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Paradise Canyon sixth-grader keeps spelling title

first_imgALHAMBRA – Rheostat, discord and interrupt. Those three words Wednesday ended the dreams of some of the 22 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders who participated at the second annual Los Angeles County Spelling Bee, held at the Almansor Court Banquet and Conference Center in Alhambra. Zhi Low, 12, a sixth-grade student at Paradise Canyon School in the La Ca ada Unified School District, was the repeat champion this year, after 18 rounds. The last four rounds were against Hanz Legaspi, a fifth-grader representing the Hawthorne School District. Low claimed the title of “spellmaster” by correctly spelling “verbatim” and “repudiate.” “I’m happy it is over,” Lim said. Her mother, Vicki Lim, said she was nervous during the whole time her daughter was on stage. “I really wanted her to have this experience,” Vicki Lim said. “This was her first time ever in a spelling bee.” Some competitors cried after they were eliminated and many said they were disappointed. Almost all said they were relieved to not have to study another spelling list. “No more lists,” said Alex Chiem, sixth-grader at Durfee School in the El Monte City School District. His “coach” and friend Steve Thomas, though was still miffed that Chiem misspelled “squabble.” Many participants, like Eduardo Gonzalez, a fifth-grader at Allen Avenue Elementary in San Dimas, clutched a spelling list from the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the yearly national spelling competition. Gonzalez misspelled “interrupt” during the fourth round, a mistake made because “my mind just went blank,” he said. He will not compete in next year’s Bee because his school ends at the fifth grade and while that saddens him, he remains confident in his skills. “I studied harder words” compared to the competition’s list Gonzalez said. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108 Low won last year’s Bee by correctly spelling “courier.” “I feel really good and that my work paid off,” Low said as he clutched his first-place trophy. He also received a $750 U.S. Savings Bond, and he and Legaspi will compete at the state spelling bee in May. The bee was presented by the Los Angeles County Office of Education, participating school districts and various sponsors. The eight San Gabriel Valley participants – representing Bonita, Baldwin Park, El Monte City, Garvey, Glendora, Mountain View and West Covina districts – had a strong showing this year. Alyssa Lim, fifth-grader at Hillcrest Elementary in the Garvey School District, went the furthest in the competition and was eliminated in the 14th round after misspelling “rheostat.” last_img read more

Animals Overcome Limitations of Physics

first_imgThe limits of human engineering have been overcome by animals in surprising ways worth imitating.Cochlea secrets improve sound reception:  Why does the cochlea in the mammalian inner ear have two fluid-filled chambers?  Prof. Marcel van der Heijden at Erasmus Medical Center, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, wanted to know.  He found that the leading “resonance theory” is wrong; experiments have shown that lab imitations can either get frequency tuning or amplification, but not both.  Van der Heijden’s new model based on the cochlea’s two-chamber design can carry waves and do spectral analysis simultaneously, because it “displays strong structural and behavioral similarities to the cochlea.”  The living cochlea, though, still excels in its ability to perform “multiband dynamic range compression” and “automatic gain control,” among other advanced features.  The new work relies on the theory of “optical coherence tomography.”  The article goes into some detail about how the cochlea works.Shrimp sees cancer:  The mantis shrimp has been a frequent focus of engineering interest for its amazing eyes (1/29/14, 3/31/08 #5) and claws (7/06/14).  Now, an interdisciplinary team at the University of Queensland believes that sensors modeled on the mantis shrimp eye could detect cancer.  PhysOrg says, “Mantis shrimp eyes are inspiring the design of new cameras that can detect a variety of cancers and visualise brain activity.”  That’s because “the shrimp’s compound eyes are superbly tuned to detect polarised light, providing a streamlined framework for technology to mimic.”Butterfly photonics:  One of the early biomimetic stories concerned “photonic crystals” found on insect wings and bird feathers – structures that manipulate light without pigment (1/29/03).  PNAS just published a paper by Harvard scientists who made “Bioinspired micrograting arrays mimicking the reverse color diffraction elements evolved by the butterfly Pierella luna.”  Although evolution was on the lips of the UK team (“In the course of evolution, many organisms have developed unique light manipulation strategies…”), it was not in their techniques.  Those involved intelligent design: “Exploiting and improving the butterfly’s strategy, we create photonic materials that increase our basic understanding of the optical interplay of hierarchical structures and provide a platform for the development of novel photonic devices.”  Among them, Live Science reported, could be “counterfeit-proof tech” because the material is “difficult to create”.Beetle paint:  A related article on PhysOrg discusses a more “natural route” to photonics being investigated across the pond by Oxford scientists: “Researchers take cells from chrysalis and use them to grow butterfly wings in the lab.”  Judging from the durability of these photonic crystals in fossils, it should be possible to create long-lasting colored surfaces that could be painted on.  “They point out that such materials would never fade, noting that similar beetles from millions of years ago that have been unearthed, still have the same colors that had when alive,” the article concludes. “They also note that they believe what they’ve discovered is only the beginning—they envision a host of products grown from a wide variety of cells from fish, peacocks, and many types of insects.”Membrane tech:  A researcher at the University of Leeds sees “endless possibilities for bio-nanotechnology,” says PhysOrg, thanks to the imitation of lipid membranes that cells use to enclose their systems.  That “thin skin” that surrounds biological cells “can be applied to synthetic surfaces,” also mimicking the active transport cells use to control what goes in and out.  The university is using nano-lithography and atomic force microscopy in its attempts, “with high precision, to create novel hybrid bio-electronic devices.”Dolphin sonar:  A physical limitation that challenged man-made sonar systems has been overcome by imitating dolphins.  PhysOrg headlined its story, “Dolphin-inspired sonar overcomes size-wavelength limitation.”  That limitation arises when the size of the sonar arrays is much larger than the wavelength.  The article attributes mastery of sonar to evolution, winning an “Amazing” award as well as “Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week” –While this problem plagues man-made sonar, Yangtze finless porpoises don’t seem to have the same limitation. Through millions of years of evolution and natural selection, the animal has developed a relatively small head (compared to man-made sonar) that can manipulate acoustic waves into a beam with high directivity. Porpoises and dolphins use these highly efficient biosonars for foraging, avoiding predators, and group coordination. Studies have shown that, despite serious vision degradation in water, dolphins can locate centimeter-sized objects 100 meters away using echolocation.Don’t forget us plants:  A clumsy-looking electric “plant” named PLANTOID begins an article on Science Daily about “Robotic solutions inspired by plants.”  The prototype in the picture has “a 3D-printed ‘trunk‘, ‘leaves‘ that sense the environment and ‘roots‘ that grow and change direction.”  Why would a robot designer make like a leaf?  “Humans naturally understand problems and solutions from an animal’s perspective, tending to see plants as passive organisms that don’t ‘do’ much of anything, but plants do move, and they sense, and they do so in extremely efficient ways.”  Because “plants are very efficient in terms of their energy consumption during motion,” using no muscles, your future surgery could benefit from this research.The shrilk joy of it all:  New Scientist has an updated account of Shrilk, a new bio-friendly replacement for plastic made from spider silk and shrimp exoskeleton.  This might be a far better replacement than the current material that Salee Adee says is still inhabiting a landfill somewhere with your baby diapers.  That old polyethylene plastic may last a few centuries more.  A photo shows what shrilk looks like: “a tough, biodegradable replacement for world-choking plastics.”Nano-mold:  Harvard’s Wyss Center for Biologically Inspired Engineering achieved a “significant breakthrough” in nano-technology.  PhysOrg says they have constructed tiny structures made from a familiar biological molecule: DNA.  This ability allows them to “form tiny 3D metal nanoparticles in prescribed shapes and dimensions using DNA, Nature’s building block, as a construction mold.”  A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick; these DNA molds are as small as 25 nanometers.  “The properties of DNA that allow it to self assemble and encode the building blocks of life have been harnessed, re-purposed and re-imagined for the nano-manufacturing of inorganic materials,” one of the team members said. “This capability should open up entirely new strategies for fields ranging from computer miniaturization to energy and pathogen detection.”Pitcher this:  The Wyss Center also came up with a bio-inspired material for coating medical devices, PhysOrg said.  The material, called SLIPS, repels blood, prevents clotting, and resists bacterial biofilms.  Where’d they get the idea?  “Inspired by the slippery surface of the carnivorous pitcher plant, which enables the plant to capture insects, SLIPS repels nearly any material it contacts.”Design is everywhere from Atlanta to Zoo:  Georgia Tech’s Center for Biologically Inspired Design has created an iPhone app called ZooScape to raise public awareness about biomimetics and to encourage conservation of the animals that have inspired new technologies.  Though usable anywhere, the app becomes interactive at the Atlanta Zoo, where visitors can interact with the lessons in physics coming from animal inspiration.  PhysOrg has a short video clip where Marc Weissburg, professor of Biology at Georgia Tech, says, with feeling, “Animals are really amazing in the things that they do, and we learn so much from them, that there’s actually not one that I don’t look at and say, ‘Wow, that’s really cool!’”  The clip gives an example: flamingoes have a water filter in their beaks that we don’t fully understand, but it might help us improve water faucets some day.  Joe Mendelson, adjunct professor and herpetologist at the zoo, echoed Weissburg’s sentiments. “There’s so much we have learned and still have to learn about animals,” he said. “They’re experts at navigating their environments successfully, and it turns out that sometimes all we have to do to improve our own systems and efficiency is to sit back and watch them do what they already do so well.”Read how Evolution News & Views responded to the Darwinians’ efforts to insert themselves into biomimetics where they don’t belong, trying to make themselves look relevant to the Design Revolution. 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Theory of Early Oxygenation Undermined

first_img(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Fossils living in and around newly-discovered methane seeps have cast strong doubt on a leading theory of earth’s climate history.For a long time, evolutionary geologists have inferred the oxygen levels of ancient oceans by the fossils of marine organisms, particularly foraminifera (forams for short).  That inference fed into theories of how life was evolving and how earth’s climate was changing.  Now, studies of living forams in and around the seeps shows that forams live both close to the seeps and away from them.The seeps were discovered to scientists’ surprise last summer (see 8/25/14).  PhysOrg reports that the new fossil work by Indiana State was serendipitous, surprising, and monumental.  Finding forams has been an index of oxygen levels in the past – so it was thought.So, finding this species in abundance in both seep and non-seep environments where oxygen is limited was unexpected. Based on their research, Rathburn and Burkett speculate that it’s not the abundance of oxygen that determines where these creatures are located. It may simply be that they’re present where there are hard surfaces on the sea floor for them to live on.The finding threatens to undo models of past climate change.Burkett presented her surprise findings this past October to the scientific community at a meeting of the Geologic Society of America in Vancouver, Canada. The response was positive.“At this meeting, we shocked people with our results,” Rathburn said. “(Our research) will shake up our ideas about how to use these creatures in the interpretation of the environments of the past.“A lot was built on this index: past climate and evolutionary transitions.  Those will now be called into question.Inferences about past conditions are always indirect, dependent on some “index” that supposedly represents the changing conditions.  When the index is shown to be flawed, all the baggage loaded on it comes tumbling down.  No doubt, textbooks, TV and science articles will continue to blindly tell their story of when earth’s oxygen surged.  It will be like speaking out the window of a collapsed house of cards.  Those of us who know this new evidence should speak boldly to the evolutionists, telling them they cannot know past climate or evolution with this evidence; the world is consistent with a recent creation that always had habitable conditions for complex life.  We should also speak to the climate alarmists, pointing to this unexpected finding of all these methane seeps as evidence that the future of the climate cannot be known because of the number of unknowns.last_img read more

Proud to be a South African

first_imgTalk Radio 702 presenter Aki Anastasiou said that the road show celebrated democracy. “It reflects on freedom and it reflects on our country. (Image: Melissa Jane Cook) • Fikile Makhoba Communications Brand South Africa + 27 82 404 4856 [email protected] • Two decades of freedom • Freedom Day: long time coming • Twenty years of constitutional freedom • Freedom rediscovered • Making democracy work for allMelissa Jane CookSouth Africans congregated at Eastgate Mall on the eastern edge of Johannesburg on Valentine’s Day to celebrate Freedom Friday. It was a time to show their love for South Africa, and mark the countdown towards the 20th anniversary of democracy in the country.Freedom Friday is jointly hosted by Brand South Africa, Lead SA, Proudly SA, the Department of Arts and Culture, and the Government Communication and Information System. It is aimed at encouraging South Africans to celebrate their freedom and democracy – and their essential “South African-ness” by wearing whatever makes them proud to be South African. This can be the colours of the national flag, traditional attire, national soccer or rugby team jerseys, or anything else that reflects 20 years of democracy.Monica Newton, the deputy director-general of Arts and Culture, said the countdown campaign was just one activity aimed at mobilising South Africans behind the 20 years of freedom celebrations. “We are rolling out the countdown campaign to certain malls across the country as we get closer to April 27, which marks our 20th anniversary of democracy.“We’ve come a very long way, but even though we still have a long journey ahead of us, as a nation, we need take this opportunity to recognise and celebrate the huge gains that we’ve made in education, health and housing to mention a few,” Newtown said. “Things have changed for everybody since 1994 for the better; hence we are encouraging South Africans to celebrate their achievements and to continue working together to take our democracy forward.”Her department has been mandated to drive the mobilisation programme. At Eastgate on Friday, there was song and dance from GB Collective and Unknown Virus. They expressed what the last two decades has meant for them. GB Collective has been developing a musical since 2005, focusing on the struggle against apartheid and transition to democracy. The objective of the project is to educate and inspire today’s youth about the country’s history and future. GB Collective has been developing a musical since 2005, focusing on the struggle against apartheid and transition to democracy. The objective of the project is to educate and inspire today’s youth about the country’s history and future. (Image: Melissa Jane Cook)Apart from being entertained by moving, powerful songs of democracy and hope, those at the event were given South African flags and copies of the government newspaper, Vuk’uzenzele, and the Public Sector Manager Magazine. This idea is to use the day for all South Africans to come together and participate in activities that promote a common South African consciousness.Social mediaThe campaign is running across various social media platforms and interactive experiential zones in malls nationwide, as well as at OR Tambo International Airport. People will be encouraged to share their personal stories of what freedom and democracy means to them. Experiential zones in malls include an Express your Freedom location where, for example, people can contribute to graffiti boards. A collection of these will be on display during the official ceremony marking the anniversary of democracy, on 27 April.“We are living a part of history. Let’s share our positive stories and be active on social media. We all have the ability to do a small thing that makes a big difference,” said Catherine Constantinides, an executive from Lead SA.Freedom Friday is fashioned after the inspirational Football Friday campaign that united South Africans behind the FIFA World Cup in 2010, and the Phenomenal Friday campaign that mobilised people to support the country’s national cricket, rugby and netball World Cup squads in 2011.Talk Radio 702 presenter Aki Anastasiou said that the road show celebrated democracy. “It reflects on freedom and it reflects on our country. We have a beautiful country and a beautiful Constitution and people have sacrificed their lives to be here. This freedom is what it is all about. Let’s ask ourselves, what can we do to make a difference to those around us?”last_img read more

Ohio CCA training seminar

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Exam Training program, sponsored and delivered by the OSU Agronomic Crops Team, will be offered at the Shelby County Extension Office, 810 Fair Rd, Sidney, Ohio 45365 on January 10 & 11, 2018 beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the 10th and adjourn by 5:00 p.m. on the 11th. The price for the Pre-Exam preparation class is $250. Secure on-line registration via credit card, debit card or check is available at: http://www.cvent.com/d/jtqpf2. Register early; due to class interaction, we keep it small. This is an intensive two-day program somewhat directed toward the local exam – to be used as a reminder on what best to study in preparation for the CCA exams.Course contact:Harold Watters, CPAg, CCA Ohio State University Extension 1100 S. Detroit St Bellefontaine, OH 43311 Phone 937 604-2415 cell, or by email: [email protected] for more information.We will provide each participant with the following publications in addition to lectures:The new 2017 Ohio Agronomy GuideOhio, Indiana & Illinois Weed Control Guide2014 Corn, Soybean, Wheat and Alfalfa Field Guide or equivalentTri-State Fertility GuideModern Corn & Soybean ProductionAnd many handoutsMeals, snacks, coffee will also be provided at the site during the class.Not covered directly in the class is the international exam. We recommend this very good study resource for the international exam, “Preparing for the International CCA Exam”, to be available for purchase on November 7th. To order: https://store.ipni.net/products/preparing-for-the-international-certified-crop-adviser-exam. This guide is divided into four main categories; Nutrient Management, Crop Management, Pest Management, Soil/Water Management with subject matter and questions/answers at end of each chapter.For more information on the Certified Crop Adviser program: http://certifiedcropadviser.orgSteps to Certification:The steps below are simply an overview of the process of becoming a CCA. Anyone interested in becoming certified is encouraged to review the detailed documentation in the Credential Information Workbook before starting the process. The steps to certification are:1. Pass two comprehensive exams (International and Local Board). CCA exams will be given twice in 2018. Register for the February exam at http://www.certifiedcropadviser.org/exams, at least six weeks (December 8th) before the next exam on February 2nd.2. Meet the experience requirementsHave at least two years of experience with at least a Bachelor of Science Degree in an agronomy related field, (The number of CCAs with at least a Bachelor of Science Degree is greater than 70%)Have at least three years of experience with an Associates Degree in an agronomy related field,Or have at least four years of experience with no degree.3. Apply for the CCA CredentialDocument education and crop advising experience (Including transcripts and supporting references)Sign and agree to uphold the CCA Code of Ethics (Included in application)Once Certified:Earn 40 hours of continuing education (CEU) every two years and pay an annual renewal fee.last_img read more

Win 5 Free Tickets to the Real-Time Web Summit, New York City, June 11

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting elyssa pallai 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market What if Chris Dixon and John Borthwick were sitting at the same table as you, ready to have a real conversation about what’s next for the real-time Web? Would you like to sit across from Marshall Kirkpatrick and Richard MacManus and have a straight-shooting conversation about real-time online media? If so, then the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit is for you. And thanks to its unconference format, the day will be like participating in a think tank – you and a group of tech luminaries collaborating on the future of the Web. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts “The RWW Real-Time Web Summit [in 2009] was excellent – friggin’ great in fact. I hauled a handful members of my team across country for it and my only regret was that I didn’t bring more of them. I’m looking forward to the next one.”John Borthwick, CEO BetaWorks – one of the leading investors in the Real-Time Web. That’s the nature of ReadWriteWeb summits – straight talking, collegial settings where individuals who are striving to move an industry forward, sit down and create the future. Everyone learns. Everyone advances. You leave feeling energized and full of “next’.The ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit – will take place on June 11 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. Register here. If you’re a student and would like to participate, please email us at [email protected] What’s an Unconference?It’s simple: With the help of a professional facilitator, Kaliya Hamlin, you and everyone attending the conference create an agenda in real-time on the day of the event. This ensures that what’s covered is important, timely, and exactly what you want to talk about. To see the power of the unconference format in action, check out this video of session pitching at the recent ReadWriteWeb Mobile Summit:Watch live video from ReadWriteWeb Mobile Summit 2010 on Justin.tvThe rest of the day is spent debating and discussing the issues. Notetakers record the sessions throughout, and we record video when possible.We can assure you that by the end of the day you’ll have made new contacts, participated in some ground-breaking discussions, and (if you were brave enough) worked side-by-side with people you admire.We hope to see you there.Today we’re giving away five free tickets to our readers who have the most interesting thoughts about the real-time Web. Let us know your comments, concerns, predictions and premonitions in the comments below! Tags:#conferences#RWW Real-Time Web Summit, NYC 2010#web last_img read more

New Cellulose Manufacturer Set for a 2018 Launch

first_imgLooking for quality insulationNational Fiber insulation had a good reputation, and its training programs were well received, said David Milliken, the owner of Portland-based Horizon Residential Energy Services Maine.“We were pretty saddened,” he said. “It seemed like a well-run business. We liked all the people there. It seemed like it was an important part of the manufacturing economy in that area. It was definitely a bummer. And then not having access to a high quality alternative product was problematic, and we ended up cycling through four, five different competitors before landing back at GreenFiber.“They’ve worked out a lot of the kinks that we were having,” he continued. “I think we’re back to a place where we have a good product to work with.”Michael Maines, a residential designer who met Hulstrunk while working at Ecocor in Searsmont, Maine, said the closure of National Fiber made it harder to find high-quality cellulose.“Depending on the installer, some say it doesn’t matter, that cellulose is cellulose,” he said. “But the higher-end installers who really care about quality said it’s not the same.”Hulstrunk says the use of recycled corrugated cardboard as the feedstock for UltraCell’s cellulose should make for very clean insulation, free of plastic and other contaminants that increasingly shows up in cellulose insulation made with recycled newspaper. The company also has changed the way fire retardants are added. Instead of grinding boric acid (or ammonium sulfate) into a powder and mixing it with cellulose fibers, UltraCell is impregnating the fibers with the retardant, which reduces the amount of dust installers have to contend with.UltraCell will cover the same market area as National Fiber — New England, eastern New York, and parts of Pennsylvania and Virginia — and expand it to the west, Hulstrunk said. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said GreenFiber purchased National Fiber in 2015 and closed it in 2016. GreenFiber says it purchased the company 2014, and closed the plant in 2015. Builders in the Northeast who have missed the friendly voice of Bill Hulstrunk and cellulose from National Fiber, the Massachusetts-based firm he worked for, can look forward to the launch of a new company and a fresh source of cellulose by next year.Hulstrunk, the technical director at the now-shuttered National Fiber plant in Belchertown, Massachusetts, has joined a new company called UltraCell, which is building a pilot plant in Buffalo, New York, and hopes to open a larger plant and begin selling the insulation in 2018.Hulstrunk met and trained many New England cellulose installers in the 11 years he worked for National Fiber. “If you talked to anyone about cellulose insulation or the companies that were producing the best quality material it was always, ‘That’s National Fiber,’” Hulstrunk said by telephone. “Or you talk to someone about who has the best technical support in New England, and that was National Fiber as well.”But National Fiber is no more. The company was purchased by U.S. GreenFiber, a Charlotte, North Carolina, company, in May 2014, and by the early summer of 2015 it was closed. The people who had been working at National Fiber, in a town Hulstrunk says doesn’t have many job opportunities, were suddenly out of work.center_img The website is still up and runningNational Fiber may be dead and gone, but its website lives on. Everything looks normal at first: there’s an interactive “find an installer” function, a tab to get a Federal Income Tax Credit form, and a technical library with articles and links about cellulose (some inviting questions be sent to Bill Hulstrunk).But try dialing the contact number, and things get weird. Instead of being connected to an operator, or having the chance to leave a message, callers are automatically taken to a recorded pitch offering the chance to win a Caribbean vacation in return for answering a few questions.That’s potentially confusing for callers, as it was for some GBA readers recently.Laura Woodford, GreenFiber’s senior marketing manager, said former National Fiber customers could contact GreenFiber by calling 1-800-228-0024 or by visiting its website.When asked why the National Fiber website was still running, Woodford said: “We appreciate you bringing the issue with the National Fiber website to our attention and we apologize for any inconvenience to site visitors. Our first priority is to ensure that we are providing our customers with the best service and support. GreenFiber is acting immediately to update the contact information on the National Fiber site so that visitors are directed to a dedicated GreenFiber service representatives that can assist them with their needs. Look for those updates within the next week.”Hulstrunk says he finds the website useful. “I still send folks to the website because it still has all the technical documents I created on it,” he said. “If you’re looking for technical information and videos, I think the National Fiber site still has some of the best information on the internet.”last_img read more

Rajnath Singh’s marathon speech in Rajya Sabha tests MPs

first_imgRajnath Singh spoke on issues such as biometric identity cards, law and order, National Counter-terrorism Centre and the NDA.Home Minister Rajnath Singh tested the patience of Rajya Sabha members when he made a marathon over two-hour-long reply to a debate on the functioning of his ministry.Singh’s long and winding speech, which touched all the issues raised by members of the House, made many lawmakers restive on Monday evening.While Congress chief whip Satyavrat Chaturvedi vowed he would never ask a question to the Home Minister, deputy Congress leader Anand Sharma requested Singh with folded hands to end his speech.Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who is known for sitting in the chair for long hours, too asked Singh a few times how long the minister would take to wind up.The Opposition too displayed their impatience as they gestured at each other while members of the ruling BJP party chuckled at their situation.Singh, however, seemed to be in a good mood even after an eight-hour debate. He went on and replied to all issues raised by the members. He touched upon issues such as biometric identity cards, law and order, the anti-terror hub NCTC, the RSS and the NDA government.In a lighter vein, CPI-M member Sitaram Yechury described Singh’s verbal deluge as a strategy to deal with the opposition, which has been cornering the government on various issues in the Upper House.”I must congratulate the minister for his style. He has been replying to our questions for so long and now we are all tired. It’s a great tactic, I must say,” said Yechury.advertisementLeader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad had a smile on his face when Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prakash Javadekar sent a chit to him.Kurien even jokingly told Javadekar that the parliamentary affairs minister would have to provide dinner to the MPs as Singh’s reply was dragging on. “You will have to give them dinner,” he said.When Singh mentioned the traditional Hindu practice of offering milk to snakes on certain days, Yechury said, “If food is not available, give us at least milk.”The CPI-M leader even suggested the chair to take a break for an hour. During the reply, the Home Minister briefly got involved in a verbal duel with Congress member Digvijaya Singh, who said his party was opposed to the RSS’ ideology.Singh countered Digvijaya by saying that even Mahatma Gandhi had once attended an RSS camp and praised the organisation.Minutes before the Home Minister concluded his speech, Kurien asked him to send replies to the members in writing. “It’s about to end,” Singh said then.When Singh finally ended his speech, Kurien complimented him as members greeted each other. “The Home Minister was very considerate and responsive to every member. The House appreciates it,” said Kurien.last_img read more

Can Tuukka Rask Sustain His MVPCaliber Postseason

If you listen to Boston sports talk radio, you might be convinced that Tuukka Rask is among the worst goaltenders in NHL history, especially when it comes to playoff performance. Never mind the fact that Rask is tied for the third-best career regular-season save percentage1The NHL started recording the stat in 1955-56. in league history; never mind the fact that Rask is tied for the fifth-best playoff save percentage in league history. Rask was at the helm of an epic collapse in his first postseason — as a rookie — and a certain cadre of loudmouths have never shut up about it.2In the 2009-10 playoffs, with Rask between the pipes, the Bruins surrendered a 3-0 series lead — and a 3-0 lead in Game 7 on home ice — to the Philadelphia Flyers en route to one of the worst playoff collapses in NHL history.Fortunately for the Bruins, Tuukka — with two Us and two Ks — is actually very good at keeping pucks out of the net. That’s been especially true in these playoffs: Through the conference finals round, Rask ranks first in save percentage, first in goals against average and second in quality start percentage.3To earn a quality start, a goalie must post a league-average save percentage or better; if a goalie faces 20 or fewer shots in a game, he can earn a quality start with a save percentage of .885. In fact, his quality start percentage is better than all but two of those recorded by Stanley Cup-winning teams. Rask is also one of just three goaltenders to reach the Stanley Cup Final since the 2007-08 season without having recorded a Really Bad Start (RBS)4Really Bad Starts was developed by Hockey Abstract’s Robert Vollman and indicates that a goalie saved less than 85 percent of shots faced in a given game. When a goalie records a Really Bad Start, his team has just a 10 percent chance of winning. during that season’s playoffs.By any measure, Rask is delivering one of the greatest all-time playoff goaltending performances, far outpacing his opposing goalie in this final, St. Louis Blues rookie Jordan Binnington. We’ve written (here and here and here and here) about the importance of quality goaltending in the NHL playoffs — if a team wants to win the Stanley Cup, it helps to have that season’s hot playoff goaltender because save percentage accounts for a higher proportion of a team’s success than any other factor. It’s fair to say the Bruins have that goaltender in Rask.Indeed, Rask has been so exceptional this postseason that among teams that have made it to the Stanley Cup Final in the history of the NHL, only two have gotten better playoff performances from their goaltenders in terms of save percentage than Rask’s .942: Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who posted a .946 save percentage in 2003 with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Jonathan Quick, who posted a .946 save percentage in 2012 with the Los Angeles Kings.Unfortunately for the Ducks, Giguere’s brilliance transformed into mediocrity in the final. After posting a save percentage of .960 in the first three rounds, he saved just .910 of the shots he faced in the finals against the New Jersey Devils. Not awful, and still good enough to be named playoff MVP, but not good enough to lift the Cup. Quick’s story had a happier ending. He entered the final — also against the Devils — with a save percentage of .946, and he posted a rate of .947 in the final. Quick, who was consistent wire to wire, won the Conn Smythe Trophy, and the Kings lifted the first Cup in franchise history.Though disappointing for Ducks fans, Giguere’s regression wasn’t an anomaly: For qualified Stanley Cup Final goalies since 1995 who had at least a .930 save percentage in the playoffs before the finals, their save percentage dropped by an average of 24 points in the final itself, from an average of .940 to .916. It’s hard to tell exactly why save percentages fall off a cliff in the Stanley Cup Final — a cocktail of fatigue and better competition surely plays a role — but even the hottest goalies are bound to regress. Who regresses less sharply — Rask or Binnington — might determine which team lifts the Cup.The postseason heroics of Giguere and Quick indicate that Rask is probably primed to receive some sort of silverware in June. If things go the way they did for Giguere, it’s hard to imagine Rask getting the credit he deserves. But if the Bruins prevail and Rask gets a Quick-like ending, even the Boston sports media will have to acknowledge his accomplishments.Neil Paine contributed research. read more