first_imgBy John BurtonFORT MONMOUTH – A former Army hospital on what was Fort Monmouth property could become a new private sector medical facility, if the state authority overseeing the fort property redevelopment eventually approves the proposal.The proposal calls for AcuteCare Health Systems, headquartered in Lakewood, to operate a mixed medical facility and office complex on the site of what was once the Patterson Army Hospital and was later downsized to a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic.The portion of the former 1,126-acre fort in question is located within the boundaries of Oceanport. Fort Monmouth was shuttered by the federal Department of Defense last September.Eatontown Mayor Gerald J. Tarantolo and Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon, who are both voting members of the state’s Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Auth­or­ity (FMERA), said Acute­Care operates out of Mon­mouth Medical Center in Long Branch and Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood.During its August meeting, FMERA accepted the company’s formal proposal to purchase the multistory building and some of the surrounding property.The plan will now go before the planning boards of Tinton Falls, Eatontown and Ocean­port – the former fort’s three host communities – for a determination and then on to each town’s governing body for input before returning to FMERA for its final decision.The towns have 45 days to evaluate the proposal.Representatives from Acute­Care did not return calls Aug. 29 seeking comment. But the company issued a press release, quoting the president, Daniel Czermak, who said AcuteCare would use a portion of the approximately 60,000-square-foot building to “offer frail and elderly patients nursing home-style services on an out-patient basis, as well as provide in-home health aides.”This is something of a departure for the company, the release noted. AcuteCare has concentrated on operating long-term, acute-care hospitals within the confines of existing, established hospitals.For the remainder of the facility space Czermak said he has contacted “some very reputable health-care providers” to “bring some outpatient services to the building.”AcuteCare would undertake extensive interior renovations to the facility, the release said.The price offered by AcuteCare, one source indicated, was “in the neighborhood of $3 million.”“It is significant,” Tarantolo said about the proposal. It marks the second private-sector business entity to bring a plan before the authority to acquire fort property and, if approved, it would create private-sector jobs for the area.AcuteCare said it would add as many as 200 jobs, if the plan is approved.The other proposal, Tarantolo noted, was from CommVault, a high-tech software company, located in Oceanport, which is seeking to purchase 55 acres of fort property for $6.1 million for its operations. In the spring, the authority adopted a resolution to allow the sale to move forward.“These are real, hard applications, that have expressed interest and we’re in the process of trying to negotiate arrangements for them to move into the Fort Monmouth property,” Tarantolo said.“I have very little argument with it,” said Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, is also a member of FMERA, reiterating the authority’s mission is to bring about the redevelopment of the fort property for the economic betterment of the region. “I think we are actually seeing concrete, actual development with it and it’s just starting to pick up and I think we’re going to begin to see things start to move.”Oceanport’s Mahon said he was “very cautious” about the proposal.The concerns Oceanport has are that, while it would appear the project would be a potential ratable and bring jobs, there isn’t a business plan before the authority yet. Another point of concern, Mahon said, is the redevelopment master plan calls for the existing hospital structure to be demolished and the site to be used for residential development. He questioned that, if the authority amends its master plan, where would the housing then be located and what would that mean for the town’s public school and infrastructure?Those are sticking points for Oceanport and resulted in Mahon voting against the master plan when it was adopted a few years ago.“All these things in the shadows have to be considered equally,” he said.The federal Department of Defense’s Base Realign and Closure Commission (BRAC) included Fort Mon­mouth in its 2005 round of base closing, supported by President George W. Bush and Con­gress. The state Legislature, in response, established FMERA as the official body to work with federal, state, county and local representatives to redevelop the approximately 90-year-old fort property, replace the jobs lost and offset the economic impact caused by the closing.last_img read more


first_img(Visited 273 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Lee Berger’s remarkable cache of hominid bones found deep in a South African cave is generating a lot of news, but major questions remain.At one level, it’s a great adventure story: squeezing through narrow cave passages and finding bones all over the floor, so hard to reach that a team of skinny female investigators had to be recruited to map and retrieve them. But at a scientific level, what these bones mean is not clear. Lee Berger (champion of Australopithecus sediba, 12/08/11) has given the bones a new species name within our genus: Homo naledi. He is almost as controversial, however, as the fossils themselves.The bones appear to be from about 15 individuals. No other mammal bones were found there, leading to speculations it was an intentional burial site. The skeletons seem to be mosaics of human and australopith features; some think they fit within Homo erectus. But since no dates have been assigned to the fossils yet, even evolutionary paleoanthropologists are reluctant to draw conclusions.It’s premature, therefore, to evaluate this find. What we can do is draw attention to the variety of opinions in the press.Evolutionary OpinionsHomo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa (eLife). This is the lead paper by Berger et al. announcing the find.Geological and taphonomic context for the new hominin species Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa (eLife). This companion paper describes the conditions in which the bones were found.Crowdsourcing digs up an early human species (Nature). This news article begins with a photo of Lee Berger smiling triumphantly outside Rising Star Cave where the bones were found. Ewen Callaway describes how Berger recruited cavers to excavate the room deep inside the cave, and gives some preliminary opinions of other paleoanthropologists.New human species discovered (Science Magazine). Veteran hominid news reporter Ann Gibbons describes the process of finding the fossils, giving Lee Berger a chance to assure readers that his expedition”isn’t a media stunt.”South Africa’s new human ancestor sparks racial row (PhysOrg). Some South Africans are taking offense at possible racial overtones to the evolutionary claims made about Homo naledi.From the archives: The scientist behind those controversial new hominin fossils (Science Magazine). Michael Balter asks “Why is this enthusiastic paleontologist so controversial?” and points to a 2011 feature story about Lee Berger.New Human Ancestor Elicits Awe—and Many Questions (National Geographic). Jamie Shreeve discusses frustration over not having dates for the bones, and perplexity of how they got there. The possibility of radiocarbon dating is discussed.Mystery Lingers Over Ritual Behavior of New Human Ancestor (National Geographic). This entry begins with artwork of creatures with human-like bodies but ape-like facial features carrying their dead into the cave for burial. Writer Nadia Drake discusses whether ritual behavior over death of kin is unique to humans.Human Evolution 101 (National Geographic). Nadia Drake takes advantage of the news about Homo naledi to ask leading questions like, “Why are scientists certain that human evolution happened?”12 Theories of How We Became Human, and Why They’re All Wrong (National Geographic). Balancing out Drake’s positivism, Mark Strauss recounts the many ideas about human evolution that have fallen by the wayside over the years. He doesn’t mention Homo naledi.Opinion: What about Homo naledi’s geologic age? (PhysOrg). Darren Curnoe laments over not having established a geological age for the fossils. “Its just the sort of thing that infuriates many scientists and detracts from an otherwise significant discovery; pity really.”New species of extinct human found in cave may rewrite history (New Scientist). Colin Barras includes photos of the fossils, artwork of the presumed facial features, and a map of the cave chamber where they were found. “ONE thousand four hundred bones, 140 teeth, belonging to at least 15 individual skeletons – and that’s just what was recovered in a single short field session,” he begins.Homo naledi: Unanswered questions about the newest human species (New Scientist). Rowan Hooper briefly discusses the main questions regarding the find. “We don’t even know how old H. naledi was. It could be millions of years old, making it one of the very earliest species of Homo, or only tens or hundreds of thousands of years old, making it a relict species of human that survived into modern times,” he says. “…The team say it may be possible to use isotope testing to age the remains, and that no attempt has yet been made to extract DNA.”Researcher argues that there’s more to the genus Homo than we may think (PhysOrg). This is not specifically about Homo naledi. Joe Miksch discusses the views of Jeffrey Schwarz, who complains, “If we want to be objective, we shall almost certainly have to scrap the iconic list of (genus and species) names in which hominid fossil specimens have historically been trapped and start from the beginning.”Non-Evolutionary OpinionsHomo naledi as Spin Detector (Evolution News & Views). Ann Gauger gives an intelligent-design perspective on the bones, taking issue with some of the initial interpretations, providing quotes that illustrate spin doctoring. Her earlier piece on ENV also concentrates on separating fact from interpretation. Gauger was co-author with Douglas Axe and Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute book, Science and Human Origins.Scientists dispute ‘new’ species discovery (World Magazine). Casey Luskin gets a quote in Daniel James Devine’s article on Homo naledi, a fairly straightforward account of the find. Luskin comments, “Whenever you hear the word ‘mosaic’ in evolutionary lingo, what that means is this species does not fit very well into our preferred phylogenic scheme.” In World, an ID-friendly Christian news magazine, Devine says that Berger admits “the fossils might be only tens of thousands of years old.” He also points out that “some scientists dispute Berger’s contention that all 1,500 bones came from the same species.”What to make of Homo naledi? More pseudo-scientific claims of human ancestry (CMI). Marc Ambler discusses the flamboyant character of Lee Berger. He notes that all other fossils in the area had been australopiths. Central point is cautionary:One will have to wait and see whether the evolutionary scientific community come down on the side of the remains being Homo, or just Australopithecus. But why label the remains Homo naledi if there is so much indication that these may have been ordinary humans with some unique anatomical variations just as there are variations today between different people groups but all descended from the first two people created by God—Adam and Eve? University of California’s Tim White, who holds a different interpretation of human evolution, believes the remains belong to the species H. erectus, named in the 19th century. He is reported as saying that “New species should not be created willy-nilly. In order to claim a new species one has to demonstrate that it’s different from anything that’s ever been known.”Homo naledi, a New Human Ancestor? (ICR). Frank Sherwin gives his initial take on the fossils, ending with a suggestion that the individuals are more ape-like than human-like, pointing to doubts about the intentional burial interpretation. Incidentally, ICR is about to release its new 4-part DVD production on the human body, Made in His Image; click here for trailer and information.Other Human-Evolution NewsAlmost buried in the news about Homo naledi was another major announcement about Homo bones in a cave in Spain. In Science Magazine, Ann Gibbons writes about the new dates assigned to Denisovans, ranging from 50,000 to as much as 170,000 years ago. Gibbons thinks “they help solidify our murky view of Denisovans,” but can such a vast range of dates be plausible for individuals with many of the capabilities of Neanderthals and modern humans? And how much can be learned from a tiny fragment of a pinky fingerbone? “Denisovans occupied Denisova Cave repeatedly over more than 100,000 years,” she claims in a related Science Magazine article without winking a skeptical eye. “Neandertals slipped in as well, and modern humans were the last to live there.”Gibbons also claimed in a recent Science Magazine piece that Neanderthal DNA is shaking up the family tree. But that’s old news. She leaves science for the humanities in “Humanity’s Long, Lonely Road,” speculating this way and that about the relationships of Denisovans, Neanderthals and so-called modern humans (although the differences between all three are slight). Her speculations put modern humans on a long, lonely road as far back as 3/4 of a million years ago. “That would mean that the ancestors of humans were already wandering down a solitary path, apart from the other kinds of archaic humans on the planet, 100,000 to 400,000 years earlier than expected.” It sure took these lookalikes a long time to learn farming.Most curious in the early-man news is Michael Balter’s suggestion in Science Magazine that the “world’s oldest oatmeal” may have been discovered in an Italian cave. Estimated 32,000 years old, that would make it 25,000 years before the invention of farming. One would think they would tire of the same breakfast cereal after two weeks, let alone 25,000 years.New Scientist, meanwhile, drags in climate change to explain “key moments in human evolution.” Climate change becomes an all-purpose gimmick for explaining any evolutionary mystery, but it has a problem: why didn’t all the other species change accordingly? It explains opposite outcomes; therefore, it explains nothing.Eskimos are human, aren’t they? Sure they are. But changes to their stature—genetic mutations and all—occurred rapidly (geologically speaking) due to their high fat diet, Julie Hussin writes in The Conversation. She attributes this to natural selection, but hey: the Inuit can marry Europeans or Chinese and have happy kids.It’s an appropriate time to remember Ian Tattersal and Jeffrey Schwarz’s critical comments in Science Magazine about defining the genus Homo. These veteran paleoanthropologists think their colleagues have been going about it all wrong. There is no simple ancestor-descendent relationship to be found in human fossils. “If we want to be objective, we shall almost certainly have to scrap the iconic list of names in which hominin fossil specimens have historically been trapped, and start from the beginning by hypothesizing morphs, building testable theories of relatedness, and rethinking genera and species.” What does that imply for “Homo naledi“?In conclusion, we remind readers that “the myth of the missing link does science no favors,” as Sean Nee argues in The Conversation. Depending on the traits one focuses on, or one’s starting metanarrative, any story of relationships can be concocted; “we must choose our metaphors wisely, lest we be misled,” he says. “The Great Chain of Being, strung through evolutionary space by Blind Watchmakers, with missing links waiting to be discovered, isn’t going to help us understand infectious disease” or anything else that matters to us. Fossils like those announced by Lee Berger need to be interpreted on their own terms.Update 9/21/15: At Evolution News & Views, Casey Luskin provides a detailed look at four major controversies about these fossils, including their classification, whether they were buried or chase into the cave, whether they comprise multiple species, and more. He provides many quotes from the literature.We provide these links as preliminary coverage regarding so-called Homo naledi. Obviously many questions are floating around, and without dates, even the evolutionists don’t know what to think. If original unfossilized tissue or radiocarbon is found, the evolutionary story will be moot; evolutionists would have to claim, like with Homo floresiensis (the “hobbit”) that the creatures were relicts of earlier evolution, caught in some kind of refugium away from evolving modern humans. That would seem hard to maintain. Rather than rely on the opinions of experts, go to the original papers and read them critically, asking the kinds of questions evolutionists don’t think about.In a profound new peer-reviewed paper in Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, creation geneticist John Sanford and team have shown that human evolution is unworkable anyway. There is simply not enough time, using realistic models of fixation and population size, for the mutations needed to change an ape into a man to have occurred (this is similar to the argument against whale evolution in the new film Living Waters). And that’s only one of numerous falsifications of neo-Darwinism.With unguided mechanisms off the table, the only rational alternative for interpreting the bones from Rising Star Cave will be to start with intelligent design or Genesis 1.last_img read more


first_imgThe task for WUFIWhen heat, air, and moisture move through materials, assemblies, and enclosures, they do so with great complexity. Moisture, for example, can move via any of the mechanisms listed in the table below (see Image #2). Also, things are always changing with time, of course, and a flow usually depends on the direction taken through an assembly as well. Properties change depending on which way you go. (The fancy physics word for this is anisotropy, and it’s where the amazingly fun del operator, ∇, comes into play.)WUFI models the flow of heat and moisture through an assembly. It can do a pretty good job with isotropic (uniform in all directions) materials or assemblies… if you get the inputs right. What that means is that you can get pretty good results for one-dimensional flows in the field of an assembly, such as a wall or ceiling. Last year I wrote about WUFI 1-D and showed that it can tell you how likely a material is to grow mold based on the moisture accumulation or drying over time.The equations that WUFI attempts to solve are shown below (see Image #3). The software does so numerically, and it requires the user to put in a lot of information about the assemblies being modeled. The solutions show heat and moisture travel across an assembly over time.According to Joe, when WUFI came across the Atlantic from Germany, it didn’t do a good job of incorporating air flow or rain. Now the software does a better job with them, getting closer to accurate modeling of the transport mechanisms shown in the table below. You still have to know how much wind-driven rain or air leakage to model and pick the correct weather location, but “WUFI is ready for prime time,” Lstiburek said. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. A lesson in water“The three biggest problems in buildings are water, water, and water.” Gus Handegord said this a long time ago, and it’s still true. (Now I know who to give credit to for the variation on this quote I used in Matt Risinger’s Summer Camp video.) What happened to The Igloo Chronicles, Part IV?If you’ve been following the debate from a distance over the past two years, you might think Joe and Achilles hate each other. Nothing could be further from the truth. They’ve worked together for a long time, and Joe talks admiringly about all the hours Achilles put in to read and comment on his doctoral dissertation. I got to spend time with them at the 2013 North American Passive House conference, and it’s clear that these two men like and respect each other. (By the way, the blonde blur in Image #4 below is Betsy Pettit, Joe’s wife and business partner at BSC.)But I just wish they’d continued the igloo theme. I don’t think either of them mentioned igloos once during the Expert Session on WUFI (although Achilles did mention candles3), so they killed my idea of calling this article, The Igloo Chronicles, Part IV. Dr. Joseph Lstiburek started it in 2012 when, in his keynote address at the Passive House conference, he said igloos were the first passive houses and you don’t need WUFI,1 the hygrothermal modeling tool, to design and build a good house. Dr. Achilles Karagiozis, one of the leading proponents of WUFI, struck back in a presentation at the 2013 Westford Symposium on Building Science. In it he described a scenario in which Joe was in a helicopter crash in Alaska and had to build an igloo to survive. At the Passive House conference this year, Achilles expanded on that same topic.Last week at Building Science Corporation‘s (BSC) annual Expert’s Session, the two of them presented on the same day in a daylong seminar on hygrothermal modeling. And as a bonus, Kohta Ueno of Building Science Corporation presented on his work on the modeling and monitoring of embedded wood joists in insulated masonry walls. Here’s what you missed if you weren’t there. Lstiburek began his part of the hygrothermal modeling session with this quote and a beautiful explanation of the fundamentals of building science, the laws of thermodynamics, and the behavior of water. Although most of us are thinking about the flow of turkey and pumpkin cheesecake this week, it’s the flow of HAM — heat, air, and moisture — that’s of great concern in building science, and Joe showed how it works.The central focus was on water, which, all by itself, is the three biggest problems in buildings. According to Joe, 80% of all construction problems are related to water.The lesson covered the fundamentals, but Joe really shone when discussing the movement of water through porous media and through assemblies. He discussed the four — yes, four — phases of water.2 Liquid, gas, and solid are well known, of course, but adsorbed water behaves differently from any of those three.The difference between adsorption and absorption is an important one. For water in porous materials, absorption would be liquid water filling the pores. Think of a sponge absorbing water. Adsorption would be just a few layers of water molecules lining the surfaces of the pores. Adsorbed water moves differently from water in the liquid or vapor phases, and that has significant implications for building science.After explaining the basics, Lstiburek went into the details of the different mechanisms that get water moving through materials and assemblies, as shown in the table below (see Image #2), taken from the presentation slides (which you can download from the BSC website). He covered vapor pressure, concentration, Kelvin’s equation, contact angle, and surface energy and made it all make sense.It was a really great presentation, and if you haven’t seen Dr. Joe do this, I certainly recommend it. A lot of what he did here was part of his two-day Building Science Fundamentals class. The doctors’ advice on the limitations of WUFIBoth Dr. Lstiburek and Dr. Karagiozis cautioned the audience on the limitations of WUFI. Karagiozis used the example of him trying to give his presentation by reading notes off a regular sheet of paper held up by Lstiburek all the way in the back of the room. No matter how good your eyes are, you’re not really going to be able to read that piece of paper very well.Karagiozis also said it’s important to use the transport properties of the actual material that’s going to be used in the assembly. You can’t use generic properties because density, permeance, and other properties vary from one product to another. Extruded polystyrene (XPS) from Owens Corning, for example, doesn’t have the same properties as XPS from Dow.Lstiburek’s statement about hygrothermal analysis increasingly being included in contracts was followed by a big caution sign. Mechanical and structural engineers, he said, are most likely to be the ones who have to do the modeling, but if they don’t know the tricks of using WUFI, they’ll get the wrong answers.For example, he told us about a case in Houston where an engineer ran WUFI and found that the building’s walls were getting wet from interior water vapor. So the engineer specified a vapor barrier beneath the drywall. “When you get the wrong answer, you shouldn’t be doing this,” Joe said. What he meant is you shouldn’t be doing this when you don’t recognize that you’ve gotten the wrong answer.In addition to what Joe and Achilles said, Kohta Ueno presented what he’s learned so far in a Building America project they’ve been working on at BSC (which you can download from the BSC website). They’ve been modeling and monitoring the heat and moisture flows in embedded wood joists in insulated masonry walls, a fairly common construction. What he concluded was that using a 1-D model on a 3-D hygrothermal problem is not recommended, largely because of the great number of inputs and variables. He said you could spend a lot of time on modeling a problem like this, but it’s probably not very useful. When should you use WUFI?According to Joe, WUFI definitely has its uses. And those uses are in assemblies that don’t have a track record, like superinsulated, supertight Passive House projects. With R-40 truss walls or R-60 insulated rooflines, the margin for error is smaller, and WUFI can provide valuable insights into how those assemblies might work. You still have to follow up with monitoring the actual performance, but the modeling might be able to help you avoid costly mistakes.“The tool is phenomenal,” Joe said, but he wants to help reduce the mistakes people make by using WUFI. To that end, BSC is working on materials to help users learn what kind of tolerances they’re dealing with. The BSC team is putting together lists of inputs that will produce certain results so users get a feel for the inputs and the outputs.“I’m hoping two-thirds of the modeling that’s being done now won’t need to be done,” said Lstiburek, “and the modeling that’s needed is done correctly.” The uses of WUFIWhen you use WUFI and get results, you can learn a lot about how an assembly or collection of assemblies might behave. One thing you can do is to model the performance of a new type of wall assembly to see if it will dry adequately.You can also model the performance of a whole enclosure as a collection of assemblies. This is what WUFI Passive does. PHIUS allows Certified Passive House Consultants to use either the PHPP or WUFI Passive to certify Passive House projects. This version of the software incorporates the Passive House requirements, so it gives you a dynamic look at what’s happening with the assemblies as well as the conditions inside the enclosure and whether it passes or fails.Karagiozis said a hygrothermal analysis tool like WUFI is needed to address ASHRAE’s design methodology. We didn’t need it before, he said, because buildings were more tolerant of mistakes. Now, though, we need it because of:Enhanced comfort requirementsEnergy conservationNew materialsWe can use WUFI, Karagiozis said, to design for increased drying performance, better water management, and more forgiving systems.According to Lstiburek, hygrothermal analysis is being included in more and more construction contracts these days, too. But is that a good thing? RELATED ARTICLES WUFI Is Driving Me Crazy A Brief Introduction to WUFI, in 5 Easy PiecesMakin’ WUFI Footnotes1. WUFI stands for Wärme- Und Feuchtetransport Instationärs, which translates literally (according to Google’s translator) as Heat and Moisture Transport Unsteady.2. Since I was trained as a physicist, I thought the fourth phase would have been plasma the first time I heard someone talk about the four phases of water, but plasma doesn’t really come into play in building science, unless you’re working on a physics lab or nuclear fusion reactor.3. In his earlier WUFI talks, Achilles described a scenario with Joe burning candles to try to stay warm enough inside his makeshift igloo to keep from dying after his Alaska helicopter crash. At the PHIUS conference this year, he also told the audience that Joe loves candles, especially scented ones, so if you want to be his friend, just give him a candle. So I gave him one last week. You should, too.last_img read more


first_imgYou can now upgrade your royalty free music licenses directly from our site! It’s a quick and easy way to start growing your project’s audience today.Often you don’t know the full scope of a project until it’s released into the wild. For instance, a client may love that web commercial you made so much that they want to use it for broadcast television. Or perhaps you’ve created a film for festival distribution that gets picked up for a major theatrical release.Previously, we worked with PremiumBeat customers through email support to upgrade music licenses when their needs expanded. Although the process was typically quick, we knew there was a better way to approach the upgrade process.We’re excited to share with you the latest feature addition to PremiumBeat: the ability to upgrade to our Premium license directly through the website. You can now choose any track in your account history and instantaneously upgrade it to one of our extended licenses… so you’ll only pay for the licensing you need.TRY IT NOWIt’s quick and easy to upgrade your PremiumBeat license. Here’s how it’s done.1. LoginLog into your PremiumBeat account. Go to your user menu and select Orders and Downloads.2. UpgradeFind the song you’d like to upgrade. Click Order Details. Then click Upgrade License. Simply select the Premium License by clicking Enhance Now. Your new license is now in your cart!3. CheckoutTo complete your purchase, simply go through the normal checkout process. Then, download your new license from the confirmation page. That’s it!We’re constantly adding new features to the site, implementing feedback, and improving the overall customer experience. Are there new features you’d like to see on PremiumBeat? We’d love to know. Don’t hesitate to contact our team via support!last_img read more


first_imgRafael Nadal extended his Grand Slam winning streak to 23 matches, continuing the chase for his “Rafa Slam” with a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 win over American qualifier Ryan Sweeting in the second round of the Australian Open.Rafael Nadal keeps his eyes on the ball as he makes a backhand return to Ryan Sweeting during their second round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne on Thursday. APThe top-ranked Nadal is aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.He’s conceded only four games en route to the third round, sealing his win over Sweeting on Thursday with the last in a blizzard of forehand winners.After his quarterfinal exit at the last Australian Open, Nadal rebounded to win the French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles.Nadal hit some shots that Sweeting could barely believe, including a forehand on set point in the second when the Spaniard’s curling shot caught the baseline. With nothing to lose, Sweeting challenged the call as he walked off. The call stood.The only hint of anything other than complete domination for Nadal came in the third set, when Sweeting broke serve in the fifth game and then got within a point of bring it back to 4-2 in a game that went to deuce five times. Again, Nadal held on to convert a break and served out in the next game.”A few mistakes with the backhand, that’s all. My serve improved a lot since the first day. I think I was serving very well today,” Nadal said, noting the one blot on his serve was when he looked into the sun. “Movement good; backhand good; having a few more mistakes than usual. I have to play longer with the backhand. Maybe have to play a little bit more aggressive, more inside the court.”advertisementThat’s not good news for Nadal’s next opponent – 18-year-old Australian wildcard entry Bernard Tomic.Sweeting said he was overwhelmed by Nadal’s relentless accuracy and the fact he had to play so many shots just to earn a point.Tomic, the last Australian male left in the draw, advanced with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over No. 31 Feliciano Lopez of Spain. Canada’s Milos Raonic also produced a second-round upset, beating No. 22 Michael Llodra of France 7-6 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4).Kim Clijsters showed why she’s fast becoming a hot favorite for the women’s title by beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-3.U.S. Open champion Clijsters opened with a 6-0, 6-0 win over former No. 1-ranked Dinara Safina, but Suarez Navarro was a potentially dangerous second-round matchup. The 22-year-old Spaniard beat Venus Williams in a second-round upset in her first trip to Melbourne Park two years ago.”She is a tough player. She’s tricky. The balls bounce so much different than for my first round,” Clijsters said. “I was just happy with the way that I played. I tried to play both sides of the court, tried to be aggressive and dictate the points. And it worked.”With defending champion Serena Williams not playing in Australia due to a prolonged foot problem, third-seeded Clijsters is hopeful of going one better than her previous best performance at Melbourne Park – she lost the 2004 final.Her third-round 6-0, 6-1 loss here to Nadia Petrova last year was her worst in a major. It’s a defeat she claims she doesn’t dwell on and doesn’t think will influence her preparations for the same stage this weekend.”I don’t think I’ve ever played a match like that. So it was very easy in a way to also forget about it, as well,” Clijsters said.Joining her in the third round from the bottom half of the draw were No. 10 Shahar Peer, No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 13 Nadia Petrova and Iveta Benesova, who beat No. 18 Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-1.Seventh-seeded Jelena Jankovic lost 7-6 (3), 6-3 to China’s Peng Shuai, continuing an unimpressive streak of seven losses in eight matches. It was former world No. 1 Jankovic’s worst result at a major since the 2009 U.S. Open.Meanwhile, Clijsters has spent just two hours on court so far, leaving plenty of time to joke with the crowd and take a little swipe at on-court interviewer Todd Woodbridge, a former Australian doubles great. She lightheartedly chided Woodbridge about a text message he’d sent to fellow Australian Rennae Stubbs, suggesting Clijsters was showing physical and emotional signs of being pregnant.”No, I’m not!” said Clijsters, who took time off the tour when she married and had a child – daughter Jada, born in February 2008 – before returning to win the U.S. Open in 2009.advertisementWhile Clijsters and Nadal have advanced with ease, Venus Williams and defending men’s champion Roger Federer have encountered challenges.Williams injured a muscle between her stomach and groin Wednesday as she twisted for a volley. She needed a medical timeout after losing the first set. She was on the verge of tears, and apparently elimination. But she refused to stop playing and eventually beat Sandra Zahlavova of the Czech Republic 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-4.Federer faced a more familiar problem – Gilles Simon. He’s one of only three men on tour with a winning record against the Swiss great.The 16-time Grand Slam champion admitted he was “happy I survived a scare” after winning in five sets.last_img read more


first_imgFor some strange reason football is synonymous with Bengal, although Goa and Kerala will claim equal suzerainty over it.In the early 1980s, I landed in Kolkata having grown up in Delhi. Imagine my horror, when I, a cricket junkie, found Kolkata was completely football crazy. The towering statue of Goshto Pal on the maidan, at the very intersection where the holy trinity of the megalopolis football craze converged – Mohun Bagan, East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting – was nothing short of a pilgrimage for a neophyte like me. Having played football in school and a more bruising form later in the tea plantations, I too trooped to the makeshift stadia to make my tryst with the Kolkatan version of the beautiful game. And the passion on display was unbelievable – Shyam Thapa with his bicycle kick, the speedy Subhash Bhowmick, Subrata Bhattacharya tall and stately in defence, Gautam Sarkar, Mohd Habib, Mohd Nayeem and many more were part of a fabled pantheon worshipped by all of us.ArtistryBut this flirtation with football was to receive a rude jolt. Two Iranians landed in the city – Majid Bakshar and Jamshed Nassiri – and they opened up a whole new playing style. Nassiri was the poacher in the strike zone while Majid was the playmaker and ball passer. They made a fantastic combine, Majid with the flair, daredevilry and derring-do in the mid field, making the play for his compatriot Nassiri who struck home with dexterity and timing. The duo came from the province of Khuzestan and Majid even represented Iran in the 1978 World Cup played in Argentina. Both came to Aligarh Muslim University to pursue higher studies, but were spotted by talent scouts and recruited by East Bengal. Subsequently, they joined Mohammedan Sporting Football Club and Kolkatans flocked to the maidans.advertisementThe duo’s entry into the football cauldrons of Kolkata was a defining moment in Indian football. Football supporters were astonished at the artistry with which the two Iranians played the game in stark contrast to the the rest of the league. This first glimpse of real football was ‘revolutionary’ a term that may be politically incorrect given that Kolkata was then in the throes of Leftist rule. The end came swiftly as the more talented of the two – Majid – was debilitated by substance abuse. He returned to Iran, while Jamshed stayed on in his adopted city Kolkata.Jolt number two came with the advent of the Nehru Cup in Kolkata in 1982. My memory of that tourney was of the Uruguayan player who could throw the ball into the D such was the power of his throw. The robust playing style, the smart set pieces and the sheer agility of the Uruguayan players was a delight to watch as they vanquished China 2-0 to win the inaugural tournament. The Uruguayans had shown all too well, why the South American style was a killer app in world football. Two years later in 1984, Poland showed their hard tackling man-to-man marking style and defeated China. Kolkatans awoke with a start to the pace and speed on display in the Nehru Cup final.BrillianceThe final decapitating blow to the ‘art form’ practiced on Kolkata’s maidans came with the introduction of live television which beamed pictures of the 1986 football World Cup for the very first time. India’s love affair with the World Cup football tournament started in 1982, when for the first time the semi finals and final had been telecast live on Doordarshan. There was also deferred telecast of some of the earlier round matches. Brazil’s brilliance in that tournament, showcased by the attacking flair of Zico, Socrates, Falcao and Toninho Cerezo, won them many supporters. In the eighties, the majority of India supported Brazil.Over the years that changed. In 1986, for the very first time the entire World Cup was telecast live in India. With Mexico being the hosts the tournament gained notoriety. Almost overnight, pocket dynamo Diego Maradona became a star with fans all across the globe, and Kolkata being no exception. Whatever bad feelings Maradona may have created with his ‘Hand of God’ goal, he erased with the second, ensuring the quarter final between England and Argentina will never be forgotten.OutsidersThe goal, which was voted the “Goal of the Century” in 2002 on the FIFA website, saw Maradona running past five English players before scoring. With 20 minutes to go, the introduction of John Barnes as a substitute changed the tide of play in England’s favour, as he pinged in cross after cross into the Argentine penalty area and with just nine minutes left, England striker Gary Lineker got onto the end of one and scored. Lineker almost repeated six minutes later but was unable to reach the ball thanks to a timely block by Olarticoechea: 2-1 to Argentina remained the final score line.advertisementThe goals made Maradona a superstar. In the semi finals, he struck twice in the second half as Argentina beat Belgium 2-0. The final against Germany did not see the same magic but Maradona did enough to see his country home. With seven minutes remaining, a pass from him gave Jorge Burruchaga the chance to score the winner for Argentina.Argentina’s victory managed to turn Kolkata’s world upside down. Maradona’s staggering display of running, passing and goal scoring was viewed as a tour de force and since then, nothing has remained the same. Now, whenever Kolkata, Goa, Kerala or other urban agglomerates in India go gaga over football – be it EPL, Champions League or the World Cup – it reminds one of Begaane Shaadi Mein Abdullah Deewana. This iconic song from the Bollywood film Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hain, which literally means that you are dancing at some unknown person’s wedding, is something Indian fans have had to do, World Cup after World Cup, as Indian football has remained on skid row. Consigned to the rubbish heap of history, it will be some time before the nation can take part in the beautiful game, on the world stage.last_img read more


first_imgNew Delhi: The Railways on Tuesday clarified that the letters sent to zonal offices to identify employees above the age of 55 years and those who have completed 30 years in service were for a “routine” performance review. The clarification came amid speculation that the national transporter was in the midst of compulsorily retiring a sizeable number of its employees. This review, the Railways said in a statement, was laid down by the Railway Establishment Code and was required to be conducted by the administration in “public interest”. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “Letters have been issued to railway zones/production units merely by way of reiteration to conduct the routine review of performance of the railway employees in pursuance of service conditions,” the statement said. “It is a routine exercise which is required to be conducted by the administration in public interest and the same has been conducted in previous years as well. Any reference regarding the number of employees being retired under such rules is thus without any substance,” it added. The Railways said it had recruited approximately 1,84,262 employees in various categories during the period of 2014-2019. An exercise for the recruitment of 2,83,637 staffers is underway and examinations have already been conducted for 1,41,060 posts. The process shall be completed within the next two months, it said.last_img read more