level of security measures. The DataGuard should be viewed as a deterrent for most people who come into contact with your flash drive.I’d actually like to see this solution expanded to larger USB sticks and to the USB 3.0 range too. If it could be setup to allow a user to choose to use it or not it would make for a great standard feature across Super Talent’s entire range going forward.last_img read more

21 Sep

Sonys new 3D headmounted display costs a whopping 2025

first_imgThe Oculus Rift is getting a lot of attention as developers continue to make interesting experiences designed for the virtual reality head-mounted display. Sony has been making similar products for a few years, but they’re not exactly a consumer success. Sony’s newest VR headset, the HMZ-T3W suffers from a flaw more serious than the boring name — the price. This display is priced at £1299, or $2025.You do get a lot for your money with the HMZ-T3W. This face display has two 720p OLED screens, one for each eye so as to create a 3D effect. That’s much higher than the Oculus. The headset has both 2D and 3D modes. It uses a wireless HD signal to playback video content, but can also be connected via an HDMI. Audio is reportedly “high-definition” and in virtual 7.1 surround. Additionally, it looks pretty nice.For power, it has a small battery that can be tethered to the headset, but Sony didn’t say what the expected battery life is. There’s an AC adapter as well if you don’t mind being connected to a wall. Frankly, you shouldn’t be up walking around while wearing a VR headset anyway.Sony is rumored to be working on a 3D head-mounted display for the PS4, but this is a separate product line. Anything produced for the PS4 would be lower quality, and probably much bulkier. The HMZ-T3W would work for PC games, but it’s more expensive than most gaming PCs. Still, if a little DNA from this product gets into the PS4 headset (if it’s real), that could be a compelling product.last_img read more

19 Sep

Jayne All we have to fear is fear itself

first_imgGreg Jayne, Opinion page editor Call it a hunch, but they seem to be running out of ideas.Republicans that is. Or at least Republicans in Washington, D.C. Or at least some Republicans in Washington, D.C. It would be unfair to paint all members of the GOP with the same brush; political parties are vast collections of people with diverse viewpoints.But in the current landscape of 24/7 media and pervasive social media and “gotcha” politics, it is trendy to seize upon the most outrageous fringe of a particular belief system and pretend it represents all members of a particular group. So we apologize in advance to those Republicans who remain reasonable, thoughtful and willing to argue policy on its merits.Unfortunately, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, does not fit into that category. Rather than engage in a nuanced discussion of policy, Stewart is resorting to dog whistles and fear-mongering and scare tactics. Because that is what you do when you run out of ideas.Stewart proudly announced last week that he has received approval to form an “Anti-Socialism Caucus” in the House of Representatives. “So much time has passed from the fall of the Iron Curtain that many have internalized — or never experienced — socialism’s ultimate price,” he said. “If we fail to recall those dangerous times, the primitive appeal of socialism will advance and infect our institutions.”Ultimate price? Dangerous times? Primitive appeal? Infect our institutions? Sounds scary. And yet it seems to be all that Republicans have these days. Well, that and tax cuts for the wealthy. In his State of the Union address in February, President Trump declared, “Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country” — as if that really needed to be said.last_img read more