The Arsenal v Fulham quiz

first_imgFulham face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Test your knowledge of the history involving the two clubs by seeing how many of these five questions you can answer correctly. [wp-simple-survey-22]See also: Arsenal are struggling and Fulham are capable of getting a 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Genomics Shows Evolutionary Theory Is Baseless

first_imgHumpty Darwin sits on a wall of foam bricks held together by decayed mortar. Cartoon by Brett Miller commissioned for CEH. All rights reserved.(Visited 747 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 New Study Reveals Evolution Does Not Have a Weak Foundation: It Has NO Foundation.by Jerry Bergman, PhDA new review article by Vivian Callier in Quanta Magazine reveals that evolution does not have a weak foundation: It has no foundation.[1] The subtitle summarizes the dilemma evolutionists are in: “For 50 years, evolutionary theory has emphasized the importance of neutral mutations over adaptive ones in DNA. Real genomic data challenge that assumption.” Classical Darwinian or “Adaptationist” EvolutionismIn a nutshell, evolution theory has historically postulated that the source of genetic variety is created by genetic mutations which in turn are selected by natural selection. Improvements in a life-form that enable it to out-compete other life forms are more likely to survive and out-produce its competitors, thus maintaining or improving its position in its ecological niche. Those life-forms that are less able to compete are more apt to go extinct. This is the source of the expression, ‘survival of the fittest.’ As explained by Darwin, whosecore insight was that organisms with disadvantageous traits would slowly be weeded out through negative (or purifying) selection, while those with advantageous features would reproduce more often and pass those features on to the next generation (positive selection). Selection would help to spread and refine those valuable traits. For most of the first half of the 20th century, population geneticists largely attributed genetic differences between populations and species to adaptation through positive selection.[2]Then, as more research was completed, it was realized this straightforward core of evolution was contradicted by much contrary evidence. One problem has always been the fact that the vast majority of mutations are deleterious, or nearly neutral. Mildly-deleterious or near-neutral mutations individually cause only minor or no problems, but they add up, in time producing genetic meltdown, causing death and eventually extinction.[3]Neutral Theory to the RescueOne major proposed solution was neutral mutation theory. This proposed that evolution is caused by mutations that are not deleterious, nor are they near neutral, but fully neutral, meaning they have no effect on the organism. When enough mutations have occurred to provide a beneficial effect, then and only then are they selected.[4] The idea was first proposed by the eminent Japanese population geneticist Motoo Kimura in 1968. He concluded that most mutations were “neutral in effect rather than beneficial or harmful, and that shifts in the frequency of these neutral mutations dominated evolutionary change at the genomic level…. [and] an ‘appreciable fraction’ of the genetic variation within and between species is the result of genetic drift — that is, the effects of randomness in a finite population — rather than natural selection, and that most of these differences have no functional consequences for survival and reproduction.”[5] This four-fold conclusion was based on the assumption that most DNA was useless junk as was widely believed then.a more comprehensive theory of molecular evolution must be sought.Genetic drift, according to the Kimura model, is the change in the frequency of an existing gene variant (an allele) in a population due to random factors. In a diagram comparing the competing models of evolution, genetic drift is described as being caused by the mutation number which “rises or falls in frequency through chance alone.”[6] The result is that genetic drift may cause some gene variants to disappear completely, reducing genetic variation, or genetic drift can also cause rare alleles to become much more common, even fixed, in the genome.[7] The alleles in the offspring are a sample of those in the parents, and chance has a major role in determining whether a given individual survives and reproduces.Neutral Theory vs GenomicsA review of the literature illustrates some of the many problems with this idea. The most obvious is how importantly the theory relies on chance in the evolutionary process. Classical evolution theory at least appears plausible because it is not evolution by chance, but if a genetic change improves survivability—even if only slightly—it will improve the likelihood that the organism can better compete in the natural world. In short, as described in Darwinian terms, fitness increases by natural selection. The problems with genetic drift are the natural-world factors of order, design, and constraints. Deviation from these constraints, even slightly, causes disease or problems. Randomness plays a part in Darwinism, but a very small part.[8] As Callier notedWhen Charles Darwin articulated his theory of evolution by natural selection in On the Origin of Species in 1859, he focused on adaptations — the changes that enable organisms to survive in new or changing environments. Selection for favorable adaptations, he suggested, allowed ancient ancestral forms to gradually diversify into countless species.[9]Callier adds the adaptation concept was so powerful that it was easy to concludeevolution is all about adaptation. So …  for half a century, a prevailing view in scholarly circles has been that it’s not…. [how] most evolutionary changes appear at the level of the genome and are essentially random and neutral. Adaptive changes groomed by natural selection might indeed sculpt a fin into a primitive foot, they said, but those changes make only a small contribution to the evolutionary process, in which the composition of DNA varies most often without any real consequences.[10]They were judged as essentially neutral because many of an organism’s traits are not critical for survival, but are part of the enormous variety existing in the natural world which do not appear to confer a clear survival advantage to the organism, such the enormous coloration variety and intricate detail of many insects.Problems with Genetic DriftThe many major problems with neutral theory and random drift soon became very obvious. These include (1) chance is centrally based on a non-negotiable belief in evolution, and (2) the theory is unconstrained by solid evidence but rather is the result of an attempt to reason out how life could possibly have evolved based on a few firmly established facts such as the enormous amount of variety existing in life. Another problem (3) was, we now know that most all of the genes in humans, and other life-forms as well, had some function, often regulation, as indicated by the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project. This project determined that more than 80 percent of this non-coding component of the genome, which was once considered “junk DNA,” actually has important roles in regulating the activity of particular genes. Therefore, many, if not most, mutations are not neutral, but at the least slightly deleterious.[11]Callier explains that some evolutionists recognize the serious problem of giving chance a central role in neutral theory, noting thatgenomes show much more evidence of evolved adaptation than the theory would dictate. This debate is important because it affects our understanding of the mechanisms that generate biodiversity, our inferences about how the sizes of natural populations have changed over time and our ability to reconstruct the evolutionary history of species (including our own). What lies in the future might be a new era that draws from the best of neutral theory while also recognizing the real, empirically supported influence of selection.[12]Professor Rebekah Rogers, an evolutionary geneticist at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, explained the situation among evolutionists this way: “Any time you have limited data, the arguments get really fierce.”[13] Until recently, no way existed to broadly prove or disprove neutral theory and genetic drift except on theoretical grounds. Now that sequencing technology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have become widely available, gene sequence data has overflowed from our genetic labs. The result of inexpensive genome sequencing is the “explanatory power of the neutral theory looks even worse.”[14] Because of its simplistic explanation, researchers used the neutral model as a convenient default explanation for the patterns of genetic variation that they observed in the natural world, but it can only explain trivial details like eye color, but not the evolution of body organs. It is inconceivable that a heart or lung, each requiring scores of complex genes, could ever evolve by genetic drift.As a result of the problems with genetic drift, many evolutionists are returning to adaptationist theory they had rejected for good reasons. Problems with adaptationism had motivated the development and acceptance of neutral theory becauseaffordable genomic sequencing and sophisticated statistical methods are allowing evolutionary theorists to make headway on quantifying the contribution of adaptive variation and neutral evolution to species differences. In species like humans and fruit flies, the data have revealed extensive selection and adaptation, which has led to strong pushback against Kimura’s original idea.As Kern and Hahn wrote in their recent article “The ubiquity of adaptive variation both within and between species means that a more comprehensive theory of molecular evolution must be sought.”[15] In short, Darwinists don’t have a foundational theory of evolution.One fruitful area of mutational study is cancer. Cancer cells are rife with mutations, and although only a small subset of those mutations are important in causing cancer, they do help us to understand mutations, and especially the commonality of patterns such as hot spots and trends, such as the conversion of the genetic base G to T is a far more common mutation than T to G.[16] This information will, the evidence so far indicates, destroy both neutral theory as well as evolution based on mutations according to the fact that mutations as a whole tend to degrade the genome and not improve it.[17]References[1] Viviane Callier, 2019. Quanta Magazine. Theorists Debate How ‘Neutral’ Evolution Really Is. https://www.quantamagazine.org/neutral-theory-of-evolution-challenged-by-evidence-for-dna-selection-20181108/[2] Callier, 2019.[3] John Sanford, 2014. Genetic Entropy, 4th Edition. New York, NY: FMS Publications.[4] Jerry Bergman, 2019. Neutral Theory of Evolution Debunked. Elaborating on Michael Behe’s refutation of “neutral evolution,” March 2. https://crev.info/2019/03/neutral-theory-of-evolution-debunked/[5] Callier, 2019.[6] Callier, 2019. Chart by Lucy Reading, titled Competing Models of Molecular Evolution.[7] B. Star and H. Spencer, 2013. “Effects of genetic drift and gene flow on the selective maintenance of genetic variation.” Genetics, 194 (1): 235–244, May.[8] Jeffrey  P. Tomkins and Jerry Bergman, 2017. Neutral Model, genetic drift and the Third Way—A Synopsis of the self-inflicted demise of the evolutionary paradigm. Journal of Creation, 31(3):94-102.[9] Callier, 2019.[10] Callier, 2019.[11] E. A. Feingold, et al., 2004. The ENCODE (ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements) Project. Science, 306(5696): 636-640. October 22.[12] Callier, 2019.[13] The Evolutionary Importance of Neutral vs. Adaptive Genes. https://www.wired.com/story/quanta-neutral-vs-adaptive-evolution/[14] Callier, 2019.[15] Heather Rowe and Sudhir Kumar (Editors), 2018. Celebrating 50 years of the Neutral Theory. Molecular Biology and Evolution. https://academic.oup.com/mbe/pages/neutral_theory.[16] Vincent L. Cannataro, Stephen G. Gaffney, and Jeffrey P. Townsend, 2018. Effect Sizes of Somatic Mutations in Cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 110(11): 1171–1177, November.[17] John Sanford, 2014.Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.last_img read more

RESNET Launches Standards Program for Energy-Audit Training

first_imgAs many green certification programs as there are in the residential building and remodeling realm, it’s likely we’re going to see more as specialists emerge to serve various sectors of the industry.On Tuesday, for example, the nonprofit Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) announced that Home Energy Team Institute, which trains and certifies home-energy auditors, has become the first such training group approved by RESNET to offer its “Home Energy Survey Professional” certification to trainees.A training certifier, in other words, was certified that it meets RESNET’s training standards, which are based on its National Home Energy Audit Standard. The NHEAS provides the technical and procedural guidelines for various categories of home energy audits, including in-home comprehensive audits of the sort that would be provided by HETI-certified auditors.An impartial approachHETI was founded in July 2008, so it is indeed an emerging service. Its growth is pegged to what RESNET’s executive director, Steve Baden, described as homeowners’ “increasing concern” about energy efficiency in the home. “RESNET created the National Home Energy Audit Standard to provide confidence to homeowners that an inspection conducted under the standards is credible and unbiased,” Baden said in a press release.HETI currently has affiliates in eight states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Maryland, Iowa, Virginia, and Alabama, and in the District of Columbia. HETI candidates who earn RESNET certification are trained to consult with homeowners on energy efficiency improvements.RESNET, the developer of the HERS Index for measuring energy efficiency in a home, is as well positioned as any organization to accredit training programs offered by companies in the energy-audit business. But accreditations in this category do add another layer to an increasingly large assortment of certification programs focused on green residential construction.The confusion factorSome GBA advisors have been greeting the proliferation of certification programs with a combination of astonishment and concern. “There are dozens of building certification programs that the public is challenged to distinguish from one another,” GBA Advisor Carl Seville wrote in a blog (“Green Fatigue”) posted on July 6. “Green products and product certifications, many of which are of dubious value, are choking the market. To add to the confusion, we have green designations for individuals.”And back on May 11 (in “Designation Exhaustion”), Seville noted that industry professionals who want the marketing advantages of certification – the term “designation” is used by some groups that confer these titles – could well spend an inordinate amount of time earning accreditations that may never really resonate with consumers or other industry professionals.“I am very concerned that the wide range of requirements will add to marketplace confusion, not unlike what is currently happening with green-home certifications,” he wrote. “Maybe one day we will see training and designations for professionals that are both comprehensive and have a strong market presence. Right now, however, we have one or the other, but not both.”last_img read more

JRU fends off Mapua, finishes first round with 4th win

first_imgKammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa However, turnovers doomed the Heavy Bombers as Mapua cut the deficit down to just seven, 66-59, in the final minute, but Abdulwahab Abdulrazak scored on a huge putback in the dying seconds nail the win.“It’s a good thing that we converted after the three turnovers we had. But we’re not yet in the level of San Beda and Lyceum. I hope we can bring this winning run to the second round, but we can’t play like we did in the first round,” said Meneses.Abdulrazak also hauled down 21 rebounds to go with his five points in the game.Christian Buñag led Mapua with 15 points and 21 rebounds, while Laurenz Victoria had 12 markers and five boards in the loss, which was the Cardinals’ seventh straight defeat to finish the first round on a 1-8 card.The Scores:ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Ervin Grospe and MJ Dela Virgen also tallied 11 points and three rebounds each in the conquest.Despite the win, coach Vergel Meneses still expressed dissatisfaction with how his wards played against the cellar-dwelling Cardinals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“A win is a win, but the way we played, I’m not happy about it,” he said. “They thought they can easily win against Mapua, but Mapua gave them a hard time.”JRU seemed like well on its way to an easy triumph after Ervin Grospe drilled a rare three-pointer to put his crew up, 64-45, midway in the payoff period. For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.center_img UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Pencak silat gives PH 24th gold, 3 more bronzes JRU 68 – Bordon 17, Mendoza 12, Grospe 11, Dela Virgen 11, Teodoro 7, Abdulrazak 5, Poutouochi 3, Mate 2, Sawat 0, David 0.MAPUA 59 – Buñag 15, Victoria 12, Gabo 8, Aguirre 8, Pelayo 6, Nieles 4, Raflores 4, Jimenez 2.Quarters: 19-16, 38-34, 49-42, 68-59. SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Aaron Bordon. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netJose Rizal University gutted out a 68-59 victory over Mapua to finish the first round on a four-game tear Tuesday in the NCAA Season 93 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Aaron Bordon was the one to step up this time for the Heavy Bombers, unleashing a career-best 17 points and four rebounds, while Jed Mendoza got 12 markers, five boards, and two assists.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Read Next LATEST STORIES LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Gameslast_img read more

10 months agoNeville: Solskjaer personality just what Man Utd need

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Neville: Solskjaer personality just what Man Utd needby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United legend Gary Neville says the personality of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is just what Old Trafford needs.The Norwegian took over a United’s interim manager on Wednesday following the sacking of Jose Mourinho and faces his first match at another former club, Cardiff City, on Saturday evening.Neville told Sky Sports, “He is so popular, he is one of the most popular players that exists at Manchester United in terms of what he achieved at the club and that goal in 1999.”He is a gentleman, he really is. He is a good person and has immersed himself in coaching. When he finished as a player he obviously became the reserve team coach at Manchester United. He wanted to learn the ropes.”He will be better for that experience at Cardiff. We have a stigma in this country of managers that have been sacked.”What it means is he is more mature and more experienced after having that experience.” last_img read more

17 days agoCallum Hudson-Odoi: Chelsea transfer ban has worked out well

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Callum Hudson-Odoi: Chelsea transfer ban has worked out wellby Paul Vegas17 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveCallum Hudson-Odoi says Chelsea’s transfer ban has helped the development of the club’s young players.As a result of the restrictions Chelsea have turned to youth, and the likes of Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori have been given a chance in the first team.“I would say the transfer ban is a good thing for us because it gives more players more opportunities to play,” the 18-year-old said ahead of England Under-21’s games against Slovenia and Austria.“I don’t think it’s really restricting anything. Even if there wasn’t a transfer ban I think the young players would still be working hard and pushing in training to get a start. The manager is obviously rewarding the players depending on who’s working hard, who’s training well.“It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in the world or the worst in the world, as long as you have the right mentality and work ethic.” last_img read more

President Obamas Brackets Apolitical Cautious And Full of Chalk

Every year since his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama has shared his NCAA men’s college basketball tournament bracket with the public, and, for the last five years, predictions for the women’s tournament, too. As he’s chosen teams, many of them from swing states, he’s resisted the urge to play politics with his picks.Obama’s main bracket criterion: the number next to a team’s name. The lower a team’s seed, the more likely he is to overestimate its chances. The president has predicted a far smaller number of round-of-64 upsets than the tournaments have produced, and in the last seven tournaments he’s forecast just one men’s team with a seed below 9 to win more than one game.He also has a soft spot for certain states. The president loves teams from Connecticut, a reliably blue state, and Kentucky, a reliably red one.1Schools from those states get a bump of about 0.7 wins per year in his brackets, compared to the expected performance of their seed numbers. The effect is statistically significant (p<0.05). But that may just be a reflection of Obama’s preference for highly seeded teams: After controlling for seed, no state had a statistically significant effect on the president’s picks. He’s been pretty neutral on states where he’s lived, studied or had family ties, including Illinois, California, Kansas, Massachusetts and New York. (Hawaii hasn’t had a tournament team in the years of Obama’s brackets.)Other public figures have picked brackets, but Obama, a big basketball fan, is unusual in having entered so many of his bracket predictions into the public record2He usually has unveiled them on ESPN broadcasts. — enough to create a sample size bigger than some of the polls used to forecast his election and re-election, and to search for patterns in his picks.To assess Obama’s brackets, I compiled the number of wins he predicted for each tournament team in each season,3There are two groups of exceptions to this list.First, neither ESPN nor the White House was able to supply a copy of Obama’s 2010 women’s bracket, and the link from a Whitehouse.gov blog post about it points to a different ESPN.com bracket. I gathered as much information as I could from press accounts of his Final Four picks that year, plus whatever I could glean from this video clip of his ESPN interview, and excluded from all analyses the 21 women’s teams in the 2010 tournament for which I couldn’t figure out the president’s prediction.Second, I excluded from the analysis any teams that hadn’t yet lost in this year’s tournaments, since we don’t know their final win totals.Here are links to Obama’s 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 men’s brackets, and to his 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 women’s brackets. and compared that number to two benchmarks: How did his picks compare to what might be considered typical picks, and how did they compare to how teams actually performed?The first benchmark was the average number of games that teams with the same seed had won for each tournament, over a period from the first year the tournament expanded to 64 teams41985 for men, 1994 for women. through the year before he picked the bracket.5That calculation was based on data provided by ESPN Stats & Information. I counted only wins from the round of 64 on, since the brackets Obama entered didn’t require entrants to predict play-in games. I assigned each play-in team half its seed’s expected wins, since only half the play-in teams advance to the round of 64.Obama, incidentally, has never picked the play-in winners to win their next game (a questionable strategy), and generally hasn’t picked the outcome of the play-in games, either, though he did write on his 2009 bracket — incorrectly, as it turned out — that Alabama State would beat Morehead State and enter the round of 64 as a No. 16 seed.This measure models the sort of information used by a typical tournament forecaster (or as typical as one in the White House can be): How well have teams of that seed done before?The second benchmark for Obama’s picks was the one used to score brackets for accuracy: how many games the teams won. This is both less and more fair than the first benchmark — less fair because he couldn’t have known how the teams would do when he submitted his picks, and more fair because it credits him for insights beyond the seed numbers.After subtracting either number — expected wins or actual wins — from Obama’s predicted win total for each team, we’re left with two possible measures for his lean toward or away from that team. When Obama picked Louisville to make the final last year as a top seed, the first measure scored that as a big pro-Louisville preference, since the average No. 1 seed from 1985 to 2012 averaged 3.375 wins. But the second measure detected a presidential slant against Louisville, since the Cardinals won the title. Conversely, Obama looks like a Washington, D.C., outsider based on his picks for the capital’s teams: He expected fewer wins for them than their seeds would have suggested. But his picks proved optimistic when the teams underperformed their seeds by a big margin.I now had a set of over 700 teams, each one with two scores indicating whether Obama was hard or easy on each team. I then looked up each team’s home state and ran a series of linear regressions to find whether politics could be driving the president’s picks.My first test: Was Obama backing the states that were most supportive of him, or — for his first bracket — the prior Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry in 2004? Or, instead, was he throwing some love to the states that were most supportive of Republican candidates, hoping to sway their hoops-mad voters into his camp?Neither, best I can tell. For each year, I took the most recent presidential election data6Election data from uselectionatlas.org. Since March precedes November, for Obama’s 2008 tournament picks, the most recent election was 2004; for 2012, it was 2008. and subtracted the percentage of votes going to the Republican from the percentage received by the Democrat, then normalized the results.7For each election year’s data, I subtracted from each state’s figure the average of every state’s figure. This data normalization put all states for each election year on the same playing field: how far they leaned Democratic or Republican relative to the average state in that year. I then ran two regressions against this score, one for each of my scores of Obama’s picks. And I found no relationship whatsoever.The story repeats for other political indicators that might have steered his picks: whether states were swing states,8I defined swing states as those with a gap of less than 5 percentage points in the previous presidential election between the vote shares of the Democratic and Republican candidates. and the probability that a single voter in that state — perhaps a fan of a team Obama could pick for the Final Four — could swing the presidential election.9Based on work by Columbia University statistician Andrew Gelman and FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver, using Silver’s 2008 presidential-election forecasts; Gelman provided me with a table of probabilities by state. For each possible factor, I ran the same pair of linear regressions.10Technically, I ran two pairs of linear regressions for the probability of one voter swinging the election: One using the raw probability, and one the logarithm of the probability, since the probabilities were minuscule and varied by orders of magnitude. And each time I found no clear relationship.11Six out of the eight coefficients were positive, which would suggest Obama was favoring Democratic states or electorally vital states, but none of the results was statistically significant.There was one highly statistically significant relationship: between Obama’s picks and a team’s seed number. For each improvement in seed of one — say, from 5 to 4 — Obama was likely to give the team a bump of about 3 percent of a win relative to its seed’s expected wins, and about 4 percent of a win more than the team actually won.12Seed was highly significant: p<10^-6. After controlling for seed, all the political factors still produced insignificant effects and half their coefficients were negative, suggesting any hint of a lean by Obama was more a product of seed number. And for each regression, p>0.4.Here’s another way of saying that: President Obama backs favorites to win even more than they have historically. And he’s remained consistently risk-averse, ranging from three to six upset picks in the round of 64 in his seven men’s tournament brackets. He’s never picked a team seeded below 13 to win a game, though six have over those years.13It’s probably imprudent to pick too many early upsets by big underdogs since their opponents are favorites not only to win but to go on to advance far in the tournament. But many fans do pick at least one. The millions of entrants to ESPN.com’s bracket challenge this year and last averaged about one pick per three brackets of a 14, 15 or 16 seed to reach the round of 32.Obama predicted wins for 32 teams seeded 10 and below, from the round of 64 on, for the seven men’s tournaments from 2008 to 2014.14 I didn’t count wins by 9 seeds over 8 seeds as upsets since those teams are so closely seeded. Yet 50 percent more teams have won at least one game. He was especially downbeat about the chances of teams seeded 12 or lower, predicting just eight wins for the group. Some 29 teams seeded that low have combined to win 38 games.Obama’s caution intensifies as he moves through the men’s bracket to later rounds. He’s picked just one team seeded 7 or worse to make the Sweet Sixteen in seven years of men’s bracket-picking.15North Carolina State, in 2012. Obama was right. Yet 27 teams with seeds that low made a Sweet Sixteen since 2008 — including two teams, Connecticut and Kentucky, that qualified for the Final Four on Sunday. Conversely, though nine No. 2 seeds have lost before the Sweet Sixteen, Obama has picked every one to make it that far.16He evidently considered choosing Clemson to upset No. 2 Oklahoma in 2009’s round of 32 but crossed out that pick and went with the chalk — correctly, as it turned out. Obama has backed no Elite Eight teams with seeds worse than 5, yet nine such teams have made it that far. And he’s picked no national semifinalist seeded worse than 4, yet seven Final Four teams have fit that category.When Obama has predicted a men’s upset, he has guessed well. By chance alone, you’d expect that 14 of the teams he picked seeded 10 or below to pull off at least one upset of a higher-seeded team would have done so.17That calculation is based on the actual rates of upsets for each seed number, and how many upsets he predicted. Yet 18 got at least one win — including all five of the 12 seeds he backed. Obama is on the verge of displaying a statistically significant forecast skill in the men’s brackets.180.1>P>0.05.In the women’s tournament, where favorites tend to dominate, Obama’s caution has been merited. He’s picked 12 teams seeded 10 or worse to pull off first-round upsets since 2011,19I excluded the incomplete 2010 Obama women’s bracket from this analysis, in case his picks for the omitted teams deviated sharply from his picks that we know. and 13 have. He’s shown no particular ability to identify upset victims, forecasting three correctly compared to an expected total of 2.4.Obama also seems to like certain teams more than others, though with just 12 of his brackets on record, no team has a sample size large enough to draw broader conclusions. His likes, relative to expected and actual performance, include Baylor, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Ohio State. By contrast, Obama is hard on Arizona, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, San Diego State, Texas and Xavier.20The effect for Baylor, Louisville and North Carolina is statistically significant (p<0.05) for his picks relative to the teams’ seed numbers; he typically gives those teams one more win than their seed suggests. The effect vanishes, though, for those schools when examining how they did relative to Obama’s picks. In other words, their results suggest he was mostly right when picking them to outperform their seed. The effect is also smaller and statistically insignificant after controlling for seeds, since those teams tend to have high seeds. Adding that control reveals that Obama has been hard on Washington State, to a statistically significant degree: Controlling for seed, Obama has under-picked the Cougars by an average of nearly two wins per tournament, relative to their seed. His view on some schools looks different depending on the measure: Obama seems like a Duke-backer based on the Blue Devils’ results, but his picks have been in line with their seed numbers.Separating his preferences for certain schools’ men’s and women’s teams is especially tough because of the sample-size problem. So it’s hard to say whether he likes Cal’s women’s teams but dislikes their male counterparts, or if that’s just a statistical fluke.Asked about the president’s picking strategy, the White House press office referred to his statements to ESPN when unveiling his brackets.21Here are video clips of Obama’s chats with ESPN’s Andy Katz about his 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 brackets. Obama usually talks about specific teams in those broadcasts, rather than a broader strategy. The country’s chief executive has a soft spot for team chiefs, mentioning more coaches than players in recent years. (He has high praise for Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and North Carolina’s Roy Williams; in 2012, he admitted, “I’m just a sucker for the Tar Heels.”) He likes point guards and teams with momentum. Last year, he mentioned his “Big 10 bias.”22Obama does back Big 10 teams beyond their seed to a statistically significant degree, but the effect isn’t significant after controlling for seed, since Big 10 teams usually are highly seeded. Because of all the conference realignment during Obama’s bracket-picking years of 2008 to 2014, I studied only the conference he mentioned liking and counted only Big 10 teams that were in the conference throughout the period. When Obama does mention a player, he is sometimes motivated by where the player comes from rather than where his school is. For example, he said he picked Duke to reach this year’s Elite Eight partly because Blue Devils star Jabari Parker comes from Chicago. And Obama is aware of his tendency to back favorites. He said this year, “I know these are not imaginative picks, but I think they’re the right ones.”It’s hard to argue with the president’s preference for favorites: Picking upsets incorrectly is more damaging than picking upsets correctly is valuable. And lately, it’s working for him. He picked the women’s champion correctly twice in four tries, got one of the surprising men’s Final Four teams right this year — No. 1 seed Florida — and is in the 74th percentile of ESPN’s bracket contest. However, he may regret taking the relatively daring step of backing a No. 4 seed, Michigan State, to win the title. It was his first time picking a men’s or women’s champion that wasn’t a No. 1 seed, and the Spartans’ elimination on Sunday left him without any chance of gaining further points next weekend. In presidential brackets, as in presidential politics, risk-taking sometimes backfires. read more

Ohio State womens lacrosse overpowers San Diego State 1911

The Ohio State women’s lacrosse team claimed a victory against the San Diego State Aztecs, 19-11, at the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium Wednesday night after tying its season-high for most goals in a period. Thanks to a team-high of five points off three assists and two goals by sophomore attackman Jackie Cifarelli, OSU improved to 5-6 overall and 4-1 at home. The Buckeyes played at full speed in the first half of the game, scoring 12 points and shooting with 63 percent accuracy. Less than a minute into the match, Cifarelli made the first score of the game. After another 20 minutes, OSU had built a 9-2 lead. The Aztecs, though, would answer and trade goals back and forth with OSU, but OSU didn’t lose the lead, going into the half with a score of 12-5. Junior attackman Katie Chase said it was teamwork that got OSU going. “We started playing together really well,” Chase said. “Our defense got some really big stops for us and our attack got it flowing. Once we got into the flow of the game, our goals just kept coming. It was a strong team effort all around.” Coming out of the game’s intermission, though, the Aztecs scored four goals in the first five minutes of the half, cutting OSU’s lead to three, 12-9. Chase, though, said the comeback was expected. “We knew that was going to happen,” she said. “We just needed to get back in the flow of our game.” The Buckeyes quickly called a timeout, and after that, they controlled the rest of the half. Chase said remembering the team’s theme this year provided the boost necessary. “Our theme is ‘Buckeye Strong,’ be strong all over the field,” Chase said. “Our thing this year is just playing with heart, playing like you want it all over the field, play for each other.” The Buckeyes went on to score five consecutive goals and earn their biggest lead of the game, 18-10, with just more than 10 minutes left in the game. “San Diego State is a great team,” OSU’s women’s lacrosse coach Alexis Venechanos said. “They took us to our last limits and it was a very challenging game but we definitely responded so we are able to take some positives.” The Buckeyes finished with 11 saves and 15 groundballs despite 22 fouls and seven turnovers. OSU is scheduled to take on Vanderbilt at noon Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more