For most of the first period at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, the newly renovated scoreboard above center ice displayed only the time remaining and a 0-0 score — not shots on goal, face-off percentage or the other data that it normally tracks.I thought this might be a ploy by New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. In Games 1 and 2 of the series — both comeback wins by the Los Angeles Kings — the Kings’ peripheral stats were more impressive than the Rangers’ (the Kings led the Rangers 87-65 in shots on goal, for example). Indeed, Los Angeles has a well-deserved reputation as a stat-savvy team that focuses on metrics related to puck possession and scoring opportunities, which can better predict game results than goals scored and allowed.No #fancystats for you, LA Kings! No moral victory on the strength of Zone Start Adjusted Corsi! You’ll have to win this hockey game the old-fashioned way: by scoring more goals than the other team!The stats clicked back on to the MSG scoreboard late in the first period. Soon after, the Kings scored, and they went on to beat the Rangers 3-0.But it was the Rangers who had more scoring opportunities. They had 32 shots on goal, compared with 15 for LA. Counting missed shots and blocked shots, their edge was 59-33.It can be tempting, if you have a passing familiarity with advanced hockey metrics, to take solace when outcomes like these occur or to curse your favorite team’s bad luck. How often does a team lose despite outshooting its opponent by a 2-1 margin, for instance?Actually, teams lose often. In playoff games since 1988, teams that took about two-thirds of the shots in a game (somewhere between 65 and 70 percent) won only 62 percent of the time. The chart below generalizes this data based on logistic regression and estimates how often teams win a game based on the number of shots they take.Much of this is simply a reflection of the fact that goals scored and allowed are a noisy statistic. A lucky deflection or two for the Kings, a great save or two by Jonathan Quick, and all those extra shots often go for naught.But another reason is that play changes once a team finds itself trailing. The shot count was even at 4-4 when the Kings scored with one second left in the first period. The Rangers piled on shots only once they trailed.The chart below shows how often a team shoots based on the game score. The data is based on playoff games since 2012. It includes blocked shots and missed shots, as well as shots on goal (these are called Corsi events in #fancystats terms) in 5-on-5 play.Teams down by one goal are shooting about 25 percent more often than their opponents at even strength. Teams down by two or more goals are shooting about 40 percent more often.Are those extra shots translating into goals? Actually, yes. In cases when it trails by two goals or more, a team scores about 2.4 goals per 60 minutes of ice time at even strength, compared with 1.8 goals for the leading team.So, at least in the playoffs, there’s been some tendency for the trailing team to recover (despite that it should be the slightly weaker team on average for having fallen behind). It’s like a mild version of the CPU Assistance that allowed the computer to make spectacular comebacks in games such as NBA Jam just when you thought you had everything wrapped up.It isn’t clear whether this represents rational behavior on the part of the leading team. It would be one thing if it were stalling just to get the game over with, reducing shots and scoring for both teams. But it’s actually allowing its opponents more shots and more goals — at the same time it’s taking fewer of its own.One possible explanation is the avoidance of penalties (to the extent they can be averted through more passive play). In playoff games since 2012, teams are scoring 6.3 goals per 60 minutes on the power play — nearly three times their rate at even strength. Shorthanded teams score 0.8 shorthanded goals per 60 minutes. Those long-term averages didn’t help the Rangers on Monday night, who went scoreless in six power play opportunities.
The Heat paid Goran Dragic $85 million this offseason to be the franchise’s best point guard since Tim Hardaway. If nothing else, Dragic should ignite a team that played at the NBA’s second-slowest pace last season. Now that he has recovered from season-ending treatment for blood clots on his lung, Chris Bosh hopes to play as he did in his most productive year in a Heat uniform, the 2013-14 season. His conditioning and versatility ensure that his game will continue to age like fine wine. Many want to compare Justise Winslow, a former Duke standout, to a younger version of Wade, but Wade says Winslow’s size and strength remind him of a younger version of Metta World Peace, the artist formerly known as Ron Artest. To complicate matters further: CARMELO thinks Winslow’s top comp is another Heat teammate, Deng. The post-LeBron James era got off to a disastrous start last season for the Miami Heat, who endured a 37-45 campaign that was riddled with injuries and dumped the team outside of the playoffs for the first time in seven years. A potentially devastating offseason could have followed, but some semblance of order and continuity was restored when franchise anchor Dwyane Wade patched up differences with management and settled on a one-year, $20 million contract for this season. Point guard Goran Dragic signed a long-term deal. Promising center Hassan Whiteside continued to develop, and both Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts are healed and healthy coming off season-ending maladies last year. All signs point to a Heat revival in the East and an opportunity, if the team stays relatively healthy, to stare down LeBron in the postseason.FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO, on the other hand, projects the Heat to go 38-44 and fall just below .500. We’re inaugurating our NBA player projection system, CARMELO, with 2015-16 season previews for every team in the league. Check out the teams we’ve already previewed here. Learn more about CARMELO here. If Dwyane Wade had a million dollars for every game he missed last season — oh, wait. Evaluating Wade is all about vantage point. He’ll point to the fact that he was second in the league in usage rate last season, but skeptics counter that injuries prevented him from being used for at least 20 games for a second straight season. CARMELO expects Wade to be a shadow of his former self; his top comp, another great in the last chapter of his career. After spending a decade in Chicago, Luol Deng struggled with the turbulence that moved him to Cleveland and ultimately to Miami in the span of a few months. After failing to find comfort with his role last season, he’s banking on that to change in a contract year. It figures that a projection system named after a member of the longtime rival New York Knicks would take such a low-blow shot at the Heat. So a year after hitting rock-bottom and winning just 37 games during an injury-ravaged season, Miami is projected to win only one more game? If so, expect a major shakeup for what has been one of the NBA’s most stable franchises.Here are the CARMELO projections for Miami’s core players: The promising yet enigmatic big man did something last season that hadn’t been done in 50 years: Hassan Whiteside averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in less than 24 minutes a game. That’s profound efficiency, but the key now for Whiteside is to develop consistency. The route from a $21 million salary last season to the $1.6 million vet’s minimum this season involved plenty of sacrifice for Amar’e Stoudemire. But it’ll require even more if Stoudemire is willing to accept a reduced role off the bench to make this work in Miami.Read more: 2015-16 NBA Previews
OSU junior guard Ameryst Alston goes for a 2-point shot while VCU freshman guard #13 Brittani Burgess and sophomore guard #14 Adaeze Alaeze try to intercede in the first half of the OSU Women’s basketball game against VCU November 23, 2014. OSU went on to win 96-86.With the Big Ten season around the corner, the Ohio State women’s basketball team is set to end its non-conference season on a high note against No. 22 West Virginia.The Buckeyes (7-4) and Mountaineers (9-1) are set to complete a home-and-home series dating back to last season, in which the Buckeyes won in Morgantown, W.Va., 70-61. Following that game, the Mountaineers would go on to win 17 of their next 18 games.Sophomore forward Shayla Cooper said she hopes to make a big impact in her first game for the Buckeyes.“I’m looking to bring a lot of energy, a lot more rebounding,” Cooper said.Cooper, a transfer from Georgetown, had to sit out until the end of fall semester due to NCAA transfer rules. In the two games she played for the Hoyas in 2013, she totaled 32 points and 17 rebounds.She spoke highly of her own defense, which will likely be needed against a deep Mountaineer frontcourt.“I’m more like the muscle of the team,” Cooper said. “I’m the one that’s going to get those rebounds, like when we played Pitt and we needed that one rebound.”The Mountaineers frontcourt starts with 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore center Lanay Montgomery, who has totaled 66 rebounds in 10 starts this season.OSU coach Kevin McGuff said he was glad to have Cooper as an eligible player on the team.“It’s good to have her now,” McGuff said. “It’s good to have another body.”At 6-foot-2, Cooper provides depth, especially since the Buckeyes starting lineup is currently comprised of four guards and only one forward.One of those guards, junior Ameryst Alston, is looking forward to playing with Cooper for the first time.“Definitely, really excited to have her back,” Alston said. “I’m really looking forward to playing with her finally, like in an actual game.”Alston said that Cooper’s presence is also important both offensively and defensively.“She’s definitely going to bring energy, for sure,” she said. “She’s such a physical player, so that’s definitely something that we need, as far as rebounding.”In addition to Cooper’s eligibility, freshman forward Alexa Hart was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week, her first weekly award. Alston was also named to the Big Ten Honor Roll.With a win, the Buckeyes would be on a four-game winning streak heading into conference play. That would be the longest of the season and would be a tie for the longest in the past two seasons under McGuff.The game against the Mountaineers is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start on Monday at the Schottenstein Center.
41 weird objects seen on Mars, explained Curiosity looked up in late May to capture these noctilucent clouds floating by. NASA/JPL-Caltech It’s just another twilight on Mars. You’re a rover, kicking back after a long day of science, gazing up at the clouds. Sometimes it’s the simple moments that are the most stunning.NASA’s Curiosity rover has been in skygazing mode lately, sending back ethereal visions of noctilucent (night shining) clouds. Curiosity team member Claire Newman highlighted the rover’s late-May sky view in a mission update on Wednesday. Mars rovers NASA Space The night-shining clouds are beautiful, but they can also tell scientists a lot about what’s happening up above the rover, including how much water vapor there is in atmosphere. Curiosity isn’t the only NASA machine that enjoys a bit of cloud-watching. The InSight lander shared some soothing cloud images earlier in the year. Curiosity is currently checking out a clay-rich area in the Gale Crater and recently sent back a fresh selfie. So what’s next? More science and more beautiful days on Mars. Sci-Tech 0 Post a comment Share your voice The noctilucent clouds are “so high that they’re still illuminated by the sun, even when it’s night at the surface and any lower cloud layers are already in shadow,” Newman wrote. Mars is heading into a cloudy season, making this a prime time for watching the atmosphere.Image processors Justin Cowart and Seán Doran gifted us a video version of the recent clouds that makes it feel like you’re standing on Mars. Tags See wispy clouds drift across the sky on Mars NASA’s Insight sees cloudy days on Mars, so why does it never rain? More clouds on Mars 43 Photos
A young man was hacked to death allegedly by his gambling rivals at Shamirpur village in Karnaphuli upazila of Chattogram on Wednesday night, reports UNB.The deceased is Mamun Al-Rashid Sagor, 27, son of Abu Taher of the village.Rafiqul Islam, officer-in-charge of Karnaphuli police station, said two groups locked into an altercation over gambling and drugs.At one stage, opponent group hacked Mamun, leaving him dead on the spot. Police started drive to arrest the accused who were involved in this connection, the OC added.
People chant slogans and hold signs to condemn the rape and killing of 7-year-old girl Zainab Ansari in Kasur, during a protest in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photo: ReutersTwo civilians were killed when officers fired live rounds to disburse crowds that attacked a police station in Pakistan on Wednesday in a protest over the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl.Police recovered the body of Zainab Ansari on Tuesday from a garbage dumpster in the town of Kasur in eastern Pakistan, four days after she was reported missing.It was the twelfth incident of a girl being adducted, raped, and killed in the past year in Kasur district, police say. Residents have been furious at the authorities for what they see as a failure to investigate such cases.The spokesman for Pakistan’s Punjab province, Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, told Reuters that protesters turned violent and attacked a local police office.”They started throwing stones at the office and some of armed protesters shot bullets at police. In order to stop them, police resorted to aerial firing,” Khan said, adding that two people were killed and one wounded as a result.Locals said police responded with undue force.”A peaceful protest was taking place, some students threw stones and police responded by firing at the crowd,” Saleem ur Rehman, a resident who was at the protest, told Reuters. “The law and order situation here is really bad and there have been many such incidents. That is what the protest was about.”Ansari’s parents, who were not in the country when their daughter was kidnapped, returned on Wednesday.”I want justice! I want justice!” Zainab’s mother cried, surrounded by reporters at the international airport in the capital Islamabad.Ansari’s case has attracted the attention of the country’s civilian and military leadership, with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif calling for immediate action.Police in Kasur deny they have been lax in investigating child abductions in the town. Regional police officer Zulfiqar Hameed told Reuters that four kidnappers had been arrested and another killed during an arrest attempt.”Investigations reveal that in each case a paedophile kidnaps little girls, rapes them and kills them,” he said.The case of Ansari would soon be solved, he said: “We have got CCTV footage that shows a young man taking her along. We will catch him very soon,” he said, adding that 95 DNA samples had been taken from suspects.A number of police officials have been transferred out of the region for failing to investigate complaints of missing children since 2015, when authorities uncovered what they called a paedophile ring linked to a prominent local family. At least two people have been convicted in the case, in which authorities say hundreds of children in the district were abused.
Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress Monday wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleging that the MHA advisory to the West Bengal government is a “deep-rooted conspiracy” by the BJP and an “evil ploy to grab power” in opposition-ruled states. The BJP, however, termed the allegations baseless and claimed that the law-and-order situation in the state has completely broken down. TMC secretary general and West Bengal minister Partha Chatterjee, in a letter, claimed that the Ministry of Home Affairs has drawn conclusions without verifying the ground reality or taking a report from the state government. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: Mamata “We, on behalf of the Trinamool Congress, lodge our strong objection to the advisory issued by the MHA and urge that the same be withdrawn forthwith,” he said. In the advisory sent to the West Bengal government on Sunday, a day after BJP and TMC workers clashed in Sandeshkhali area of North Parganas district, the MHA had expressed “deep concern” over the continuing post-poll violence in the state, and asked it to maintain law and order. Criticising the advisory, Chatterjee said, “We have reason to believe that it is an evil ploy to grab power in states run by parties politically opposed to the BJP.” Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state “Moreover, this is a deep-rooted conspiracy and game plan to malign the state government and capture the Bengal administration through undemocratic, unethical and unconstitutional means.” Blaming “BJP goons” for violence and chaos across the state, the TMC leader alleged that as the MHA and the saffron party are being headed by the same person, it is “quite obvious” that “whatever the BJP desires, the MHA is implementing it with closed eyes, throwing all constitutional propriety to the wind”. “In a democracy, the Centre and states work in tandem. Instead of taking the state government into confidence and verifying the ground situation, the unilateral issuance of an advisory by the MHA is an insult to the people of Bengal and an assault on the glory, culture, and heritage of the state,” Chatterjee said. Reacting to the TMC allegation, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the MHA was absolutely right in sending the advisory. “The law-and-order situation has completely broken down… The MHA has done the right thing. If the TMC is saying that the Union home minister and the BJP president are the same person, then the same rule applies in Bengal as well. “The chief minister, home minister and party supremo are the same person (in Bengal). So, does that mean all the decisions taken by the state government are politically motivated?” Ghosh said. Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy also accused the state government of not cooperating with the Centre and violating the federal structure. On Sunday night, the West Bengal government sent a letter to the MHA, saying that the situation in the state was “under control”, and there was no failure on the part of its law enforcement agencies. The BJP has claimed that five of its workers were killed in the violence in Sandeshkhali, while the ruling TMC said that one was killed.
Categories: Howell News,News ##### State Rep. Gary Howell today joined his House colleagues in rolling out the 2017-18 House Republican Action Plan, which he says will be a blueprint for the future.Howell, of North Branch, said the Action Plan’s focus on skilled-trades training is something he has prioritized for years. As president of the Lapeer County Intermediate Board of Education, he has long emphasized the need to train young people for vocational careers.“Job creators in Lapeer County are hiring well-trained workers for skilled-trades positions, and we must do all we can do on the state level to prepare people for those well-paying jobs,” Howell said. “At the Intermediate School District I had a role in operating the vocational-technical center, and know how important it is to train people to work in the trades.”Howell also said he is supportive of the tax relief that is emphasized in the Action Plan.“Some families in Lapeer County are still living paycheck-to-paycheck, and we in state government need to tighten our belts as well,” Howell said. “Reducing the income tax will help give those families peace of mind.”The House Action Plan can be seen here: http://gophouse.org/best-way-forward/. 16Feb Rep. Howell lauds Action Plan’s focus on skilled-trades education
I have a secret to share. For the last 43 years, I have been an educator—first traveling all over the world conducting training classes and now through the written word. You’ve probably heard the adage: when the student is ready to learn, the teacher shall appear. The counterpoint to that line of thinking is that you can teach all day long, but it makes little difference if the other person does not want to learn. I agree for the most part, but that doesn’t mean educators should sit around waiting for a magic teaching moment. A good educator knows it is his job to grab people’s attention. So here I sit at my computer, trying to find the magic words to motivate our readers to explore a subject that might be a little scary, but it’s also the best avenue I know of to prevent our life savings from being wiped out in either a high inflationary or a deflationary market. OK, here goes: regular people like you and me should consider internationalizing some of our assets. I hope folks don’t stop reading at the last sentence, thinking this does not apply to them. There is something about the subject of internationalization that turns off a lot of people. I hear comments like: “I’m not leaving this country. My family is here.” Or “That’s for ultra-rich people, drug dealers, and Tina Turner.” Or the one I find really frightening, “I’m keeping my money right here where it is safe and protected by the government.”The Most Powerful Thug I have quizzed many investors who have internationalized a portion of their financial assets, and there is one common line of thought among them. As a government grows, it needs to confiscate a larger portion of private wealth to support its bureaucracies. It also needs to reallocate private wealth to bribe voters and stay in power. It finds ways to “enhance revenue,” as opposed to shrinking its bloated bureaucracy. Hell, our government probably spends a few million tax dollars on a politically connected public relations firm to come up with euphemistic terms like that. Governments are parasites; they must siphon wealth from the producers to survive. For a government to siphon off wealth efficiently, it must know where the wealth is, set up ways to take it, and have a strong enough police force to make sure citizens comply. The intention is to make it easier to pay up than go to jail. Even people with modest nest eggs are constantly looking for ways to legally protect their wealth. Lawyers love it, since it means citizens need a variety of trusts and complicated legal avenues for minimizing taxes. That’s part of the game. As governments press on, the stakes escalate, taxes increase, and we have to escalate our efforts to protect ourselves. Look to New Jersey or France—which recently passed “millionaire taxes” to facilitate going after the super-wealthy. A year later both governments found that the tax revenue they received from the ultra-wealthy had dropped even though they taxed at a much higher percentage of their earnings. What happened? The wealthy moved and took their money with them. Frankly, I’m amazed that the political class seemed so surprised. Instead of more tax dollars coming in, they ended up with fewer. The next move—look for additional ways to “enhance revenue.”Thugs Steal Land Have you heard of the term “eminent domain?” It means that the government has the legal right to confiscate your property for public use. For generations, it meant that if the government was building an airport or school, it could force a property owner to sell needed land to the government. Here in the United States, the Fifth Amendment limits the federal government’s ability to exercise that right. Americans put up with eminent domain because most of us have never had to deal with it. In 2005, the Supreme Court vastly expanded when eminent domain could be used. The Kelo decision allowed a Connecticut city to take private property and transfer it to another private owner as part of the city’s comprehensive economic redevelopment plan. In short, the definition of “public use” is running wild. Just look to the suburban towns in Cook County, Illinois, where private citizens were forced to sell their old Archie Bunker-type houses to the government. Then the government re-sold them to a politically connected developer who built a large condominium complex. Why did they do that? If 20 houses are torn down and 100 condominiums are built in their place, the government increases its tax base and increases “revenue enhancement” by 400% or more. Is this really a public use, or government use?Thugs Steal Gold Additionally, the government has targeted specific assets to confiscate. President Roosevelt confiscated gold by executive order in 1933. When he issued the order, gold was $20/oz. in round numbers. He made it a criminal offense to own gold to “encourage” citizens to comply with the law and redeem their gold for paper money. The price of gold from the Treasury was then raised to $35/oz. Those people holding fresh cash from the government took a huge hit to their wealth virtually overnight. In effect, the US government legally stole wealth from the private sector with the stroke of Roosevelt’s pen. It would be foolhardy to think something like that couldn’t happen again. A recent Casey Research special report on Obamacare makes it clear that seniors may be forced to go offshore for health care that we may be denied in the US. Should my wife Jo or I need a hip replacement or a heart procedure, I don’t want any delays because I have to find a way to move money offshore to pay for the care. Better safe than sorry. We can protect our nest egg by making it more difficult for a confiscatory government to steal it. The government makes more rules, and prudent investors have to look for ways to legally work around them and protect themselves. Offshore investing offers one of the best means to do just that. Of course, the US government doesn’t make it easy. Under the guise of the Patriot Act and the war on drugs, our government has instituted a series of forms demanding that US citizens report all of their foreign assets on a regular basis. In addition, it is escalating its demands on foreign banks to share data with it even though doing so may be in violation of the laws in the local country. Because of the hassle, a lot of foreign banks are getting rid of US clients. Bingo! That’s exactly what our government wants them to do to us. The federal government is frantically escalating its efforts to identify and locate all assets belonging to US citizens all over the world. If you don’t supply the information, there are criminal penalties. It is watching—as Edward Snowden recently pointed out. And it also owns the police force—as Mr. Snowden quickly found out. Prudent people who understand the game will take steps while they still can to legally move some of their assets out of their home country, just like the people of New Jersey and France have done. The government likes to label those who do so as “selfish tax evaders” and “cheats” to discourage us from protecting ourselves. Always comply with the law. Report and pay taxes on your income, but use every legal avenue to protect your nest egg, or you could lose it.Added Benefits to Internationalization Not all of the reasons for going international are defensive. Offshore investments not only offer good investment choices that are not available in the US, they can also provide a tremendous advantage for protecting against inflation. When the dollar inflates, its buying power drops in relation to other currencies. Inside my offshore Roth IRA, I have investments denominated in eight different foreign currencies. As the value of the dollar decreases—which it has for the last 100 years—owning assets denominated in a currency that is increasing in value can offset those effects. I bought a stock on a foreign exchange that could have been bought here in the US. When I sold it for a nice gain, I realized that not only did I take a gain on the stock, I also had an additional profit due to the foreign currency increasing in value against the USD. My goal today is to help our readers understand why a lot of investors, even with smaller portfolios, are looking outside the US to protect themselves and their nest eggs. Internationalizing some of our assets is a darn good insurance policy. How many get-togethers have we had where friends expressed concern about the government and the direction the country is going? The next step in the government chess game will be instituting capital controls, like Argentina has already done. That means the amount of money citizens can take out of the country will be tightly controlled by the government. If we wait until that happens, it will be too late. While Jo and I have no plans to move out of the country—after all, our grandchildren are here—we think it’s plain old common sense to hold some of our investments internationally. In addition to good investment opportunities, we just feel safer because we are better protected from inflation, deflation, or outright confiscation. —- I decided to write this article after reading a new Casey Research special report, Going Global 2013, and quickly realizing that it applied to my readers and myself. I liked that the report covers how small investors can easily get started and discusses investments we can make even if we want to keep our money closer to home. The report also shows us how we can find and open accounts—including an IRA—all around the world, and details more sophisticated foreign trusts and legal ways for larger investors to pass their wealth down to future generations. It even offers steps we can take from our own home to store physical gold in safe jurisdictions like Singapore and Switzerland. Unlike most of the material I read on internationalization, which is written for ultra-wealthy investors (by someone who is trying to garner their business), this report is written for you and me. While most of us will never progress beyond Chapter 8, we can progress to our personal level of comfort and protect our nest egg accordingly. I’ve worked out an arrangement with the authors so you can purchase Going Global 2013and get a free three-month subscription to Money Forever. During your free three months, you’ll receive three issues, have access to all the research on the investments in our portfolio, and access to all of our special reports, like the popular monthly income plan, Money Every Month. Click here for more about Going Global 2013 and this special offer. If this sounds right up your alley, plan to check out the August issue of Money Forever—we have a terrific interview with Nick Giambruno, senior editor of International Man, lined up. Nick’s perspective only amplifies why folks like you and me should take advantage of international investing, and he answers some of the questions that may have popped into your mind as you read this article. Money Forever subscribers should look for the issue in their inboxes on Tuesday, August 20.On the Lighter Side The NFL season will soon arrive. It held its annual Hall of Fame game last week, and this weekend we have a full slate of preseason games. If you are a football fan, I urge you to add a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio to your bucket list. I spent a good bit of time walking around the museum, relating childhood memories to Jo. At one time, I had Bears season tickets. It always griped me that the franchise made season ticket holders pay full price for two preseason games or they lost the right to buy the tickets for the regular games. Football, like most professional sports, may receive a rude awakening if our economy does not improve. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were Super Bowl champions a decade ago and bragged that they had 57,000 people on their season-ticket waiting list. Now they have a hard time filling their stadium, and many of their home games are blacked out locally as a result. On a happier note, I am still receiving colorful emails from our readers about their career encores. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in. If you have ideas to share and you have not yet dropped me a line, please send your story my way. I plan to share some of your ideas in Money Weekly towards the end of the month. And finally… As long as we are focusing on the government, here are some clever political quotations provided by Courtenay W. We hang petty thieves and appoint the great thieves to public office.—Aesop, Greek slave & fable author. Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.—Oscar Ameringer, “the Mark Twain of American Socialism.” Until next week…
GraphExeter—the best-known room-temperature transparent conductor—is a material built up of several graphene sheets with a layer of ferric chloride molecules in between each sheet. Exeter’s device converts light into electrical signals by exploiting the unique attributes of this material. Says Exeter physics professor Saverio Russo, “This new flexible and transparent photosensitive device uses graphene and graphExeter to convert light into electrical signals with efficiency comparable to that found in opaque devices based on graphene and metals.” At just a few atoms thick, it is ultra-lightweight and portable. Applications? How about photovoltaic textiles that enable your clothes to act as solar panels and charge your mobile phone while you’re walking down the street? Or an intelligent window that can both harvest electricity and display images, all while remaining transparent to the outside? “Smart clothing”—that can monitor a wide range of our functions as we go about our daily lives—is another recent development. Normally, it’s created by weaving conductive materials into fabrics. But that results in flexibility limitations, and it can only be achieved when the conductors are integrated into the design of the clothing from the start. But now, scientists at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have come up with a way to print silver directly onto fibers. The technique involves chemically bonding a nano‐silver layer onto individual fibers to a thickness of 20 nanometers, so that the conductive layer fully encapsulates fibers and has good adhesion and excellent conductivity. Chris Hunt, NPL’s lead researcher on the project, says: “The technique has many potential applications. One particularly exciting area is wearable sensors and antennas which could be used for monitoring, for example checking on patients and vulnerable people; data capture and feedback for soldiers in the field; and performance monitoring in sports. It offers particular benefits over the ‘weaving in’ approach, as the conductive pattern and flexibility ensures that sensors are always positioned in the same location on the body.” Or, how about having a touchscreen on your shirt sleeve? Further possibilities for printed metal inks are being pursued. Scientists at the American Chemical society have employed copper nanosheets, which are inexpensive and highly conductive, as a flexible circuit ink. They took the copper nanosheets, coated them with silver nanoparticles, and incorporated this material into an ink pen, using it to draw patterns of lines, words, and flowers on regular printer paper. Then, to show that the ink could conduct electricity, they connected a battery and lit up an LED at the drawing’s center. Courtesy Northwestern University The battery will continue to work—illuminating that LED—even when stretched, folded, twisted, or mounted on a human elbow. Power and voltage are similar to a conventional lithium-ion battery of the same size. It will stretch up to 300% of its original size with no loss of efficiency and can function for eight to nine hours before it needs recharging, which can be done wirelessly. So far, batteries—which presently power nearly all portable devices—have maintained their edge over supercapacitors for a couple of reasons. One, they’re way cheaper. And two, supercapacitors have low energy density, meaning that the amount of energy they can store per unit weight is relatively small. On the plus side, supercapacitors can be charged quickly and don’t lose their storage capabilities over time. They can literally last for millions of charge/discharge cycles without losing energy-storage capability, whereas the same process in batteries is slow and degrades their internal chemical compounds over time. Should supercapacitors overcome their deficiencies, however, they could be the wave of the future… in which case, we will need flexible ones. A group at the University of Delaware is experimenting with just such a device, using carbon nanotube macrofilms, polyurethane membranes, and organic electrolytes. Research is in the early stages, but the group says that the supercapacitor it’s developed in the lab has achieved excellent stability in preliminary testing. Meanwhile, a team of researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research in Dresden announced last year that they have created a powerful micro-supercapacitor, just nanometers thick and less than half a centimeter across. And it’s bendable. Tests on the new device showed that the tiny power supply can store more energy and provide more power per unit volume than state-of-the-art supercapacitors. Team members are now working on ways to bring down its cost. Another power source that can be harnessed is the sun, through a flexible, transparent, photosensitive device developed at the University of Exeter in England. The device converts light into electrical signals by exploiting the unique properties of two “miracle” carbon-based materials: graphene and graphExeter (developed at the eponymous university). Carbon is a unique element in that its atoms can arrange themselves in many different ways (tubes, spheres, sheets, cubes, meshes), known as allotropes. Each of them, from graphite to diamonds, has distinctive properties. As depicted below, graphene is a carbon allotrope in which the atoms are arranged in a single layer in one plane. It is the thinnest known conductive material. “C’mon Sis, quit crumpling my computer!” It may seem unlikely that those words might soon issue from a young fellow’s mouth. Yet they could, in the not-too-distant future. And it’s because of the hottest trend in consumer products today: Flexible electronics. Some stunning advances in materials technology have made possible a lot of things we never expected to see (or maybe only dreamed of). They are about to lead to a flood of everyday electronic items that you can bend, stretch, crumple, and fold (but not spindle or mutilate). This is a big, big business. One analysis projects that the global flexible electronics market will reach $13.23 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of around 22%. And that’s probably conservative. There’s so much going on in this sector that it’s hard to decide where to begin. But that crumply computer is as good a jumping-off point as any. Remember the old days, when people read newspapers on the train to work, then rolled them up and stuffed the parts they weren’t finished with into their back pockets? The newspaper of the future is going to be kinda like that. Neatly rollable, adaptable to a back pocket. It’s just not going to be made of paper. A September 2013 article from Science Daily asks us to envision “an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber.” At UCLA, for example, scientists have fabricated “an elastomeric polymer light-emitting device (EPLED)” that can be repeatedly stretched, folded, and twisted at room temperature while still remaining lit and holding its original shape. The material has a single layer of electro-luminescent polymer sandwiched between a pair of transparent elastic composite electrodes that are made of a network of silver nanowires inlaid into a rubbery polymer. (The EPLED is a type of polymer light-emitting electrochemical cell [PLEC] device. Research is also ongoing in the development of flexible versions of organic light-emitting diode [OLED] displays commonly found in today’s smartphones, but the UCLA team chose PLECs instead because they’re easier to fabricate and simpler to work with.) The developers stretched and re-stretched their PLEC display 1,000 times, extending it 30% beyond its original shape and size, and it still continued to work at a high efficiency. In another test to determine the material’s maximum stretch, the researchers found it could be stretched to more than twice its original size while still functioning. It can also be folded 180° and twisted in multiple directions. Qibing Pei, UCLA’s principal investigator on the project says confidently that “[W]e believe that fully stretchable interactive displays that are as thin as wallpaper will be achieved in the near future.” Roll up the news and take it with you? That may not be far off. Samsung is also working on a flexible screen. The company is mounting its display on silicone that can be bent in half 100,000 times (Samsung claims), yet suffer a loss of light intensity in the crease zone of just 6%—all but undetectable by the human eye. Think of a smartphone whose screen size could be doubled by simply unfolding it. And the technology can be adapted to simple lighting, too. Is this your next desk lamp? Of course, as our electronics become flexible, so must their power supplies, especially in the case of mobile devices. How that power is delivered will depend on how the war between batteries and supercapacitors is ultimately resolved. But scientists are currently working on flexible versions of both. In early 2013, collaborating researchers from Northwestern and the University of Illinois unveiled the first stretchable lithium-ion battery. American Chemical Society To test the ink’s flexibility, the researchers folded the paper 1,000 times, even crumpling it up, and demonstrated that the ink maintained 80-90% of its conductivity. But perhaps the most exciting roles flexible electronics will be playing in the years to come are in the realm of medicine. Because the human body is always in motion, the design of wearable health monitors and implants must take that into account. Yong Xu of Wayne State University has pushed the research forward by inventing a method for fabricating high-performance and high-density semiconductor circuits, and bonding them to flexible substrates. “The ultimate goal is to develop flexible and stretchable systems integrated with electronics, sensors, microfluidics, and power sources, which will have a profound impact on personalized medicine, telemedicine, and health care delivery,” Xu says. Surgery could be transformed. Consider what happens today after a doctor operates to remove a tumor from a patient’s liver. Even after following up with radiation and/or chemotherapy, the surgeon can never be positive that the treatment was successful. “But,” says Tom Jackson, an engineering professor at Penn State, “suppose I could apply a flexible circuit to the liver and image the tissue. If we see a new malignancy, it could release a drug directly onto that spot, or heat up a section of the circuit to kill the remaining cancerous cells. And when we were done, the body would resorb the material. “What I want is something that matches the flexibility and thermal conductivity of the body,” and conventional silicon technology is too rigid and thermally conductive for work like that. Jackson is going to get what he wants. Yes, conventional silicon tech is inappropriate for many uses in and on the body. But might there be a new form of silicon that captures its stability, efficiency, and low cost, yet bends and stretches? Indeed there is, says John Rogers, a cutting-edge materials scientist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Rogers’ team has found a way to trick silicon into a more malleable form. Rather than making transistors from conventional wafers, they slice the material into sheets several times thinner than a human hair. “At this scale,” Rogers says, “something that would otherwise be brittle is completely floppy … [in the way that] a 2-by-4 is rigid, but a sheet of paper is not—similar materials, just different thicknesses.” The applications he’s working on are truly mind-blowing. Here are just a few: Imagine a sensor array that can precisely mold to the shape of an organ. Start with the heart. Sensors made of a stretchable, lightweight material and embedded with electronics could wrap around a beating heart like a glove, providing real-time measurements of cardiac activity. The goal, Rogers says, is to detect early signs of arrhythmia and deliver coordinated voltages across the entire organ, rather than administering massive shocks at a few points, as current defibrillators do. Collaborators at Washington University in St. Louis have tested the device, which he calls an “artificial pericardium,” on rabbits and on human hearts removed from transplant recipients. Trials in live patients could be just around the corner. He and his colleagues have also created an electronic “second skin.” It’s a wireless circuit board less than a micron thick that can be stamped directly onto the skin and sealed with a spray-on bandage. The device could enable doctors to monitor a wide range of biological functions, including heart rate, skin temperature, muscle activity, and hydration, for starters—and it conforms so well to the shifting creases and troughs of human skin that it can stay on for up to two weeks before it is sloughed off. It can also send small electric currents to stimulate muscles as part of a physical therapy regimen. And its noninvasiveness makes it especially useful in neonatal care. Finally, Rogers is well on the way to developing Prof. Jackson’s desired resorbable devices. These “transient electronics,” as he calls them, could monitor and prevent infection at surgical sites, then melt away according to a set schedule of days or weeks. And—made up of ingredients found in antacids and vitamin pills—they’re harmless to the human body. During a talk at an electrical engineering conference, a skeptical colleague bet Rogers that he wouldn’t dare swallow one of his transient devices on stage. Rogers won that bet. The shift to flexible electronics is a trend that means a financial windfall for companies poised to cash in on it. One of them—our July recommendation—presently sits in the BIG TECH portfolio. This company makes equipment used to encapsulate organic light-emitting diodes, part of the process that enables electronics to be folded or rolled. As demand for flexible devices takes off, so too will demand for this company’s equipment. For access to this recommendation, simply sign up for a risk-free 90-day trial of BIG TECH.