Darwin Missed the Beetle Can Opener Trick

first_imgYou know those big horns on rhinoceros beetles?  They’re not just for showing off.  Scientists at Indiana University found a “surprising function” for them.  It turns out “horned beetles use their young horns as a sort of can opener, helping them bust out of thick larval shells.” The function of horned beetles’ wild protrusions has been a matter of some consternation for biologists.  Digging seemed plausible; combat and mate selection, more likely.  Even Charles Darwin once weighed in on the matter, suggesting — one imagines with some frustration — the horns were merely ornamental.Since only the adult males retain them, biologists were misled into looking into an explanation invoking sexual selection.  Armin Moczek warned biologists not to ignore the developmental stages:Despite the growing presence of developmental biology in evolutionary studies, “Even today, evolutionary theory is very much a theory of adults,” Moczek said.  “But evolution doesn’t morph one adult shape into another.  Instead there’s an entire lifetime of development that we can’t afford to ignore.”The female beetles also have horns in the embryo, he explained, but lose them after hatching.  Special enzymes reabsorb the horn tissue after its function as a can opener is done.  The male, meanwhile, retains it for sexual prowess, or maybe for some beetle version of Monday night football (can opener, get it?); to the horny males, the game’s not the same without beetle juice.  In some species, however, it’s not beetle Bailey, but the female that retains the horn, while in others, both sexes lose them in adulthood.    Looking back on this oversight stretching back to the time of Darwin, Moczek thinks mistakes were made:“I think these findings illustrate quite clearly the importance of development to evolutionary biology,” Moczek said.  “By including studies of your organism’s development, at the very least you stand to gain fundamental insights into its biology.  More often than not, however, you may prevent yourself from making big mistakes when drawing up evolutionary histories.  In this case, I think we did both.”  See the related story on EurekAlert.Source: press release from Indiana University; see also Science Daily.Lest the proponents of evo-devo think they have scored a point, the authors did not explain where horn-making genes and protein machines came from.  As far as the evidence goes, the ability to make horns and remove them was always present.  How the traits got sorted out in the descendants of horn beetles are due to loss-of-information mutations and natural selection.  Nothing new has been gained. “The hornlessness of some adult beetles is therefore not the result of an inability to make horns….,” the press release mentions, “but the reshaping or reabsorption of horn tissue before the beetles become adults.”    Evolutionists also cannot explain the sequence of events.  Moczek said that they can’t tell if the horn was needed because the carapace got bigger, or the bigger carapace allowed the formation of horns.  “We are left with the commonly asked question in evolutionary developmental biology, ‘Which came first?’”  Generalizing that question shows that evolutionists know very little at all.  Picture poor Charlie wondering in consternation what tall tale to tell about the big male horns and the hornless females.  He only pondered the adults; he didn’t even think to watch the larvae pop their cans with their clever tool.  Darwin disciples continue to make the same mistake and miss out on a lot of the fun.    This story is also a lesson about so-called vestigial organs and secondary sexual characteristics (e.g., see entry about male nipples, 11/28/2006).  Something is not vestigial if it had a function in the embryo.  Just because an organ like a tonsil or appendix looks shriveled up compared to its counterpart in other animals, and just because it can be removed without harm, does not mean it is a relic of some mythical evolutionary past.  The right approach should be to look for a function when none is apparent.  A little humility would have saved biologists from getting squirted when this new information popped out of the can.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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2019-12-19

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Fly the Flag campaign launched

first_imgA South African Air Force helicopter flyingthe flag over Cape Town Stadium at thelaunch of the Brand South Africa Fly theFlag campaign on 1 May.(Image: Brand South Africa)MEDIA CONTACTS• Brand South Africa+27 11 483-0122info@brandsouthafrica.comWith less than 40 days to go to the kickoff of the 2010 Fifa World Cup, both individuals and companies are being urged to take up the national “Fly the Flag” challenge – to buy, distribute and fly the South African flag.From 1 May, fans and companies can make their flag pledges by texting the word “flag” to 32175 and thereby “celebrate the first time the 2010 Fifa World Cup is being held on African soil,” said Sophie Masipa, marketing manager of Brand South Africa, in a statement this week.“It is our quest to literally ‘Flag’ South Africa,” Masipa said.Each text message costs R1.Masipa also urged government departments, provinces, host cities and municipalities to fly the flag.“We want to see our national flag, a symbol of unity and hope for future generations, flown far and wide across the country,” she said. “From building wraps to office park entrances and in our neighbourhoods, we want to paint the nation with pride through our country’s most visual representations.”Masipa added that the initiative is a demonstration that the national flag is for every South African – a representation of our people no matter where we live in the world, regardless of background and without relevance to personal beliefs.“Our flag unites us all under a common future and makes us a strong nation,” she said. “It is representative of our future aspirations as a nation.”Nation brandingAs hosts of the World Cup, Brand South Africa says that South Africans and Africans are on the eve of welcoming thousands of potential Brand South Africa advocates to our country and continent.South Africans can demonstrate their support for the nation brand by joining in celebrations such as these, through which we are welcoming the world to our country, the statement read.Other South African mobilisation campaigns include Football Fridays, the People’s Bus and the Diski Dance.“It is imperative that we actively show our support for our national football team, Bafana Bafana – a South African brand ambassador representing us on the World Cup’s centre stage,” added Masipa.South African flag suppliers Ikamva Contract PublishingKaren Lundie+27 11 4310322 / 082 3872906ikamvak@telkomsa.net National FlagMarc Coetzee+27 11 8870143 / 082 4551116marcc@nationalflag.co.za Stone Moon DesignUnathi Rafu+27 11 4621753 / 082 8307822unathirafu@gmail.com GMD Products & Graphic Design Lombe Chalungumana+27 11 3386248 / 076 3256780Lombe_gmdproducts@24.com Head Masters Ivan Lazarus+27 11 6261424info@headmasters.co.za Gift Wrap Trading Aletia Van Niekerk012 9982579Aletia@giftwrap.co.zalast_img read more

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2019-12-18

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NHBRC invests over R30 million to drive its transformation agenda

first_imgThe National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) will be spending more than R 30 million in the new financial year starting on 1st of April 2017, as part of an effort to transform the home building industry.Addressing the NHBRC Transformation Charter launch, Deputy Minister of Human Settlements Ms Zou Kota-Fredericks,  said transformation and economic empowerment must be driven aggressively in the home building environment.“It is critical to note that the radical economic transformation programme is not a stand-alone programme as it has no special budget and should be an integral part of each and every department and all entities of government. It calls on all of us to revisit the Preferential Procurement Act so as to respond adequately to this issue.”The launch was hosted in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements (DHS) as part of the 2017 International Women’s Day celebrations.NHBRC Acting Chairperson of Council, Ms Julieka Bayat said one of the biggest challenges in achieving an effective transformation programme in the industry is the lack of adequate skills and we will be investing most of this money in the upskilling our most vulnerable groups: Women, Youth, People living with Disabilities and Military Veterans.“Women are particularly under-represented with respect to ownership, control and the management of companies involved in the housing value chain as well as in terms of technical skills.  Also, the high unemployment rate, especially of our youth has heightened the need for us to aggressively pursue transformation of the sector so as to create self-employment opportunities,” said Bayat.The NHBRC’s transformation charter seeks to address issues that relate to the advancement of equal economic opportunities in the human settlements value chain. The expectation is that participation of vulnerable groups will be optimised.“As the NHBRC we believe that our transformation charter will assist us in unlocking obstacles to and the effective participation by the identified groupings, it further asserts measureable goals for us to achieve on the road to a radically transformed home building industry” she said.We also wish to demonstrate our support towards government’s efforts of promoting social and economic transformation.For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Molebogeng Taunyane on 011 317 0070/ 082 646 8663 or email molebot@nhbrc.org.zalast_img read more

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2019-12-18

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QueenMee Rhinestone Hair Claw Rhinestone Hair Clip Diamante Hair Clip Diamante Hair Claw Clip Crystal Hair Clip Crystal Hair Claw Crystal Hair Clip Medium Hair Claw Clamp Hair Jaw Hair Clamp Moon – Beautiful finish, and just the right size

first_imgAcquired two hair diamante plastic clamps good – beautiful grip and extremely light so they don’t. Acquired two hair diamante plastic clamps brilliant – wonderful grip and very gentle so they really don’t drag my hair good provider – will get once more from this supplier.All the solutions i obtained from queenmee had been as explained and charming to search at.The clip is a small scaled-down than i anticipated but it is pretty powerful so grips my thick hair extremely perfectly. Very happy with the buy.Here are the specifications for the QueenMee Rhinestone Hair Claw Rhinestone Hair Clip Diamante Hair Clip Diamante Hair Claw Clip Crystal Hair Clip Crystal Hair Claw Crystal Hair Clip Medium Hair Claw Clamp Hair Jaw Hair Clamp Moon:Luxury finish with beautifully sparkling crystalsHand finished in the UKThe icing on the cake for a party outfit, or great for every day glamourEasy to style, transform your look in secondsEvery piece is carefully wrapped in an organza gift pouch, makes a lovely gift They definitely complete an outfit and can make even relaxed gown a small extra unique. I was supplied one for xmas and have had so numerous superb reviews when i wear it.Like this hair clip effectively designed. Desire they make a bigger 1.Beautiful complete, and just the appropriate size. Attractive end, and just the ideal dimensions. Will definately purchase an additional.The clip is a small scaled-down than i anticipated but it is pretty powerful so grips my thick hair extremely perfectly. Very happy with the buy.Acquired two hair diamante plastic clamps good – beautiful grip and extremely light so they don’t. Acquired two hair diamante plastic clamps brilliant – wonderful grip and very gentle so they really don’t drag my hair good provider – will get once more from this supplier.Pleasant & secure & it can be rather too.High-quality hair grip, incredibly sparkly, swift supply. This is a beautiful vintage hair grip, tremendous sparkly with the quite a few rows of rhinestones. Properly curved to hug the line of the head. Robust and good high-quality, and massive sufficient to keep all my hair up firmly. Fantastic services, i purchased it on saturday and it arrived on monday.All the solutions i obtained from queenmee had been as explained and charming to search at.Beautiful complete, and just the appropriate size. Attractive end, and just the ideal dimensions. Will definately purchase an additional.This diamanté clip is quite great but my hair is thick but even now be equipped way too use it for a formal evening on my cruise.But felt like a high quality merchandise when shipped. A present, but felt like a good quality product when delivered, and delivered / acquired easily.Lovely clip but not big sufficient i have extended thick. Wonderful clip but not major sufficient i have lengthy thick hair and it won’t clip all my hair in it i need about 6/seven inch clip.This diamanté clip is quite great but my hair is thick but even now be equipped way too use it for a formal evening on my cruise.Attractive hair accessory ?. Gorgeous, effectively manufactured, even stays in my really wonderful hair. Like this clip, the design and style is lovely and yet useful also. Very happy ?????.Lovely clip but not big sufficient i have extended thick. Wonderful clip but not major sufficient i have lengthy thick hair and it won’t clip all my hair in it i need about 6/seven inch clip.What a wonderful hair clip, superior grip, attractive presentation, quick shipping, really delighted with my acquire. Attractive and sparkly hair clip. Lovely and sparkly hair clip which i have purchased for a xmas current. It comes in a attractive small organza bag and is great for a reward or for on your own.Pleasant & secure & it can be rather too.Reviews from purchasers :Beautiful hair accessory ?I love these hair clipsBeautiful finish, and just the right sizelast_img read more

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2019-12-18

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Beauty Box Giveaway! Skin Retouching for Photo & Video

first_imgBeauty Box Video skin retouching plugin gives your actor or model an incredible makeover in post-production by incorporating state-of-the-art face detection and smoothing algorithms. This video plugin automatically identifies the skin tones and remove imperfections, while leaving important facial details sharp.Editors and artists no longer have to manually create masks or retouch frame by frame. Whether it is used for a feature film, music video or a corporate talking head, Beauty Box Video is a powerful tool for any production that requires people to look their best.Download a free trial and see the results for yourself.Premiumbeat customers can save $50 through August 30th by going to the Digital Anarchy Store and using this coupon code: PREMIUMBEAUTY Win a copy of Beauty Box – a powerful skin smoothing and retouching plugin for photo and video editing!UPDATE: THE CONTEST HAS NOW ENDED.  Thanks to all who entered.Please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for info on future giveaways!More info on Beauty Box and $50 off!Take years off your talent by applying the Beauty Box plugin from Digital Anarchy!  The popular plugin comes in to two versions that run inside popular editing applications.Photographers can use Beauty Box Photo with their current workflow inside Photoshop – $99.Video editors can run Beauty Box Video within After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Avid or Sony Vegas – $199.I’ve personally used Beauty Box for several years and it has become an indispensable plugin in my editing toolkit.  Clients are always impressed with the result – especially useful for commercials, corporate talking heads or wedding photos/videos.Beauty Box makes retouching photos or video a fast, painless process.Beauty Box uses advanced face detection to create an automatic, traveling matte.The matte keeps details like teeth, hair, and eyelashes razor sharp while just smoothing skin.State of the art smoothing algorithms allow you to easily get rid of wrinkles and blemishes.A simple workflow means you can get the work done fast.Powerful algorithms means the work looks great!GPU acceleration makes renders go quickly.New in 2.0 is Shine Removal, allowing you to deal with skin hot spots caused by lights.last_img read more

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2019-12-12

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Virat Kohli stars in World T20 Team of the Tournament

first_imgIndia might have crashed out unceremoniously from the Twenty-20 World championship in the Super Eight stage, but star batsman Virat Kohli was honoured for his stellar batting displays during the tournament in Sri Lanka.Kohli was the only Indian player to be picked for the Team of the Tournament list comprising the best 11 from the championship.All-rounder Suresh Raina was, however, included as the 12th man in the team.Kohli scored 185 runs with his highest score of 78 not out against Pakistan. He was the most successful Indian player in the tournament.Though the hosts’ loss to the West Indies in the final led to Mahela Jayawardene quitting as the Sri Lankan captain, he was named as the skipper of the Team of the Tournament.2012 World T20: Team of the TournamentChris Gayle (West Indies)Shane Watson (Australia)Marlon Samuels (West Indies)Virat Kohli (India)Luke Wright (England)Ross Taylor (New Zealand)Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)Sunil Narine (West Indies)Ajantha Mendis (Sri Lanka)Dale Steyn (South Africa)Steven Finn (England)last_img read more

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2019-11-28

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Boris Johnson elected new UK PM

first_imgLondon: Boris Johnson on Tuesday won the Conservative Party’s leadership race to become the next Prime Minister of Britain, amid the political uncertainty over the country’s divorce deal with the European Union. Johnson, the former foreign secretary and London Mayor, was widely expected to beat foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in the battle for 10 Downing Street, which was triggered last month when a Brexit-battered May resigned amid a mounting rebellion from within the Conservative Party. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsAddressing the Tory party members at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, near the Houses of Parliament, soon after the results were declared, Johnson, 55, said: “No one person or party has the monopoly of wisdom. Time and again it is to us [Conservative Party] that people have turned. “At this pivotal point in history… I know that we will do it. The mantra is to deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat (Labour leader) Jeremy Corbyn. “I will work flat out to repay your confidence. The work begins now.”last_img read more

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2019-10-18

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Report Kawhi Leonards decision could still be days away

first_imgTORONTO – If you’re sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for a Kawhi Leonard announcement, you might want to settle in and get a little more comfortable.According to The Athletic‘s Jabari Young, it may still be a few days before the much sought-after free agent makes his decision.On the Kawhi front, told he’s not making a decision tonight and it may not be until the next few days. He and his reps are going through the process and taking their time before deciding the next move. No 2-year deals have been discussed. #NBA @TheAthleticNBA— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) July 4, 2019The two-time Finals MVP, fresh off a historic championship win with the Toronto Raptors, reportedly met with the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week and touched down in Toronto to meet with Raptors brass Wednesday.So MLSE’s plane has landed at Pearson … and I can confirm Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster are already in Toronto so .. https://t.co/IW9poAIib6— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) July 3, 2019Another interest note, per Young, is that no two-year deals have been discussed.And so, the wait ⁠— and the intrigue ⁠— continues.Sportsnet’s Michael Grange goes over the hysteria that hit Toronto as Kawhi Leonard’s free agency continues to loom over the city.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>last_img read more

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2019-10-17

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Ezekiel Elliott Is Not Worth The Money He Wants

22Ezekiel ElliottDallas450.003 5Alvin KamaraNew Orleans330.007 4James ConnerPittsburgh170.45 1Royce FreemanDenver120.012 14Phillip LindsayDenver110.43 12Kapri BibbsWashington50.45 Expanding the sample to Elliott’s entire career doesn’t help his case either. Over his three years as a starter, Zeke led the league in rushing attempts in closeout situations with 158. But among running backs with 20 such attempts, he ranks just 26th in win probability added per play. For perspective, former teammate Alfred Morris ranks 13th in win probability added per play for the period — and he was running behind the same offensive line in Dallas for two of those three seasons.Closing out games is important, but it appears that draft pedigree really isn’t necessary to be effective in that role. Those critical runs can be performed by a reasonably priced specialist taken later in the draft or acquired in free agency. And if you need further proof, just feast your eyes on the 2018 win probability added of undrafted free agent Gus Edwards and quietly contemplate the abyss.Short-yardage running in the red zoneEffective running in the red zone, and especially at the goal line, is particularly valuable because this is the part of the field where passing is most difficult. As teams move downfield and get closer to the end zone, the field compresses and completion percentage drops. While the effect begins a little before the 30-yard line, leaguewide completion percentage drops from 57 percent to 48 percent2Based on data from 2009-2016. as teams move from their opponent’s 20 to the 3-yard line. This decrease in passing effectiveness puts a premium on being able to run successfully. Teams that can consistently move the ball on short-yardage runs in the red zone — or runs on which a first down or touchdown is no more than 3 yards away3Again excluding kneel-downs. — give themselves the opportunity to score touchdowns more often, and they tend to win more games.Last season, the Dallas Cowboys ranked 10th in red zone expected points added (EPA) per play on short-yardage runs in the red zone and 22nd in short-yardage success rate.4The rate of plays with a positive EPA. For a team that boasts one of the league’s better rushing attacks, these are far from elite numbers. For his part, Elliott ranked 16th in EPA per play and 28th in success rate among running backs with at least five short red zone rushes. Need to close out a game? Any running back will do.Win probability added (WPA) per rush for running backs with a minimum of five rushes to close out a game* in the 2018 regular season 5Aaron JonesGreen Bay60.70 2Isaiah CrowellNew York Jets70.010 12Devontae BookerDenver80.14 15Elijah McGuireN.Y. Jets110.09 RankplayerTeamrusheswpa 24Marlon MackIndianapolis130.08 3Nick ChubbCleveland250.010 21James ConnerPittsburgh170.25 25Doug MartinOakland120.04 13Derrick HenryTennessee150.44 16Derrick HenryTennessee230.005 25Jordan WilkinsIndianapolis120.002 19Jordan HowardChicago320.03 7C.J. AndersonLos Angeles Rams60.36 18David JohnsonArizona240.05 11Wendell SmallwoodPhiladelphia50.49 10Ty MontgomeryBaltimore70.006 Like we saw with runs to close out the game, Elliott again failed to distinguish himself from his lesser-drafted peers. Despite having nearly 40 pounds on Phillip Lindsay, Elliott was outpaced by the undrafted and diminutive Broncos back in both success rate and EPA per play on short red zone carries in 2018. And while the sample sizes here are small, Zeke’s career numbers aren’t much better. From 2016 to 2018, Zeke ranks 10th among qualifying5Ten or more carries to qualify. backs in success rate and 11th in EPA per play.Short-yardage runs in the open fieldFinally, we’ll look at plays that extend drives and help to break the opposing team’s spirit: short yardage runs in the open field, or outside the red zone. These plays represent situations in which the offense needs no more than 3 yards to convert a new set of downs. Based on historical averages, these are running battles that you would expect the offense to win — after all, 29 of 32 teams averaged more than 4 yards per attempt last year. And in fact that’s what we find: In 2018, NFL teams were successful on short runs in the open field 53 percent of the time. Last season the Cowboys were particularly adept at short yardage plays, ranking fourth in the league with a 62 percent success rate on 53 attempts. Zeke was responsible for 43 of those attempts — most in the NFL — and was successful 67 percent of the time, but that success rate was good for just 11th in the league. 24Kerryon JohnsonDetroit100.002 1Jordan WilkinsIndianapolis80.67 rankplayerteamrushesepa per play 3Alfred MorrisSan Francisco100.47 6Kenyan DrakeMiami110.007 RankPlayerTeamRushesepa per play 21Zach ZennerDetroit Lions180.004 23Tarik CohenChicago15-0.05 7James WhiteNew England250.007 1Melvin GordonLos Angeles Chargers51.35 4Adrian PetersonWashington70.71 17Adrian PetersonWashington470.005 In what is becoming an annual event, a high-profile running back is threatening a preseason holdout. On Monday, reports surfaced that Ezekiel Elliott will sit out training camp unless he gets a new contract from the Dallas Cowboys. Two days earlier, Melvin Gordon had announced a holdout from the Los Angeles Chargers and cited Elliott as an example of why running backs should command higher pay. Perhaps Zeke and his agent read Gordon’s comments and decided to strike while the iron is hot. Perhaps a holdout was always planned. Whatever the case, Elliott has made clear that he believes he’s underpaid and wants a new contract sooner rather than later.The holdout threat may have taken Dallas a bit by surprise. It’s not as if Zeke isn’t in line for competitive compensation. Dallas picked up Elliott’s fifth-year option in April, guaranteeing him nearly $9.1 million in 2020 — money that will make Elliott the fourth-highest-paid running back in the league that year. But Zeke’s focus is on 2019, not 2020. According to reports, Elliott believes that the Cowboys plan to use him heavily this season, and he wants a long-term deal in place as an insurance policy against injury.For their part, Dallas appears to want to keep Elliott around. Stephen Jones, Dallas director of player personnel, has indicated that signing Eliott to an extension is a team priority. In an odd bit of negotiating, Jones even set the floor for a deal at Todd Gurley’s recent contract — a contract that is currently the highest in the league at the position. Still, Elliott’s camp is betting they can leverage Zeke’s absence into an early deal, and based on their previous maneuvering, I’m betting that the Cowboys will cave.The question is: Why?In a league that is steadily paying less for running back production, capitulating to an Elliott holdout and making him the highest-paid ball carrier in the league would be a deeply contrarian move. According to data from Overthecap, the share of average team salary allocated to all rostered running backs has fallen from 6.8 percent of spending in 2013 to 4.5 percent in 2019.Even elite backs aren’t immune from feeling the pinch. Le’Veon Bell sat out all of last season expecting to make up his lost wages on the free-agent market. Instead he ended up settling for a contract with less average compensation per year than what he was initially offered by Pittsburgh. It’s been a slow, incremental change, but teams across the league have moved toward an asset allocation model that favors many low-priced specialists over an expensive three-down bell cow.Dallas already bucked the trend of devaluing running backs when they took Elliott with the fourth overall pick of the 2016 draft and then proceeded to give him 868 carries over his first three seasons. That, apparently, is just how the Cowboys are built. Jason Garrett is absolutely determined to “run the fucking ball.” But even if the Cowboys have fallen out of step with a league that believes paying “high first-round draft pick” money to a running back is gauche, it still pales in comparison to what will come next. Assuming the cap rises to $200 million in 2020,1The cap has gone up by roughly $10 million a season for the past six seasons. Zeke’s salary alone in his optioned fifth year will represent 4.5 percent of the Cowboy’s salary cap. If Zeke signs an extension before the 2020 season, his cap hit combined with the rest of Dallas’s spend at the running back position will likely be double the league average.Profligate spending and contrarianism aren’t proof of incompetence, of course. Elliott on paper seems to be quite good at his job — and his appeal to Dallas might seem warranted. In 2018, Zeke led the league with 1,434 rushing yards on a league-best 304 carries, over 16 percent more than second-place finisher Saquon Barkley (261). If Elliott is worth twice as many wins to a team as a replacement-level running back would be, he’s probably worth twice the money. The problem is that having Zeke on the field isn’t worth even half a win to the Cowboys. Eric Eager at Pro Football Focus estimates that Zeke’s production in 2018 was worth just 0.2 of a win above a replacement player.We know — and the Cowboys should, too — that rushing is not nearly as important to winning in the NFL as passing. But rushing is still a part of the game, and situational running is still critical. A back who excels in high-leverage spots can be quite valuable. It could be the case that Dallas believes it has an advantage in crucial moments with Zeke on the field that helps justify re-signing him.Examples of situational football are legion, but three in particular stand out as being important in the run game. If the Cowboys are valuing Zeke for the skills that most help the team — and not just for his number of carries over a season — we would expect him to be at or near the top in each of these categories, dominating the plebes drafted rounds after him or those plucked from the NFL scrapyard.Running to close out a gameFirst is the ability to run out the clock when you’re ahead and need to close out a game. Keeping the opposing offense off the field has obvious value when you’re protecting a lead late. In nerd parlance, successful running plays late have a relatively large positive effect on a team’s win probability.With this in mind, to measure a team’s ability to close out a game, we’ll use win probability added. WPA is a good metric for teasing out rushing value late in the game because it takes our best estimate for what a team’s chance of winning the game is on a particular play (based on the down, distance, yard line, score and time remaining) and then quantifies how much the actual outcome of a play either added or subtracted from that expectation. Teams that are good at rushing to close out games will have positive WPA.According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, the Cowboys were seventh in win probability added in 2018 on rushing attempts in the fourth quarter while they were ahead, excluding quarterback kneel-downs. Elliott carried the ball on the majority of those plays and had positive win probability added per play, which is good. But he was still just second on the team in average WPA behind quarterback Dak Prescott — and it wasn’t particularly close. Dak’s win probability added per play on 10 attempts was almost five times that of Zeke’s average WPA on 45 carries.When we zoom out and compared Zeke with all running backs across the league, the situation gets bleak. Elliott was 22nd among qualifying backs when running to close out a game, behind the likes of Royce Freeman, Isaiah Crowell and the 35-year-old remnants of Frank Gore. 15Joe MixonCincinnati130.42 17Justin JacksonLos Angeles Chargers80.06 18Kareem HuntKansas City110.27 19Wayne GallmanNew York Giants120.004 10Todd GurleyLos Angeles Rams270.49 4Frank GoreMiami130.007 14Alex CollinsBaltimore100.11 Even outside the red zone, Zeke isn’t elite in short situationsExpected points added (EPA) per play for running backs with a minimum of five open-field short-yardage attempts* during the 2018 season 9Lamar MillerHouston60.49 17Carlos HydeCleveland100.27 8Melvin GordonLos Angeles Chargers250.007 19Royce FreemanDenver110.27 12Spencer WareKansas City140.006 6Damien WilliamsKansas City70.38 9Todd GurleyLos Angeles Rams480.006 Red zone efficiency doesn’t require a big nameExpected points added (EPA) per play for running backs with a minimum of five short-yardage attempts* in the red zone during the 2018 season 11Jaylen SamuelsPittsburgh190.006 2Giovani BernardCincinnati51.28 * Rushes of 3 yards or less to go. Kneel-downs not included.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 10Ezekiel ElliottDallas430.16 * Rushes on plays outside the red zone with no more 3 yards to go for a first down. Kneel-downs not included.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 21Leonard FournetteJacksonville110.02 25Phillip LindsayDenver19-0.14 23Tarik CohenChicago90.003 3Marshawn LynchOakland51.06 7Chris CarsonSeattle180.59 5Corey ClementPhiladelphia70.44 6Alvin KamaraNew Orleans240.69 16Gus EdwardsBaltimore210.08 8Bilal PowellNew York Jets50.35 20Javorius AllenBaltimore50.26 15Mike DavisSeattle130.005 23Austin EkelerLos Angeles Chargers60.16 16Ezekiel ElliottDallas150.30 13Chris IvoryBuffalo150.13 11Melvin GordonLos Angeles Chargers190.15 24Jaylen SamuelsPittsburgh8-0.06 2Mike DavisSeattle140.48 14Justin JacksonLos Angeles Chargers150.005 20Jamaal WilliamsGreen Bay160.004 If you’re a person who believes running backs matter, this is a leaderboard that makes about as much sense as snake mittens. It’s true that of the three high-leverage rushing situations examined, this is clearly where Zeke shines brightest. But even here he’s outclassed by backs no one would mistake as Elliott’s equals. Former teammate Morris haunted Elliott yet again by leading the league last season with a 90 percent success rate on short-yardage open-field runs. Alf was trailed closely by Niner castoff and backup Seattle running back Mike Davis. Todd Gurley injury fill-in C.J. Anderson, displaced Jets starter Bilal Powell and Le’Veon Bell usurper James Conner round out the top five.What about the rest?Situationally, Zeke is profoundly average, but some perspective here is probably needed. Situational running, while important, is relatively rare. Around 5 percent of Elliott’s carries came in the red zone in 2018. Fifteen percent came in situations when the Cowboys were trying to close out the game, and 14 percent came on short-yardage runs in the open field. The majority of Zeke’s carries — about 65 percent — occurred in other situations. The problem is that those other situations turn out to be awful times to run the football.Zeke ran 182 times in the first three quarters of games in 2018 on first and second down with at least 4 yards to go — situations when teams shouldn’t be running very often to begin with. Probably the clearest illustration of this folly is shown using an analysis I stole from Timo Riske of Pro Football Focus. On early downs when the outcome of the game is still in doubt, winning teams pass more often than the eventual losers. 20Derrick HenryTennessee140.03 * In the fourth quarter while ahead. Kneel-downs not included.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 22Chris CarsonSeattle27-0.01 8Corey ClementPhiladelphia50.53 9Kerryon JohnsonDetroit110.22 13Gus EdwardsBaltimore320.005 22Matt BreidaSan Francisco 49ers80.19 18Jacquizz RodgersTampa Bay50.005 It sounds strange, but commanding bad rushing volume is really the only aspect of Elliott’s game that is truly elite. The Cowboys could believe that they have a generational talent at the running back position, and because of this faith, they overuse him.It’s that overuse that’s the problem. Extending Elliott is the manifestation of an objectively poor offensive strategy. It isn’t just a terrible idea because the valuable portion of Elliott’s production — the situational part — is easily replaced by nearly any back talented enough to make a Week 1 NFL roster. And an early extension isn’t just poor risk management because between 20 to 33 percent of high-volume running backs will incur a serious injury in a given year, though that is also certainly true.6Elliott was also suspended in 2017 for six games for domestic violence, and he would receive a mandatory ban if he violated the league policy again.The primary reason an investment in an overpriced, risky asset is truly awful is because it can impact play calling in the worst possible way. In an attempt to justify the overspend at the position, a team may be encouraged to run more and pass less. It’s the worst kind of curse, and the Cowboys seem eager to cast the hex on themselves. read more

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2019-09-29

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Bahamas Minister of Public Works Addresses Street Signs Light Poles and Potholes

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, October 12, 2017 – Nassau – An “intense” initiative by the Ministry of Public Works to replace stolen street signs and straighten damaged and bent poles will soon commence.   The Hon. Desmond Bannister, the Minister of Public Works, addressed the issue of street signs and potholes in his contribution to the House of Assembly Wednesday, October 11, 2017.    His comments came during a debate on a motion to thank Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling for her speech from the Throne.“In Carmichael and in many of our other communities, street signs have virtually disappeared,” said the Minister.   “As the Minister with responsibility for street signs, Mr. Speaker, this is deeply troubling. Our society cannot drop to a degree of incivility where street signs are routinely stolen for their metal content and there are no consequences.”Minister Bannister called on “responsible” members of the public to be on the lookout for these thieves who can cause accidents and also negatively impact response times for the police or emergency services by their callous and dishonest acts.   He said too many street signposts and light poles are being knocked down by careless drivers and asked Bahamians to be careful in traversing the streets.“I urge Bahamians when they see these incidents to take photos of them and to email those photos to the responsible authorities so that we can collect the cost of those poles from the careless drivers.   Otherwise, our taxes will be used to pay for these signs and poles over and over again.”Minister Bannister expressed disdain for potholes and expressed his commitment to use every weapon to effectively control potholes.“They have burst my tires, messed up my rims, and set my hubcaps flying.   Yes Sir, I am not ashamed to admit that I hate potholes.”He appealed to every Bahamian use the hotline, 302-9700, at the Ministry of Public Works to make complaints.“I have heard the constant complaints, Sir, about the fact that the hotline has not been manned as effectively as it should be.   That has to and will change.   I expect that Bahamians will get courteous, quick responses from the hotline, and I will not offer any excuses.   If anyone does not receive a quick and courteous response when they call the hotline, I ask them to send a text or a Whatsapp 814-2190 specifying the date and the time of their call to the hotline, and the issue that has not been addressed.”By: Kathryn Campbell (BIS) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more

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2019-09-17

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