The Biggest Company In Tech Fears Britain’s “Snooper Charter”—And Startups Should, Too

first_imgThis post appears courtesy of the Ferenstein Wire, a syndicated news service. Publishing partners may edit posts. For inquiries, please email author and publisher Gregory Ferenstein.Apple is formally opposing a proposed UK law that requires tech companies to provide a way for authorities to access encrypted messages. CEO Tim Cook has spoken frequently about the company’s commitment to make customers’ communications so secure that not even the iPhone maker can read their messages. Under so-called “end-to-end encryption,” only sender and receiver have the capacity to unscramble a message. That stands in contrast to other setups, where an Internet company storing messages in the cloud necessarily has a key to decrypt the messages.British leaders, including Prime Minister David Cameron, argue that ultratight encryption prevents intelligence agencies from tracking down terrorists. “Do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?” Cameron asked earlier this year. In its formal response to Britain’s Investigatory Powers Bill—called a “snooper charter” by critics—Apple claimed that there is no way to allow a message to be read by the government without opening it up to malicious hackers as well:The best minds in the world cannot rewrite the laws of mathematics. Any process that weakens the mathematical models that protect user data will by extension weaken the protection.Apple is doubly worried that the UK law would apply globally (what they call “extra-territoriality”). Britain wants companies to comply with search warrants, whether they are based domestically or abroad. A Dangerous PrecedentThis could set a dangerous precedent, whereby any state, including China or Russia, could demand the same access to user data. While Britain may have noble intentions, authoritarian regimes may want to spy on Apple’s vast user base for other, less-liberal reasons. Finally, the bill could cause all kinds of complications from overlapping and contradicting rules. In the ever-shifting landscape of privacy laws, one country may consider a British spy warrant “hacking,” and Apple would be forbidden by law to confirm whether they had to give authorities access to the data. There is a growing industry of startups that are based on difficult-to-crack encryption. Some design their wares to prevent spying by hackers or governments, while others simply want to ensure the safety of their users’ data in a world of ever-changing threats. This would put startups in a very difficult situation—caught between laws that demand they protect users’ data and laws that demand they hand it over.The British government will take up the bill next year. Photo by Valery Marchive Tags:#Apple#David Cameron#encryption#encryption keys#Ferenstein Wire#Investigatory Powers Bill#politics#Snooper Charter#Tim Cook#UK#United Kingdom Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces gregory ferensteincenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts Leveraging Big Data that Data Websites Should T…last_img read more

Should you get your pet’s DNA tested? Scientists urge caution

first_img E.K.: Dogs and humans are very similar to one another, so you can use the same technology to look at dog DNA or human DNA. With these direct to consumer tests, for dogs or humans, often you’re not looking at every single part of the genome. You’re just looking for changes, or mutations, that are linked to some kind of disease or condition.Q: How accurate are the tests for dogs that are now on the market?E.K.: With genetic tests for humans, there have been so many studies that look at whether or not a certain mutation in your genes actually leads to you developing a certain disease. There just isn’t this massive body of work on dog genomes. So many of these tests are telling owners that their dog could get a certain disease without any major studies on how likely that is to happen. The science needs to catch up.Q: What are the dangers of potentially inaccurate test results?L.M.: In my veterinary practice, I’ve seen more and more people coming in with results that show their dog has a chance of developing conditions like epilepsy, heart disease, and degenerative muscular disorders, and they want to make treatment decisions right away. They’re ready to pay for more tests or medical interventions that the dog might not actually need, that could be quite expensive, and that could be invasive for the dog. In some cases, people preemptively end their dog’s life if they think their dog is predisposed to a degenerative disease, because don’t they want their pet to suffer.Q: Genetic testing kits for humans are regulated. Why aren’t pet tests? GIL COHEN MAGEN/REUTERS/Newscom Should you get your pet’s DNA tested? Scientists urge caution You’ve probably seen an ad for a company that wants to tell you about your genome. Just spit in a tube, send it in, and you can learn about your disease risk.Now, you can do the same for your pets, at least according to nearly a dozen—and growing—companies on the market. But how accurate are these tests—and why are these businesses not subject to the same regulations as those that analyze human DNA?Science chatted with Lisa Moses, a veterinarian affiliated with Harvard Medical School in Boston, and Elinor Karlsson, director of vertebrate genomics at the  Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both are authors on an opinion piece published today in Nature about these and other potential issues with the booming pet genomics industry. This interview has been edited for clarity and length.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(*)Q: What kind of pets are being tested?Lisa Moses: It’s overwhelmingly dogs. There are some tests for cats, but right now it’s about 90% dogs.Q: Why would an owner want to get their pet’s DNA tested?Elinor Karlsson: A lot of dog owners are interested in what breeds are in their dog, or some fun facts, like how big their dog could get. But there’s also testing for somewhere between 100 and 200 different genetic variants that have been linked to disease.Q: Is the process of testing a dog’s DNA different from testing a human’s? A sample of dog saliva contains enough DNA for a genetic test. Veterinarian and researcher Lisa Moses L.M.: With any new technology, regulation often lags behind, and for humans, there’s been more time for conversations to take place, and rules have been established that govern how the tests are vetted. With veterinary medicine, there hasn’t been a formal and systematic discussion about the ethics related to these new technologies. We need to start talking about this, because right now a lot of people are in the dark.Q: What might happen if this industry continues to go unregulated?L.M.: I worry that if the tests don’t improve, people are going to notice that their dogs don’t actually get the diseases they’re at risk for. I don’t want people to lose the idea that there is tremendous value in genetic testing, if we do it right. We really do have the potential to figure out that our patients get diseases long before they do permanent damage, if we are able to make this happen.Q: How can we improve genetic testing for pets?L.M.: We need to start with a conversation that encompasses the international veterinary community, the testing industry, and the scientists. We have to come up with some mutually agreed upon ways to report these results, and figure out how to validate them. We’d need to have transparency on how the tests are done, how the science is done, and talk seriously about data sharing. There’s a consortium, the International Partnership for Dogs, and they’re trying to do some standardization and data sharing. But, it’s brand new and I don’t know yet how successful they’re going to be.Q: What kind of things could we learn from pet genetics, if we do it right?E.K.: Dogs carry a lot of the same diseases humans do. By studying dogs, we could learn a lot about the causes of things like cancer, or diabetes, and use that information to develop new treatments for humans. By Frankie SchembriJul. 25, 2018 , 1:00 PM Evolutionary biologist Elinor Karlsson Michael J. Butts Lisa Moses last_img read more

Fairy tale landscape, wooden houses and lakes: A look at the great alpine charm of Slovenia

first_imgIt’s the stuff of fantasy and fable. I am looking at the exquisite fall colours of russet and yellow splashed like an Impressionist painting and the mountain peaks mirrored in the crystal clear waters of Slovenia’s largest natural lake in the scenic Bohinj Valley of the Julian Alps.There’s a lazy stillness, only broken by the peal of a church bell and the occasional pop of a fish. I soak in the tranquility of this fairy tale landscape that features scattered Alpine villages, weathered wooden houses with shingle roofs, mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, forests and alpine meadows like a patchwork quilt, just an hour from Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana.Also read: Vienna: A traveller’s tryst with the city of Sigmund Freud, museums and churches “Though most people head to its better known and overdeveloped sibling Lake Bled, Lake Bohinj is for people who appreciate wild nature,” says Ales Fevzer, my Slovenian guide. Lake Bohinj (pronounced boheen) has been dammed by the moraine of glaciers and is fed by the Savica river as well as underground streams.Lake Bohinj.The richness of Bohinj flora is celebrated every year at the International Wild Flower Festival. They have guided botany and ornithology workshops. Surrounded on three sides by steep mountains, Lake Bohinj opened up to the outside world only with the arrival of a train tunnel in the early 20th century.Life on the lake hasn’t changed much even today, as powerboats are banned, and canoes and row boats are the only way you can explore the lake. Towering above is the Triglav mountain range with Mount Triglav, Slovenia’s highest mountain. Most Slovenians regard climbing Mount Triglav as a ‘rite of passage’.advertisementBohinj Valley is a land of cowherds and shepherds who graze their livestock on the lush grass and wildflowers. We huff and puff behind the energetic Ales, as he climbs some 500 wooden steps over streams and rapids, towering spruce and larch trees, to the impressive 240-ft waterfall of Slap Savica, the source of the river Sava which feeds Lake Bohinj.At the top, we stand at a small wooden viewing point, gazing at the ethereal sight of ribbons of water spout from a hole in a giant cliff face, wreathed in mist and wind, to an emerald pool below, and then make its way down the slope as the Sava river.This cascade moved Slovenia’s famous poet France Preseren to write his famous poem, ‘Baptism at Savica waterfall’. Walking around the jade green lake, I see large whorls of local cheese, soft and yellowish, made from cow’s milk and known for its strong aroma and slightly tangy flavour.The jade waters of the Savica river. Picture courtesy: Mail TodayThe friendly shopkeepers offer us a taste of the spicy cheese. In the midst of manicured lawns we see a statue of Zlatorog – the fabled white chamois with golden horns. Ales tells me the story of the guardian of the Julian Alps, who was once the prey of a hunter, searching for buried treasure.But when he shot the stag, the place where blood flowed became a miraculous flower and healed the animal. This healed animal is said to protect the Alps even today, from human greed.In winter the valley becomes a winter sports centre, with ski lifts to Mt Vogel. Lake Bohinj invites bathers, kayakers and fishermen as well. The limpid lake has also attracted writers and poets in search of inspiration.Also read: Gulmarg’s first luxury resort represents the best of Kashmir’s beauty When Agatha Christie who visited Slovenia in the 1960s and stayed at Hotel Bellevue in Bohinj, she was asked if she could use Bohinj as a setting for one of her books. She famously remarked that the Slovenian Alpine valley was “too beautiful for murder.”On the embankment above Bohinj Lake, stands the gothic church of St John the Baptist, with a baroque bell tower. In front of the entrance, on the wall, there is a large painted image of St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, looking towards the bridge and the village. I loved the interiors, which are decorated with faded frescoes in several layers and from different time periods.There are images of singing angels, Abel and Cain, and the legends of St Jacob. In the church stand three wooden altars made by carvers, in different periods of the 17th century. We continue driving through bucolic bliss: lonely, winding roads, bright green maize fields, small villages with wooden houses, looking at cattle grazing on the mountain pastures and arresting rural cameos at every turn.advertisementWe drive to a wooden bridge to look at the translucent glacial waters of the Savica river in a bewitching shade of aquamarine. Bohinj used to be Slovenia’s centre of dairy farming, with herdsmen moving with the cows on to higher pastures in summer. Bohinj’s dairy culture is celebrated annually at the traditional Cow Bells Festival in September, where herdsmen parade their dairy queens through town.This area is still dotted with typical hayracks used for drying large batches of hay; we see one of the largest groups of hayracks in Slovenia set up below the village of Studor.I admire the toplars (double hayracks) which are masterfully crafted, and store hay on top and farming tools below. The Alpine air feeds a healthy appetite. Lunch is at a rustic inn called Gostilna Pri Hrvatu in the pretty little village of Srednja Vas, reached by a quaint footbridge over the Ribnica creek.As I tuck into the meal of a platter of local cheese and grapes paired with local white wine, cottage cheese Åtruklji (special local pasta) looking at the views of the creek, the 18th century baroque church of St Martin and the towering mountains, I muse on the fact that there is nothing more restorative as time spent with nature.last_img read more

5 Ways to Nurture Your Peer Fundraisers

first_imgYou have a plan for thanking and communicating impact to your donors, and you probably have a special program for training and recognizing your volunteers. But do you have a plan for celebrating peer-to-peer fundraisers who are spreading your message, attracting new donors, and inspiring donations for your cause?Your peer fundraisers are some of your strongest advocates, and continue to be a gateway to the donors you have acquired through their efforts as well as potential donors they may reach in future campaigns. As you think about how to thank and retain your donors of all types, make sure you also have a strategy for nurturing those who are fundraising on your behalf. Here are a few ideas to consider:Send a special thank you. Craft personalized messages for your fundraisers that will show your gratitude and grow the relationship. Since your peer fundraisers are key evangelists, they deserve a little something special—remember the cumulative impact of their efforts. Add them to your call list and treat them as you might treat a high dollar donor. (Need ideas? These examples would work equally well in your peer fundraising follow-up plan.)Report on their impact. Just as you would report impact to an individual donor, regularly keep your peer fundraisers updated on what’s happened as a result of their campaigns. Show them how their efforts have allowed you to do even more and equip them with stories and copy-and-paste social media updates for them to share.Put your fundraisers in the spotlight. Treat your fundraisers like the superstars they are. Celebrating their campaigns and achievements not only gives them a great feeling, but can be a strong piece of social proof that can inspire others to join in and create their own campaign. charity: water does this with their simple blog series called “Campaigns We Love“.Offer something unique. Do you have an exclusive perk you can offer your fundraisers? This could be a hand-written note from one of your beneficiaries, a tour of your office, or even special access to your next event. A small token of appreciation may not seem like a big deal, but it can be a powerful reminder of their involvement.Invite them in. Allow your fundraisers to continue to feel involved and appreciated by regularly asking for their feedback. Get their input on what seems to work to move their networks to act and invite them to share ideas for your next campaign. Set up regular conference calls, surveys, or Google Hangouts to form a unique advisory council. Building a two-way communication stream with these advocates will help you get smarter and gives them a sense of ownership—and pride—for your mission.Ultimately, investing in your fundraisers will help you get the most out of your peer fundraising strategy.last_img read more

20 days agoChelsea boss Lampard confirms Kante fully fit

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea boss Lampard confirms Kante fully fitby Paul Vegas20 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Frank Lampard has confirmed N’Golo Kante came through the midweek Champions League contest against Lille unscathed.While the boss will be keeping a close eye on his recovery over the coming days due to a lack of match action so far this campaign, there is every chance he will be involved again at Southampton.”It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay,” said Lampard. “All the players are on a semi-recovery programme after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much.”In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make.” last_img read more

Walking cycling may help you live longer

first_imgTaking the stairs, cycling or walking to work may help you live longer, regardless of age, sex and starting fitness level, a large-scale study unveiled recently claims. “People think they have to start going to the gym and exercising hard to get fitter,” said Elin Ekblom-Bak, from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm. “But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. For most people, just being more active in daily life – taking the stairs, exiting the metro a station early, cycling to work – is enough to benefit health since levels are so low to start with. The more you do, the better,” Ekblom-Bak said in a statement. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe study included 316,137 adults aged 18-74 years who had their first occupational health screening between 1995 and 2015 in Sweden. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using a submaximal cycle test and expressed as maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max). This is the maximum amount of oxygen the heart and lungs can provide the muscles during exercise, according to the study presented at EuroPrevent 2019, the annual congress of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC) in Portugal. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardSwedish national registries were used to obtain data on all-cause mortality and first-time cardiovascular events (fatal and non-fatal myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, or ischaemic stroke) during 1995-2015. The risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events fell by 2.8 per cent and 3.2 per cent, respectively, with each millilitre increase in VO2 max. Benefits of fitness were seen in men and women, in all age groups, and at all fitness levels, researchers said. There was no plateau of benefit in the total population, with some variation between sex- and age-subgroups, researchers said. “It is particularly important to note that an increase in fitness was beneficial regardless of the starting point,” said Ekblom-Bak. “This suggests that people with lower levels cardiorespiratory fitness have the most to gain from boosting their fitness,” Ekblom-Bak said. Increasing fitness should be a public health priority and clinicians should assess fitness during health screening, said Ekblom-Bak.last_img read more

The NCAA Is Modernizing The Way It Picks March Madness Teams

Late last month, NCAA officials met with some of basketball’s most prominent analytics experts to remake the way they select teams for the men’s NCAA tournament. Until now, they’ve used the ratings percentage index (RPI) to help guide their decisions, but that stat has become antiquated as far more advanced ranking systems have been developed. Efforts to replace the RPI, though, raise a lot of tricky questions.According to multiple people I spoke to who were at the meeting, the NCAA is not interested in generating a completely new metric from scratch. Instead, officials favored using multiple ranking systems to create a composite index that would be a resource on selection Sunday. But as the many controversies around college football’s Bowl Championship Series showed, developing a new rating, even one made up of accepted metrics, is full of twists and turns, roadblocks and landmines. Finding the right formula will require asking deep philosophical questions about what a ranking system should try to achieve — and whether certain statistical compromises are even possible.What’s so wrong with the RPI?Until the NCAA adopts a new metric, the committee is stuck with the RPI. Developed in 1980 by statistician Jim Van Valkenburg, the RPI was originally intended to adjust a team’s record for its strength of schedule, a noble cause in a sport where 351 teams face opponents of wildly dissimilar quality. Critics of the RPI — and there are many — are less concerned about its goal and than its execution. It’s an arbitrary formula that mashes together a team’s winning percentage with those of its opponents (and opponents’ opponents), and as a result, it amplifies the importance of a strong schedule at the expense of everything else. At-large bids.89.72 All years.95.91 It’s (philosophically) complicatedBut beyond the practical concerns of sportsmanship, the scoring-margin debate also speaks to a deeper philosophical question at the core of any ranking system: Should the NCAA’s new metric reward the best teams or the most accomplished ones?The selection committee is only starting to wrap its head around the subtle distinction between the two categories. Due to luck, underperformance and other circumstantial factors, it’s very possible for the most talented team in the country to not have the most impressive record in the country. Since things like point differential are more predictive measures, they give us a better read on a team’s underlying talent (the “best” team), while a metric like strength of record is more retrospective (the “most deserving” team). Because there will always be incongruities between the two types of rankings, a good ranking system will explicitly decide beforehand whether it’s measuring talent for the future or rewarding accomplishment in the past — or, if it’s somewhere in between, what the intended mix is.In the past, the NCAA has sent conflicting messages about whether its selection and seeding process is fundamentally a forward-looking endeavor or a backward-looking one. “In terms of the how the committee should select teams, it actually says in [the NCAA guidelines] that they need to select the best 36 at-large teams — based on results,” Pomeroy said. “Best” and “based on results” don’t always line up,, though. “It’s like a contradiction right in that sentence.”The distinction may not lend itself to a tidy resolution. The coaches want the committee to be armed with better metrics, but they don’t want them to consider scoring margin because it affects in-game decision-making. The committee wants to reward a team’s entire body of work, but will also drop teams when they suffer a key injury on the eve of the selection. And whatever compromise the NCAA settles on will be served up for hungry fans and members of the media to instantly pick apart.Still, the move toward a more modernized NCAA tournament selection system is an encouraging sign. Hancock told me that NCAA officials held a similar meeting during the 1990s — complete with some of the same ratings gurus — but nothing ever came of it. Although there are no guarantees that anything will change this time around, either, the climate seems more friendly to reform in 2017 than it has been in a long time.2I spoke with Terry Gawlik, chair of the NCAA Division-I Women’s Basketball Committee, and she said the women’s tournament would probably have a similar discussion about metrics during its summer meeting. The NCAA’s next statistical guide may not be perfect, but any revisions it contains would represent four decades of progress and would likely serve as an official endorsement of metrics that the hoops cognoscenti have relied on to pick their own brackets for a long time. Related: Hot Takedown 2014.97.90 2015.94.93 2012.94.87 CORRELATION WITH COMMITTEE RANK Who’s Going Where As The NBA Trade Deadline Approaches? YEARRPI RANKKENPOM RANK 2016.95.91 A value closer to 1 indicates a higher correlation.Source:,, Wikipedia 2013.94.91 The amount of sway the RPI still holds over the selection process in 2017 is a matter of debate. Officially, the NCAA maintains that the RPI is just one of many tools at the committee’s disposal, and the organization takes pains to show just how little influence the metric has whenever media members are invited to attend mock selection exercises. Bill Hancock, who spent 13 years as director of the men’s basketball tournament before moving on to lead the BCS and College Football Playoff, told me that the RPI’s clout with the committee has been waning for years. “In the first couple years I was there, it carried more weight,” Hancock recalled of the late 1980s, when he first joined the NCAA’s staff. “But by the time I left [in 2005], it really was just another factor — nothing more.” He said the tournament had tweaked the RPI formula “a time or two” during his tenure, and that it had even made a concerted effort to reduce the stat’s influence during the 1990s.Even so, Ken Pomeroy, dean of college basketball statheads and one of the people invited to the NCAA meeting, thinks it’s impossible not to be affected by the omnipresence of RPI-related data points in the committee room. “In discussions with other committee members, they always stress to me, ‘Hey, we’re not just relying on the RPI, we’re allowed to use whatever we want,’” Pomeroy said. “But obviously it’s much more convenient to use the RPI, because the RPI is on their computer screen, in front of their face.”Pomeroy himself helped intensify the public’s desire for something better than the RPI when he launched his tempo-free ratings at in 2004. In the ensuing 13 years, Pomeroy’s numbers have become the de facto industry standard for public-facing college basketball statistics; in turn, their increased popularity has driven fans and the media to pore over selections and seedings using tools far more advanced than the nearly four-decades-old RPI.Coaches, too, know that the RPI isn’t up to snuff. The National Association of Basketball Coaches raised concerns last May about the metrics being used to evaluate their teams, and David Worlock, the NCAA’s director of media coordination and statistics, told me the organization pushed for the inclusion of more up-to-date stats in the selection process.In a statement, the NABC said, “The NABC ad hoc group never had specific concerns about a single metric or metrics being included in a potential composite ranking. The coaches in the group simply expressed interest in utilizing both predictive and results-based metrics. The only concern expressed was that the coaches didn’t want to completely move away from using metrics that still factor in wins and losses.”Worlock is spearheading the new-metrics initiative. “It’s important to stay relevant; it’s just as important to have justification and rationale for every decision that gets made during selection week,” he told me via email. “We recognize the flaws in the RPI, and while there isn’t a perfect metric or combination of metrics, we owe it to ourselves and to the committee to use additional data that exists so that we are not overly relying on the RPI to measure teams and sort data.”A few easy solutionsThe analytics meeting in Indianapolis was broad and open-ended, Pomeroy said, much more the beginning of a conversation than a definitive conclusion. The hope was that the league could find a way to take most of the committee’s mechanisms that are currently underpinned by RPI — like the so-called “nitty-gritty report,” which breaks down a team’s records against opponents from different ranking tiers — and replace them with similar mechanisms based on a blend of more modern metrics.Everyone I talked to agreed that one of the most important (and easiest) reforms would be to find a better method of balancing the quality of a team’s home and away records. The committee’s current system emphasizes a team’s record, but makes no distinction between a close loss on the road and a close win at home. (The former could be more suggestive of a good team.) As of now, a home win against a top-25 team is considered better than a road win versus a top-50 team, though both of those wins could be equally difficult.Every state-of-the-art power rating now makes a home-court adjustment, so a new, composite ranking could easily calibrate the strength of a team’s opponent to include a difficulty boost if the game was played on the road and a downgrade if it came at home. This kind of modification would instantly affect which bubble teams make it into the tournament and could even change schools’ scheduling habits in future seasons.When the discussion turned to whether scoring margin should be considered by the metrics that feed the new rankings, however, the questions got more complex. On the one hand, research shows that a team’s point differential is more predictive of future outcomes than its win-loss record.1That’s true in the absence of a large sample of games, at least. On the other hand, the inclusion of victory margin could encourage coaches to run up the score or, less nefariously, could lead the metric to misconstrue how dominant a team was over an entire game by focusing only on the final tally.“If a team is up 20, do they keep the starters in for the final 90 seconds to keep the lead at 20,” Worlock wonders, “or do they risk winning by ‘only’ 14 because the walk-ons allowed a couple of three-pointers? [And] are there injury risks if the decision to play the starters longer is the direction a coach chooses to go?”For veterans of the college-sports ranking business, college basketball’s debate echoes what college football went through many years ago. After complaints that excessive score-padding carried potentially undeserving teams to the national title game in 2000 (Florida State) and 2001 (Nebraska), the BCS asked its computer systems to begin disregarding point differentials in the 2002 season. The change led to a mini-revolt among number-crunchers, several of whom recused themselves from the process rather than alter their formulas to remove what they saw as vital information about teams’ quality.Today’s statisticians downplay such an uncompromising approach, however, pointing to such solutions as game control, which measures dominance through a team’s average in-game win probability rather than the final score, and strength of record, which measures how difficult it would be for a generic “good team” to earn a specific team’s record, given its opponents. Both use a mix of metrics that measure how dominant a team was without explicitly accounting for a team’s margin in a way that coaches could manipulate during garbage time. The committee leans on the RPI when choosing teams read more

Column Look to the Ducks

U.S midfielder Clint Dempsey (8) attempts a shot on goal during a FIFA World Cup match against Portugal June 22. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Credit: Courtesy of MCTLike so many things in my life, it comes back to the Mighty Ducks.In the final film of the trilogy, D3, the Ducks are competing as a prep school JV team, and in their first game of the season they take a nine-goal lead only to completely fall apart, surrendering a last second goal to tie the game, 9-9.Their old coach and mentor Gordon Bombay has moved on and they haven’t yet gained the respect of the new head coach, Ted Orion. After the game, Orion furiously storms into the locker room where the players are arguing over who should take blame for the collapse.“How long does it take to score a goal?” he screams before hurling a puck at the board on the far wall, forcing each and every petrified player to dive out of his way.“Less than a second!”It’s hard see United States men’s national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s laid-back demeanor producing a coaching style like that of Orion’s, but it must have been a sentiment he was feeling as well. His U.S. team were a whisker away from not only a win, but a ticket the World Cup knockout stage, only to concede a late equalizer against Portugal.Instead of being able to take it easy in their final group game against world powerhouse Germany, the Americans have everything to play for.When I sat down to put the draw in context, I felt slightly better about the disappointment of coming so close to pulling out the win. We could be in Ghana or Portugal’s position. But the fact is, the U.S. weren’t just seconds away from a great win, they were seconds away from a seismic victory in the game’s history in this country.The U.S. responded brilliantly to the going behind six minutes in, taking the game to Portugal in a way we didn’t see at all during the Ghana game. After continually knocking on the door, the U.S. got not only an equalizer, but also a go-ahead goal from Clint Dempsey with less than ten minutes to play.The records were about to be broken. Never before had a U.S. team conceded the first goal and gone on to win a World Cup game. Never before had Portugal scored the game’s first goal and gone on to lose. And not since 1930 had the U.S. team won both of their first two group matches.So what could I think about instead, to not only make me feel better but to also give me belief for the Americans’ final game? The Mighty Ducks might’ve been a personally easy decision, but as I thought about it more I began to see some similarities.When it comes to drama the Ducks, nicknamed the Minnesota Miracle Men, always had a way of ending things with flair. Even when history and their opponents seemed to be getting the better of them, they simply never quit.On Sunday, those Hollywood endings were about to be usurped by the Manaus Miracle Men. Dempsey’s goal to give the U.S. the lead wasn’t quite a “knucklepuck” by a disguised Kenan Thompson, but it was probably the most dramatic turn of events in the real world. It all made sense.That’s when Orion’s aphorism came into play. What you do for 94 minutes is great, but if you choose to switch off for the last play, you will be punished.There are other ways this U.S. squad reflects some of aspects of that fictional team.Those Ducks of Orion’s early days weren’t unlike the Americans of just over a year ago. In the wake of a World Cup qualifying defeat to Honduras, the Sporting News ran a story detailing how many of the U.S. players were not exactly jiving with Klinsmann’s message.Orion unsettled his players in search of a singular goal: to take a talented team and attempt to remove the complacency they had begun to have. Klinsmann was trying to do the exact same thing.The Ducks and Orion became one cohesive unit once they saw him as something other than a heartless manipulator on an ego trip. For the U.S. team, their perception of Klinsmann changed when the wins started piling up. Immediately after the article was published the team went on an unprecedented winning run, qualifying for the World Cup and playing some terrific soccer along the way.Now they’ve come to the World Cup. Their opening win against Ghana showed they have the grit, determination, and undying appetite to succeed at this level. The Portugal match saw them display the very same qualities, only to fall into an easy trap just before the job was finished.So it comes down to a do-or-die match against Klinsmann’s native Germany on Thursday. A point is all the U.S. need to advance, but it’ll take another gargantuan effort to get there.In D3’s finale the Ducks face off against their tormentors, the Eden Hall varsity squad. Ever since the Ducks enrolled, the varsity had constantly belittled their achievements. Spurred on by that disrespect, they manage to pull off a victory, confirming their status as a team of the highest order.If the U.S. are to do the same – as they almost did against Portugal – they’ll need that same spirit to overcome the team that denied them a World Cup semi final place just 12 years ago.You always knew the Ducks would get it done when they needed to, now can the U.S.?We’ve all believed before, we might as well continue to. Quack, quack, quack. read more

Wenger reveals biggest regrets at Arsenal

first_imgAfter publicly announcing his plans for retirement as soon as the season ends, Wenger has revealed the biggest regrets of his 22-year long career with the Gunners just before the Europa League clash with Atletico Madrid.Wenger admitted his biggest regret is not being able to win the Champions League back in 2006, when Arsenal went all the way to the final, where they faced Barcelona but came short 2-1. This has been his closest chance of getting to the Champions League cup, but for his huge dissatisfaction, it also was unsuccessful.“The [2006 final] was my biggest regret, yes,” explained Wenger, according to 101 Great Goals.“We have to be conscious of that as well, the history of the club has become very demanding but the long history of the club is not that bright that you can say the club has won 10 European Cups in their history.”However, Wenger went on to assure he is not focusing on the past but rather on the present, and to be exact – the upcoming clash with Atletico Madrid.Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“In our job there’s only one thing that matters: the next game,” Wenger said.“That’s what I’m focused on. Atletico Madrid are a very strong team. If you look at the table, they are the second-best team in Spain.”“That will demand total commitment on our side and a great discipline because they have no real weak point.”“They are strong defensively, they are strong offensively, so we’ll need a complete performance,” the Arsenal legend added.last_img read more

Valdano breaks down the talents of Vinicius and Dembele

first_imgIn a column for El Pais, Argentine Jorge Valdano broke down the specific talents that Vinicius Junior and Ousmane Dembele have today.Before the current season started for an observer like Jorge Valdano, perhaps Ousmane Dembele and Vinicius Junior were a complete riddle that he couldn’t wait to uncover.The Argentine former player has been a football poet for the better part of his retired years, he writes an occasional column for El Pais where he breaks down a topic in his famous lyrical manner.One of the things Valdano does best is spotting young talent, we remember the time when he wrote that Cristiano Ronaldo would be one of the best players in football history back when he was still a teenager at Manchester United.We also recall the many times the Argentine spoke about a very young Messi when he was still playing the under-20 World Cup for Argentina and how much he reminded him of Diego Maradona.All those premonitions have come to pass, which is why we get excited every time he talks about young talents in one of his columns.This time around, Jorge broke down the specific talents that Ousmane Dembele and Vinicius Junior have for Barcelona and Real Madrid, respectively.”Vinicius, tres años más joven, es Dembélé sin terminar. Un pura sangre impetuoso todavía sin domar”. Lee la columna de Jorge Valdano.— EL PAÍS Deportes (@elpais_deportes) January 26, 2019Valdano started with Dembele by calling him a “classic crazy man”, the type of player who loves letting his imagination loose inside the pitch.“Dembele is like a gazelle with a lot of imagination with the ball at his feet,” wrote Valdano.“He owes that elegant sprint to the colossal coordination that allows him to conduct the ball at the exact distance from any of his both feet, showing the ball to the rival without exposing it too much, like a short-stringed yo-yo, that may very well be the laces from his boots.”“With unmatched speed when anybody comes after him and filled with tricks if anybody tries to block his way.”“For example, when he makes a full stop, which in football translated into one of the most eccentric manners that speed has to win any race.”“Or those dribbles, corporeal lies that help him continue his escape from rivals.”“This player can relate perfectly with his rivals’ proximity (as if they weren’t even a threat to him), and his teammates are stations he uses on his way to the opposite goal as he plays the one-two with each of them as a form of dialogue.”“This is another testament that these new stars are, as always, a little crazy without the need of not remaining classic,” he added.Jose Mourinho, Lionel MessiMourinho: “Lionel Messi made me a better coach” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho believes the experience of going up against Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi at Real Madrid made him a greater coach.🤔 ¿Qué jugador ilusiona más a su afición?🔄 Vinicius♥ Dembélé— Batallas del Fútbol ⚽ (@FutbolWar) January 25, 2019Valdano then talks about Vinicius as the glue that has put Real Madrid back together, the team’s leader in the most recent matches.“And Vinicius, who is three years younger, is an unfinished Dembele. An impetuous pure breed who still hasn’t been tamed,” continued Jorge.“Perhaps due to his youth, and a little bit due to his desire to expose his talents because he just arrived.”“And finally, for a healthy competitive spirit, he still hasn’t found the pause that helps him modulate his spectacular power and helps organize his multiple talents.”“Always in a hurry. You can tell when he chooses to take his shots, that come out twisted because he still hasn’t discovered that one can even be precise at top speed.”“But we are still talking about an 18-year old kid who already found a starring role at Real Madrid, and he just keeps playing these matches with his optimistic style of play that makes the fans dream of better days with his presence alone.”“Vinicius is the most recent proof that great players can become addictive. One simply wishes that they simply get the ball,” he concluded.🍿 En las mejores pantallas…⚡ THE @DEMBOUZ SHOW! ⚡🎟 ¡Apto para todos los públicos!— LaLiga (@LaLiga) January 24, 2019Do you agree with Valdano’s analysis of Vinicius Junior and Ousmane Dembele? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more