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2012 Queensland State Championships Results

first_imgWomen’s 20’s FinalBrisbane City Cobras 3 defeated Sunshine Coast Pineapples 1Player of the Final – Tara Sheppard (Brisbane City Cobras) Women’s Open FinalSouth West Queensland Swans 6 defeated Brisbane City Cobras 3 Player of the Final – Emilee Cherry (South West Queensland) Mixed Open FinalBrisbane City Cobras 12 defeated South Queensland Sharks 6 Female Player of the Final – Renee Fraser (Brisbane City Cobras) Male Player of the Final – Dylan Hennessey (Brisbane City Cobras) 26 teams from right across Queensland converged on the Palm Beach Touch Fields on the Gold Coast from Friday to Sunday to take part in the 2012 Queensland State Championships. With three days of exciting games concluding on Sunday, the massive weekend of Touch Football saw some of Queensland’s best players battle it out. The Brisbane City Cobras finished the event with wins in three divisions, the Men’s 50’s, Women’s 20’s and Mixed Open, while South West Queensland took out the Women’s Open final and the Central Queensland Bulls were one touchdown winners in the Men’s Open division final. The results of the event are below:Men’s Open FinalCentral Queensland Bulls 5 defeated South Queensland Sharks 4Player of the Final – Dan Withers (Central Queensland Bulls) center_img Men’s 50’s Final Brisbane City Cobras 5 defeated Sunshine Coast Pineapples 4 Player of the Final – Geoff Garrick (Brisbane City Cobras) Related LinksQLD State Champslast_img read more

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COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Orders 4 Pulp Carriers

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license China’s shipping company COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers has exercised options to build four 62,000-ton multipurpose pulp carriers. The company said it signed an agreement with COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry (Dalian) shipyard for the construction of vessel quartet on March 1, 2019.The ships are expected to be delivered between the late 2019 and 2021. The company will pay USD 33.5 million per ship, according to data provided by Asiasis.Last year, COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers ordered five identical 62,000-ton pulp carriers. The order included four options which needed to be confirmed by March 7, 2019.As explained, the move is in line with the company’s development strategy focused on seizing opportunities in the global pulp market.Back in 2017, COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers also ordered three 62,000 dwt pulp carriers at Dalian yard. The ships will carry cargo of Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano Papel e Celulose.COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers, part of China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited Company, operates a fleet of more than 100 vessels, including multipurpose and heavy lift vessels, semi-submersible vessels, pure car carriers, logs carriers as well as asphalt carriers.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

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Tourism Marketing Agency Chosen

first_imgThe Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage is awarding a three-year contract to Colour Creative Persuasion Inc. to act as its full-service agency of record for tourism marketing. “Through the selection process, Colour demonstrated its understanding of our needs and its ability to meet them with a strong technical bid and oral presentation,” said Lloyd Banfield, executive director of tourism. “We’re confident in this agency’s ability to work closely with us and the tourism industry to create innovative consumer-focused marketing strategies that will grow our tourism revenues and draw more visitors to Nova Scotia.” Colour was selected through the Public Tenders Office with the support of an independent procurement specialist, private sector tourism industry members, and tourism division staff. “”Our team at Colour is honoured that both the tourism industry and government have entrusted our agency with the responsibility for tourism marketing over the next several years,” said Chris Keevill, president of Colour. “We know Nova Scotia is in a very competitive marketplace for tourists. That’s why we listened to the tourism industry, listened to tourism operators and brought forward a proposal based on what has worked, but also what has changed in terms of consumer behaviour and demand.” The department and the agency will negotiate the details of the contract, including its final value, within the coming weeks. The contract will begin Nov. 1.last_img read more

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Trudeau appoints first ambassador to advance women peace and security

first_imgOTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Canada’s first ambassador for women, peace and security.Jacqueline O’Neill, who has served on a number of related international bodies, assumes the new diplomatic post designed to advance the Liberal government’s feminist foreign policy.O’Neill will also provide advice to the government on how to protect the rights of women and girls who face violence and insecurity.Since 2011, she has served as a federal adviser on advancing peace and security for women.She has helped create policies on gender and security in NATO, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the United Nations.O’Neill is also a co-founder of the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, which tries to stamp out the use of children in armed conflict.“When women play an active role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and when their rights are respected, we are better able to achieve long-term, sustainable peace,” Trudeau says in a statement.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland calls O’Neill “a world-leader in this field and a champion of gender equality in Canada and internationally.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Libyan negotiators react positively to draft deal Reached in Morocco

Skhirat-  Libyan negotiators meeting in Morocco for the 5th round of talks have reacted positively to a draft peace agreement put forward by the United Nations Organization, U.N. Secretary General’s special envoy Bernardino Leon said Tuesday.“We have distributed, as you have seen, a new proposed agreement. All I can tell you for now is that the reaction is positive,” Leon told journalists after he presented to delegates Monday the draft on forming a national unity government.Negotiators of Libyan conflicting parties resumed on Monday in the Moroccan Atlantic sea resort of Skhirate talks, described as “decisive” by the United Nations support mission in Libya (UNSMIL) under the aegis of the UN SG’s special representative, with the participation of several parties, mainly the two rival parliaments, the Tripoli and the Tobrouk parliaments, and in the presence of several European ambassadors as well as speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives, Ahmed Talbi Alami and minister-delegate for foreign affairs and cooperation, Mbarka Bouaida. Leon said there was “sense of optimism” emerging from the talks, but was cautious pending deeper talks as the delegations will be heading in the evening to Berlin to meet with foreign ministers of the UN Security Council’s permanent member states.“The security track is important. We need strong support from the armed formations … We will not succeed if we don’t have their support,” Leon said.Negotiators of Libyan conflicting parties resumed on Monday talks, described as “decisive” by the United Nations support mission in Libya (UNSMIL).MWN with MAP read more

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TSX Dow SP 500 soar on strong GDP growth

TORONTO — Stock markets in Toronto and New York closed higher, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending the day at record levels amid a slew of positive economic data from both Canada and the United States.The S&P/TSX composite index soared 161.65 points to 14,594.03. The Canadian dollar climbed 0.05 of a cent to 85.98 cents US.Statistics Canada says gross domestic product rose by 0.3% in October, beating economists’ expectations of 0.1%. The growth was broad based and due largely to oil and gas extraction, mining and manufacturing.In the U.S., the Commerce Department revised upwards its GDP growth figures for the third quarter to five per cent, the fastest pace in more than a decade. The previous figure was 3.9%.BOOM! Dow Jones storms past 18,000 as U.S. economy grows at fastest pace in 11 yearsCanada’s economy picks up the pace, putting growth on track to beat past two yearsThe positive data helped lift Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrials advanced 64.73 points to 18,024.17, its first-ever close above the 18,000-mark, while the S&P 500 index added 3.63 points to 2,082.17. Both were record highs. The Nasdaq declined 16 points to 4,765.42.In commodities, the February crude oil contract added $1.86 to US$57.12 barrel. February gold bullion contract fell $1.80 to US$1,178 an ounce, while March copper lost a penny to US$2.87 a pound. read more

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UN tribunal for former Yugoslavia hands down first genocide conviction

In rendering its judgement, Trial Chamber I of the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) said that it was “convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that a crime of genocide was committed in Srebrenica” and that Mr. Krstic was guilty of genocide. Reading the summary of the Sentencing Judgement, Presiding Judge Almiro Rodrigues said the Chamber was “doing its duty in meting out justice and, in this way, hopes to have contributed to creating a better world.” General Krstic was accused of genocide, complicity to commit genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and forced transfer or deportation and of crimes committed between July and November 1995 following the attack of the Serbian forces on the town of Srebrenica. At the time the attack was launched, General Krstic was the deputy commander of the Drina Corps, one of the corps which constitutes the army of Republika Srpska, often known as the VRS. At today’s Judgement hearing, Judge Rodrigues stressed the importance of distinguishing between what might be collective responsibility and individual responsibility, noting that the Tribunal had not been established to deal with collective responsibility. “What is of interest to me in each of the trials in which I have sat in this court is to verify whether the evidence presented before it makes it possible to find an accused guilty,” he said. “I seek to judge an accused. I do not judge a people.” The Judge acknowledged that in the former Yugoslavia there were attacks against civilian populations, massacres, and crimes of persecution – some of which were committed by Serbian forces. He said that to associate this evil with Serbian identity would be an insult to the Serbian people and would betray the concept of civil society. But it would be just as monstrous not to attach any name to the evil because that could be an offence to the Serbs, he added. “In July 1995, General Krstic, you agreed to evil,” Judge Rodrigues said. “This is why the Trial Chamber convicts you today and sentences you to 46 years in prison.”During the proceedings, the Chamber heard 128 witnesses and admitted 1,100 exhibits, some of which were hundreds of pages long. read more

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FedEx says global economy is stalling cuts outlook for fiscal year by

by News Staff Posted Sep 18, 2012 5:02 pm MDT FedEx says global economy is stalling, cuts outlook for fiscal year by about 10 per cent NEW YORK, N.Y. – FedEx Corp. says the global economy is stalling, and it’s going to get worse next year.The conditions are shrinking earnings at the world’s second-largest package delivery company. Factories are making fewer items for FedEx to ship and customers are opting for cheaper delivery options to save money.FedEx on Tuesday cut its outlook for global growth and industrial production while slashing the forecast for company earnings. And CEO Fred Smith suggested trade has slowed to levels seen during the last two significant economic downturns.It’s more evidence that the global economy has a way to go to a full recovery.Several countries in Europe are in recession and the U.S. is struggling with high unemployment and weaker manufacturing growth. And Smith said some experts have underestimated the severity of the slowdown in exports from China, where FedEx has invested heavily over the last several years, adding new planes to export goods and expanding its hubs and network.FedEx’s forecasts are closely watched for signals of future economic health. Its results provide insight into the global economy because of the number of products it ships and the number of countries in which it does business. Bigger rival UPS said in July that it expects the global economy to get worse before it gets better. UPS also cut its earnings forecast.The slow pace of economic recovery is hurting FedEx because it relies on sharp spurts of demand to feed its air network. Demand for air freight is usually strong coming out of a period of slow economic growth, because retailers have whittled down their inventory and need to replenish quickly when demand picks up. The current recovery in the U.S. is the slowest since World War II.FedEx lowered its expectations for U.S. economic growth to 2.2 per cent in 2012 and 1.9 per cent next year. Those are mostly in line with economists’ views.FedEx, based in Memphis, Tenn., cut its earnings forecast for the fiscal year ending in May to between $6.20 and $6.60 per share, from $6.90 to $7.40 previously.For the current quarter that ends in November, FedEx forecasts earnings of $1.30 to $1.45 per share, compared with $1.57 per share last year. That’s well under analysts’ forecasts. FedEx will get a boost from major technology product launches, like the recently announced iPhone 5, but not enough to make up for the slowdown elsewhere.Economic growth around the globe has slowed over the last several months. Output has declined in Japan, China and elsewhere in Asia. U.S. industrial production last month fell by the largest amount in more than three years, as factories produced fewer cars, pieces of furniture and other goods. Meanwhile rising gas prices and high unemployment kept consumers from spending freely.Smith said a continued slowdown in the developed world combined with high fuel prices will keep trade volumes trailing growth in the world’s economies, mimicking a trend seen in the last two recessions.Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at the Martin Smith School of Business at California State University, agrees with that forecast, calling the current economic expansion “lethargic.”“Trade has been hurt significantly,” Sohn said. “China was a fast growing export market for many countries including Germany and the United States. But now China is slowing. That hurts sales of everything from Mercedes Benz automobiles to Napa Valley wines.”Most of FedEx’s pain is caused by a steep decline in Asian exports due to weakness in Europe. But consumers and business around the globe are also choosing to move goods by ground or ocean instead of by air to conserve cash. Smith said an “incredible increase” in fuel prices is a factor in that behaviour.Those changes are having the biggest impact on FedEx’s Express unit. Operating income for Express, which is about double the size of any other unit, fell 28 per cent in the first quarter. FedEx said major changes at the unit will be announced next month.The company’s earnings predictions don’t include that restructuring. Because of this, Dahlman Rose analyst Helene Becker thinks FedEx’s performance might exceed its own expectations.FedEx shares dropped $2.72, or 3.1 per cent, to $86.56, contributing to a mixed performance in U.S. stocks. The Dow Jones transportation average, which is made up of trucking companies, railroads and airlines, lost more than 1 per cent Tuesday. That compares with virtually no change in the Dow industrials and a decline of only 0.2 per cent for the Standard & Poor’s 500.Truckers and railroad companies aren’t faring much better than FedEx. September is one of the most critical months of the year for freight companies because it marks the end of the back to school rush and the start of the holiday season. This year, the normal peak shipping season has been soft as retailers carry less inventory and freight prices fall because of waning demand.In the three months that ended in August, FedEx Corp. earned $459 million, or $1.45 per share. That hit the top end of its recently lowered estimate. Revenue rose 3 per cent to $10.79 billion. It earned $464 million, or $1.46 per share, on revenue of $10.52 billion in the same quarter a year ago.The company’s ground unit performed better in the first quarter as it benefited from customers trading down. Operating income in the company’s ground segment rose 9 per cent on an 8 per cent increase in revenue.___AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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Growing a future free of terrorism UN News special report from Cameroon

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe“The men came at night,” she told UN News in the town of Kourgui where she now lives. “They wanted to take my daughter, but I pleaded with them not to, because she was just 10 years old at the time. I was polite because if you are rude the men will do terrible things to you.” Mamma Hamidou’s politeness probably saved her and her children from being abducted. She immediately left her village of Kolofata, close to the border with Nigeria, and brought her family some 10 kilometres to Kourgui. The next day she returned to her village to salvage the belongings that had not been looted. “The men came again that night and asked after my children,” she remembers. I told them my children were no longer here. They were very angry and said they would cut my husband’s throat; they took him away and the next day told me he was dead. They were going to take me too, but I managed to gather my possessions and leave; all that was left was a straw mat and a scarf. I remember it was very cold that night.”The men who plundered Kolofata village may have been members of the outlawed Boko Haram group, a UN-designated terrorist organization which was formed in the north of Nigeria over a decade ago and has been attacking communities and abducting people in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, ever since. The group, and its many break-away factions, kidnaps women and girls and forces them to become reluctant wives or servants, also coercing men and boys to take up arms. Community farmUN Photo/Eskinder DebebeToday, Mamma Hamidou lives “peacefully” with her four children and earns up to eight dollars a day selling peanut sauce, beans, flour and homemade spaghetti after receiving income-generating funding from the UN Development Programme (UNDP). “With the money from my activities, I built a small house and can afford to send my children to school.”She also works on a community farm alongside ten other people who have been displaced by insecurity, together with 15 local residents.  Sugar cane, onions and salad, flourish next to tomatoes, corn and garlic, creating an oasis of luscious greenery in the dusty desert-like landscape. Produce from the garden’s first harvest sold for around $4,000, which will pay for upkeep and provide the participants with some income. Ibrahim Djagra works as a mentor to internally displaced people on the farm. “Three or four years ago, the community could not come to this area, because of the danger of attacks by Boko Haram,” he told UN News. “Now, this place of terror has been transformed into a land of social cohesion, productivity and hope.”Resource challengesUN News/Daniel DickinsonSome 60,000 people displaced by insecurity have arrived in and around Kourgui over the past six years, putting a severe strain on resources in a town which was originally home to some 29,000. “To begin with it was very difficult for my people, as we lacked water and good land to cultivate”, said Oumaté Abba, the traditional leader of Kourgui. “The people who came were our brothers and they had lost everything, so I explained that we had an obligation to help them. Now we share what we have and there is harmony.”UNDP has played a pivotal role in bringing the community together providing not just basic social amenities, including a food market, water points and mills for grinding grains but also getting leaders like Oumaté Abba together to discuss how best to adjust to the reality of the new arrivals.UN Photo/Eskinder DebebeThose meetings have, like the community garden, provided a fertile ground for building relations between the displaced and resident communities.And according to Oumaté Abba may eventually allow the return of local people who were forced or chose to join the ranks of terrorist organizations in the region. “Boko Haram are our brothers,” he said. “If they, like the displaced people, come to Kourgui, we will reintegrate them as this is the best way to bring an end to the conflict. If they can hear me, that is my message.” Listen to more from Ibrahim Djagra about the community farm. read more

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The WalkOn

How Madden Ratings Are Made The Secret Process That Turns NFL Players Into Digital Gods by Neil Paine graphics by Reuben Fischer-Baum illustration by Mike McQuade Original 75 Comments Hidden Skill Set Poor awareness, decision-making Walt Hickey @WaltHickey Moore’s ratings elicit all sorts of reactions — anger, joy, pride, ridicule. Here, for example, is a sampling of reactions on Twitter to Tom Brady’s ratings over the last few years. madden rating tom brady a 93 further exemplifies why it is the worst of the EA sports games #thatsjustdisrespectful #hesthegreatestever— mackey (@kylemack_) August 28, 2012 Reuben Fischer-Baum is a visual journalist for FiveThirtyEight. “I’ve heard it speculated that even the Madden team themselves don’t really know what’s going on,” Bailey said. In the next madden game Tom Brady’s rating is going to be 100— Zachary Olds (@ZacharyOlds) February 2, 2015 The quarterback drills brought me back to earth. Asked to throw the ball as far as I could, I threw it pretty consistently between 17 and 20 yards in an often-loose spiral. I then threw the ball toward my colleague Neil Paine, who was trying his hand at receiver, and connected only 40 percent of the time on short, medium and long passes. Watching the drills unfold, Moore said I was throwing the ball too low and would probably end up hitting offensive linemen in the back of the head often. When I had exhausted my arm, I did some receiving drills — or attempted to. I was useless beyond 10 yards but caught each of the three short passes thrown my way. Brad Hilderbrand, a communications specialist for EA, said I could possibly be a great tight end. My pride swelled again. And then it withered the moment my foot touched a football. My range was so pathetic that I couldn’t boot it more than 20 yards, which at least doesn’t preclude me from being one of the league’s great onside kickers. Punting was no better. Any team with me as its punter would go for it on fourth down every time because I couldn’t kick it farther than 11 yards. “Offensive guard is probably your athletic skill set,” Moore said at the end of the day. “But you’re probably going to want to put on 100 pounds. So, that’s going to be hard for you to bulk up there and still maintain the performance that you put on display today.” Leaving Orlando, I reflected on the day and felt one thing above all: extreme pain. My back was seizing up, my right arm went somewhat numb, and a nap had only made me more sore. When I got home in the wee-morning hours, I took enough ibuprofen to dull my senses and decided that I should exercise more often.3 The soreness continued for three more days. I strolled onto the gridiron in Orlando wearing old gym clothes and the cheapest sneakers available, which I had ordered three days prior. I did the three stretches I remembered from my middle school Presidential Physical Fitness Test — touch your toes, lunge side to side, twist your arm out of its socket — and some light jogging. That may have tired me out more than I expected. My 40-yard dash and 10-yard split times were poor — 6.75 seconds and 2.30 seconds, respectively. Those numbers were a problem because they determined my speed and acceleration grades, which are two of the most important ratings in Madden. Player performance is notoriously more difficult to quantify in football than in baseball. Physical Talent Throwing Power Moore lobbied for many of the new rating categories, spurred by the same motivation that drove “Micro League Baseball” to add player ratings in the first place: greater differentiation among players. It says so right on his business card. ^ Including practice-squad members, free agents and other fringe players. ^ The namesake of retired coach and commentator John Madden. ^ Their equipment styles, for instance. ^ Good rightly cautioned me about the imprudence of declaring anything in gaming a definitive “first,” given the variety — and, just as often, the obscurity — of games and platforms in the medium’s history. ^ It’s impossible to say because “Micro League” didn’t actually have the capacity to track statistics from simulated games. ^ Perhaps it’s no coincidence that in another region of the baseball universe, the field of sabermetrics was tracing a parallel path at roughly the same time. Both endeavors were seeking to distill a player’s on-field performance to its numerical core, albeit for somewhat different purposes. ^ Acceleration, agility, hands, strength, speed, endurance, intelligence and discipline. ^ Also developed by EA’s Tiburon studio outside Orlando. ^ EA Sports’ ratings are on a 1 to 99 scale. ^ Not counting the overall rating, which just serves as a composite of a player’s component attributes. ^ There aren’t even college ratings to fall back on anymore; EA Sports put its NCAA Football series on hold in 2013. ^ Typically watched on the NFL’s RedZone channel. ^ In fact, the overall rating generally doesn’t use all — or even most — of the 43 component attributes at its disposal. Many categories effectively receive a weight of zero. ^ After a little digging, I found that the “press” rating measures a very specific skill: the defensive back’s ability to jam a receiver at the line of scrimmage while lining up in tight coverage. ^ In that class-action lawsuit, a group of retired NFL players sued the NFL Players Association — and won — over royalties that the union received from sales of Madden games containing classic teams with unnamed players whose ratings bore a striking resemblance to the talents of those teams’ real-life members. The unnamed players had “the same height, same ethnicity, same uniform number, same position,” Good said. “Although those things are very substantial in identifying a person, it was also that they would perform as you would expect that player to have performed in real life.” ^ As NBA Jam illustrates, there’s no limit to how much a video game can crank up the dial on pure athleticism. ^ Brady and Rodgers boast throwing power ratings of 93 and 95, respectively; Manning sits at 85. ^ Both Wayne and White boast speed ratings beneath the average of 90 for receivers in “Madden NFL 15”. ^ Front Page Sports: Football Pro Sierra Online’s “Front Page Sports: Football Pro,” regarded as the most realistic football simulation of its time, came out in 1993 and had eight ratings. Walker added that he never considered me one of his top rowers. “Even though you pushed yourself at practice, you lacked that same self-discipline away from practice and would often stumble into morning practices having not slept the night before,” he said. That is entirely correct. ^ Craig M. Booth’s excellent NFL height/weight charts inspired the scatter-plots in this article. ^ I have not. ^ Presumably to be used in event of a successful play in-game, so essentially unnecessary. ^ I just made a Manningface. ^ Using the 2014 roster each time. ^ Throw Power 0yds Moore’s employer, Electronic Arts, is the world’s fifth-biggest game publisher by revenue, and Madden is among its most popular titles. The franchise has generated more than $4 billion in revenue since its debut in 1988. Yet for all of EA’s resources, Moore performs his czar duties in surprising solitude. He’s assisted by a former Madden tester who oversees players’ cosmetic details4 and the usual barrage of (ever-civil) feedback on Twitter. But when it comes to the task of managing a database of more than 100,000 player attributes, one of the best-selling sports franchises in gaming history largely leaves matters up to one man. The Walk-On Donny Moore at his cubicle at EA / Photo by Erika Larsen “The possibilities are endless.” Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s lead writer for lifestyle. Deep Accuracy 0/5 Translating the athletic skills of flesh-and-blood humans into digital form has been a necessary part of sports gaming as long as real-life players have been incorporated into the software. According to Good, that practice dates at least5 as far back as the 1984 release of “Micro League Baseball” for the Commodore 64. “Micro League” was among the first sports simulations with a license to use Major League Baseball players on team rosters, an innovation that helped usher in the modern era of sports gaming. Developers were suddenly presented with a novel problem: having to represent actual players’ likenesses within the technical constraints of the day. One solution? Assigning numerical skill ratings to help differentiate good players from bad. “They were transitioning from primitive video games that were just trying to approximate the basic acts of a sport,” Good told me, pointing to the Atari 2600’s sports titles as examples of early games without rated players. “Basically, all players perform equally,” Good said. “They just wanted [to know]: ‘Do we have three outs and three strikes? You can throw the ball from third to first to put a guy out?’ ” But with the advent of licensed games, the stakes were raised. “You want Kirk Gibson to play differently from Tony Gwynn,” Good said. The method of “Micro League Baseball” was to algorithmically translate a player’s real-world statistical benchmarks — his batting average or home-run total, for instance — into skill ratings that would presumably6 spit similar numbers back out on the other side of the simulation. It was effectively the computerized version of older board games like All-Star Baseball whose colorful spinners reduced the essence of a ballplayer to a series of probabilities, locked in an eternal marriage with chance.7 But player performance is notoriously more difficult to quantify in football than in baseball. On the gridiron, detailed individual statistics are kept for only a handful of positions, and those numbers frequently miss the whole story because of interactions between 11 players on each side of the ball. Game developers quickly realized that football players, in contrast with their cousins in baseball, would need to be graded on a wider variety of skills — and that ratings-makers would have to temper the science with a whole lot of art. Madden Rating Adjusted 64 A Rating-Changing MomentNov. 23, 2014 A 75 overall rating for a rookie receiver is nothing to sneeze at, but that was just the beginning for the New York Giants wideout. Beckham recorded 31 catches in his first six games, raising his rating to an 80 overall by Week 11. And in front a national TV audience the next week, he hauled in 10 balls for 146 yards against the Dallas Cowboys — 43 yards of which came on arguably the greatest catch in NFL history. Beckham’s rating would increase by 10 more points, and he ended the year with huge upgrades in awareness, route-running, catching in traffic — and, of course, spectacular catch. Take, for example, a player’s trucking score, which captures his ability to run over a defender. Mine ended up being 9 out of 100, which makes me highly unlikely to take on Jadeveon Clowney and prevail. But my interaction with Clowney has an element of randomness — that weighted dice roll could lead to luck for me and misfortune for him, which would mean I’d lower my shoulder and it would somehow push him aside. When I walked on the field to try out for the game, I found this idea oddly comforting. On the early December day I visited his cramped cubicle, tucked away in a corner of an office building on the EA Sports campus near Orlando, Moore was putting the last touches on a roster update that would be downloaded later in the week by PlayStation and Xbox owners around the globe. When he was finished, 577 players saw some aspect of their skills re-evaluated on the basis of the previous week’s action. It’s an activity that Moore repeats every week of the season in an attempt to ensure that Madden imitates NFL reality. Reggie Wayne The effects of the ratings on actual gameplay can be arcane for even the most seasoned Madden veterans. Perhaps no one outside of EA Sports has spent more time contemplating Madden’s inner workings than SB Nation’s Jon Bois, the creator of Breaking Madden, a football column that doubles as an absurdist meditation on the game itself. But Bois confessed that he still can’t quite figure out what some of the rating categories actually do for players on the virtual gridiron. “There are definitely more obscure settings,” Bois said. “There’s a slider called ‘press,’ which I have no idea what it means. I set it to zero every time, and I still have no idea what it does, or what ‘press’ even is.”15 Neil Paine @Neil_Paine It’s all laughs for Bois, who excels at turning Madden into surreal comedy. But the cryptic nature of the game’s growing set of player attributes can also have frustrating consequences for serious gamers. “The unfortunate thing for Madden is that a lot of [its] player ratings are opaque,” USgamer senior editor Kat Bailey told me. “There are so many systems going on that you don’t always know which [ratings] affect which [systems].” How Madden helped a schlub like me make it into the NFL Reuben Fischer-Baum @reubenfb Speed Making The First String 2014-15 When “Madden NFL 15” shipped, the third-year linebacker had an overall rating of 64 and was buried on Denver’s bench. But after an injury to Danny Trevathan in August, Marshall joined the Broncos’ starting lineup. After he put together four straight games with a Pro Football Focus grade of +1.0 or better by midseason, Marshall was rated 75 overall with vastly increased awareness, tackling, zone coverage and play recognition ratings. By Week 14, he carried an 81 overall rating, up a league-high 17 from where he’d started the season. Medium Routes 0/2 Short Routes 0/3 Hidden Skill Set Reading defenses,calling audibles Adjusted 75 Footnotes Interactive 40-Yard Dash 0.0 sec Hickey’s best scores for combine drills. Next: Reggie Wayne Mute Video Physical Talent Throwing Power 3 Cone 0.0 sec “Some designers and producers complain that there are too many ratings,” Moore said of his colleagues. “They ask, ‘How can we limit the number of ratings?’ But I would argue you make players more vanilla with fewer numbers.” That’s why Moore wants to continue adding categories even if it makes his job progressively more daunting. “The developers and programmers hate this,” he said, “but it would be great to do more ratings.” He then launched into an only-half-joking suggestion that the game might add a long-snapping rating someday. When Moore sits down to build a player’s ratings for the newest version of Madden, he goes through one of two separate processes, depending on whether the player is a veteran or a rookie. Each type of player offers its own challenges. Veterans have existing ratings from previous games, but the degree to which each of their categories must be changed is uncertain. Rookies, meanwhile, must be created completely from scratch.12 For the past few versions of the game, users can download Moore’s latest roster update every week of the season via Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network. That means a player’s ratings fluctuate based on how he plays each time he takes the field. To figure out whose ratings to tweak and by how much, Moore said he combines his observations and notes taken during games13 with subsequent film study, conventional statistics, and — increasingly — advanced metrics from outlets such as Football Outsiders (particularly for schedule strength) and Pro Football Focus. “The big factor during the season is stat-based,” Moore said. “The advanced metric sites like Pro Football Focus, like the Football Outsiders, this guy named Ryan Riddle — [a] former NFL player who actually does a blog that has a lot of great information — those types of things bring out the snap-by-snap look on a player. And that, to me, gives a truer look in terms of a player’s value, rather than the conventional ‘how many receiving yards’ or ‘what was the completion percentage for the quarterback.’ ” Pulling all that data together, however, is when Moore’s instincts take over. Listening to him describe the process of rating a Madden player across all 43 categories, I began to realize that he has unwittingly adopted a sort of ad hoc Bayesian updating process. He said there’s a bit of “What have you done for me lately?” in the ratings but that certain categories are fundamentally more or less prone to short-term adjustments — another Bayesian-sounding notion. “Speed largely stays the same,” Moore said, “although when guys get hurt, I will make a change to [their] speed and agility” — a fact Cam Newton came to know firsthand. “Carry rating can be in flux if a guy fumbles a few times,” Moore continued. “Every position has certain ratings more impacted in-season than others.” Meanwhile, a category like “spectacular catch” can change on the basis of a single play. Moore defended the policy, saying that this particular rating has little to no effect on actual gameplay — but it underscores the ad hoc nature of some of Moore’s changes. Such modifications will take a veteran player through the end of the season. Moore makes additional adjustments over the summer based on age-related factors and other reports coming out of OTAs and training camps. “In the offseason, I look for guys trending up — young guys — or down — older players,” Moore said. As for the rookies, their creation process dominates Moore’s spring schedule. Starting around March, Moore begins sketching out the ratings framework for projected draftees using a series of templates for each position. Working with measurables from the scouting combine and pro days, he establishes a player’s ratings in categories such as speed and strength, which are almost directly tied to the drills performed by prospects in advance of the NFL draft. For instance, a 4.50-second time in the 40-yard dash will usually earn a prospect a speed rating of 89, barring particularly strong scouting comments about his fleetness of foot (or lack thereof). At the same time, Moore dives into the various public pre-draft scouting reports for each player, marking down pluses and minuses when consistent themes emerge and applying those adjustments to the templates in areas where the raw combine measurables are less useful, such as coverage skills or play recognition. Hidden Skill Set Knack for getting open This did not lend itself to a great deal of differentiation between players. The assortment of skills that needed to be collected for each player grew as football games progressed through the 1990s. By the end of the decade, EA Sports’ NCAA Football series9 assigned 14 attributes to every player in the game,10 while Madden began handing out 17. With the advent of fifth-generation consoles, the degree of complexity in simulating football increased dramatically, requiring a wider range of player attributes to feed into the new game engines. “Quarterback decision-making is the most difficult thing to simulate,” Moore said. “We’re trying to simulate strengths and weaknesses as best we can within the game, but how you play the game is still you.” 205 Pounds Weight When I asked Moore what types of players Madden had the most difficulty simulating, two archetypes sprung to his mind. “There’s the Peyton Manning guy — not [Tom] Brady or [Aaron] Rodgers because they have strong arms18 — but the quarterback that’s pure decision-making, accuracy and touch,” Moore said. “And the crafty veteran wide receiver with the ability to find holes in zone [coverage], like Reggie Wayne or Roddy White.”19 As he is wont to do, Moore suggested the latter could be better simulated with even more ratings or traits. “We could rate if a receiver was on the same wavelength with his QB,” he offered. After all, Moore loves to add to Madden’s stable of ratings. His pet example is passing accuracy, which was originally represented by a single rating but is now broken down into three separate classifications by distance. In previous versions of the game, the single rating was applied to the sureness of every throw, which failed to capture a big part of what makes each quarterback unique. In reality, some QBs have better accuracy on short tosses than deep bombs (think Brady), while others are better at judging long throws than short passes (Joe Flacco comes to mind). By splitting pass types into subcategories, Moore thinks he is better able to represent the characteristics that define different quarterbacks. Greater rating detail has also recently enabled Moore to address one of the criticisms that has dogged sports games — and Madden in particular — from time immemorial: that fast players are fundamentally overvalued. (Regarding the tendency for digital speedsters to far surpass the skills of their real-life counterparts, ESPN’s Patrick Hruby once mused that “Oakland Raiders boss Al Davis should have been a game programmer.”) Moore doesn’t shy away from that critique. “When you make a guy fast in a video game, he’s just a little too effective,” he said. Take receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, a former track standout who hasn’t exactly had a great NFL career despite ranking among the league’s fastest players. Heyward-Bey is just the kind of one-dimensional speedster whose avatar traditionally wreaks undue havoc in Madden, but Moore insists the revamped ratings have made it more difficult for those players to trick the game’s engine. Bailey confirmed this development. “It was true for a long time [that] the little speedy guys could just get open, and that was that,” she said. “I don’t think that’s as much of the case anymore.” But while speed can be mitigated, Moore granted that there’s no good way to overcome the problem of simulating a quarterback like Manning, whose most important skills — reading defenses, calling audibles, seeing things on the field that no one else can, and making sound decisions — are instantly negated when a gamer picks up the controller. Comments KICKING/PUNTING Madden Rating No player to participate in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine since 1999 had a 40-yard time as bad as mine.2 The closest was Regis Crawford, a 316-pound offensive guard out of Arizona State who after the 2004 combine went undrafted. Crawford still managed to run the dash 0.70 seconds faster than me. Next up came agility drills — one shuttle run with three cones in an L-shape, another a 20-yard back-and-forth — that would determine how agile I wasn’t. I have the maneuverability of a rudderless aircraft carrier. Moore charitably characterized my style as “a real north and south kind of player.” Then came a lunging jump, in which I posted a consistent 6-foot, 5-inch leap. Moore seemed less appalled than he had all day. “Not bad there,” he said. It was one of the only times I felt anything approaching pride. Footnotes Tecmo Super Bowl Nintendo’s seminal football game was released in 1991 and used no more than seven rating categories for any player. The game wasn’t super realistic. Bo Jackson was an all-time great in the NFL; he was superhuman in Tecmo. by Walt Hickey graphics by Reuben Fischer-Baum photography by Marius Bugge But these days, I don’t have to step on the field to know what happens when I step on the field. We have Madden for that. And shockingly, the people behind Madden were willing to turn me into a guinea pig. All I had to do was give them 36 hours and sit in front of a panopticon of cameras, and they’d turn my corporeal self into a digital one. I booked a flight to Florida. The most pressing issue on my mind: what my Madden ratings would be. The game (the most recent edition is “Madden NFL 15”) rates players on a scale from 0 to 99, basing overall scores on 43 categories, including trucking, deep passing, strength and agility. A guy like me was virgin territory for Donny Moore, the Madden Ratings Czar. How exactly would he quantify the football ability of a person with hardly any? That I was essentially a rookie made Moore’s job even harder. As my colleague Neil Paine explained, rookies require an intense amount of research — game tape, college stats, combine performance — because they have no NFL experience to use for a rating. The only way Moore could draw up my forecast was by watching me play. On the agenda: the 40-yard dash, agility drills, and basic throwing and catching evaluations. After that was all over, I figured I’d be one of Jon Bois’s Breaking Madden creations. For the past few years, in a series for SB Nation, Bois has been tweaking players’ stats to show what happens when those players are made superhuman or all too human. I expected to be in the latter category. But I wanted my avatar to at least get a point on the board, at least complete a couple of passes, and at least lead a team to one victory over several simulations (even if I broke an interception record for good measure). I wanted to show that the average dude could survive the rigors of the NFL. I’ve never exactly been an athlete. The last organized sport I attempted was three semesters of club crew in college. I reached out to my former coach, Nathan Walker, to get an independent assessment of my athletic priors. In an email, Walker said he didn’t imagine I was “the type of kid who defined himself through sports while growing up.” That is an understatement. I went to an elite-football high school but ran the debate team. He said that in my first year of rowing, I was “clumsy and awkward,” and my limbs didn’t quite go where I wanted them to. Nonetheless, he said, I was “a pure joy to watch” because I was passionate about it.1 Essentially, like most Americans, I’m not exactly out of shape, but I’m not exactly in shape either. I’m generally just a shape. Original 64 Maybe the only thing causing me to play poorly was that I wasn’t playing as myself. I challenged Madden’s creative director, Rex Dickson, to a scrimmage. Starting at QB for the Giants: Walt Hickey. Hickey did not have a good day. He threw 7 for 25, threw three interceptions and was sacked three times. The Giants lost 42-7. The only points came thanks to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who could make any quarterback look good. He scored on a short pass that he turned into a 94-yard touchdown. My only comfort was to imagine the great headline The New York Post would put on its back page the next day: “Hickey Fails to Leave a Mark.” The Virtual NFL February 26, 2015 I was on the 50-yard line, trying to make sense of the long slant route ahead of me. My debut was not going well. I was winded, slightly dehydrated and kicking myself after a day of mediocre runs and failed catches. The next pass was my last chance to impress, and I knew the cameras would be on me. When I heard “hike,” I took off. Eight yards out, I saw the ball above in a spiral. I jumped for it pitifully … and hit the ground. The ball was not in my arms. Before that pass, I knew I wasn’t cut out for the NFL. But when it sailed over my head, something else became clear: I was barely cut out for a video-game facsimile of the league. I was in Orlando with a crew of people who work on Madden, EA Sports’ premier football simulation, because I, like many obnoxious New York Giants fans, once had a fleeting moment of hubris. Sometime during QB Eli Manning’s 97 interceptions over the past five years, I thought: “Christ, even I could throw a better pass than that.” I cannot throw a better pass than that. Yet there was a sort of perverse appeal to the damage I’d bring to the Giants if I were swapped with Manning. What would happen if a schlub like me played in a league as unforgiving as the NFL? Listen to Walt Hickey and Neil Paine discuss their reporting and how they broke Madden. Clockwise, from top left: Hickey poses in front of the cameras; the computer builds a 3D model of Hickey’s face based on his photos; skin tone and facial detail are added; Hickey’s final rendering Case StudyOdell Beckham Jr.Rookie Player Broad Jump 0’0″ Position WR Position QB 6’1″ Height Bailey offered an illustration from franchise mode, in which a gamer uses a finite supply of experience points to boost players’ skills. “It can be unclear which ratings you want to increase,” she said. Spending experience points on awareness, for instance, will almost always increase a player’s overall rating — but for defensive players and even quarterbacks, that boost won’t cause them to play better when they’re being controlled in-game. Meanwhile, wide receivers can actually see tangible in-game benefits from a higher awareness score. Confused yet? “I’ve heard it speculated that even the Madden team themselves don’t really know what’s going on,” Bailey said. “Because they’ve got years upon years of systems and code just layered on top of one another, where it’s not always entirely clear how they’re interacting. “It’s kind of a crazy system.” Whatever the virtues and drawbacks of Madden’s player ratings, though, they’re just a starting point. The game must still be played. Neil Paine is a senior sportswriter for FiveThirtyEight. “You’re going to be setting new ground in how low we go with the ratings,” Moore told me on my second day in Florida. But I still had a chance to succeed. In Madden, everything’s a weighted dice roll — one player slamming into another isn’t an athletic act, it’s a probabilistic one. Even bad players like me could get lucky now and then. Next: Michael Vick Mute Video Case StudyBrandon MarshallVeteran Player Gamebreakers There are certain player archetypes that have always been difficult for Madden to accurately simulate. The classic example is Michael Vick from “Madden NFL 2004“; Vick’s speed was overvalued in the game. But less egregious examples occur whenever a gamer takes control of a player whose real-life counterpart possesses immense physical gifts but lacks awareness. The converse is also true; players whose defining skill is football IQ — Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne, for example — are inept in the hands of an inept gamer. Watch the gamebreakers 24 Years Age Early player ratings were simplistic. The legendary “Tecmo Super Bowl,” released in late 1991, kept 14 ratings categories in total. But only a few affected in-game performance for any given position. Meanwhile, the initial version of Sierra Online’s “Front Page Sports: Football Pro,” regarded among the most sophisticated football simulations of the mid-1990s, tracked just eight rating categories for each player,8 with the same traits taking on radically different meanings depending on the player’s position. (For instance, a quarterback’s strength rating might refer to powerful throws, while the same category for a lineman would control his ability to block.) Two months later, Moore and company asked me to return to Florida for the big reveal: what I’d look like as a real (fake), live (artificial) NFL (Madden) player. When I was first in Florida, EA mapped my face for an avatar by putting me in front of 12 high-definition cameras, each poised at a slightly different angle. It looked like what Jeremy Bentham would have made if he had gone into photography after he was tired of designing prisons. I posed seven ways — one mugshot, left and right profile shots, a natural smile,4 one with my mouth slightly open,5 one with a wrinkled forehead and eight chins, and one screaming. When I saw the photos in December, they looked like I had just walked out of an anti-methamphetamine advertisement. The photos came with polarized flashes that stripped my face of any shadow. Zooming in on the high-def shots made it look like I had slept in hot grease. Will Gibson, the technician who took the photos, said they made me look sort of like Ray Romano. But this, he said, was the point. “Put Brad Pitt in front of this,” he said, “and he’d look like Steve Buscemi.” For example, one of the most important categories when computing a quarterback’s overall rating is awareness, which is based on experience and attempts to quantify factors like decision-making and depth of playbook knowledge. Awareness clearly affects how computer-controlled quarterbacks play the game; the lower the rating, the more likely a CPU opponent is to throw into coverage or miss open receivers. But despite its heavy weighting in the overall rating formula, a quarterback’s awareness score makes no difference when a human is controlling him. When you, the gamer, are in charge, it’s up to you to be “aware” for the avatar you’re controlling. Bois described the same conundrum using a basketball analogy. “I’ve found that the video-game version of J.R. Smith is incredible,” he said. “He’s just way better than he is in real life, and I think the reason is because you get to make the decisions and not him. He’s an amazing player, but once you distill him to his physical self, he’s just unstoppable half the time.” So at what point does an unaware Peyton Manning — or an aware Smith — cease to be a true representation of the original? It’s an interesting philosophical issue and one connected to the delicate balancing act of favoring skilled gamers while having virtual players mirror the strengths and weaknesses of their real-life counterparts. “It’s a fine line,” Dickson said. “You want to make sure that somebody with great stick skills can still win and be successful but at the same time not transcend a really crappy team and all of a sudden they can beat anyone.” When that equilibrium is disturbed, the game can sometimes even be criticized as too realistic. In 2013, testers from Houston complained to Dickson after playing as the Texans’ undrafted rookie quarterback Case Keenum. “They all said, ‘[With] these computer physics, I can’t have fun with this guy: Every pass is inaccurate,’ ” Dickson said. “We’re watching film on [Keenum], and it’s like, ‘Well, he’s a third-stringer. Every pass is inaccurate. This is real life.’ ” “They said to us, ‘Well, if I’m good and making good decisions, I should be able to make good reads and get the pass there,’ ” Dickson continued. “But all of a sudden then you’re making guys like Geno Smith look like Peyton Manning, and your stick skills are now superseding the simulation. We’ve actually had that in the game before, and it didn’t go over well. People reject that. “You shouldn’t be able, just because you’re really good at Madden, to make Geno Smith all of a sudden awesome. Geno Smith, even if he makes a good read, is still an inaccurate passer. That’s just the way it works in the NFL, and that’s modeled in our simulation.” Polygon’s Good used a baseball example to illustrate this tug of war between enjoyment and realism: “How do you make failing seven out of 10 times fun?” It’s a challenge that doesn’t seem to be completely solvable using player ratings, no matter how much faith Moore places in them. Then again, I doubt it will stop him from trying. “In a perfect world, in ‘Madden 2037,’ we might have [ratings] split into 10 or 15 different awareness-type categories,” Moore said, still rattling off items from his wish list. “Like awareness around the end zone, awareness in the fourth quarter … Finally, after all the component categories are set for both rookies and veterans, the numbers are used to generate the fabled Overall Rating. When I asked Moore about this, I expected him to decline to comment, citing a proprietary formula shrouded in secrecy. Instead, he cheerfully called up a spreadsheet containing the values that go into computing a player’s overall grade (and later e-mailed it to us). And somewhat anticlimactically, the overall rating is simply a weighted average of a player’s ratings across the 43 skill categories tracked by Madden, with different categories taking on more weight depending on the position.14 For example, the most heavily weighted categories for quarterbacks in “Madden NFL 15” are awareness and throwing power (each contributes about one-fifth of a quarterback’s overall rating), accuracy by zone (short and medium accuracy are both slightly more valuable than deep accuracy), and play-action passing. Together, those categories make up 89 percent of the overall grade for QBs, with the rest of the weight given to throwing on the run, agility, speed and acceleration. Short Accuracy 0/5 Just lost ALL respect for the madden ratings creators! They got russell wilson the same rating as Tom Brady! GTFOH!!!!!— ☆G.O.A.T☆ (@YoungPrevo) July 22, 2014 Receiving “Quarterback decision-making is the most difficult thing to simulate,” Moore said. Position QB Michael Vick Deep Routes 0/2 Actual participation was out of the question. This is no longer George Plimpton’s NFL. The size of an NFL player has ballooned — players are taller and larger than ever before. Between 1974 and 1999, rookie offensive linemen got 24 percent heavier. I’m not getting near the turf of an actual football field. Plus, my insurance isn’t that great. Madden has generated more than $4 billion in revenue over its 26-year lifetime. Yet for all EA’s resources, Moore performs his czar duties in surprising solitude. Continue Reading Mute Video Walter Hickey Monroe, N.Y. Moore’s job has morphed from a behind-the-scenes technician to a sort of celebrity — and villain — in gaming circles. And in an increasingly data-heavy sports landscape, it’s a role that sits squarely in two intersections of growing importance — between scouting and analytics, simulation and reality. Because in both Madden and the post-“Moneyball” sports world, humans become a collection of data points and then are turned back into a digital approximation of themselves. It was against this backdrop that Moore began his professional affiliation with EA. In 1998, he was still a student at the University of Central Florida, pursuing a degree in political science, when in November when he noticed advertisements for an “NCAA Football 99” tournament at the student union. Moore and his roommates were devotees of the game — he recalls elaborate house rules requiring that a witness be present every time a game was played in the friends’ shared Dynasty Mode savefile. On a whim, he skipped class, entered the contest using Florida State as his team, and won first prize. Moore’s detailed knowledge of the game’s minutiae impressed NCAA Football developers on hand for the tournament. On the spot, they offered him a part-time job testing the coming edition of the game, a break he would later parlay into a full-time gig as an EA Sports football tester. Playing and testing the games, Moore got a firsthand look at the give-and-take between gameplay and player ratings. He recalls the time a long-forgotten defensive tackle for the University of Kentucky inadvertently became a superstar after a typo assigned him a speed rating11 of 85 — blazing for a lineman — and when the Oakland Raiders, long known for their real-life fixation on speed, became unstoppable because the Madden game engine translated the overall velocity of the Raiders’ roster into far better virtual performances than the team was capable of in reality. Moore would eventually be promoted to a designer and associate producer along his path to Ratings Czar, but the relationship between Moore’s testing background and his current job is clear. “The [ratings] are probably the single biggest factor in gameplay,” Moore said. And the ratings have far more moving parts now than when Moore began working at EA. Each player in the game is graded in 43 categories — many of which were added when Madden transitioned from the sixth generation of consoles to the seventh. There are also nearly 20 new player-tendency tags, known as “traits,” that control specific player behaviors. PASSING When I first met my avatar, it was like staring into a mirror set up across the uncanny valley. My facial features were nearly exact, down to the barely noticeable scar on my chin. But I looked disoriented — even more disoriented than I was on the day of the shoot. My neck lolled; my eyes were glazed over; my blinking was algorithmic. My avatar played just as strangely as it looked. We’re used to playing Madden with athletes who have remarkable skill sets; they move quickly, consistently and responsively. I did not. It was like driving in the snow: You know how the car is supposed to move, but it just doesn’t behave as expected. This is what happens when your Madden score is 12. A 12 out of 100 is bad. Very bad. The lowest-rated player in “Madden NFL 15” is Jacksonville Jaguars long snapper Carson Tinker, who’s a 41. Peyton Manning Extra Points 0/4 Walt Hickey 17 Throw Power 15 Throw On Run 14 Strength 03 Deep Accuracy 00 Consistency 12 Overall Long 0 yds Despite the praise during practice — that I had more of an offensive-guard skill set, that I could be a tight end, that I was “a real north and south kind of player” — when it comes down to it, I’m clumsy and awkward, my limbs don’t quite go where I want them to go, and at best, it’s just fun to watch me. Generally speaking, I don’t think a regular person could compete with the pros. Most people are somewhat good at something. But greatness — regularly scheduled weekly articulations of greatness — is something that just can’t be turned on. And yet I won some games as quarterback. In the 15 seasons that EA simulated with me as QB for the Giants,6 the team never had a winning season but did win an average of 2.9 games each year. Head coach Tom Coughlin was also fired every season. So, win some, lose some. Moore also simulated me as a receiver, kicker and punter, each of which also dragged the Giants down. The team had an average of 3.3 wins with me as a receiver, 3.5 wins with me at kicker, and 3.8 wins with me at punter. Somehow, I made 95 percent of extra-point attempts, and my average punt was 27 yards. Skeptical, I emailed Moore to see whether the game might be flawed. “It might be one of those things in our simulation where it might not simulate the Extra-Point kicks based off of ratings enough,” he said. Even my achievements may have happened in error. UPDATE (July 24, 7:15 p.m.): In July 2015, Moore announced his retirement as Madden’s Ratings Czar, leaving EA Sports to join the daily fantasy sports company FanDuel. Madden NFL 16, which will be released in August, will be the final game in the series to contain ratings curated by Moore. CORRECTION (Feb. 25, 1:23 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly characterized Tecmo Super Bowl’s rating system. The game kept 14 rating categories in total, not per player. Moore looked relieved during the scrimmage. My abysmal performance was proof that Madden really is a simulation of the NFL: A player who somehow lucks into the league without any skills really doesn’t have a chance. He’d have to rely on his teammates to compensate. Thankfully, Madden doesn’t allow for locker-room coups. I will never on my best day be as good as Manning on his worst day. And yet, Madden was way too kind. The Giants should have been so, so much worse with me at the helm. My avatar couldn’t have been rated much lower. I was far closer to a zero rating than I was to the lowest legitimate athlete in the game (Tinker, the long snapper). Despite that, my avatar still managed to lead a team to a little less than three wins a year on average? That doesn’t make sense. The Giants went 6-10 last season. There’s no way Eli Manning is only three wins above Walt Hickey. All we need to do to demonstrate this is to look at the team that performed exactly as I expect mine would: the 2008 Detroit Lions. Although that team was among the worst of all time and failed to win a game, it was made up of talented players who were each still vastly better athletes than I am. Indeed, that year, the overall ratings for four Lions quarterbacks — Daunte Culpepper (80), Jon Kitna (84), Dan Orlovsky (73) and Drew Stanton (77) — vastly exceeded my rating. Factor in my shocking kicking performance (maybe I could make 95 percent of extra-point attempts on, say, the moon or some other low-gravity satellite), and I think that even my low stats fail to encapsulate just how bad (or rather how normal) I am. Madden’s simulation is geared to work within a realm of athleticism where I do not reside. To articulate my actual performance on the field, I’d probably need a negative rating. If you hang around the Madden studio enough, you’ll hear a curious phrase tossed around, a relic from games of a decidedly different genre and medium: “Dice rolls.” Although Madden takes pains to immerse gamers in the fantasy that they are controlling real NFL players, every interaction between two players in the game is also dictated by underlying probabilities, weighted by the various ratings of the respective players. As Rex Dickson, Madden’s creative director, said: “The way the game works on a high level is that when two players run into each other and are about to do an interaction — let’s say it’s a ball-carrier and a linebacker — it’s going to take several ratings and throw them into a formula and do a dice roll. “The dice roll is how we get the randomness. So it’s basically his break-tackle chance against your tackle chance and then a dice roll on top of that. The ratings mismatch is your modifier on the dice roll. If he’s 10 points higher than you for his tackle rating, the dice roll is going to be favored in his favor to get the tackle versus the flip where it’d favor the break-tackle.” After hours of hearing this kind of talk during our visit to EA’s studios, my colleague Walt Hickey had a realization: This is basically Dungeons & Dragons for sports fans. If an obsessive following is a requirement for that comparison, consider Madden certified. The annual unveiling of Madden’s player ratings is an event unto itself. Beyond just Newton, many NFL players grouse to Moore about their numbers. (Kerry Rhodes, while playing safety for the New York Jets, made a YouTube video titled “WTF Madden!” demonstrating pretty conclusively that his throwing power rating was too low.) There are also sites where amateurs, apparently dissatisfied with Moore’s handiwork, aim to create their own competing sets of ratings. And the ratings have even been deemed to constitute “likeness” in lawsuits such as Parrish, et. al v. NFLPA.16 Bois told me that he thought the game does about as well as it can when it comes to converting real players’ abilities into a series of numbers. “If we were going to be entirely realistic, you’d probably have to have 1,500 different skill sliders” per player, he joked. “But this is a decent way to distill it into a thing that the layman can play around with and use.” Bailey agreed. “It’s an inexact science,” she said, “but for the most part [Moore] gets it right.” Yet for all of Madden’s quest for realism, there are certain aspects of football that the game still, and may always, have trouble simulating. On one level, sports video games give regular Joes and Jills the opportunity to perform athletic feats that most could only dream about in real life — blazing runs, high-flying dunks, cannon-armed throws — and games have gotten pretty good at simulating these aspects of what it means to be a professional athlete.17 But sports video games will always struggle to accurately replicate the cerebral side of sports; that’s why it’s more difficult to simulate being Ricky Rubio than LeBron James. I asked Moore whether there were any sports that regular people could jump into and be at least a little competitive. “Poker, if you consider that a sport,” he said. Mohegan Sun has a poker tournament at the end of the month. How hard can that be? Physical Talent Agility The Virtual NFL February 25, 2015 Hunched over a keyboard, surrounded by computer monitors, Donny Moore, 37, controls the fate of the National Football League. Its players throw as hard as Moore wants. They run as fast as he says they should. And the stars of America’s most popular sport aren’t always delighted by his judgments. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, for instance, was upset. “I want to talk about my speed,” Moore remembers Newton saying as he clambered into Moore’s cubicle last April. Despite leading all NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards in 2013, Newton ranked as only the ninth-fastest QB in the league, according to Moore — hence Newton’s unhappiness. But as Moore wheeled around from his den of screens, he was confronted by not only Newton, but also an enormous boot on Newton’s foot, the result of recent ankle surgery. “Yeah,” Moore said as Newton hobbled toward him, “let’s talk about your speed.” Eventually, Newton was pleading with Moore to not make him slower. Such is the power afforded Moore, a hyperactive Floridian who works as the official Ratings Czar1 for EA Sports’ Madden NFL video-game franchise. In that role, Moore is tasked with assigning more than 40 numerical grades to each of the NFL’s roughly 2,600 players,2 evaluating them in categories ranging from passing accuracy to tackling ability. Moore’s process has largely been a black box, and yet it shapes how more than 5 million gamers simulate pro football — particularly because there’s no official alternative to his numbers. A decade after signing a controversial exclusivity deal with the league and the players union, Madden3 is still the only licensed NFL game in town. In fact, an entire culture has grown up around Madden and its attempts to distill human athleticism into numbers. It is all good marketing for EA Sports but also speaks to the sway Madden holds. The ratings are a de facto time capsule from the year they were produced, a digital archive that offers players some measure of immortality in a sport where the average career lasts only a shade over three years. “It’s important to these guys that they be rated 99 in speed; it’s important to somebody that he have the best arm in the game,” Owen S. Good, a writer for the video-game news site Polygon, told me. The allure of the Madden rating might also speak to the relative lack of meaningful statistics in football itself. It would be strange for a baseball player to complain about his ratings in MLB: The Show, for instance, because a realistic baseball simulator (by necessity) has ratings grounded in actual statistics. But in a sport where objective measurements are often inadequate, subjective numbers — like those generated by Moore — take on greater currency. All these factors put more pressure on Moore to produce ratings of ever-increasing accuracy even as they highlight the fundamental paradox limiting Madden’s realism: It’s nearly impossible to accurately simulate some players as long as a gamer must assume control of the athlete’s brain. read more

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Freshmans late goal lifts Ohio State womens soccer team into Sweet 16

OSU junior forward Nichelle Prince (7)during a game against Butler in the opening round of the NCAA tournament on Nov. 14 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU won 2-1. Credit: Courtesy of OSUThe Ohio State women’s soccer team (13-6-3) is headed to the Sweet 16 after defeating the Virginia Tech Hokies (15-4-2) on Friday afternoon 1-0 in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Freshman midfielder Arden Holden netted her first career goal with 11 minutes remaining to keep the Buckeyes’ postseason run afloat. With the win, the Scarlet and Gray are headed to their third Sweet 16 in the past six seasons. The beginning of the game was slow, as the first 15 minutes did not present many opportunities to score for either side. In the 20th minute, OSU finally got to a solid opportunity in the final third when senior midfielder/forward Michela Paradiso tried to curl one in from 20 yards out on the left wing but it sailed over the crossbar. Two minutes later, the Buckeyes had another opportunity to score when junior forward Lindsay Agnew sent a strong ball to junior forward Nichelle Prince, but a Virginia Tech defender cleared it away. The Hokies, who entered the game as the 14th-overall seed, were able to generate a scoring opportunity in the 43rd minute when sophomore forward Alani Johnson sent one on the frame, but OSU redshirt junior goalkeeper Jillian McVicker made a lunging save to preserve the scoreless match. The teams headed into the locker rooms at halftime tied 0-0. The Hokies led the Buckeyes 6-1 in shots, 1-0 on goal. OSU came back in the second half with plenty of opportunities to score early on, but the Buckeyes simply could not find the back of the net. In the 79th minute, the Buckeyes put the one and only goal on the board. Prince split two Virginia Tech defenders before playing the ball out to Holden who finished off the keeper. Holden has appeared in 21 of the Buckeyes’ 22 games this season, but her game-winning goal marked the first time in her young career she has scored. The final 11 minutes of play contained some opportunities for the Hokies to level the match, including a solid look off a free kick in the 87th minute, but they could not get past McVicker, meaning OSU was able to hold on for the 1-0 win. For the game, Virginia Tech held a sizable lead in shots, 20-5, including 4-2 on goal. McVicker made four saves to earn her second clean sheet of the season for OSU. The Buckeyes are set to play conference foe Penn State in the Sweet 16 after the Nittany Lions dominated Boston University in the second round, winning 6-0. In the lone meeting between the two teams during the regular season, Penn State topped OSU 2-1 on Oct. 24. With an opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals on the line, the rematch is set to take place on Sunday in State College, Pennsylvania.  Kickoff is penciled in for 1 p.m. read more

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Mens Basketball Ohio State sees bigger picture in loss to Illinois

Ohio State sophomore guard Musa Jallow defends a shot in the Buckeyes’ 63-56 loss against Illinois on Feb. 14 at the Schottenstein Center. Photo: Cori Wade | For The LanternAfter Sunday’s 55-52 win against Indiana, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann would not talk about anything further along than the next game against Illinois. He would not call his team a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, he would not talk about what a win against the Fighting Illini would do to help the Buckeyes’ chances in March. The focus was on the immediate future. And that focus continued, even with the 63-56 home loss to Illinois. “A loss is a loss. I mean, a loss is a loss,” Holtmann said. “People look at it differently. I’m disappointed after every loss, whoever it is, whatever time it is, whatever point in the season.” But junior forward Andre Wesson did not share the same sentiment his head coach did. He stepped up to the podium after the seven-point loss, and did not hide his disappointment with what the outcome ended up being, saying that all losses hurt. But he expanded, peering past the immediate future barrier that Holtmann and his coaching staff have seemingly set upon Ohio State. “This one we needed to have,” Wesson said. “We are .500. We are trying to make the NCAA Tournament. We are not a lock, so any game we play, we gotta have right now.” Wesson sees the reality of what happened against Illinois. It’s a familiar look for the Buckeyes. The offensive struggles continued, shooting 36.2 percent from the field and making 2-of-13 from 3. In either half, Ohio State failed to record double-digit field goals. The mistakes continued in the backcourt and in the passing game. Facing the No. 1 Big Ten team in terms of steals and turnover margin, the Buckeyes recorded 18 turnovers — 10 in the first half and eight in the second — leading to 14 Fighting Illini points. The 18 turnovers Ohio State recorded exceeded the number of field goals, 17, the team connected on. To Wesson, this loss shows the competitive depth of the Big Ten, but it also showed a lack of preparedness, which he blamed on himself and the older members of the roster. “Every night you can get beat if you don’t show up,” Wesson said. “We came out tonight and we weren’t prepared. That’s on me and us older guys. We didn’t get the younger guys prepared and that’s what happens. That’s how you get beat.” Holtmann blamed the coaching staff, saying it has to put its players in better positions to succeed, giving the upperclassmen an outlet to lead in an effective way. After five minutes, Wesson left. After six minutes, Holtmann left. Their focus turned to the same thing: Ohio State’s next opponent. But with that next game comes an opponent that exceeds the level and the quality of the opponent that handed the Buckeyes a seven-point loss“It doesn’t get any easier with Michigan State at Michigan State,” Wesson said. “It doesn’t get any easier. We got to go to work.” However, in Holtmann’s mind, Ohio State is just another bubble team, placing Illinois in that same conversation. He said the focus remains the same. He said it’s about getting better on the court. So, when asked about the NCAA Tournament, Holtmann shrugged it off. “No, no we won’t talk about it. We’ll talk about getting better,” Holtmann said. “We’ll talk about getting better.”  But with Wesson, who left with the same downtrodden look he came in with after the game, that’s seemingly all he can think about. read more

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France in the final against Sweden France 2522 Croatia

Abalofrancehonrubiahorvatnarcisse ← Previous Story Dream of “Benga Boys” still alive – Sweden in Olympic FINAL! Next Story → Grzegorz Tkaczyk injured – Six weeks OUT? (PHOTO) FRANCE – CROATIA 25:22 (12:10)France reached the final after a semifinal victory over Croatia. The “final before final” as it was labelled, went in French favour, and characterized by Omeyer’s 20 saves, somewhat little less than 50% saves, main reason for French success. The first half went with slight French domination, 12-10 at the half, while in the second despite making 5 goals advantage, the Croatians still managed to fight back and lower as much as 1 goal, but the French still had Omeyer on the goal, and Accambray brought some freshness in the French attack, which was at points clueless. In the end it was France 25-22 Croatia. Narcisse, Honrubia and Abalo each scored 4 goals for France, while Zlatko Horvat scored 6 and Lackovic 4 times for Croatia. read more

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POLAND First domestic win for Wisla Plock

TEXT: MICHALINA CHABOWSKA Wisla Plock won first match in Polish League, triumphing against Chrobry Głogów. Manolo Cadenas’ team played good game in first half, but in second part they didn’t look so good. They lost some concentration in the defense and due to that they won only by six goals (33:27).Oilers started good and after seven minutes they were leading by 4 goals (5:1). Soon they enlarge advance to even eight goals thanks to Valentin Ghionea throw. Wisla was controlling the game, playing good in the defense and won first half 11:17. Nice play of Wisla changed in second part, when they started to make easy mistakes and miss few shots, but it didn’t change the result. Plock quite easy won against Glogow and took first two points in polish league. In good disposition in this game were left wing Ivan Nikcevic (9), line-player of Wisla, Muhamed Toromanović with eight goals and Marcin Lijewski (6 goals).Wisła: M.Wichary (40% 16/42, 2/3) – I.Nikčević(9, 0/1), V.Ghionea(4, 2/3), Z.Kwiatkowski, M.Toromanović(8), B.Kavaš, P.Nenadić(3, 2/3), M.Lijewski(6), N.Eklemović(2), I.Milas, M.Jurkiewicz(1)Chrobry: R.Stachera (18% 2/10, 0/1 k), M.Świrkula (31% 8/29, 3/6 ) – J.Łucak, Y.Gromyko(5), M.Świtała(3, 0/1), B.Witkowski, D.Płócienniczak, M.Bednarek(2), M.Gujski(5), R.Jankowski(2), R.Biegaj(1), A.Prakapenia(4, 1/2), W.Kubała(1), P.Gregor(4) Orlen Wisla PlockPolandPolish Handball ← Previous Story Balazs Laluska to Dubai – Al-Washl! Next Story → HANDBALL STORY OF AUGUST 2013: Manolo Cadenas called “MAGIC” read more

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High Court to issue ruling in landmark surrogacy case

first_imgTHE HIGH COURT will rule this morning in a landmark case which could pave the way for couples who need to use the services of a surrogate mother to still both be recognised on their child’s birth certificate.Justice Henry Abbott will rule this morning in the case of M R versus the Registrar General, in which a couple who used a surrogate to carry their twins to birth argue that their rights to be identified as their children’s parents are being denied.The State has insisted that only the woman who gives birth to a child can be recognised on its birth certificate as its mother.The outcome has major implications for the family, as the mother recognised on a birth certificate is legally viewed as a child’s mother – and is therefore given legal standing in matters including inheritance, while the genetic mother would be given no legal recognition.In this case the woman who gave birth to the children is the sister of their genetic mother – and both consent to having the genetic mother recognised on the children’s birth certificate.However, the ruling may need to take into account the possibility of other circumstances arising in the future, where the genetic and birth mothers could both seek inclusion in the birth certificate.The couple has argued that the State-endorsed practice where DNA tests are used to establish parenthood is in conflict with its stance on registrations, as a DNA test would establish that the genetic mother was not the woman who gave birth to the child.last_img read more

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Mick Wallace Is it appropriate that Martin Callinan was in Garda HQ

first_imgMick Wallace: Is it appropriate that Martin Callinan was in Garda HQ ‘several days last week’? Callinan is one of the central characters in the new tribunal into the Maurice McCabe scandal. Mar 29th 2017, 4:27 PM 31,732 Views http://jrnl.ie/3313292 She is a law unto herself. Does the Minister know why? It is because the government let her be so. She will remain a law unto herself and the Garda Síochána force is secondary to her interests and concerns. The government is allowing it to happen. The government will eventually get rid of her, but it will be too late and too much damage will be done.Donohoe responded that the “overwhelming prerogative” of this government is the integrity and reputation of An Garda Síochána.“It is part of the glue that holds any society together – the respect for and independence of a police force. That is the very reason that, over the last number of years, in response to many difficulties that have emerged, we have put in place bodies like the Policing Authority,” he told Wallace in the Dáil.It is the very reason we are now in a situation where the Policing Authority itself is the body that makes appointments at senior level. It is the very reason we have GSOC, and the government is now engaged in consultation with GSOC regarding whether further powers are merited for that organisation to respond to the cultural change that we know is needed.“All of this is driven by our acknowledgement of the need for a strong, respected An Garda Síochána that has no shadows or clouds over it.”In response to a query from TheJournal.ie about Wallace’s comments in the Dáil, the Department of Justice said:“As the Tribunal of Inquiry has now been established it would not be appropriate to comment on any matters relating to it. In particular, the Department has no role in relation to who or who may not be in Garda Headquarters.”The Garda Press Office said it is “not the policy of An Garda Síochána to comment on named individuals”.The Disclosures Tribunal sits tomorrow morning at Dublin Castle.Read: Mícheál Martin withdraws party support for Nóirín O’Sullivan>Read: Whistleblower David Taylor receives letter reminding him he may still face discipline > 54 Comments Share146 Tweet Email Subscribe for more videoscenter_img Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube INDEPENDENT TD MICK Wallace has questioned whether it was appropriate for the former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan to have spent time at Garda Headquarters in Dublin recently.Wallace was speaking under privilege in the Dáil today, as calls continue for current Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to step down over the breath test scandal.“Does the Minister think it is appropriate for former Commissioner Callinan to have been in Phoenix Park headquarters on several days last week?” he asked Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, who was taking questions in the chamber this afternoon.“Does he think it is appropriate that the former Commissioner and the present Commissioner would have access to the whole apparatus of An Garda Síochána, a pleasure that will not be afforded to [whistleblowers] Sergeant Maurice McCabe and Superintendent David Taylor?” Wallace continued.Included in the terms of reference of the Charleton Tribunal into the Maurice McCabe scandal is an examination of telephone and text message contact between former press office head Superintendent David Taylor, Callinan and O’Sullivan.It will also investigate whether a meeting took place between Callinan and then TD John McGuinness in a hotel car park in January 2014. McGuinness claims this happened ahead of a mooted appearance by McCabe at the Public Accounts Committee of which he was chair.It has previously been reported that former Commissioner Callinan had met with O’Sullivan as he considered whether to request legal representation from An Garda Síochána.O’Sullivan has put together a team at Garda Headquarters to co-ordinate the garda response to the tribunal and Wallace was today critical of her approach:“The Minister should ask the Commissioner did she consult with John Barrett at human resources before she made appointments to her special unit to deal with the Charleton inquiry,” the Wexford TD said.John Barrett wrote a letter to the head of legal affairs, Ken Ruane, pointing out the corporate risk to An Garda Síochána in setting up this unit, staffed with personal friends and associates. He suggested a firm of outside solicitors should be brought in to act as a conduit between An Garda Síochána and the Charleton inquiry but he was ignored. By Michelle Hennessy Wednesday 29 Mar 2017, 4:27 PM Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

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Watch Boston Dynamics New Robot Can Stack Boxes Like a Boss

first_img Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower Stay on target They’ve given us a dynamic humanoid that does parkour and backflips and a robo dog that twerks, and now Boston Dynamics has unveiled a box-stacking bot that could be king of the warehouse.On Thursday the company showed off a “reimagined” version of Handle, a mobile manipulation robot designed for logistics, on their YouTube channel.The original version of Handle, created in 2017, is a research-robot that stands 6.5 feet tall, travels at 9 mph, and jumps 4 feet vertically.This new Handle robot has been upgraded as a mobile manipulation robot designed for warehouse tasks and logistics, and would probably be Jeff Bezos’ dream Amazon employee.The robot, which  now sports an overhead suction-cup gripper instead of twin arms, can efficiently stack multiple heavy boxes on a pallet, as well as unload them, according to Boston Dynamics.“Handle autonomously performs mixed SKU pallet building and depalletizing after initialization and localizing against the pallets. The on-board vision system on Handle tracks the marked pallets for navigation and finds individual boxes for grasping and placing,” the company said.The boxes shown in the video weigh around 12 pounds, but the company says that Handle is designed to be able to manage boxes weighing up to 33 pounds.“This version of Handle works with pallets that are 48 inches deep and 68 inches tall,” Boston Dynamics said.More on Geek.com:Scientists Use Robots to Get Bees and Fish to ‘Talk’ to Each OtherWatch: Here’s the First Four-Legged Robot to Do a BackflipRobots Have Disassembled 700,000 Rockets for the US Militarylast_img read more

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CONCHETITION 2014

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for you Delano Williams judges Conch Fest; Kalooki’s, Mr. Grouper & Pavillion big winners Related Items:Bay Bistro, Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl, Chef Evans, conch cuisine, Conch Shack, conch-e-tition, Crackpot Kitchen, Danny Buoys, dudley stokes, erica hammond, Fresh Catch, Johnwoo Richardson, Kalooki’s, mr. grouper, Octavio Neto, Opus, Pelican Bay, Ricardo Daley-Diaz, Seaside Café, Seven, Somerset Pavillion TCI Community College-Provo, Toni Anne Thomas Hurricane Irma causes major damage and destruction in TCI Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 28 Nov 2014 – At this year’s CONCH-E-TITION, will have a thrilling panel judges…the former WWE Diva Erika Hammond from the USA, the founder of the Jamaican Bobsled team Dudley “Tal” Stokes, Providenciales, Roberta Novas Yoshida, Vice President of Grupo Radar, Brazil; Alain Peter Arthur, Executive Producer of Caribbean Vibrations TV-Canada; Yvonne Rankine-Drum, Customer Service Manager, InterCaribbean Airways, Providenciales andRalph Patrick, Accountant, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Providenciales. There will also be some other overseas invited guests….Octavio Neto, a Publicist and Journalist of Grupo Radar, Brazil; Toni Anne Thomas, Television and Filming Expert from Canada, Ricardo Daley-Diaz, Director of Photography for Caribbean Vibrations TV-Canada and Johnwoo Richardson, Caribbean Vibrations TV-Canada.The Conch cuisine competitors includes last year’s champion, Hemmingways, Hole In The Wall, new restaurant on the block…Kalooki’s, Fresh Catch, Conch Shack, Pelican Bay, Opus, Crackpot Kitchen, Chef Evans, Mr. Grouper, Bay Bistro, Seven, Seaside Café, Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl, Somerset Pavillion TCI Community College-Provo, Danny Buoys and Grandma’s Boy Kitchen & Catering. The home kitchen is Lil’ Chefs.A ticket costing of $25 entitles attendees to a tasting of every conch dish in the competition. A Grand Champion will be decided by popular vote of all attendees who return a completed ballot. There will also be prizes for winning chefs in each of three categories: Conch Salad, Conch Chowder, and Specialty Conch. Rain continues, flooding stops business as usuallast_img read more

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Legislative Council to consider sexual harassment working group

first_imgAlaska State Capitol in February. The Legislative Council is scheduled to discuss forming a sexual harassment policy working group on Tuesday. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)The Alaska Legislative Council is scheduled to discuss forming a sexual harassment policy working group Tuesday.Listen nowLawmakers are considering how to revise the Legislature’s sexual harassment policy to ensure that harassment reports are handled appropriately.Juneau Democratic Rep. Sam Kito III, the council’s chairman, said lawmakers need to make sure they’re protecting victims of harassment.“There are some questions about how and when to report and also questions about what kinds of training might need to occur with legislators and staff in order to make sure everybody’s aware of the policy that exists,” Kito said.Recent concerns about sexual harassment both outside Alaska and in Juneau have led lawmakers to consider making changes to the policy.The Legislature’s sexual harassment policy was last updated in January 2000. It spells out what harassment is and how people should report it. The policy also said all reports will be investigated and employees who violate the policy will be subject to disciplinary action.Anchorage Republican Rep. Charisse Millett, a member of the council, said a sexual harassment policy working group could become a permanent subcommittee that would review the policy every year.“Is there under-reporting, is there over-reporting, is there any reporting?” Millett said of the kind of questions a working group could ask. “And how does that work, and how do we make sure that employees and, you know, folks in this building – whether it’s a constituent, whether it’s a staffer, whether it’s the media, we just need to make sure that we have the best policies in place to protect our employees.”Anchorage Democratic Rep. Harriet Drummond is an alternate council member who is scheduled to fill in on Tuesday. She said one challenge for reporting on lawmakers is the limited means of reprimanding them. Each chamber can censure or expel its members. Otherwise, it’s up to voters to weigh allegations. But Drummond said the working group could benefit the Legislature.“We have to provide a lot more clarity throughout this policy,” Drummond said. “And also, …  just in looking at all of these personnel policies in general, it needs some good, close scrutiny.”Before the policy was added to the council agenda, some lawmakers said they wanted policy changes to be in place by early next legislative session in January.last_img read more

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Rules are rules Sunil Gavaskar slams people asking Indian team to boycott

first_imgICC has passed its verdict on MS Dhoni’s gloves, the BCCI has decided not to escalate the matter any further and all the focus now shifts to the clash between India and Australia at the Oval. However, there are still debates over this verdict and few people believe India should forfeit the competition.Well, not Sunil Gavaskar. He slammed such theories and said that the rules are in place for a reason and they should be followed without any exceptions. “Rules are there for a reason and they are meant to be followed. That’s why they are there,” Gavaskar told India Today.The former Indian captain also cited the example of Moeen Ali, who was fined by ECB when he sported a wristband back in 2014 and said Dhoni should be no different.’Once the rules are passed, you can do nothing about it’ MS Dhoni wearing the glove containing the ‘Balidaan Badge’IANS”I think Moeen Ali was fined by the ECB when he was wearing a wristband supporting a particular cause in 2014. Last time I checked, MS Dhoni was over 21 years old and wearing the gloves or not is now entirely his call,” he further added.Further clarifying his stance, Gavaskar said that the rules are passed for a reason and all the players should abide by them.”Other countries players’ might do something as well. If you want to object, do that before the rules are passed. Once the rules are passed, you can do nothing about it,” he said.He also said that all this controversy will not effect Dhoni’s performance on the field and he will continue to be an important member of the side with his brilliant wicket-keeping and taking the catches behind the stumps. Virat Kohli and teamRobert Cianflone/Getty Images”This team is focused on winning the World Cup. They know Dhoni will deal with it. As far as I am concerned, as long as he keeps affecting those quick stumpings and keeps taking those brilliant catches, whether he is wearing gloves or not does not matter to me. What he wears and what he does not, I don’t give a toss,” Gavaskar added.India will next take on Australia in their second World Cup match at Kennington Oval, London on Sunday. This match promises to be a real humdinger as both sides are in form – Australia have won 10 matches on the bounce, while India are a team in form and had a complete game in their opening fixture against South Africa.last_img read more