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The Christmas Story As Told by a Secular Science Reporter

first_imgHere’s how the Christmas Story fares under the lens of a secular science reporter who doesn’t believe in a miracle-working God who enters into history.On Live Science, Tia Ghose takes on the task of telling her readers which parts of the Nativity Story are “true” and part of “history.”  But if a reporter believes miracles are impossible, Jesus was a mere man, and God doesn’t exist, one can predict the resulting spin.  She has already put the Bible in opposition to true history.One way a reporter can pretend to be objective is to quote scholars from opposing viewpoints.  That’s how Ms Ghose begins: first quoting a skeptic, then a notable Christian professor, Ben Witherington of Asbury Seminary.  Witherington is quoted, however, to explain why there is not more historical material: “Jesus was a minor (at the time) historical figure born in a Roman backwater, it’s impressive that any evidence for his life and death exists at all,” she relays from Witherington.Some of Ghose’s recounting of the “true” parts of the story are fairly straightforward, such as the dates for Herod the Great, his propensity for atrocity in the story of the “slaughter of the innocents” (which probably did not involve very many families in the little town of Bethlehem), and the opinions about December 25 being the birth date of Jesus.  Most of the time, though, she sows seeds of doubt about the historicity of the accounts.  For instance, while many secularists are interested in what kind of “natural” astronomical phenomenon gave rise to the Star of Bethlehem story, she leaves Witherington describing it as a “miraculous local phenomenon” which, by that account, would be historically unverifiable.Another way for a secular reporter to avoid dealing with the credibility of the record, including its supernatural elements, is to say that the facts don’t matter if they make people feel good:Though some biblical scholars doubt the veracity of the Gospels, that doesn’t mean the original writers were lying, per se. The ancients would have viewed the narratives of Jesus’ birth as true in a larger sense, even if they played a little fast and loose with the facts, Landau said.Regardless of how many of the details are true, the stories still have power today.She ends by saying the story is “comforting” to many.  Historians who care about factuality don’t want to be seen as party-poopers, Ghose concludes.  Most of the comments appear to be from atheists.How sad for those gullible, uneducated Christians who just don’t understand science.  Leave them alone in their fantasies, so we don’t make them uncomfortable.  No need to cause them distress by questioning their story.  Let them have their music and traditions, and find satisfaction in the “power” of storytelling, while us educated ones trade in facts, truth, and history.  Is this Tia Ghose’s attitude?May we point out that Luke is acknowledged by all as a learned man and a careful historian?  Yet he is the one that verifies Jesus’ virgin birth, identity as the Son of God, and the one accompanied by angels who announced his birth to shepherds, and to Zacharias, Joseph and Mary.  Luke described in detail Jesus’ miracles, death, and resurrection.  Luke had access to eyewitness accounts.  When he gives details that can be independently corroborated, he is always right.  So who is Tia Ghose, now 2,000 years distant from the events, to call him a liar?  “Well, he wasn’t lying, per se; he just viewed his narrative as true in a larger sense,” she says.  What kind of nonsense is that?  Such new-agey, relativistic thinking would be incomprehensible to Luke, the one who gave us most of the details of the Nativity.  He said in the preface to his gospel,Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. (Luke 1:1-4)In the preface to his second book, the Acts of the Apostles, he reiterates his commitment to facts and to incontrovertible evidence of actual events:The former treatise [his gospel of Luke] have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God…. (Acts 1:1-3)The other gospel writers (Matthew and John) were eyewitnesses, spending at least 3 years as disciples of Jesus. They saw him work miracles, teach profound truths, silence the experts, and rise from the dead.  John Mark (author of Mark) was a close associate of Peter, and probably an eyewitness of many parts of Jesus’ life and ministry, especially of his crucifixion and resurrection.  Each of the 11 faithful disciples and Paul were martyrs.  Under threat of death, they never wavered or claimed anything they preached or wrote about the events in the life of Jesus, including his miracles and resurrection, was false.  The story had “power” and was “comforting” because it was true.  It had been foretold centuries before; there’s more incontrovertible evidence.But now some self-styled scientific experts come along to sow seeds of doubt.  What do they know?  They weren’t there.  Their chosen secular-materialist worldview prevents them from taking these records seriously.So let’s start our commentary over.  How sad for those know-nothing secularists who just refuse to consider evidence that disagrees with their world view.  Leave them alone in their evolutionary myths and fantasies, so we don’t make them uncomfortable.  No need to cause them distress by questioning their materialist philosophy.  Let them have their holiday parties and fun, get drunk on Darwine, and find satisfaction in the “power” of just-so storytelling.  Maybe when they sober up again we can have a little chat about facts, truth, and history, then wish them the power of and joy of a true Christmas. 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Liliesleaf: one day back in ’63

first_imgLiliesleaf Farm, home of the ANC leadership in the early 1960s and the scene of the arrest of the Rivonia trialists, is now a museum. Denis Goldberg, one of the surviving trialists, and Bob Hepple, who escaped before the trial, tell Lucille Davie about one of the key events in South Africa’s history.On hearing that they had got life sentences, Denis Goldberg shouted: “Life! Life is wonderful!”And life was wonderful on that day, 12 July 1964, because instead of sentencing the Rivonia trialists to death, Judge Quartus de Wet had handed down life sentences to each of the men instead.“All rationality aside, and for all our preparedness to die for freedom in South Africa, we started smiling in disbelief at first and then in complete relief as it sunk in that the judge said he would not impose the maximum penalty, even though it would be an appropriate sentence,” said Goldberg, more than 40 years later.“By the time he had finished speaking we were openly laughing. Most of us got four life sentences, but in the end you can only serve one of them!”It meant that they would live, but spend up to 27 years of their lives in jail – not seeing their children grow up, not seeing their wives struggle to hold things together, or deal with harassment by the security police or imprisonment themselves, sometimes with their children.Eight of the 10 trialists sentenced to life were Nelson Mandela, Denis Goldberg, Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Elias Motsoaledi and Raymond Mhlaba.Lionel “Rusty” Bernstein and James Kantor were acquitted. Kantor had been arrested a month after the Liliesleaf raid.A living museumThe Lilieseaf Trust, established in 2001 by former president Thabo Mbeki whose father was among those arrested in 1963, is tasked with the development and maintenance of the site as a vital part of South Africa’s history.The Liliesleaf farmhouse and outbuildings in Rivonia, where the trialists were arrested and Mandela lived for a time, have been restored, and were opened as a museum on 9 June 2008.The complex now includes the Liberation Centre and the Liliesleaf Resource Centre.Liliesleaf was declared a national heritage site in July 2011. There are plans to build a small boutique hotel and conference centre on the farm.Read more: South Africa honours Rivonia trialistsOn MediaClubSouthAfrica.com: Liliesleaf to sprout new hotelIn 1961, the South African Communist Party bought Liliesleaf farm to use as its headquarters. In those days it was a quiet, 28-acre smallholding just outside Johannesburg.Goldberg, a civil engineer by profession, said Liliesleaf had an “exhilarating atmosphere”.“We ate, slept, dreamed, worked at how to make a revolution. That is what we did. That is why it was exhilarating. Buying a Kombi, buying a farm, moving house, sorting out weapons manufacture, where to get the things needed, how to buy them, how to transport them, how to train people, endless problems to solve.”‘Idyllic bubble’Mandela lived there in disguise, as David Motsamayi, a gardener and cook. He recalls in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom: “The loveliest times at the farm were when I was visited by my wife and family.”He says they were times of more privacy than they ever had at their tiny home in Orlando West, Soweto. “The children could run about and play, and we were secure, however briefly, in this idyllic bubble.”But it was not to last. The top leadership of the ANC were arrested at Liliesleaf on 11 July 1963. The apartheid government was smug – they had seized and put away for life the top echelons of the African National Congress, whom they had caught hatching Operation Mayibuye, the plan to switch to violence to overthrow apartheid.Reunited: Rivonia trialists Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni, Nelson Mandela and Denis Goldberg in July 2009. Photo: Nelson Mandela Centre of MemoryArrestsWhen the police swooped on the farmhouse they arrested Sisulu, Mbeki, Kathrada, Goldberg, Bernstein, Mhlaba and Bob Hepple. Arthur Goldreich, who was ostensibly the owner of Liliesleaf, drove into the farm shortly afterwards, and was arrested along with the others.Goldreich made a dramatic escape from prison, together with Harold Wolpe, Mosie Moola and Abdulhay Jassat, crossing the border shortly afterwards.Mandela was already on Robben Island, serving a five-year sentence for inciting workers to strike, and for leaving the country without a passport.Mlangeni and Motsoaledi had been arrested on 24 June, and were charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government and leaving the country illegally, but were charged together with the other Rivonia trialists.Hepple acted as lawyer for Mandela in 1962, also representing Sisulu and other ANC and PAC leaders. He managed to escape over the border before the trial.‘It’s the cops’Professor Sir Bob Hepple, now retired Emeritus Master of Clare College and Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge, recounts the events on the afternoon of the arrest.“At about 3.15pm, 15 minutes into the meeting, a van was heard coming down the drive.“Govan Mbeki went to the window. He said: ‘It’s a dry-cleaning van. I’ve never seen it before.’ Rusty Bernstein went to the window and exclaimed: ‘My God, I saw that van outside the police station on my way here!’“I moved to the open door and saw the panel of the van, which read Trade Steam Pressers. I could see a man wearing a white coat, hat and glasses on the front seat. I pulled the door closed. A few moments later I heard dogs barking. Rusty shouted: ‘It’s the cops, they’re heading here.’“Govan had collected up the Operation Mayibuye document and some other papers and I saw him putting them in the chimney of the small stove in the room. The back window was open, and I helped Govan, Walter Sisulu and Kathy Kathrada to jump out of it. There was a second or two as I moved back near the door, with Rusty next to me and Ray Mhlaba sitting next to the window.“The door burst open. Detective-Sergeant Kennedy, whom I had cross-examined in a political trial earlier that year, rushed in: ‘Stay where you are. You’re all under arrest.’‘A mysterious man’“He walked up to me with an excited sneer: ‘You’re Advocate Hepple, aren’t you?’Hepple was the chair of the youth section of the Congress of Democrats, which was part of the anti-apartheid alliance in the 1950s. He was a member of the secretariat which serviced the central political leadership of the ANC.He says that he had been anxious driving to Liliesleaf, or Lil’s place as it was called, from his chambers in the CBD. “My anxieties led me to stop more than once to ensure that I was not being followed. I took a secondary road to avoid passing the Rivonia police station.”He’d had a visit from a “mysterious man” who had appeared unannounced at his chambers that morning, with a message from the Natal leadership for the central underground leadership.“Ever since Mandela’s arrest there had been suspicions about a possible police spy and lax security in Natal. I feigned ignorance and told him to come back the next day. I intended to check his credentials at our meeting at Lil’s place that afternoon.”Living in secrecyThe leadership were worried about the police discovering Liliesleaf farm, where they had been secretly meeting and living for the past two years. A new property had been bought, a smallholding called Travallyn in Krugersdorp, and Goldberg had moved into it along with Sisulu, Mbeki, Mhlaba and Wilton Mkwayi. It was to become the new ANC headquarters, but the next meeting did not take place there.“It could not take place at Travallyn because that would repeat the security failure of bringing people to the place where the leaders of MK Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC were living in secrecy,” explained Goldberg, referring to Liliesleaf.“They could not at that moment decide on a safe venue, therefore they decided to have one more meeting at Liliesleaf,” he said. “It was the pressure of the security police surveillance and the house arrests, banning orders etcetera, that led to the fateful decision.”Solitary confinementImmediately after the arrest Hepple spent almost four months in solitary confinement, like the other Rivonia arrestees, before being offered freedom from prosecution if he turned state witness.He agreed to do so but as soon as he was released from jail he escaped across the border with his wife, making his way to England, where his young children and parents joined him later.Hepple said he found his jail time extremely difficult: “In the long hours of isolation and boredom, especially as I lay awake at night on the cold stone cell floor, I became obsessed with our predicament.“As the days and nights slowly passed I became increasingly confused and created my own world in which reality and fantasy were hard to separate.“Threats and promises made by the police during continuous periods of interrogation became distorted out of all proportion in my mind and my capacity to reason was seriously impaired.“I say this with hindsight, because one of the consequences of sensory deprivation and exhaustion is that one is unable to realise the extent of the changes taking place in normal behaviour.”Self-discipline, determinationMlangeni spent 26 years in prison, with his fellow Rivonia trialists, on Robben Island. He used simple methods to get through the low moments in prison.“I personally would take out the letters I received from my wife and read them over and over again. Look at the photographs I received and that helped me to get myself together again and go back to my studies.”Mlangeni became a politician on his release, and is still a member of Parliament.Goldberg says it took discipline and determination to get through his 22-year prison sentence in Pretoria Central Prison. He did not go to Robben Island like the others because he is white.“I believe it was our self-discipline and determination to uphold our dignity, to demand respect, and that the warders act within their own rules, that was the key to survival. We found ways of creating our own little world of politics and social contact that enabled us to support each other.“For myself, too, there was the sense of living time day by day. Time was flexible: at Christmas and New Year another year stretched out ahead, and suddenly it seemed the year was over. This was more so for lifers who had no release date.”Apartheid’s harshest prisonKathrada says in his book, Memoirs: “Nothing could have prepared me for the enormity of losing all choice in such mundane matters as deciding when to wake up and when to sleep, or comprehend that minor joys such as letter-writing and meetings with family and friends would be so severely curtailed and controlled, and that fundamental human rights would become privileges that had to be earned and were always under threat of removal.”Kathrada has been honoured with awards and honorary degrees; while in prison he obtained several degrees. In 1999 Letters from Robben Island: a Selection of Ahmed Kathrada’s Prison Correspondence was published. He is retired but still serves as the chairperson of the Robben Island Museum Council.Mandela describes Robben Island as the “harshest, most iron-fisted outpost in the South African penal system”. Being placed at Robben Island was “like going to another country. Its isolation made it not simply another prison, but a world of its own, far removed from the one we had come from.”He says that in Pretoria Central Prison, from where they were flown immediately upon being sentenced, they had felt connected to their families and supporters, but on the island, although they were together as a group, it was little consolation. “My dismay was quickly replaced by a sense that a new and different fight had begun.”That fight involved the Afrikaans-speaking warders demanding a master-servant relationship. “The racial divide on Robben Island was absolute: there were no black warders, and no white prisoners.”It was to be a long, hard 18 years on the island before he was moved to Pollsmoor Prison, then Victor Verster Prison, just outside Cape Town, for nine more years, before being released in February 1990.The world on releaseGoldberg says that the world he entered in 1985 was very different from the one he had left in 1964. “The world was different after 22 years. Colours were brighter, everything moved faster. I flew in a jumbo jet. I wasn’t sure of how to deal with the outside world.”Goldberg lived in England after his release, representing the ANC in exile and continuing his anti-apartheid activities. He settled in Cape Town in 2002, where he became special adviser to the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry. He is now retired.Kathrada was inundated by family and well-wishers when he arrived at his brother’s house in Lenasia, Johannesburg.“Except for a few indelible memories, most of that first day has always been a blank,” he says in Memoirs. “My most precious recollections are of my little grand-nieces and nephews, clambering all over me, clasping their little arms around my neck, holding my hands, hugging and kissing this strange man they had never seen, but had learnt to love in absentia.“After 26 years on my own, no other welcome could have meant as much as this spontaneous display of unconditional love and immediate acceptance.”‘and there was a roar’Mandela arrived on Robben Island in the prime of life – he was 44 years old. He left prison as a 71-year-old man.He walked out of Victor Verster Prison on 11 February 1990 to thousands of assembled people, hundreds of photographers, television cameras and journalists. He says in Long Walk to Freedom: “When I was among the crowd I raised my right fist, and there was a roar. I had not been able to do that for 27 years and it gave me a surge of strength and joy.”His first night of freedom was spent at Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s house in Cape Town. “We were led inside the house, where more family and friends met us but, for me, the most wonderful moment was when I was told that I had a telephone call from Stockholm. I knew immediately who it was. Oliver Tambo’s voice was weak but unmistakable, and to hear him after all those years filled me with great joy.”Mandela says that in his 27 years in prison, he held “a life-long conversation with him in my head”, and that when Tambo died in 1993, he felt like the “loneliest man in the world”.Liliesleaf information7 George Avenue, Rivonia, 2128, JohannesburgTelephone: (011) 803-7882/3/4Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 5pm; Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 4pmTours from 45 minutes to 3 hours available. Booking recommended.Conference facilitiesWebsite: www.liliesleaf.co.zaAdapted from an article written by Lucille Davie in June 2008 for the City of Johannesburg.Reviewed: July 2015Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Consistent Ravena a steady force for Ateneo so far in Season 80

first_imgBSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  LATEST STORIES But Ravena’s production took a dip from there.“Last season, I’ll have a good game and the polar opposite will happen next,” said Ravena. “I’m just mentally focused coming into the season and that I need to be more consistent.” Read Next Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Blackwater secures last playoff spot, beats GlobalPort Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netThirdy Ravena has been Ateneo’s most consistent player in its first three games in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament.And he plans to stay that way after having an up-and-down year in Season 79.ADVERTISEMENT “I need to stay more consistent because everyone’s been doing a really good job,” said Ravena after leading the Blue Eagles over Far Eastern University, 94-82, Sunday. Ravena finished with 18 points, on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, 11 rebounds, and five assists to steer Ateneo to a 3-0 record. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe graduating guard is averaging 18 points, nine boards, and 2.3 assists per game.Ravena had just one occasion where he managed to score in double figures in back-to-back games, against La Salle and University of the Philippines when he had 22 and 11 points, respectively.  MOST READ Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary View commentslast_img read more

Brownlee stars as Ginebra stays alive

first_imgRobredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ What ‘missteps’? World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Though TNT roared back with a 12-0 blast to cut the deficit to nine, 56-47, late in the first half, the Gin Kings continued to press on the gas pedal in the ensuing periods, leading by as high 32, 125-93, on a Paolo Taha jumper with 1:37 left.The KaTropa failed to complete the series sweep as import Joshua Smith played subpar on his nine minutes on the floor.The burly reinforcement complained pain on his right foot which was earlier reported as an injured right pinkie caused by his shoe, prompting him to leave the game with the fourth quarter still yet to be played. He finished with four points and seven rebounds in the game.TNT gets another shot to close out the best-of-five series on Saturday with Game 4 set at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.The Ginebra defense also shut down the other TNT leaders, with Jayson Castro limited to just seven points, three assists, and two rebounds, and Game 2 hero Anthony Semerad being held to a measly three markers.RR Garcia paced the KaTropa with 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists, while Mo Tautuaa tallied 15 markers and five boards.ADVERTISEMENT WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Justin Brownlee. PBA IMAGESGinebra kept its flickering hopes in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals alive with a rousing 125-101 blowout of TNT in Game 3 Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Justin Brownlee anchored the Gin Kings rescue mission as he scattered 31 points, on a 4-of-8 shooting from threes, alongside 11 rebounds, four blocks, three steals, and two assists for the top-seed.ADVERTISEMENT Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Pocari drops Bali Pure to win another PVL title LATEST STORIES Scottie Thompson added 17 markers, five boards, and four dimes, while Japeth Aguilar corralled 15 points, four rebounds, three rejections, and two assists in the dominant win.Sol Mercado chimed in 12 markers and five assists, while Joe Devance had 10 points, five boards, and three dimes for Ginebra.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It helps a lot when you make shots. And we made shots today. When we can make shots, our offense is a lot different and it spills on our defense,” said coach Tim Cone, as Ginebra went 54-percent from the field in the survival game.Brownlee commandeered the 22-2 rampage for Ginebra in the second quarter as it took a commanding 56-35 lead. The Scores:GINEBRA 125 – Brownlee 31, Thompson 17, Aguilar 15, Mercado 12, Devance 10, Ellis 9, Cruz 9, Tenorio 8, Ferrer 5, Mariano 5, Taha 2, Jamito 2, Helterbrand 0, Caguioa 0.TNT 101 – Garcia 16, Tautuaa 15, Carey 11, Reyes 9, Rosario 8, Castro 7, Rosales 7, Hernandez 6, Nuyles 6, Smith 4, Pogoy 4, Semerad 3, De Ocampo 3, Golla 0, Tamsi 0.Quarters: 34-28, 61-47, 96-74, 125-101. Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

England vs West Indies, World Cup 2019 Match 19: Prediction and Probable Playing 11s

first_imgHosts England will take on a resurgent West Indies in a clash of power-hitters in World Cup 2019 at Hampshire Bowl in Southampton on June 14. While England have been billed as one of the favourites to lift the trophy, their opponents on Friday are enjoying a thrill-ride at the tournament and have started looking as strong contenders for the semi-finals spots.Recent form:England beat Bangladesh in their last match to return to winning ways after being stunned by Pakistan in a high scoring match earlier. With 2 wins out of 3 games, the hosts are gunning for a 3rd victory to boost their chances of making it to the next stage.With the likes of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood setting the tournament alight with their high pace bowling, England have the attack to match the West Indies’ pace battery and cause a few problems to their batsmen.But West Indies have been buoyed by their dismantling of Pakistan in their 1st match before being brought down to Earth by defending champions Australia. Their last match against South Africa was washed out after just 7.3 overs bowled giving their star all-rounder Andre Russell more time to heal his troubled knee. It remains to be seen if and in what capacity he will feature against England.Pitch and conditions:It has been raining a lot in Southampton and it remains to be seen how the weather plays out on Friday. Though if rains permit play, given the conditions it would be wise to bowl first and look to make early use of the swinging conditions.advertisementENG vs WI: Predicted Playing 11sIn good news for England, Jos Buttler has been declared fit to play but there are some concerns with Wood’s knee which will only be clear before the game. Moeen Ali could slot back in the side in his place to partner Adil Rashid from the other end.For West Indies, Russell’s inclusion would be a welcome addition to the XI, only if he is cleared to take the field as WI would certainly not want to exacerbate their talisman’s injury. Evin Lewis, who missed the last match is also expected to be recalled into the team.England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Jofra Archer.West Indies: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmeyer, Jason Holder (c), Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas.Also Read | World Cup 2019: Shikhar Dhawan is a fighter and he will come back stronger, says Sachin TendulkarAlso Read | World Cup 2019: Sensible decision, says Virat Kohli after India-New Zealand match washed outlast_img read more



8 days agoValencia defender Gabriel Paulista open to playing for Spain

first_imgValencia defender Gabriel Paulista open to playing for Spainby Carlos Volcano8 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveValencia centre-back Gabriel Paulista has opened the door to playing for Spain.Gabriel has never made an appearance for the Brazilian national team and, although his preference is to still represent the Selecao, he is open to playing for Spain.”If I don’t get any opportunities from Brazil, I’d open the door to playing for the Spanish national team,” Gabriel told Esporte Interativo.”If Spain gives me that opportunity, I’d accept it with a lot of respect.”I will continue to be Brazilian; if I take that decision [to represent Spain], everyone knows why.”I am playing really well and there’s not been a call from Brazil.”If the opportunity arises to play at the next Euros [for Spain], I will accept it.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

LeBron And Harden Are The NBAs Best Quarterbacks

PLAYERNUMBERPERCENTAGE OF ALL PASSES PASSES THAT TRAVEL MORE THAN 30 FEET The 2016-17 season’s top 10 NBA quarterbacks James Harden94425.0% Russell Westbrook3059.9 John Wall46414.6 Eric Bledsoe38511.9 It was the fourth quarter of a February game against Oklahoma City when LeBron James caught Derrick Williams napping. The Cavaliers were down 101-99, James had the ball, and he and Cavs big man Tristan Thompson had just run a pick and roll at the top of the key. Williams, signed that morning to a 10-day contract, was in the far-right corner, resting with his hands on his knees. James dribbled left and fired a pass to Williams, 40 feet away. Williams dropped the ball, it careened out of bounds and the Thunder gained possession.“I learned quick: He can find you just about anywhere — it doesn’t matter how far away you’re standing,” Williams said.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/williamsdrop.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.James, in other words, is one heck of a passer. He can get the ball to teammates, regardless of how far apart they are or how impossible the passing angle may appear. According to a query run by SportVU data analyst Brittni Donaldson at FiveThirtyEight’s request, a whopping 20 percent of James’s passes have traveled more than 30 feet this season; that’s the second-highest share in the league. The league-wide average1Among players who’ve thrown at least 100 passes overall this season. is 6 percent. His passes that go that far travel north of 30 mph, according to SportVU.On Sunday night, James will square off against the only person ahead of him on that list: Houston guard and MVP front-runner James Harden, who tosses 25 percent of his passes more than 30 feet, according to the data.2The SportVU and other numbers in this article are accurate as of March 8. As of Wednesday, Harden this season had thrown 944 passes that had traveled more than 30 feet; James had 586. To put those numbers into context, consider that the next-closest player, Washington’s John Wall, had only 464. Jrue Holiday30912.2 Through March 8. Data excludes handoffs and passes shorter than 8 feet.Source: SportVU Stephen Curry32411.8 LeBron James58620.4 Ricky Rubio39311.9 Kyle Lowry36013.2 T.J. McConnell3038.3 That anticipation and unusual ability to find teammates, regardless of where they’re standing or how heavily they’re covered, leaves defensive players entrenched in a mental game of minesweeper. A step in any direction, or even just standing still, could result in a layup, dunk or open 3-point attempt at any moment. Because of Harden’s and James’s ability to thread the needle — at high speeds and from just about anywhere — no defense is ever truly safe.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ridiculouslebron.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Nearly everything that happens for the two teams’ offenses happens because of the effect that James and Harden have on the floor. And even though their scoring gets most of the attention, the two players are zipping passes at incredible speeds across incredible distances. Their teams are benefiting. Cleveland is beating opponents by about 8 points per 100 plays with James on the court — and getting beaten by about 7 points per 100 plays with him sidelined, according to NBA.com. And though Houston has maintained a healthy scoring margin this season when Harden rests, it’s notable that the high-scoring club — which thrives on its 3-point shooting and is one of the 10 best offenses in NBA history in terms of efficiency — becomes mortal without him as the floor general. If you want an insight into how their offenses work, keep an eye on James’s and Harden’s passes.This isn’t to say that Harden and James are without flaws or that their long-passing risks always pay off. Quite the opposite. Both are in the midst of career highs in turnovers. This week, Harden broke his own single-season NBA record for miscues, while James has never turned it over this much, measured by both his turnovers per game and the percentage of his plays that ended with a turnover.“LeBron’s a great passer and the greatest player I ever played with,” said ex-NBA forward Shane Battier, who won two titles as James’s teammate in Miami. “But he had a propensity for hitting me below the knees with a lot of his passes. And I had to tell him: ‘Look, I know you love your triple-doubles. If you want to get more, you’ve gotta start hitting me in the chest with these. Get me the ball in a good spot, and I’ll help you get there. It became a running joke with coach [Erik Spoelstra], where he’d stop the film and say, ‘C’mon LeBron; help Shane out!’”But more often than not, the rewards with James and Harden have been great. They’re totally different players: James is one of the most physically imposing ballhandlers3Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, in this Sports Illustrated profile, said he’s felt unusually sore and achy after playing the four-time MVP. in league history, while Harden thrives on his craftiness and unusual ability to stop on a dime. Yet the fear that each inspires when hurtling toward the basket — whether it’s via a one-on-one isolation4James and Harden each kick the ball out to spot-up shooters in one-on-one scenarios 1.2 times per game, the highest rate in the league, according to Synergy Sports Technology. or a pick-and-roll — is what makes James and Harden arguably the sport’s two most lethal passers, especially in light of who their teammates are.Both players operate in perhaps the NBA’s most spacious offenses and boast plenty of sharpshooting teammates. Of the 20 players who’ve drained the most threes this season, six play for either Cleveland or Houston. Knowing that those players surround James or Harden at the same time that a roll man like Thompson or Clint Capela dives toward the basket stops defensive players in their tracks for a split second as they come to the realization that they’re in a Catch-22.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/longpassharden.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/harrelloop.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“Teams have really gotta pick their poison as far as what they want to do when they play us,” said Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who’s enjoying a career resurgence with Harden and coach Mike D’Antoni. “Do they want to have everybody shooting threes? Because that’s what happens if you decide you want to take away [Harden’s] scoring. Or do you want to stay with us at the 3-point line? Because if you do that, I like his chances of finding a way to score.”That spacing, and the fact that defenses can’t possibly cover that much ground on every play, is part of why James is averaging a career-best 8.8 assists per outing. If he ends the season there, it would be a single-season assist record for a non-guard. And in his first season as a point guard, Harden is logging 11.2 dimes a night, a 49 percent bump from what had been a career-high 7.5 assists per game last season. Within the next week or so, the two players will rank No. 1 and 2 in the list of players who have assisted the most 3-point shots in a single season.5With 303 3-point assists, Harden has broken Steve Nash’s 2004-05 single-season record of 284, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. James, with 274, should surpass Nash soon.“Making sure I find guys and making the right pass is all I think about each game,” said Harden, who sprays the ball to spot-up shooters out of pick-and-roll plays an NBA-high seven times a game, according to Synergy. “As long as they get to their spots and are ready to shoot, I’ll find them.”Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/hardenbullet2.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Both the Cavs and the Rockets acquired new players around the trade deadline, and James knows an adjustment period follows.“Not just [adjusting to passes from] me, but everyone,” James told me during All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. “I try to study my teammates and how they like the ball. Some guys like it with the seam; some guys like it seamless, because it puts different rotation on the ball. It all depends on how they like it before they shoot. So I study guys, and I just try to be one step ahead so that when [new players] get on the team, I’m already on Phase Two.”Getting past Phase One with James takes a bit of time for newcomers, though. After a Cleveland loss to Boston last week, 16-year veteran Richard Jefferson pulled aside the 25-year-old Williams in the locker room to give him some advice: Don’t dribble a whole lot after LeBron finds you.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/williamscharge.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“You’re dancing too much,” he told Williams, who that night had been called for a charge after James had found him wide open in the corner. “He’ll get you the ball in perfect spots. All you’ve gotta do is shoot. Or pump fake, then shoot. But you don’t have to dance.”6Williams’s tracking data shows that he’s dribbling slightly more and holding the ball slightly longer in Cleveland than he did with Miami earlier in the season.Kyle Korver, who joined the Cavs from Atlanta via trade, said he’s made two adjustments for playing with James. First, because of how much steam James puts on his assists, Korver has gotten more proactive about “attacking” James’s passes,7Korver told me that his Cavs teammate James Jones, who’s made six straight trips to the NBA Finals with LeBron, gave him this advice upon joining the club. as opposed to letting them get into his body. “If you let the thing come to you, it catches you on the back of your heels almost,” said Korver, who has shot 51 percent from 3-point range off James’s passes thus far, compared with an overall 3-point mark of 41 percent in Atlanta this season before the trade.8Korver shot just 38 percent (14-of-37) off James’s passes in January but rebounded nicely in February to shoot 68 percent (19-of-28) in February.The second adjustment is often standing and doing nothing.In Atlanta, without a singular star, Korver often had to sprint around several screens to get open shots. But with James, and the dilemma his passing ability causes opposing defenses, simply standing at the perimeter is enough.“If I do that,” Korver said of staying put and waiting on the ball, “then I’ve probably done my job.” read more

How Many Digits Of Pi You Have To Have Memorized To Be

3.1415926535 3.141526 If you can get to the first 3 after the decimal point, you’re in the top 5 percent of pi memorizers. I asked the people who got that far to keep going, and most tapped out shortly after.The biggest drop came after “3.14,” as respondents who got that far made it to “3.141” only about 52 percent of the time.And that’s fine!NASA employees can probably get away with knowing only the first six digits after the decimal point. Also, we have calculators for when we need a few more digits, TI-89s for when those calculators are insufficient and Wolfram Alpha for when we reduce those calculators to a smoking, melted mess.Maybe after the highly anticipated apocalypse, the guys at the Large Hadron Collider will be happy to have that dude who memorized tens of thousands of pi digits around, but for now, he’s just got a weird hobby. Knowing pi is strictly a performative act, like people who readily volunteer their SAT score or high school completion percentage.But, uh, happy holidays. Today is Pi Day — the day each year, March 14, that follows the first three digits of pi (3.14). And this year’s Pi Day is a special one: Since — in the U.S. — the date is represented as 3/14/15, we have the first five digits of pi on the calendar.That’s news for some people. When it comes to how many digits of pi people know by heart, the majority only know 3.14. Which is fine! Unless you’re building a bridge, that’s the most you will really need to know.I asked SurveyMonkey Audience to put out a poll to see how far people could get reciting the infinite digits of pi. Of 941 respondents, 836 attempted to name the digits after the decimal point. This is how far they got: 3.173 3.1415919 3.14133 3.141592610 3.141592657 3.14159212 LEVEL OF PRECISIONPERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS 3.1464 read more

Our 6 Takeaways From The Opening Weekend Of The NBA Playoffs

Check out our latest NBA predictions. The first weekend of the NBA playoffs had a bit of something for everyone. Yes, there was a snoozefest or two. But between eight basketball games, Tiger Woods winning the Masters and “Game of Thrones” coming back, maybe a nap was necessary anyway. (Even a couple of the blowouts featured some extracurriculars.) A few games came down to the final seconds, with three lower seeds stepping up and landing statement victories in their series openers. All in all, not a bad start.Let’s take a deeper look at the six playoff series that we expect to be the most interesting going forward. (Sorry to the Clippers-Warriors and Pistons-Bucks.)The young Nets looked sure of themselves. The Sixers looked confused.There were, and maybe are, fair questions to be raised about the Brooklyn Nets. They have very little depth on the inside, which could spell trouble against a dominant big like Joel Embiid. And their offense can be too heavily reliant on All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell.But at least Brooklyn knows what it is, which was more than you could say for the Sixers at times this weekend.For starters, Embiid’s status was known only minutes before the game began Saturday because of his bothersome knee — an availability question that would have required a number of changes to the game plan had he not been able to go. But beyond that, there’s also the issue of cohesion, which the Nets have and the Sixers simply do not.Before Saturday, Philly’s starting five — talented as it might be — had logged just 10 games together since acquiring Tobias Harris in a trade with the Clippers. And honestly, it looked that way for most of Game 1. Embiid, who missed five of the last seven regular-season games, started launching jumpers (which Brooklyn gladly gave him) after drawing a number of fouls on the Nets inside. Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick struggled badly on offense. Jimmy Butler opted to take matters into his own hands (Sixers coach Brett Brown called him “the adult in the room”) and scored a game-high 36 points. All this while Harris looked invisible and uninvolved, scoring just 4 points in 40 minutes of work.Meanwhile, the Nets’ guards had no such questions about their place in the pecking order. Russell struggled early but kept shooting and caught fire in the third period. Spencer Dinwiddie had a very quick first step and repeatedly found his way into the lane — again doing some of his best work this season against Philadelphia. And Caris LeVert continues to look more and more like his old self after returning from his injury in February. Both Dinwiddie and LeVert were integral to a franchise-record 59-point effort from the bench, which the Sixers had no answer for.Keep an eye on this series. The Sixers went all in with a pair of huge trades earlier this season. But that may be the reason that, as we’re midway through April, their opponent has a clearer sense of identity and the upper hand one game into their playoff matchup.Utah’s defense of Harden won’t work — at least not like thisIt was just one game, but very early on — before halftime, even — it seemed clear that Utah was going to have to rethink its defensive strategy for reigning MVP James Harden.The Jazz used a scheme that gave the left-handed Harden an open driving path on the right. The idea here: to take away the dominant hand of perhaps the NBA’s best offensive player, but also to take away his stepback 3-point jumper, maybe his greatest offensive weapon.They weren’t the first team to try this. The top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks’ defense found a ton of success with the idea late last month, by standing far to Harden’s left and slightly behind him.It was a different story for the second-ranked Utah defense, though, which Houston diced to pieces. Why did it work for the Bucks and not the Jazz? One reason was that Milwaukee’s rim protector, Brook Lopez, generally had the discipline to stay tethered to the baseline so that Clint Capela wouldn’t get an easy lob, like he often did on Sunday night, when Jazz center Rudy Gobert stepped up too far.But the other key to Milwaukee’s success was the athleticism and length of the Bucks’ primary and help defenders. Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo are simply more imposing than Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell or Joe Ingles, giving Harden less confidence that he can either get back to his left hand at the rim or sneak a pass to a teammate standing in the corner.Frankly, Utah wasn’t taking anything away early. By leaving Harden far too much space to navigate, the Jazz had no way of positioning their help defenders in the right spots, allowing The Beard to carve them up by finding both Capela for dunks and P.J. Tucker in the corner. (Tucker shoots almost 40 percent from there.)Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Harden.mp400:0000:0001:15Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Rubio told reporters after the game that the Jazz are committed to playing Harden the same way throughout the series. But regardless of how much they improve on that front, they’ll need to be far better — and faster — on offense to have a chance in this series.Excluding a half-court attempt at the end of the third period, Utah scored on seven of its nine transition plays. Getting earlier looks would make life easier, especially for Mitchell, who shot 36 percent against Houston in last year’s series before shooting just 39 percent Sunday, with five turnovers and no assists. In Game 1, the Jazz logged a dismal 25 percent effective field-goal rate when they got inside the last 5 seconds of the clock.Can the poor-shooting Thunder find their range?The post-game excuse “We just missed shots” is usually annoying. It can be read as not giving credit to the opponent for earning a hard-fought victory, and it can also serve as a way to avoid addressing what adjustments might need to be made in the next contest.But in Oklahoma City’s case, there would have been some truth to that claim. The Thunder missed 10 of their 13 wide-open attempts from the arc during their Game 1 loss in Portland.Yet while a lot of teams could use a stat like that to express confidence in simply performing better the next time, it’s worth noting that Oklahoma City … isn’t exactly a team of marksmen. When the Thunder shoot poorly, it’s hard to know whether that’s a sign that things will get better for them or if it’s just Oklahoma City struggling with what it’s seemingly always struggled with.Making matters worse, Paul George — their best shooter and co-star alongside Russell Westbrook — is playing with a troublesome left shoulder, meaning his shot could be affected for the remainder of the playoffs.If there was a bright side offensively, it was that the Thunder eventually found daylight by attacking Portland’s Enes Kanter with a steady diet of pick and rolls — something they can likely go back to in Game 2. But OKC would also be wise to occasionally locate Kanter as he’s going for offensive boards. He killed his former team for 20 points and 18 rebounds, which more than made up for his defensive struggles in the narrow victory.Were the Nuggets simply nervous?Similar to Oklahoma City are the Denver Nuggets, who many — our FiveThirtyEight projection model included — remain skeptical of. A lot of that is rooted in Denver’s inexperience: This is the team’s first trip to the playoffs with this core, which is suddenly facing high expectations as the No. 2 seed in the West.Saturday’s loss, like OKC’s on Sunday, saw Denver miss several open looks when the Nuggets were in striking distance of the Spurs. The teams were neck-and-neck down the stretch, yet Denver somehow missed all eight of its attempts in the second half when taking a shot that would have either tied the game or given the Nuggets the lead. And Jamal Murray, the team’s 22-year-old starting point guard, had an incredibly rough final minute or so in the Game 1 loss.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Murray.mp400:0000:0000:49Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.All of that could have been mere coincidence or simply the result of missing shots the team normally makes. But because of noise about the team’s inexperience — especially as Denver is playing perennial playoff club San Antonio — it’s only natural that the questions about nerves will be there.Whatever the case may be, one thing clearly needs to change going forward: Denver star Nikola Jokic cannot finish playoff games with just nine shot attempts. Yes, he managed a triple-double anyway. But when the team’s jumpshots simply aren’t falling, he’s too efficient a scorer not to take matters into his own hands.The Pacers need offensive counters — but even that may not be enoughOutside of the Pistons and Clippers, I feel most pessimistic about the Pacers after Game 1 of their series with Boston. I went in thinking it would be really tough for them to find enough scoring to win a series, and Saturday’s 74-point showing gave me even more doubts.My real concern now, after watching leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic struggle against the Celtics again — when he did this all regular season, too — is the lack of counters the Pacers seem to have in their arsenal once Boston has snuffed out the initial action.Indiana got next to nothing out of its handoffs to Bogdanovic, which produced just 0.14 points per time they utilized the play, according to Second Spectrum. Jaylen Brown was generally quick enough to recover and get by the screener, and in the instances when he wasn’t, Al Horford was swarming Bogdanovic, often forcing him to give up the ball to a teammate who wasn’t necessarily in a great position to score, either.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Bojan.mp400:0000:0002:31Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Similarly, the team — which scored just 8 points in the third quarter — found itself at a disadvantage when it sought to make hay with Wes Matthews post-ups, something we knew would likely be a losing strategy from what we’d seen prior to Saturday (particularly if there’s no secondary action that comes of it). Statistically, Matthews has been one of the NBA’s five least efficient post-up options since he joined the team in February.1Among those with at least 30 regular-season post-ups since Feb. 11. Indiana averaged just 0.71 points per Matthews post-up, per Second Spectrum data.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Wes.mp400:0000:0000:44Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The Celtics deserve credit for playing as well as they did at that end of the floor, particularly without defensive stud Marcus Smart. But if the Pacers can’t develop better second and third options on these plays when they try them, it could be an ugly series for Indiana, which has been putting too much pressure on its defense for a while now.Lowry struggled again, but Orlando’s win was anything but magicThe most surprising win of the weekend to many was the Magic’s road triumph over Toronto, which Orlando sealed with a game-winning triple from D.J. Augustin.In that sequence — before which coach Steve Clifford elected not to call timeout — Augustin called for a screen and roll, knowing he’d get Marc Gasol on a switch. Though Augustin had hit 3 of 4 from the arc for 22 points, Gasol didn’t come out far enough. The shot left the Toronto crowd stunned, which takes a lot at this point, given what they’ve been through for years now.Aside from nailing that play, the Magic did a ton of things right to put themselves in good position beforehand. They bottled up Pascal Siakam in the first half, and while Kawhi Leonard2Who played only 33 minutes. Expect that to change in Game 2. was efficient, Aaron Gordon played pretty solid defense on him, making him work for contested shots. Orlando was nearly perfect from the line and drilled almost half of its triples on the day. This was a young Magic club that had the same 15-8 second-half record that Toronto did, while ranking inside the Top 10 on both sides of the floor over that span of time. If you hadn’t watched Orlando play, you might not have seen this coming — but it wasn’t a fluke.And neither was Kyle Lowry’s scoreless, 0-for-7 showing. Aside from the fact that Lowry had several low-scoring games this season — including a four-game streak of single-digit performances — Lowry has also struggled in the first games of playoff series. He’s scored just 33 points combined in playoff-opening Game 1s the past five years.There’s not necessarily anything for the Raptors to panic about yet. They’ve seen this before, even if they had hoped they were past having to witness the early round struggles cropping up again. read more