Forget the phrase “blind as a bat.” New experiments suggest that members of one species of these furry flyers—Myotis myotis, the greater mouse-eared bat—can do something no other mammal is known to do: They detect and use polarized light to calibrate their long-distance navigation. Previous research hinted that these bats reset their magnetic compass each night based on cues visible at sunset, but the particular cue or cues hadn’t been identified. In the new study, researchers placed bats in boxes in which the polarization of light could be controlled and shifted. After letting the bats experience sundown at a site near their typical roost, the team waited until after midnight (when polarized light was no longer visible in the sky), transported the animals to two sites between 20 and 25 kilometers from the roost, strapped radio tracking devices to them, and then released them. In general, bats whose polarization wasn’t shifted took off for home in the proper direction. But those that had seen polarization shifted 90° at sunset headed off in directions that, on average, pointed 90° away from the true bearing of home, the researchers report online today in Nature Communications. It’s not clear how the bats discern the polarized light, but it may be related to the type or alignment of light-detecting pigments in their retinas, the team suggests. The bats may have evolved to reset their navigation system using polarized light because that cue persists long after sunset and is available even when skies are cloudy. Besides these bats (and it’s not known whether other species of bat can do this, too), researchers have found that certain insects, birds, reptiles, and amphibians can navigate using polarized light.
The UK government is all set to double the immigration health surcharge (IHS) from December, which will increase the overall visa fees for the citizens, students, professionals and family members from the non-European Union countries, including India. Read it at Economic Times Related Items
Sania Mirza on Sunday reached her first ever French Open women’s doubles quarter-finals with partner Elena Vesnina but Mahesh Bhuapthi’s campaign ended after suffering a second round defeat in the mixed doubles along with Jie Zheng.Sania Mirza during the French Open. APSeventh seed Sania and Elena quelled a late challenge from 11th seed Spanish duo of Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-1 6-4 in the third round.The Indo-Russian pair now have a tough task at hand as they face top seeds Gisela Dulko of Argentina and Flavia Pennetta of Italy.This is Sania’s best doubles performance at Grand Slams since 2008, when she had reached the last-eight stage at Wimbledon with American partner Bethanie Mattek.This is also only third time in Sania’s career that she has reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam. The first time she made the grade was in 2007 at US Open with Mattek.On Sunday, Sania-Elena saved 10 breakpoints from 12 and converted five of 10 in the one hour 26 minutes clash.Earlier, Indian veteran Bhupathi’s campaign ended when he and Chinese Zheng, fifth seed, lost 6-4 3-6 7-10 to unseeded duo of Rennae Stubbs of Australia and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo.Bhupathi has already exited from the men’s doubles along with compatriot Leander Paes.India’s hopes in the mixed doubles are still alive as Paes and his partner Iveta Benesova have reached the quarterfinals, where they will clash with top seeded pair of Katarina Srebotnik of Slovakia and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia.- With PTI inputsadvertisement
Asked about his views about cricket under lights with Asked about his views about cricket under lights with pink ball, Laxman said, “Its a work in progress, especially in India where dew is a big factor. Also the ball they used in the Duleep Trophy was a different one to what they used in the New Zealand-Australia Test match in Adelaide. “It is more about not losing the hardness and the shine because in India the wickets will not have that much of grass cover, even though the grounds are lush green and well-maintained. “A lot of effort and time will go in making sure that the ball is right because any match should not be dictated by ball. They are trying to make sure that the seam is thicker compared to the match played in Adelaide,” he added. Asked why Indians are averse to DRS, he said, “I am not convinced with the hawk-eye especially for the LBW decision. I am not convinced with that technology as yet. “Because of that, BCCI too has got some kind of (objection) and is not allowing to execute it in a series where India is involved. There is a fixed mindset that everyone is thinking that BCCI is intentionally not taking the DRS, but I feel the technology should be fool-proof,” he explained. The 41-year-old former cricketer also recalled the contribution made by ex-national coach John Wright, who was the first foreign coach to be appointed by the BCCI. “Within the team the growing urge to become more competitive overseas came with the arrival of, in our coaching set up, John Wright, the first overseas coach of a national side. John was laid-back, but was also very demanding. “He believed we had what he felt in terms of talent, mental fortitude, temperament and resolve to be a strong force outside our shores,” he remarked. PTI NRB SSR SSC SSCadvertisement
NEW YORK — This was no ordinary defeat. Not after 7 hours of back-and-forth baseball against your biggest rival.In the latest classic matchup of their long and illustrious history, the Boston Red Sox finally outlasted the New York Yankees6-5 in 19 innings early Saturday when the game-ending double play was turned at 2:13 a.m.“It feels worse than one loss, but thank goodness it’s only one,” Brett Gardner said.Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira, who turned 35 when the clock struck midnight, hit tying home runs for the Yankees during an early-season epic delayed 16 minutes by a power outage in the 12th. That’s why the official time of game was 6 hours, 49 minutes — even though it took more than 7 hours to complete.After squandering leads in the ninth, 16th and 18th, Boston at last went ahead for good on a sacrifice fly by Mookie Betts. Xander Bogaerts scored the decisive run after reaching on his fourth hit in extra innings.The teams get little chance to rest following the first of 19 meetings this year. They’re back at it for the middle game of the series Saturday at 1:05 p.m.“It’s one game that seemed like about six, and we’ll move on,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.David Ortiz hit a solo homer for Boston to break a 3-all deadlock in the 16th. But then Teixeira, batting from the right side against right-handed knuckleballer Steven Wright, led off the bottom half with a no-doubt drive to left field.And on it went before a few thousand scattered fans left from the crowd of 41,292.Pablo Sandoval put the Red Sox back in front with an RBI single in the 18th only to see Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran hit doubles in the bottom half to tie it again at 5.Each club went to its last reliever in the 15th during the longest game by time in Red Sox history — and second-longest for the Yankees. They had a 22-inning victory at Detroit that took 7 hours in 1962.It was the longest game by innings for New York since a 19-inning win over Minnesota in August 1976.“It was just a wonderful game. I wish we would have won, but it was a great game,” Headley said.The longest game by innings between the old rivals was a 20-inning victory for Boston in the second game of a 1967 doubleheader.Headley’s solo shot off fill-in closer Edward Mujica came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Neither team could break through again until Ortiz launched an 0-2 pitch from Esmil Rogers (0-1) to right-center.Didi Gregorius had a chance to win it for New York in the 16th and 18th, but grounded out with a runner at third to end both innings.Boston got five innings of relief from Wright (1-0) in a game that featured 17 pitchers who combined to throw 628 pitches.The Red Sox stranded 20 runners, but came through one last time in the 19th.Bogaerts singled, stole second and went to third on a passed ball by backup catcher John Ryan Murphy, who had just replaced McCann. Betts delivered a sac fly to center.It appeared New York might rally yet again in the bottom half when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single. Gardner flied out, and Garrett Jones hit a low liner toward the middle. Bogaerts short-hopped the ball at shortstop and flipped to second, where Dustin Pedroia leaped in the air for an athletic relay to first.“That’s a heck of a play, to be able to pull that off at 2:30 in the morning,” Wright said.Girardi said Jones, a first baseman and DH who came off the bench in the 11th for hisYankees debut, would have pitched the 20th.Rogers, who threw 81 pitches after making 35 the previous night, said he would have pushed to stay in the game.The lights dimmed as Boston reliever Tommy Layne threw the first pitch in the bottom of the 12th to Beltran. Fans groaned and umpires huddled with both managers before going underneath the stands to get information.It appeared nine or 10 banks of lights went out, many of them behind home plate. After both teams left the field to boos, the lights came back on and play resumed.The Yankees said they believe there was a power surge throughout the building. The team turned on additional light banks that are normally off above the foul poles as electricians rebooted the bulbs that went dark.One of several newcomers to the rivalry, Sandoval also had an RBI single for the Red Sox his first time up. And for the first time in two decades, Derek Jeter wasn’t a member of the Yankees when they took on Boston.“The game doesn’t wait for anyone,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said beforehand. “We’re looking forward to the next chapter.”SEEN THAT BEFOREIt was Ortiz’s first home run of the year and 50th against the Yankees, including playoff games.BACK IN THE SADDLEAlex Rodriguez batted third for New York. He hit an RBI single and a double, and struck out three times.TRAINER’S ROOMYankees: McCann was shaken up in the ninth when a foul ball hit the top of his right kneecap, but he remained in the game for another nine innings.UP NEXTRed Sox: RHP Joe Kelly (strained biceps) will come off the DL to start Saturday afternoon.Yankees: RHP Adam Warren, primarily a reliever the last two seasons, is scheduled to make his fourth major league start after winning the final rotation spot during spring training.MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball WriterTweetPinShare0 Shares
Joe Garagiola, the former major league catcher and Hall of Fame broadcaster, has died at 90.TweetPinShare0 Shares
The body of Odisha’s first Everester, Kalpana Dash, arrived in Bhubaneswar from New Delhi on Sunday. Dash, 53, passed away while descending from the Himalayan summit on May 23 at a height of around 8,600 feet.Her body was brought to Delhi from Kathmandu, Nepal, and then flown to the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.The state government had made arrangements for the body to be received at the city airport and taken to Kalinga Stadium Complex where Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera, accompanied by his department officials, paid their last respects to the departed soul. Hundreds of people paid tributes to Kalpana Dash at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. (Photo: ANI)Paying homage, Behera said, “Kalpana Dash was an ace mountaineer who brought fame to the state. She was an achiever who led by example and even in her death she will continue to inspire young aspirants to scale great peaks”.He also thanked the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, the search and rescue team of Sherpas and other officials who braced severe weather conditions and difficult terrain to repatriate the body and bring it back to her family members.Dash, who hailed from Dhenkanal, was the state’s first Everester. She first scaled the peak in 2008 and later trekked several mountains across Europe, South America, North America and Africa.READ | Rescuers to search for eight climbers missing in HimalayasALSO READ | US climber dies on descent, death toll on Everest reaches 11ALSO WATCH | Woman IPS officer Aparna Kumar, who scaled South Pole, shares how she trainedadvertisement
La récolte de tomates de l’espace et l’étude de l’énergie éolienne sont deux exemples de projets entrepris par les élèves néo-écossais dans le cadre du Mois des jeunes scientifiques. « La science aide à former l’esprit des futurs inventeurs et chercheurs de la Nouvelle-Écosse, a dit Marilyn More, ministre de l’Éducation. Lorsque des possibilités d’apprentissage sont présentées d’une façon amusante et intéressante, il n’y a aucune limite aux découvertes passionnantes que peuvent faire les élèves. » Le Mois des jeunes scientifiques a été créé par Sciences jeunesse Canada en reconnaissance des découvertes intéressantes et novatrices effectuées par les jeunes dans le domaine des sciences. En Nouvelle-Écosse, le programme de sciences fait la promotion du côté pratique et intellectuel de l’apprentissage. Par l’entremise de la résolution de problèmes, de la recherche et de la prise de décisions, la science fait la promotion de la découverte et du plaisir. « Les élèves sont naturellement curieux, et la science leur donne l’occasion d’explorer leurs intérêts et de prendre des décisions sur des choses vraiment intéressantes et complexes, a dit Joyce Morrison, directrice de l’école élémentaire Greenfield à New Waterford. Si vous donnez aux élèves les bons outils et l’environnement d’apprentissage approprié, ils exploreront. » Des projets tels que Tomatosphère font la promotion de l’exploration et de l’apprentissage amusant. Tomatosphère est un projet de sensibilisation pédagogique qui fait découvrir l’espace et la nutrition à des milliers d’élèves du pays. À l’aide de semences de tomates qui ont voyagé de la Terre à la Station spatiale internationale pour ensuite revenir sur Terre, les élèves doivent découvrir des façons de fournir des aliments nutritifs aux équipes qui séjournent dans l’espace pendant de longues périodes. Des centaines d’élèves de la Nouvelle-Écosse ont participé avec grand succès au projet Tomatosphère. « La science n’est plus seulement la lecture et la recherche, mais inclut aussi les expériences et la pensée, a dit Marilyn Webster, consultante en sciences pour le ministère de l’Éducation. L’exploration et la recherche critique assurent la participation active des élèves à leur apprentissage, ce qui permet de produire des penseurs et des questionneurs. » Le programme « The Energy Around Us » enseigne la découverte par l’expérimentation. Cette initiative conjointe des ministères de l’Éducation et de l’Énergie incite les élèves de la 9e année à étudier d’autres sources d’énergie et à les comparer à l’énergie éolienne. Une série de ressources sera offerte à certaines classes de la province pour aider les élèves à mieux comprendre les enjeux liés au développement durable, y compris le lien entre l’énergie et le changement climatique. Les élèves devront également suggérer des solutions qui peuvent faire une différence dans leurs communautés en ce qui a trait à l’énergie renouvelable. Les élèves présenteront leurs conclusions lors d’une célébration en juin. En mars et en avril, les élèves pourront également mettre à profit leurs talents, leurs capacités et leur créativité lors d’une série d’expo-sciences régionales. Les expo-sciences inspirent les entrepreneurs et les scientifiques de demain en encourageant les programmes de sciences et l’apprentissage novateur. Pour obtenir plus d’information sur les expo-sciences régionales (en anglais seulement), consultez le site www.sciencefairinfo.ns.ca.
Nova Scotia businesses and families would pay less to enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable electricity from the Lower Churchill hydro project because of support promised today, March 31, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Prime Minister Harper announced a commitment to provide support for the project through a loan guarantee, or equivalent financial support, while speaking in St. John’s. “This is wonderful news,” said Premier Dexter. “I spoke to Mr. Harper this evening, and affirmed that this project is a win-win for all of us, that will change the economic landscape of this province and the region for generations to come. “The Lower Churchill project is a game changer for Atlantic Canada, and a major environmental and energy win for all of Canada.” Premier Dexter noted that all national party leaders have committed their support to the project. The deal to build the $6.2 billion Muskrat Falls portion of the Lower Churchill hydro-electricity project was announced Nov. 18 by Premier Dexter and then Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams, in conjunction with project partners Emera and Nalcor Energy. In exchange for a 20 per cent investment in the construction of the project, Nova Scotia will receive 20 per cent of the electricity generated over the next 35 years, accounting for 8-10 per cent of the province’s electricity needs once it starts flowing in 2017. “Building this project is building our nation,” said Premier Dexter. “No longer will Nova Scotia be at the end of the line as far as power is concerned. Rather we will be at the centre of an efficient loop connecting Newfoundland and Labrador to the Maritimes, New England and Quebec.” The electricity will travel to Nova Scotia by way of the Maritime Link, a $1.2 billion sub-sea cable between Newfoundland and Labrador and Cape Breton. In addition to transmission infrastructure upgrades within and between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the project will provide the opportunity for further energy integration and cooperation across the region. “We always said that this project was a go whether we got federal support or not, but this commitment means real dollars saved for the ratepayers that are going to be receiving the benefits of federal support, and a new source of clean, renewable energy,” said Premier Dexter.
Sir Richard Branson has blogged about his dyslexia, and how we should encourage children with dyslexia to reach their full potential.“Summer gets me reflecting on my childhood,” he wrote. “I was always on the lookout for new experiences. My parents encouraged me to be adventurous and to follow my passions, and let me learn from my mistakes when things didn’t go quite to plan.“It wasn’t easy. Few parents would have allowed their 16-year-old to drop out of school and start a business. But they did it because they recognised that I thrived when I could do new things and do them my way – and that’s still true today.”Video: Richard Branson talks to Made By Dyslexia“Sadly, this wasn’t the way I was taught at school. School systems spend a lot of time trying to improve the weaknesses of dyslexic children. They do everything they can to get them to learn what other children seem to grasp naturally, and to catch them up with endless tests.“Being taught to read, write and learn is very important – every dyslexic should get the right help to enable this – but we should spend as much effort encouraging dyslexic children to discover their strengths and potential.“Their unexpected view of the world, their wonderfully different ideas, their determination to chase their dream in the face of what’s commonly accepted and regarded as possible… this will make them uniquely brilliant at whatever they decide to do in life. Every dyslexic has talent.“This is the message of Made By Dyslexia’s moving new film, Baby.”Video: Why dyslexia is not a disadvantage“During your downtime this summer, watch how your kids or grandkids spend their time. What do they naturally love to do? What do they spend most of their time doing? What do they have a natural flair for? What do they know most about? This should give you a real insight as to where their passions and talents lie. This is a great exercise for adults too.“I’m grateful that my parents had faith in my abilities, despite my struggles at school. I urge all parents with dyslexic children to nurture their passions and talents… they will truly amaze you, I promise.“Find our more about dyslexia and to take the dyslexia thinking test here madebydyslexia.org.”Find the full blog here.
APTN National NewsWinnipeg-based comedian Ryan McMahon is getting noticed.The Ojibway-Metis comedian is in Montreal for one of the biggest shows of his life.APTN National News reporter Ossie Michelin caught up with him and brings us this story.
Rabat – The Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, and UN Women signed, Wednesday in Rabat, a partnership agreement to promote the institutionalization of the principles of gender equality in the public policy making process in Morocco.Launched by Minister of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, Bassima Hakkaoui, and representative of UN Women-Maghreb Leila Rhioui, the agreement aims to contribute to the implementation of the government strategy on equality, the strategy of the social division, and the strategy of UN-women/ Morocco in terms of gender equality.The agreement also provides for the institutionalization and the promotion of the principles of equality in the public policy making process in Morocco, through capacity building of the Ministry in terms of inter-sectoral coordination, improved access to information, and the acquisition of tools of detection, assessment and awareness raising. Under this agreement, the Ministry and the UN-Women will work together to support the Social Development Agency and the National Institute of Social Action in Tangier, in order to enhance coordination between the various stakeholders in this field in Morocco.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced it is expanding its food aid operation in Iraq to reach the country’s most vulnerable groups and to begin providing free school lunches to children. WFP Iraq Country Director Edward Kallon noted that the move marks a “significant transition” in the agency’s efforts to assist vulnerable Iraqis, which until now was focused on those who have moved around the country to escape civil strife and lost access to government food rations. “Now we are moving to address the needs of all the most vulnerable people in the country with problems of access to sufficient food,” he stated. WFP’s current Iraq operation began in January 2008 to supply some 750,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) with emergency food rations, as well as 362,000 displaced Iraqis in Syria.The programme will now be extended to the end of 2009, and will provide food aid to an additional 577,000 people in Iraq, including pregnant and nursing women, malnourished children, orphans, disabled people, female-headed households and small-scale farmers in 41 food-insecure districts in 14 governorates. The operation will now also include a new school feeding programme, under which WFP will pilot the provision of free school meals to some 170,000 primary schoolchildren in eight extremely food-insecure districts in Diala, Ninewa, Sulaymaniya and Wassit Governorates.WFP is appealing to donors for an additional $42.7 million – of which it has so far received $16 million – to fund the expanded operation. A food security analysis conducted last year by WFP and the Iraqi authorities found that an estimated 930,000 people were currently food insecure in Iraq, with a further 6.4 million at risk of becoming food insecure in the event of the failure of the Public Distribution System (PDS). Mr. Kallon said the expansion of the existing operation in Iraq would pave the way for a new two-year relief and recovery operation to start next year. 26 May 2009The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced it is expanding its food aid operation in Iraq to reach the country’s most vulnerable groups and to begin providing free school lunches to children.
The number of Canadian homes sold in March plunged 23 per cent and the national average price was down 10 per cent from the same month last year amid double-digit plunges in most housing markets across the country, according to the latest monthly sales data released Friday.The Canadian Real Estate Association said the level of sales activity marked a four-year low for the month of March and was seven per cent below the 10-year average. Still, national home sales were up from the previous month by 1.3 per cent, according to CREA’s latest statistics.The drop in home sales comes after several government policy measures were implemented to cool the country’s hot housing market. Last March, national home sales activity had reached an all-time record for that month, according to CREA.B.C. home prices continue to climb as sales plummet on ‘burdensome’ mortgage rulesWhat it was like to get caught in Toronto’s swift and brutal housing plungeCanadians warned to climb out of debt before it’s too late, as threat of cooling housing markets loomsRecent changes to mortgage regulations known as B-20 — which make it harder for homebuyers to qualify for uninsured mortgages — are fuelling demand for lower-priced homes, while shrinking the pool of qualified buyers for higher-priced homes, said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist.“Given their limited supply, the shift of demand into lower price segments is causing those sale prices to climb,” he said in a statement. “As a result, ‘affordably priced’ homes are becoming less affordable while mortgage financing for higher priced homes remains out of reach of many aspiring move-up home buyers.”Apartment units posted the largest year-on-year price gains in March, up 17.8 per cent, followed by townhouse/row units at 9.4 per cent. One-storey single family homes saw price gains in March of just 1.3 per cent, and two-storey single family home prices were down two per cent from a year ago.As of Jan. 1, homebuyers with a down payment larger than 20 per cent seeking a mortgage from a federally regulated lender are now subject to a financial stress test. These borrowers now have to prove that they can service their uninsured mortgage at a qualifying rate of the greater of the contractual mortgage rate plus two percentage point or the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada.The new policy reduces the maximum amount buyers will be able to borrow to buy a home. An existing stress test already requires those with insured mortgages to qualify at the Bank of Canada benchmark five-year mortgage rule.In turn, home sales activity was pulled forward to the end of 2017 as home buyers tried to lock in a mortgage before the new rules took effect.Sales in the first quarter slid to their lowest quarterly level since the first three months of 2014.Overall, the national average price for all types of residential property slipped to about $491,000, down 10.4 per cent from March of last year — with the Vancouver and Toronto markets causing most of the drag.Excluding Canada’s two most expensive real estate markets, the national average price would be $383,000 — a decline of two per cent from March 2017.March marked the third consecutive double-digit decline compared with the comparable month last year, when prices in the Greater Toronto Area soared to record highs.CREA said activity was below year-ago levels in more than 80 per cent of all local markets, in all major urban centres except for Montreal and Ottawa, with the vast majority of year-over-year declines well into double digits.Markets are likely to remain under pressure from the recent B-20 regulations, higher mortgage rates, and provincial regulations in some regions, TD’s senior economist Michael Dolega said in a research note.“However, lower-priced markets where affordability is good should generally outperform in the current environment.”
Automotive innovators across the UK have just two weeks to finalise submissions for SMMT’s Award for Automotive Innovation 2012 that closes for new entries on 3 September 2012.Sponsored by GKN Driveline and supported by The Times, the Award is the Society’s stand-alone award that recognises innovations within UK automotive manufacturing, design and engineering, acknowledging ideas that have already benefitted, or have the potential to deliver, automotive excellence.“This Award recognises the exceptional strength of UK automotive innovation, design and engineering. We hope that by celebrating success and showcasing talent we can help fast track new ideas and business opportunities,” said SMMT Chief Executive, Paul Everitt. “There is no doubting the high calibre of automotive talent out there; the Award for Automotive Innovation 2012 calls for cutting-edge entries which demonstrate technical strength and ingenuity from across the UK sector.”A panel of leading industry experts, which includes Dave Salt, GKN Driveline Chief Engineer; Robert Lea, Industrial Editor, The Times; Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive; Ian Downing, Director Business Growth Fund and Robert Llewellyn, broadcaster and automotive enthusiast, will judge this year’s Award, following presentations from the shortlisted entrants.Last year’s Award was presented to Jaguar Land Rover for its Range_e, a premium SUV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle delivering impressive fuel economy and considerable reductions in tailpipe emissions, while Gordon Murray Design scooped the 2010 Award for the iStream manufacturing process.Shortlisted entries receive industry recognition within one of the UK’s most diverse and exciting industries and the winner will be presented with the Award at SMMT’s 96th Annual Dinner on 27 November 2012 at Grosvenor House, Park Lane, in front of more than 1,000 senior industry executives.SMMT’s Award for Automotive Innovation 2012 is free to enter and for more information about the Award, entry criteria and last year’s winner, click here.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, honoring the 67th anniversary of Robinson eradicating baseball’s color barrier. The eponymous event, which fills baseball fields with the spectacle of countless players sporting No. 42, is a great reminder of Robinson’s legacy. It’s also a prime occasion to remind people that — despite his legendary small-ball artistry — yes, sabermetrics thinks he was an awe-inspiring ballplayer, too.The topic recalls a great Rob Neyer post from more than a decade ago. Writing during the height of baseball’s culture wars (“Moneyball” had been published a month earlier), Neyer attacked the notion that sabermetrics wouldn’t have appreciated the skills of Robinson and other speedy African-American players (such as Rickey Henderson, whose playing style and tremendous value made him, in many ways, Robinson’s spiritual descendant).“You can accuse Bill James and sabermetrics of many things, but you cannot accuse them of not appreciating Jackie Robinson and Rickey Henderson,” Neyer wrote. “Those two brilliant players — not to mention Joe Morgan and Willie Mays and Cool Papa Bell and Barry Bonds, and hey let’s not forget Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson and Tony Gwynn and Eddie Murray — could play for any general manager.“If you think that sabermetrics doesn’t have a place for them,” he continued, “then you don’t understand sabermetrics. Because there’s not yet been a sabermetrician born who wouldn’t drool at the thought of Rickey Henderson and Jackie Robinson at the top of his imaginary lineup.”Yes, Robinson ranks just 108th all-time among position players in lifetime wins above replacement. But that’s a function of the late start he got to his career (he was a rookie at age 28) and his relatively short playing stint. Robinson was the National League’s seventh-best position player by WAR in 1948, his second season, then led the senior circuit in the statistic in 1949, 1951 and 1952, while also finishing second in 1950 and fifth in 1953.By 1954, Robinson was 36 and his quickness was on the wane (that year he posted a career-low speed score of 4.6, the only time he was ever below the league average of 5.0). He would retire after two more seasons. But that 1948-53 peak was as good as anybody’s ever been. Literally. Only four position players in MLB history — Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Lou Gehrig — had more WAR between the ages of 29 and 34. Numbers like that are why, despite Robinson’s short career, James ranked Robinson as the fourth-best second baseman ever in “New Historical Baseball Abstract.”So much for sabermetrics underappreciating Robinson’s skills.WAR can measure Robinson’s terrifying impact on the basepaths (he generated 31 more runs than an average player). WAR also takes into account his defensive value — total zone data estimates that Robinson saved 81 more runs than an average defender (primarily at second base, but with a little third base, first base and outfield mixed in). According to defensive WAR, Robinson saved the Brooklyn Dodgers 10 wins with his defense, combining his contributions relative to position and the importance of those positions in the overall structure of the defense.Most importantly, though, WAR accounts for the fact that Robinson was 261 runs better than average with his bat. Because of the highlight-reel baserunning plays, people often forget that Robinson was also an incredible hitter. He topped a .295 batting average eight times, winning the NL batting crown in 1949 with a .342 average. He also had the majors’ seventh-highest on-base percentage during the course of his career (1947-56), drawing a walk on 12.8 percent of his plate appearances in addition to his outstanding ability to hit for average. And his isolated power was 19 points better than the league average, so Robinson had some pop (even if his slugging percentage was driven in part by 54 career triples).In sum, Robinson was an all-around sabermetric star. There isn’t an area of the game where the advanced stats don’t consider him very good, if not one of the best ever. The notion that somehow Robinson has lost his luster as we learn more about what makes for winning baseball couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, sabermetric stats help us appreciate Robinson’s greatness even more.
The heat has prompted Public Health England to urge people to take extra care during the hot days and warm nights.Dr Thom Waite, public health medicine consultant, said: “Now the heatwave has arrived, people will likely be out and about more enjoying the summer sun.”That’s why it’s really important to remember that there are some people whose health suffers in hot weather.”Older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children may all feel the ill-effects of heat over the coming days.”We’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at-risk this summer. If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any help.”Dr Waite said the hot weather can “put extra strain on bodies” and urged people to “stay hydrated” during the hot spell. Good Morning. Mostly dry with sunny spells. Hot in the southeast. https://t.co/a70feA0Qeq ^Rebecca pic.twitter.com/nFX2mrhN1Y— Met Office (@metoffice) 24 August 2016 A boy jumps into the River Thames at Henley as temperatures soarCredit:Carl Court/Getty Top PHE tips to keep cool include closing curtains, keeping out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, wearing loose fitting cotton clothes and applying suncream.As well as looking out for others during the heatwave, the body advised to not leave anyone or animals in a closed, parked vehicle. The heat prompted health experts to urge people to take extra care, with temperatures tipped to rise even further after highs of 31C on Tuesday caused by “warm air pushing up from the continent”.While the heatwave conditions are not set to last beyond Thursday morning, the Bank Holiday weekend is unlikely to be a washout.Forecasters at the Meteogroup said Friday will be largely dry for most areas, with plenty of sunshine and it will stay “fairly warm” in the south east. Britons have been urged to take extra care in the rising temperatures as a two-day heatwave causes large parts of the country to sizzle.With the mercury expected to hit up to 32C (89.6F) on Wednesday, Public Health England has warned the most vulnerable – including older people, young children and babies – could be at risk.The Met Office has issued a level three heatwave action alert for eastern England, London and the south east – triggered when threshold temperatures have been reached for one day and the night. Met Office meteorologist Emma Sharples said the temperatures on Wednesday are expected to be the highest in East Anglia and down to London.On Tuesday, temperatures hit 29.7C (85.5F) in St James Park and 30C in Gravesend, Kent. The Met Office said the highest temperature of 31C (87.8F) was recorded in Cambridge.Ms Sharples said humid nights can also be expected – with London and the South East unlikely to drop below 20C (68F) on Wednesday.”Parts of northern and central England, Wales – will be a lot cloudier, and as a result a bit cooler with temperatures in the low 20s on Wednesday,” she added.”Whereas East Anglia and the south east again look like having a largely sunny day and quite warm again so we will be looking at similar temperatures.” A man paddles on a surfboard at Henley-on-ThamesCredit:Carl Court/Getty The alert means there is a 90 per cent chance the maximum threshold temperature for the region – 30C (86F) in the east, 32C (89.6F) for London and 31C (87.8F) for the south east – will also be met on Wednesday.A level two alert has been issued for the East Midlands – meaning there is a 60 per cent chance the maximum threshold temperature of 30C (86F) could be met. However, scattered showers are likely in north west Scotland. On Saturday, showery, heavy rain is expected in north Wales, Northern Ireland and northern England that will spread into Scotland. The Meteogroup said it will be mostly dry elsewhere, before turning “very warm” in the south once more. Sunseekers take it easy on the coast at Llandudno in WalesCredit:Christopher Furlong/Getty Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Asian hornet identified in Gloucestershire. Species poses no greater human health risk than native bees https://t.co/amWBM1qSmM pic.twitter.com/OMxhff5vPJ— Defra UK (@DefraGovUK) September 20, 2016 She said: “The hornets hover outside the entrance to the bee hives and as the bees fly out, they kill them by biting off their heads. When enough bees are dead they invade through the entrance of the hive and take the honey. They also eat the baby larvae of the bees too.”Paul Hetherington, the director of communications for Buglife, told The Telegraph the arrival of the Asian hornet was “a huge concern because our native bees are already under a huge amount of stress and threat – so for some rarer species, this could push them over the tipping point”.He added: “With our bees already in crisis, we could really do without further threats to them.”Experts working in the Tetbury area have refused to disclose exactly where the Asian hornet was found, for fear of members of the public getting in the way of bee unit inspectors.A spokesman for the National Bee Unit said: “We don’t want to say where it was found to ensure that staff can carry out investigation work without disruption. Asian hornets arrived in France in 2004 and are now common across large areas of EuropeCredit: AFP/Getty Images Specialist hornet squads equipped with infra-red cameras and special pesticides have also been sent to the area.Bee keepers at the Highgrove estate said yesterday (TUE) they would be on high alert for the hornets after confirming the Prince of Wales’ hives fell within the zone.A spokeswoman for Clarence House said staff at the Highgrove estate – which makes its own runny honey – would take part in the bee unit’s inspection.She added: “The Highgrove estate is within the surveillance zone for Asian hornets, and so will be subject to the same inspection as anywhere else in the zone.”She said none had yet been found on the estate.Produced on the Prince of Wales’ Duchy Home Farm, the £5.50 Highgrove honey is described as having “an exquisite floral flavour” and is made by bees that forage pollen from hedgerows and orchards on the estate and the surrounding countryside.The hornet found in Tetbury is currently undergoing DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK. Asian hornets pose no greater risk to human health than beesCredit: Jean Haxaire/Defra/PA Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) are now common across Europe after being accidentally introduced to France in 2004 in a shipment of pottery from China.In the summer, the non-native species was discovered in the Channel Islands of Jersey and Alderney for the first time.Though it is believed the species will not be able to survive in the north of the UK due to colder winters.While Asian hornets pose a risk to people with severe allergic reactions and have already resulted in six deaths in France, a spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the insect’s sting pose no more risk than a British bee.Nicola Spence, Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health at Defra, said: “We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.“It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.“We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.”Diane Roberts, the press officer for the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA) said the hornets were carnivores but, like wasps, are attracted to sweet things too. Prince Charles’ beloved bee collection is under threat after a foreign species of hornet was spotted a few miles away from his private estate.The predatory Asian hornet – which attacks bees by decapitating them – was found by a member of public in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire on Saturday.A National Bee Unit inspector was dispatched to collect the dead hornet and take it away for further testing where it was confirmed as the first ever UK sighting.The “voracious predator”, which hunts and kills bees, could drive many native British bees to extinctions, experts have said.In efforts to combat the spread of the invasive hornet, a three-mile surveillance zone has now been set up and work is underway to identify and destroy any nests. “They will obviously walk around but they will also be using traps.“It is too early to say the threat that they could have to biodiversity. Their key threat is to the honey bee.”The sighting of the Asian hornet comes as reports suggest Britain’s bee population has fallen by a third since 2007.There are now just 25 native species of honey bee in the UK and numbers may be as low as 50,000 at the height of summer.The sudden drop in honeybee numbers had been blamed on a combination of intensive farming methods that use more pesticides and disease.Identifying an Asian hornetVespa velutina queens are up to 3cm (1.2in) in length; workers up to 2.5cm (1in)Entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow bandOnly one band on the abdomen: fourth abdominal segment almost entirely yellow/orangeLegs brown with yellow endsHead is black with an orange-yellow faceThey are active mostly between April and NovemberThey only fly during daytime hours, unlike the European species. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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ENGAGE THOSE BRAINS, folks: we have a teasing question for you.Each morning this week, we are setting you a (not too) tough riddle to get the cogs whirring and test your mathematical mettle.If this prospect fills you with either a. joy, or b. dread, the mathsweek.ie site is worth a look – with events for maths fans and for those who might feel the need to brush up on their numeracy skills. The events are running from now until Sunday.Thursday’s puzzle:In a competition with cash prizes the second place is to get half the amount that first place gets. Third place will get a third and fourth place is to get a quarter. To ensure that fourth place gets €1,500 how much prize money is needed overall?All answers will be revealed on Friday afternoon on TheJournal.ie.Monday’s puzzle>Tuesday’s puzzle>Wednesday’s puzzle>‘Fear of maths’ affecting careers and the economy>
DO YOU WANT the good news or the bad news, Leinster fans?Brian O’Driscoll has been named in the province’s starting XV for tomorrow evening RaboDirect Pro12 final against Ulster.Sean O’Brian has lost his race to be fit for the RDS showdown however. The Tullow native sustained a knee injury in the Amlin Challenge final win over Stade Francais last week. Shane Jennings starts at 7 in his stead.As well as bidding a fond farewell to new Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, the RDS crowd will also get the chance to say goodbye to Paris-bound Jonny Sexton and the retiring Ica Nacewa.Ulster too have also named their side for the much-anticipated end to the rugby season. Fit-again John Afoa starting at tighthead is the only change to the XV that defeated the Scarlets a fortnight ago.“It’s great to be able to welcome John back into the starting line-up,” says Ulster head coach, Mark Anscombe. “John and players like Ruan (Pienaar) and Johann (Muller) have been part of World Cup winning squads. When the big moments come, they are cool heads under pressure and you can’t put a price on that. When you put them together with our Ireland internationals and our excellent young players like Stuart Olding then you have a great mix.”Leinster XV: R Kearney, F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, I Madigan, I Nacewa, J Sexton, I Boss, C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, L Cullen (capt), D Toner, K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Heaslip.Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, J Hagan, Q Roux, R Ruddock, J Cooney, A Goodman, A Conway.Ulster XV: J Payne, A Trimble, D Cave, S Olding, T Bowe, P Jackson, R Pienaar; T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (capt), D Tuohy, R Diack, C Henry, N Williams.Replacements: R Herring, C Black, D Fitzpatrick, I Henderson, M McComish, P Marshall, M Allen, P Nelson.Dortmund land in London, claim deckchair outside Buckingham Palace