Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week

first_imgThe authors of the second paper in the previous story compared endosymbiosis to mergers of companies, apparently unaware they were comparing undirected natural processes with intelligently planned decisions by human minds:Imagine you are running a successful small business converting carbon dioxide into sugar. Suddenly, you are taken over by a bigger company. They commandeer your intellectual property, relocate it to head office, and – to add insult to injury – they ship your own tools back to you and expect you to keep making sugar. Such a business takeover is the perfect analogy for the endosymbiotic origin of plastids. The small business is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium, the aggressive takeover merchant is the eukaryotic host, and the intellectual property is the cohort of genes encoding the machinery for photosynthesis, most of which have now been relocated from the endosymbiont’s genome to the host nucleus. (Emphasis added.)1Nisbet, Killian and McFadden, “Diatom Genomics: Genetic Acquisitions and Mergers,” Current Biology Volume 14, Issue 24, 29 December 2004, Pages R1048-R1050, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2004.11.043.At least they admitted genes are “intellectual” property. “Adding insult to injury” is also intelligent design, of the mischievous kind. Encoding, machinery, synthesis; these words do not belong in the Darwin Dictionary. They were plagiarized from the creationist world view encyclopedia. Plagiarism is also intelligent design of the mischievous kind.(Visited 5 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Photo library: Cities 8

first_imgClick on a thumbnail for a low-resolution image, or right-click on the link below it to download a high-resolution copy of the image.» Download Cities contact sheet (508KB)» Download full image library contact sheet (10.5MB) Bloemfontein, Free Stateprovince: The LochloganShopping Centre andwaterfront in the citycentre. Photo: Graeme Williams,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Bloemfontein, Free Stateprovince: The LochloganShopping Centre andwaterfront in the citycentre. Photo: Graeme Williams,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Bloemfontein, Free Stateprovince: A view of thecity from Naval Hill. Lyingclose to the city centre,Naval Hill offers agame reserve stockedwith giraffe, zebra andother wildlife, the LamontHussey Observatory, nowconverted into a theatre,and panoramic views ofBloemfontein. Photo: Graeme Williams,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Bloemfontein, Free Stateprovince: A view of thecity from Naval Hill. Lyingclose to the city centre,Naval Hill offers agame reserve stockedwith giraffe, zebra andother wildlife, the LamontHussey Observatory, nowconverted into a theatre,and panoramic views ofBloemfontein. Photo: Graeme Williams,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Bloemfontein, Free Stateprovince: A view of thecity from Naval Hill. Lyingclose to the city centre,Naval Hill offers agame reserve stockedwith giraffe, zebra andother wildlife, the LamontHussey Observatory, nowconverted into a theatre,and panoramic views ofBloemfontein. Photo: Graeme Williams,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Bloemfontein, Free Stateprovince: Road signageon Nelson Mandela Drive,the main road throughBloemfontein, showing theway to the city centre, thecity’s international airport,the Lesotho capital ofMaseru, and the FreeState town of Boshof. Photo: Graeme Williams,MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Port Elizabeth, Eastern Capeprovince: A couple walk downhistorical Donkin Street. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Port Elizabeth, Eastern Capeprovince: The harbour area. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res image Port Elizabeth, Eastern Capeprovince: The harbour area. Photo: Rodger Bosch, MediaClubSouthAfrica.com » Download high-res imageCITIES 8: {loadposition cities}Having trouble downloading high-resolution images? Queries about the image library?Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.last_img read more

Habitat’s High-Performance Experiment

first_img RELATED ARTICLES Habitat for Humanity’s Net-Zero CommunityStudents Bring Zero-Energy Design to Habitat Two Solar Decathlon Homes Get High Marks for AffordabilityA Habitat Passivhaus for Upstate New YorkHabitat in Vermont Continues Its Passive House JourneyA Habitat in Mississippi Follows Two Paths to GreenHabitat’s Passivhaus Focus in VermontA Habitat Home Tames Construction Costs, Lands LEED GoldTen Students Build Arizona’s First NZEHHabitat for Humanity’s Classic Green Look Video: LEED Platinum Habitat for Humanity House The Empowerhouse is just a beginningThe Habitat affiliate has since launched six Passivhaus projects in Ivy City, a part of the city where it and two other nonprofits are building a total of 60 affordable housing units.Working with money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and land grants from the city, the Habitat affiliate has been building a total of 30 housing units. Six of the 11 housing units in the last phase of this project are designed for Passivhaus certification. WASHINGTON, D.C.Passivhaus Conditioned space: 1,404 sq. ft.Number of floors: 2.Bedrooms: 3.Bathrooms: 1 1/2.Construction: 2×4 stud wall with 9 1/2-in. I-joist balloon framed wall on the outside.Type of foundation: Slab.Windows: Klearwall Future-Proof triple-glazed, argon-filled.Ventilation: Energy-recovery ventilator.Domestic hot water: AO Smith Cirrex solar electric.Heating and cooling: Single wall-mounted ductless minisplit.Insulation: Above the slab, 6 in. of XPS, followed by 3 1/2 in. of mineral wool, R-49. Above-grade exterior walls, Roxul mineral wool in 2×4 structural wall, dense-packed cellulose in balance of wall, R-45. Roof, 8 in. polyisocyanurate foam, R-49.6.Blower-door test: Not yet available.Cost of construction: $172/sq. ft.COLUMBUS, MONet-Zero EnergyConditioned space: 1,248 sq. ft.Number of floors: 1.Bedrooms: 3, plus large loft.Bathrooms: 2.Construction: 2×6 stud wall built with advanced framing techniques.Type of foundation: Slab.Windows: Triple-glazed Jeld-Wen.Ventilation: Energy-recovery ventilator.Domestic hot water: Solar thermal with electric backup.Renewable energy: 8 kW photovoltaic system.Heating and cooling: Ductless minisplit air-source heat pump.Insulation: Under slab, 4 in. of rigid foam. Exterior above-grade walls, a combination of open-cell foam and blown-in cellulose with 2 in. of rigid foam on exterior, R-30. Roof, 1 1/2 in. open-cell foam plus blown-in cellulose, R-60.Blower-door test: Not yet available.Cost of construction: $85/sq. ft.SANTA BARBARA, CAPassivhausConditioned space: 3,749 sq. ft. (total for three units)Number of floors: 3.Bedrooms: 8.Bathrooms: 3 full, 3 half.Construction: 2×6 exterior walls, built with advanced framing techniques.Type of foundation: Slab.Windows: Double-glazed Simonton.Ventilation: Heat-recovery ventilator.Domestic hot water and renewable energy: Combined Echo Solar System includes solar hot water and photovoltaics producing 4,000 kWh of electricity and 122 therms per year. Domestic hot water system also incorporates a tankless heater. Heating and cooling: Wall-mounted electric resistance heaters; no air conditioning.Insulation: None under slab. Most exterior walls have high-density fiberglass batts with 1 in. of rigid foam on the outside. Roof, 8.2 in. of open-cell foam under roof deck, R-30.Blower-door test: Not yet available.Cost: $110-$125/sq. ft. In the nation’s capital, a firstHabitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. took advantage of the biannual U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon to jump into high-performance housing.Until 2011, the design competition for college students, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, had taken place on the National Mall in Washington. When it was over, these demonstration homes were dismantled and sometimes junked, says Heather Phibbs, Washington Habitat’s director of marketing and development.But in this case, the Parsons School for Design and the Stevens Institute of Technology approached Habitat and suggested a partnership to turn its Decathlon entry into housing for a Washington, D.C., family. When the Decathlon ended, the project, called the “Empowerhouse,” was taken apart, moved to a site in the Deanwood neighborhood in the northeast part of the district and turned into a duplex.The project was certified by the Passive House Institute U.S. and built to operate as a net-zero energy home.“It was the first time we had built a Passivhaus, Habitat for Humanity of DC, and it was the first Passivhaus ever built in DC,” Phibbs said.Based on this success, there are now a number of organizations thinking of ways to turn these demonstration houses into homes when the Decathlon competitions end, Phibbs says. (For more information on the Empowerhouse, see Two Solar Decathlon Homes Get High Marks for Affordability.) In Missouri, bidding for the futureShow-Me Central Habitat for Humanity entered the world of high-performance building at the invitation of the city of Columbia, according to Bill View, its executive director.The city circulated a request for proposals among Columbia’s housing development agencies asking for their most energy-efficient designs and offering $66,000 in seed money to the winner, View says. Among the few requirements were the use of either a ground-source heat pump or a ductless minisplit heat pump for heating and cooling, and a generous amount of insulation. Three other organizations offered bids, but the Habitat affiliate took home the prize.It’s the first Habitat project of its kind in Columbus.“I wanted to win the bid, to tell you the truth,” View says. “That’s the honest part of it, although we’ve been building Energy Star homes for a few years now. But when they put up $66,000 and said it’s up for grabs to the person who gives us the best model for energy efficiency, I decided I wanted to win the bid.”That $66,000 is almost enough money to build another home for another family.The house (see the details at right) is under construction and may be finished by late spring or early summer, depending on weather and other factors. The Habitat chapter has five or six other projects underway at the same time. High-performance houses might not seem the most logical choice for Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit that builds affordable housing on tight construction budgets and relies on non-professional labor.Renewable energy systems have high upfront costs, and the extra insulation, air-sealing and other detailing that make Passivhaus or net-zero energy construction possible take more time, building expertise and money than conventional houses.But Habitat affiliates around the country are beginning to build these high-performance designs and offering them to families that ordinarily would be priced out of the market.Projects are currently underway in many parts of the country, including Washington, D.C., Missouri, California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. It’s a homegrown trend taking root without any directive from Habitat’s international headquarters in Atlanta; each Habitat affiliate is a separate entity that makes its own decisions about what kind of housing to build. Net-zero, Passivhaus and other high-performance designs are still a fraction of the total number of Habitat projects, accounting for roughly 1% of the 3,800 new housing units that Habitat built in the U.S. last year. But for a variety of reasons, local Habitat affiliates are now more likely to try these cutting-edge designs, and over time that will mean much lower utility and maintenance bills for the homeowners lucky enough to get them.In some cases, the Passivhaus projects are the first to be built in the community by anyone. Here’s a rundown on several projects around the country. Finding the right familiesHabitat tries to identify prospective homeowners before or during construction so the families will have the chance to work on their own houses. In Washington, each family must contribute a total of 300 hours of sweat equity to quality for ownership, although they can still qualify by working on someone else’s house.“It’s a little bit of a trick to build these things affordably for Habitat families,” Phibbs says.The new owners of these Passivhaus homes will have incomes of between $30,000 and $60,000 a year, representing 30% to 60% of the median income in the area, which is $100,000 a year.The lower operating costs for Passivhaus homes is a great match with families living on tight budgets. But it can be challenging to apply the Habitat model to houses that require a lot of construction acumen to build. All Washington Habitat projects involve some professional labor, and in the case of Passivhaus designs, Phibbs says, there’s just a little more of it.“So the pieces of that process that our construction staff leads volunteers in are a little more limited during Passivhaus construction,” she says. “There are segments of the process that they don’t allow volunteers to help with.”Despite the added complexities of construction and higher costs, the effort holds a great deal of promise for Habitat. “It’s the longterm benefit to homeowners (significantly lower utility costs), as well as interest among many of our funders,” Phibbs said in a follow-up e-mail. “And our efforts to document the process and find ways to bring the costs down to a level that may make a greater number of these homes eventually achievable for us.”center_img Passivhaus emerges the winnerOne of the architects working on the Canon Perdido project had a background in Passivhaus design, as did the construction manager, Peterson says, and that helped tip the scales. The building was relatively simple in shape, without any complex roof geometry, and it looked like a good bet for Passivhaus construction.“Everybody was really excited at the idea of doing this, and it was a newer thing,” Peterson adds. “We thought the community would be excited about it.”Habitat broke ground on the project in June 2013 and hopes to have it wrapped up by this summer. It will be the affiliate’s first Passivhaus building.Families that move into the townhouse will have incomes of between 40% and 80% of the area’s median income, or $30,000 to $60,000 a year, Hamill says.There were 100 applicants for the dozen housing units in the project. Although Habitat officials were thrilled to be working on a Passivhaus project, they didn’t advertise that aspect of the project to the public, and neither Hamill nor Peterson thinks the benefits of living in a Passivhaus were obvious to people who applied to live there, or even the people who worked on the buildings.“Every time we have volunteers at the site, we tell them about the project and they’re fascinated by the Passivhaus side of it,” Hamill says, “but for the most part I don’t think the community understands.”That said, Peterson adds, a local American Institute of Architects tour of the project was the most well-attended in some time. Net-zero by designDesigners originally considered a ground-source heat pump, View says, but the project’s engineer suggested that using an air-source heat pump instead would free up $10,000 that could be spent on photovoltaic panels. Eventually, he adds, designers settled on an 8-kW system that on paper would make net-zero operation possible.“So we just decided to splurge and put $20,000 worth of solar panels on it and see what happens,” View says. “It engineered out to a net-zero house, but of course we won’t know until it’s up and running.”View expects the 1,248-square-foot three-bedroom house to sell for $107,000, exactly what Habitat will have in it. It’s likely to go to a buyer with an income of as much as 80% of the median income in the area. Habitat houses there are typically sold to those making 30% to 50% of the median. In California, LEED didn’t have the “buzz”Santa Barbara, California, is a wealthy community on the coast a few hours north of Los Angeles, and its local Habitat affiliate is one of several in the state building high-performance housing. It’s difficult to find lots for single-family Habitat housing in Santa Barbara, says Alexandra Hamill, the affiliate’s development manager, so they’re concentrating on townhouses.Their current project incorporates three buildings, one of which is a three-unit building which Habitat hopes will to have certified as a Passivhaus. It includes two three-bedroom units and one two-bedroom unit with a total of 3,749 square feet of conditioned space (see the details at right). The other two buildings will be built to the same standards, but Habitat won’t seek Passivhaus certification for them.Habitat’s last project had been constructed to meet requirements of Built Green Santa Barbara, a local sustainable building program, says Jon Peterson, the affiliate’s associated executive director.“Really, our goal from a Habitat perspective of building green at all is we want to provide homes that will last a very long time, but also will be affordable,” Peterson says, “and one of the ways is keeping the utility and maintenance costs down.”As they began design work on the townhouse project, architects from DMHA, a local firm, were aiming for Level 4 compliance with Built Green, which would have been a step up from Level 3 of the previous project. They also considered seeking certification under the LEED for Homes program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council. But in the end, LEED didn’t seem to offer what the affiliate wanted.“It’s been done by other Habitat affiliates,” Peterson says. “It didn’t have the buzz. In addition to building an affordable and secure house, one of the thing we look at is how will this help us with fundraising efforts. Although LEED is a good standard, paying for that certification didn’t feel like the best option for us. “ “We’ve been working to green our practices as much as possible for a number of years,” Phibbs says. “There’s a lot of sense that it makes, not only in leaving a lighter environmental footprint and keeping a house more efficient to run, but when you have a house that’s more efficient you’ve got maintenance costs a lot lower, which is really fitting for these lower income homeowners.”The 1,400-square-foot three-bedroom houses (see sidebar at right for more details) are more expensive to build than the kind of housing Habitat usually takes on — about $172 per square foot compared to a more typical $110 per square foot. The houses will sell for between $180,000 and $200,000, Phibbs says, with Habitat raising the money to fill in the gap between the sales price and actual construction costs.Separately, Habitat has been contemplating a crowd-sourcing campaign so the houses can be equipped with photovoltaic panels. Not right for every local affiliateHigh-performance buildings are intriguing to builders looking for new challenges, but they represent a very small fraction of the houses that Habitat builds, and very few affiliates around the country are tackling them — only 15 of the nation’s 1,500 total, according to Derek Morris, director of construction technologies for Habitat for Humanity International.Roughly three-quarters of new Habitat houses are built to Energy Star standards, but going the extra mile for Passivhaus or net-zero performance isn’t always the best use of limited resources, Morris says.Affiliates that do make the leap have started by learning the basics of energy-efficient designs, embracing advanced framing techniques and air-sealing, for example, or learning how to orient houses correctly on the site. Once they’ve mastered those things, he adds, net-zero or Passivhaus construction is a more attainable goal.But all decisions are local, he says, as affiliates focus on Habitat’s “number-one objective,” the elimination of poverty housing.“Part of the challenge is always the allocation of resources,” he says. “As you’re doing Passivhaus or net-zero, you end up having a greater upfront investment in it. If you have the ability to do one home, that’s great, but what do you do about the other homes that are needed in the area?“In some cases, it’s the appropriate decision to go forward with net-zero or Passivhaus if that’s appropriate for your local environment and your local needs,” Morris continues. “In others, it may be that instead of doing 20 net-zero homes we do 30 Energy Star homes. It’s a decision that always has to be made locally. It’s never a one-size-fits-all solution.”last_img read more

Cavs to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for coaching post

first_imgHontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Messina’s coaching resume includes an impeccable run in Europe, where he won numerous titles and also coached Italy’s national team. The 59-year-old Messina has worked on coach Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio since 2014 and is widely regarded as one of the NBA’s top assistants.He’ll be the second Spurs assistant to meet with Cleveland, which interviewed Ime Udoka on Sunday.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsIt’s not known if owner Dan Gilbert is taking part in the interviews.The Cavs ended an expansive, 39-day search for a coach in 2014 by hiring David Blatt, who like Messina, had major success in Europe. But while Blatt did win with Cleveland, getting the team to the NBA Finals in his first season, he struggled to mesh with players, including mega star LeBron James, and was fired midway through his second season despite a 30-11 record. Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to Tiger Woods MOST READ SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next FILE – In this April 3, 2019, file photo, San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina gestures in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, in Denver. A person familiar with Cleveland’s coaching search tells The Associated Press the Cavaliers have scheduled an interview with San Antonio assistant Ettore Messina. The Cavs plan to meet with Messina later this week, said the person whospoke Monday, May 6, 2019, on condition of anonymity because the team is keeping details of their search confidential. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski. File)CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers experimented with a successful European coach a few years ago with mixed results. They may try it again.Cleveland has scheduled an interview this week with San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, a person familiar with the Cavs’ coaching search said Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is keeping details of its search confidential.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH 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 Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krausscenter_img Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Cleveland went on to win the title that season under Tyronn Lue, who was fired early last season after an 0-6 start.The Cavs are in the fourth week of a coaching search that began after the team parted with Larry Drew, who went 19-57 after replacing Lue. Drew endured a season filled with injuries and roster upheaval.Cleveland’s front office previously interviewed Dallas assistant Jamahl Mosley, Miami assistant Juwan Howard, former Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff and Utah assistant Alex Jensen. The team has received permission to speak with Denver assistants Jordi Fernandez and Wes Unseld Jr. as well as Portland assistants David Vanterpool and Nate Tibbets.But with the Nuggets and Trail Blazers tied 2-2 in their Western Conference semifinal, it’s unlikely the Cavs will speak to any of those candidates until after their teams have been eliminated.ADVERTISEMENT View comments DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hostinglast_img read more

9 months agoSheffield Utd boss Wilder early Huddersfield contender

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Sheffield Utd boss Wilder early Huddersfield contenderby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSheffield United boss Chris Wilder is an early contender for the manager’s job at Huddersfield Town.David Wagner left the post by mutual consent on Monday night.The Daily Mail says Under-23s coach Mark Hudson will take charge for Sunday’s clash with Manchester City but is not expected to be offered the role full-time. Chief executive Julian Winter is known to be a fan of Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder but no approach has yet been made. Sam Allardyce, who played for Huddersfield, is not understood to be considering an application.While they acknowledge that the situation is grave, officials at the club retain an element of belief that they can stay in the Premier League and will be looking for a candidate who shares that view. last_img read more

a month agoReal Madrid president Florentino not thinking about Mourinho – yet

first_imgReal Madrid president Florentino not thinking about Mourinho – yetby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid president Florentino Perez retains confidence in coach Zinedine Zidane.Despite last night’s Champions League humbling at PSG and an indifferent start to the season, Zidane can still count on the support of Florentino.Mundo Deportivo says, however, that will change if results don’t go their way against Sevilla and Atletico Madrid in their upcoming games.With Jose Mourinho still a free agent, a readymade replacement is available to Florentino.However, for the moment, there is no discussion inside the club to bring back the Portuguese. TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

More than 10 stray dogs killed in Gurugrams posh area

first_imgGurugram: A NGO working for animal rights has alleged that more than 10 stray dogs were murdered brutally in Gurugram’s posh residential area of Uppal South End. It claims that the merciless killing took place for two consecutive days on April 1 and April 2 where people were brazen enough to commit this act of crime in broad daylight.According to the activists, old stray dogs were specifically targetted by the rogue elements who killed them by beating them with rods. The carcasses were then put in a sack and dumped in the vacant areas. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”Recently on April 1 and 2 some goons were in the society during broad daylight beating dogs they managed to catch with rods and sticks. Some of this has been caught in CCTV and some has been witnessed by some children and guards. In fact, it was some children who first informed about this to the animal lovers,” said Smita, the official from the NGO which is pursuing the case “We believe that both RWA and security agency are to blame or are the mastermind for this as there is no way goons with weapons would come into the society 2 days in a row in broad daylight unless they were authorised,” she further added. A police complaint was filed by RWA on April 3 and the law enforcement officials have begun the investigations. This is not for the first time in Gurugram when stray dogs have been targeted by the people. In May 2018, five puppies were stoned to death in DLF City E Block colony, another posh locality in the city.last_img read more

Jimmy Vaccaro Isnt Excited About The Super Bowl

On Jan. 26, 1986, the Chicago Bears beat the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX. That year, the fearsome ’85 Bears had become “more than just a really good football team,” Chicago native Chuck Esposito, the race and sports book director at Sunset Station casino, told me. They had iconoclastic quarterback Jim McMahon, Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, and the best defense in NFL history. “The Super Bowl Shuffle,” the novelty record they cut, even peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard chart.7Amazingly, the song was nominated for a Grammy.At the time, Vaccaro was running the sports book at the MGM. His rise was swift. He’d cut his gambling teeth as a kid in his 1.4-square-mile hometown of Trafford, Pennsylvania, and in Youngstown, Ohio, where he attended but never finished college. He spent his young adult life playing cards, shooting dice and backing pool players. “Betting was in his veins,” Sonny said of his brother.In 1964, at 18, Vaccaro went to Vegas for the first time. He said he spent the next 10 years “coming back and forth. Going broke, going home, going broke, going home … ” He didn’t officially move to the city until 1975, when casino magnate Michael Gaughan gave him a job as a blackjack dealer at the Royal Inn. Soon Vaccaro was helping Gaughan open the hotel’s race and sports book. When Gaughan opened the Barbary Coast Hotel and Casino in 1979, Vaccaro was tabbed to run the new establishment’s sports book. Six years later, Vaccaro left for the MGM.Even then, bookmaking had not yet become the creative enterprise that it is today. Prop bets existed, but they were rare. In his 2013 article about the now ubiquitous medium, SB Nation writer David McIntire relays a story about the time in 1980 when the late bookmaker Sonny Reizner put up odds on who shot J.R. Ewing during the season finale of “Dallas.”8Cowboys coach Tom Landry was also a suspect. The odds on him were 500-1.“The person who pulled the trigger turned out to be the sister of J.R.’s wife,” Reizner, who died in 2002, later told the Los Angeles Times, “and she was my 7-to-2 fourth choice in the odds.”The Nevada Gaming Control Board forced Reizner’s Hole-in-the-Wall Sportsbook to take the bet off the board — it reportedly ruled that the show’s creators had already determined the shooter and might leak his or her identity — but the stunt drew plenty of media attention.It’s unclear whether the “Who shot J.R.?” prop influenced the Vegas bookmakers, but by the 1980s, they’d begun to look for ways to grow their business by piquing the interest of the general public. Vaccaro said that in January 1986, several of his colleagues gathered for lunch and discussed the possibility of creating a wager that might do just that. They wondered: “What if we put odds on whether William ‘The Refrigerator’ Perry would score a touchdown in the Super Bowl?” During the regular season, the gargantuan Bears defensive tackle had three TDs, all on plays where he’d line up as a fullback. Still, with Payton in Chicago’s backfield, there was no way The Fridge would get the ball in the Super Bowl.The Fridge prop is often credited to Vaccaro, but in hindsight he thinks fellow bookmaker Art Manteris of Caesars Palace was the first to offer his customers the odds on Perry scoring. (“If I had to make a bet,” Vaccaro said, “I’d say it was Art.”) At the MGM, Vaccaro opened it at 75-1, but so much money poured in that the line moved to 5-1. “Who the fuck would’ve thought a defensive lineman would score a touchdown?” Vaccaro said with a smile. Sure enough, with the Bears on the 1-yard line late in the third quarter, McMahon handed off the ball to Perry, who barreled into the end zone.“I think we won overall on the game but we lost a quarter-million on that prop,” Manteris later told the Associated Press. “I sold it to the people upstairs by saying we got a million dollars in PR out of it.”Vaccaro said the MGM lost $40,000 on the Fridge prop. At the end of the night, Vaccaro didn’t curse out The Fridge or celebrate the publicity. “I’m a passive person,” he said. He climbed into his Jaguar, drove 6 miles on Interstate 15 to his house, ate a tuna-salad sandwich and went to sleep.But after the Super Bowl, reporters started calling. “It was the best money we ever spent,” Vaccaro said. After all, he adds, “We’re talking about it today.” This week, Vaccaro and the rest of Las Vegas’s bookmakers will turn their attention to Super Bowl XLIX. “The money that comes in on the Super Bowl is dominated by the betting public,” Kornegay said. “Not the sharps, not the so-called wise guys or professionals. It’s the public’s money.”And the public is spending more than ever. Last February, gamblers at Nevada casinos bet a record $119.4 million on one of the most lopsided title games in NFL history. Note that that figure doesn’t include the absurd amounts of cash bet via online sports books, office pools and your friendly neighborhood bookie.A chunk of that will be wagered on things that go beyond the outcome of the game. These are called proposition bets, and they’re everywhere. No place in Vegas offers more than the Westgate SuperBook, where you can bet on, for example, whether Russell Wilson’s first pass will be complete (-170) or incomplete (+150), or whether Tiger Woods’s fourth-round score at the Waste Management Phoenix Open (-5.5/-110) or Patriots receiver Julian Edelman’s number of receiving yards4The casinos stick to props decided on the field of play, but if you peruse some online betting sites, you’ll find things like: “How many times will ‘deflated balls’ be said during the game?” and “Will Marshawn Lynch be fined for actions on media day?” (+5.5/-110) will be higher.Oddsmakers don’t haphazardly toss these wagers up on the board; they try to approach them empirically. When Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports for MGM, recently tried to determine the over/under on Tom Brady’s total yards in the Super Bowl, he pored over the Patriots quarterback’s statistics in the regular season and the playoffs; considered the quality of New England’s opponents; applied his personal formula that he uses for yardage props to the data; and came up with 278.5.5Every sports book comes up with its own odds. But bookmakers aren’t automatons. There’s always a little psychology involved. Because “the public thinks Seattle is a defensive team and New England is an offensive team,” Rood said, he knows he can project “most of the Patriots statistics a little higher than the math says, and vice versa.”And though he’s equipped with ample information and institutional memory, Rood calls Super Bowl prop-making “exhausting.” Why? Because the sharps have caught on. And if the line on a prop isn’t made with care, they’ll pounce. “They no longer think they’re a gimmick,” Rood told Sports Business Daily. “They think it’s a massive opportunity to try and cart money out of the casino.”Devising multi-sport props is even trickier. Take the Woods/Edelman example. For it to work, the golfer’s typical single-round score must be in the same numerical range as the receiver’s typical single-game receiving yards total. Two incongruous options could create liability for the casino. As props become more esoteric, they get riskier.“You try to keep putting up more and more and more,” said Johnny Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas, “but sometimes you go so far out of the box, you put yourself in a situation where there’s a prop that’s advantageous to the player.”The mundane props can also burn a book. In Super Bowl XLVIII last year, Seattle opened the scoring with a safety. The odds in Vegas of a safety occurring at all were about 8-1; the odds of a safety being the first points of the game were 50-1. “We lost $62,000 12 seconds into the game,” Vaccaro told Bloomberg News. “A sizable scream went out when it occurred.”6It was the third straight Super Bowl in which a safety occurred.For bettors, the allure of prop bets is simple. Even if the odds are lousy, it gives them the ability to plunk down a little money to have the chance to win a lot of money. “The public really enjoys low risk, high reward,” Kornegay said. “It doesn’t matter what it is. You know what? You can say, ‘Will Elvis come down on the field and do the coin flip?’ One-to-one odds. It’s a good bet.”Vaccaro helped start the prop bet revolution with something nearly as ridiculous as that. Jimmy Vaccaro, the dean of Las Vegas bookmakers, leaned back in his chair and kicked his black loafers up onto his desk, revealing the tube socks stretching between his shoes and his dad jeans. The NFC championship game was on his flat-screen television, and outside his office at South Point Casino there was a crowd filling a sports book the size of a state school lecture hall. Grown men in Packers and Seahawks gear,1In addition to Seahawks, Packers, Colts and Patriots gear, I saw a Joe Montana jersey, a J.J. Watt jersey and a Ben Roethlisberger jersey. My favorite fashion choice, however, was what appeared to be an authentic circa 1994 Stan Humphries Chargers jersey that went down to a scruffy dude’s knees. many of whom had money on the action, were screaming at stadium-grade video boards and sucking down Bud Lights. Vaccaro, on the other hand, was sipping Pepsi through a straw.“You wouldn’t know who I’m rooting for,” he said. His ability to stay calm during a major sporting event is a point of pride. “Once it starts, I can’t control it.” This Sunday, millions of people will realize the same thing. Betting on the Super Bowl has become, according to some estimates, a multibillion dollar affair, infiltrating the culture to the point where offshore gambling sites are offering odds on things like what color Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach.The guy who helped it go mainstream — the one who was in the room when Super Bowl betting went from niche to zeitgeist — is Jimmy Vaccaro, the kid from tiny Trafford, Pennsylvania, who made good in Vegas.Since moving here permanently in 1975 — “40 freakin’ years” — Vaccaro has run more than a half-dozen race and sports books. “He was spearheading the movement,” said Jay Kornegay, vice president of the 30,000-square-foot2The Westgate Las Vegas, which everyone still calls the LVH (depending how old you are, it’s short for the Las Vegas Hotel or the Las Vegas Hilton), claims it has largest sports book in the world. Westgate SuperBook.Vaccaro doesn’t drink, smoke or go to strip clubs. He even refuses to dress up, keeping an overstuffed cardboard box full of his signature all-white sweatshirts near his desk. Only New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick owns more hoodies. Vaccaro still makes calls on a flip phone, can count the number of visits he’s made to the East Coast over the past four decades on one hand, and is twice divorced. “I’m married to this,” he said.Vaccaro is the guy who helped destigmatize sports betting. He did it not only by being an expert linesmaker (which he is), but also by being a levelheaded booster of a supposedly illicit activity. When the media needed a no B.S. kind of guy to talk about the odds on a big game or a big fight, we called Jimmy Vaccaro.3For a live special called “Springfield’s Most Wanted”, “The Simpsons” asked Vaccaro to tape a segment touting fictional odds on who shot Mr. Burns. He agreed to do it, although he’d never seen the show. We still call Jimmy Vaccaro. And he’s here, 40 freakin’ years in, at an off-the-strip resort, still plying his trade.“Who’s the most famous bookmaker of all time? Jimmy ‘The Greek.’ ” said his older brother Sonny Vaccaro, the former sneaker company executive who signed Michael Jordan to his first Nike deal. “What did [the Greek] do? He publicized himself every time he took a shit. He craved publicity. My brother is the anti-showman.” By the time Vaccaro began running the sports book at the newly opened Mirage in 1989, prop betting hadn’t exactly taken off. But it had become more common. Leading up to Super Bowl XXIV in January 1990, a guest at the Mirage bet $5,000 on 4-1 odds that an extra point would be missed. After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana hit tight end Brent Jones for a 7-yard touchdown in the first quarter, kicker Mike Cofer’s ensuing attempt was no good. The unidentified man collected $27,000, prompting Vaccaro to tell the San Francisco Chronicle that “it gave him more money to bet with us on the halftime line.”A string of blowouts — NFC teams won 13 straight Super Bowls beginning in January 1985 — forced the bookmakers to get creative. “It really took off in ’95, when the 49ers and Chargers met in the Super Bowl and it was a 19.5-, 20-point spread,” Kornegay said of a game that San Francisco won 49-26. “So we were just trying to devise propositions to keep everybody interested in the game by the time the second half rolled around.”Over the past 20 years, prop betting has gone mainstream. So has betting on sports in general. Is there anyone left who doesn’t fill out an NCAA tournament bracket? “Everyone in America likes to bet sports,” Nick Bogdanovich said. “It’s not like the old days when people painted it as a bad thing. Look, now all these college-educated kids want to work on formulas and crunch stats and algorithms.”On the day after the NFL conference championship games, Jimmy showed me his sports book’s intricate digital database. Employees can monitor global betting lines, check exactly how much has been wagered on specific events, and even access what Vaccaro calls the “What if?” screen. “Right now you could punch in, ‘Patriots 35-10,’ ” he said, “and it tells you exactly what we’re gonna win or lose.”Running a sports book is different than it was in 1975. “There’s no guessing anymore, which makes it so much easier,” Vaccaro said. “You know where you’re at on everything. It’s not hard. It isn’t like the old days when we were hand-writing everything.” More information is at his disposal, but his philosophy toward how he sets the line remains the same. “It’s a general feeling that it’s the right number.”That’s why, 40 freakin’ years in, his temperament hasn’t changed. He’s never too high, and he’s never too low. On Super Bowl Sunday, he’ll be in his office with his feet up on his desk, drinking a Pepsi and watching the action unfold. He’ll probably be rooting for someone, but don’t expect him to wear his emotions on the sleeve of his white hoodie.“I understand what it’s like to make a relatively big score, and I know even better what it’s like to get your ass kicked and broke and go through bad times,” Vaccaro said. “I’ve never gotten crazy with either one.” read more

Why People Bet on the Favorite Even When the Spread Favors the

Everybody likes to cheer for the underdog, but hardly anyone bets on the underdog to win. We tend to put our money on the favorite most of the time. In fact, we bet on the favorite far more frequently than we should. To understand why, you have to understand some of the basic functions and malfunctions of human decision-making.Filling out a winning March Madness bracket is difficult, but the process itself is simple. All you have to do is pick a winner for each game in your bracket. Most of the time, sports betting is more complicated than that. It’s easy enough to pick the favorite to win, but what if we were to say the favorite has to win by at least eight points? And what if that eight-point spread were carefully crafted to make the game a toss-up — who would you pick then? This is the type of decision sports bettors have to make all the time.In 2004, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt identified the fact that point spreads aren’t set like typical market prices, by equating relative levels of supply and demand. Instead, bookmakers set the margin to make the chance of the favorite covering the spread to be roughly 50 percent. Levitt speculated that bookmakers substantially improve their profits by biasing the spread very slightly against the favorite. This approach is profitable for bookmakers in part because, despite facing virtually even odds, people are much more likely to bet on the favorite than the underdog.The question that Levitt’s research left unaddressed is why people show such a strong bias towards favorites. As digital editor of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, I come across many studies, and I found a compelling answer to this question in the research of Joseph Simmons, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Leif Nelson, associate professor at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Simmons and Nelson say that people’s confidence in their own intuitions — regardless of whether that confidence is justified — guides their decision-making.“When people decide how to bet on a game, first they identify who is going to win,” Nelson said. That decision is often fast and easy, particularly when teams are not evenly matched. “The faster and easier it is, the less concerned they are with correcting that intuition when answering the more difficult question of whether the favorite is going to beat the point spread.”For all but the most experienced bettor, determining whether the favorite will beat the spread is incredibly challenging. Keeping in mind that the spread is carefully calibrated to make the choice a virtual coin flip, people simply don’t have much to go on besides their intuition. And because their intuition strongly suggests that the favorite will win, in the absence of information to the contrary it also tells them that the favorite will beat the spread. In a game between two fairly evenly matched teams, people’s feelings of confidence in the favorite to win are diminished, and they’re much less likely to pick the favorite to cover the spread.Simmons and Nelson analyzed betting data on 1,008 regular season NFL games on Sportsbook.com from 2009 to 2012. They found the average share of money bet on the favorite was 65 percent. This confirmed their initial study in which they tracked data from thousands of predictions of 850 professional and college football games on Yahoo.com for the 2003 and 2004 seasons. There Simmons and Nelson found, just as Levitt did, that even though favorites were about 50 percent likely to beat the spread (413 favorites beat the spread, 415 did not, and 22 were ties), people bet on the favorite more than two-thirds of the time. In fact, the more people believed a certain team would win, the more likely they were to also choose that team to beat the spread. Put another way, the confidence bettors felt in picking the winner translated into an unrelated belief that the winner would beat the spread.Simmons and Nelson also ran a series of studies in a controlled laboratory setting. They made sure that people knew exactly what it meant to bet the spread. In addition to asking people who they thought would win the game and how confident they were in their choice, the researchers asked them to estimate the margin of victory. Remarkably, people continued to overwhelmingly bet that the favorite would cover the same spread they had just personally estimated. And, once again, the more confident people felt that a team would win, the more likely they were to bet that the team would beat the spread.Astute gamblers may have noticed that although the bias towards favorites is a persistent one, it doesn’t appear to cost people very much. If the point spread is calibrated to give favorites a 50 percent chance of beating it, then even if people bet on the favorite every time, they should win half their bets, just as they would if they always bet on the underdog or chose at random. In another paper, however, Simmons and Nelson, along with Jeff Galak of Carnegie Mellon University and Shane Frederick of Yale University, found that favoritism towards favorites persists even when the playing field is tilted in favor of the underdog. People continued to show a bias toward picking favorites to cover the spread even when points were added to the spread dropping the favorites’ odds below 50 percent. Even explicitly telling people that the spread was artificially inflated didn’t stop them from making the costly error.Luckily, as you scramble to fill out your March Madness bracket, you don’t have to pick against spreads. You just have to pick who will win each game, something your intuition is pretty good at doing. So, in this case, go right ahead: Follow your gut and pick the favorites. read more

Ohio State mens basketball announces nonconference schedule

Nov. 14NC Central Nov. 25Marshall Dec. 22UNC-Asheville Dec. 20Youngstown State Nov. 21Western Carolina OSU guard JaQuan Lyle (13) leads the offense in the Big Ten tournament against Penn State on March 10 in Indianapolis.Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe Ohio State men’s basketball team has been criticized in recent years for not scheduling high-major opponents in the nonconference season. Since the 2013-14 season when OSU did not play one ranked team until conference play, coach Thad Matta and the Buckeyes have shared the court with Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia, UCONN, Memphis and Kentucky. Only one of those games (Virginia) was played in Columbus.On Tuesday, OSU announced its 2016-17 nonconference schedule, which features two familiar high-major opponents, and two other prominent programs — at Virginia, versus UConn, versus Providence and in Las Vegas against UCLA.Providence will travel to Columbus for the first time in school history when the Friars and Buckeyes meet on Nov. 17, as a part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games between Big Ten and Big East schools. This is the first meeting between the two schools since the 1990 NCAA Tournament. The Friars lost their two leading scorers from last season to the NBA: guard Kris Dunn and forward Ben Bentil.Matta’s team lost last year at home to then-No. 6 Virginia 64-58 in a closely contested game, and OSU also suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the UConn Huskies in Storrs, Connecticut, 75-55. Matta and company has its chance at revenge next season.On Nov. 30, OSU will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia, to face coach Tony Bennett’s Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Virginia lost its two best players in ACC player of the year and defensive player of the year Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill. However, three-point mastermind Logan Perentes returns with Memphis’ former leading scorer Austin Nichols, who is now eligible after sitting out a year because of the NCAA transfer rule, and four recruits in ESPN’s top 100 for 2016. OSU hosts UConn on Dec. 10 at the Schottenstein Center, completing its home-and-home series with the Huskies. Coach Kevin Ollie’s team loses three of its top four scorers but owns the ninth-ranked 2016 recruiting class, according to ESPN.In the final year of the CBS Sports Classic, OSU tips off against UCLA on Dec. 17 in Las Vegas. UCLA owns the sixth-ranked 2016 recruiting class, according to ESPN, and the Bruins return four starters.Each pivotal nonconference opponent has a roster that will undergo some change whereas the Buckeyes return its six leading scorers from last season.A young OSU team in 2015-16 couldn’t capitalize on teams inside the RPI top 50. The Buckeyes were just 2-10 in those games, including 1-8 versus the RPI top 25.Despite a poor resume, a nonconference win in Brooklyn, New York, versus then-No. 4 Kentucky held OSU’s NCAA Tournament hopes from the unfathomable. In 2016-17, a strong nonconference showing could be the Buckeyes’ best friend come next March. Nov. 17Providence Nov. 11@ Navy Dec. 3Fairleigh Dickinson Dec. 17vs. UCLA (Las Vegas) Nov. 30@ Virginia Dec. 6Florida Atlantic Dec. 10Connecticut Nov. 23Jackson State read more