Beyond the Chalk: Why the Term ‘Spread’ Has Lost Its Meaning

first_imgModern offenses have become the proverbial melting pot of college football. Teams are constantly changing and stealing from others in an effort to find success, which has in turn made offenses too complicated to label.Still, many fans or broadcasters will often use terms without actually knowing what they mean (Brent Musburger — not everything is an end around; please stop misusing it like Ron Burgundy’s “When in Rome”).In the world of the spread, teams’ philosophies often get categorized in an effort to help one understand what they are. But due to the nature and prevalence of the spread, this isn’t an accurate way of describing an offense. This directly applies to Oklahoma State, who has long been a chameleon, as Porter calls it, in a world where people are constantly trying to put things in boxes.AdChoices广告The nature of identifying an offense by a title is accurate when a team is running it in the purest form, like June Jones’ erstwhile “Run n’ Shoot” at Hawaii or Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” at Washington State. But modern offenses no longer rely on one overarching concept. The spread, which has become the craze of football at all levels, is a perfect example of this. The spread itself isn’t a particular set of plays or even a philosophy. The spread is an amalgamation of concepts and ideas that have accumulated from the beginning of football. Two teams might run the “spread,” but they might run it completely differently, The term might give you an idea of a team’s offense, but it doesn’t give you much of one. Additionally, with the media and fans constantly using the term “spread,” it’s created an effect of semantic saturation, meaning the term has been used so many times that it has lost its meaning.Oklahoma State is a perfect example. They have a number of different influences. They have an air-raid influence from their days of Dana Holgorsen, who was a direct air-raid disciple from his days as walk-on and eventual assistant coach for Mike Leach and Hal Mumme. They still have many of the same formations, concepts and signals from their Fiesta Bowl days, but they’re not the exact same offense. Now, the Pokes incorporate a cowboy back into their scheme, often moving it around the field in a number of different positions. In that sense, the offense frequently operates as pro-style or two-back, as OSU used 11 personnel (one back, one tight end, three receivers) on roughly one third of their plays last season. The offenses during 2014 and 2015 could be seen as a more true pro-style offense because of their use of gap schemes (power, counter, etc.). There’s even a west coast influence, as the Cowboys use a handful of west coast concepts, including “sluggo seam,” which they installed last season.The point is that offenses, and specifically OSU, have become ineffable in a sense. They are too varied and their origins are too expansive to be accurately described by a single title. In the era of the spread, teams are actually often identified by the coach, and more importantly the coaching tree, that the offense operates under. Chip Kelly has his own offense while Urban Meyer has his, and so on. Mike Gundy is a wild card because he’s brought in offensive coordinators from a number of different backgrounds, and OSU is constantly evolving to both adapt to personnel and stay ahead of the curve. Gundy, who (don’t forget) is an intelligent offensive mind, has said in the past that he’s also constantly bringing new plays to the table.Expect the Cowboys to keep changing their version of the spread, just like they’ve been doing in the past. Fans are constantly worried about coaches not properly adjusting to the personnel as if they care less than the fans do. The Pokes will be fine this season. But when it comes to a name, does OSU fall under any particular title? What’s the most accurate name you can give to OSU’s offense? Successful. That’ll be plenty accurate, or at least we hope so.Writer’s note: This article was written in response to the great feedback I’ve received asking what offense OSU runs. This, combined with our devoted readership and constant drive to create original content, motivated me to write on the subject. Thank you to all the devoted fans of the Chalk Talk series — let’s have a fun season this year, shall we? While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

MLS has banner day in CCL

first_imgChampions League MLS has banner day in CCL but must get results next week to keep flag flying high Jon Arnold Click here to see more stories from this author @ArnoldcommaJon 14:29 8/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Michael Bradley Enner Valencia Toronto FC Tigres CONCACAF Champions League Dan Hamilton Champions League MLS Toronto v Tigres UANL Seattle Sounders v Guadalajara Guadalajara Toronto Tigres UANL Seattle Sounders Liga MX Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders topped their Liga MX visitors but have work to do to make the semifinals of the tournament It is a banner day for MLS.All three teams remaining in the CONCACAF Champions League beat their Liga MX opponents in the first legs with Toronto FC topping Tigres 2-1 and the Seattle Sounders getting a 1-0 result over Chivas. The New York Red Bulls did it on the road, withstanding a furious effort from Tijuana to escape Estadio Caliente with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday. MLS fans have been waiting for this moment. Well, not exactly this one. They’ve been waiting to have this moment, but next week. After the second legs. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp These advantages are nice, but the celebration will become embarrassment if, say, the Red Bulls slip up at Red Bull Arena or Tigres flex their muscle at home and roll into an all-Mexican semifinal.Fans with long memories will recall both feelings – that MLS is finally going to break through and the crushing disappointment of another failure in Mexico. The 2013-14 CCL quarterfinals saw all three MLS teams get results against Liga MX opposition. Then, Cruz Azul beat Sporting Kansas City 5-1 in Mexico City, Tijuana topped the LA Galaxy 4-2 at the Caliente and Toluca beat the San Jose Earthquakes in a penalty shootout.Things are different this time around, though. MLS really has grown and done so in ways that make the league more competitive in international club competition. Some of the main issues that were keeping MLS teams from having any chance at regularly getting past Mexican competition have become less significant.TAM, the latest method permitting teams to spend more on individual player salaries and spend on the team in general, has been flowing – especially with the teams at the top. Toronto FC is the most expensive MLS team in history. It shows. Not only does TFC boast stars like Wednesday’s Man of the Match Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco, it also can afford to bring in a player like Gregory van der Wiel to defend Tigres’ left side even with other former European club players like Javier Aquino and Eduardo Vargas included.The other issue has been depth. The money helps there, too. More relevant, though, is that MLS teams are beginning to see fruits of the seeds planted years ago. Jonathan Osorio, whose spinning backheel winner should be put on a lenticular postage stamp if TFC wins the CCL, is a TFC youth product. Marco Delgado, who set up Jozy Altidore’s equalizer, is a Chivas USA refugee.The Sounders also had a mix of stars, like scorer Clint Dempsey, and youth products who coach Brian Schmetzer felt comfortable tossing into the mix against Chivas (the Mexican one, which still exists). Handwalla Bwana, who joined the Sounders Academy in 2015, didn’t look out of place at all going at the Chivas defense while it was homegrown Henry Wingo who set Dempsey up for the tally.The gap is closing between MLS and Liga MX. That’s been true, though, regardless of results in a tournament. The true test will be results over time. For now, that still heavily favors Liga MX.This matchday, though, gave fans in the U.S. and Canada positive evidence that things are changing, that their sides won’t be steamrolled every time. The Red Bulls, TFC and the Sounders can have hope that they’ll keep the MLS flag flying high throughout the CCL. Instead of another entry in the book like the 2013-14 tournament, 2018 may be a new chapter.last_img read more

10 Great Quotes from T. Boone Pickens

first_imgOil baron T. Boone Pickens, a 1951 Oklahoma A&M graduate who later became Oklahoma State football’s biggest donor, passed away Wednesday in Dallas, Texas. His legacy and impact on the football program and the university will forever be remembered, as will his kind spirit and one-of-a-kind personality.Over the years, Pickens displayed that magnetic charisma at media outings, public speaking appearances, and even on social media, where his sense of humor flourished, opening a window to his soul. You could write a book on some of his Instagram posts, which range from videos of him running up hills to memes of him working out to him doing pushups while army men held him upright. Come to think of it, he was a bit of a fitness junkie!He had his serious moments, too, where he revealed his brilliance to the public. We’ve compiled some of the best quotes from a little of both sides of him over the years.1. Boone’s challenge to Barack ObamaNo. 1 on the list, No. 1 in my heart, this video perhaps best represents Boone better than any other quote on this list. In 2014, he challenged sitting president Barack Obama to a fitness competition, a video that included him running hills and issuing this statement:“I challenge President Barack Obama to a 1 hour workout. My cardio is better. Will work out energy plan for America. #nosweat“ On fitness, Pickens once said, “When you are young, fitness is a sport. As you grow older, it’s a necessity.”2. On beating OUNo one wanted Oklahoma State football to flourish more than Boone Pickens. And no one wanted that flourishing to include beating OU more than Boone Pickens. He said this on the topic in 2016 (via the Tulsa World):“I would like to beat OU. Mike has struggled with that game. I think he’s 2-9, so we’re not competitive with OU. By golly, we beat Texas. We’re the only team that has beaten Texas four in a row in Austin. If we can beat Texas, we sure ought to beat OU.”3. On the First BillionThe Drake-Boone exchange on Twitter came in the earlier years of social when stuff like this was still shocking and amazing. It stands the (short) test of time.Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 2.51.19 PM.png4. On planning“A plan without action is not a plan. It’s a speech.”“A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.”“Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader. Don’t fall victim to what I call the “ready-aim-aim-aim-aim” syndrome. You must be willing to fire.”5. On Focus“The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go. If you’re going to hunt elephants, don’t get off the trail for a rabbit.”6. On doing things right‘I’ve given the school a lot of money,” he said in 2013. “But if there is any cheating, I’m through.” 7. The eight-hour rule“Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, and make sure that they are not the same eight hours.”8. Not buying green bananasLast year before the start of the football season, Boone, true to form, issued what his people call a “Boone-ism.” In a semi-serious quote about confidence in Gundy and the OSU football program, he ended it with, well ….“I’m in this to win a national championship,” he said. “Turning 90 as I did last May only fuels that fire. Time for me is winding down, but I remain an optimist that Mike Gundy can and will deliver on a national championship. The sooner the better. At 90, I don’t buy green bananas.”9. On Sports IllustratedRemember when Boone tried to end an entire publication with a single tweet? .@SInow The higher the monkey climbs the tree the more people can see its ass. You climbed far up the tree on #okstate.— T. Boone Pickens (@boonepickens) September 18, 201310. Old school communication“Keep things informal. Talking is the natural way to do business. Writing is great for keeping records and putting down details, but talk generates ideas. Great things come from our luncheon meetings, which consist of a sandwich, a cup of soup, and a good idea or two. No martinis.”11. (Bonus) On the FutureHere’s what Pickens said after that remarkable Baker-Justice 2017 Bedlam game in Stillwater. We thought it was a good one for today. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Love direction #okstate football is heading. Best is yet to come.— T. Boone Pickens (@boonepickens) November 6, 2017The best is yet to come …last_img read more

Launch Meeting Report

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on March 4, 2009November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Launching the Maternal Health Task Force: Reaching Consensus on the Draft Terms of Reference, February 17 & 18, Washington, DC I am pleased to report that the launch phase of the Maternal Health Task Force is complete and its work is now underway. You can now download a report of our launch meeting(PDF, 60kb) held two weeks ago in Washington, D.C. and the participant list (PDF, 28kb). More information will come soon as the Terms of Reference are finalized, our team is recruited, the website is constructed, and projects are activated. We look forward to working with you to improve the health of women, families and communities around the world.center_img Again, many thanks.– AnaShare this:last_img read more

MHTF and Population Action International Team Up to Address Issues of Accessibility of Maternal Health Supplies

first_imgPosted on January 19, 2010June 21, 2017By: Roy Jacobstein, Medical Director, RESPOND Project, EngenderHealthClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Observations on “Linking Reproductive and Maternal Health Supplies”Population Action International (PAI) in partnership with the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth recently launched a new initiative to facilitate greater attention to the issue of reproductive health supplies, specifically maternal health supplies. The two groups hope to facilitate the integration and engagement of maternal health groups into the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC), creating broad-based support for maternal health supplies challenges and ensuring that adequate maternal health supplies needed to achieve MDG5 are consistently present and accessible.On December 8th, I attended “Linking Reproductive and Maternal Health Supplies,” a meeting organized, chaired and hosted by PAI. The meeting marked the first step of the overall initiative. Between 25-30 people attended the meeting from such organizations and projects as PATH, CARE/USA, Save the Children, JSI/Deliver, Family Care International, Pathfinder, Ipas, ACCESS-FP, and the White Ribbon Alliance.The purpose of the meeting was for PAI to solicit the participants’ relevant perspectives and experience. PAI first briefed the participants on its Maternal Health Supplies Project (funded by the MHTF) and its prior experience with the history and evolution of the Reproductive Health Supply Coalition (RHSC).The participants then engaged in a lively and wide-ranging discussion about the merits and challenges of working to focus interest on “maternal supplies,” i.e., those needed to help address the various major causes of maternal morbidity and mortality. Participants brought perspectives from advocacy, research, policy, and service delivery, and also commented on the structure and utility of the Reproductive Health Supply Coalition.The consensus of the group was that such an effort was well-worth undertaking, but would likely be more difficult than the RHSC effort because maternal health is broader and thus more supplies would be needed.I raised the issue and importance of clarifying up front what “supplies” they were going to address and advocate for, pointing out that the linguistic ambiguity in the RHSC effort has complicated the effort. Is it about “commodities” or “contraceptive security?” What are the “supplies”? How do they relate to “product”? What are “contraceptives? Where is vasectomy and female sterilization in the RHSC calculus? And how, vis-à-vis “commodities” they need to address “equipment,” “instruments,” “drugs,” “expendable supplies,” etc.The discussion that then ensued focused on such considerations as: why maternal health supplies have not been addressed systematically before; the complexity of the issue; how that very complexity makes it hard to distill a message down for policymakers, decision makers and donors (but such messages need to be found); how “supplies” is just one part of the problem–it’s health system issues, the ways services are provided (and paid for), and so on. I.e., sometimes the “supplies are there” but the services still are not. There was also discussion of whether or not an MH-specific “kit” was needed (the feeling was that such kits could be very useful in advocacy, but it was unclear what instruments and other supplies might be in the kit, and whether this was feasible, given the complexity of the major causes of maternal morbidity and mortality and what is entailed in addressing those conditions (e.g., eclampsia, hemorrhage, sepsis) when they occur.The consensus around this part of the discussion was that addressing maternal supplies in an organized way analogous to the RHSC was a worthwhile endeavor, that the participants’ respective organizations were glad to be collaborating on the effort, and that they had gotten off to a good start. I agree.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

Neymar and Brazil held by Switzerland

first_imgBrazil 1 Switzerland 1: Zuber pegs back below-par Selecao Stephen Creek Last updated 1 year ago 04:00 6/18/18 stevenzuber-cropped Getty Images Philippe Coutinho’s curling strike was cancelled out by Steven Zuber’s second-half header as Brazil were held to a draw by Switzerland. Brazil continued the trend of tournament favourites underperforming as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Switzerland in their World Cup Group E opener in Rostov.Having bowed out of their home tournament four years ago with a 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany, Brazil initially started their mission to put that humiliation behind them in stunning fashion when Philippe Coutinho struck a sublime goal to open the scoring.Despite dictating the pace of the game, Brazil were never completely dominant and had Switzerland’s rather toothless attack to thank for not taking advantage of the possession and space the underdogs were afforded. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar The five-time winners failed to extend their lead and were punished early in the second half when Steven Zuber lost his marker at a corner and equalised – a goal that might have opened the game up had Brazil been at their best.But Tite’s side remained somewhat subdued by their own high standards, with Neymar a shadow of his usual talismanic self having only recently recovered from a fractured foot, and their remaining group games with Costa Rica and Serbia now come with more pressure than would have previously been anticipated.Switzerland can reflect on an excellent start to their campaign, having claimed a point from the most difficult of their group matches and improved their chances of reaching the knockout stages for the second consecutive tournament.#HoppSchwiiz #HopSuisse #ForzaSvizzera #HopSvizra #BRASUI #WM2018 #CM2018 pic.twitter.com/GNcoG4HMuE— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 17, 2018Vladimir Petkovic’s side began on the front foot, Xherdan Shaqiri sending a bouncing cross towards Blerim Dzemaili that the Bologna midfielder fired over the crossbar with a shot on the turn.Their promising start could not last and soon Switzerland were sitting back as Brazil passed the ball crisply around the pitch, almost finding a breakthrough when Paulinho dragged a shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post with 10 minutes played.Just 10 minutes later, Switzerland were reeling from a piece of sublime, quintessentially Brazilian skill.Marcelo’s cross from the left bounced back out of the box to the feet of Coutinho, who took a touch to control it before unleashing a shot that curled spectacularly around helpless goalkeeper Yann Sommer and in off the post.VOLTAMOS AO JOGO!1-0 | #BRAxSUI pic.twitter.com/IvN6vskWFX— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) June 17, 2018Having taken the lead, Brazil slowed the pace of the game down and frustrated Switzerland, whose only subsequent attacking foray before half-time ended disappointingly with Zuber firing a shot straight into Thiago Silva, who headed narrowly over the crossbar at the other end just before the interval.Switzerland drew level only four minutes into the second half when a corner from Shaqiri found Zuber unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box and he had the simple task of heading the ball beyond Alisson and high into the centre of the goal.Neymar fired into the side-netting from inside the penalty area and Fernandinho hit a speculative long-range shot wide to the left of the target as Brazil probed for a goal to restore their lead, but their attacks lacked the necessary urgency.Coutinho had another chance to score with 20 minutes left but his neat control was followed by a wayward drive, and Gabriel Jesus saw a penalty appeal waved away when he was challenged by Manuel Akanji in the box.Two late chances fell to Brazil substitute Roberto Firmino, but the Liverpool forward lashed the ball over before drawing a reaction save from Sommer with a close-range header, and Miranda almost made amends for his failure to mark Zuber earlier but fired wide from 18 yards as Switzerland held on for a deserved point that was secured when a Fabian Schar block prevented Coutinho from having the final say.Key Opta stats:- Brazil failed to win their opening match at the World Cup for the first time since 1978, when they drew 1-1 with Sweden; they had won nine in a row between 1982 and 2014.- Switzerland have lost only one of their last 23 matches (W16 D6), a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in October 2017.- Brazil have failed to win any of their last three World Cup matches (D1 L2), their worst winless run since June 1978, when they went four games without a win.- Switzerland haven’t lost their opening World Cup match in any of their last five tournaments (W2 D3).- Valon Behrami became the first Swiss player to appear in four different World Cup finals – he also appeared in 2006, 2010 and 2014.- Brazil have won only one of their last seven World Cup matches against European opposition (D2 L4), a 3-1 win over Croatia in the opening match of the 2014 World Cup.  read morelast_img read more

Its tragic Authorities believe they found both snowmobilers missing since November

first_imgAshley BrandsonAPTN NewsMembers of a volunteer dive team recovered the body of a female authorities believe is one of two snowmobilers who have been missing since November 20.This is the second recovery of a body in the past 48 hours after the Hutterain Emergency Aquatic Response Team (HEART) pulled a male from the Winnipeg River on Wednesday.HEART began a search of the area of the river on Sunday.On Nov. 20, two people, a man and a woman, on a snowmobile went through the ice while trying to cross the river at Sagkeeng First Nation.Authorities have been searching since then – but have not released many details of the male who was found.“A body was recovered yesterday (Wednesday) around 2:30 p.m. by volunteer divers,” said Manitoba RCMP Spokesperson Tara Seel.“We do not have a positive identification.”Sagkeeng First Nation is 130 km northeast of Winnipeg along the Winnipeg River.“It’s tragic right.  Anytime you hear something like this it doesn’t matter if it’s youth, elders, young people, you know when you lost a member in the community – the whole community’s affected right,” said Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Derrick Henderson.HEART located the remains in the murky, fast moving river using an underwater remote controlled camera called a rover.(Members of HEART search the waters near Sagkeeng First Nation. Photo: Ashley Brandson/APTN)Henderson said he contacted the family to tell them a body was found.“We did a prayer,” he said. “The Catholic Minister came down here and did a prayer uh for the body that was retrieved.”The discoveries come days after HEART located the snowmobile also using an underwater camera.“It’s more of a relief right, because they knew that the body was there but it’s a matter of us retrieving it and then having closure now, right”The RCMP said an autopsy is being scheduled but a date has not been confirmed.abrandson@aptn.ca@ashleybrandsonlast_img read more

Alberta spending more but saving more thirdquarter fiscal update

first_imgEDMONTON – New numbers show Alberta’s economy continues to dig itself out of the deep hole caused by crashing oil prices as Premier Rachel Notley’s government both spends and saves more.Finance Minister Joe Ceci says the province is on track for a $9.1-billion deficit when the budget year ends March 31. That’s $1.4 billion lower than the deficit expected when Ceci tabled this year’s budget last spring.Ceci notes forecasts also point to an economic rebound as production goes up and unemployment falls.“Nearly 90,000 full-time jobs were created over the last year and Alberta’s GDP growth led the country at 4.5 per cent in 2017,” Ceci said in a statement Wednesday after releasing the third-quarter update to the 2017-18 budget.“We will continue to work hard to ensure this recovery reaches all Albertans.”The province is expected to take in an extra $1.9 billion this year for a total of $46.9 billion in revenue — mainly due to higher than expected oil revenue and returns on investments.Spending is also rising to $55.9 billion — about $1 billion more than projected at budget — to cover increases in services for children, people with disabilities, and for employment and income supports.The debt is going to hit almost $42 billion this year. Debt payments will be $1.4 billion.Alberta anticipates $883 million from crude oil royalties, almost double what had been expected, although revenue from bitumen royalties will be $2.4 billion — about $188 million less than projected.Oil revenues were hampered this year by the price discount Alberta’s blended bitumen sells at compared with the benchmark North American West Texas Intermediate price.The discount is tied mainly to pipeline bottlenecks that drive up the price of getting Alberta’s heavy oil to U.S. refineries and ports.The NDP has been running high deficits throughout its term in government. It says slashing budgets and jobs would only worsen the situation and kill an economic recovery.The province has been saving money by negotiating contracts with zero pay increases for teachers and nurses and other health professionals. It has also axed redundant agencies and committees and consolidated other programs and services.Alberta has been hit with multiple credit downgrades, however, which have increased the cost of borrowing. Ceci has promised to present a more detailed plan to get the budget back in balance by 2023.The update says investment in the province, apart from the conventional energy sector, is still lagging, especially in construction.Total real business investment is forecast to fall 1.9 per cent this year after a one per cent increase in 2017.Drew Barnes, finance critic for the Opposition United Conservatives, said the NDP’s fiscal policies and red tape in areas such as revised labour standards are to blame.“Capital is mobile,” said Barnes. “If you have your option to put your investment dollars in a jurisdiction with a more favourable regulatory burden (and) a likelihood of getting a higher return, a lot of businesses are going to do it.”New Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel said the extra $1 billion in spending has laudable aims, but he suggested it’s poor fiscal management to spend and fund on the fly.“I find it quite amazing that each time we have an update it’s like a new budget,” said Mandel.“(And) in a government that focuses on low carbon attitude, low carbon vision — every time we get more revenue from the energy industry, they find a way to spend it.”The house resumes sitting March 8. Ceci is to bring in the 2018-19 budget on March 22.last_img read more

The Latest Outcry over brutal arrest of French students

first_imgPARIS — The Latest on the protests in France (all times local):11:25 a.m.Footage showing the brutal arrest of high school students protesting outside Paris is causing a stir ahead of further anti-government protests this weekend.The footage, which has been shared widely on social media, has prompted trade unions and far-left parties to lash out at perceived police brutality.The images, which were filmed Thursday at Mantes-la-Jolie, showed a group of students on their knees with their hands behind their head.They are being watched over by armed police officers whose faces are hidden by ski masks. In one of the videos, a police officer can be heard saying: “Here is a class that behaves well.”Interior minister Christophe Castaner said Friday that 151 people were arrested in the small town, adding that some of them carried weapons. He said none of the students were injured.Students across France have joined the protests that have escalated over the past few weeks. They oppose an education reform and have clashed with police at many high schools in several French cities.In an interview with Le Monde newspaper, CGT trade union secretary general Philippe Martinez said “You don’t beat up kids.”___9:35 a.m.Drastic security measures will put a lockdown on downtown Paris on Saturday as French authorities try to prevent another outbreak of violence during anti-government protests.In addition to the 8,000 police forces that will be deployed in the French capital city, the Paris police prefect has identified 14 high-risk sectors that will be cleared out.Fearing protesters could target street furniture or construction sites, Paris police will remove all the glass containers, railings and building machines set up in the identified sectors which include the Champs-Elysees avenue.Across the country some 89,000 police will be mobilized, up from 65,000 last weekend, when more than 130 people were injured and over 400 were arrested in the worst street violence seen in the country in decades.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Aurora Cannabis investing 10 million in marijuana retailer High Tide

first_imgEDMONTON — Aurora Cannabis Inc. has signed a deal to invest $10 million in High Tide Inc., a privately held company with cannabis and cannabis accessory retail stores.Under the agreement, Aurora will hold debentures that will bear an annual interest rate of 8.5 per cent.The debentures will also be convertible into shares of High Tide at a price of 75 cents per share.High Tide has four cannabis retail stores in Alberta under the Canna Cabana banner, and a majority stake in KushBar Inc.It also has plans to open more stores in Alberta as well as expand into Ontario and B.C.In addition to the retail side, High Tide has two wholesale businesses — Famous Brandz and RGR Canada — and 19 Smoker’s Corner retail locations. Companies in this story: (TSX:ACB) The Canadian Presslast_img

New Zealand PM pays grocery bill of woman

first_imgWellington: New Zealands Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern paid for a mother-of-twos grocery bill at a supermarket after the woman forgot her purse at home. Ardern, whose compassionate response to the Christchurch mosque shootings last month was praised around the world, confirmed making the payment and said during a press conference on Thursday that she paid for the woman’s shopping “because she was a mother”. “Just when you think Jacinda Ardern couldn’t get any more lovely, low key and authentic…. she goes and pays for your groceries at the supermarket, because you’ve got your shopping, have two kids with you and are about to put it all back as you forgot your wallet,” the unnamed mother wrote in a now deleted Facebook post, stuff.co.nz reported. In the post, the woman also said she tried to explain to her children how the Prime Minister had just bought their groceries. “All they cared about was how silly mummy was forgetting her wallet. Totally lost on them,” she was quoted as saying by stuff.co.nz. The woman’s friend, Helen Burness, took to Twitter to reveal the Prime Minister’s good deed. “Like we didn’t love her enough, Jacinda Ardern paid for my friends’ shopping in the supermarket the other day when she had forgotten her purse and had two screaming kids in tow.”last_img read more

Bhuvneshwar will rise to challenge in World Cup says Madan Lal

first_imgNew Delhi: Bhuvneshwar Kumar is expected to be an integral part of the Indian attack when Virat Kohli and his boys land in England for the 2019 World Cup. But the 29-year-old has not been able to deliver as consistently as he would have liked for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in this edition of the Indian Premier League. The premier SRH bowler has just taken nine wickets in the 13 matches he has played so far. He has also been taken for plenty in many of the matches with his economy rate hovering around 8 in this season. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuHowever, former India fast bowler Madan Lal believes the pacer is performing reasonably well and exuded confidence that Bhuvneshwar will deliver for India at the showpiece event. “He is performing okay in the ongoing IPL. He is one of our premier fast bowlers. He has a lot of experience and has performed in the past as well for the team. World Cup is a different game all together and I am pretty sure he will perform for the team in England,” Lal said. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersBhuvneshwar had announced himself at the world stage in 2012 with a fantastic debut against Pakistan in a T20I where he returned with figures of 3/9. The highlight of his performance on that day was a terrific inswinger he had bowled to Nasir Jamshed which saw the stumps flying. The right-arm medium pacer since then had been an integral part of the Indian set-up. Despite not having express pace, Bhuvi kept on taking wickets with his lethal inswinging deliveries, which all batsmen, especially right-handers, found difficult to deal with. Bhuvneshwar was expected to start in all matches for the 2015 World Cup but could not due to poor fitness. He played in only one match against UAE. And 12 months ago, it was all but certain that he would be leading the Indian bowling attack at the World Cup in England. However, at present it doesn’t seem to be going that way.last_img read more

Softball Alex Bayne ready for special senior season

OSU then-junior outfielder Alex Bayne (left) high-fives then-junior pitcher Shelby Hursh during the 2015-16 season. Credit: Courtesy of OSUWhen Ohio State senior right fielder Alex Bayne started playing softball, it was because her dad, a former baseball player himself, wanted to see his daughter take up the sport that he so dearly cherished. Little did Bayne’s father know at the time that his influence bred one of the Big Ten’s most dominant players.Alex Bayne’s first start came in 2015, but she really made a name for herself the following year. She tied OSU’s single-season home run record with 19, led the team in RBIs (49), runs (53) and OBP (.461), and was even named first-team All-Big Ten, as well as first-team National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Midwest Region. While Bayne’s breakout season was certainly one for the history books, softball hasn’t always come so naturally to the Manvel, Texas, native.She originally began her college career at Marshall University, eventually transferring to OSU, making the team as a walk-on.“Marshall wasn’t a good fit for me personally, so I took the year off and contemplated whether I wanted to play softball still,” Bayne said. “My boyfriend — now fiance — was going to OSU, and I’d come to visit him. I fell in love with OSU and knew I wanted to play softball again, so I started getting ready for tryouts to show that I was worth it.”Despite proving that she was worth it during tryouts, Bayne was still anything but a refined softball player. It was through the guidance of the coaching staff and some former teammates that helped Bayne realize her full potential.“The coaching staff has developed me exponentially,” Bayne said. “I came in a wide-eyed sophomore who was a walk-on coming from tryouts. My coaches saw potential in me that I didn’t even see yet, and they developed my talents. Also, the leaders of the team back then took me under their wing and allowed me to really grow.” Not only is Bayne one of the top softball players in the country, she’s now a leader for OSU. Senior pitcher Shelby Hursh said it’s Bayne’s reliability that sets her apart from the pack. “It’s the best feeling to have players like Alex behind you,” Hursh said. “Especially as a pitcher, you know that if you give up a couple runs, we have a hitter like her and we’ll be able to get those runs back.”Bayne has picked up right where she left off through OSU’s first eight games this season. She has already hit six home runs, scored 11 runs, and has a .407 batting average. In order to attain such consistency, a player has to be willing to work hard and be coachable, OSU coach Kelly Schoenly said.“What I appreciate so much about Alex is that she learned from the leaders during her first year on the team,” Schoenly said. “Alex purposely attached herself to them so she could learn from the very best. She was never bitter, and Alex learned that if you want to get in the starting lineup, you have to put in the extra work, and she started doing it.”In her final year of eligibility, Bayne has not begun to seriously reflect on her time as a Buckeye. Although she’s been a part of some memorable moments in the last two seasons, the best is yet to come, as far as Bayne is concerned. “I definitely think this season’s up for a lot of special memories,” Bayne said. “Obviously, going to the postseason last year and being one of the qualifying teams in the NCAA Tournament is probably at the top. I still think there’s more in store this year. There’s room for pretty great memories.” read more

Deaths from fentanyl overdoses spike in San Diego County

first_img 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)- A record number of people died in San Diego County in 2018 from the synthetic opioid, fentanyl. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that deaths from the opioid have more than doubled in the last two years.From figures released by the Medical Examiner’s office, the county recorded 33 deaths in 2015.The number of deaths soared in successive years by more than 150%, to 84 deaths in 2017 and 85 in 2018.With a potency that is 50-100 times greater than morphine, a small amount of fentanyl equal to no more than a few grains of salt can be fatal.According to Dr. Steven Campman, the chief deputy Medical Examiner, most of the people who are dying are younger men.“It’s five to one, men to women. The average age is 36 with a fair number of mid-20’s and mid-30’s and fewer older people,” Campman said.Fentanyl in a dermal patch can be prescribed for therapeutic purposes, however, Campman said he believed the fentanyl associated with most of the fatal overdoses is obtained illegally from dealers on the street.Users may think they are buying Xanax or the popular painkiller, Oxycontin, but the pill is counterfeit and actually contains fentanyl.“Maybe they meant to buy cocaine, oxycodone or alprazolam and took what they thought was something else, and it was too much and they died,” Campman said.Also common are drugs laced with fentanyl. The deputy medical examiner said he has seen an increasing number of cases in which people are dying in clusters.Last fall, several people died in the Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach areas from cocaine that was mixed with fentanyl.Citing that incident as an example, Campman said, “Three people dead in one house, all right next to each other, all right next to the drug – and that’s kind of new for us to see with fentanyl.” Sasha Foo Categories: Health, Local San Diego News Posted: February 6, 2019 Deaths from fentanyl overdoses spike in San Diego County FacebookTwitter Sasha Foo, February 6, 2019 Updated: 7:12 PMlast_img read more

Scientists have found a way to convert thoughts into speech

first_img Tags Share your voice Comments “For the first time, this study demonstrates that we can generate entire spoken sentences based on an individual’s brain activity,” said Edward Chang, a professor of neurological surgery and the lead author on this study. “This is an exhilarating proof of principle that with technology that is already within reach, we should be able to build a device that is clinically viable in patients with speech loss.”The research, published in Nature, was led by speech scientist Gopala Anumanchipalli and Josh Chartier, a bioengineering graduate student. The potential benefits are clear: technology like this could grant certain people a second or even a first chance at being able to vocalise their thoughts. The concept, however, is still in its infancy. There’s still work to be done.”We’re quite good at synthesizing slower speech sounds like ‘sh’ and ‘z’ as well as maintaining the rhythms and intonations of speech and the speaker’s gender and identity,” explained Chartier, “but some of the more abrupt sounds like ‘b’s and ‘p’s get a bit fuzzy. Still, the levels of accuracy we produced here would be an amazing improvement in real-time communication compared to what’s currently available.”What’s currently available is time-consuming and doesn’t come close to reflecting the intimacy and clarity of live back and forth discourse, but technology like this could potentially make that sort of discussion a reality for those who currently can’t speak.”People who can’t move their arms and legs have learned to control robotic limbs with their brains,” Chartier said. “We are hopeful that one day people with speech disabilities will be able to learn to speak again using this brain-controlled artificial vocal tract.” Speaking is great. NurPhoto Sure, speaking is great, and an effective method of communication, but what if that’s not a possibility? What if you suffer from some sort of paralysis or neurological impairment and you literally can’t speak?Researchers at the University of California think they’ve made a crucial first step at solving the problem. Using a “state-of-the-art brain-machine interface”, neuroscientists art UC San Francisco say they have successfully been able to convert brain waves into literal speech.By placing electrodes on the heads of study participants, the researchers took information from measured brain activity, and fed that data into a “virtual vocal tract”: an anatomically correct computer simulation designed to accurately mimic movements from the lips, jaw, tongue and larynx. The end result: something that absolutely resembles human speech. 5 Sci-Techlast_img read more

Section 57 to return in new form

first_img.The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act’s controversial Section 57, which is set to be revoked, will return in new forms in the proposed ‘Digital Security Act 2017’.In the face of widespread criticism from different quarters, the government has decided to abolish the Section 57, along with Sections 54, 55, 56 and 66 of the much talked about ICT law.But, the draft ‘Digital Security Act 2017’ has incorporated some provisions which are in the controversial ICT act’s Section 57.The final draft of the Digital Security Act 2017 received the nod at an inter-ministerial meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat on Wednesday. Officials engaged in drafting the law, said the draft will now be sent to the cabinet for approval and then to parliament to pass it as a law.Information minister Hasanul Haq Inu on Wednesday said the Digital Security Act could be passed in the next winter session of parliament.According to the proposed Digital Security Act, once the draft act will come into effect, the sections 54, 55, 56, and 57 of the ICT act will stand abolished.According to the ICT Section 57, “If any person deliberately publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted on the website or in electronic form any material which is fake and obscene or its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, or causes to deteriorate or creates possibility to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person or causes to hurt or may hurt religious belief or instigates against any person or organisation, then this activity of his will be regarded as an offence.”For such an offence, according to the Section 57, the person can be jailed not more than 14 years or not less than 7 years and fined maximum Tk 10 million.The definition of the offences under the section 57, the non-bailable provision and punishment drew huge criticism and had made the act controversial.Following widespread misuse of Section 57, the police headquarters directed the police stations to seek permission from the higher authorities before booking any person in a case under the section.Also, the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) asked its activists to consult the party before suing any journalist under the section.Legal experts who’ve already gone through the draft of the Digital Security Act said the offences defined under ICT’s Section 57 have been incorporated in various sections with varied range of punishment in the new Act.Layer Jyotirmoy Barua told Prothom Alo that Section 57 is against human rights.“The government said that the Section 57 will be scrapped. If the provisions are kept in different forms in different sections of the new act, how can you say that the Section 57 is abolished?” said Jyotirmoy.According to the Section 27 of the draft act, if anyone or a group consciously publishes or transmits or helps do anything on website or in any other electronic form to hurt religious sentiment, the act will be considered a crime. The offenders will have to languish in jail for maximum five years or fined maximum Tk 1 million or both.If the person commits the crime for the second time or third, s/he will be jailed for 7 years and fined maximum Tk 2 million or both. The offence is non-bailable here as well.Asked about the matter, Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik told Prothom Alo that the law which calls ‘attack on sentiment’ a crime must be misused.“What hurts whom totally depends on a certain individual and that is prone to the misuse.”“If you really want to keep such provisions, there should be a provision that it must be reported to the magistrate first, instead of police. Once the magistrate is convinced, then he can refer it to the police,” he noted.While talking to newsmen, the law minister, Anisul Huq, however, claimed that Section 57 will not be retained in the digital security act.Those ‘checks and balances’ which are required to defend the freedom of speech will be preserved in the Digital Security Act as well as in the proposed Broadcast Act.Section 28 of the draft digital act says that if a person commits any crime on any website or in any other electronic platform under section 499 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC-1860), the person will face maximum two years of imprisonment or will be fined Tk 300,000 or both.If the person commits the crime for the second time or more, s/he will be imprisoned for maximum five years or fined Tk 1 million or both.Section 499 of the Penal Code reads, “Whoever by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or published any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation or such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person.”Whereas Section 30 of the digital security act says that if any person or group deliberately publishes or transmits on a website or in any other electronic platform any material which creates enmity and hatred among different sections or communities or hurts communal harmony, or creates instability or anarchy or the possibility of deterioration in law and order, the activity will be regarded as a crime.If the section is violated, the person will be jailed for maximum five years or fined Tk 500,000 or both.If the person commits the crime for the second time or more, s/he will be imprisoned for maximum seven years or fined Tk 1 million or both.Another section of the draft act reads that if anyone promotes any propaganda and transmits that or helps do that against Bangladesh’s freedom fight or sentiment of the Liberation War or Father of the Nation, the person will be sentenced to life term in jail or fined a maximum 10 million or both.Another section of the draft act says if any person sends or preserves any secret information by intruding into any government, semi-government, autonomous or constitutional body through computers, digital devices or digital networks or any electronic means, the activity will be regarded as a computer or digital espionage crime.For such a crime the person will be sent for maximum 14 years to jail or fined Tk 2.5 million or both.If anyone commits the offence for the second time or more, the punishment will be life imprisonment or a fine of maximum Tk 1 crore or both.Besides, if any person violates the law even staying abroad, the offence will be taken into cognisance as an offence committed at home.Information minister Hasanul Haq Inu said different terms of punishment have been proposed for different types of crimes in the draft Digital Security act.A debate continues over the Section 57 for a long time as a number of people have already been harassed under the section.Quoting statistics of the police headquarters, a Prothom Alo report on 2 August said as much as 42 cases were filed under the ICT act in January and the number of cases rose to 79 in June. A total of 391 cases were filed against 785 persons between January and June this year. Police have already arrested 313 of them. Most of the persons were sued under the Section 57.Dhaka University professor Asif Nazrul Islam was sued under Section 57 with a Madaripur police station by shipping minister Shahjahan Khan’s nephew. The professor, however, secured bail recently.  Dwelling on the digital security act, Asif Nazrul said as the definition of the offences mentioned in the act is not clear, the ruling party’s leaders and activists can easily file case against any person whenever they wish. The ICT act was enacted in 2006 and amended later in 2013, making it stricter.The government started drafting the Digital Security Act in 2015. At first, it was named as Cyber Security Act-2015 and it was renamed as Digital Security Act-2016.* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islamlast_img read more

Four charged over Panama Papers scam

first_imgThe US government announced charges Tuesday against four men it said laundered money and arranged tax avoidance schemes through the Panama firm at the centre of the “Panama Papers” scandal.The four were affiliated with Mossack Fonseca, the law firm that helped thousands of clients around the world move money offshore to protect it from taxes.Named in the 11-count indictment were Ramses Owens, 50, Dirk Brauer, 54; Richard Gaffey, and Harald Joachim Von Der Goltz, 81.Owens is a Panamanian attorney who worked for Mossack Fonseca. Brauer, a German national, was an investment manager for Mossfon Asset Management, which was closely affiliated to Mossack Fonseca, the Justice Department said.Both were accused of marketing, creating and managing anonymously-owned shell companies on behalf of clients seeking to conceal assets from US tax authorities.Gaffey was a US accountant who allegedly helped Americans set up accounts with Mossack Fonseca, and Von Der Goltz, a German national who lived in the United States, was assisted by Gaffey and Owens in setting up offshore shell companies to hide assets, according to the charges.Prosecutors said Brauer was arrested in Paris on 15 November, Van Der Goltz was arrested in London on Monday, and Gaffey was arrested in Boston Tuesday.Owens remains at large.Mossack Fonseca’s operation was exposed in 2016 by reporters coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which went through 11.5 million leaked files to discover that scores of world leaders, sports and entertainment stars and dozens of billionaires used the firm to hide their wealth.It implicated Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and his wife; banks, companies and aides close to Russian President Vladimir Putin; families of Chinese President Xi Jinping and former British prime minister David Cameron; Middle East royals, and other international figures.”As alleged, these defendants went to extraordinary lengths to circumvent US tax laws in order to maintain their wealth and the wealth of their clients,” said Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.”Now, their international tax scheme is over, and these defendants face years in prison for their crimes.”Last Thursday, German prosecutors raided Deutsche bank offices in Frankfurt in an probe of money laundering and tax evasion also linked to the revelations of the Panama Papers expose.last_img read more