Stem cell technology continues to make news, but the phrase “stem cells” alone can mask serious ethical issues. Adult stem cells (AS) and embryonic stem cells (ES) are both being investigated for their ability to transform into any cell type in the body. Both are advertised as promising dramatic cures for debilitating diseases, with their ability to regenerate damaged tissue. ES cells are controversial, however, because a human embryo must be created and destroyed to harvest the cells. AS cells have no such ethical baggage: they can be harvested safely from an individual’s own bone marrow, from skin, from cord blood, from placental tissue and other organs. News articles about “stem cells” do not always highlight the source of the cells, but the distinction is important in more than one sense. As the following examples illustrate, ethically-challenged ES research holds only empty promises, while ethically-safe AS research has a growing record of impressive real-world therapies: Amyloidosis: A debilitating condition known as amyloidosis, which results in organ failure and death from misfolded proteins, has been successfully treated in 31% of test cases at Boston University Medical Center by blood stem cells and chemotherapy, reported EurekAlert. The patients showed improvement in both organ function and quality of life, the article said.Cornea Defects: Experiments on rabbits by Basque Research showed that adult stem cells from one cornea can regrow damaged cornea cells on the other eye. “The aim of the procedure was to regain the damaged epithelium and thus restore transparency to the cornea,” the researchers said, and “The technique is being currently applied to patients with satisfactory results.”Tissue Replacement: Researchers at UC Berkeley and Stony Brook University achieved remarkable success growing mesenchymal stem cells on a scaffold of biodegradable nanofibers. The results, published in PNAS,1 not only grew new endothelial cells, they resisted the formation of clots that occurred without the stem cells.Parkinson’s Disease: In the same issue of PNAS,2 a team of scientists from Yale, Harvard Medical School, UC San Diego and other institutions successfully treated primates suffering with Parkinson’s disease with human neural stem cells. The cells “survived, migrated, and had a functional impact” in the subjects. The neural stem cells, however, though not embryonic, were derived from human fetal brains, raising other ethical red flags. The article did not say if neural stem cells could be derived in other ways.Hearing: As reported here 07/01/2007, adult stem cells have also shown promise to cure hearing disorders that were once thought beyond the reach of medicine. Bone marrow stem cells survived and grew in the inner ear, regenerating damaged hair cells.Magic brew: Nature3 reported on the promising method of obtaining “ES-like” pluripotent stem cells from skin. The new “induced pluripotent stem cell” technique, tried on mice, is showing promise for getting all the benefits of ES cells without the need for the embryos. “If this method can be translated to humans,” Janet Rossant wrote, “patient-specific stem cells could be made without the use of donated eggs or embryos.” The reported cells passed the test of being able to contribute extensively to all cell types, including the germ line. Next will be the hard task of going from proof-of-principle to actual therapy. Rossant called the new stem cell elixir a “magic brew” ending with these encouraging words: “direct reprogramming of adult cells is clearly the way of the future, and promises to open up new frontiers in human biology and future therapy.” Slated to die anyway: Last month, Science reported on the ethical concerns over human embryo use from fertility clinics.4 Acknowledging the “moral concerns” and “contentious debates” over the use of human embryos in research, Anne Lyerly and Ruth Faden made the case that stored embryos from clinics will die anyway, and argued that 66% of the public doesn’t have a problem with using them. They also cited “mounting evidence that American scientists are losing ground to other countries with less restrictive policies.”Technical progress, but…: Late in June, Constance Holden expressed the frustration among stem cell researchers at President Bush’s refusal to allow federal funding for ES research.5 (President Bush had just vetoed a second bill on June 18; see Science Daily.) Although she cited several recent advances in methods for harvesting the stem cells for embryos, no applications or cures were mentioned. The tone of the article was that the Administration should relent and let the scientists do what they want: “Advocates were outraged by Bush’s second veto and were not mollified by an accompanying Executive Order encouraging the National Institutes of Health to continue to hunt for pluripotent cells that do not entail the destruction of embryos.” Adventure stories: M. Ian Phillips reviewed a stem-cell book for Science.6 Cynthia Fox’s book, Cell of Cells: The Global Race to Capture and Control the Stem Cell, is mostly an adventure story of the global race to tap the stem cell. Phillips mentions that the Hwang scandal was nearly as disappointing as if Armstrong had been found to fake the moon landing. In praising the book’s story, he did not mention any cures that have come from ES cells. Yet he ended with this criticism of the Bush administration and a plea that the show must go on:Bush has twice vetoed congressional bills to increase federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research. Cell of Cells illustrates the consequences for global science, states that fund their own researchers, and the dashed hopes of those who need potential treatments. Fox eloquently chronicles the consequences of this isolationist policy and squarely advocates a rational approach to funding research on both adult and embryonic stem cells.His only reference to ethics was after a sad line about “desperate stories of patients with heart failure, autoimmune disease, kidney failure, and Duchenne’s dystrophy.” Neglecting to mention whether ES cells provide any plausible hope for curing these, he said: “She [Fox] also warns of the trap of unethical, unscientific stem cell treatments in locations such as Moscow, Ukraine, and the Caribbean.” In other words, Phillips acknowledged that ES hype is leading to abuses, but he neglected to mention the seriously-held moral qualms of many about harvesting human embryos. Neither did he distinguish between the ethics of ES vs. AS stem cells.Giving up: A news item in the same issue of Science7 seems a strange bedfellow to the book review mentioned above. Dennis Normille reported that a Singapore firm named ES Cell International (ESI) is quitting ES research. Why? Investors have decided that “the likelihood of having products in the clinic in the short term was vanishingly small.” Normille treated this as bad news. “ESI’s setback may dampen investors’ enthusiasm for stem cell therapies, says Robert Lanza, vice president for R&D at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, Massachusetts: ‘What the field badly needs is one or two success stories.’” This implies that there have been none. Indeed, Normille had no success stories to tell: only trials using other techniques that American institutions have “in the pipeline.” The ex-executive of ESI, Alan Colman, admitted to “a tinge of disappointment that the field is moving more slowly than I had hoped.” 1Hashi et al, “Antithrombogenic property of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in nanofibrous vascular grafts,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 104: 11915-11920; published online before print July 5 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0704581104.2Redmond et al, “Behavioral improvement in a primate Parkinson’s model is associated with multiple homeostatic effects of human neural stem cells,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 104: 12175-12180; published online before print June 22 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0704091104.3Janet Rossant, “Stem cells: The magic brew,” Nature 448, 260-262 (19 July 2007) | doi:10.1038/448260a.4Lyerly and Faden, “Willingness to Donate Frozen Embryos for Stem Cell Research,” Science, 6 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5834, pp. 46-47, DOI: 10.1126/science.1145067.5Constance Holden, “Stem Cell Science Advances as Politics Stall,” Science, 29 June 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5833, p. 1825, DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5833.1825.6M. Ian Phillips, “Passage to Global Stem Cells,” Science, 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, p. 322, DOI: 10.1126/science.1146229.7Dennis Normille, “Singapore Firm Abandons Plans for Stem Cell Therapies,” Science, 20 July 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5836, p. 305, DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5836.305.Do you ever wonder how the entire international scientific community can seem to be unanimously in favor of Darwinism, unanimously anti-Bush, and all in agreement that humans are to blame for global warming? Just look at the “official” party line about stem cells. Certainly there are hundreds, if not thousands, of ethically-sensitive researchers who are pursuing adult stem cells and legitimate therapies to help the afflicted. They have made great strides. Why, then, is the editorial staff of Nature, Science and the other spokespersons for Big Science pursuing the vain hope of ES cells, when they have nothing but scandals and empty promises to show for it? It is uncanny how they keep pushing their unethical research down the throats of people who think it is wrong to kill one life to save another. Nobody is even stopping them; they are free to pursue it, if they wish – provided they get their own money. Instead, they expect the taxpaying public, morally opposed or not, to pay for it. Why? Because real investors know how to read the tea leaves, and notice that funding ES research is a bad investment, with a “vanishingly small” hope of success. ES advocates rarely mention the arguments of ethicists, and never treat them seriously. Their appeals are invariably based on selfishness or fraud: Americans will fall behind in the race, the embryos are not really human, and the like. They make tear-jerking commercials with Hollywood actors pulling on our heartstrings about the afflicted (as if ES stem cells would help), promising cures that don’t exist. One of the biggest scientific frauds in recent history was committed in the pursuit of ES cells. All the while, adult stem cell research has been galloping ahead with real results with little fanfare from the media. This puzzling behavior is documented in detail by Anne Coulter in her book Godless (Crown Forum, 2006), pp. 192-198. This is the only explanation that makes sense, and Coulter makes the connection: the same people who abuse science to promote ES research are the same ones opposing intelligent design to promote Darwin’s theory of evolution (p. 198). The irrational pursuit of an untenable position in one arena characterizes the same godless, materialistic, amoral liberalism that pushes evolution on students. It’s done in the name – but not the spirit – of science, but requires allegiance to a liberal agenda that cannot tolerate controversy, questioning, or debate (e.g., 07/13/2007). 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A group of homeless people living on the streets of Johannesburg have found their true calling in theatre. With the help of a dedicated teacher, the group is taking Shakespeare to the streets, using his words to tell their stories.Acting coach Dorothy Ann Gould and her Johannesburg Awakening Minds students use Shakespeare to find their voices and contribute to society. (Image: Johannesburg Awakening Minds Facebook page)CD AndersonFounded in 2012 by South African actress and acting coach Dorothy Ann Gould, the Johannesburg Awakening Minds (JAM) theatre group comprises homeless men and women living on the inner city streets of Johannesburg.The group began as an acting therapy class in Hillbrow, with the intention, as Gould writes on her website, of “[letting] individuals feel that they had the right to speak, the right to be seen and the right to tell their stories in a city which has been very cruel to them”.Classes include vocal training, theatre stagecraft and creative writing exercises. The students quickly began finding their voices in the works of William Shakespeare, with many of them starting to recite some of the Bard’s most famous soliloquies on street corners as their own performance pieces.In Shakespeare, Gould writes, the actors found that “[the words] of Macbeth and Titus were speaking about their pain and that the plays were huge receptacles that could hold all the emotions that they needed to release: the rage, the feelings of abandonment; they began to flex again their intellectual muscle, to debate, have opinions and to become a team that support each other and watch each other’s backs, not only on the streets, but on stage.”The group has performed on stage intermittently since 2013, including performances at the Johannesburg Arts Alive festival, at the Space.com event at the Johannesburg Theatre and as part of the Shakespeare Society of South Africa festival on radio station Classic FM.With their stage productions few and far between, most of the actors still live on the streets or in shelters, but they have found a continued inspiration in performing for the public on street corners. Some of the actors have moved into other artistic pursuits, such as painting, and selling their works at markets.Donations and sponsorships, as well any small profit from the group’s performances, have helped the JAM members slowly re-enter society, enabling some to open bank accounts, begin hawker businesses and help their families.Some of the rising stars of the JAM group have also found work in short student films and as extras in television productions.JAM member Thando Matodlana has been accepted to study at The Market Theatre Laboratory theatre school, while Sibusiso Magubane has acted in television commercials and is auditioning for speaking roles in local and international films being made in Johannesburg.Gould describes her students as “dedicated and passionate… the talent and growth they have displayed is truly inspirational. Proving that Shakespeare is not for the old, stuffy academic types and has a home in Africa.”For more information, join the Johannesburg Awakening Minds Facebook page for photos and videos of the group in action.To support the initiative, contact Dorothy Ann Gould via her Triple Take Studios website here.Source: BBC, News24, Johannesburg Awakening Minds Facebook PageWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
The magical kelp forest exhibit at Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium. Image: Two Oceans Aquarium By Lorraine Kearney11 June 2014The cold and wet weather has finally settled over the peninsula, and Capetonians have bedded down for their annual hibernation. In summer, the days are gloriously long, and families eat dinner after eight, children stay up til after nine – because the sun hasn’t set yet.But come winter, with its short, wet and cold days, and the town catches up on its zzzz’s. Dinner by 6.30pm, in bed before eight, and the drive to school in the morning is in the dark. Seaside towns are always dreary in the rain.But for those few hours of daylight, finding fun when it is pouring outside heads the list of important things to do in my family. Top draw is the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront – and it never gets tired.First stop has always got to be the giant spider crabs, where we spend ages trying to spy the faces of the samurai warriors on their bellies.Legend tells of a great Japanese sea battle, in which a young emperor, seeing that his army was defeated, threw himself into the water with his samurai warriors. The emperor and his soldiers turned into crabs and have been wandering the floor of the ocean ever since.Spider crabs are the largest crustaceans in the world; males grow to about 1m in length with a 4m leg stretch. They live about 400m under water that is pretty cool – between 11°C and 14°C. Very little is known about giant spider crabs. It is virtually impossible to determine their age and we do not know when they reach sexual maturity. They have to moult when they grow, shuffling off their old exo-skeletons. This is a complicated and potentially life-threatening process which can take up to two days. A crab can become entrapped in its old shell and die, but even if the moult is successful, the sheer effort is sometimes so exhausting, that the crab dies soon afterwards.Other favourite stops are the touch and feel tidal pools and the microscope displays. But really, the highlight every time is the penguins – they are irresistible, waddling around in their tuxedos. Check when you arrive to make sure you get there for feeding time. You’ll be glad you did.And if you’re game, you can even go scuba diving with the ragged tooth sharks – without a cage.After strolling around the aquarium, we highly recommend the short trip to the V&A Market on the Wharf. There’s a whole world of food on offer, from Hungarian street food to fried chicken, vegetarian curries to cakes and muffins, really good coffee to freshly juiced fruit and veggie drinks. It’s open every day except Christmas and New Year’s, meaning you can always get something delicious to eat.Outside the market – for that gap in the rain when fresh air is needed – is Nobel Square. Four larger-than-life bronzed statues stand in a row, all of them South African Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. Home happy and tired; job done.Read more about what to do in Cape Town on SouthAfrica.info
A video game released this week allows players to redevelop a community to green perfection – without pulling permitsOne of the newest titles in the realm of resource management video games is “Plan It Green,” in which, as mayor of the formerly fair city of Greenville, your mandate is to rescue your little burg from the grip of deterioration and pollution.Or as your speechwriter might phrase it, put the green back in Greenville.“Build eco-homes and apply green upgrades, all while bringing new clean jobs and industry to your city. Increase your Greendex as you leave behind the ways of the past and create a beautiful, sustainable metropolis!” says the introduction to the game, which was co-created by National Geographic and game publisher Merscom.I haven’t yet played this title (it is available for download for about $20), but a game reviewer I trust, David Becker, this week posted his take on “Plan It Green” on the gamer site Gamezebo. There’s a lot to like about this release, he says, in terms of challenge (the pace is quick from the get-go), graphics, and well-thought-out building options (including zero-energy homes, Co-Op Markets, parks, and other structures) that can be applied in the eight districts you visit in your capacity as mayor and builder in chief.These changes have to be made at the right time, though, so you can raise a certain amount in daily taxes (and energy credits), research new buildings, or apply upgrades (including thermal insulation paint, solar panels, and eco gardens) to certain buildings and settings.It could be that after a long day of sweating details on an actual construction project, your interest in this type of recreation might be diminished.But maybe not.“It might sound a bit odd,” Becker writes, “but “Plan It Green” is a great way to forget real environmental problems for a few hours by solving them virtually.”
Having represented India innumerable times in the field of athletics, I have always believed that the mantra behind my success was not the urge to win medals but to give my best shot every time I wore the national colours.I have always appreciated performance, not medals. Medals don’t make great athletes, consistent performance does.But some regrets remain. Although I got to represent India in the 1960 Rome Olympics, 1962 Asian Games and the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the opportunity to compete in the 1962 Perth Commonwealth Games eluded me. The country did not send any contingent to the 1962 Games because of the Indo- China war.I still feel bad about missing this opportunity, for I was at the peak of my career at this time. Had I participated in the Perth Games, I would have definitely bagged a gold medal for my country.I did get an opportunity to participate in the 1966 Games but I failed to win a medal.Coming to the Delhi Commonwealth Games, despite all the ominous predictions from eminent personalities that Indian athletes will put up a poor show in front of their foreign opponents, I feel our sportspersons will put up their best performance in the history of the Games.Never before have we won more than two medals in athletics in a single edition of the Games. But I’m confident this year we’ll break that jinx. Those gunning for a medal are Krishna Poonia, Harwant Kaur and Seema Antil (discus throw), Vikas Gowda (discus throw), Om Prakash (shot put), Renjith Maheshwary (triple jump) and – most probably – Tintu Luka (800m).advertisementPoonia and Maheshwary’s chances of bagging a medal have been further enhanced because of the fact that Dani Samuels and Philips Idowu have pulled out, from discus throw and triple jump respectively.In case of Luka, I would use the term ‘most probably’ because she Tintu Luka is India’s best bet in 800m.is still young and performing in front of a jam-packed home crowd can unnerve the best of athletes. But I would still expect her to give it her best shot. But Caster Semenya’s pull-out should give her some confidence.Nevertheless, I wouldn’t want to burden her with expectations. The fact that she will gain experience competing on such a big stage is a reward in itself. Also, the 20-km walkers can get a medal if they can repeat the act of their predecessors – who, in the 1982 Asian Games, had managed to run a fair distance in the middle of the race.Coming to the foreign athletes, we will definitely hold the upper hand as they have just ended their season and wouldn’t be at the top of their game. Their season starts in May and ends by the first week of October. So, they would have exhausted themselves by now.This was one of the major reasons behind the pullouts of the likes of Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.Security wasn’t a concern for them, but preparing for next year’s World Championships was. On the other hand, we have been preparing our athletes for the past two years, keeping in mind the Commonwealth and the Asian Games. So I expect them to be at their peak.While many would accept that performing in front of the home crowd can often go against an athlete as expectations get higher, I believe in encouraging them. They are professionals and know their job well.Those who are criticising the current lot might be doing so out of frustration – don’t ask me the reason – and because they don’t believe in the capabilities of our athletes. But I strongly feel the team is dedicated and determined to do a good job.Frankly, at the end of the day, everybody wants to perform for their country and criticism wouldn’t do much good for their confidence. We should all come together and show our solidarity and support to our athletes.(The writer is a 1962 Asian Games gold medallist and an Arjuna awardee)
Tottenham HotspurPremier League7.60 4Uruguay0.832+1.17 UnderachieversExpectedActualDifference 5Mexico0.520-0.52 Southgate’s plan seems to be to put the players from these teams into a compatible lineup before re-creating their off-the-ball tactics. As I noted in my Group G preview, of all the teams to qualify for the World Cup, England ranks third in breaking up an opponent’s possession before it completes three passes, behind only Germany and Spain.England’s famed problem has been getting its generational talents to click together. For once, the big teams in the Premier League are kindred spirits tactically, and this will have an impact on the national team’s ability to leverage the players provided by those clubs.Young attackersEngland is fielding an extremely young side in Russia, with an average age of 26 — only Nigeria is younger. And England’s average of 19 caps per player makes it the most inexperienced side in the competition.2Tied with Tunisia. But while they may be relatively new to the international stage, these youngsters are by no means immature in terms of elite soccer. England’s attack, in particular, is filled to the brim with talent just ready to peak. England features cohorts from aggressive-pressing clubsThe 10 big five European club teams best at pressuring opponents, 2017-18 2Netherlands0.670-0.67 4Russia0.600-0.60 Cups won Cups won 2Germany2.044+1.96 1Hungary0.920-0.92 1Brazil3.015+1.99 5Argentina1.442+0.56 Manchester CityPremier League6.71 sec. Hamburger SVBundesliga8.22 Nonetheless, the team that will face Tunisia on Monday is new and exciting. Gone are the mainstays from the past three World Cups, players like Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. Because of the players’ age and inexperience, this team is free of the weight of expectation — despite having the seventh best pre-tournament chance of taking the trophy home, according to FiveThirtyEight predictions. And for the neutral fan, too, England has a lot to offer.Tactical coherencePep Guardiola — the current manager of Manchester City, which became the first team in history to break the 100-point mark in the Premier League — has had an indirect hand in the past two World Cup-winning teams. In the final against the Netherlands in 2010, eight players featured on the pitch for Spain had been coached by Guardiola in his time at Barcelona. When Mario Götze broke Argentinian hearts in 2014, he was one of seven German players in the final to have played under the Catalan manager that season at Bayern Munich.This is likely to be less about Guardiola specifically, despite his brilliance, and more about his indirect influence on the tactical coherence of a national team. With him at the helm of the country’s best side, his players would naturally get national team starts; the ability of those players to click when on the pitch together meant that they had more coherent tactics than other teams stacked with good players. Indeed, Italy, which won the 2006 World Cup with a quintessentially Italian style of football, featured a spine of five Juventus players in the final.With only four Manchester City players on the squad, manager Gareth Southgate will pay homage to Guardiola’s team in style more than in personnel. Man City midfielders David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are playing for Spain and Belgium respectively, but Southgate will try to replicate them by using Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli as “free eights” in the midfield. England has six more players total from Tottenham, managed by Mauricio Pochettino, and Liverpool, managed by Jürgen Klopp. These teams, like City, press the opposition extremely aggressively out of possession, with all three in the top 10 in Europe’s biggest competitions this season in terms of how quickly they shut down their opponents: Tottenham’s Harry Kane, for example, is one of the best goal-scoring strikers in the world at the tender age of 24. Somewhat terrifyingly, he is still improving: He was even better at getting off quality shots this season than he was the year before. The expected goals per 90 minutes from his shots in the Premier League rose from 0.45 in 2016-17 to 0.75 this year.Dele Alli, 22, will support Kane for their country as he does for their club. His 2017-18 season was marred for some by the idea that it was a regression compared with the year before. What really happened, though, was that he got fewer chances but created more. He also experienced a downturn in chance conversion, from scoring 44 percent more than might be expected based on chance quality in 2016-17 to underachieving it by 12 percent this season. All that made people forget that Alli is one of the brightest under-23 talents in the world. And nobody — apart from maybe Denmark’s Christian Eriksen — is better at supplying Kane.Man City’s Raheem Sterling may have made recent headlines for getting a rifle tattooed on his leg, but the more important of his designs is the one on his arm of a young boy, wearing England’s No. 10 shirt, looking up at Wembley Stadium, the home of English football. He’s my player to watch for Group G because of his electric ability to both get and create chances, coming off the back of an incredibly productive league season with 18 goals and 11 assists. And he’s only 23.Dark horses?The biggest problem for England in terms of being a dark horse in Russia is its likely post-group opposition. The English have a good shot of making the quarterfinal (58 percent when the tourney began) but will probably have to face Germany or Brazil at that point, depending on whether England finishes above Belgium in their group. Winning a matchup against one of those powerhouses is a long shot, though anything can happen in a World Cup.England has an exciting team of young stars, playing at stylistically compatible clubs, and a manager who seems tactically savvy despite his relative inexperience. Even if they don’t manage to bring home the trophy this summer, the future looks bright for The Three Lions for the first time in a generation.Neil Paine contributed research.Check out our latest World Cup predictions. OverachieversExpectedActualDifference Expected goals1388 Goals3528 Bayern MunichBundesliga7.51 England’s youth movementRanks of Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling in key offensive statistics in the English Premier League, 2017-18 teamleagueAvg. Opponent Possession Duration *Among attackers with at least 850 minutes playedSource: Football Whispers Borussia DortmundBundesliga7.91 LiverpoolPremier League7.92 EibarLa Liga7.23 Rank per 90 minutes* The big five leagues are the Premier League (England), Bundesliga (Germany), Ligue 1 (France), La Liga (Spain) and Serie A (Italy).Source: Football Whispers Assists93158 Expected assists76127 3England1.621-0.62 There is an uncharacteristic air of hope this year surrounding an uncharacteristic England team. To be an England supporter is to inherit a contradictory combination of utter nihilism and raging anger, expecting nothing and everything at the same time. English players have developed an unfortunate reputation: They will wilt under the brightest lights, typified by the inability to hold their nerve during penalty shootouts.But the perception of mental weakness between generations is, to some extent, a consequence of the spread-out nature of international tournaments. The World Cup is rare and unpredictable: Germany, the defending champion, had just a 13 percent chance of winning in Russia going into the tournament, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model, and even Brazil, the favorite, had less than a 20 percent chance.Using pre-tournament Elo ratings going back to 1930, we can construct a logistic regression to look at how many World Cup trophies each country might have expected based on team strength, the competition format and whether the country was hosting.1Historically, having a home advantage makes a big difference, so the model adjusts for the advantage that comes with hosting responsibility.Brazil, Germany and Italy have roughly a pair of trophies each more than the model’s predictions based on their strength before the tournament, which illustrates that the World Cup is hardly a tale of who the favorite is going in.England has underachieved, winning a solitary trophy relative to 1.62 expected World Cups. By our measure, only Hungary, which was one of the world’s best in the 1950s, and the three-time runner-up Netherlands have seen a bigger discrepancy. English supporters born after 1966 are justified in feeling a tad underwhelmed by the team’s performances on the world stage, but it could be worse — of the underachievers, England is the only team to actually have managed a win at all. England should have more trophiesTop five under- and overachievers by actual World Cups won vs. expected Successful dribbles666831 MarseilleLigue 18.15 RomaSerie A8.36 3Italy2.144+1.86 Based on a logistic regression that uses each team’s pre-World Cup ELO rating, accounting for host country and size of field. Germany’s history includes West Germany, while Russia’s includes the Soviet Union.Source: EloRATINGS.NET RB LeipzigBundesliga7.88 StatisticHarry KaneDele AlliRaheem Sterling
OSU redshirt sophomore cornerback Marshon Lattimore knocks the ball out of the hands of a Rutgers player during the Buckeyes game on Oct. 2. The Buckeyes won 58-0. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorUrban Meyer is a fan of big, mobile quarterbacks, running the ball and defenses that do not give an inch. This season, the Ohio State coach has all three elements, with the defensive unit quite possibly being the most impressive part of the team.Against Rutgers, the Silver Bullets simply dominated. Surrendering just 116 total yards, OSU held Rutgers to its worst completion percentage this season, at just 18.75 percent. The only real offense given up by the Buckeyes on Saturday came courtesy of Rutgers junior running back Robert Martin, who produced 40 yards on 13 carries. Overall, OSU surrendered an average of 2.2 yards per carry, its best number this season.Meyer loves to play defensive football, and his team has given him record-setting defensive football this season. After a few slow offensive starts at the beginning of each game, he said the key has been the play of his defense, which has kept the Buckeyes in every game.“You know, any time you have great defense that’s — just the way the game of football is, you have great defense, thing are going to get usually rolling for you at some point,” Meyer said. “Even if you struggle a little bit.”Although a statement performance on the defensive side of the ball has the Buckeyes feeling well about their remaining Big Ten opponents, Indiana is not a team to sleep on. Redshirt junior quarterback Richard Lagow is second in the Big Ten with 1,278 passing yards, and leads the conference in terms of yards per attempt among other starting quarterbacks.In the backfield, junior Devine Redding is off to a fast start, picking up 413 yards rushing, averaging 5 yards per carry, but has failed to find the endzone. OSU has yet to surrender a rushing touchdown this season.Off to a 3-1 start, Indiana is coming off a barn-burner matchup against then-No. 17 Michigan State. The Hoosiers stunned the Spartans in overtime, picking up their third win of the season.Redshirt junior linebacker Chris Worley said he is not shocked the Hoosiers won. In the mind of Worley, it was all about the skill level of each team.“If both teams play hard, the best team should win on Saturdays,” Worley said. “I think both teams played hard, and the best team won.”Indiana presents a dynamic attack, which promotes an interesting challenge to the Buckeyes. Allowing just 9.0 points per game, OSU has one of the best defenses in the nation, which is exactly why OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell feels his unit is ready for the test of the Hoosiers.“We talk about objectives all the time, and objectives are things we measure every single day, every week,” Fickell said. “We try to leave the goals and the big long-term things until the end of the year. We know we’re are on the right path, we know we gotta continue to improve, but we like where we are right now.”OSU sacked Rutgers redshirt junior Chris Laviano three times, with three different players dragging down the quarterback. Redshirt junior Tyquan Lewis, redshirt freshman Robert Landers and freshman Nick Bosa all broke through the offensive line and took down Laviano.So far, Lewis and Bosa have two sacks each this season, while Landers picked up the first sack of his OSU career.For the first time this season, OSU’s defense failed to record a turnover. Incredibly, Rutgers is the first offense this season to prevent the Buckeyes from scoring a defensive touchdown.Indiana ranks as one of the worst in the nation in interceptions thrown per game, giving up nearly two picks per game. Although the Hoosiers give up plenty of picks and OSU missed out on forcing a turnover Saturday, redshirt sophomore cornerback Marshon Lattimore said grabbing another interception is not the goal.“I feel like if you’re too thirsty to get an interception, that’s when things go bad, so I’m just going to continue to play my technique and if it comes, it comes,” Lattimore said.Looking to continue their dominance on defense, the Buckeyes will face Lagow, Redding and the rest of the Hoosiers on Saturday in Ohio Stadium at 3:30 p.m. in their second Big Ten game of the season.
Ohio State then-redshirt junior Linnae Harper takes the ball up the court against Purdue in a Big Ten tournament semifinal game in Indianapolis. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station ManagerThe USA Basketball Women’s Under-23 National Team added the second Buckeye to its roster when Ohio State redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper was selected as an injury replacement Saturday evening.Harper joins Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell on the team, replacing South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson who will not play due to a groin strain. Harper and Mitchell are the only two Big Ten athletes on the roster.The Ohio State duo spent the past week competing at the national team training camp along with 34 other players. Thursday afternoon, USA Basketball announced a roster of 12 players that would travel to Tokyo to take part in the Four Nations Tournament.“I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” Harper said in a press release. “This past week was great for me, being able to play with the best players and coaches in the country. I’m very excited that I have the chance to compete and represent the USA again and play in Tokyo.”This isn’t Harper’s first time playing in international competitions. Harper has earned six medals while playing for USA Basketball, including three gold medals in the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship, 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championship and 2011 FIBA Under-16 World Championship.“We are excited to welcome Linnae, and I’ve got no doubt that she will pick things up quickly,” said Under-23 coach Jeff Walz, who also coaches at Louisville.Last season for Ohio State, the 5-foot-8 guard averaged 8.4 points, five rebounds and 1.9 assists per game and was honored as the 2017 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year.The United States will begin play against Australia Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. On Aug. 13 at 4:30 p.m., Harper and her team will face off against Canada before concluding with a game against Japan on Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Ohio State junior Joey McKenna faces off with Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith on Friday, March 16, 2018 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland at the NCAA wrestling championships. McKenna fell to Meredith by a 1-0 decision in the 141-pound semifinals. Credit: Jeff Helfrich | Senior Lantern ReporterCLEVELAND — With two sessions remaining in the NCAA wrestling championships and a slim chance at a team title for Ohio State, 141-pound junior Joey McKenna still did all that was asked and more than what was expected of him.McKenna was brought in via transfer in the offseason to win matches at the lower weights in the postseason and close the gap with perennial powerhouse Penn State.He has done just that. McKenna went undefeated in the Big Ten and NCAA championships until his loss to Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith in the semifinals Friday and surrendered just five points in that span of three matches.He then found it tough to get the taste of winning — as a team — out of his mouth.“My performance has direct implications on the team race, which actually makes me more excited to compete,” McKenna said. “Because not only am I contending for a national title myself but, what I do out on the mat pertains directly to how we’re going to do as a team.”McKenna picked up two early-round technical-fall decisions by a combined total of 31-1 in the first two round of the tournament and an 8-3 decision win in the quarterfinals before his slim 1-0 semifinals loss.Stanford, McKenna’s former school, was never in a team race near the level of the NCAA championships during the lightweight’s time there. Any match he wrestled had more individual than team implications. McKenna expressed to his team during a meeting this week that his level of enthusiasm had increased since joining Ohio State. It’s no longer just about him.Ohio State was left reeling last season after scoring one of the highest second-place point totals at the NCAA championships in history, yet still losing to Penn State. The program turned to a 141-pound transfer from Stanford who was homesick for New Jersey and looking for a change. That weight class was a weakness for both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions.McKenna’s transfer process was not a one-horse race. Among the competition for Ohio State was Penn State and Lehigh. But McKenna said the close-knit culture of the Buckeyes won out in the end. If McKenna had become a Nittany Lion, the national championship could have already been decided.“I was looking more at top programs, national contending programs,” McKenna said. “But really it was about having the best fit. If I would have went to Penn State it would have been a lock, but here I am and we’re contending right now. It’s a different outlook.”McKenna had been mostly foreign to raucous environments in dual meets and tournaments before arriving in Columbus. He said he experienced a dual meet in the Schottenstein Center that outclassed any meet he had at Stanford. That environment traveled to the nearby national tournament in Cleveland.“We were practicing all week in Columbus and I was just like, ‘This feels like a home outing.’ And it really is,” McKenna said. “Fifty percent of the fans it seems like are rooting for the Buckeyes every time we’re out on the mat. It’s just really fun.”On top of his undefeated performance at the Big Ten tournament and a semifinals run in the national tournament, McKenna also won a close match in a dual meet between Ohio State and Penn State on Feb. 3. Ranked 11th at the time, he upset No. 6 Nick Lee by a 7-6 decision and gave the Buckeyes an early lead they later relinquished.“[McKenna’s] been a blessing to the team,” Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said. “He’s a great leader. It was hard to see him lose. He was wrestling extremely well. He ran into someone that was wrestling well, also. Just a great leader for us, and he’s blended into the team extremely well.”Despite a 19-1 regular-season record, McKenna feels he’s been an underdog for most of the season in a loaded Big Ten conference. He’s also found himself in a star-studded locker room full of accomplished veterans. But it won’t be that way for long.McKenna will soon take the place of many seniors departing the team, and become the veteran leader.“Obviously on the team you’ve got big heads like [senior] Kyle [Snyder] and [junior] Myles [Martin] and [redshirt sophomore] Kollin [Moore]. A lot of big shoes to live up to,” McKenna said. “That’s what I’m trying to do right now, just make a place for my name. I’m going to be a senior next year. Only being here one year so far, my second year I want to go ahead and lead the team next year.”Another reason McKenna said he chose Ohio State was Snyder, whom he knew beforehand through the northeast and international wrestling scene. The bond of the two has grown stronger since his transfer, much like McKenna’s resume.Snyder was impressed with his teammates both new and old, despite a losing streak that came early in the semifinals.“We had two close matches that we dropped and then a couple other close,” Snyder said. “Joey was close, Nate and Lee, they go back and forth, and then [Micah Jordan]. So I’m happy with all my teammates. I love them. They’re doing everything they can do, you know. But just stinks that we’re losing right now.”Ohio State had a championship-caliber team on paper thanks to the addition of McKenna.On Day Two of the NCAA championships, the Buckeyes entered loud and left quiet. The opposite is true of McKenna’s first season with Ohio State.“He didn’t say much for a while,” Ryan said. “He just worked really hard. And he earned the respect of his team with his work rather than his words. He’s been a pleasure to have.”
Napoli completed an extraordinary comeback from 2-0 down to beat Milan 3-2 under thirty minutes at the Stadio San Paolo.Jack Bonaventura’s acrobatic half-volley and a Davide Calabria angled drive had put Gennaro Gattuso’s men firmly in control at the Stadio San Paolo.However, as they did last week at Lazio, Carlo Ancelotti’s side fought back for the victory.A Piotr Zielinski’s smartly-taken double restored parity for the Naples side before substitute Mertens then pounced at the back-post to complete an unlikely comeback win for Carlo Ancelotti’s new club.Serie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….It was also a notable night for David Ospina’s first start for the hosts since his summer move from Arsenal.The Naples outfit now sit joint-top of the early Serie A table alongside champions Juventus, having both maintained their perfect starts on Saturday.Napoli pushed Juventus all the way in the title race last season and will be hopeful of going one better this time around.