Blaney comes to Pocono looking to defend win, spark season

first_imgDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It’s a big weekend for 24-year old Ryan Blaney, returning to Pocono Raceway ready to defend his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup victory in Sunday’s Pocono 400 race (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).Blaney has moved from the Wood Brothers to Team Penske this season, driving the No. 12 Ford. It’s often been a season of all-in or all-out for the young and hugely-popular talent — who has three top-five and six top-10 finishes through the opening 13 races of the season. These are high marks he is expected to easily exceed, considering he had a career-best four top-fives and 14 top-10s all of last year and is already close to surpassing those numbers only a third of the way through 2018.MOMENT IN TIME: Relive Blaney’s first win  | Blaney watches Pocono win with usHe led a race-best 118 laps in the season-opening Daytona 500 and finished seventh (he won the first Duel as well), and Blaney’s overall work was enough to earn him the No. 1 position in the standings after the race – a career high ranking for him and an ideal way to kick off his tenure with the championship Penske team.Blaney impressively stayed among the top-three in the championship standings through the early season– leading 145 laps and finishing a season-best of third at Martinsville.A crash at the always-tough Bristol Motor Speedway in mid-April interrupted the fast start. And he’s had two more DNFs since – in the last two races (at Kansas and at Charlotte on Sunday night).So he comes to Pocono – where he has three finishes of 11th or better in four Cup starts – ready to right the ship, defend his first career victory and add to the win total; goals everyone in the sport fully expects Blaney to meet.last_img read more


Rover reveals puzzling sand dunes on Mars

first_img NASA (3)/(DIAGRAM) C. BICKEL/SCIENCE The Martian was only a movie, but the blowing sand that drove the plot really does influence Mars today—and is now a source of intrigue for scientists studying the planet. Investigators with NASA’s Curiosity rover are exploring the planet’s dark sand dunes and have discovered structures thought to be unlike any on Earth: ripples spaced about 3 meters apart, intermediate in size between the little ripples and big dunes found on both planets. Scientists aren’t sure how they form, but they think the density of the thin martian atmosphere plays a role in shaping them.“Something in the martian environment is begging for these to form,” says Lori Fenton, a planetary scientist who studies dunes at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and who wasn’t involved in the research. Even before scientists can puzzle out what that is, they hope to use fossilized ripples in rocks that hardened from ancient dunes to glean clues about the thicker atmosphere of early Mars, according to Mathieu Lapotre, a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, who presented the work here last week at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC).Researchers had seen the large ripples in pictures taken from orbit, “but nobody thought hard enough” about them, Fenton says. In the end it took up-close observations by Curiosity, which is exploring Gale Crater. When the rover neared dark, billowy dunes girding the mountain that it aims to climb, some researchers on the rover’s science team considered them a potentially hazardous obstacle. But others saw an opportunity. “We have not visited an active sand dune field on another planet,” says Bethany Ehlmann, a participating scientist on the rover team at Caltech. “I don’t think it’s conscionable to be 100 meters away and drive by without stopping to take a look.”Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)So Ehlmann and others pushed for a campaign of pictures, wind measurements, and chemical analyses over several weeks in December 2015 and January (see map, below). The scientists presented their initial results at the LPSC: images of 5-meter-tall dunes that would not look out of place in Namibia. Imprinted on top of the large dunes were typically tiny ripples and the mysterious, larger ones. Other scientists on the Curiosity team are studying the size, chemistry, and color of martian dune sand. On Earth, dunes consist mainly of quartz grains, eroded from the granite that makes up much of the 
continental crust. On Mars, by contrast, dunes are made up mostly of dark, dense minerals like olivine, from volcanic basalt. The dunes get darker with time as finer dust, which contains lighter-colored feldspar minerals, blows away. Ehlmann says studying how the martian wind sorts grains by size and composition will help researchers understand other changes that occur as the sediment turns into stone.But at the LPSC, scientists were most excited by the discovery of the large ripples. In addition to spotting them in the Curiosity images, Lapotre and his colleagues have identified them at dozens of sites all over the planet in images taken from orbit. They found that at higher elevations, where the atmosphere is thinner, the ripples are farther apart. If these ripples can be found in old rocks, Radebaugh says, “you can get a good sense of what the paleoatmosphere was like.”If the large ripples are forming because of atmospheric influences rather than the impact mechanics of hopping sand grains, then, technically, they would be dunes rather than ripples. Lapotre says they seem to be similar to dunes found in riverbeds on Earth. Just as waves on the water’s surface shape the bottom, invisible “boundary layers” in the atmosphere may sculpt ripples on the surface of Mars.Not everyone is convinced that the ripples are a new type of dune. “They could just be big ripples” left over from a windier martian past, says Ralph Lorenz, an APL planetary scientist. But Fenton says Lapotre and colleagues have spotted slip faces—signs of miniavalanches—on the lee sides of some of them. Larger dunes share such slumping features, but small ripples lack them. The new-dune scenario is “plausible,” she says. “I’m happy that somebody has put forward an explanation, because it has bugged me.” On terrestrial beaches and deserts, small sand ripples form centimeters apart. They take shape when wind-borne sand grains hop and strike sand downwind, scattering yet more grains. Once a ripple begins to form, it protects sand on its downwind slope from being dislodged by further impacts. Meanwhile, scattered sand continues to be deposited on the upwind side of the ripple. Larger dunes, which can sit hundreds of meters apart, grow through a different process involving the aerodynamics of the atmosphere. As wind approaches a pile of sand, its streamlines are compressed, whipping up speeds and piling up more sand toward the crest. Eventually, the leading edge becomes too steep and collapses, allowing a new crest to form and the dune to inch along.In the solar system, dunes are found on Earth, Mars, Venus, Titan, and perhaps even Pluto. Planetary scientists study them from orbit to infer wind directions—like a “free wind sock,” says Jani Radebaugh, who studies Titan’s dunes at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. They can also use them to infer wind speed. From theoretical models and wind tunnel tests using crushed walnut shells to mimic sand blowing in Mars’s weak gravity, researchers have estimated that wind speeds need to reach about 15 to 20 meters a second for martian dunes to form. Researchers hope to check those numbers by studying a handful of Curiosity’s images of moving dunes snapped on days when the rover also took wind measurements, says Nathan Bridges, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. Since landing in 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover has trundled toward its mountain target, Aeolis Mons (also called Mount Sharp), but it must cross potentially hazardous sand dunes.last_img read more


Too many foreigners managing Premier League teams: Ryan Giggs

first_imgThere are too many foreign managers in the Premier League and little opportunity for local talents, according to former Manchester United winger and assistant manager Ryan Giggs.Giggs, who was the caretaker boss for four games at United in 2014, was linked with a return to management at Swansea City before American Bob Bradley’s appointment in October and was considered again before Englishman Paul Clement took charge in January.”I don’t think there’s enough (British managers) at the moment,” Giggs told the BBC.”I think it is (important British coaches get a chance). There’s a lot of top quality foreign coaches in the Premier League, but there’s also a lot of quality British coaches and managers out there.”Seven of the 20 Premier League clubs have British managers, but the current top-seven sides are all managed by foreigners, with Welshman Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion the highest-placed team with a British manager.”If you don’t get the chance, you don’t get the chance to prove what you can do and see what you can do with a talented team,” Giggs added.”As I say, there are quality foreign coaches as well. I just think on the balance, there’s too many foreigners at the moment and British coaches probably just don’t get the chances.”last_img read more


Rani Mukerji looks like a cloth chandelier in this green dress

first_imgFrom making traditional suits look so chic as Tina in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to the way she sported short dresses in Hadh Kar Di Aapne–Rani Mukerji was a total fashionista, back in the days. But over the years, the actress has lost her taste in class-apart fashion. Her recent look is a case in point.Recently, the actress graced a promotional event for her upcoming film, Hichki, and left us baffled with her choice of a green-white dress. While we have seen Rani sport really strange and primitive-looking outfits before, this Red Valentino number tops them all. Rani Mukerji sports green-white number. Photo: Yogen ShahAlso Read: Rani Mukerji’s black outfit is the reason you should never get too experimentalThe round-neck, crochet dress had a symmetrical pattern all over, which made it look like a sweater dress, but not a pretty one.Also Read: Rani Mukerji’s sublime, traditional attire is all the guidance you need for Diwali dressingThe parrot-green, shift dress would’ve looked just fine, had it not been for the tacky-looking frill on it. The white, crochet frill is what pulled down the look of the outfit completely. The frill details made the actress look like a chandelier, and we’re not exaggerating. Rani Mukerji sports green-white number. Photo: Yogen ShahJust like the dress, her choice of a pair of white pumps didn’t really work for the look, because of how mismatched they were. A pair of casual, white sneakers would have been a better choice of shoes there, Rani.advertisementShe finished the look with soft makeup, and a simple hairdo–the only aspect of her look that we actually like.We wonder if we’ll ever have your stunning public appearances back, Rani.last_img read more


2 days agoKlopp pleased ‘job done’ as Liverpool put four past Genk

first_imgKlopp pleased ‘job done’ as Liverpool put four past Genkby Freddie Taylor2 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveJurgen Klopp was happy Liverpool got the “job done” with a 4-1 victory over Genk on Wednesday night.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored within two minutes to cool any nerves in the away end, before doubling the advantage with a fine first-time finish.Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane made it 4-0 before Stephen Odey nabbed a consolation for the hosts.Speaking to BT Sport, Klopp said: “There were good moments. The start was brilliant, we were kind of fluent and asked them a lot of questions but then we started – I’m not sure why – to lose patience and some easy balls. “But all four goals were brilliant and we had chances to score more. Job done.”In the years before we would have drawn it, maybe even lost, but all’s OK. It was intense, we needed concentration. “Our opponent brought in their tallest player and they did well from the first and second balls. “We played with speculation when do we really need to go there? Then they won the second balls. So I didn’t enjoy the game too much, but I enjoyed the result.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more


How Many Times Did The Mets Blow It

Hot Takedown The vine of LeBron James and Dion Waiters that Chadwick Matlin mentions on the show.Rob Arthur on the best Royals team ever.Neil Paine breaks down the cost of leaving Matt Harvey in the game.FiveThirtyEight’s NBA preview.ESPN breaks down the stats in New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup victory.Brett McKay on the difference between rugby in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere.Significant Digit: 38. That is the longest New York City Marathon streak held by a woman. Connie Brown, at 71, finished her 38th marathon; her time was 5:50:44. Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Nov. 3, 2015), we ask whether the Kansas City Royals won the World Series or the New York Mets lost it. We also preview the NBA’s Western Conference and where FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO NBA player projections rank Kobe Bryant this season. Plus, a look at New Zealand’s victory in the Rugby World Cup with Brett McKay, ESPN Scrum writer and host of The Cheap Seats podcast. And a Significant Digit on a New York City Marathon streak.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Video, bonus audio and links to what we discussed are below. How many times did the Mets blow it? If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS read more


The Washington Capitals Are Lucky Because Theyre Good

The Washington Capitals are on fire right now. They’ve lost only three times since the calendar flipped to 2017 and have outscored their opponents 95 to 44 over that stretch. Aside from an 8-7 overtime loss to the rival Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 16, the Capitals have only surrendered more than three goals two times during their hot streak. In a league in which holding the opponent to three goals or fewer will earn you at least a shootout most nights, it’s easy to see why Washington is piling up points in the standings.Not only do the Caps own the league’s best record, but they also have the most dominant stats in hockey. They lead the league in Hockey-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS), which estimates the strength of every team in the NHL,1Technically speaking, SRS measures a team’s average goal differential after adjusting for strength of schedule. as well as team goals against average, the mark of a stingy defense. They also rank in the top five in several other major statistical categories, including goals scored per game; power play percentage; penalty kill percentage; and Corsi percentage, which estimates a team’s all-important possession rate by measuring the percentage of shot attempts it directed at the opponent’s net during games.2Adjusted for score, zone and venue.This is all to say that the Capitals look really, really ridiculously good on paper. But they’ve also ranked highly in a few key stats that are traditionally more in the realm of luck than skill. For example, they’re No. 1 in PDO, which is the sum of shooting percentage and save percentage (a notoriously unstable indicator in stathead circles), both of which the Capitals also either lead the league in or are tied for No. 1. Ordinarily, a high PDO could be seen as a red flag — suggesting that a team’s statistical résumé is like a house of cards, ready to collapse at any moment. But in Washington’s case, the team even seems to have come by the percentages that make up PDO (mostly) honestly. It’s the consequence of a roster design that could mean it’s finally Washington’s year to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup.The Capitals’ statistical excellence is nothing new — in each of the past three seasons, they’ve ranked among the NHL’s top eight in both points and SRS. Perhaps even more telling, they’ve been among the NHL’s top three in PDO for the past two seasons. Their good fortune in the percentages is commonplace by now.So how do we know Washington’s success isn’t purely based on good luck? For one thing, they’ve assembled a roster that perennially shoots the lights out. The Capitals have finished outside of the top 10 in shooting percentage only once since 2009-10. And since Barry Trotz took the helm as head coach in 2014-15, the team has ranked no worse than fourth. Only the Dallas Stars outperformed the Capitals in shooting percentage in both 2014-15 and 2015-16, but while the Stars have regressed — they sit in the middle of the pack (12th) in 2016-17 — the Capitals continue to put the puck in the net with a high degree of efficiency, thanks to that group of good shooters.A handful of said marksmen are having personal best shooting percentage seasons: T.J. Oshie, whose career shooting percentage of 13.1 percent is good for 24th among active players, is scoring on 23.7 percent of his shots in 2016-17. Frequent playoff hero3This is one of the reasons the Capitals signed him. Justin Williams has a career shooting percentage of 9.7 percent, but he’s scoring on 15.7 percent of his shots. Left winger Marcus Johansson has a career shooting percentage of 14.0 percent but is scoring on an astounding 22.9 percent of his shots. And he looks poised to shatter his career high mark for goals in a season. Some of that overachievement is bound to regress to the mean, but if the Caps’ history as a team is any indicator, Washington should be able to hold onto at least some of their improvements.That’s just one of PDO’s two (usually unstable) components. The other half of the Capitals’ brilliant, odds-beating equation is goaltender Braden Holtby. Holtby is among the best netminders in the world (his career save percentage is third-best among active goalies), and he’s only getting better. His goals against average and save percentage are both better than they were last season, and if it weren’t for Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk’s ridiculously impressive performance in 2016-17, Holtby would be a lock for a second consecutive Vezina Trophy. Goaltending statistics can be notoriously fluky, but they tend to be more stable over a career, particularly when they’re as consistently great as Holtby’s have been.The main criticism of the Capitals — and especially their captain, Alex Ovechkin — has been that they’re playoff underachievers.4It’s hilarious to assign an “underachiever” tag to a guy who ranks sixth all-time — and first among active skaters — in goals scored per game. Alexander Ovechkin is a gift and a once-in-a-generation talent, and every hockey fan on Earth — Washington Capitals fan or not — should cherish his existence. They’ve qualified for the postseason in eight of the past nine seasons but haven’t managed to get past the conference semifinals despite having rosters stacked with such quality players as Ovechkin, Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alexander Semin (when he was actually good), Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green (when he was actually good), and Holtby.When juxtaposed against the Capitals’ inability to make a deep playoff run, Washington’s degree of statistical dominance suggests that, sure, perhaps the team has underachieved a bit. But there’s no doubt that Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan have built a team poised to succeed in the modern era of the NHL. Not only do they have a group that controls the puck well, but they’ve also hacked through the noise of PDO to assemble a roster that isn’t just lucky when it beats the percentages. Who knows if the Capitals will win the Cup this year, but they’re a legitimately dominant team and, as things sit now, championship favorites. Maybe this is the year they finally shrug off the underachievers tag and deliver on that promise. read more


1 killed 7 injured in balcony collapse

first_imgKolkata: One person was killed and seven others were injured when a portion of the balcony of an old and dilapidated warehouse in Chitpur area collapsed, a senior officer of police said on Thursday. According to locals, a two-storied sugar factory located at 5, Khagen Chatterjee Road, opposite the Cossipore Gun and Shell Factory, has the factory in the ground floor, with the first floor being used as the labourers’ quarters. On Wednesday evening, eight persons were standing under the balcony of the building. At around 8.50 pm, a portion of the balcony collapsed on the people standing beneath. They were immediately rushed to different hospitals across the city by their family members. One of the injured Manju Singh (54) succumbed to her injuries at the Bisudhananda Saraswaty Marwari Hospital. Meanwhile, two of the injured were treated and discharged from a nursing home in Bagbazar. Five others are still undergoing treatment in multiple hospitals. “A portion of a balcony measuring 8ft by 10ft of the labourers’ quarters on the first floor of an old dilapidated (G+1 storied) warehouse, collapsed on Khagen Chatterjee Road. We have rescued other residents of the building safely,” an officer said.last_img read more