Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Ivory, Ivory Trade, Mammals, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking Article published by Shreya Dasgupta By matching DNA from elephant tusks found in major illegal ivory shipments, and using information on the ports of origin of the shipments, researchers have pinpointed three major cartels that moved most of Africa’s large illegal ivory shipments between 2011 and 2014.These three cartels operated from Entebbe in Uganda, Mombasa in Kenya, and Lomé in Togo.The researchers hope that links established in the study will help tie ivory-trafficking kingpins to multiple large ivory seizures, and strengthen the case against them. Around 40,000 African elephants are illegally killed for their tusks every year. But catching ivory poachers, and successfully convicting them, has remained incredibly hard.In 2016, for instance, Kenyan businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali was found guilty of dealing in ivory worth $433,000, equivalent of killing at least 120 elephants, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. But a Kenyan judge recently acquitted Feisal based on trial irregularities, referring his case to a lower court for retrial. Feisal and his co-conspirators had been originally tried for only one ivory seizure, but the case against him could have been stronger had he been tied to multiple large ivory shipments that he’s suspected of being associated with.A new study has found a way to do that.By matching DNA from elephant tusks recovered from major illegal ivory shipments, and using information on the ports of origin of the shipments, Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington, U.S., and colleagues have pinpointed three major cartels that moved most of Africa’s large illegal ivory shipments between 2011 and 2014. These three cartels operated from Entebbe in Uganda, Mombasa in Kenya, and Lomé in Togo, the researchers report in the study published in Science Advances.“What we have realized is that the poachers are difficult to find because they operate in these large areas that they know really well, and even when they’re apprehended, they only have as much ivory as they can carry. And what they do is they sell their ivory to this pyramid of middlemen who move it up the crime chain to the ports where it’s consolidated and shipped in large volumes,” Wasser told reporters in a teleconference. “So the tools described in this new paper developed ways to link individual trafficking cartels to multiple shipments and to each other.”African elephants at watering hole, Okavango Delta, Botswana. Image by Art Wolfe/Art Wolfe Inc.Over the past decade, Wasser has pioneered the use of genetic methods to match ivory seizures to their points of origin. He started by collecting elephant dung across Africa, and used the DNA in the dung to create a genetic map of elephants across the African continent. This has been instrumental in mapping shipments: by matching DNA from unknown tusks in seized ivory to the DNA reference map of elephants, Wasser’s team has been able to determine the geographic origin of the seized ivory within 300 kilometers (186 miles) of the poaching source. Using these methods, the team in 2015 showed that there were two major elephant poaching hotspots in Africa: a hub for forest elephant ivory that includes Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, and a hub for savanna elephant ivory that includes Tanzania and Mozambique.During the course of their investigation, Wasser’s team observed that more than half the tusks in the large ivory seizures they sampled from shipments appeared to be unpaired — that is, only one of the two tusks from an individual elephant was present in a shipment, while its pair was in another one. They found that in every case they examined, the two shipments containing matching tusks passed through a common port, and were shipped close together in time. Moreover, there was high overlap in the geographic origin of tusks in the shipments.By linking the matching seizures to the shipments, the team was able to identify what they think are the three largest cartels that were involved in illegal ivory shipments between 2011 and 2014, a period when the illegal ivory trade was at its peak.“These three characteristics suggest that the same major trafficking cartel was actually responsible for shipping both of the shipments,” Wasser said. “The overlapping origin of the tusks in the matching seizures also suggested that these cartels were probably supporting the poaching operations on the ground. When you think about this, it costs about $25 for a bullet to kill an elephant and these poachers don’t have a lot of money. And so someone needs to be supporting them and the fact that all this ivory was being drawn out of the same locations suggests that that was indeed the case.”Samuel Wasser and his team do forensic analysis of a 4.6-ton ivory seizure in Singapore in 2015. The containers were being shipped from Mombasa, Kenya, to Vietnam. Image by Kate Brooks/The Last Animals.Wasser’s team was also able to establish links between the three cartels, suggesting the cartels could sometimes be working together across the continent. For example, the researchers found that a 6-ton ivory shipment — with 4 tons of savanna elephant ivory and 2 tons of forest elephant ivory — that was intercepted in Malaysia in 2012 had passed through both Mombasa and Togo ports. Genetic matching of tusks revealed that the Mombasa cartel had shipped savanna elephant ivory from East Africa, which was offloaded in Togo in West Africa. The Lomé cartel in Togo then added tusks from Central and West African forest elephants to the shipment, before the final export to China via Malaysia. The Malaysia seizure, in fact, included tusks with matches in two other seizures in Togo in 2013 and 2014.The researchers hope the links they’ve identified will help tie ivory-trafficking kingpins like Feisal and his co-conspirators to multiple large ivory seizures, and help strengthen the case against them.“It takes a long time to catch these guys, and Feisal is a great example,” Wasser said. “He was tried, the data that we provided was important to that case, but now he’s since appealed and been acquitted. But now because of the connections that we’ve continued to gather, we have the opportunity to build a much stronger case against him as well as his co-conspirators, all of whom were acquitted.”Strong DNA evidence also allows law enforcement officials to uncover some of the tricks that cartels use to mask their illegal activities. For instance, there may be two different names on two different shipments, and this may make one think that there’s not really a link between those two shipments, Wasser said. “But if you have strong evidence from the DNA linking these two shipments together, that allows you to explore deeper and see — are those names on those bills of landing really real. And so, that really helps you uncover those kinds of trickery.”Making the connection between multiple seizures is also useful for tracking financial links and transactions associated with the illegal shipments, said John Brown, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “The connections through the DNA analysis have facilitated the financial investigations into these transactional criminal organizations which in the end will help us facilitate recuperating the assets that were illegally gained through this illegal activity,” he said.However, the success of the genetic matching and geographic origin assignment tools depends on the willingness of countries making large seizures to submit samples for DNA analysis as close as possible to the time of the seizure, the researchers say.In 2013, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) passed a decision urging countries making large ivory seizures to turn that ivory over for DNA testing for origin analysis to appropriate labs within 90 days of the seizure.“Almost no country complied with that directive,” Wasser said. “And since then, we’ve worked very hard to try to compel countries to provide these data on a more timely basis because we know that these poaching hotspots are few in number and slow to change. It means that if we get a recent ivory seizure, and we know where the majority of that ivory is coming from, chances are that’s where the ivory is going to continue to be poached. And that’s a good place to direct law enforcement.“The same thing happens with developing these links between these different cartels,” he added. “The sooner we start to get strong linkages, then the sooner that law enforcement can go in and really start to dig deeper and see where that leads.”Tusks from an ivory seizure in 2015 in Singapore sorted into pairs by the process developed by Wasser and his team. Image by Center for Conservation Biology/University of Washington.Citation:Wasser et al. 2018. Combating transnational organized crime by linking multiple large ivory seizures to the same dealer. Science Advances. Vol. 4(9), DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0625. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MOORPARK, Calif. (AP) — A rare fossilized mammoth found at a construction site may find a new home. The City Council this week will be asked to approve donating the bones to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. The adult female’s skeleton has 8-foot tusks and stands 13 feet tall at the shoulders. It was uncovered by a bulldozer operator grading a construction site in 2005 and is believed to be 800,000 years to 1.4 million years old. Assistant City Manager Hugh Riley said the museum beat out the larger Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County because of its enthusiasm. “We didn’t get that same enthusiasm from L.A. County,” Riley said. “I guess you could say we wanted to be a big mammoth in a smaller museum, rather than a small mammoth in a much bigger museum.” The museum must build a storage space for the mammoth but hopes to have the fossils in place by year’s end, said Karl L. Hutterer, executive director of the Santa Barbara museum. “We have a geology fossil exhibit, which is slated for redesign and expansion, and the Moorpark mammoth will fit in perfectly,” he said.
The Western Carolina University community is mourning the loss of Chancellor David O. Belcher, who died Sunday, June 17, at the age of 60 after a more than two-year battle with brain cancer.WCU’s chancellor since 2011, Belcher was widely recognized for energizing the university community to work with regional leaders to serve the needs of Western North Carolina, a combined effort that resulted in WCU reaching all-time highs in student achievement, enrollment, retention and graduation rates, in student and alumni engagement and in philanthropic giving. Belcher, who went on medical leave Dec. 31, 2017, had been battling brain cancer since April 2016. He underwent surgery to remove a glioblastoma brain tumor in May 2016, followed by an 11-month treatment plan that initially seemed successful. But in early August 2017, he informed the WCU campus that he had experienced a recurrence of the cancer and, in late November 2017, announced his plan to go on medical leave at the end of the calendar year with no plans to return to his position.Belcher’s legacy at WCU includes support and implementation of two pivotal statewide initiatives that are expected to greatly enhance public higher education in WNC – the NC Promise tuition program that dramatically lowers student college costs, and his efforts toward the successful passage of the Connect NC bond, which included $110 million in funding for WCU’s Apodaca Science Building, a state-of-the-art facility that will prepare students for 21st-century professions in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.In addition, his support for the consolidation of WCU economic growth-oriented graduate and undergraduate programs at a new instructional site in Asheville represented an unprecedented strategic investment in economic development opportunities for the WNC region. Plans are in the works for a memorial service to be held on the WCU campus. Details will be announced when they become available.News of Belcher’s death has resulted in an outpouring of statements of grief, admiration and appreciation from across the WCU community and University of North Carolina System.Margaret Spellings, president, UNC System: “David Belcher’s passion, integrity and vision have forever shaped and strengthened the university that he loved so much. David’s fierce belief in Western Carolina University’s ability and responsibility to change the lives of students and transform the region it serves inspired the Catamount community, and it inspired me. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Susan, whose own unfailing support and passion for WCU continues, in part through the Belchers’ heartfelt and significant personal gift towards Catamount student scholarships.”Louis Bissette, chair, UNC Board of Governors: “North Carolina has lost an incredible public servant and a great advocate for higher education. David Belcher was one of most inspiring leaders in higher education that I have ever encountered. As a longtime resident of Western North Carolina, I have a deep and abiding appreciation for the work he did on behalf of the mountain region and for Western Carolina University. My thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”Patricia Kaemmerling, chair, WCU Board of Trustees: “Today, we are heartbroken. David Belcher, my friend and our chancellor, was a truly inspiring leader with an uncanny ability to touch the soul of everyone he met. With his razor-sharp wit, his intense focus on the pursuit of excellence and his abounding love for students, David re-energized our Western Carolina University community. If you had the chance to know him, you admired him. If you had the opportunity to work with him, you respected him. If you had the honor to call him friend, you loved him. He brought us leadership, which made us stronger. He brought us transparency, which instilled us with trust. He brought us music and laughter, which gave us joy. His stamp will forever be on this campus, in this region and in our hearts. As we all mourn the passing of our friend, our colleague and our leader, please save a special thought for Susan Belcher and other members of the Belcher family as they grieve this unimaginable loss. We are especially thankful to them for sharing David Belcher with us for these past seven wonderful years.”Brian Railsback, chair, WCU Faculty Senate: “As chair of the Faculty Senate, working with David Belcher reminded me how knowledgeable he was about how the university works at all levels. When we were working on funding several major Faculty Senate initiatives, his advice on how to get from A to Z was genius. He made my job much easier. His incredible administrative skill might have been easy to miss because he made it look so easy and because his huge personality, artistry and humanity shined so brightly.”Mandy Dockendorf, chair, WCU Staff Senate: “Dr. Belcher’s tenure marked a deeply positive shift in employee morale and engagement. He showed us what one person working with purpose and a generous spirit could accomplish. He made us feel like we were valued and that our work made a difference. Under his leadership, WCU came together as a community with pride of place. Dr. Belcher’s enthusiasm and energy was infectious; after hearing from him, you couldn’t help but to aim higher, work harder and give more. He led by example, not only giving back to university scholarships but also pouring his heart and soul into WCU students, staff and faculty. His legacy is the renewed sense of dedication we each have for WCU and our community. Dr. Belcher left us too soon, but our days are brighter and more purposeful for having known him. We will keep his legacy of excellence and generosity alive here at WCU.”Katherine Spalding, president, WCU Student Government Association: “Chancellor Belcher never failed to make the student voice the loudest in the room. He will forever be in our purple and gold hearts, and remembered for leading this institution into a new era. He will be missed as more than just our chancellor, but also our friend, cheerleader and hero.”Robin Parton Pate, president, WCU Alumni Association: “Alumni across Catamount Nation are heartbroken over the loss of our beloved and legendary leader, Chancellor David Belcher. His inspirational passion, love for WCU and the people it serves, and inclusive leadership has positively transformed our university and the region. There is a renewed sense of pride among alumni as a result of his tenure at WCU, which was characterized by a unique ability to motivate others and empower them to thrive under his leadership. We are forever grateful for his vision, dedication and the lasting impact he and Susan have made in the lives of our students, community and alumni.”Prior to his appointment at WCU, Belcher served at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock from 2003 until 2011 as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, and at Missouri State University from 1988 until 2003, first as coordinator of keyboard studies in the Music Department (1989-1992), then as assistant dean (1993) and dean (1994-2003) of the College of Arts and Letters.Known as a champion of public service, Belcher served on key boards of directors, including the My Future NC Commission on state educational attainment, the NCAA Division 1 board on intercollegiate athletics, the North Carolina Arboretum and the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in Arkansas. He also was the founder and five-year director of the statewide Missouri Fine Arts Academy.A native of Barnwell, South Carolina, Belcher was predeceased by his parents, Jean Orr Belcher and Posey Belcher Jr. He was a 1975 graduate and valedictorian of Barnwell High School and earned his bachelor’s degree from Furman University in 1979, master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1981 and doctorate from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in 1989, all in piano performance. He studied in Vienna, Austria, for two years, funded in part by a Rotary Foundation Graduate Fellowship.Belcher was regarded as a passionate and committed believer in the power of education. His message – “We are in the business of changing lives” – became both an inspiration and a challenge to those sharing his commitment. He enjoyed travel to experience new cultures, and was an avid gardener. Many remember his infectious laugh, quick wit and energetic leadership style.Surviving are his wife of 14 years, Susan Brummell Belcher; brother Philip Burgess Belcher and wife Kelly of Asheville, North Carolina; sister Elizabeth Belcher Mixon and husband Ben of Rock Hill, South Carolina; and sister Miriam Belcher Ponder and husband Dean of Huntersville, North Carolina. He also is survived by his aunt, Martha White of Allendale, South Carolina, and nephews and nieces Owen Belcher and wife Olga Shupyatskaya, Kera Belcher, Sarah Mixon, Eleanor Mixon and Noah Ponder.Susan Belcher extends her thanks to family, friends and colleagues for their caring support, as well as the medical teams of Duke University Medical Center and Cancer Care of WNC.In lieu of flowers, the Belchers request that memorials be directed to the foundation endowments of Western Carolina University, Furman University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Missouri State University.For additional information, visit the website belcher.wcu.edu.
Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Internet of Things (IoT) startup Notion has raised $3.2 million in funding, provided by XL Innovate and Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures.The funding comes two years after Notion started a Kickstarter to sell smart sensors that can track broken windows, water leaks, and unauthorized access to the house. Backers started receiving their sensors in February, though some are still waiting.See also: Could autonomous cars destroy the auto insurance industry?For Liberty Mutual, Notion could prevent water leaks or burglaries from getting out of hand, lowering the amount insurers have to pay and potentially lowering the cost of insurance for homeowners.This has already happened, State Farm and other insurers provide lower rates for homeowners that own a Nest thermostat or smoke detector.“We’ve received a lot of interest from insurance companies,” said Brett Jurgens, CEO of Notion, to Denver Post. “A big part is the insurance companies are interested in decreasing water leaks and (increasing) home security adoption. The benefit passes on to customers.”Notion handles a lot of tasksPart of Notion’s appeal is the variety of things the smart sensor can do. In the Kickstarter video, Jurgens mentions acceleration, moisture, sound, temperature, light, orientation, natural frequency, and proximity. It can track the amount of propane left in a tank, whether the garage door is unlocked, and if a safe is opened.The investment in Notion is only the start for Liberty, which set aside $150 million for insurance tech groups. The company’s first IoT investment was August Home, one of the most popular smart locks.We are going to see more of these insurance-technology partnerships, and this might prompt a quicker IoT adoption rate from customers that want lower insurance rates. It may also go the other way though, if customers are worried about their private data getting into the hands of insurers. Follow the Puck Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces David Curry Tags:#Home Monitoring#insurance#Internet of Things#IoT#Liberty Mutual#Notion
20 Questions on SSD: Things you’ll want to ask.Question #4: How consistent is the performance of your SSD?In the last few blogs of our 20 questions on SSD series, we looked at OEM qualification, endurance, and power loss protection. In this blog, we’ll look at a question that’s critical to performance in RAID sets and planning in your data center, “How consistent is the performance of your SSD?”We’ve talked about SSDs in the past with analogies using cassette tapes, Peter Frampton, and my vintage Honda Civic… This time, we’ll use the 1981 Yamaha XJ550 Seca I started riding in the late 80s. Let’s just say it was well worn (+50k miles) when I bought it for a mere $250 in 1988. It was a sweet ride and great on gas, exciting as I was completely broke at the time. The point here is it was a great bike… although it did have a small problem with the starter. Sometimes the starter worked, sometimes it didn’t, sometimes my 119 pound self just had to push start it, and most of the time I parked at the top of a hill just in case.I never knew whether or not the starter would behave which was terribly frustrating. I could have used a little consistency.. which brings me to my point about SSDs. Planning in the Enterprise data center requires components that perform consistently and SSDs are no exception.So let’s start with a couple of graphs, these are from some testing we did internally at our lab in the NVM (Non-Volatile Memory) Solutions Group here at Intel. The 1st graph on the left (in blue) is an Intel SSD DC3500 Series drive performing a mixed 70/30 read/write workload with 4k blocks across the whole span of the drive at a queue depth of 4. We used Iometer and a recent Intel Xeon E5-2600 server to create this load on the SSD. You’ll notice that the performance over time averages between 20-22k IOPS consistently during the entire duration of the test series. Next let’s look at a really good drive of the same capacity as the Intel SSD DC S3500 Series from a top manufacturer on the right (in red).This graph is the result of running the exact same workload in the exact same configuration as the Intel SSD. You’ll notice immediately that if you average out the IOPS of both the Intel SSD and this other SSD, the other SSD is a bit lower… but pretty close. You’ll also notice that the other SSD occasionally peaks at about 2x IOPS, but also dips to only 70% the IOPS we see from the Intel SSD. We’ve found this type of inconsistent performance behavior in many of the SSDs we’ve evaluated internally from other manufacturers.Now take a look at the RAID 0 scaling tests we did with the same drives. We used RAID 0 for demonstration purposes as it requires the least amount of overhead from the RAID controller. Perfect linear scaling is shown in gray, good scaling from a consistent SSD is shown in blue, and poor scaling from an inconsistent SSD is shown in red. What we found here is that the worst element in a RAID set dictates the overall performance of the array in general. In other words, you really can’t duplicate Shakespeare’s work by running a tornado through a pile of random shredded documents.Now let’s frame this in terms of the Enterprise data center. For example, I’m planning for a new SQL database (DB) deployment and I’m putting SSDs in a RAID 5 for my main database files and a RAID 10 for my log files. The question is, “Do I want to plan around a drive that delivers the same consistent performance regularly?” I know that Intel Data Center SSD is going to cost a little more than the competition. However, my alternative is to deal with inconsistent performance and the potential for application problems that would be difficult to troubleshoot and impossible to reproduce. It’s akin to asking whether or not you want a guitar amplifier that “goes to 11”… as long as you’re OK with a volume knob that sticks at “7” on an unpredictable basis. And… unlike my erratic starter in that XJ550 Seca, I can’t exactly park my database at the top of a hill every time and give it the old run, jump, & bump. I know which SSD I’d prefer for my production environment.Consistency in performance, much like OEM qualification, endurance, and power loss protection are critical to data center deployments and come built-in with every member of the Intel Data Center Family of SSDs. I’ll be back in a few weeks to talk about more SSD goodness in the 5th installment of our 20 questions blog, see you then…- ChrisChristian Black is a Datacenter Solutions Architect covering the HPC and Big Data space within Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group. He comes from a 23 year career in Enterprise IT.Follow Chris on Twitter at @RekhunSSDs. #ITCenter #SSD
Alessandro Florenzi could reportedly leave Roma in January, leaving Inter, Fiorentina, Olympique Lyonnais and Shanghai Shenhua on red alert. Florenzi, who is a Roma youth graduate, has been in the first team since 2011, making over 250 appearances for the Giallorossi and taking over their captaincy after Daniele De Rossi’s exit. However, he has been used increasingly sparingly under Paulo Fonseca, who has gone with Leonardo Spinazzola as his starting right-back this season. Sunday’s match with Parma was the sixth in succession he started on the bench, and Sport Mediaset is now claiming he may seek a move away this winter to be sure of his place in Italy’s Euro 2020 squad. As per the broadcaster, Inter and Fiorentina have both kept tabs on the 28-year old for some time, while Lyon boss Rudi Garcia is an admirer from his time working with him at the Olimpico. There could also be a reunion with ex-Roma teammate Stephan El Shaarawy at Shanghai Shenhua in China. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels playing a Test series in India just ahead of the Ashes at home will require major adjustments in the squad.”It’s obviously vastly different, if you look at the squad that we could probably put out for the first Test in Brisbane compared with the squad you’d think about playing on a spinning wicket in India, they’re probably two completely different squads,” Ponting was quoted as saying by ‘The Age’.”It’d be nice to get some match hardness into the guys, having not played a lot of Test cricket at that stage, but we’ll come home then and be back into one day cricket in Australia anyway so we’ll just have to manage that as well as we can,” he added.Australia’s tour of India later this year was supposed to be a seven-match ODI affair but after India became the world number one Test side, the BCCI requested Cricket Australia to include five-day matches during the tour.CA is yet to respond but there is a possibility that it would not have any problem in accommodating the Indian Board’s request.The Aussies are busy gearing up for the Ashes, aiming to beat old rivals England in the historic series at the end of the year.”We won’t be underdone, there’s no doubt about that, we’ll make sure that hopefully every player will get at least two Sheffield Shield games under their belt leading into that first Test, which I think would be really good preparation,” Ponting said.advertisement
zoom Declining spot market rates and vessel impairments have pushed tanker shipping company Maersk Tankers to a USD 483-million loss in the second quarter of 2017 from a profit of USD 28 million recorded a year earlier.The vessel impairments worth USD 464 million were due to an expected continuation of the lower asset valuations, the company said.The tanker giant saw a drop of 27 % in average Time Charter Equivalents (TCE) when compared to Q2, 2016, as freight rates declined in both West of the Suez and in the East.“The decline in freight rates was due to a high influx of new vessels growing the global product tanker fleet by 1.3% and further increased refinery maintenance, particularly in East Asia. Additionally, drawdowns of oil inventories continue to lower demand for transportation of refined oil products,” Maersk said reporting the group’s results for the quarter.The tanker operator’s underlying loss was USD 17 million, against a profit of USD 26 million in Q2 2016.Maersk Tankers said it was working to curtail the loss through “optimized vessel positioning, cost savings and additional income from its third-party service, enabled by digital solutions.”At the end of the quarter, the company operated 160 product tanker vessels, of which 81 are owned, 24 chartered and 55 tankers are on commercial management.The order book totalled nine MR newbuildings and an option for 10 LR2 product tankers. One MR newbuilding will be delivered in Q3 2017, one in Q4 2017 and the last seven in 2018.
L.A. Chargers561710 Lamar Miller1124.42 Atlanta561413 Green Bay77141 N.Y. Jets52240 Arizona66194 Miami7781 N.Y. Giants67234 Denver661311 Cleveland70161 Washington69170 Cincinnati69202 Tennessee53352 Dallas57186 PlayerNo. of carriesyards per carry New England49928 Chicago642010 Pittsburgh61157 Todd Gurley2025.12 Average63177 Houston62340 San Francisco40841 Seattle7795 Gurley is basically the same back he has always been since he came into the league. If you use broken and missed tackles as a proxy for talent,3The ability to break a tackle or make a man miss is one of the few things a running back has some measure of control over in football. you can see that Gurley makes defenders miss when running against six-man fronts far less than expected. He thrives, like most running backs, when he’s allowed to hit open holes and get to the second level relatively unscathed. New Orleans601312 Detroit61105 Kansas City59229 There are other benefits from repeatedly giving the opponent the same look, however, and they affect Gurley’s performance in important ways. When a team can spread a defense out laterally across the field, it opens up the middle and makes running the ball easier. Running backs with at least 20 carries averaged 4.75 yards per carry against six men in the box from 2016 to 2018.2Through Week 6. That’s well over half a yard higher than the average of 4.09 yards per carry when that same group of runners faced seven defenders near the line of scrimmage. Against eight-man fronts, the average gain falls to 3.59. Facing a loaded box makes running much more difficult.McVay is no rube. He likely realizes that if you are going to run in the NFL, you should do so against a light box. Even better, this is something he can control. An offense exerts quite a bit of influence over how many box defenders it faces by how many wide receivers it chooses to deploy. When offenses play three wideouts, NFL defensive coordinators will typically match body type with body type and send a nickel defensive back in to cover the third receiver, leaving six defenders in the box.As a consequence, Gurley has faced more six-man fronts on his carries than any other running back in football since McVay took over as head coach of the Rams. It has paid serious dividends. So far this season, Gurley is crushing it against those fronts, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. But against a neutral seven-man front, he’s been below league average at just 3.7 yards per attempt. Personnel package Todd Gurley is off to one of the hottest starts in NFL history. After rushing for a league-leading 623 yards and nine touchdowns — plus 247 receiving yards and two more TDs through the air — Gurley has accumulated the fifth-most adjusted yards1Adjusted yards are total yards from scrimmage, with touchdowns converted into 17.8 yards. from scrimmage through six games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, joining former Rams greats Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson near the top of the list. The Rams are 6-0 on the young season, and Gurley’s breakneck performance is often cited as a catalyst for the team’s success. He has even been in the early discussion for league MVP.But is that really warranted? Does the Rams offense truly run through Gurley, or should we be giving head coach Sean McVay more of the credit?One approach to answering that question is to look at how McVay’s scheme affects Gurley’s performance. So far this year, the Rams have run nearly every offensive play from what is called the “11” personnel: one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers. According to charting from Sports Info Solutions, the Rams have run 95 percent of their offensive plays from this package — 32 percentage points more than the league average of 63 percent. And while heavy utilization of three wide receiver looks isn’t new to McVay — the Rams ran 81 percent of their plays out of “11” in 2017 — 2018 is a massive outlier. McVay appears to have concluded that the deception afforded the offense by lining up with the same personnel package each play is greater than the constraints it places on his play calling. Philadelphia54360 Minnesota62239 Oakland68137 Buffalo642010 Tampa Bay67147 L.A. Rams95%2%0% Carolina59148 Baltimore48261 Indianapolis72183 Melvin Gordon1014.73 The Rams rarely stray from their favorite lookNFL teams by the share of their plays run in each of the three most popular personnel packages, 2018 Gurley thrives when there are fewer defendersNumber of carries and yards per carry against a standard defense of six men in the box, 2017-18 Team11: ONE RB, ONE TE, three WRs12: ONE RB, TWO TEs, TWO WRs21: Two RBs, one TE, two WRs Jacksonville70106 Source: Sports Info Solutions Source: Sports Info Solutions Kareem Hunt1134.91 LeVeon Bell1034.45 So Gurley is the beneficiary, not the proximate cause, of the Rams’ offensive resurgence under McVay. Gurley has been put in a position to succeed and has taken full advantage. Crucially, while the Rams have benefited from being smart in their offensive schemes and decision-making, it’s likely that many teams could emulate them and achieve similar success on the ground. Spreading a defense out and running against a light front is not a particularly novel idea. The commitment shown by running 95 percent of your plays out of a formation that encourages that result, however, is quite innovative. McVay pushes winning edges better than any coach in the NFL — and he, not his running back, is the principal reason that the Rams are currently the toast of the league.Check out our latest NFL predictions.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann on the sidelines during action against Penn State on Feb. 15, 2018, at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania. The Buckeyes lost, 79-56. Credit: Courtesy of TNSIf there was any team the second-seeded Ohio State men’s basketball team didn’t want to face in its first game of the Big Ten tournament, it might be Penn State. The Nittany Lions handed them two of the Buckeyes’ three conference losses during the regular season.After a back-and-forth game, Penn State sophomore guard Tony Carr finished with 25 points and hit two 3s in the final minutes to lead Penn State to a 65-57 win against Northwestern and continue its run in the Big Ten Tournament. With that second-round win, Penn State earned the opportunity to face the Buckeyes for a third time, this time at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Madison Square Garden.Projected StartersPenn StateG— Tony Carr— Sophomore, 6-foot-5, 204 lbs, 19.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.8 apgG— Shep Garner— Senior, 6-foot-2, 196 lbs, 10.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.3 apgG — Josh Reaves— Junior, 6-foot-4, 210 lbs, 10.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.3 apgF— John Harrar —Freshman, 6-foot-9, 243 lbs, 0.9 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.0 apgF— Lamar Stevens— Sophomore, 6-foot-8, 226 lbs, 15.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.8 apgOhio StateG— C.J. Jackson — Junior, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs, 12.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.8 apgG —Kam Williams —Redshirt senior, 6-foot-2, 185 lbs, 8.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.6 apgF— Keita Bates-Diop — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-7, 235 lbs, 19.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.7 apgF—Jae’Sean Tate — Senior, 6-foot-4, 230 lbs, 12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.0 apgC— Kaleb Wesson — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 270 lbs, 11.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.0 apgScouting Penn State The losses to Penn State have not gone out of the minds of the Buckeyes.Ohio State lost to Penn State at home by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Carr that prevented the game from going into overtime.In the second matchup at State College, Pennsylvania, Penn State led by as much as 30 points and at home, the Nittany Lions proceeded to win that game 79-56.When asked if they would like another shot at Penn State, the Buckeyes said they were up for the challenge.“I mean, as competitors, you know you always want to play the team that beat you,” junior guard C.J. Jackson said.But this third matchup presents challenges for how the Buckeyes plan on preparing for a team that has beaten them in every matchup so far and already seem to be a tough matchup for them.So far this season, the Buckeyes have struggled against good guards. Carr leads the conference in scoring at 19.9 points per game. Carr scored 28 points against the Buckeyes in the first matchup and 30 in the second. Senior guard Shep Garner also poses a problem from behind the arc. Garner shot for a combined 8-for-12 from 3 and scored 27 points on the Buckeyes defense between the two games.“It’s a tough balance because you’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” head coach Chris Holtmann said. “We’ve had a very successful year but you’re also looking at hey there’s some things we can do that we didn’t, as coaches, maybe didn’t do a good enough job in those two games. We’re searching for that.”Holtmann made it clear all season the Nittany Lions present significant matchup issues for the Buckeyes. He added there’s a chance Penn State, despite the 9-9 regular-season conference record, could be one of the best teams in the league.“They’re very talented. I had a guy tell me this week that he thought they were the most talented team in the league next to Michigan State,” Holtmann said. “I just think we’re going to have to try to dig in and as coaches look at some things that we need to do better to put our guys in better position and we have to play harder, certainly harder than what we did at their place and then at our place as well.”Mike Watkins injuryFreshman forward John Harrar is expected to start again for Penn State in place of redshirt sophomore center Mike Watkins.Watkins suffered a knee injury against Michigan and missed Penn State’s final regular season game against Nebraska and its first tournament game against Northwestern on Thursday. He is not expected to participate for the entirety of Penn State’s run at the tournament. Watkins averaged 12.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 0.7 apg for the Nittany Lions.Against Northwestern, Harrar played just six minutes and totaled no points and three rebounds.