This MLB Offseason Has Been Eerily Quiet

The freeze on this year’s class of free agents is alarming. For one thing, it took much longer than usual for a team to break the free-agent ice. And, aside from a brief acceleration during the winter meetings in mid-December, the pace of signings has been markedly slower than normal — particularly early in the offseason, when the biggest flurry of signings usually takes place.Only the 2008-09 offseason, when just 53 percent of top-40 players were signed by this stage of the winter, came close to lagging as much as the current slowdown. And even then, most of the biggest available names had already been signed by this point in the offseason. Granted, three of those (Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett) were all picked up by spendthrift Yankees. By contrast, the current Yankees made their big splash in the trade market, where they acquired Giancarlo Stanton, and the team is now trying to squeak in under the luxury-tax threshold rather than adding free agents. Perhaps in the past, slow free-agent classes could always count on the Yankees to open the pocketbook and keep the money flowing — but not this year.Before we jump to any conclusions about the owners being in cahoots, it’s worth noting that many of the explanations for this year’s issues contain at least a kernel of truth. This class of free agents is indeed mediocre — in terms of wins above replacement2Using an average of the WAR metrics found at FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference. produced by top-40 players in their previous three seasons, this is the worst crop of available talent since at least 2006.3Looking only at the most recent previous season improves this group’s standing slightly, bringing it up to sixth out of the 12 free-agent classes I examined. At the top of ESPN’s free-agent rankings, ace starter Yu Darvish is as good as any prized free agent from yesteryear, but many of the names further down the list come with legitimate issues, including Jake Arrieta’s declining value, J.D. Martinez’s inconsistent defense and Alex Cobb’s durability.It’s also true that more teams are tanking now than in years past. And the proliferation of statheads in MLB front offices over the past decade could explain why teams are no longer scrambling to offer big free-agent contracts to players who are already past their primes.As Yahoo’s Jeff Passan wrote in an excellent column last week, that final point is part of a bigger issue with the fundamental way baseball’s economics works, particularly as younger players generate more and more of the game’s on-field value. But if teams are suddenly realizing the folly of free agency, it’s also worth asking why they’ve chosen to simultaneously make their stand this year. (Bad deals still got made last season, though perhaps not as many as in the past.) The alternative explanation — collusion — is notoriously difficult to prove, however, and seems like an unbelievable risk for a group of owners who are already making money hand over fist.But the simple truth is that we don’t really know why the market for free agents is so sluggish this year. We can only prove that it is indeed historically slow-moving — and that fact alone demands an explanation. Something strange is happening with the baseball hot stove this winter. Not only is it not hot, it almost seems like it’s off.Available stars who would ordinarily have been snapped up long ago are still sitting on the shelf, which has the MLB Players Association panicking — and looking for answers. Is this simply a weak class of free agents? Have all 30 teams finally figured out that spending boatloads on veterans is usually dumb? Is the gap between contending and tanking teams to blame? Or is it just — gasp! — collusion, like the kind owners engaged in three decades ago?It’s difficult to pin down exactly why this offseason has proceeded so slowly. But the sluggish pace it has taken is quantifiable — and eye-catching. I gathered data on ESPN’s top 40 free agents1For all players ranked 40th or better on ESPN’s yearly free-agent rankings. In some years, the rankings skipped numbers, presumably because some players were ranked but did not actually hit free agency. This means that the top 40 doesn’t always include a full 40 players. for each winter going back to the 2006-07 offseason and tracked how many days it took after the end of World Series before those top players were signed. (Players technically become free agents the morning after the World Series ends.) For instance, today is Day 82 since the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the Fall Classic, and only 43 percent of the top 40 free agents — including only two of the top 10 — have put pen to paper. How abnormal is that? Between 2006 and 2016, the average offseason saw 76 percent of the top 40 free agents inking deals by Day 82 of the offseason.Here’s what this offseason looks like so far compared to how long it usually takes for top free agents to sign: read more

4 Children Baptized At The Parish Of The Transfiguration

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The following four children were baptized and joined the Parish of  the Transfiguration on Sunday, August 4, 2019:Anthony Joseph RuplisValentina Elizabeth SanchezMadelyn ShalkoskiCallen James SutherlandCongratulations to these children and their families.(NOTE: List is from the latest St. Thomas/St. Dorothy church bulletin. The cover photo is from Airgoz Aerial Photography.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related2 Children Baptized At The Parish Of The TransfigurationIn “Community”2 Children Baptized At The Parish Of The TransfigurationIn “Community”5 Children Baptized At The Parish Of The TransfigurationIn “Community”last_img read more

3D printing in medicine How the technology is increasingly being used to

first_img 3D printing, also known as rapid prototyping or additive manufacturing, used to be the manufacturing industrys best kept secret but now the technology is being used to transform many industries, including medicine.Over the past year, hospitals around the world have begun talking about their burgeoning use of 3D printing in health care, from 3D printing an entire skull, to rehearsing incredibly complex surgeries and creating implants for reconstructive surgery.If I didnt have 3D printer technology, I wouldnt be able to do my work, Dr Muhanad Hatamleh, a senior clinical maxillofacial prosthetist at Kings College Hospital, told IBTimes UK at the 3D Printshow 2015 in London.3D printing is revolutionising every aspect of the medical industry. It saves time, it saves more lives and it improves the efficiency of the surgery as well.There are also great hopes for bioprinting, such as 3D printing human cells. The technology is still in its infancy but great strides have been achieved in the past few years.Alan Faulkner-Jones, a research associate with the Biomedical Microengineering Group at Heriot-Watt University, has been researching bioprinting for the past five years and has created Biogenitor, a 3D printer that is able to produce pluripotent stem cells.It is currently possible to grow stem cells in a laboratory, but since the cells are on a petri dish, they are 2D and do not behave the same way as cells in the body do, because they do not have surrounding cells to take instructions from.At the moment, drugs are tested by first testing them on small animals, then large animals, then human trials, but then the drugs dont work anymore, because youve tuned them to the response the animals had, Faulkner-Jones told IBTimes UK.By replacing all of that with microtissues, you can then straightaway tune the drugs to humans, and it also allows you to do personalised medicine, because you can use patient-specific cells, and you can work out how a person would respond to a particular medicine and then personalise the medicine for that person.Retaining 3D structureInstead, he has been developing a 3D printer that is capable of fabricating cells protected within hydrogel so that they retain their 3D structure.Faulkner-Jones said: Cells are never two-dimensional in the body and they lose a lot of functionality on a flat dish. But if you put cells within hydrogel and then you print structures the sam way you would using standard layer by layer additive manufacturing, then you can build up a three-dimensional structure and the cells are much happier.Gartner analyst Pete Basiliere says the most exciting use of 3D printing is to make medical devices.By 2018, we expect that there will be 2.3 million 3D printer units sold, he told IBTimes UK. Medical devices are the most exciting [use case]. But when you think about the personalisation thats available in prosthesis, implants, dental and restorative surgery, its just phenomenal. Closelast_img read more

Gupta Brothers Meet Indian tycoons from UP who felled S African President

first_imgAn entrance to the ANN7 Television and The New Age newspaper offices, owned by the Gupta family, is seen in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.ReutersThe embattled Gupta family – a clan of Indian-born businessmen – have found itself in the midst of a fresh turmoil following the accusations of corruption links to South Africa’s Jacob Zuma.The controversial Gupta family is known to wield substantial influence in South Africa through its close ties with Zuma, who resigned from the presidency after intense pressure from his own party on Thursday.Who are the Guptas?The Gupta family had its origins in Saharanpur, a small industrial town in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.Their father, Shiv Kumar Gupta, was a trader in spices and soapstone powders. The three boys, Ajay, Atul and Rajesh, were encouraged to explore the world and that’s how their South African journey began in 1993.As South Africa opened up to foreign investment, the Guptas built a sprawling empire involved in computers, mining, media, technology and engineering.They later launched the New Age, a pro-Zumma newspaper, in 2010 and a news channel ANN7 in 2013.By then the trio had developed close ties with the then ruling African National Congress (ANC) party focussing particularly on Zuma, well before he became president in 2009.What ties does Guptas share with Zuma?The Guptas share a close bond with the family of Zuma. Since the early 1990s, the Guptas have hired members of Zuma’s family, including the president’s son, Duduzane, his twin sister, Duduzile, and Bongi Ngema-Zuma, one of Zuma’s four wives.Misuse of power?Reports suggest Gupta brothers were using their power to influence political decisions and Nhlanhla Nene was one such example.Nene, who lost his job as finance minister in December 2015, was becoming a hindrance for the Guptas. Later Nene’s deputy Mcebisi Jonas was summoned to the Gupta family estate, where he met the eldest Gupta brother Ajay.The Gupta family was happy to transfer 600 million rand into Jonas’s bank account if he was willing to take over the top treasury post, according to news reports.The Gupta family has, however, denied ever meeting Jonas.According to Bloomberg, Pravin Gordhan, who later filled the treasury role, had resisted a nuclear deal between South Africa and Russia, which was being pushed by Zuma after the Gupta family’s investment company borrowed about 250 million rand from a state bank to buy a South African uranium mine.What’s next?Earlier on Wednesday, police raided on the Johannesburg home of the wealthy Gupta family.Local media reported that Ajay Gupta, the eldest of the siblings, and one or two of the family’s associates were officially under arrest.They were scheduled to appear before a South African court on Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.last_img read more

NeighborhoodLIFT Program

first_imgBy Brittney Johnson, AFRO InternWells Fargo hosted a community conversation with leaders in the city of Baltimore on June 26. The conversation included a plan to advance homeownership in the city of Baltimore through their new NeighborhoodLIFT program.The LIFT program will launch in Baltimore in July, and allow potential homeowners to shop around for mortgage rates and actively search for homes. Once applicants have enrolled in one 8hr homeownership counseling session. Applicants are then urged to begin the process of shopping for their first home.“We are engaging with our partners to let them know what the program is about and how through homeownership, we can ultimately increase the amount of wealth in the city of Baltimore,” said Wells Fargo Vice President of Diverse Segments for home mortgage Donna Green.The LIFT program promotes inclusion and community wealth within communities through homeownership in the city of Baltimore, by offering qualifying applicants grants totaling $15,000.  Grants are totaling $17,500 for teachers, veterans, service members, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement and firefighters.These grants would be applied toward the down payment for a home of their choosing. However, applicants have to purchase homes in the city of Baltimore.Homeownership in the city of Baltimore, and in the Black community, currently is a race against time. With overrun project housing, and little-to-no knowledge of homeownership management, many times homes are left under foreclosure. Blacks are still pushing for more transparency from lenders and brokers when shopping to purchase a home.“[To provide transparency…] We at Savage Homegroup offer monthly home buyers workshops where we go over the entire process with potential prospective clients,” Keller Williams Agent, Brandee Davis said.“We provide them a list of people in the community, they have a representative from a title company, inspection, and loan officers, who run credit reports at the workshop. Perspective clients are then given one-on-one advice, and being really transparent with people about what to expect, especially for folks of color…”NeighborhoodLIFT also has a list of approved lenders, to which applicants can compare interest rates. Not only can applicants decide to choose from Wells Fargo, NeighborhoodLIFT, will also work with Bank of America, Suntrust Bank, Chase and MECU Credit Union.“Owning a home is widely believed to be the best way for working and middle class Americans to build wealth. And for many African-Americans, the dream of homeownership remains an elusive one,” according to NPR national desk reporter, Brakkton Booker.That may not be the case with the LIFT program it will then connect homebuyers with a network of organizations throughout the city to help educate, encourage and promote healthy financial decisions. There are many different approved housing counselors to choose from- Belair-Edison Neighborhoods, Druid Heights Community Development and Latino Economic Development Inc., just to name a few.“Homeownership is important in the African American community because it increases our financial wealth and gives Black people more of a voice in their community,” Kim Bland of the Women’s Housing Coalition said. Bland continued, “homeownership would help decrease poverty and increase family connection.”“This was my mom’s home and it was passed down to me, and I plan to give [it] to my children. [The home is] important to me to keep in my family because it was [my mother’s] last wishes.” Reginald Carter, 52, said.Neighbor-works and NeighborhoodLIFT have been operating in many states across the nation to provide first time homebuyers a chance to make home buying simple, supported and reliable. However there is an income threshold that will determine whether or not applicants are eligible for the program.That threshold for potential homeowners whose annual income is anywhere between $75,500 to $99,700. However, you may not be eligible if you make over or below the threshold. If NeighborhoodLIFT were to offer assistance to potential homeowners over the threshold, how would they do it? What would it look like?A homeowner in Charles Village, Kidar Swine, 42,  said, “As a homeowner making over the threshold, [NeighborhoodLIFT] could help with renovations to increase the value of a potential home. [I believe] the program could help in that way.”“Where the qualifications are, if certain homes going for a certain amount the grant could be used to improve the property value of homes in certain neighborhoods, [that are currently] lowering the neighborhood value to improve different communities,” Swine continued.The Baltimore NeighborhoodLIFT program launch event will take place Friday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, July 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents and potential homeowners are urged to apply.last_img read more

Bratya inaugurates 26th West Bengal State Science and Technology Congress

first_imgKolkata: While inaugurating the 26th West Bengal State Science and Technology Congress on the occasion of National Science Day, Bengal Science, Technology and Biotechnology minister Bratya Basu said ‘science without proof’ is running rampant in India, in which attempts are also being made to pass off superstitious beliefs as science.”In recent times, superstitious beliefs such as claims of plastic surgery of Ganesha or test tube baby of Gandhari or a Pushpak udaan from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka have become a matter of concern for people in this country, to the point that research is being done on such beliefs. This is a matter of great regret to me,” said Basu. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BoseHe further said: “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants to encourage a scientific way of thinking in every corner of the state. So, the government is organising science meets not only at the state level but also at the regional level. This year, we have already hosted three regional science and technology meets, where around 1,300 research papers were submitted and out of them, 160 have been selected and will be taken for the state meet.” The two-day science and technology congress, which is being organised by the department of Science, Technology and Biotechnology at Science City, will witness a plethora of experts who will deliver lectures on various subjects, as well as panel discussions. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataBasu also inaugurated a children’s science pavilion at the meet and said it is important to foster young scientific minds as they have the potential to become the next Satyendra Nath Bose, Prafulla Chandra Ray or Acharya Jagadish Chandra Basu. For the past 32 years, the National Science Day is observed every year across the country on this day, as a tribute to famous Indian scientist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, also known as C V Raman, who discovered the Raman Effect. Sourav Pal, director of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, who was also present at the inauguration ceremony, said: “We need to remember C V Raman on this day for his contributions to the world of science and also to the Indian scientific community.”last_img read more