Chaps season comes to an end

first_imgBy Hub City Times staffMARSHFIELD – The Marshfield Chaparrals have ended their amateur baseball season. The Chaps lost their second-round playoff game Aug.11 in Altoona, losing to the Osseo Merchants 6-0, in the regional championship round of the Wisconsin Baseball Association postseason held at Cinder City Park.The Chaparrals advanced to the regional final by defeating Spring Valley 5-4 on Aug. 10, also in Altoona.Bobby Pilz was the winning pitcher in that contest. He picked up the win in three-and-one-third innings of relief, after starter Connor Jasurda let the lead slip away in the sixth inning.After three scoreless innings to start the game, Marshfield scored in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Luke Wirtz. The Hawks grabbed a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning before the Chaps scored four runs in the seventh. Marshfield allowed two runs in the eighth inning, but held on for the win.Nate McDonald was the offensive star of the game for Marshfield, with three singles, a home run, and two runs batted in.The Chaparrals end their season with an overall record of 11-10. The playoff games were the last for player/manager Justin Rayburn, who is leaving the Marshfield program to start a Dairyland League team in his native Pittsville next summer. Current Chaparral Sam Schwanebeck, also a Pittsville native, is joining Rayburn in starting the Pittsville club.last_img read more

British American Tobacco heads for JSE

first_img12 August 2008Swiss-based luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont and local investment firm Remgro have announced plans to dispose of the majority of their holdings in British American Tobacco (BAT), which will see the multinational tobacco company gain a secondary listing on the JSE.According to a statement by BAT issued last week, Richemont and Remgro presently hold 19.4% and 10.7% of issued shares in BAT respectively, in both cases through Luxembourg-based company called R&R Holdings.As per the restructuring announced by the two groups, both controlled by South African billionaire industrialist Johan Rupert, 90% of their combined shareholding – or around 27% of the issued share capital of BAT – will be distributed directly to Richemont’s and Remgro’s shareholders.The remaining 10% of the combined shareholding, or around three percent of BAT, will be retained by the two companies and then transferred to Reinet Investments, an investment company that will soon be listed in both Luxembourg and South Africa.“The board welcomes these proposals, which should result in the group having a more widely distributed shareholding and a broader range of both institutional and private shareholders,” BAT chairman Jan du Plessis said in the statement.The distributions will be followed by a rights issue by Reinet, which can be subscribed to by using British American Tobacco shares, which is expected to take place in early November and with the Reinet rights issue likely to be complete by the middle of December.“Based on information provided by Richemont and Remgro in their announcements, British American Tobacco believes that, following completion of the distributions and the rights issue, the residual Reinet shareholding in British American Tobacco is likely to be less than 10%,” the statement said.Secondary JSE listingAccording to the statement, BAT had earlier agreed to a request from the two shareholders to obtain a secondary listing on the JSE, and was now taking the necessary steps to facilitate the listing, including seeking the approval of the JSE.BAT expects the listing to take place around the end of October this year, subject to Richemont and Remgro receiving the necessary approvals for their proposed restructuring.Once listed, BAT, which has a market capitalisation of around R560-billion, will be among the three largest companies on the JSE, vying for the top spot with global miners like BHP Billiton and Anglo American.“R&R have been highly committed and supportive shareholders since the merger of British American Tobacco and Rothmans International in 1999 and these proposals resolve the potential uncertainty over the long-term ownership of their shares,” Du Plessis said.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Business booming for India and South Africa

first_imgThe Kiepersol colliery is one of the manysuccessful South Africa-India businessventures.(Image: Jindal Africa) The vast scale of the Richards Bay coalterminal is still not big enough to holdthe coal supplies needed by India.(Image: Richards Bay Coal Terminal) Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies,left, Indian president Pratibha Patil, andSouth African president Jacob Zuma, right,address the India-South Africa BusinessForum.(Image: The Presidency)MEDIA CONTACTS • Sidwell MedupeChief director, media and communicationsDepartment of Trade and Industry+27 12 394 1650 or +27 79 492 1774Janine ErasmusSouth Africa and India have much to offer each other – this is the view of industry professionals and government representatives, who came together at the India-South Africa Business Forum, held in Pretoria as part of the visit to South Africa in May by Indian President Pratibha Patil.President Jacob Zuma addressed the media after his first meeting with Patil, saying that South Africa has “once again extended an invitation to Indian business to invest in our infrastructure development programme, in which we are to invest more than R800-billion (US$103-billion) until 2014”.Of this amount, R300-billion ($39-billion) will go towards energy and R260-billion ($34-billion) towards transport.At a workshop held during the forum to discuss possibilities in mining and energy, Mbuso Dlamini, executive chairman of infrastructure development company Palace Group, said that with the country’s shift towards green energy, opportunities have opened up.South Africa currently has an energy generation capacity of about 43GW, he said, of which more than 80% comes from coal. Under the Integrated Energy Plan, which will balance the country’s needs with its greenhouse gas emissions, that capacity will expand to 80GW by 2020, with 14GW drawn from renewable sources.“This is a big task,” said Dlamini, “and we’ll need partners to help us. India’s production is a massive 180GW, and more is planned, so that country has the experience and expertise we need.”He mentioned that South Africa will be focusing on solar, wind and biogas energy sources, but will have to rely mainly on its coal resources for the foreseeable future. The country has a low potential for hydroelectric power generation.“We will have to refurbish existing infrastructure, which will create yet more opportunities,” said Dlamini. “The president has indicated that billions are to be pumped into infrastructure, and that includes substations and similar structures.”He said that independent power producers will also have an important role to play, especially once the Independent Systems and Market Operator (ISMO) comes into operation.This proposed state-owned entity will buy electricity from generators and sell it to customers on a wholesale level, independently of national power utility Eskom. The body will also operate the integrated power transmission system.The establishment of the ISMO will help to relieve some of the financial and logistical pressure on Eskom, and will open up the energy generation market to independent producers.One of the envisaged ISMO’s key functions will be to maintain a balance between supply and demand of electricity, and it will also be involved in concluding electricity import and export agreements.The ISMO Bill, which provides for the establishment of the body, was tabled in Parliament in March 2012.Dlamini said that although the Western Cape currently relies heavily on the Koeberg nuclear power station, plans are in place to install infrastructure that will allow the region to receive power from the rest of the country, should the Koeberg facility go offline.“We want to take the power to every user,” said Dlamini, “all the way from the Waterberg (in Limpopo, and site of much of South Africa’s coal reserves) down to Cape Town. We need to connect people to the national grid, and we all know that if more people pay for electricity, the price will come down.”For this, he estimated, a spend of R300- to R500-billion ($39- to $64-billion) is needed.Distribution is managed by municipalities but, said Dlamini, despite a number of starts and stops the arrival of regional electricity distributors, or Reds, is not far off. Six Reds are in the planning, and they will combine Eskom’s distribution function with that of South Africa’s 187 municipalities. Certain functions, such as the ability to disconnect non-paying customers, will remain with the municipalities.This move is expected to address and resolve issues such as the highly fragmented structure of the industry, the wide disparities in electricity tariffs, and the uneven spread of electrification across the country.Opportunities for coal exportJitin Bhatia, the director of business development at INSA Coal Holdings, described his company’s operations in South Africa.INSA, a South Africa-India partnership, was formed out of an equal partnership with India’s Action Group – one of the country’s most diversified business conglomerates – and the South African Sephaku Holdings. The latter company was subsequently unbundled with its subsidiary Incubex Minerals taking over as the other 50% shareholder of INSA.The company was set up with a view to identifying, obtaining and developing coal projects in South Africa. Its active prospecting operations, based mainly in Mpumalanga province, started in February 2010.Although it considered other options including Indonesia and Australia, the Action Group chose South Africa as its business destination, said Bhatia, for a number of reasons.“The financial institutions here are very strong,” he said, “and several of them have operations elsewhere on the African continent, which opens up other opportunities. The stock exchange in Johannesburg is also outstanding.”He named political stability; a strong human resource pool, especially in technical and production capabilities; the country’s strong mining reputation and expertise; its relatively low population density; and its wealth of mineral resources as other contributing factors.“We now have 22 coal blocks,” he said, “and these are not connected to Eskom in any way, so we’re not taking their coal.” A coal block is an area for which a company has received a mining license to extract the resource.Bhatia said that the ease with which the Action Group was able to set up shop in South Africa has led to requests for partnerships from Indian public sector companies.“There are immense opportunities for exporting,” he said. “In 2011 South Africa’s coal exports out of the Richards Bay coal terminal were 65-million tons, and India’s shortfall for coal was 140-million tons. So we can take all your exports, and more, of any grade.”Bhatia stressed that there were also opportunities for South African companies in India, especially in highly specialised operations such as shaft sinking.Great opportunitiesChemical engineer Tony Zebert, a South African working for Jindal Africa, said his wife thought he was crazy when he resigned from his secure job at fuel producer Sasol to join the local branch of one of India’s biggest companies.But, said Zebert, the Jindal Africa country head in South Africa, he was convinced that there were great opportunities ahead, and he hasn’t been disappointed.“My goal is to help make the two economies into one of the world’s powerful groupings,” he said, “as I believe they can be.”Jindal Africa is a part of Indian multinational giant Jindal Steel and Power Limited, a leading force globally in the steel, power, mining, coal to liquid, oil and gas, and infrastructure sectors.Jindal owns the Kiepersol thermal coal mine in Mpumalanga, from which it obtains metallurgical grade anthracite coal. The deal, concluded in 2009, marked the first completed purchase of a coal mine in South Africa by an Indian entity.Since then, Jindal has announced that it plans to invest $300-million ($39-million) to develop new and existing mines in Africa.“We’re here to stay,” said Zebert, “and we’re even building our own office block on William Nicol Drive.” This road runs through the business district of Sandton, north of Johannesburg, and is popular as a location for corporate headquarters because of its accessibility to Sandton and nearby freeways.Jindal mines the coal and sends it to India for further processing.“There are more opportunities like this,” said Zebert. “In Mpumalanga there are huge dumps of discarded, low grade coal. We just need a way to get it out of there, because India will use it.”Steel and power are the foundations of any economy, said Zebert, and Jindal is planning to play a role in both those industries.“We aim to build our first power plant in Botswana, and I would dearly like to build a steel mill in South Africa.”He added that the company is looking at mining coal in Mozambique.“This has the potential to supersede South Africa in coal exports,” he said, “and in Mozambique there are fewer restrictions – we can build and own our own railway. We’re also interested in limestone in Madagascar, and copper in Zambia.”last_img read more

Bad bots do good: Random artificial intelligence helps people coordinate

first_imgNetworks of people can coordinate better with bots in the mix. By Matthew HutsonMay. 17, 2017 , 1:00 PM Devrimb/iStock Bad bots do good: Random artificial intelligence helps people coordinate Unpredictable artificial intelligence (AI) doesn’t sound like a good thing. But a new study shows that computers that behave randomly can push us to better coordinate our actions with others and accomplish tasks more quickly. The approach could ease traffic flow, improve corporate strategy, and possibly even tighten marriages.If you want a project to do well, it’s not enough to have its members get along; they need to share a game plan. One solution is top-down control: A leader or governing body tells everyone what to do. A more counterintuitive idea is to make people randomly deviate from what myopically seems best for them. That could, according to so-called complex system theory, prod the whole system into global alignment. Two people at an impasse in a negotiation might hit on a new solution if one suggests something crazy, for example.To figure out whether random AI can help people coordinate, Hirokazu Shirado, a sociologist and systems engineer, and Nicholas Christakis, a sociologist and physician, both at Yale University, asked volunteers to play a simple online game. Each person controlled one node among 20 in a network. The nodes were colored green, orange, or purple, and people could change their node color at any time. The goal was for no two adjacent nodes to share the same color, but players could see only their color and the colors of the nodes to which they were connected, so sometimes settling conflicts with neighbors raised unseen conflicts between those neighbors and their neighbors. If the network achieved the goal before the 5-minute time limit was up, all players in the network received extra payment. The researchers recruited 4000 players and placed them in 230 randomly generated networks.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Some of the networks had 20 people controlling the nodes, but others had three of the most central or well-connected nodes already colored in such a way that they fit one of the solutions. (Each network had multiple solutions.) And some of the networks had 17 people and three bots, or simple AI programs, in charge of the nodes. In some networks, the bot-controlled nodes were placed centrally, in some they were placed peripherally, and in some they were placed randomly. The bots also varied in how much noise, or randomness, influenced their choice of node color. In some networks, every 1.5 seconds the bots picked whatever color differed from the greatest number of neighbors—generally a good strategy among people playing the game. In some networks, they followed this strategy, but 10% of the time they would pick randomly. And in some networks, they would pick randomly 30% of the time.All of the networks with bots performed the same as the networks with 20 people, except for one type. The networks in which the bots were placed centrally and randomized their decisions 10% of the time outperformed the all-human networks. They solved the coordination game within the time limit more frequently (85% versus 67% of the time). And the median time spent on the task was 103 seconds versus 232 seconds, a significant difference, the researchers report today in Nature. The fact that bots with 0% noise or 30% noise did not outperform humans means that there’s a Goldilocks zone of randomness.What’s more, the bot-aided networks performed just as well as the networks that already had a head start—those with three nodes preset to fit a solution. But whereas the set-color networks required top-down control, the noisy bots achieved equal results with just a bit of local randomness. “We get the same bang,” Christakis says. “To me that was a beautiful result.”Further analysis showed that bots’ slightly noisy behavior benefited the networks in part by setting an example for others. Some people also showed “noise,” by occasionally deciding to pick a color that conflicted with their neighbors. The noise level of bots influenced the noise level in people—even those several nodes away, suggesting a ripple effect.“The bots are helping humans to help themselves,” Christakis says. Without the bot-added noise, people often got stuck in ruts where each person had picked a color that conflicted with the smallest number of neighbors but the network as a whole still had conflicts. “In a way, these bots are serving a teaching function,” Christakis adds. If you see a neighbor (bot or human) change color frequently, you might decide to do so, too. He notes that highly sophisticated AI programs like AlphaGo may help people play Go better, but here, people learned even from “dumb AI.”There’s some precedent for perturbation increasing harmony—random mutations enabled evolution to produce complex organisms, for example. “It’s a cool little study,” says Michael Richardson, a psychologist at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. “The results are pretty consistent with what you’d expect from complex systems theory.”Colin Camerer, an economist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena who reviewed the paper, likes that the researchers used a simple, rigorous method to produce a wealth of data that demonstrated how randomness can bring about order in social interactions. But he notes that because of the model’s simplicity, “it’s hard to see a close analog to something that happens in an organization.” The researchers hope to expand the work to include more complex and realistic collaborations, perhaps between people and robots with military or manufacturing purposes.Bots could help people help themselves in lots of ways, besides introducing noise. One can imagine chatbots mediating relationship therapy, by guiding couples toward compromise without succumbing to exasperation or boredom. A recent study found that Tweetbots posing as real people could shame racists into using fewer racial slurs. And Shirado says that bots are good dissenters because they can take the anger. Commending dissent generally, he notes that he used to work at Sony, where one leader pushed for a video game project they didn’t want. It became the PlayStation.Christakis mentions a dear friend who is wealthy but is considered by many to be difficult. “He told me he’s never been asked to be on a board of directors, because he’s very contrarian,” Christakis says. “When I showed him this paper, he said ‘This is fantastic! This vindicates my way of being! This is why jerks like me should be on every corporate board.’”last_img read more


first_imgA snapshot of the touch footy happenings from around Australia… * Just 8 days until the 2004 18 Years Championships kick off! With selection for the Youth World Cup on offer and the official launch of the AusTouch program, the tournament will no doubt be better than ever. Links have been added to the ATA homepage for instant access to news and results and we’ll be working hard to keep everyone constantly updated. * Speaking of the AusTouch launch, make sure you’re at Coffs Harbour International Sports Stadium on September 15. The Opening ceremony for the National 18’s begins at 11:00am and the official launch of the AusTouch program is a major part of that. Come along for some demonstrations from junior players, as well as visits from NRL stars Benji Marshall and Joe Williams, the Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhodes and the Hon Luke Hartsuyker, Member for Cowper and representative of the Federal Minister for Arts and Sport, Senator The Hon Rod Kemp. * Congratulations to the Queensland referees appointed to officiate at the Queensland ‘A’ vs New Zealand Games in Toowoomba on the 1st and 2nd of October. A full list of those selected is available on the Queensland homepage. * ACT Touch is hotting up with more finals being played this week and the summer competition beginning in October! Check out their homepage for all the info on their summer competition, * Victoria retained it’s tag as Border Challenge champions on the weekend, with a 2-1 series win over South Australia at Mt Gambier. For the full story on the series check out * Goldfields Touch (WA) have taken another positive step with 78 new players registering for the AusTouch Junior Development Program, starting in Kalgoorlie on September 5. * `Local Association of the Week’: Rosalie Touch Association (WA). They have the honour of being my local association of the week for several reasons. Firstly, their logo is cool. Secondly, they have regular match reports written by someone known as `Baldy’ and thirdly it’s a great site full on info and news. Check it out for ideas on your own website or for generally a good read. Rosalie Touch Association Link * If you’ve missed some news in recent times, check out ATA’s news archive. Old news items are archived regularly but can be viewed using the news archive link. * Club Membership and growth numbers from the Australian Sports Commission have shown 417 new members have joined the Club Development Network during the month of August. The full story can be found at * What do referees do on the fifth touch? One arm is raised high in air with the palm facing and the front and the fingers and thumb outstretched and “Fifth Touch or Five” is called. This information was found on the MyClubTouch website, it’s a great resource for all touch related information. By Rachel Moyle,

a month agoArsenal manager Emery takes responsibility for Watford draw

first_imgArsenal manager Emery takes responsibility for Watford drawby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal manager Unai Emery has taken responsibility for Sunday’s draw with Watford. The Gunners blew a two-goal lead at Vicarage Road, with Tom Cleverley taking advantage of a comical error by Sokratis.”We have some young players and they need to have experiences like today,” he told a media conference. “Matteo [Guendouzi] is young and very emotional; sometimes he needs to make some mistakes to improve. In the first half he made a mistake and they didn’t score.”When we are analysing the mistakes, we prefer to speak about them collectively. I have responsibility.”I don’t want to say it’s the fault of one player or another. It’s my responsibility to give them the confidence to execute our game plan.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Herb Alpert Foundation Endows Eden Alpert Therapeutic Music Program At Vista Del

first_imgOn Sunday January 7, 2018, at his Vibrato Grill Jazz Club, legendary Grammy award-winning musician, recording industry executive, and philanthropist Herb Alpert and his wife Lani, donated $2 million to establish The Eden Alpert Therapeutic Music Program at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services in Los Angeles, California in honor of Herb’s daughter Eden.This life affirming legacy gift was granted through The Herb Alpert Foundation to Vista Del Mar, a 110-year-old, four-star Charity Navigator rated social service agency whose mission it is to promote compassion and creativity through innovative, transformative programs. Vista is a leader in providing children and families with specialized educational, mental health, autism, adoptions and early intervention services.The Eden Alpert Therapeutic Music Program was created to provide children with learning disabilities a safe environment to explore their artistic potential while developing a greater appreciation of music.“The entire Alpert family has maintained a strong connection with Vista Del Mar for more than 50 years, explains Rona Sebastian, President of the Herb Alpert Foundation. “The Eden Alpert Therapeutic Music Program grows out of that long-term history, and brings together the Foundation’s passion to support the arts for all young people and encourage an environment that nurtures compassion and well-being.”Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. It has tangible sustained impact on children with special needs. Music therapy is conducted by credentialed professionals who have completed an approved music therapy program; interventions can be designed to: Promote wellness Manage stress Alleviate pain Express feelings Enhance memory Improve communicationVista Del Mar provides therapeutic arts programming, including music, both as an elective class during school hours, and as an after-school program for residents. Through these initiatives children have increased self-esteem, have the opportunity to learn an instrument of their choice, are able to perform in front of an audience, and have increased school attendance.“On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff and students of Vista Del Mar, I want to thank The Alpert Foundation for this transformative gift,” said Nancy Tallerino, Vista President and CEO. “It will forever change our ability to offer cutting edge music therapy and education to our students. The Alpert grant ensures that we have the resources to educate, engage, and enrich our students and by extension, ultimately better the diverse communities from which they came. We are forever grateful.”A 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Herb Alpert’s albums have sold over 72 million copies; 29 of his records have reached the Billboard 200. Herb and his wife, Lani Hall Alpert, a Grammy award-winning vocalist, have dedicated their lives to philanthropy, funding programs that include arts education, jazz and support to professional artists. Through the Herb Alpert Foundation, they have supported hundreds of organizations over the past several decades. Their philanthropy includes endowing the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and most recently the Music Department at Los Angeles City College. Twenty three years ago they established the annual Herb Alpert Award in the Arts to honor individual mid-career artists, which is administered by Cal Arts, and they also provide annual funding in support of the Herb Alpert Scholarships for Emerging Young Artists, administered by the California State Summer School for the Arts.Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services has cared for Los Angeles’ most vulnerable children for over a century, providing a range of exceptional programs in education, mental health, autism, adoption, residential care, prevention and early intervention. Vista’s programs are for children with social, emotional and behavioral challenges, wrapping love and support around the entire family and is today is Los Angeles’ most prominent resource for children of the Autism Spectrum. Vista Del Mar is a national role model in providing these specialized services and therapeutic treatment for children of all circumstance and ability.last_img read more

US stocks close higher on upbeat corporate earnings

first_imgNew York: US stocks ended higher as the market cheered a batch of ebullient corporate news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 269.25 points, or 1.03 percent, to 26,412.30 on Friday. The S&P 500 was up 19.09 points, or 0.66 percent, to 2,907.41. The Nasdaq Composite Index increased 36.80 points, or 0.46 percent, to 7,984.16, Xinhua reported. Shares of JP Morgan Chase rose 4.69 percent, after the U.S. banking heavyweight reported stronger-than-expected earnings for the first quarter, driven by higher interest rates. Shares of Walt Disney rose over 11.54 percent, after the U.S. entertainment giant launched a new streaming service called Disney+, which was priced at 6.99 U.S. dollars per month. Shares of Anadarko Petroleum surged over 32.01 percent, after U.S. energy giant Chevron announced plans to acquire the Texas-based petroleum magnate in a cash and stock deal valued at 33 billion U.S. dollars. The acquisition of Anadarko will significantly enhance Chevron’s portfolio and further strengthen its leading positions in large, attractive shale, deepwater and natural gas resource basins, said a statement of Chevron. Ten of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded higher around market close, with the financials sector up over 1.9 percent, leading the winners. On the economic front, U.S. import prices rose 0.6 percent in March, and 1.7 percent in the first three months of 2019, the Department of Labor said Friday. Both the March and February advances were driven by higher fuel prices. Prices for U.S. exports rose 0.7 percent for the second consecutive month in March. Both agricultural and non-agricultural prices contributed to the increase.last_img read more

The NBAs Other Offensive Revolution Never Turning The Ball Over

During the 3-point era, only offensive rebounding has experienced a larger percentage change, with the rate of boards offensive teams have grabbed off their own misses falling from 33.5 percent 40 years ago all the way to 22.9 percent this season. Oliver pegged turnover rate as being responsible for 25 percent of the variance in offensive efficiency and offensive rebounding for 20 percent, though subsequent detailed analyses have typically settled somewhere around 22 percent or 23 percent for turnovers and 15 to 18 percent for rebounds. So given that avoiding a turnover is considered more valuable than grabbing an offensive rebound, it could be argued that the change in turnover rate has fully canceled out the decline in offensive rebound rate. We can see this more clearly when we weight each percentage change by the amount ascribed to each of the Four Factors by Evan Zamir’s 2010 analysis that updated the weight each factor had been assigned by Oliver. We’re in a golden age for NBA offense. Teams are scoring 110.1 points per 100 possessions during the 2018-19 season, according to — a full 1.3 points per 100 possessions more than the previous high of 108.8, which was set two years ago.This is largely — and rightly — credited to the boom in 3-point attempts. While the 3-point line was instituted all the way back in 1979, it took the league nearly four decades to realize that 3 was worth more than 2.1Just four years ago, the league as a whole scored 105.6 points per 100 possessions, nearly the same figure as was recorded during the first year of the 3-point era, when teams scored 105.3 points per 100 possessions. The threes have also been complemented by other leaguewide changes, all of which have been widely recognized as contributing factors in the age of offense: a dramatic shift toward “Moreyball” shot distribution that limits inefficient shots like long twos; several waves of rule changes that opened up the floor and allowed for more freedom of movement; the increase in pace; and the sheer unstoppability of the league’s very best offenses.In all those explanations, though, one factor has gone wildly underdiscussed: Teams just don’t turn the ball over all that much anymore. In addition to being the best overall shooting season of the 3-point era, the 2018-19 campaign also has seen teams commit turnovers at the lowest rate they ever have, as just 12.6 percent of possessions leaguewide have ended with the offense giving the ball away to the defense in one manner or another. This is down from a high of 15.8 percent during the 1982-83 season.But while the genesis of the other offensive changes can be neatly traced, the decline in turnovers is a bit more puzzling. In my search for an explanation, I figured it was best to ask a person whose teams have mastered the art of avoiding turnovers: Gregg Popovich, whose San Antonio Spurs own the lowest turnover rate in the NBA this season (which doubles as the fifth-lowest rate since the league began tracking turnovers) and have finished with a better-than-average turnover rate in 14 of the past 15 seasons — a time during which they have the league’s fourth-lowest turnover rate overall. Popovich, though, was also stumped (or perhaps just characteristically cagey). He didn’t really have any idea why his teams have avoided turnovers so consistently, nor why the league has done a better job in recent seasons.“I’m not even sure I know the answer to that, to tell you the truth,” Popovich said. “We don’t do any ‘don’t turn it over’ drills or anything like that. We talk a lot about decision-making and time and score on the clock, understanding your role, staying within your abilities, all those sorts of things. So, I think over time people realize how valuable the basketball is, and we just go from there.”There are many potential explanations for the drop in turnover rate, all of which may be working in concert. The increasing prevalence of pull-up three-pointers limits opportunities for players to cough up the ball — if the ball never passes the three-point line, a turnover is far less likely as most turnovers tend to happen in more crowded areas of the floor. Switch-heavy defenses have resulted in more isolation plays, and isolations are often the play-call of choice in close and late situations because they are less likely to result in turnovers.Regardless of why, the impact of turnovers cannot be undersold. Popovich is onto something when it comes to the value of the basketball. It makes intuitive sense: You can’t score if you don’t have the ball.To gauge the impact of turnover rate on NBA offense, let’s look at how it’s changed compared to the other so-called Four Factors of Basketball Success popularized by noted basketball statistician Dean Oliver in his seminal book, “Basketball on Paper”: effective field-goal percentage, offensive rebound rate and free-throw rate. When looking at each of the Four Factors year over year, we can see just how stark the drop-off in turnovers has been over the years and how it compares with the changes in the other factors, all of which have followed similarly consistent trend lines. Percentage change+7.6%-18.7%-31.3%-14.9% EFF. FG %turnover %OFF. REB. %FT % Turnover decline is even bigger than it seemsThe percentage change of Dean Oliver’s Four Factors weighted by their impact on the game, 1980-2019 The respective declines in turnovers and offensive rebounding are nearly even, while the bump in shooting efficiency far outweighs the decline in free-throw rate. Add it all up, and you’ve got a leaguewide offensive rating that is 4.6 percent better in 2018-19 than it was during the 1979-80 season (110.1 points per 100 possessions compared with 105.3 per 100).Shooting (and shot distribution) have been talked about ad nauseam over the years, while numerous observers have noted that teams are increasingly prioritizing getting back in transition defense over chasing offensive rebounds. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe explained in 2016, the Spurs were among the first teams to deprioritize offensive rebounds, with former Spurs assistant and current 76ers head coach Brett Brown once noting that Popovich did not care if a player didn’t grab a single offensive rebound during his entire career. Pop’s lead was followed by coaches like Doc Rivers, Erik Spoelstra, Stan Van Gundy and Rick Carlisle, and with those coaches’ assistants now all over the league like Popovich’s are, it’s perhaps not surprising that offensive rebounding is down all over the place. Without the decline in turnovers offsetting that prioritization, though, we likely would not be living in the best offensive environment in the modern history of the NBA.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Weighted+4.1-4.1-4.7-1.5 The weights represent the amount of variance in offensive efficiency each stat explains based on Evan Zamir’s variation on Oliver’s analysis; field-goal percentage at 54 percent, turnover rate at 22 percent, offensive rebounding rate at 15 percent and free-throw rate at 10 percent.Source: read more

City Council declares Monday Fire Chief Brian Fennessy Day

first_img KUSI Newsroom, KUSI Newsroom City Council declares Monday ‘Fire Chief Brian Fennessy Day’ Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The City Council proclaimed Monday “Fire Chief Brian Fennessy Day,” in honor of the 18-year veteran of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, who is leaving to head up the Orange County Fire Authority.Fennessy served through all ranks of the SDFD before being appointed chief in 2015. In his new job, he’ll lead a department that protects more than 1.6 million residents within 23 cities and unincorporated sections of Orange County.Mayor Kevin Faulconer touted Fennessy’s achievements, particularly in relation to leadership and paramedic training as well as the implementation of innovative technology.“We’re going to miss you. You’ve done a heck of a job,” Faulconer said. “Eighteen years in the fire department and you’ve made a difference. You’ve made our community and our city safe.”Flanked by family and fire officials, Fennessy thanked Faulconer for his support.“Knowing your boss has your back like that is a pretty good thing,” Fennessy said.He applauded fire department employees, including rank-and-file firefighters, lifeguards and EMS responders.“All of us serve them so they can serve the community — and we’ve got some amazing employees,” Fennessy said.Fennessy’s last day on the job was Friday. The City Council is expected Tuesday to confirm Faulconer’s appointment of Assistant Chief Kevin Ester as interim chief. center_img April 9, 2018 Posted: April 9, 2018 Updated: 5:28 PMlast_img read more