first_imgWray and Nephew’s popular, made for television Contender boxing series, will premier next Wednesday March 9, with a contest between Jamaica’s Richard Holmes and Xzaviar Ford from North Carolina, at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium, Hope Road. The fight will be broadcast live on Television Jamaica (TVJ).The series, which is in its sixth year, will see a team of eight welterweight boxers from the Caribbean going up against a team from the USA, most of whom are from North Carolina. At an official launch on Thursday, the boxers named from the Caribbean are Jamaicans Tsetsi Davis, Richard Holmes, Ramel Lewis, Michael Gardener and Camion Goldson, along with Iwan Azore from Trinidad and Tobago, Miguel Antoine from Barbados and Revlon Lake from Guyana.The boxers from the USA in addition to Ford are, William Barber, Courtney McCleave, Kevin Reynolds, Jose Guzman, Anthony Woods, Rashid Stevens and Devonte Seay. The matchmaker from North Caronia Chris Joy was present at the launch.MIXTUREOFSKILLBoth teams have a mixture of experienced boxers and newcomers to the professional ranks. The new pros could face some major challenges in the later stages of the competition however. Jamaicans Gardener and Goldson for example are making their professional debuts, and if they are able to make it past the preliminary round, they will face more experienced boxers in the quarter finals.Several of the boxers from the USA do not have many professional fights on their records, but Joy told the Gleaner that he was confident that they would be able to hold their own against the Caribbean boxers, because of their previous amateur experience and the type of fights they have had so far as professionals.Ford, for example, who is 19, and goes up against Holmes in the opener, has a one win and three losses record. Joy is of the opinion however, that his boxer is young and talented, and had a good run as an amateur. These factors, he said, in addition to his speed, will be the attributes that Ford will bring to the contest, and will enable him to get the better of the more experience Holmes.There has been a change in the number of rounds in the early stages of competition. Instead of six rounds, the prelims and quarter finals will be over five rounds and the semi-finals over seven. This is designed to avoid as far as possible, a drawn fight. The final will however remain at 10 rounds.The winner of the series will take home $2-million, the runner up $500,000, third place $250,000 and fourth place $200,000.last_img read more

Croatia coach worried over Modric charges

first_img0Shares000Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic is worried about the impact of criminal charges brought against Luka Modric less than four months before the World Cup © AFP/File / GABRIEL BOUYSZAGREB, Croatia, Mar 5 – Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said Monday he was worried about the impact of the false testimony charges against captain Luka Modric on his performance less than four months before the World Cup.Croatian prosecutors charged the Real Madrid midfielder last week with giving false evidence during the multi-million-euro corruption trial of former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamic in Croatia. The offence carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail.“I cannot interfere in what is going on but it certainly worries me,” Dalic told reporters when asked whether he feared the charges could affect Modric’s performance.“But knowing Luka and his character… I belive that he will stoically endure all this.“For me it is more important that he recovers from his current injury and that he plays,” Dalic said.He was speaking as he presented a 29-strong list of players for friendlies with Peru and Mexico to be played in the United States this month as part of preparations for the World Cup.Modric’s indictment has yet to be approved by a court and the 32-year-old is currently not threatened with arrest.Mamic is accused, along with three other people, of abuse of power and graft that cost Dinamo, the former Croatian champions, more than 15 million euros ($18.4 million), and the state 1.5 million euros.Cash was allegedly embezzled through fictitious deals related to player transfers. Modric testified last June over the details of his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur.From there he joined Real Madrid in 2012.Modric has shaken off a thigh injury and travelled with the Madrid squad to France for Tuesday’s second-leg last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain.He is considered the biggest star Croatia have had since 1998, when they surprised the football world by reaching the World Cup semi-finals before losing to eventual winners France.Croatia play in the World Cup Group D along with Argentina, Iceland and Nigeria.0Shares000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Critical Thinking Needed in Science Education

first_imgSeveral recent articles noted that students are being dumbed down in science education.  Can this be applied to their learning about evolution?    PhysOrg reported that critical thinking has been called into question at the university level of education.  “A post-secondary education won’t necessarily guarantee students the critical thinking skills employers have come to expect from university grads,” the article said of a recent study from New York University.  Other academics were surprised at the findings; they said students are motivated and curious as ever, spending a great deal of time on their studies.  But Richard Arum was not speaking of time spent or motivation, but of critical thinking ability.  His book “revealed 45 per cent of students made no significant improvement in critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years, and 36 per cent showed no improvement after four years of schooling.”    Science educators sometimes conflate knowledge with acceptance.  Jon Miller, from the University of Michigan, has tracked scientific literacy from 1998 to 2008, and found that it has actually improved, according to PhysOrg.  “Only 37 percent of American adults accepted the concept of biological evolution in 2008,” the article noted, “and the level of acceptance has declined over the last twenty years.”  It would seem, though, that understanding of evolution should be distinguished from acceptance of evolution – if critical-thinking students are able to judge the evidence and accept or deny the theory on the basis of sound reasoning.  According to his statistics, scientific literacy has grown while acceptance of evolution has declined.    If applied uniformly, critical thinking should include evaluating claims of religion and science.  Religion is already routinely criticized, of course, but two recent articles on philosophy and history of science show how it might be applied to the latter.  New Scientist posted a short eyebrow-raising article by Jonathon Keats about how a group of four Victorian Englishmen, John Herschel, Charles Babbage, William Whewell and Richard Jones “invented” modern science over eggs and bacon (and ale).  Meeting at the Philosophical Breakfast Club, they reasoned how to take Sir Francis Bacon’s ideas on induction to create a new path to natural knowledge.  While admiring their “boundless curiosity,” Keats recognized that their vision was visionary: they “envisioned a future for science as visionary and elusive as Utopia.”  What’s more, their efforts led to a Big Science that became increasingly divorced from the humanities, he argued.    Ken Conner, writing for Town Hall Magazine applied even more critical thinking to science.  The paradigm of the brave scientist as unbiased seeker of the truth, using an objective method, with unimpeachable motives, personal integrity, and the best interests of mankind at heart, is “beginning to crumble,” he said.  “As it turns out, scientists are just as fallible and flawed as the rest of humanity, and this fallibility impacts their work.”  Conner argued against the false dichotomy of science and faith, pointing out with examples that one needs faith to do science.  “After centuries of hegemony in an increasingly secular world, it is ironic that faith – faith in the right thing – may be the only thing that can restore credibility to the world of science.”Case Study: Having a BLASTAn educational tool proposed in PLoS Biology can be evaluated for its effectiveness at teaching critical thinking.  Cheryl A. Kerfeld (Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, California) and Kathleen M. Scott (UC Berkeley) wrote on how to use software to teach evolution: “Using BLAST to Teach ‘E-value-tionary’ Concepts,” they titled their paper.1  BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) is a common genome-comparison tool used by geneticists and evolutionists.  Kerfeld and Scott described ways students can learn evolutionary concepts, such as “molecular evolution (e.g., gene duplication and divergence; orthologs versus paralogs)” using the software.  As for what “E-value-tionary concepts” are, BLAST makes use of E-values, defined as “the number of subject sequences that can be expected to be retrieved from the database that have a bit score equal to or greater than the one calculated from the alignment of the query and subject sequence, based on chance alone.”  E-values calculated from program runs can help students see homologies as evidence of common ancestry, they argued.  In addition, BLAST has a pedagogical benefit, they argued, by providing “an opportunity to illustrate how mathematics functions as a language of biology.”    But does their teaching tool illustrate or obfuscate?  Does their method teach students to be critical of the method?  Apparently not, because when E-values show common ancestry, the authors assume it supports evolution, but when they do not, critical thinking must be suspended by tweaking the inputs:Sometimes it is helpful to “mask” parts of the query sequence to prevent them from being aligned with subject sequences.  Masking is helpful when the query sequence has “low-complexity” regions, such as stretches of small hydrophobic amino acids that are commonly present in transmembrane helices of integral membrane proteins.  Because these features arose from convergent evolution, and their inclusion in BLAST searches could result in spurious hits, it is best to set the BLAST search parameters to eliminate these sorts of regions from word generation, as well as alignment scoring.So in this case, because the authors somehow “know” that certain features are due to convergent evolution, the data have to be masked when they would otherwise falsify evolution.  Evolution itself is protected from critical analysis; it must be assumed.  E-values that seem to indicate divergent evolution, by contrast, are not masked; they are accepted at face value as “meaningful” –A meaningful alignment will facilitate the comparison of two sequences with a shared evolutionary history by maximizing the juxtaposition of similar and identical residues.  Sequences with a recent shared ancestry will have a high degree of similarity; their alignments will have many identical residues, few substitutions and gaps, and tiny E-values.  Conversely, sequences with an ancient common ancestor will be deeply divergent, with few shared sequence identities, many gaps, and larger E-values.  Furthermore, an alignment of two sequences can clarify which portions are conserved (e.g., active sites), and which are divergent, which helps cultivate students’ understanding of protein structure and function.They seem to be saying is that sequence comparisons demonstrate common ancestry by evolution, except when they show convergent evolution or conservation.  The search for homologies can therefore whiz right past the genetic evidence that might falsify common ancestry.    These scientist-educators seemed oblivious to the fact that homology as evidence for common ancestry is a circular argument.  Even creationists accept a hierarchical order of their created kinds, and would expect more divergent traits the more two organisms are distant within the hierarchy, without assuming those differences are due to common ancestry.  Yet Kerfeld and Scott seemed to insist that students be guided against falsifying evolution in the data:Students (and researchers as well) tend to draw an arbitrary line below which they consider E-values to provide convincing evidence that two sequences are homologs (e.g., E<0.00001). >informative to scrutinize this assumption, and ask the students to consider whether and when more stringent E-values might be appropriate (e.g., to assist in sorting paralogs from orthologs), or when larger E-values do not provide definitive evidence of evolutionary independence (as is the case when two sequences share an ancient ancestor).    It is also informative for the students to discuss what their alignments “mean”, and whether the pairwise alignments between their query sequence and the subject sequences “prove” whether the sequences are homologs.  Indeed, it can catalyze a larger discussion of whether it is possible to “prove” that two sequences are homologs, and what other approaches (e.g., protein structure, gene context) might be used to strengthen or refute such an assertion.While the authors appear in this quote to support critical thinking, they have constructed their teaching method to guarantee that evolutionary theory itself is protected from criticism.  Basically, they want students to have a more nuanced way of manipulating the data statistics):In summary, deconstructing the BLAST algorithm and manipulating parameters systematically and evaluating the results with students helps them understand not only what the scores mean but also how to manipulate parameters to optimize their searches…. Finally, explicating the algorithm in this way allows students to explore research databases thoughtfully and illustrates the critical connection between mathematics and science, showing how numbers can be used to quantify biological relationships from the level of gene to organism….Dr. Cornelius Hunter, by contrast, had a good laugh over what he perceived as simplistic homology arguments being used to support evolutionary theory at another educational website, Understanding Evolution (produced by UC Berkeley, the same institution where Scott teaches).  “This Just In: Plants Have Leaves—Evolution Must Be True.” his headline quipped.  “As if evolution was not silly enough already evolutionists are now claiming that the fact that different plants all have leaves is a compelling evidence for their belief that all of nature just happened to spontaneously arise, all by itself,” he said.  “I occasionally enjoy a good spoof, but this is no joke.”  Readers can compare Hunter’s view with that of the Understanding Evolution website.    Students wanting a course on evolution that will teach both sides might look at summer seminars on intelligent design presented by the Discovery Institute.1.  Cheryl A. Kerfeld and Kathleen M. Scott, “Using BLAST to Teach ‘E-value-tionary’ Concepts,” PLoS Biology, 9(2): e1001014. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001014.Kerfeld and Scott provide another example of manipulating students’ impressionable heads with the illusion of scientific credibility in order to indoctrinate them into the cult of Charlie worship (cf. David Sloan Wilson’s “Evolution for Everyone” curriculum, 12/21/2005).  Evolution itself is never to be questioned; the objectivity of science itself is never under scrutiny.  This entry provides an opportunity for you to hear several points of view and evaluate which are credible with the fewest fallacies.Exercise:  Apply your critical thinking skills to the following evolution articles:Science Daily: “New Research Changes Understanding of C4 Plant Evolution.”Science Daily: “Molecular Link Between Reproduction in Yeast and Humans.”Science Daily: “New View of Human Evolution?  3.2 Million-Year-Old Fossil Foot Bone Supports Humanlike Bipedalism in Lucy’s Species.”Live Science: “How Dinosaurs Handed Down Their Fingers to Birds.” (Visited 49 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Sustainable tourism a must

first_imgKwalata Lodge in Dinokeng hosted the provincial World Tourism Day celebrations. Gauteng MEC for economic development Nkosiphendule Kolisile urged all present at the event to do their best to run their businesses sustainably. The first buffalo were introduced to Dinokeng in August 2012, making it officlally a Big Five reserve. Two trees were planted for sustainability in the Steve Bikoville community near Hammanskraal.(Images: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Barba GaoganediweCommunications manager, GautengTourism Authority+27 83 446 7844 or +27 11 085 2500RELATED ARTICLES• Zambia, Zim host world tourism meet• SA’s wine tourism best in the world• German tourists in love with SA• Taking the plunge for our rhinos• Responsible tourism at Buffalo RidgeJanine ErasmusSouth Africa was the first country in the world to adapt the principles of fair trade to its tourism industry and on World Tourism Day, celebrated annually on 27 September, businesses in the sector were encouraged to apply for certification.World Tourism Day (WTD) was established in 1979 at the third session of the UN General Assembly, and came into operation in 1980. The event aims to promote growth and development of the global tourism industry and the date was chosen because it coincides with the adoption of the statutes of the UN World Tourism Organisation on 27 September 1970.Since then each year’s celebrations have taken place with a theme, such as Tourism opens doors for women (2007), Tourism – Celebrating Diversity (2009), and Tourism Linking Cultures (2011).In 2012, the theme for World Tourism Day was Tourism and Sustainable Energy: Powering Sustainable Development. Activities on the day focused on the importance of making tourism more sustainable to preserve natural resources for future generations.In South Africa, September is designated as Tourism Month. The official WTD celebrations were held at the Mbashe Royal Village in the Eastern Cape with tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk in attendance, and other events took place all around the country.In Gauteng, the day was commemorated at Kwalata Lodge in the Dinokeng Game Reserve, just 40km north of Pretoria and an hour’s drive from Johannesburg.Dignitaries present included Nkosiphendule Kolisile, the Gauteng MEC for economic development; Dawn Robertson, CEO of the Gauteng Tourism Authority (GTA); and Kathy Bergs, MD of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA).“The use of fossil fuels has a serious impact on the environment,” said Kolisile, “but we must win this war. If we do nothing, the generations that follow us will find nothing on this earth. We must leave behind more than what we found, rather than the opposite.”He said that current energy usage is not sustainable, but added that it can be reversed if people work together or individually to do their bit.As an example, Kolisile mentioned a programme running under Gauteng’s green economy programme, in which local minibus taxis are undergoing a conversion that will enable them to use both petrol and liquid petroleum gas. This will help taxi operators cut their running costs, but will also reduce emissions by 11% for carbon dioxide and 30% for carbon monoxide, according to the Automotive Industry Development Centre, a partner in the conversion initiative.“These are the kinds of green initiatives that we must encourage,” Kolisile said, “and everyone must contribute – we don’t want any spectators on this journey. Our kids must also be encouraged to break the rules, because we need new ideas and new solutions.”Tourism benefits communitiesDinokeng and other facilities are on the doorstep of Gauteng’s urban centres and are within easy reach, Kolisile added, so the more tourists that visit these areas, the more the local communities will benefit.GTA CEO Dawn Robertson encouraged tourism businesses to apply for certification with FTTSA.“This will help us to position Gauteng as a responsible tourist destination,” she said.Fair trade tourism is a concept that encourages fair and responsible business practice by South African tourism establishments, meaning that tourists with a conscience can support an FTTSA-certified business and be assured that the business is run responsibly in social and environmental terms.FTTSA was established in 2002 and was the world’s first fair trade programme that awarded certification to the tourism sector. According to the organisation, it is still the world’s only fair trade certification programme for tourism.Like the fair trade initiative, it awards businesses that meet the stringent criteria – including fair wages and working conditions, commitment to skills development, and a respect for human rights, culture and the environment – with a special label which can be used as a marketing tool to take advantage of the growing global trend towards responsible tourism.Although application is done easily online, the certification programme is rigorous, said FTTSA CEO Kathy Bergs, and not all businesses succeed the first time around. But they can still use the detailed report, which assesses 14 key areas of their business, to make significant improvements to their operations.“We’ve spent the past decade developing the process of certification and raising awareness of the programme,” said Bergs. “Recently we signed an agreement with the Swiss government that will help us to scale up our operations and do intensive marketing.”Bergs mentioned that the organisation plans to expand its activities to the other countries in Southern Africa.FTTSA helps those who successfully achieve accreditation to market their business in various ways, including visibility at local and international travel trade shows, inclusion in the FTTSA directory, and networking opportunities.Businesses interested in applying for the FTTSA seal can download a brochure (PDF, 2MB) or visit the website for more information.Place of riversDinokeng (Setswana, meaning “place of rivers”) is an area in northeast Gauteng earmarked for eco-tourism, job creation and social upliftment by the provincial government.Dinokeng was formed when landowners in the area willingly took down their fences and merged their lands into the reserve, which currently covers about 18 500 hectares. It’s the only free-roaming Big Five game reserve in the province and is unique in that it is made up of individually owned properties. The initial stage comprised 12 000 hectares from 88 properties.Although the land was used mainly for farming in the past, recent years have seen a shift towards rehabilitating it for eco-tourism. Participants in the Dinokeng project have undertaken to stop any agricultural activity on their land and commit to tourism development.The greater Dinokeng area encompasses tourist-oriented areas such as Cullinan and Roodeplaat, and covers about 280 000 hectares.Most of the animals have been brought in from other areas. Besides the Big Five – lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo and leopard – the reserve is home to giraffe, zebra, kudu, eland, blue wildebeest, warthog, hartebeest, and many more, as well as more than 300 bird species.In August Dinokeng officially became a big five reserve when four buffalo bulls were released into the area. Earlier in September the first cheetah was introduced.Other Dinokeng activities to mark WTD included a visit to the local communities of Mandela Village and Steve Bikoville, where media were introduced to various upliftment projects supported by Kwalata, among them a flourishing plant nursery and an art school. A tree-planting ceremony took place in a children’s park in Steve Bikoville.In the game reserve, an Australian eucalypus tree was cut down as part of a clearing operation in Kwalata.“This tree has no natural enemies in South Africa,” said ecologist and Dinokeng deputy director Nico Grobler, who was on hand to witness the event, “so it grows uninhibited. It has a very strong and deep tap-root system and can consume up to 400 litres of water a day.”No indigenous plants will grow under a eucalyptus, said Grobler.The wood of the felled eucalyptus will not go to waste – it will be used for firewood, or given to local artists for carving.last_img read more

The Secret Reason the Successful Share Their Secrets

first_imgThere are reasons the most successful people in the world are so transparent about what they believe and what they do.The most successful people in the world don’t have a scarcity mindset. They’re not afraid of sharing what they do because they don’t believe that someone else knowing what they know is in any way going to harm them. In fact, it often makes the pie even larger.Successful people also know that what makes them successful isn’t any kind of secret (despite the fact that much of what you read will suggest there are secrets, and despite the fact that a simple reading of anything described as a secret will quickly reveal some very well known fundamental belief or action). There isn’t any reason not to share what they believe and what they do because it’s already well-known and easily understood.But the biggest reason successful people aren’t afraid to share what they believe has allowed them to succeed is because there isn’t the remotest of possibilities that most of the people with whom they share it will be willing to do anything with what they learn. Most people won’t adopt their beliefs, preferring instead to retain their own scarcity mindset. Nor will they take the necessary actions, preferring to stay within the comfortable bounds that they’ve established for themselves.Most of the people who hear what the successful believes led to their success won’t believe it’s unique or interesting enough to be the root cause of their success.The secret reason the most successful people share their secrets to success is because nothing that leads to success is any great secret.last_img read more

a month agoSheffield Utd boss Wilder keen to hear from Klopp after Liverpool clash

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Sheffield Utd boss Wilder keen to hear from Klopp after Liverpool clashby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveSheffield United boss Chris Wilder says the door will be open to Jurgen Klopp at the end of tomorrow’s clash with Liverpool.Wilder was named LMA Manager of the Year at the end of last season, while Klopp was nominated for the divisional award.”I’m looking forward to meeting Jurgen and his staff,” Wilder said.”Our door will always be open. I’m sure speaking to people, he’ll step in and have a chat. We’re here and deserve to be here. We’ll give it our best shot and leave everything out there on the pitch as we always have done.” last_img read more

Abilities Foundation reaches out to Persons with Disabilities

first_imgImproving employment opportunities by forging links with national agencies for further training and job enhancement, is the aim of the Abilities Foundation, as they continue to reach out to persons with disabilities. Administered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) since 1992, the Foundation currently caters for 66 students, ranging from 17 to 65 years, with challenges, such as hearing and visual impairments, and physical and intellectual disabilities. Guidance Counsellor at the Foundation, Coral Mason, informs that the facility is committed to providing quality vocational education to persons with disabilities, enabling them to function as creative and productive citizens in the society. “The courses that we offer at the Foundation are garment construction, furniture making, general office administration, ornamental horticulture, landscaping, and data operation,” she tells JIS News. She points out that the programmes offered are a joint initiative between the Ministry and the HEART Trust/NTA, after which a National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ) certificate is issued at the end of each course. Miss Mason adds that the HEART Trust provides a small stipend of $250 for each student on a weekly basis. She explains that students are assessed before they are enrolled at the Foundation, to determine the appropriate course to be undertaken. “When the students come in, they are required to sit an entry test at the Grade Four level, which determines the level they are at. If they perform well on the examination, they are then tested at the Grade Nine level, which entails reasoning, Mathematics and English Language. Students at this level undertake the more theoretical courses, such as data operation, and office administration,” she notes.                                                                   Highlighting the Motto, ‘Opportunity… Not Charity’, Miss Mason says the aim is to equip students with the required skills, so that on completion of their course, they can find their place in society. “What we are doing is helping them to prepare for the future. But some of them are unable to do so because of financial constraints. So, we would really love if corporate Jamaica could partner with us to help them,” she appeals. Miss Mason tells JIS News that most of the students are from poor economic backgrounds, and just want the opportunity to acquire a skill, so that they can support themselves. “We would really love to get some subsidy to help needy students with travelling expenses, especially those travelling from Manchester, Clarendon, and St. Mary. We know that there are many others living in other parishes who would really love to come into the facility, but it is too expensive for them to travel so far,” she notes. She says the Foundation is grateful for the tremendous support from the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) and the Kiwanis Club which, over the years, have rendered financial assistance to several students. “We have received a number of scholarships and subsidies from both the JCPD and the Kiwanis Club for some of our students, to aid with their school fees. They have also assisted us with wheelchairs and hearing aids, which help to facilitate the learning process for some students,” she tells JIS News. Miss Mason says outside of the courses offered, counselling support is provided to students, because most of them lack self-esteem for numerous reasons. “We have small counselling sessions weekly, where social workers and guidance counsellors interact and teach the students good work ethics. This session also facilitates the process of social and emotional re-adjustment, to ensure effective integration into the wider society,” she explains.            She points out that while funding remains a challenge, the Foundation is seeking to open a library, and offer additional courses, such as computer service technician, food preparation, music production, and customer service. She points out that applicants who wish to register at the Foundation are required to pay a fee of $20,000 annually, and have their National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, Tax Registration Number (TRN), and birth certificate to complete the process. “If prospective students do not have the relevant documents, we help them to obtain such documents, and try to seek financial assistance for those in dire need,” she says. When students get enrolled, they are provided with a special identification card from the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, which is used to access benefits such as the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) bus pass service, and other welfare privileges. Miss Mason tells JIS News that much more needs to be done to ensure that persons with disabilities are included in the economic, civil and political processes of the country. She is appealing to organisations and individuals that can help, to call the Abilities Foundation at 969-5720 or 924-6619.last_img read more

How The Warriors Should Adjust Their Offense Without Steph Curry

The Warriors are hurting. The latest bad news came over the weekend, when the team learned that superstar Stephen Curry, who was just returning from a six-game absence because of a tweaked right ankle, sustained a Grade 2 MCL sprain to his left knee. He joins three other hurt Golden State stars who are currently riding the bench: Kevin Durant has a rib fracture, Klay Thompson has a fractured right thumb and Draymond Green has a pelvic contusion.Coach Steve Kerr has already ruled out the idea of Curry returning for the first round of the postseason. But these other guys will be back. So, how will the Warriors’ offense function without Curry when the postseason starts up? And how should it?To some, these questions might seem pointless, considering that Durant, a fellow superstar, is also on the roster. After all, the possibility of a Curry injury was among the best arguments for signing Durant: Even if Curry goes down, there’d be two other stars (Durant and four-time All-Star Thompson) to count on.1This doesn’t even include Green, the reigning defensive player of the year, who logged a dominant 32-point, 15-rebound, 9-assist outing during Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. But any changes to a powerhouse lineup like the Warriors’ has some impact: Defenses now will have more resources to clamp down on Durant. The challenge then for Golden State is to navigate the increased attention on Durant while not making any wholesale changes to the offensive plan with only nine games left in the regular season. After all, the Warriors want Curry to hit the ground running when he returns, using the same pass-happy system that was in place when he left.There are a handful of things we can likely expect once the other banged-up Warriors rejoin the lineup as expected. The most important: It’s a safe bet that most of the key role players will shoot at least slightly worse without Curry in the picture — a majority of them have performed worse on offense in times when Curry’s been out and Durant’s been playing (compared with their performance when sharing the court with both Curry and Durant). Kevin Durant—63.055.5 PlayerWith Curry, w/o DurantWith Curry and DurantWith Durant, w/o Curry Stephen Curry62.261.7— JaVale McGee64.570.472.7 Effective field goal percentage is a measure of shooting efficiency that accounts for 3-pointers being worth 50 percent more than 2-pointers.Sources: Second Spectrum, NBA Advanced Stats Andre Iguodala61.344.539.2 Nick Young51.674.048.6 Effective FG% Zaza Pachulia44.763.358.3 Klay Thompson63.067.549.0 Curry’s impact on the DubsEffective field goal percentage of Warriors with at least 30 shots taken in each scenario below, 2017-18 Draymond Green48.755.550.5 Durant’s offensive performance has also suffered when Curry isn’t playing. Despite being a top-three player in the world, Durant occasionally finds easy looks as a result of the fear that defenses have of Curry getting open along the arc. One indication of the boost Durant gets: Green has completed 16 alley-oops to him over the past two seasons — many of which were sprung while Curry was distracting defenses with fake backscreens. But those were all with Curry on the floor. Without Curry, Green hasn’t found Durant for a single lob during that time period, according to data from Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats.Video Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Durant is still a dynamite scorer without Curry, though — as evidenced by his 45 points per 100 possessions (on 48 percent shooting and 42 percent from 3-point range) in the four games he played mostly without Curry recently. But the downside without Curry is that the free-flowing offense grows more stagnant as Durant isolates more to find his shots. The Warriors go from having 106.0 possessions per 48 minutes when Curry orchestrates the offense to 100.6 possessions per 48 minutes when Durant is on the floor without Curry. And the total number of isolations per 100 plays increases 43 percent, from 10.1 to 14.4, when Durant spearheads the attack without Curry, according to Second Spectrum. The high-octane club goes from scoring almost 122 points per 100 possessions with Curry and Durant to 108 when Durant plays without Curry.A few caveats: Those pace and offensive efficiency numbers, while down considerably, would still rank among the highest in the league. If anything, this merely speaks to how otherworldly the Warriors are at full strength, or at least when Curry is running their offense. Without Curry playing, they would still be favored against just about any team out West, perhaps except for Houston.The Warriors know that, too, and based on their recent history with knee sprains, it seems a foregone conclusion that they’ll take things slowly with Curry’s rehabilitation. Curry of course missed two weeks of the postseason in 2016 after suffering a less severe Grade 1 MCL sprain. He had a 40-point game in his return against Portland but then struggled in the finals (he later suggested that he wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent that postseason after the injury). The team took a different approach with Durant last season — and saw different results. He returned from a nearly six-week absence and Grade 2 MCL sprain to outplay LeBron James and earn the finals MVP.While Durant and the rest of the Warriors await Curry’s return, there are several tactics they could take to both take advantage of the line-ups they will have on the floor and to make sure that Curry can re-enter the offense seamlessly. For one, Golden State would be smart to push the tempo and to screen more on the ball using either Green or Andre Iguodala to set picks for Durant. (The Warriors set about 10 fewer on-ball screens per 100 possessions when Durant is running the offense without Curry.) Both Green and Iguodala are playmakers and are more likely to keep the ball moving than Durant. He’s a good passer but calls his own number for 1-on-1 scenarios far more often than most players do.This is why running more simple screen-and-roll sets could help Durant: Such plays give him a clearer opening for an occasional jumper when he wants one. But they also allow him to share the ball with confidence that he can get it back in perhaps his most lethal position: off the catch, where he shoots a far-higher percentage than when he dribbles several times before launching an attempt.It’s worth noting that the Warriors have generated more points per play out of Durant pick-and-rolls with Green setting the screen this season (1.18) than they have with Curry pick-and-rolls in which Green is the screen-setter (1.08), according to Second Spectrum.2Among NBA pairs who’ve run at least 100 direct pick-and-rolls — meaning that the player associated with the play either shot the ball, was fouled, turned it over or passed to a shooter within one dribble of receiving the ball.Video Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.For context, the Durant and Green combo ranks second in efficiency among NBA pairs who’ve run at least 100 direct pick-and-rolls, trailing only the unstoppable duo of Curry and Durant.So, no — there’s obviously no true way to replace everything Curry brings on offense. But playing a style that isn’t far removed from what he’s used to could help keep the team in rhythm for when he returns.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more