RFBowling-0.1Armas+0.3Barfield+0.7Hays+0.0 Baltimore’s place among the worst opening day lineupsAmong American League teams since 1973, the four worst opening day lineups according to the sum of players’ established wins above replacement (WAR) levels Only three teams in our sample — the 1977 and 1982 Toronto Blue Jays and the 1980 Oakland Athletics — had lower established WAR levels for their starting lineups on Opening Day than the Orioles will have this season. 1BAult+0.0Newman+0.7Upshaw-0.4Davis-1.0 PosPlayerWARPlayerWARPlayerWARPlayerWAR 1977 Blue Jays1980 Athletics1982 Blue Jays2019 Orioles CCerone-0.2Heath-0.3Whitt+0.4Sisco+0.1 2BGarcia-0.6Picciolo-0.8Garcia-0.2Villar+1.8 Established level is calculated as a weighted average of WAR from the previous three seasons.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs DHVelez+0.7Essian+1.6Mayberry+1.8Santander-0.2 SSTorres+0.3Guerrero-0.3Griffin-1.1Martin+0.0 One of those teams, the ’77 Jays, was an expansion club that won just 54 games. But the two others finished around .500, meaning there are limitations to predicting off a lineup’s previous MLB track records. Of course pitchers can come to the rescue, as they did for Toronto in 1982 (led by the underappreciated Dave Stieb). Also, young players can emerge in dramatic breakout fashion: Rickey Henderson had done little as a rookie for the 1979 A’s before erupting for 8.3 WAR in 1980, for instance.But it’s tough to find the next Stieb or Henderson waiting in the wings to save Baltimore this year. De facto staff ace Dylan Bundy had a 5.45 earned run average last season, while the top prospect in the Orioles system, outfielder Yusniel Diaz, is starting the year in the minors and probably won’t be a full-time contributor until 2020. Among those actually in this lineup on opening day, outfielders Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays and catcher Chance Cisco probably have the best breakout potential. In fact, FanGraphs currently projects Mullins for a team-best 1.8 WAR, thanks to a combination of power and speed that could make him one of the few Orioles worth watching this season.New Orioles general manager Mike Elias told BaltimoreBaseball.com earlier this month that he wants the rebuild to go quickly: “This team finished last last year with a bad record,” he said. “I want to get out of that phase as quickly as possible, and so every decision that we’re going to make is going to be towards accelerating our advancement to be a playoff-caliber team again. I see no reason to stretch that out, drag it out beyond what we have to.”For now, though, this Baltimore lineup looks like it will battle the Miami Marlins for the saddest collection of mediocre veterans and anonymous prospects in the game. In each case, you’ve probably never heard of half of these guys, and the ones you do know are way past their prime. (Or never had a prime.) We’ll just have to see if this ragtag group can rally together and win the pennant anyway — or more realistically, rally to avoid 115 losses this time around. Total-0.5+1.4+1.8+2.1 The 2018 Baltimore Orioles were so bad that we questioned whether they belonged in the major leagues at all. They were our runaway pick for worst pro team of the year, going far beyond the many wannabe Astros and Cubs who’ve jumped on the tanking fad in recent seasons.Amazingly, things might get even worse this year. Since the middle of last season, Baltimore has traded away established veterans Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach, and watched as others such as Tim Beckham, Caleb Joseph and Adam Jones departed in free agency as well. Now there are only three remaining members of the Orioles’ lineup with even two years of MLB service time heading into 2019: Jonathan Villar, Trey Mancini — both average players at best — and Chris Davis, who had arguably the worst individual season in MLB history in 2018 when he hit .168 (in 470 at-bats!) with a .539 on-base plus slugging and -2.9 wins above replacement (WAR).1According to our usual 50-50 blend between the WAR versions found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. Davis’ untradeable contract means the Orioles are stuck with him, so they’ll pencil his name in on opening day no matter how bad he was last season.And those are the guys in the starting lineup who can be remotely labeled as household names. The rest is filled out with either youngish players who are past “prospect” status or journeymen plucked off the scrap heap. Taken as a whole, the 2019 Orioles’ roster basically recalls this scene from “Major League”:(No word on whether Baltimore owner Peter Angelos secretly built this team of cast-offs so he can move the team to Miami.)There have been a few teams who went into a season with less apparent talent than Baltimore — but not many. Using Baseball-Reference.com, we gathered data for each American League team’s opening day lineup since 1973 (to include every team who used the designated hitter full-time) and calculated those players’ established WAR track records going into the season.2To find a player’s established level of performance, we multiplied his WAR from the previous season by three, doubled his WAR from two seasons before and added it on, then added his WAR from three seasons before, and divided by six. This is an old Bill James invention for roughly projecting how much you can expect out of a player (in any given stat) based on the previous three years of performance. The track records for these Orioles — to the extent they have track records at all — place the team at or near the low-water mark at each position relative to all other AL opening day starting lineups since 1973: 3BMcKay-0.5Klutts-0.1Mulliniks-0.3Nunez+0.9 LFScott+0.0Henderson-0.4Woods+0.6Mancini+0.6 CFWoods-0.1Murphy+0.7Moseby+0.5Mullins-0.1
Tags Share your voice Facebook has reportedly suspended three popular video pages designed to appeal to millennials after discovering the pages were backed by the Russian government. The pages, which Facebook suspended Friday, are run by Maffick Media, whose majority stakeholder is Ruptly, a subsidiary of Russia-backed RT, CNN reports. Facebook plans to contact the people running the pages and ask them to disclose their affiliations to get their pages back, CNN said. The move is unusual for Facebook, as it doesn’t require users to provide information about parent companies. But in an effort in increase transparency on the platform, Facebook has taken aggressive steps to identify covert government-supported information on its service. With more than 2 billion users worldwide, Facebook has been under pressure to reduce disinformation, hate speech and inauthentic behavior on the site. In 2017, the tech firm revealed it found evidence that Russians used the social network to meddle in the 2016 US presidential election and sow discord among Americans. Since then, Facebook has pulled down hundreds of accounts including some tied to influence campaigns by Iran. Facebook said that users shouldn’t be misled about who’s behind the pages they connect with. “Just as we’ve stepped up our enforcement of coordinated inauthentic behavior and financially motivated spam over the past year, we’ll continue improving so people can get more information about the Pages they follow,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “For example, we’re now rolling out in phases an update to Pages with large audiences to include information about the primary countries they’re managed from. “Since this feature isn’t live yet for all, we’ll be reaching out to admins of these Pages to ask that they disclose this additional information and their affiliation with their parent company to get back on the platform,” Facebook said Maffick Media denied breaking Facebook’s rules. “We did not violate any of Facebook’s policies whatsoever. None of our content promotes disinformation or fake news,” the company said in a statement to its website Sunday. Disinformation has long been a part of Russia’s foreign policy strategy, and social media has allowed the trolling effort to expand on a viral scale. US intelligence agencies have warned Congress that these campaigns will continue in the future. The pages, which focused on current events, history and the environment, collected more than 30 million views since September, CNN reported. Originally published at 1:25 p.m. PT Updated at 3:15 p.m. with Facebook statement. Facebook Comments Internet Tech Industry 2
Natore police superintendent Biplob Bijoy Talukder speaking with reporters after conducting a drive where four suspected activists of JMB surrendered to the law enforcers in Natore. Photo: Muktar HossainPolice in a drive arrested four suspected activists of banned militant outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) from Dighapatia, on the outskirts of Natore town, early Tuesday, reports news agency UNB.The arrestees are—Anisur Rahman Anis, a resident of Arkandi village in Singra upazila, Shafikul Islam and Fazlur Rahman, residents of Chapapukur village in Bagatipara upazila and Jakir Hossian, a resident of Kholabaria village in Naldanga upazila.Acting on a tip-off, a police team cordoned off a house adjacent to the Uttara Gonobhaban around 3:00am and started operation at the house from 5:30am and asked the insiders to surrender to the law enforcers after nine rounds of firing, claimed police.After one hour, the four suspected activists of JMB surrendered to the law enforcers.Police, later, recovered five hand bombs, petrol, a laptop, one motorcycle and books searching the house.Details will be come to light after interrogation of the arrestees and investigation, said Natore police superintendent Biplob Bijoy Talukder.
In this 1 July photo, police and firemen work at the site of a deadly suicide attack in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Photo: APIt’s too early to tell if training or other changes must be made in light of an insider attack in Afghanistan that killed one American soldier and wounded two others, because there’s some uncertainty about whether the assailant was a disgruntled Afghan soldier or an insurgent infiltrator, says a top officer of US army.Mark Milley, army chief of staff, said Friday that the three soldiers who were shot last weekend were protecting members of the new US advisory brigade that deployed to Afghanistan for the first time just five months ago. He said the Army is moving ahead with plans to create more of the training brigades and use them primarily in Afghanistan, although other locations could be considered in the future.According to officials, the attacker fired on the soldiers at the airfield on the base at Tarin Kowt, in southern Uruzgan Province, a hotbed of Taliban activity. He was taken into custody on the day of the attack on 7 July.It was the first death involving the advisory brigade, and the first insider attack in about a year. Joseph Maciel of South Gate, California, was shot by small arms fire and killed. The other two soldiers are in stable condition.In a message to the media last Saturday, Taliban spokesman Qari Yosuf Ahmadi said the shooting was carried out by a member of the Afghan security forces who acted alone, but the militant group “appreciated” his attack.The military, said Milley, is still trying to determine if the shooter was from the Taliban or another insurgency or just an angry Afghan soldier. Either way, he said, it doesn’t change the mission of the new advisory teams, working closely with their Afghan partners. Those jobs carry risk.”Those guys are out there, and they’re in exposed positons and it is a high-risk situation,” Milley said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. “So casualties are going to occur.”That’s a reminder of the challenges facing US forces in Afghanistan in the 17th year of America’s military involvement there. The Trump administration is trying to boost the capabilities of Afghan security forces and increase military pressure on the Taliban in the hope of forcing them to negotiate a peace.During a surge in the US military presence in Afghanistan under the Obama administration, when American forces had a greater combat role, there were dozens of so-called insider attacks.Despite additional precautionary steps since then, the threat has continued. Last June, there were two insider attacks – in which a soldier in an Afghan uniform turns his weapon on US or other coalition troops – within a two-week period, killing three US soldiers and wounding another seven.Speaking to reporters last month, Scott Jackson, commander of the new security force assistance brigade, acknowledged the possible threat of a friendly fire attack.”I will tell you honestly, we have had our Afghan partners come to us with intelligence that pre-empted potential attacks, and they have been proactively taking care of their own problems,” Jackson said during a 13 June briefing.Jackson said that when the assistance brigade arrived in Afghanistan, they began vetting the higher-level Afghan forces and steadily worked their way down to the smaller units. That vetting, said Jackson, goes on continually as soldiers rotate in and out of the units, and has not delayed operations.Just six months ago, Jackson was at Fort Benning, Georgia, pulling together the new training brigade, working to make real the vision of senior Army leaders.The idea was formed early last year, as officials recognized the need for permanent military training teams that could be deployed worldwide to help local forces learn how to fight better. The plan was a reflection of the new reality of America at war: Army soldiers advising and building indigenous security forces, not doing the fighting for them on foreign soil.Under the plan, the Army will build six brigades over the next several years. And Milley said Friday that the second brigade is currently doing pre-mission training to replace Jackson’s unit when it’s time for them to come home.
© 2013 Phys.org. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: Sander A. Mann and Erik C. Garnett. “Extreme Light Absorption in Thin Semiconductor Films Wrapped around Metal Nanowires.” Nano Letters. DOI: 10.1021/nl401179h The core-shell hybrid nanowire consists of a metal core wrapped with semiconductor thin films. Three different resonances excited at different wavelengths are shown. (b) The fraction of absorbed above-band gap photons in the silicon shell for a wide variety of configurations. Credit: Mann and Garnett. ©2013 American Chemical Society Now, somewhat counterintuitively, scientists have theoretically found that thin semiconductor films wrapped around metal nanowires have substantially better light absorption properties than solid semiconducting nanowires, despite the fact that they use less semiconducting material. At the same time, the metal core acts as a contact to efficiently extract charge carriers. By confronting the semiconductor thickness trade-off and offering exceptional performance, the nanostructures might become ideal building blocks for inexpensive photovoltaic and solar fuel applications.A paper on the new devices by Sander A. Mann and Erik C. Garnett at the Center for Nanophotonics at FOM Institute AMOLF in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, will be published in a future issue of Nano Letters.”The greatest significance to our work is that we provide a design for nanowire building blocks that incorporates both excellent light trapping properties and a local metal electrode contact (for current extraction),” Garnett told Phys.org. “Silver nanowire networks have already been used as high performance transparent electrodes and we expect that by coating them with thin semiconducting shells we will be able to make high-efficiency solar cells using cheap materials. It has now been observed in a number of papers that nanostructuring a material can increase light absorption even while using less semiconductor material. However, this paper takes the next step and starts thinking about how to design such structures with integrated electrical contacts.” One of the biggest advantages of the design is that it uses very thin semiconducting films while at the same time providing very good light absorption. As mentioned, thick semiconductor layers are needed for good light absorption, but high-quality semiconductor is very costly. This new core-shell geometry opens up a pathway to using cheap, abundant, and environmentally friendly semiconductors that previously were of too low quality for good charge extraction.In semiconductor objects smaller than the wavelength of light, as is the case with most nanowires for photovoltaic purposes, the optical properties are determined primarily by resonances. These resonances enhance absorption the most when they are critically coupled: the loss rates due to absorption in the semiconductor and due to radiative leakage (light escaping the nanowire before being absorbed) are equal. This is often the case near the band gap of the material, where absorption is weak, which leads to the highly counterintuitive result that absorption in the nanowire actually increases when the absorption coefficient decreases.As the scientists explain, in the core-shell geometry, extreme light absorption arises from increasing the number and strength of these resonances. Whereas in horizontal nanowires resonances are always spectrally separated (at different wavelengths), in the core-shell geometry they can overlap. Furthermore, horizontal solid seminconductor nanowires are very polarization-sensitive, but this is undesirable as light from the sun is unpolarized. The core-shell geometry gets rid of this polarization dependence by aligning resonances in both polarizations simultaneously.Overall, by demonstrating that excellent light absorption can be achieved in very thin semiconductor layers, this hybrid nanostructure offers an exciting new path toward realizing inexpensive solar technologies based on abundant and environmentally friendly semiconductors. The researchers plan to fabricate prototypes of the devices soon.”Our immediate plans are to make both single-nanowire and array solar cells based on these core-shell building blocks to verify our calculations experimentally,” Garnett said. Explore further Nanowire solar cells raise efficiency limit (Phys.org) —In photovoltaics, there is generally a trade-off in terms of semiconductor thickness, with thicker semiconductors offering better photon absorption and thinner ones offering higher charge carrier extraction efficiency. In recent years, scientists have begun investigating semiconductor nanowire solar cells, which tackle this tradeoff through morphology-dependent resonances that significantly enhance the absorption compared to a planar film. Journal information: Nano Letters Citation: Hybrid nanostructure with extreme light absorption looks promising for photovoltaics (2013, July 1) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-07-hybrid-nanostructure-extreme-absorption-photovoltaics.html