Study links malaria to deforestation in the Amazon

first_imgDeforestation, Diseases, Environment, Forests, Habitat Degradation, Infectious Wildlife Disease, Insects, Invertebrates, Logging, Malaria, Mosquitoes, Rainforests, Research, Trees, Tropical Forests, Zoonotic Diseases Article published by Morgan Erickson-Davis Citation:Chaves, L. S. M., Conn, J. E., López, R. V. M., & Sallum, M. A. M. (2018). Abundance of impacted forest patches less than 5 km 2 is a key driver of the incidence of malaria in Amazonian Brazil. Scientific reports, 8(1), 7077.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. A study published recently adds evidence to the argument that deforestation aids the spread of malaria.Researchers compared deforestation patterns to malaria rates in nine states in the Brazilian Amazon. They found that places with the highest incidences of malaria were impacted forest patches between 0.1 and 5 square kilometers in size.The researchers write that these forest patches contain the shaded, watery, forest-edge habitat preferred by the mosquitos that transmit malaria.To keep malaria from becoming an even bigger threat, the authors call for better monitoring of mosquito populations, land planning, and income generation schemes for forest-dwelling communities. Scientists have long suspected a relationship between deforestation and some infectious diseases. For instance, the 2014 Ebola crisis has been linked to logging that may have put workers and their families in close contact with infected bats.For malaria – one of the leading causes of death in tropical regions – there has been some evidence that the mosquitos that transmit it (called “vectors”) breed more readily in places where forest has been cleared. Now, a study published recently in Nature’s open-access journal Scientific Reports, adds to the hypothesis that deforestation aids the spread of malaria in the Amazon.For their study, researchers at institutions in Brazil and the U.S. attempted to find patterns between deforestation and malaria infection in nine states in the Brazilian Amazon. They looked at patches of rainforest that had been deforested or degraded (collectively termed “impacted” in the study), breaking them down into different size categories. They then compared these deforestation patches to local rates of malaria infection recorded between 2009 and 2015.Charcoal is produced by slowly burning wood to remove its water content. The study states: “According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)19, the inclusion of forestry products in the commercial exploitation of natural resources in 2015 represented an increase of approximately USD$ 1.5 billion in the gross value of Brazilian commodities. Commercial forest products included approximately 26 million tons of firewood, 12 million tons of logs and 331 thousand tons of wood charcoal.” Photo courtesy of Leonardo Suveges Moreira ChavesWhat they discovered surprised them – the places with the highest incidences of malaria were impacted forest patches comprising between 0.1 and 5 square kilometers, which were the mid-range of the patch sizes they looked at in their study. In other words, these medium-size deforested patches seem to be the sweet spot where forest extraction activities correlate to more malaria infections.The researchers think this may have something to do with habitat preferences of larval Nyssorhynchus darlingi mosquitoes, which are the primary malaria vectors in the regions they studied. They write that these mosquitos prefer laying their eggs in water at forest edges, but that they also need partial shade. A hallmark of deforestation is that it fragments a forest landscape, effectively creating more forest edges. And more forest edges mean more places for mosquitoes to breed.The researchers didn’t find statistically significant correlations between small areas (less than 0.1 square kilometers) of deforestation and malaria incidence, which they say is because there wasn’t enough human presence to aid mosquito reproduction.“Likely in this condition, vector proliferation, presence of a small human population and small number of domestic animals that could represent additional source of blood for mosquitoes, are not stable and in sufficient number to sustain a large [mosquito] population and malaria transmission,” lead author Leonardo Suveges Moreira Chaves told Mongabay. Chaves works in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Sao Paulo.The authors also write that forest fragmentation may help malaria-carrying mosquitoes spread to other areas after they metamorphose into adults.“Furthermore, the new landscape delineated by the pattern of deforestation and soil occupation may favor dispersal of Ny. darlingi by creating forested areas interspaced by deforested areas, which are linked by forest corridors along [small streams] and shaded dirt roads,” the researchers write.Logged rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon. Deforestation creates more forest edges, which are favorite breeding grounds for the mosquitos that transmit malaria. Photo courtesy of Leonardo Suveges Moreira ChavesAnother pattern the study uncovered, which affirms findings from previous studies, is that the number of malaria cases in the Amazon tended to shoot up in the dry season. The dry season also is when most logging takes places because, according to the researchers, rain makes it more difficult to access and work in forested areas.“The driest months were associated with the largest deforested and impacted areas and the greatest numbers of malaria cases,” the researchers write.In addition to helping create optimal nurseries for mosquito larvae, the researchers write that the act of deforestation can also introduce malaria to new places as loggers travel from one forest to another.“It is not uncommon that the first forest invaders are carriers of [malaria] because of previous [exposure] in other areas where transmission is endemic,” Chaves said.As malaria rates continue to rise in the Brazilian Amazon, Chaves and his colleagues write that measures must be taken to combat the disease and keep it from reaching “unsustainable levels.” They recommend enhanced monitoring and controlling of mosquito populations, improvement of land use planning, and better income generation for forest-dwelling communities so they don’t need to rely on logging to survive.If this isn’t done, Chaves says there will continue to be a “vicious cycle of deforestation, degradation, vector proliferation, extreme poverty and malaria as well as other vector-borne infectious diseases.” Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Grant Thornton LLP Improves Efficiency and Service with Laptop Refresh and Intel® Core™ i5 vPro™ Processor and Solid State Drives

first_imgDownload nowAs a leading firm of accounting, tax, and advisory professionals, Grant Thornton LLP looks to equip its employees with the tools to improve productivity and to continue delivering award-winning customer service. Nearly all employees use laptop computers, and they get a new one every two years. The latest refresh, with Intel® Core™ i5 vPro™ processors, Intel® Solid State Drives (Intel® SSDs), and Microsoft Windows* 7, provides “drastically better” performance and productivity and will generate significant cost savings according to Kirk Halliday, manager of Grant Thornton LLP’s Enterprise Systems Management Group.“The better the technology is, the better the applications run, the happier people are with their jobs, the more productive they are, and the more likely they are to stay around,” says Halliday. “Our two-year lease cycle saves us money, and we think it also contributes to employee retention.”You can learn more in our new Grant Thornton business success story. As always, you can find this one, and many others, in the Intel.com Reference Room and IT Center.*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.last_img read more

Raina backs captain Dhoni after Kohli questions leadership

first_imgMS Dhoni has come under fire after losing the ODI series to Bangladesh, but team-mate Suresh Raina has come in support of his skipper and said that one series loss doesn’t make him a bad captain.Dhoni’s captaincy came under lot of scrutiny after India lost the first two one-dayers but denied Bangladesh a whitewash by winning the third ODI by 77 runs on Wednesday.”You can’t disrespect Dhoni and one series loss won’t make him a bad captain. He is mentally very strong, plays with a positive mind and knows his game,” Raina said during the post-match press conference.”He is a good man, a good human being and a great captain,” Raina added.Dhoni’s knock of 69 played a crucial role of building the platform for India to put up 317 on the board.”Dhoni’s knock has given the team confidence as he took the responsibility and set the tone for us,” Raina said.There have been reports of a rift in the dressing room involving Dhoni, but Raina dismissed all this rumours.”Dhoni is very comfortable in the team. He is leading well and is very happy. Moreover, he needs to be credited for the way he has handled the team over the last season,” Raina said.last_img read more

Barrick share down as company swings to loss forecasts higher costs

first_imgTORONTO – Barrick Gold Corp. closed down Thursday as the company swung to a net loss in the last quarter and upped its expected costs going forward.The miner, which reports in US dollars, said its net loss was $314 million or 27 cents per share, compared with earnings of $425 million or 36 cents per share last year.The loss was largely due to a $916 million impairment charge on its long-lived assets, stemming both from a major tax and export dispute between its 64-per-cent owned Acacia Mining and the Tanzanian government, and the partial writedown of its Pascua Lama project after the Chilean government ordered it to close all surface facilities.Barrick said its all-in cash cost per ounce is expected to be between $750 to $875 per ounce for 2018 and $750 to $875 per ounce between 2019 and 2022.The 2018 guidance is an increase from the $710 to $770 per ounce the company expected a year ago, and well off the $700 per ounce target it had set for itself in 2016.The company said the higher cost guidance for the year ahead is mostly related to lower anticipated gold production from its Nevada operations, Pueblo Viejo and Veladero mines, increased processing of higher-cost inventory, and higher costs at Acacia, its Tanzanian operation.“We made significant strides towards driving costs out of our business. However, not sufficient to offset the change in production profile,” said chief operating officer Richard Williams on a conference call.The long-term costs are also going up as the company invests in mine modernization, including with mine site exploration to add reserve ounces.“We are making deliberate decisions to invest in our assets. … This has meant we’ve had to adjust our expectations around costs in the near term.”The company said adjusted net earnings came in at $253 million, or 22 cents per share, higher than average analyst expectations of $221.8 million or 21 cents per share.Barrick’s share price closed down about three per cent at $16.62 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Companies in this story: (TSX:ABX)last_img read more

Provincial government provides funds to northwestern municipalities seeking revenuesharing agreement

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. — Premier John Horgan’s officer says the provincial government will be providing funding for a group of municipalities looking to get its own version of the Peace River Agreement signed with the Province.Premier Horgan said that the government will provide $300,000 to the Northwest B.C. Resource Benefits Alliance in support of its communities’ continued efforts to strengthen economic development in the region. “We believe that people should benefit from the prosperity generated by their hard work, and the resources of the regions where they live. I applaud the efforts of the RBA to strengthen their local economies,” said Horgan. “We are committed to working with Northwest communities as they work to help stabilize their economy over the long term.”  The Resource Benefits Alliance, representing 21 local governments from Vanderhoof to Masset, was formed in 2014 to advocate for the infrastructure needs of their communities. During the provincial election last year, Horgan stated that the NDP would negotiate with the RBA in September of 2017 if it were to form government. Then-Premier Christy Clark declined to make a similar commitment, saying at a separate campaign event that the Province had been providing the region with funding through the rural dividend fund. “Building a strong, sustainable, innovative economy is a priority for this government,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This funding is expected to help the RBA build relationships with First Nations, labour, major project proponents, local business and the non-profit sector.” “The RBA shares the government’s vision of economic development that creates good local jobs and sustainable communities,” said RBA chair Bill Miller. “We thank the Premier and minister for recognizing that liveable, well-serviced communities are essential for economic development.”Leaders from the RBA met with Premier Horgan in late September last year, saying that negotiations had begun. On September 29th, the RBA said in a release that it hoped to reach a revenue-sharing agreement with the provincial government within six months.last_img read more

Coroners report says 12yearold drowned after foot was sucked into Rotary Lake

first_imgAn investigation into the girl’s death found several hazards at the man-made lake, including insufficient fencing, a lack of supervision, poor water clarity, inadequate safety and first aid equipment, and a single main drain that created a suction hazard.The provincial government granted the park an exemption in 1989 allowing it to operate like a beach after the City of Dawson Creek argued that it would be too expensive to operate it as a swimming pool. Last July, Northern Health recommended that the facility’s exemption from pool regulations be revoked because of the safety concerns. The City has said that changing the lake to a pool would cost $500,000 in upgrades and over $150,000 in annual operating costs.The girl is the second child to have died at the facility since 1989. In 1994, a five-year-old drowned after their parents lost contact with them for just five minutes. The murkiness of the water and overcrowding were said to have been factors in the child’s death.The full report can be found below. Coroner Adele Lambert's report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. Coroner Adele Lambert’s report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. Coroner Adele Lambert's report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. Coroner Adele Lambert’s report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. Coroner Adele Lambert's report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. Coroner Adele Lambert’s report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. Coroner Adele Lambert's report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. Coroner Adele Lambert’s report into the death of a 12-year-old girl at Rotary Lake. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The B.C. Coroner’s Service has released a report which found that the suction from a drain at the bottom of Dawson Creek’s Rotary Lake was what caused a 12-year-old girl to drown in the lake nearly two years ago.In her report, Coroner Adele Lambert said that the girl and her family were spending the day at the man-made lake on August 13, 2016. At around 5:30 that afternoon, Lambert said the girl was playing with other children in the water, and the group was able to remove the bolts that were holding a cover over the drainage pipe on the lake’s bottom. The removal of the bolts also caused the drain’s cover to be removed.Around 45 minutes later the girl, who has been identified by CBC News as Beverly Park, became trapped with her head under water when the drain’s strong suction pulled her leg into the pipe. A family member and a bystander tried to pull her out but were unable to until an attendant turned off the drain’s pump. The girl was airlifted to a hospital in Vancouver where she passed away three days later from significant brain injury due to a lack of oxygen.last_img read more

Randeep to play a cop in Bhansalis comicthriller

first_imgMumbai: Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next production will feature actor Randeep Hooda in the role of a cop. The film has been a described as a comic-thriller with a social message. “The film is a thriller comedy. It is a rom-com. It has a social message and deals with an issue, that is considered taboo in small town. “It has Randeep in the lead as a cop. He will be seen in a different avatar. It is not like Dabangg style cop. We are looking for the female lead,” sources close to the development said. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaThe film will mark the directorial debut of Balwinder Singh Janjua, the scribe of films such as Mubarakan, Firangi and yet-to-be-released Saand Ki Aankh – straring Bhumi and Taapsee in lead roles. It will be produced by Bhansali’s banner. The project will go on floors by September or October and is likely to release in the first quarter of next year. Bhansali is currently busy with his next directorial venture Inshallah, featuring Salman Khan and Alia Bhatt. Randeep will next star in Imtiaz Ali’s remake of Love Aaj Kal, featuring Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan in the lead.last_img read more

I Dont Care If I Ever Get Back — And I Might

These, again, are the results after controlling for attributes of the game. But those play a role, too. Each extra inning in a game makes it about 18 minutes longer. Each additional call to the bullpen adds a little over two minutes. Every additional plate appearance per inning tacks on nearly 21 minutes, and an increase of one pitch per plate appearance increases game time by half an hour.The more time passes, the more time passes: The length of games has grown 0.7 minutes on average each year since 2002, after controlling for other changes in the game. And all else equal, close games take a little longer: A minute more time for every run shaved off the final margin.All of these factors are highly statistically significant,5p <10^-15. which isn’t hard to accomplish with a data set this large.The pace stat is available, and reliable, going back only to 2008. So I also took a closer look at the games between 2008 and 2013. The overall trends, after running the same regression, were similar: The Yankees continued to rank No. 1 despite their speed-up toward the end of the period, adding 12.8 minutes per game relative to the fastest team in the period, fellow AL East team Toronto. The Red Sox ranked second, adding 11.8 minutes per game.These teams’ slow pace of play explained some, but not all, of the time their presence added to games. I added another variable to the regression: an estimate of how much time the two teams in the game were adding to it based on their average pace, at bat and on the mound, during the six-year period.6For each game in the data set, I took each team’s batting and pitching pace over the period. I divided each figure by the average pace during the period of 21.8 seconds between pitches. Then I multiplied each team’s number of pitches by its relative pitching pace and by the batting team’s batting pace. That’s roughly how much time elapsed between that team’s pitches during the game.To understand why, suppose one team’s pitching staff played 5 percent faster than average during the period, and its opponent’s batters played at an average pace. Then the time taken before pitches by this calculation is (1*0.95)*(number of pitches*average time taken between pitches), or 5 percent less than the average time. Then I subtracted from the result, the number of pitches multiplied by the average pace. The result is an estimate of how much time was added or taken away relative to average by the time before that team’s pitches.I did the same calculation for the opponent’s pitches, using its pitching pace and the first team’s batting pace. Then I added the totals. This gives a rough relative measure of how much the pace of the two teams involved in the game affected its length. Controlling for that, Boston was just three minutes faster than Toronto, which remained the fastest team. The Yankees added about six and a half minutes, which is a lot of dead time, but a lot less than 12.8 minutes.Major League Baseball has a rule to keep the game humming along: Official Rule 8.04, which gives the pitcher 12 seconds to pitch when no one’s on base. It’s rarely enforced — about 15 to 20 times in 2009.Without stricter enforcement, baseball might get slower. Any new innovation by one team that proves successful is copied by rivals — hence the growing price tag for on-base percentage. And the Yankees and Red Sox, the two slowest teams since 2002, are also by far the winningest teams in that era. The Dodgers and Angels, next in the rankings, both are in the top eight in wins. Slowing down the game from pitch to pitch, for whatever reason, is correlated with winning games.7The correlation coefficient for the 29 teams that have been in the same city since 2002 — excluding the Washington Nationals, né Expos — between wins and our regression output for time added to games is 0.55, a moderately strong positive relationship. Correlation isn’t causation, and there’s no particular reason slow play should equal good play. But Yankees fans might not want to take any chances: Their team, in its fastest-paced season of the last 13 years last year, had its lowest win total of the period. Major League Baseball is slowing down at the same time that its formerly slowest team is speeding up.The New York Yankees haven’t dominated the majors since 2002, winning just one world championship over that period. But they’ve dominated MLB rankings for length of game. From 2002 to 2012, the Yankees’ average length of game was in the top four of the 30 major league teams each season, including five league-leading performances. Yet lately they’ve gotten faster: The average Yankees game has been shorter each year than the year before since 2009, culminating in last year’s 15th-place showing of three hours and five minutes — just half a minute longer than the league-average figure.The slowest team in baseball is now — wait for it — the Boston Red Sox. New York’s archrivals have ranked in the top three in average game length each year since 2003. Last year, Boston’s fourth straight season as the slowest team in baseball, its average game took three hours and 15 minutes.Boston is part of a broader trend that the Yankees are defying: Baseball games are getting longer. Games averaged two hours and 56 minutes in 2011 and three hours flat in 2012. They tacked on four more minutes last year — even as runs per game fell, to 4.17 from 4.32 the year before. And games this year, with the advent of instant replay, have added another three and a half minutes on average, through Sunday.When the two slowest teams of the modern era meet, great baseball often results. Slow baseball almost always does. The three Yankees-Red Sox games last weekend each took over three hours — and each was faster than the average Boston-New York meeting since 2002.1The first game of their four-game series last week, on Thursday, took a brisk two hours and 55 minutes. Those games have averaged three hours and 23 minutes — 15 minutes longer than the next slowest matchup with at least 100 games during the period (Yankees-Angels).When staging such a great rivalry, former Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon asked in 2010, what’s the hurry? “Have you ever gone to watch a movie and thought, ‘Man, this movie is so good I wish it would have never ended’? That’s like a Red Sox-Yankees game. Why would you want it to end?”Many factors fundamental to baseball influence game length: Batters’ rate of getting on base safely, their plate discipline, and how long they take to round the bases after a home run. Boston’s David Ortiz regularly tops the leaderboard for longest tater trots, which contributes to the glacial pace of an average Red Sox game.Another influential factor has to do not with the action, but with the time in between plays. Pitchers stare down base runners or wave off signs from catchers. Batters step out of the box and adjust their helmets and other gear. The time between pitches is getting longer. We know because of a byproduct of the sophisticated PITCHf/x tracking system installed in every major league park that stamps a time on every pitch. FanGraphs turned those timestamps into a stat, called pace, measuring the time between two consecutive pitches in the same plate appearance.2Baseball Prospectus introduced its own version of the stat this week. It differs slightly from FanGraphs’, mainly because it omits pickoff attempts. Papelbon did his part to make Yankees-Red Sox games seem endless: He’s second, behind Rafael Betancourt, on FanGraphs’ pitching leaderboard for slowest pace of play since 2008.The pace is slowing. The average break between pitches was 21.6 seconds three years ago, 22.1 seconds two years ago and 22.6 seconds last year, according to FanGraphs. Taking into account the number of pitches per game, the slowing pace could account for five of the eight minutes tacked on to the average game between 2011 and 2013.Boston slows things down when at bat and on the mound. Last year, Red Sox batters ranked second in time between pitches, with 23.5 seconds. (The Yankees ranked first.) And Boston’s pitchers ranked seventh at 23.4 seconds between pitches. No individual player was particularly responsible for the Boston slowdown; only reliever Junichi Tazawa ranked high on the pitcher or batter leaderboard. It was a team effort.The reasons for lengthening game times have been a longstanding baseball preoccupation. “No one element accounts for the delay of game. Some developments, such as extended commercial breaks and the tendency to use more pitchers, are more obvious,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported — in 1991.Just how much does any one team, or any one attribute such as pace, affect game length? I ran a linear regression to check. ESPN Stats & Info provided detailed data on more than 29,000 regular-season games, between 2002 and this past Sunday. I checked how the teams involved contributed to game length, while controlling for year, number of innings, number of relievers used, runs per inning, plate appearances per inning, pitches per plate appearance and closeness of score.3Pitch data was available only back to 2002. As I wrote last week, closeness of score doesn’t have a big impact on raw time of game, but I included it to see if it does have an influence after controlling for other factors. (I didn’t control directly for other factors, such as the number of pickoff attempts or pinch-runners, or the big increase in defensive shifts in recent years.)The result: The Yankees added 13.9 minutes to the average game, relative to the fastest-paced team, the Oakland A’s. Runner-up Boston added 10.5 minutes.4These results apply whether the team was at home or away. Preliminary analysis suggested which team was at home made little difference to the results so they were treated the same, which doubled the sample size for each team. read more

The Pacers Got Manhandled on the Glass

Tuesday night did not go the way the Indiana Pacers had hoped. Seeking to close out the Washington Wizards in Indianapolis, the home team instead lost by 23 points in a game that was all but over before the fourth quarter began.The Pacers were outplayed in a number of areas, but nowhere more so than in the rebounding battle. The final tally was 62-23 in favor of the Wizards, making it the largest rebounding differential in the NBA playoffs going back to the 1985-86 season.There were two challenges for the Pacers on Tuesday night: They didn’t get themselves in position to grab rebounds, and they didn’t convert those opportunities when they had them.The Pacers rely heavily on their starting five, a reliable rebounding group for most of the season. Of the 21 lineups in the league that played at least 400 minutes together this season, the Pacers’ starters grabbed 51.7 percent of available rebounds — ninth best in the league. But the NBA’s SportVU Player Tracking data can give us a closer look at how well that unit usually rebounds and exactly how atrocious its performance was on the glass in Game 5.SportVU Player Tracking statistics include rebound chances, defined as any time a player was within 3.5 feet of a rebound (multiple players can meet that definition for a single shot). Rebound chances can be compared with actual rebounds to calculate a conversion percentage for each player. It’s important to remember those multiple opportunities here. Even if the Pacers grabbed every rebound, their conversion percentage might not be 100 percent because more than one teammate could have earned a rebound chance by being around the ball on a single shot.Here we can see the dramatic drop off in both rebound opportunities and conversions in Game 5. The Pacers starters put themselves in rebounding position far less often and lost far more of those individual rebounding battles than they usually do. Circling back to total rebound percentage, we find this group grabbed just 25 percent of the available rebounds in the 20 minutes they played together in Game 5.This performance can’t be pinned entirely on the Pacers; the Wizards were aggressive from the opening tip and deserve plenty of credit for forcing the Pacers into this kind of drab performance. Wizards center Marcin Gortat was a force, pulling in 16 rebounds on 24 rebound chances. But this kind of rebounding disparity requires effort (or the lack thereof) from both teams.It’s unlikely the Pacers will put up another rebounding performance this disastrous, but the damage may be done. By allowing themselves to be so thoroughly pushed around on the interior, they have given the Wizards new life. read more

Braxton Miller learning improving on the job for Ohio State

Redshirt senior H-back Braxton Miller (1) carries the ball during a game against Maryland on Oct. 10 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won 49-28. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorMost players at Ohio State spend the majority of their lives perfecting the crafts at the position they are counted on to play at the highest possible level every Saturday in the fall.Others are moved around upon arriving on campus, but receive a redshirt year or time in a reserve role before stepping into the spotlight.For redshirt senior Braxton Miller, none of the above applies.The starting quarterback for each of his first three years for OSU, a shoulder injury just before the 2014 campaign cost the two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year his senior season.Stellar play by quarterbacks Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett that year led the Buckeyes to a national championship, but it also cost him his opportunity to ever regain that spot.Rather than sit on the bench or transfer to another school — where he would be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer — to keep his career as a signal-caller alive, Miller opted to finish out his collegiate life in a role he had never done before: playing receiver. “He’s starting, he’s playing and he’s teaching,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “One of the things with Braxton I have talked, he’s got big-time goals and he should. He’s very blessed. He wants to play at the next level.”Miller was seemingly shot out of a cannon in OSU’s opening game at Virginia Tech on Sept. 7, piling up 140 total yards of offense and two touchdowns. But his next four games saw no repeat of that performance, as he only amassed a total of 123 yards and zero scores. Despite the lack of results, Miller said he was continuing to feel more and more productive each week.“Every practice and every game I get better at something,” Miller said. “It’s turning the mistake that you did the day before and just getting comfortable with what you’re doing.”And he certainly did look more comfortable in OSU’s more recent game against Maryland, catching five catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, including back-to-back grabs leading to his score.The 19-yard touchdown catch marked the first time Miller found the end zone at Ohio Stadium since Nov. 23, 2013. Miller said he considered the feeling a big moment of his journey.“It was about time,” he said. “It just felt good being involved in the offense, making plays for the guys, being electrifying for the fans, just getting back to my old self.”Miller said he considers himself a receiver at his core now with his quarterback days behind him. However, he has lined up under center in the wildcat formation at least once in each of OSU’s games this season, though so far he has only been called upon to run or catch.Still, the Huber Heights, Ohio, native hinted on Monday that a showcase of his healthy shoulder could be in the cards for sometime this season.“I can throw,” Miller said. “But my main focus is playing receiver and just focused on what I’ve got to focus on for my position right now.”Meyer said over the summer that it typically takes a player a year and a half to learn how to play receiver. On Monday, he said it has taken Miller only half a season.“As of right now, he’s fully integrated as a wide receiver at Ohio State,” Meyer said. “He was not early in the season. He didn’t know what to do.”Miller agreed with his coach, saying he feels like a natural receiver just midway through his first season at the position.“I’m ahead of schedule. I feel good, comfortable. I’m out there making plays, blocking, I just feel good,” he said.With the OSU offense struggling for downfield playmakers after season-ending injuries to receivers Noah Brown and Corey Smith and inconsistency from H-back Jalin Marshall, Miller could be a major cure for the much-scrutinized passing game.But how much does Miller miss being the one running the offense, rather than taking orders? Not much, he said, as long as he still gets opportunities to appear on the highlight reels.“It’s fun just making guys miss, catching the ball, making big plays.” read more