Following the weekend’s training camp in Sydney, Australian Women’s Open squad member, Jessica McCall tells us about how the camp went and the squad’s excitement in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup. I always get excited when it comes to an Australian Touch Camp because although we all live pretty far apart, when we come together it feels like we see each other every week. Although when everyone arrived, we hadn’t seen each other since we were playing against each other at State of Origin a few months ago so we had the usual catch up with everyone while preparing for the start of the camp. While Belly, Phil, Swingers and Marto got the formalities out of the way about what to expect in the next six months, we had a few fresh faces that have been included into the squad which is always great to see. Hannah, Laura, Tamika and Sammy were included into the Women’s squad after an amazing year of Touch from all four of them. Belly also had asked three Under 18’s Australian reps to train with us which gave them in insight into the Australian Open’s Team and hopefully where they’ll end up in next couple of years.While we all knew that we had a fitness test before the camp, everyone was a bit on edge, especially me, as we all knew Belly likes our team to be physically fit as he likes a running game. While there were a few nervous faces and a few panic attacks, the test got under way. We ran for eight minutes, had an eight minute break and then ran for eight minutes again. While it doesn’t sound like much, the test is quite physically demanding and even more mentally demanding. Luckily I had Hannah Dyball helping me every step along the way but the whole team really put in a massive effort which I think comes down to our attitude to retaining the World Cup. With fitness out of the way, Belly decided to put us into two teams: Cows and Ducks. The Ducks were practically any squad member under 20 years of age versus the Cows which we classified as the older but more experienced. Although the Cows didn’t possess the youthfulness or the speed of the Ducks, the Cows had experience and experience won us the first challenge of line attack. The young ones were punished by Phil with V-sit holds and the young ones were determined to get back at us. Dummy-half running was next on the agenda and my team, the Cows thought it would be a good idea to give the Ducks some confidence and let them win this challenge, although this punishment would happen after our 20 metre Touch game. 20 metre Touch is a variation of Beach Touch and the Old Cows were once again winners so we ended up doing the punishment which was planks. The day was over after Ice Baths and everyone is a little sore and sorry but a very successful first day.We arrived on Sunday quite early and as everyone is booting up, Laura Peattie realises she forgot her boots. So lucky a Touch friend lived close by and her dad Ray Ray drove her boots out to her. The morning session revolved around driving patterns and yet again another challenge occurred with the experienced Cows winning again and the young Duckies had to army crawl the whole length of the field. This was one challenge us Cows knew we had to win as we probably wouldn’t be able to stand up if we had to do this punishment.We then had a proper game against the West’s Division One Men’s team which really showed us how far we’ve come in the space of two days. Our driving, talk and defence was amazing and the commitment shown by every player was world class. When the game finished we all knew we that we had something special within this squad and every player could pull on the Green and Gold jersey without any hesitation. If only we were allowed to take 20 players to the World Cup as I believe everyone deserved a spot to take the field in the World Cup.Our whole team would like to thank Belly, Swingers and Phil for such an organised camp and we all know the direction in which the Australian Women’s Open team is headed in. To Marto, thanks for being our Touch mum while at camp and knowing what we are going through really helps us more than you know. To TFA, thank you for your time and for organising a great camp for the entire Open squads. Related LinksAussie Camp Diary
WASHINGTON – U.S. builders broke ground on fewer apartment buildings last month, pushing overall home construction down 3.7 per cent from March.The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.29 million in April, lowest since December. Apartment construction tumbled 12.6 per cent to 374,000. Construction of single-family homes blipped up 0.1 per cent to 894,000.Still, housing starts are up 10.5 per cent from April 2017 on a 7.2 per cent increase in single-family homes, and a 19.1 per cent surge in apartments.Home construction has grown steadily since the housing crash hit bottom in 2012. The pace of homebuilding is still below its long-run average of about 1.5 million a year, which has led to a shortage of homes on the market. Home builders are struggling with higher prices for lumber and other building materials and a shortage of skilled labourers.A healthy job market is giving Americans the confidence to shop for houses. Millennials are increasingly moving out on their own to buy their own homesDemand for housing is strong despite an uptick in mortgage rates: The rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate home loan is 4.55 per cent, up from 4.05 per cent a year ago.“We expect housing starts to continue to gain ground through 2018, supported by positive fundamentals such as low unemployment and healthy wage increases, which are expected to offset higher mortgage rates,” Leslie Preston, senior economist at TD Economics, wrote in a research note. “At the same time, tight inventories and rising prices will continue to support homebuilding.”In April, housing starts fell 16.3 per cent in the Midwest, 12 per cent in the West and 8.1 per cent in the Northeast. They rose 6.4 per cent in the South.Building permits, an indicator of future construction, fell 1.8 per cent in April to a seasonally adjusted 1.35 million.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Traffic-weary baseball fans could someday travel to and from Dodger Stadium on a public transportation system underneath Los Angeles — if Elon Musk’s latest bold plan comes to fruition.The billionaire’s Boring Company tweeted a proposal Wednesday for autonomous, zero-emissions electric sleds that would run through a tunnel between the stadium and a location in the city’s Hollywood area.The company says the so-called Dugout Loop system would be privately funded and not require tax money.Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted that it’s exciting to see innovative ideas aimed at reducing traffic on LA roads.A proposal to build a gondola from Union Station to Dodger Stadium was announced in April.Musk is currently building a test tunnel from his SpaceX rocket plant to a point near Los Angeles International Airport.
New Delhi: India’s northern and eastern states saw a rapid decline in usable groundwater between 2005 and 2013, raising an impending risk of severe droughts, food crisis, and drinking water scarcity for millions of people, researchers have found.A team from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur, West Bengal and Athabasca University, Canada, compiled the first estimates of usable groundwater storage (UGWS) at the state-level across all of India using both in situ and satellite-based measurements. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Groundwater-level data was used from 3,907 in situ monitoring wells across the country and the total UGWS was estimated between 2005 and 2013. The estimate shows rapid depletion of UGWS in Assam, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. In these areas, increases in agricultural food productions have resulted at the cost of non-renewable loss in groundwater volume at an alarming rate, the researchers wrote in the study published in the journal Advances in Water Resources. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOn the other hand, southern and western Indian states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chattisgarh show replenishing usable groundwater storage trends. Earlier works by the government agencies have only been able to estimate the total groundwater, only a part of which is usable for human purposes, said lead researcher Abhijit Mukherjee, Associate Professor Hydrogeology, Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur. “The estimates show rapid depletion of usable groundwater storage during 2005-2013 in most of northern parts, losing 8.5 cubic kilometre per year (km3/year) of total groundwater, and eastern parts which lost 5 km3/year of total groundwater,” Mukherjee told PTI. He emphasised that more than 85 per cent of the groundwater usage in India is linked with irrigation abstraction practices. India is the largest user of groundwater in the world. It uses an estimated 230 km3 of groundwater per year — over a quarter of the global total. Groundwater being an essential natural resource for irrigational water supply during non-monsoonal months, large-scale depletion could have unforeseen consequences in future food security, said Mukherjee. “Underground water is definitely declining in Rajasthan at faster rate. There are pockets in UP which have seen a dip in groundwater table as well,” agreed Dr N C Ghosh, former Head of Hydrology, National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee, who was not involved in the study. The problem, Ghosh said, is compounded by over-exploitation of the ground water. “About 85 per cent of rural drinking water needs and 65 per cent of irrigation needs and 50 per cent of urban drinking water and industrial needs are fulfilled from the ground water,” he said. Mukherjee noted that rapid depletion in UGWS would accelerate the decline in food production and availability of drinking water, two of the prime goals of achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030. “More than 120 million people would get affected only in the Gangetic states,” he said. The study combined borehole data from Central Ground Water Board, rainfall data and satellite data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), a pair of satellites launched in 2002. A northeastern state like Assam, which was regarded always as water-affluent, has lost two per cent of its usable groundwater resource, and is at the brink of suffering drought and famine in impending years, said researchers, including first author Soumendra N Bhanja from Department of Geology and Geophysics, IIT Kharagpur. PTI
Washington: Scientists have developed an electronic tongue that can ‘taste’ spicy foods more accurately than humans. Spicy food wears out taste buds quickly. This can be a problem for people who make and sell spicy food. “At low concentrations, or low spiciness, it’s hard to discriminate between two samples,” said Courtney Schlossareck, a graduate student at Washington State University in the US. “It’s also hard to tell a difference between two samples at high concentrations,” said Schlossareck. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportThe e-tongue’s ability to differentiate between the spiciness of foods could come in handy for industry, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science. A problem with testing spicy foods is that people can only test a few samples before their taste buds give out. After a few bites, taste buds can not distinguish differences in taste at all. However, the e-tongue can handle as much heat as any scientist can throw at it and maintain accuracy. “This would allow testers to narrow a selection down to two or three samples for a human tasting panel if they start from 20 different formulations,” Schlossareck said. “That would take days to do with people tasting them,” she said. That is because real people need to wait at least five minutes between samples. Even then, only a few samples can be tested because the spiciness lingers and can throw off results, she said.
SA2008-1115Kawhi Leonard17.027.4 DET1994-973Grant Hill18.126.3 Despite those odds, plenty of teams manage to look smart in the draft every year. The Warriors themselves had a terrific series of drafts between 2009 and 2012, when they picked up Green, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in rapid succession. That group generated about 25 more points of VORP than they should have based on where they were picked, giving Golden State one of the shrewdest four-year stretches of drafts in the lottery era: DET1985-8827Dennis Rodman12.828.6 NO2002-054Chris Paul24.728.4 CLE1985-887Kevin Johnson12.934.7 Early in the draft, the curve is steep. The average No. 2 pick is worth only about 80 percent as many VORP in his first five seasons as the average No. 1, and players only get less valuable from there. Each additional pick produces a lot less than the slot before, emphasizing how costly every random tumble in the lottery can be.But let’s say our theoretical team gets its hands on a collection of valuable draft picks. What are the odds that it will take the right player at each slot? According to my research, there’s about a 70 percent chance that a team won’t take the best player available with any given pick at or near the top of the draft. Of course, the haul is still usually decent even if a team doesn’t nail its pick perfectly — but at the same time, “decent” doesn’t really help build a Warriors-killer.VIDEO: Why the No. 1 pick is such a valuable crapshoot Only at the most extreme edge of young talent, where the sample of historical examples is limited, do we see the potential upside usually associated with a group of highly drafted prospects playing together. (Think of the 2009-10 Oklahoma City Thunder, one of the greatest collections of pure talent ever assembled, coalescing into an NBA finalist within a few seasons.) Short of that, it’s tough to improve more than normal reversion to the mean would predict by simply stocking up on a bunch of kids with raw draft pedigree. Future stardom is unpredictable (again, see teams’ lack of consistency in getting better-than-average return on picks), and young players in particular tend to amplify one another’s flaws when playing together.But if our hypothetical Warriors-killer does manage to survive the lottery, make the right picks in the draft, get those prospects on the court together and then max out their potential, the model predicts the upper bound for its eventual peak Elo would be 1762. That’s roughly where the Warriors will be starting from next season (after reverting their final 2016-17 rating to the mean), and it’s also roughly the same Elo carried at season’s end by the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers — not coincidentally, the last team to unseat the Warriors in the playoffs.A lot has to go right to get to that point, and most teams who travel down that path will fall short. But the Warriors will also feel the tug of parity soon — however gently — and at the same time, some team will eventually clear all the hurdles and build the challenger to Golden State’s throne. There’s a decent chance that journey starts in Brooklyn tonight, at the draft. * Value Over Replacement Player. Based on draftees’ first five NBA seasons, versus the average expected VORP for the slot where each player was picked. Players who were traded at the draft are assigned to the team that acquired them.Source: Basketball-Reference.com LAL1993-9610Eddie Jones14.027.8 In the age of superteams and super-duper teams,1Whether today’s stars want to admit such things exist or not. the Golden State Warriors built the ultimate doomsday machine when they added Kevin Durant in free agency last summer. Winning a championship this year seemed — and ultimately was — inevitable. But before KD put pen to paper, Golden State had captured one title and set the all-time wins record. And it was done with a roster largely built through the draft. The Warriors were the poster children for how to build a team through savvy scouting and player development, not reckless spending.Likewise, we can make a pretty good guess that the team that one day unseats Golden State will not be a creaky monument to Russian oligarchy, but rather more organic. So on draft day, let’s imagine how a team might build through the draft, stockpiling young talent and maxing out their collective potential. Could such a team rise to the Warriors’ level? Maybe. But everything would have to go right for our team, from lucking out in the lottery to nailing its picks and then developing them into stars. In other words, to beat the Warriors, you have to do what the Warriors did.First things first: It isn’t easy to jam-pack a roster with a bunch of promising young players. Even an aggressive tanking effort like Sam Hinkie’s “Process” in Philadelphia can’t guarantee that the lottery balls will fall the way they’re expected to. Indeed, the Sixers under Hinkie suffered below-average lottery luck. Meanwhile, other teams can always swoop in and snag the top pick (think the Cavaliers). Although Philly still managed to draft some high picks over the years — including, finally, a No. 1 choice in Ben Simmons last year — it didn’t get as much out of the draft as its fans might have expected when the Process began.And because the value of a pick diminishes so rapidly from No. 1 down, any unfavorable bounce in the lottery could derail our imaginary rebuild before it begins. Here’s the expected value for each pick slot — as measured by players’ Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) over the course of their first five NBA seasons — since the lottery era began in 1985: BEST PICK TOR1997-009Tracy McGrady13.526.1 And this methodology probably underrates the drafting job done by former Warriors general manager Larry Riley — and his replacement, Bob Myers, who made the team’s best pick when he drafted Draymond Green 35th overall in 2012 — since it looks at only the first five seasons of a player’s career. Curry, for instance, didn’t reach his full game-breaking potential until his sixth season in the league.But just as studies have found in other sports (most notably the NFL), there isn’t much consistent skill to making better-than-average picks in the NBA draft. The correlation between a team’s per-pick return on investment2As measured by VORP over expectation for each draft slot. in one three-year period and the next is only 0.014 — a practically nonexistent relationship.3I used three years because that’s about half the reasonable lifespan of an NBA GM gig. Even the Warriors picked big-man bust Ekpe Udoh sixth overall in between the first rounds in which they snapped up Curry and Thompson.With all these factors stacked against teams built around touted draft picks, it’s no wonder they have a spotty record of converting potential to results. Using the same method of evaluating talent bases as my colleague Kyle Wagner and I created for this story about the Minnesota Timberwolves, I measured how many highly drafted young players each team4Going back to the start of the NBA’s modern expansion wave in 1988-89. had on its roster at the same time. I then built a model using that data to predict how a team might fare over the next five seasons based on its young talent. For most teams in recent history, it’s tough to see much of a relationship between young talent and how much the team’s Elo rating5Essentially, FiveThirtyEight’s way of measuring how well a team is playing. improved, above and beyond what we’d simply expect from ordinary reversion to the mean.To show this, let’s give our team a starting Elo of 1400, basically where the Warriors themselves were after the 2011-12 season. Here’s what that model would predict its peak Elo to be over the next five seasons, depending on how much young talent it currently has: CLE2002-051LeBron James27.429.5 TEAMDRAFTSPICKPLAYERVORP* OVER EXPECTEDTOTAL VORP OVER EXPECTED The best four-year draft runs, by Value Over Replacement Player, 1985-2016 SEA1986-8917Shawn Kemp11.825.9 GS2009-1235Draymond Green15.824.8
Entering its game against Minnesota, the Ohio State women’s soccer team had high hopes for its season-opening run. Those high hopes were shattered on one serious play during the seventh minute, when redshirt senior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker tried to make a save.McVicker collided with a Minnesota player, and sustained fractured ribs, a punctured lung and a lacerated kidney. She was quickly removed from the field and taken to a Minnesota hospital,where she remained in intensive care for two days before being downgraded to standard care.“Ohio State senior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker is being held at a Minneapolis hospital through the end of the week for further treatment and testing after suffering an injury Sunday at Minnesota,” the athletic department said in a statement from an OSU spokesperson on Friday.McVicker has appeared in over 50 matches for the Buckeyes since joining the team in 2012. McVicker is a former assistant sports director for Lantern TV and also reported for The Lantern during the 2016 Spring Semester.After being released from the hospital on Saturday afternoon, she and her family drove back to Columbus, stopping in Chicago along the way before arriving back at OSU on Monday.Although not the first time the Metuchen, New Jersey, native has sustained an injury, this time, was different from the rest.OSU senior goaltender Jillian McVicker flexes as she recovers in her hospital bed in Minnesota. Credit: Courtesy of Jillian McVicker“I knew that it definitely wasn’t my muscle or anything. I just came out, I knew there was going to be a collision but I just had to get the ball,” McVicker said. “When I came out, I thought I had the wind knocked out of me at first, and then I couldn’t breathe for like a minute.”According to McVicker, her doctor said this type of injury is most common after being involved in a car crash, not with a sport like soccer.The injury has effectively ended the OSU career of McVicker, with a little over a month left in the regular season. Although her time as a Buckeye athlete has been cut short, she has still maintained a positive attitude and high spirits. “All the adversity I have faced, whether it be from injury or typical adversity that every athlete goes through, you just have to keep your head up and keep your mind on the process,” McVicker said. “Take it day-by-day and step-by-step. Which is actually very ironic because that’s exactly what I’m doing in my rehab right now.”As part of the healing process, McVicker can only lift things under 10 pounds, while limiting the amount of overall movement she has throughout the day.On social media, McVicker has received an outpouring of support from family, friends, teammates, players from other teams and, most notably, former United States Women’s National Team midfielder Julie Foudy. McVicker, a four-time OSU scholar-athlete and three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, has appeared in over 60 matches during her career with the Buckeyes. She is a double major in strategic communications and journalism, and will be graduating this December.After graduation and her injuries have fully healed, McVicker has intentions to continue her playing career outside of OSU.“I definitely want to graduate and want to look at playing overseas in Germany professionally or in America,” McVicker said. “I’m going to probably try to get an agent and figure that out once I graduate. It’s definitely not the last time I’m going to put on my keeper gloves and my jersey again.”Although she will no longer be lacing up her cleats for the Scarlet and Gray, McVicker said she will be embracing her new role of cheering her team on. Without the redshirt senior in the net, the Buckeyes will now be looking to the sideline when when she returns. From here on out, the focus of McVicker is to rally the troops to continue the team’s success. “Although this injury happened to me, my main thing for this season is for my team to be successful,” McVicker said. “Yes, this is horrible and I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone. But at the same time, all of my energy and everything when I get back is to prepare my the team the best I can in my new role.”
Men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson has more than 600 wins and one national title in his 30 years with the Buckeyes.Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsAs his players shook hands following a sweep of IPFW on Friday, Ohio State men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson had claimed the 603rd win of his career.Hanson, who has coached the Buckeyes for 30 years, holds a career record of 603-324. Hanson and the No. 11 Buckeyes have passed several milestones this season, including the program’s 1,000th overall win and its 500th victory at St. John Arena. Hanson’s OSU career spans 18 20-plus win seasons, 10 national semifinal appearances, a runner-up finish and one national championship.Before beginning his illustrious coaching career, Hanson played volleyball at the collegiate level at Kellogg Community College in Michigan then spent his last two years at Ball State University, up until 1979. Upon graduation, Hanson took his first position as an assistant coach for Ball State men’s volleyball team.He then spent time as a women’s assistant and head coach with Wyoming before joining the Buckeyes’ men’s program in 1985.“I just felt like it would be a great way to give back and to help continue to grow men’s volleyball, and so it kind of led me here and I have been here for 30 years,” Hanson said.Hanson said he thinks the most passionate aspect of his job is watching young players succeed.“The thing that keeps me coming in every day and keeps me looking forward to next year is to bring in a young man and to convince him that Ohio State would be a great place for him to go to school, to get his education, to play volleyball, and then to help him through that journey,” Hanson said. “At the end of the day when they walk out of here with a degree in hand, and maybe they’ve already got a job lined up, that’s the really cool part. To think that myself, my two coaches and Ohio State had a part in that is a really, really neat feeling.”While the Buckeyes finished last season with a losing record for the first time since 1992, Hanson’s squad has started fresh in 2015 with an 11-3 overall record and a 5-1 mark in conference play.The ultimate goal he sets for his team is the same on the yearly basis: winning the national championship.“I think the long-term goal is to try to do the necessary things that are going to allow our team to compete for an elite championship and hopefully a national championship,” Hanson said. “Even though we’ve got this goal and 99.9 percent of the time we’re not going to reach it, it certainly is a goal worth having.”Hanson learned what it takes to make a championship run before he even joined the Division I volleyball ranks.“My senior year (at Ball State) we won the MIVA championship and qualified to go to the NCAA national championships,” Hanson said. “Just having successes along the way which is what we’re trying to do here with our guys, I was able to experience that and those are memories that I’ll have for a lifetime.”As he hunts for a second title as a coach, Hanson said he is grateful for his wife and two sons, ages 20 and 18, who have been supportive of his career.“There are times when you miss some of the kids’ activities and you’re not there at all the right times that you’d like to be,” Hanson said. “I think the big thing was that my wife and the two boys understood and they dealt with it as positively as they could.”Off of the court, Hanson enjoys playing golf in addition to spending time on the water.“Here in the past five to seven years, I’ve become really enamored with fly fishing,” Hanson said. “For the last six or seven summers, my wife and I go to Wyoming to visit one of her brothers, and he got me turned onto fly fishing in the backcountry. It is just the most relaxing and just a time that I can’t put a price on.”Hanson will have to put his next fishing trip on hold as the Buckeyes get set to take on Grand Canyon on Saturday and Sunday in Phoenix.
Bayer Leverkusen has sold goalkeeper Bernd Leno to Arsenal for around €19 million, completing Unai Emery’s second major signing as manager.The 26-year-old German international Leno has arrived on a contract that should keep him at the Emirates until 2023, making him the long-term replacement for current number one Petr Cech, reports Four-Four-Two. Emery was delighted after unveiling his latest acquisition, saying: “We are very pleased that Bernd Leno will be joining us,”“Bernd is a goalkeeper of high quality and experience. We are all excited that Bernd has chosen Arsenal and look forward to start working with him in pre-season.” Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.Welcome to Arsenal, @Bernd_Leno – we’re delighted to have you here ?#HeyLeno pic.twitter.com/m4yT22I58V— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) June 19, 2018Leno was a major part of the Leverkusen squad that achieved a 5th place finish in the Bundesliga last year and he has won 6 caps for his country to date – though unfortunately, he did not make Joachim Lowes final squad for the World Cup.After the purchase of Stephan Lichtsteiner last month, Emery has managed to further enhance his options defensively with the signing of Leno, as his new look Arsenal side begins to take shape.