Our Sporting Future 2010 set to Challenge and Inspire

first_imgSCORS comprises of representatives from State and Territory Departments of Recreation and Sport.OSF 2010 will provide an in-depth analysis of the business of sport, with real examples of successful sports business models. Participants will have the opportunity to examine the sustainability of sport and how it can meet any current and future challenges.The forum will provide participants with relevant information, ideas and strategies on building a better national sports system. The program will explore new thinking, risk taking and innovation in the development of sports policy to effect change.There will also be a topical panel discussion that addresses current issues in Australian sport, stimulates new ideas, challenges current ways of thinking, and provides practical information that can be applied to sporting organisations.The forum will feature keynote speakers Bernard Petiot, Vice-President of casting and performance for Cirque Du Soleil and Peter Holmes à Court, one of Australia’s most respected entrepreneurs and businessmen.Other keynote speakers include Avril Henry who is regarded as one of Australia’s leading thinkers and speakers on Generational Diversity and Leadership and Li Cunxin whose bestselling autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer, tells a remarkable story about his extraordinary life. To register for OSF 2010 visit the event website www.ausport.gov.au/OSF2010osf10@eventplanners.com.aulast_img read more

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Building Community Capacity for Maternal Health Promotion: An Important Complement to Investments in Health Systems Strengthening

first_imgPosted on October 23, 2014November 2, 2016By: Ellen Brazier, Senior Technical Advisor for Community Engagement, EngenderHealth; Moustapha Diallo, Country Director, EngenderHealth GuineaClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care Plus project recently published the results of two studies in Guinea, one examining factors associated with institutional delivery and another investigating the effect of an intervention to build the capacity of community-level volunteers to promote maternal health care-seeking.Community empowerment and participation has long been recognized as a fundamental component of good health programming and as a critical strategy for improving access to and use of health services. However, as Susan B. Rifkin notes in a 2014 review of the literature, evidence directly linking community participation to improved health outcomes remains weak.For maternal health, the evidence gap is particularly acute. A 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) report reviewed a community mobilization approach that involves training and supporting women’s groups to carry out an ongoing process of problem exploration, priority-setting and action planning. The report concluded that, while such participatory approaches appeared to have a strong effect on neonatal mortality, there was no evidence of effects on maternal mortality or on other critical maternal health indicators, such as institutional delivery, delivery with a skilled attendant, or receiving the recommended number of antenatal care visits.While important questions remain about what types of interventions are effective in improving maternal health, our recent research in Guinea found that women’s use of maternal health services was associated with the existence of strong support systems for maternal health within communities. Our study focused on villages where community volunteers had been trained to raise awareness about obstetric risks, including fistula, to monitor pregnancies, and to promote women’s routine use of maternal heath services. We assessed the extent to which community members were aware of and relied on community-level cadres as a main source of maternal health information and advice.We also found that women living in communities with a high score on our community capacity index were much more likely to use maternal health services than those living in communities with weak support systems. In fact, women living in villages with a high score on our community capacity index were more than twice as likely to attend at least four antenatal care visits during their pregnancies, to deliver in a health facility, and to seek care for perceived obstetric complications.Building the capacity of community cadres and volunteers to promote maternal heath and monitor maternal health care-seeking is challenging, and it does not occur overnight. However, our findings suggest that such capacity-building investments are worth it since community-level cadres can be important catalysts for changes in maternal health care-seeking when they have the training, support, and recongiztion they need to serve as a resource in their communities. Such investments are an important complement to ongoing efforts to improve the availability, accessibility, and quality of the continuum of maternal health services.Share this: ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read:last_img read more

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Increase Donor Loyalty with 5 Best Practices

first_imgWhat motivates donors to continue giving to an organization? Traditionally, research that’s focused on charitable giving has looked at how to motivate donors to give an initial gift. But are you doing everything you can to increase donor loyalty? After all, fundraising pros know that donor retention is the golden ticket. Apply these five best practices to your fundraising work and turn one-time donors into loyal, ongoing supporters.1) Build an Emotional ConnectionCompanies that optimize the emotional connection between their brand and their customers outperform competitors by 26 percent in gross margin and 85 percent in sales growth. Customers who feel emotionally connected to a brand are:At least three times more likely to recommendThree times more likely to re-purchaseEmotional connections are even more necessary in the nonprofit realm. A logical connection isn’t enough to go the distance. Emotional connections influence both the length and frequency of a donor’s engagement with your organization.2) Get FeedbackConsumer brands use post-interaction surveys to gather insightful feedback from customers. Set up your survey to ask any question you’d like to know the answer to. They can be especially helpful to nonprofits for gathering feedback on the online donation experience, for asking opinions on various issues, and for collecting ideas to improve the donor experience.3) Practice Social Listening and EngagementSurveys aren’t the only way to listen to your donors. Smart brands use social media to learn about their consumers. Engage with your supporters by responding to questions and sharing relevant information. Nonprofits can gain the same benefits by paying attention to what people are saying on both their organization’s social pages and individuals’ social pages. And they can build a relationship by responding in relevant, meaningful ways.4) Focus on the IndividualTo generate loyalty, you have to focus on each person as an individual. Consumers are used to getting customized communications that are personalized. Similarly, donors expect nonprofits to leverage what the organization knows about them to make their experience the best it can be. For example, find out what types of causes they support and share related programs they may be interested in. Learn how they prefer to give—whether via email, text, social media, or snail mail—and make the process easy for them. Find out when they like to give and time your requests appropriately.5) Show That You Appreciate ThemBrands often have customer appreciation events that are designed specifically to show customers that they’re valued. Appreciation doesn’t have to come in the form of a big event, however. Nonprofits can show appreciation to donors via letters, personalized videos, photo galleries of the project the donor has given to, etc.Ultimately, it comes back to building the relationship with your donors. They want to feel that they’re a valued part of the work that your organization does. They want to feel connected. As you focus on seeing your donors as individuals, you’ll be able to craft a donor experience program that results in loyal supporters.Learn why the donor experience is vital to a successful organization and how to implement an effective donor experience program by downloading “A Better Donor Experience: Is it the Cornerstone of Donor Loyalty?”last_img read more

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Accounting for 1 in 3 Maternal Deaths, Health Disparities Persist in South Asia

first_img ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on April 30, 2015June 12, 2017By: Linnea Bennett, Intern, Environmental Change and Security Program, Woodrow Wilson CenterClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)As part of the Advancing Policy Dialogue on Maternal Health Series, the MHTF, along with UNFPA, supported the Wilson Center to host South Asia Consultation on Maternal Health: Regional Dialogue and Way Forward, to address neglected topics in maternal health.The state of maternal health in South Asia is difficult to assess. Although rates of maternal mortality are declining between 2 and 2.5 percent a year overall, the region’s massive population – one fifth of the world and over 1 billion people in India alone – means it still accounts for one out of three maternal deaths. [Video Below]Quality of care fluctuates wildly. Some countries, like Sri Lanka, have made major improvements while others, like Afghanistan and Pakistan, still struggle to meet baseline needs, said Dr. Linda Bartlett, an associate scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. There are major disparities within countries as well, noted Dr. Pallavi Gupta, health program coordinator of Oxfam India. “Even in southern states [of India] that are advanced, you have pockets that are extremely backwards,” she said. In Pakistan, the overall maternal mortality rate is 276 per 100,000 live births, but in the province of Balochistan the rate is as high as 785, with less than 10 percent of pregnant women receiving adequate vaccines and immunizations. “It seems horrifying that a country with nuclear capability can only vaccinate less than 10 percent of pregnant women in a whole big region of their country,” Bartlett said.Bartlett, Gupta, and other panelists at the Wilson Center on March 31 were participants in a February conference on the state of maternal health in South Asia sponsored by Oxfam India. Delegates from each South Asian country convened in Nepal for discussions on recurring problems, highlighting four persistent challenges as well as recommendations for improving results.Amid Data Craze, Gaps PersistDespite an emphasis on data since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there are major blind spots, said Gupta. “We have had instances where maternal deaths have happened but they were not on the record of the government.” Sources can also be quite different from one another. For example, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates average maternal mortality in South Asia to be 311 per 100,000 live births, but the UN reports 190. “Personally I’m not a very great fan of statistics,” Gupta said, “because I don’t really trust that the statistics we produce actually represent the reality on the ground.”Even when concrete and useful numbers are produced, they are often inaccessible or incomprehensible to the communities that need them most, and aggregation can cover up marginalized groups who are consistently left out of overall gains. And surveyors largely ignore qualitative data regarding user experience, which Gupta believes is critical to successful health programs.To close the data gap, the panel called for a more robust collection process led by surveyors who better understand the issues they are dealing with. “Frontline health workers who provide data should be trained to look at the perspective of service improvement, not just asked to fill in a data collection sheet,” Gupta said. She also suggested limiting surveys by external groups to reinforce in-country capacity and encouraging more collaboration between existing efforts by NGOs and funding agencies. When possible, data should be disaggregated too by religion, caste, ethnicity, and education, she said, to help discern which communities are in most need of programs and care.Respectful CareWhile data plays a critical role, Bartlett pointed out that maternal health is inherently a human rights issue. Providing care with dignity, informed consent, and open communication about options may be difficult to measure, but plays a major role in whether women take advantage of health care when it’s available. “It only takes one bad experience in a labor or delivery room to make you very aware of it,” she said.Instances of obstructive violence, corruption, violations of patients’ rights, and disrespect and abuse in the labor room are not uncommon. Patriarchal societies, and religious and ethnic differences often cause systematic discrimination, said Bartlett. She recommended it become mandatory for health workers – from physicians to midwives to those who operate the front door – to take basic training on respectful care. She also suggested using local celebrities to bring attention within the broader context of violence against women, noting that celebrity status can spread messages wider and faster among the South Asian diaspora than it might elsewhere in the world.Measuring Morbidity and Expanding Private CareWhere mortality measures the instances of maternal death in a country, morbidity looks at the general health and wellbeing of women. For every woman who dies from pregnancy-related causes, between 20 and 30 are left with acute or chronic health conditions, yet “there is no South Asian country besides Sri Lanka that tracks morbidity data,” said Dr. Jahangir Hossain, program director for health at CARE Bangladesh.Reducing morbidity will require a better trained workforce. In Bangladesh, Hossain said CARE has been helping to create innovative public-private partnerships that bring more skilled workers to communities in need.In Sunamganj, a flood-prone district in Bangladesh, pockets of the population were experiencing maternal mortality rates almost double that of the national average of 190 per 100,000 live births. Women on average paid 67 percent of their health care costs out of pocket. CARE partnered with the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and a private company to train 168 community-based, private care providers. Workers were also linked to commodity suppliers to facilitate better access to supplies. These providers were then distributed across 10 sub-regions and 50 remote areas in Sunamganj in which 68 percent of the people served were “poor” or “ultra-poor.”By December of 2014, 34 percent of babies in the region were delivered by the new, privately trained providers while only 15 percent were delivered by providers who had been in place before. The privately trained providers were also earning ample wages and showing signs of financial stability. The program’s results showed that private providers can complement public efforts and fill in gaps in areas where the public health system is not functioning adequately.Connecting to a “Bigger Picture”Barbara Stilwell, senior director of health workforce solutions at the NGO Intrahealth International, served as a discussant, commenting on the conclusions of the Nepal conference. She agreed that programs like CARE’s are important because they “bring in parts of the population that wouldn’t otherwise get in.”Stilwell has evaluated how people enter and exit the health work force, looking for the best ways to improve quality and retention in poor resource settings. She cites a lack of secondary school, particularly for women, as an issue in low- and middle-income countries that prevent workers from qualifying for advanced degrees. People may also be driven away from education because of costs or, if they have the money, migrate abroad to practice instead of staying in the country where they were trained.Stilwell and her colleagues are looking at ways to increase the number of skilled providers by bringing job enrichment to all levels of the workforce. This includes encouraging peer to peer mentoring – not only to expand training capacity but to empower the mentors. “We’ve been involved in India in a mentoring project where some very skilled nurses have been trained to be mentors in Karnataka,” she said. “What we found is that not only have the nurse midwives become much better at giving care, but they’ve also shown [more] initiative.”Connecting health care to a “bigger picture” purpose can give health workers incentive and motivation, Stilwell said, especially when they see data that says quality of care makes a difference in their patients’ lives. Allowing people to master their professions gives them a career ladder and an opportunity to advance their work. According to the 2014 State of the World’s Midwifery Report, midwives could deliver 87 percent of all essential and needed care to mothers and newborns worldwide if given the right training.“In India, nurse midwives do not [do] more than making beds and giving the injections that they are asked to do,” Gupta said. “But that kind of capacity building and empowerment, that would take care of so much more.”Event Resources:Linda Bartlett’s PresentationPallavi Gupta’s PresentationJahangir Hossain’s PresentationBarbara Stilwell’s PresentationPhoto GalleryVideoSources: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, UN Population Fund, World Health Organization.Photo Credit: Midwives wait inside the birthing center in Dhaka, Bangladesh, courtesy of Conor Ashleigh/Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.This post originally appeared at The New Security Beat, the blog of Environmental Change and Security Program at The Wilson Center.Share this:last_img read more

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China to launch asteroid probe, calls for partners

first_imgBeijing: China plans to launch an ambitious asteroid exploration mission and has invited collaborators to put their experiments on the probes, space agency officials said Thursday. The 10-year mission will involve a probe sent to a near-Earth asteroid to collect samples, said Liu Jizhong, head of China’s Exploration and Space Engineering Centre. After the sample collection from the 2016 HO3 asteroid, the probe will return to Earth orbit where it will split into two. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USA capsule carrying the samples will return to Earth’s surface, while a separate module will approach and orbit the comet 133P. No timeline has been set for the mission. A similar call was made for the lunar probe Chang’e-6, whose launch date will depend on the success of its predecessor, Chang’e-5, which will launch by the end of this year. France’s National Centre for Space Studies said last month that Chang’e-6 would carry French experiments. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsOriginally scheduled to collect moon samples in the second half of 2017, it was delayed after its planned carrier, the powerful Long March 5 Y2 rocket, failed during a separate launch in July 2017. Two more moon missions have been planned, the Chinese space agency announced this year, with the ultimate goal of building a joint lunar research base. China has ambitions of achieving space superpower status and took a major step towards that goal when it became the first nation to land a probe on the far side of the moon on January 3. At Thursday’s event, data collected from Chang’e-4 was handed to representatives from the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany, who had installed instruments on the craft. China now spends more on its civil and military space programmes than do Russia and Japan, and is second only to the United States. Although opaque, its 2017 budget was estimated at 8.4 billion by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.last_img read more

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The Week In College Football Conferences Are Weird So Our Predictions Are

Temple<1<1<1181 CHANCE A TEAM WILL … Oklahoma173831887 Florida State<11<1282 Houston22<1227 Alabama43612125>99 Northwestern<1<1<112<1 Notre Dame303123874 Mississippi<1——21<1 Conferences are weird. And not just because some of their names don’t make any sense. (The Big Ten has 14 members?! The Big 12 has 10?!) Although most college football conferences hold championship games, others are prohibited from holding them (and get screwed because of it). They feature rapacious money grubbing and encourage teams to destroy rivalry games. No wonder independent Notre Dame disdains conference membership altogether.More importantly, for our selfish interests, conferences cloud interpretations of FiveThirtyEight’s playoff predictions — which you can find here. The weird structures and dynamics of conferences sow lots of confusion. Since we launched our College Football Playoff model last week, we’ve received lots of reader questions, and many of them boil down to one of two “conference conundrums.” Elsewhere on FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver has explained some tweaks to our model that should make the numbers more sensible. But in case you’re still scratching your head, let’s run through the two big reasons conferences can befuddle:1. The Two-Team Conundrum: How can [Ohio State/Alabama/LSU/TCU] have higher odds of making the playoff than winning its conference?Because some conferences have enough good teams that they could send two squads into the playoff. Alternatively, other considerations in the selection process might outweigh a good team’s loss in a conference championship.For example: Our model gives No. 21All the rankings I’m using in this article are the committee’s. Alabama a 43 percent chance of being selected into the playoff but a 35 percent chance of winning the SEC. In a simulation that my colleague Jay Boice ran, a two-loss Alabama team that doesn’t get to play in the SEC championship game still makes the playoff 25.3 percent of the time (probably alongside a one-loss SEC champion). Similarly, No. 3 Ohio State has a 56 percent chance of making the postseason but a 44 percent chance of winning the Big Ten. If both Ohio State and Iowa remain undefeated heading into the Big Ten championship, there’s a good chance that both will make it in, regardless of the outcome.Other cases are more complicated. What if an undefeated Ohio State team fell to a one-loss Iowa team in the Big Ten championship?2Iowa can afford to take a loss, maybe even two, since the Hawkeyes are a game ahead of Wisconsin and also have the tiebreaker over the Badgers. It’s feasible to imagine almost any outcome in that case: The committee could go with Iowa, Ohio State, both teams or neither team.In the conference previews below, I explain more about how those scenarios might play out. But know that there isn’t necessarily a one-to-one correspondence between conference championships and slots in the playoff; things could get messy. It’s the job of the model to sort all of that out — though, admittedly, we don’t know much (or anything, really) about how the committee weights conference championships, as it didn’t have to deal with any upsets in those title games during its inaugural season last year.2. The Division Conundrum: For two teams in the same conference, how can one team have a better chance of winning the conference but another team a better shot at making the playoff?We received lots of these questions, and the culprit is arbitrary conference divisions. Take Florida and Alabama, for example. The SEC has two divisions: East and West. The Gators have a 38 percent chance of winning the SEC, according to our model. That’s higher than Alabama’s odds! But Florida is given only a 17 percent chance of making the playoff, to the Tide’s 43 percent. That’s because the Gators play in (and have clinched) the SEC East, and ’Bama faces a tougher task in the other division, the SEC West (where LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State play). Florida, which has one loss, has an 80 percent chance of making the playoff if it wins out. But if Florida takes a second loss (say, at South Carolina on Saturday) but still wins the SEC championship, it might not. (That’s a nightmare scenario for the SEC, in which it might be denied representation in the playoff entirely.)What-ifs of the weekOur College Football Playoff predictions have been updated with the rankings released Tuesday night, and we project Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama to make it, in agreement with the committee’s latest rankings. But we expect Baylor to have a better path than Notre Dame and to be the fourth team included.But that’s what’s current. We’re already thinking about what’s next. Take a look at our “what-if table” below, which shows how our projected playoff odds would likely change if a team wins or loses its upcoming game. Also included is how likely we think it is that a team will win all its remaining games, and its chance to make the playoff if that happens. TCU1011<12149 Oregon<1<1<181 Michigan79<11742 SCHOOLMAKE PLAYOFFMAKE PLAYOFF GIVEN WEEK 11 WINMAKE PLAYOFF GIVEN WEEK 11 LOSSWIN OUTMAKE PLAYOFF GIVEN WINNING OUT Utah111711473 Iowa222551396 Navy<1<1<1112 Stanford2834101996 Florida172331880 USC12<1314 Memphis<1<1<1121 Mississippi St.36<11125 Michigan St.101111087 Clemson67%70%37%49%>99% Baylor3145111699 Oklahoma St.232671698 Wisconsin<1——50<1 Ohio State56623227>99 UCLA33<1645 LSU1216<12155 North Carolina46<1946 Let’s use Iowa as our guinea pig. We currently give the Hawkeyes a 22 percent chance of making the playoff. But if they beat Minnesota on Saturday, those odds tick up to 25 percent; if they lose, they shrink to 5 percent. Although the rest of the Hawkeyes’ regular-season schedule isn’t that challenging, if they win out, they’ll face a tough matchup in the Big Ten title game. We give them a 13 percent chance to run the table. But if they do, they’re almost certainly in the playoff (96 percent).What to watch for this weekBig 12Game of the week: Baylor vs. OklahomaCollege football statheads: This is your game! While Oklahoma is No. 12 and Baylor is No. 6 according to the latest committee rankings, they are the No.1 and No. 2 squads according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), a computer-generated measure of team strength. Oklahoma is the best team in the country according to FPI, despite losing to lowly Texas. Baylor, on the other hand, is unsurprisingly high-rated by FPI because of its high-powered offense, which easily leads the nation at 57 points per game. Despite being No. 2 in FPI, the Bears are a 58 percent favorite to beat the Sooners because the game is at home in Waco, Texas. The game has big implications: If Oklahoma wins, its odds of making the playoff will rise to 38 percent from 17 percent; if Baylor does, the Bears will rocket from 31 percent to 45 percent likely to make the playoff.ACCGame of the week: Clemson vs. SyracuseThe ACC story hasn’t changed: Undefeated No. 1 Clemson is in the playoff if they win out, but it looks bleak for all other ACC teams (and for Clemson, should they lose). After last week’s victory over Florida State — in what was likely their last truly tough game — Clemson saw its playoff odds rise to the highest of any team (67 percent). But should the Tigers stumble, the ACC’s hopes fall off a cliff. Although one-loss North Carolina has almost wrapped up the ACC Coastal division, and has a 30 percent chance of winning the conference, its chance of making the playoff is a measly 4 percent — but if UNC wins out (and beats Clemson in the ACC title game), its chances rise to nearly 50/50.Big TenGame of the week: Ohio State vs. IllinoisEven if the Buckeyes stumble, they won’t necessarily be out. Their odds are strongly affected by the conference conundrums I outlined earlier. A one-loss Ohio State team might not even get to play for the Big Ten title. This is why the undefeated Buckeyes have a 56 percent chance of making the playoff despite only a 44 percent chance of winning the Big Ten. A one-loss reigning national champion excluded for its conference championship game may still rate highly according to the committee.SECGame of the week: Alabama vs. Mississippi StateAlabama crushed my beloved LSU Tigers, ending their hopes for an undefeated season. And, as a result, the Tide are now the No. 2 team in the latest College Football Rankings. ’Bama is not totally out should they lose again — either to Mississippi State on Saturday, or in the Iron Bowl against Auburn. In that scenario, a one-loss SEC champion could get into the playoff alongside the Tide, or the Tide could win the conference with two losses and still get in. But it’s not likely: In Jay Boice’s simulations, a two-loss Alabama team excluded from the SEC title game would be expected to make the playoff 25.3 percent of the time, and a two-loss Alabama that wins the championship game would make the playoff 34.3 percent of the time.Pac-12Game of the week: Stanford vs. OregonOne-loss Stanford is the best Pac-12 bet to make the playoff, at 28 percent. The Cardinal are almost a sure thing if they win out (96 percent likely, according to the what-if table). But the threat to Stanford is that they’re the odd man out in a scenario with a one-loss SEC champion, an undefeated Clemson and an undefeated Big Ten or Big 12 champion.Beyond The Power FiveGame of the week: Memphis vs. HoustonNotre Dame is looking good. On the heels of LSU’s loss to Alabama, the Irish have moved up to the No. 4 spot in the committee’s playoff rankings. But our model gives Baylor an ever-so-slight advantage over Notre Dame to make the playoff (31 percent vs. 30 percent).But the real game to watch is Memphis vs. Houston. With Memphis’s crushing loss to Navy last week, its dream to be the mid-major that crashes the playoff party has ended. Houston, however, is still undefeated, and the two squads meet in the premier conference game of the season among non-Power Fives. To have any shot at the playoff, Houston will have to win out. But even if they do, their odds of making it are only 7 percent, by our estimation. So the Cougars need to keep praying for carnage among the elites.CORRECTION (Nov. 11, 4:40 p.m.): An earlier version of the table in this article listed incorrect numbers for Wisconsin’s and Mississippi’s chances of winning out. Those odds are 50 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The table has been updated. read more

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CubsIndians Is A Throwback World Series Matchup

But take heart, Indians fans — World Series upsets appear to happen more frequently than basic Elo would predict. Based on the pre-Series probabilities I crunched, the favorite would have been expected to win the World Series 54 times in 90 tries since 1925, for a predicted winning percentage of 60 percent. In reality, however, favorites won only 49 times over that span, for a success rate of 54 percent. Whether that’s because basic Elo can’t pick up on the differences between regular-season and playoff baseball,5Such as shorter rotations and shallower bullpens, both of which favor underdogs with more star pitchers than depth. I’m not certain. But it is a sign that the Series might be more competitive than Chicago’s 60.3 percent win probability indicates.That’s bad news for anxious Cubs fans hoping to end a 108-year championship drought. But it’s good for Cleveland, as well as agnostic observers (such as myself) who want the baseball season to last as long as it can. In a departure from the past few World Series, this year’s contest between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians contains two teams that were both: a) highly regarded before the season began and b) played well for most of the year.1The 2015 Mets and the 2014 Royals each flirted with .500 on their way to the World Series, and expectations for the 2013 Red Sox were low after a terrible 2012 season. (No flukes here!) The average of the teams’ pre-Series Elo ratings — a measure of a team’s strength at any given time2Specifically, the simple version of Elo found in our Complete History Of MLB interactive, which doesn’t account for starting pitchers, travel distance or rest days when assessing each matchup. — ranks ninth among the 22 World Series matchups since the wild card era began in 1995 and 37th out of the 91 since the current 2-3-2 best-of-seven World Series format was adopted in 1925.3Before 1925, the World Series format was either best of seven with home-field advantage for seventh games determined by coin flip or best of nine, so there wasn’t a common format to be readily compared with modern series. In other words, it’s a solid matchup.And how about competitiveness? For each World Series since 1925, I plugged the teams’ pre-Series Elo ratings into a best-of-seven probability formula and calculated each club’s odds of winning the Series. Chicago’s win probability of 60.3 percent in FiveThirtyEight’s basic Elo model4Which, again, differs slightly from the 63 percent figure in our interactive graphic, which uses the more complete model. is larger than the average for favorites since 1925 (59.5 percent) and for favorites since 1995 (57.8 percent). So this series is more lopsided than the typical championship matchup — as you might expect when one of the top couple dozen teams of all time is involved.All told, though, 2016 is a pretty middle-of-the-pack World Series. Literally so, if we plot out the two metrics mentioned above for every matchup since 1925: VIDEO: Cleveland fooled us twice read more

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Football Ohio State has big role waiting for receivers Binjimen Victor Austin

Ohio State then-freshman wide receiver Austin Mack (11) attempts to catch the ball during the spring game on April 16 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe time has come for Ohio State’s veteran wide receivers, redshirt juniors Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon, to become playmakers.But the same can be said for sophomores Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack.In fact, Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith refuses to envision a scenario where the unit can be dominant without Victor and Mack contributing in a significant way.“Has to happen,” Smith said. “There’s no scenario where it’s not going to happen. They have to be a major part of this offense.”There’s good reason for Smith’s comments.The Buckeyes had their two starting receivers — Noah Brown and McLaurin — catch 43 of redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett’s 233 completed passes last season (18.5 percent), compared to 2015’s 45 percent and 2014’s 33.5 percent of total receptions from its starters.The starting duo combined to have fewer receptions than H-back Curtis Samuel, who finished the year with 74 catches. Campbell, McLaurin and then-redshirt freshman K.J. Hill, along with former Buckeyes Dontre Wilson and Brown, continually struggled to create separation from defenses, which in turn created an often-dysfunctional offense.It’s simple. Ohio State’s starting receivers can’t have another year in 2017 like they had last season. But in case they do, that’s where Victor’s and Mack’s growths come into play.“(Austin and I) looked at the film last year and we was like, ‘Man, we look so much better this year compared to last year,’” Victor said. “It’s a big difference and, you know, coming out this year, it’s definitely going to be a change for us.”Mack, at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, enrolled in Spring 2016 and was the first member of the 2016 class to have his black stripe removed, signifying he officially became part of the team. But Mack said he knew he wasn’t ready and could see it on film that he wasn’t living up to expectation. Once camp is over, his expectation for himself is to be a starter and a receiver who can be a vertical threat.Time will tell if Mack can be a starter, but his position coach said he’s starting to see the potential he saw in Mack when recruiting him.“Last year, (Mack) was inconsistent, and so you had good days and bad days,” Smith said. “And we had to get consistency out of him and right now he is very consistent.And he’s just got to keep it up and keep going.”Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor arrive for fall camp as freshman. Credit: Sheridan Hendrix | Oller ReporterAt 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, Victor’s main objective his freshman season was to gain weight. To play in the Big Ten, a receiver has to have a type of physicality that Victor’s physique didn’t allow. Yet, the physical frame was there.He played in just five games, but saw more and more playing time toward the end of the season. He caught his first career touchdown against Maryland in Ohio State’s 10th game and was a primary target at times against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.But long before Victor found the end zone, he was simply trying to differentiate North from South.“Around this time (last year), fall camp, it was very discouraging,” Victor said. “I was very down on myself, I didn’t know what to do. I just came out hoping to get through practice. Now it’s just a different mentality for me.”Smith said Victor has the playmaking element the position needs and the second-year from Pompano Beach, Florida, is learning to play physically and fighting through contact — something that was missing last season.Campbell, the likely successor to Samuel at H-back, probably won’t replicate Samuel’s production, but he should see equal targets with the starting wideouts in the new offensive direction of co-offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day. The coaching staff believes a strong receiving corps can put the offense back in the national conversation as one of the country’s best. The argument can also be made that Ohio State has more experience and leadership from the quarterback position in Barrett than any other school in the NCAA.But the plays still have to be made by receivers, and the opportunities should be there for the taking for Victor and Mack.“We have a couple old guys like Parris, Johnnie and Terry, you know, me and Austin, we’re sophomores,” Victor said. “That means we definitely got to step up and try to make plays for them, especially for our team to help win games.” read more

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Son Heungmin might need a rest South Koreas coach

first_imgSouth Korea national team and Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min might not play right away in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.South Korea national team coach Paulo Bento has warned that Tottenham Hotspur’s star Son Heung-min might need some rest.“After he arrives we will see what we are going to do in the game against China. We will talk and then we are going to take the best decisions for the team,” said Bento to France 24.“So we need to wait for the game that probably he’s going to play on Sunday and then check everything he’s done in the last months because he played a lot of games.”Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“We are not going to change our way of playing when we have Son Heung-min with us.”“What I think we are going to do is improve our collective game, try to attack better than we have played until now. Of course, a player with the quality that Son has, and in the form that he is in at this moment, can help the team,” he added.“But we need to wait until the game against China or the knockout phase.”last_img read more

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Wintermute voice assistant makes intro at CES

first_img Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Discussing the project in Las Vegas, Nuance showed how a cross-platform phone and other devices could work with each other as a total platform-agnostic system with the virtual assistant able to serve the user’s questions and commands from one device the next, regardless of device type or operating system. Wintermute can tie together data from multiple devices. The Wintermute aid at the CES show was put to work in a smartphone scenario where the smartphone was asked for a football game score, and then a voice command to a Dragon TV-enabled television was to “Put the game on,” without any mention of the teams that were involved in the phone request. The television began playing the same game, unprompted. The Wintermute demo showed the technology enabled an ability to take a query and understand across platforms. Responses to the Wintermute project showing at CES were favorable to the very idea of being able to tap into a virtual personal assistant from any computer, handset, or tablet. Nuance has clearly seen the role that mobile persona assistants play and believes in the company’s potential to find success in a cloud-based system such as this. (“At Nuance, we’re the people who make voice work,” boasts the company, which is known for its Dragon speech recognition software, where the user talks and the computer types.) Nuance’s Personal Mobile Assistant survey of 1,000 American consumers asked respondents what they were using their personal assistants for. The most common uses were for driving directions, 84 percent; the weather, 72 percent; and restaurant recommendations, 61 percent.Nuance said survey results also showed that over 80 percent of people surveyed would want their mobile personal assistant to travel with them across all of their devices, including phones, tablets, PCs, cars, TVs, and cameras. Citation: Wintermute voice assistant makes intro at CES (2013, January 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-wintermute-voice-intro-ces.html (Phys.org)—Nuance, the Burlington, Massachusetts-based company known for its speech technology, is talking up its Project codenamed Wintermute, and is demonstrating the project’s cross-platform, cloud-based virtual assistant. Nuance said it is presenting its cross-device persona project Wintermute at Nuance’s exhibit at the Consumer Electronics Show, to demonstrate “how mobile personal assistants follow you from one device the next, remembering what you like, what you’ve been doing, and where you’ve been. Listening to the game in your car? Your TV will know when you ask to simply “put on the game” just which one you mean.” More information: www.nuance.com/company/news-ro … assistantsurvey.docx © 2013 Phys.org Credit: Nuance Communications Nuance buys British voice-to-text company SpinVoxlast_img read more

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