Etisalat makes another OpenRAN move

first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 18 FEB 2020 Etisalat partnered with US-based open RAN equipment provider Parallel Wireless to trial the technology across its markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, as the operator targeted a reduction in the cost and complexity of network deployments.The trials will employ Parallel Wireless’ software-defined products to operate 2G, 3G and 4G technologies simultaneously on the same base station. Parallel Wireless noted in a press release its platform can also be upgraded to include 5G compatibility via an update.Hatem Bamatraf, CTO of Etisalat International, explained the trials are “in line with our long-term strategy”, reinforcing the operator’s commitment to “take the lead in OpenRAN” and work with partners to “create an innovative ecosystem in all of our markets”.He added the use of Parallel Wireless’ All G platform will “provide efficiency and cost benefits for 4G and 5G, in addition to setting a roadmap for the next generation of telecom networks”.The move comes after Etisalat partnered with Altiostar, NEC and Cisco to launch an open virtual RAN in its home UAE market in January. Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back Etisalat Tags Author Home Etisalat makes another OpenRAN move Diana Goovaerts Related Rakuten adds Etisalat to RCP open RAN list Diana is Mobile World Live’s US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only… Read more Etisalat interim chief made permanent Etisalat to bring open RAN to Afghanistan Previous ArticleRealme targets connectivity with IoT appNext ArticleDell targets operators with edge compute portfolio last_img read more

Information avoidance research shows: From health to politics, people select their own reality

first_imgShare Share on Facebook Email “The standard account of information in economics is that people should seek out information that will aid in decision making, should never actively avoid information, and should dispassionately update their views when they encounter new valid information,” said Loewenstein, the Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Economics and Psychology who co-founded the field of behavioral economics.Loewenstein continued, “But people often avoid information that could help them to make better decisions if they think the information might be painful to receive. Bad teachers, for example, could benefit from feedback from students, but are much less likely to pore over teaching ratings than skilled teachers.”Even when people cannot outright ignore information, they often have substantial latitude in how to interpret it. Questionable evidence is often treated as credible when it confirms what someone wants to believe — as is the case of discredited research linking vaccines to autism. And, by the same token, evidence that meets the rigorous demands of science is often discounted if it goes against what people want to believe, as illustrated by widespread dismissal of scientific evidence of climate change.Information avoidance can harm individual wellbeing, as when people miss opportunities to treat serious diseases early on or fail to learn about better financial investments that could prepare them for retirement. It also has large societal implications. The demand for ideologically aligned information drives media bias, which fuels political polarization: When basic facts are no longer part of a shared understanding, the foundation of societal discourse disappears.“An implication of information avoidance is that we do not engage effectively with those who disagree with us,” said Hagmann, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences. “Bombarding people with information that challenges their cherished beliefs – the usual strategy that people employ in attempts at persuasion — is more likely to engender defensive avoidance than receptive processing. If we want to reduce political polarization, we have to find ways not only to expose people to conflicting information, but to increase people’s receptivity to information that challenges what they believe and want to believe.”Despite its evident pitfalls and costs, information avoidance isn’t always a mistake or a reflection of a lazy mind.“People do it for a reason,” said Golman, assistant professor of social and decision sciences. “Those who do not take a genetic test can enjoy their life until their illness can’t be ignored, an inflated sense of our own abilities can help us to pursue big and worthwhile goals, and not looking at our financial investments when markets are down may keep us from selling in a panic.”Understanding when, why, and how people avoid information can help governments and firms alike to reach their audiences effectively without drowning them in unwanted messages. LinkedIncenter_img Pinterest Share on Twitter We live in an unprecedented “age of information.” Dieters have access to nutritional information, people at risk of genetic disease can undergo cutting-edge medical tests and citizens in modern democracies have access to a wide range of news sources covering the entire political spectrum.However, for all the information that is out there, people make use of very little of it. Those on diets, for example, often prefer not to look at the number of calories in a tasty dessert, people at high risk for a disease avoid screening tests that could give them a definite answer, and most consumers of news choose sources that align with rather than challenge their political ideology. Indeed, people at times actively avoid useful information that is available to them.Drawing on research in economics, psychology, and sociology, Carnegie Mellon University’s George Loewenstein, Russell Golman and David Hagmann illustrate how people deliberately avoid information that threatens their happiness and wellbeing. Published in the Journal of Economic Literature, they show that, while a simple failure to obtain information is the most clear-cut case of “information avoidance,” people have a wide range of other information-avoidance strategies at their disposal. They are also remarkably adept at selectively directing their attention to information that affirms what they believe or that reflects favorably upon them, and at forgetting information they wish were not true.last_img read more

Its still hot outside Heat Warning continued for Northeast BC and Northwest

first_imgResidents and visitors are advised to take precautions to protect themselves from the elevated temperatures, such as rescheduling outdoor activities to the cooler hours of the day; taking frequent breaks from the heat; spending time outdoors at home or in air-conditioned public buildings; and drinking plenty of water and other non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated. People or pets should not be left inside a closed vehicle for any length of time.Residents should also monitor for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, such as high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting, and unconsciousness. Particular vigilance is urged for vulnerable individuals, including children, seniors, individuals with pre-existing lung, heart, kidney, nervous system, mental health or diabetic conditions, outdoor workers, as well as those who are socially isolated.The risks of developing heat-related illnesses are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.Environment Canada issues heat warnings when very high temperatures or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.For more information on heat-related illness, call HealthLinkBC at 811. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A Heat Warning that was issued by Environment Canada for the B.C. Peace River and Fort Nelson regions remains in effect this morning.Meteorologists say that a ridge of high pressure that has moved over most of B.C. will be causing maximum daily temperatures to reach at least 29 degrees, with overnight low temperatures near 14 degrees. The ridge is forecast to persist until at least Wednesday.The heat warning has also been issued for nearly all of Northwest Alberta, including the regions surrounding Grande Prairie, Peace River, and High Level.last_img read more

On Our Way Home Animal Rescue is in need of foster homes

first_imgOnce applications are received, the board reviews prospective fosters to help make a good placement for the foster animal.The restriction for fostering cats is that the cat must remain inside the home and fosters for dogs must have a fenced yard. The rescue does do a home check before placement of a foster animal.On Our Way Home does try to provide pet essentials to foster homes such as litter box and food from donations given to the rescue.If you are unable to foster an animal yet would still like to contribute to the help and care of these rescued animals the rescue is currently in need of kitten food and cat litter.To view the FB page; CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Local, On Our Way Home Animal Rescue is in need of foster homes to support the rescue with the many cats and kittens that are waiting for their forever homes.Lani Belcher, Board member of On our Way Home Animal Rescue shares they are seeking Foster’s to facilitate in-home care of cats and kittens, as well they are in need of a very special foster home that has no other pets to care for a dog that must be the only animal in the home.People that are wanting to help foster animals can fill out an application; CLICK HERE  last_img read more

RBI board warned of notebans shortterm impact on economy no material effect

first_imgNew Delhi: The RBI board, which included the present Governor Shaktikanta Das as a director, had warned of short-term negative impact of demonetisation on the country’s economic growth and observed that the unprecedented move will not have any material impact on tackling the black money menace. The board, according to minutes of the meeting revealed by the central bank in an RTI reply, had met just two-and-a-half hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation announced the demonetisation decision on November 8, 2016. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep Curbing black money was one of the prime objectives of the shock move to junk old Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, which saw 86 per cent of high value currency going out of circulation. The minutes of the crucial board meeting, which approved the government’s request for demonetisation, recorded the presence of the then RBI Governor Urjit Patel and the then economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das. Others at the board meeting included the then Financial Services Secretary Anjuli Chib Duggal, and RBI deputy governors R Gandhi and S S Mundra. Both Gandhi and Mundra are not part of the board now, while Das was appointed as the RBI governor in December 2018. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs “It is a commendable measure but will have short-term negative effect on GDP for the current year,” as per the minutes posted by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak on the website of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. “Most of the black money is held not in the form of cash but in the form of real sector assets such as gold or real estate and that this move would not have a material impact on those assets,” the board observed in its 561st meeting held in Delhi. The prime minister had announced demonetisation of high-value currency notes with the aim to curb the black money, check counterfeit currency and stop terror finance among others. While any incidence of counterfeiting is a concern, the minutes said, Rs 400 crore as a percentage of the total quantum of currency in circulation in the country is not very significant. Of the Rs 15.41 lakh crore worth Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in circulation on November 8, 2016, notes worth Rs 15.31 lakh crore came back during the 50-day window for depositing junk notes given to resident Indians and till June 2017 for non-resident Indians. Only Rs 10,720 crore of the junked currency notes did not return to the banking system, rest 99.9 per cent was deposited raising question mark over the government’s effort of curbing black money through the demonetisation. The minutes pointed that “the growth rate of economy mentioned is the real rate while the growth in currency in circulation is nominal. Adjusted for inflation, the difference may not be so stark. Hence, this argument does not adequately support the recommendation (in favour of demonetisation)”. The government has always maintained that the decision did not have much impact on the GDP growth. The board was assured that the government would take mitigating measures to contain the use of cash, it said. In another reply, the RBI has said it has no data on the old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes used to pay for utility bills such as fuel at petrol pumps — payments that are anonymous and are believed to have formed a good part of the demonetised currency that returned to the banking system. The government had allowed the exchange of the junked notes as well as they being used for payment of utility bills for 23 services. Both old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes could be used at government hospitals, railway ticketing, public transport, airline ticketing at airports, milk booths, crematoria/burial grounds, petrol pumps, metro rail tickets, purchase of medicines on doctor prescription from the government and private pharmacies, LPG gas cylinders, railway catering, electricity and water bills, ASI monument entry tickets and highway toll. On November 25, 2016, the exchange of old notes was stopped and the government allowed the use of only old 500 rupee notes at these utilities till December 15, 2016. The government, however, stopped the use of even this currency at petrol pumps and for the purchase of air tickets at airports abruptly with effect from December 2, 2016, after reports that they were becoming fronts for laundering of old currency notes.last_img read more

CM Sawant will boost Goas growth trajectory Modi

first_imgNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday gave his best wishes to Pramod Sawant, the newly appointed Chief Minister of Goa and expressed confidence that he will boost the state’s growth trajectory. “Best wishes to Pramod Sawant and his team as they begin their journey towards fulfilling the dreams of the people of Goa. “I am sure they will build on the work done in the last few years and boost Goa’s growth trajectory,” Modi tweeted Former Speaker of Goa Legislative Assembly BJP MLA Sawant was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Goa on Tuesday, following the death of Manohar Parrikar late on Sunday.last_img read more

Panic in Bhangar after abandoned car found with blood stains

first_imgKolkata: Tension sparked off at Kashipore area of Bhangar in South 24-Parganas after villagers spotted an abandoned vehicle with some blood stains inside it. Police said the vehicle was registered with an app-based cab service company in the city. The driver of the vehicle has been missing till Saturday evening. The locals on Saturday morning heard a mobile phone ringing several times inside the deserted car that remained parked near Krishnamati Bridge under Kashipore police station. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAfter hearing the phone ringing, the villagers went up to the vehicle and opened the door that was kept unlocked. They found blood spots inside the car and immediately informed the matter to the local police station. After reaching the area, police started a probe. A bottle of liquor was also recovered from the vehicle. The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Bablu Singh who is absconding since Friday evening. The victim’s elder brother, Suraj Singh, told the police that they received a telephone call from the police saying that the vehicle has been found in South 24-Parganas. The victim’s mobile phone was found inside the car which was later seized by the police for the sake of investigation. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAccording to the preliminary investigation, it is suspected that a youth whose identity is not yet clear, boarded the vehicle from Sovabazar area and went to New Town. The driver then drove the vehicle to Bhangar. The investigating officers are yet to confirm if the youth who boarded the car from Sovabazar had been inside the vehicle when it reached Bhangar. The investigating officers suspect that the driver might have been boozing inside the vehicle along with some others. Police are conducting a probe to know why the cab driver went to a desolate place on Friday night. Search for the driver is on.last_img read more

Aaron Hernandez Found with Bible Verse Written on Forehead

NOTHING abt that mans demeanor said he’d kill himself, ESPECIALLY after he just beat the case & was goin try to get an appeal… FOH— Wild Wild Seth (@SpikeReeds) April 19, 2017 Either Aaron Hernandez was guilty & the guilt ate him alive resulting in suicide, or someone killed him based on the not guilty verdict.— Chad Williams Sr. (@CHADWILLIAMSSR) April 19, 2017 Of course I don’t believe #AaronHernandez committed suicide. The man was killed ??‍♀️.— kid Griffin (@BirdCat21) April 20, 2017 Aaron Hernandez helped lead the New England Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI. (Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)Aaron Hernandez’s lawyer doesn’t believe the former New England Patriots tight end took his own life and has vowed to launch an investigation.Jose Baez believes fellow inmates or prison staff murdered Hernandez and the athlete’s “devastated” family doesn’t believe he wanted to kill himself, TMZ reported. Baez released a statement hours after authorities announced Hernandez died of an apparent suicide Wednesday, April 20 saying the family and his client’s representatives were “shocked and surprised at the news of Aaron’s death,” according to USA Today.“There were no conversations or correspondence from Aaron to his family or legal team that would have indicated anything like this was possible,” Baez’s statement said. “Aaron was looking forward to an opportunity for a second chance to prove his innocence. Those who love and care about him are heartbroken and determined to find the truth surrounding his untimely death. We request that authorities conduct a transparent and thorough investigation.”Hernandez was acquitted Friday of the 2012 double murder of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He had been serving a life sentence without parole for the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, which CBS Boston reported would be appealed with Baez’s counsel.An investigation is ongoing at the Shirley, Mass., Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center where Hernandez was discovered hanged from bed sheets. Spokesman Christopher Fallon told the Associated Press there was no reason to believe Hernandez was suicidal and he would have been transferred to a mental health unit if he were.When Hernandez’s body was discovered, guards reportedly found “John 3:16” written on his forehead and on the in red marker. Sources told Fox 25 a Bible was flipped open to the verse, which reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”Investigators also believe Hernandez possibly smoked synthetic marijuana Tuesday night before his death, according to CBS Boston.“I just think it got to him — the guilt,” Mixson Philip, a family friend of LLoyd’s told the AP. “Each man has to live with himself. You can put on an act like nothing happened, but you’ve got a soul. You’ve got a heart.”Hernandez’s former agent, Brian Murphy voiced suspicion about the circumstances of the star footballer’s death.Absolutely no chance he took his own life. Chico was not a saint, but my family and I loved him and he would never take his own life.— Brian Murphy (@A1Murph) April 19, 2017Others also questioned Hernandez’s alleged suicide.One day, got off a double murder charge.Next day, found dead. 100% guarantee that Aaron Hernandez did not commit suicide.— T T (@TajTaylor_) April 19, 2017 #AaronHernandez was murdered on suicide watch. FIRE THE STAFF!FED. INVEST. NEEDED ASAP! @RookwoodAmbrose @scoobysnahx @330Kingish #coverup pic.twitter.com/k3LF4ZB0rS— DeShaunneLoveHoliday (@Deshaunnea) April 20, 2017 read more

Skeptical Football The Playoffs Are A Trial By Fire

While the wild-card round of this year’s NFL playoffs was wild, a lot of the action followed familiar scripts: Skeptical Football regular Andrew Luck continued to impress in the Indianapolis Colts’ win against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Detroit Lions jumped out to a big lead — uncomfortable territory for gunslinger extraordinaire Matthew Stafford — against the Dallas Cowboys and, sure enough, Tony Manning Romo successfully engineered a double-digit comeback victory — though possibly with a little help from the officials. The Carolina Panthers brought their record back to (exactly) .500 for the first time since October against the Carson Palmer-less Arizona Cardinals. And the Baltimore Ravens beat high-flying Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers, on the road.But while the wild-card games were a nice diversion, the big guns will only come out after the bye.This weekend will see the playoff debuts of last year’s Super Bowl participants, the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos and the potentially historic Seattle Seahawks, along with the ever-contending New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers’ enigmatic Aaron Rodgers.1As we know, a New England vs. Green Bay Super Bowl matchup is inevitable.At this stage of the playoffs, there are an equal number of bye teams and wild-card game alums. Not only are the bye teams better-rested and more accomplished, but they have home-field advantage — both this week and against any surviving non-bye teams in the conference championships. So our eventual Super Bowl winner will almost certainly come from that cohort, right?If recent history is a guide, the answer is no. The wild-card veterans have more than held their own, winning seven of the past 14 Super Bowl trophies.Consider what this takes: First, having just won a game for the right to make the final eight, a team has to turn around and play a fresh top-two seed in the divisional round — on the road. And if it wins that game, more often than not it has to play the other top seed — on the road. And if it wins again, more often than not it has to play one of the other conference’s top seeds in the Super Bowl.Compare that to the route a bye team takes: It plays only two playoff games before the Super Bowl, and at least one of them is at home, against a lower seed.While anyone with a rooting interest would prefer his team take the easier road, teams that do manage to survive the playoffs’ “trial by fire” are disproportionately successful the deeper into the postseason they get.This chart goes back to the introduction of the salary cap in 1994. Prior to the 1997 John Elway-led Broncos victory, few teams survived the trial by fire (“TBF”) for long (i.e., none made the Super Bowl), so I typically consider that the start of the TBF era.As we would expect, a large share of TBF teams (meaning wild-card round veterans) are eliminated by their higher-seeded opponents right away. Over the entire period, TBFers won just 24 of 80 divisional round games (30.0 percent). And in the TBF era, including 1997, they’ve done only slightly better, winning 21 of 64 games (32.8 percent).But if they survive that second game, all bets are off. Since 1997, of those 21 TBF teams who made it to the conference championship games, 17 faced a top-two-seeded bye team on the road (the other four faced each other). The TBF teams in that scenario won 9 of the 17 games (52.9 percent) they played.2I should also note that the overall 45 percent win rate in this round in the salary cap era is still extremely high for road teams against higher-seeded competition. That’s right, TBFers who made the conference round have won a majority of their games against bye teams, despite playing in hostile territory.Those nine all faced another top-two seed from the other conference in the Super Bowl — such as the New York Giants against the then 18-0 New England Patriots in 2007 — and seven of nine triumphed. Overall, TBF teams have an 8-3 record in Super Bowls (in the salary cap era), including a 6-1 record in their last seven appearances.That one losing team was the Arizona Cardinals,3One of the TBF teams that had to beat another TBF team in its conference championship rather than beating both top seeds. who lost 27-23 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009, but covered the 6.5-point spread. TBF teams have gone 10-0-1 against the spread in Super Bowls, and 11-6 in conference championships since 1997.That stunning 21-6-1 record against the line is meaningful even if you’re not a sports bettor. It means that this phenomenon isn’t just an artifact of stronger teams happening to be lower seeds for incidental reasons. TBFers legitimately exceeded expectations — even market expectations.It also makes it fairly unlikely that the phenomenon is purely a result of chance. The probability of going 21-6 on what should be a 50/50 proposition is roughly 0.002, or about 1 in 500.Of course, 1-in-500 events happen all the time, so it could just be that these teams have gotten lucky. But the probability that an unlikely phenomenon results from something other than chance is proportional to how plausible the other explanations are. If a coin comes up tails on 21 of 27 flips, you say “wow,” but the coin is still unlikely to be weighted. But say a tennis player wins 21 of 27 matches — she could have gotten lucky, but a more likely explanation is that she’s good.And in this case — while perhaps not accounting for all the good fortune TBF teams have seen — there are plenty of reasons to expect the TBF phenomenon to exist and persist.4Though I would expect the market to adjust accordingly.The first reason — at which I’ve already strongly hinted — is that, by virtue of the tougher road that TBF teams face to get deeper into the playoffs, their continued presence tells us more about their quality than that of their bye-having opponents.At the very minimum, the team that wins the wild-card round has one more win going into later rounds than its regular-season record. In some cases, this is enough to cover or exceed any gap between it and a higher-seeded team. Such is the case with this year’s Cowboys, who, at 13-4, now possess the best record in football (though they will still be on the road against the Packers). Moreover, that extra win didn’t come against an average NFL team, it came against a playoff team, meaning it’s probably worth a little more than an average win.With each road win against top competition, a TBF team’s pedigree gets stronger and stronger. A lot of teams win a lot of games without ever getting road wins against top teams.Obviously upsets happen, and they don’t always mean that the upsetting team is a secret powerhouse. But such upsets are much more likely to happen if the upsetting team is actually better than previously thought (such as when it’s actually much better than its record or playoff seed would indicate). So as a matter of Bayesian inference, it’s not so shocking that teams that accomplish one seemingly unlikely result may continue to accomplish more.In subsequent rounds, a TBF team’s opposition has also won playoff games, but against weaker opponents and usually at home. Since these are more expected results, they have much less of an impact on our assessment of those teams.As a test case, if the playoffs were seeded completely randomly, we would expect to see this effect: A team that had won three road games would be a favorite over one that had won two home games, simply because winning on the road is harder.And the real case can be much more drastic: By the time we get to the Super Bowl, we may have a TBF team — which got there by winning three road games against the top three teams in its conference — facing off against a bye team that has won only two playoff games, at home, against teams with worse records.The problem with that explanation is that it only gets us so far. With an entire season of games under their belts, the difference between a big underdog and a big favorite shouldn’t be reversible merely as a result of three strong wins versus two mediocre wins.Unless those wins come in games that are substantially more important to our assessment of those teams than normal games.5For a somewhat extreme example: This is what things would be like if team quality in the NFL behaved like a ladder ranking, where each time a team beats a team of higher quality, it assumes the other’s position. Under such circumstances, a team like the 2011 New York Giants would have been a favorite against the 2011 New England Patriots by virtue of having beaten the 15-1 Green Bay Packers in the NFC divisional round. Playoff wins seem to be just that.Normally I’m somewhat skeptical of taking whether a team is “hot” or not too seriously. In regular-season contexts, recent performance is typically not much more predictive of future performance than past performance is. But the NFL playoffs appear to be an exception. That the results of playoff games are more indicative of a team’s quality makes sense. It’s easy to speculate on any number of reasons:Playoff rosters are more current, reflecting injuries, trades and the like.Playoff results are unlikely to be affected by the various late-season tactical strategies that teams employ, whether that be “tanking” to get a top draft pick, resting starters to avoid injury and fatigue, etc.Although I reserve my right to skepticism, it’s possible that playoff football actually does have a different nature than regular-season football — whether because playing strong teams entails a different skill set than beating up on scrubs, or because playoff games are more likely to be played in cold weather, or something else.There’s a phenomenon that I think is real by which teams often “save” something for the playoffs or more high-leverage situations in the regular season — such as innovative or “trick” plays.Using a couple of different regression methods to estimate the value of a playoff win relative to a regular-season one, I’ve come up with figures as high as one playoff game being worth three to five regular-season games.6This can be somewhat reproduced by using an Elo system with a very high k (meaning calibrated to adjust very rapidly). But this whole line of analysis is tainted because it’s ex post facto. That is, we already knew there was some effect, because that effect is the reason we’re looking into it. So measuring its strength kind of begs the question.We could just modestly assume a mid-sized multiplier (like each playoff game being worth two to three regular-season games), but before we start artfully reflecting on our priors, it would be nice to have a little more insight into the nature of what’s going on.The league only adopted the 12-team, four-bye playoff structure in 1990, and introduced the salary cap in 1994. The “trial by fire” phenomenon begins to appear in earnest shortly after that, yielding its first Super Bowl contender in 1997, and has seemed to get even stronger in recent years with TBF teams actually winning six of the last nine Super Bowls. The emergence of this effect has coincided with the supposed era of “parity” in the NFL — so it’s tempting to think that it may just result from lower-seeded teams getting stronger. Here’s a comparison of how the winning percentage of TBF teams versus bye teams in each round has changed over time, as well as the winning percentages of TBF teams versus bye teams in the regular season:The difference between a TBF team and a typical bye team in the regular season hasn’t changed much, with bye teams having won those matchups around 70 percent of the time. That seems high, but it’s partly because the bye teams have better records and/or hold head-to-head tiebreakers to get in their position. The key isn’t the raw value, it’s that the trend has remained essentially flat. In other words, “parity” — the bogeyman often used to explain a variety of NFL phenomena — probably isn’t the answer.From the other panes, we can see that the percentage of TBF teams winning in subsequent rounds has risen sharply in each case. Considering the sample sizes, those trends certainly shouldn’t be considered too probative individually, but the consistency between them supports the idea that the importance of playoff games has been on the rise.7We would also expect it to rise more sharply in later stages is because the effect is compounding.Is it reasonable to think that this reflects a real development in the game?I think so. At least anecdotally, I think teams have been getting more strategic about playing for the playoffs, and treating the regular season as more of a qualifying period than an end in its own right. Not only have we seen a lot of resting of players (where QBs like Brett Favre used to take every snap to the bitter end) and tanking, but we’ve also seen things like experimenting with young quarterbacks, and benching reasonably decent ones as a scapegoating maneuver.Also, football has evolved into more of a passing or finesse/strategy game, which may be contributing to teams sometimes being substantially better or worse at different times in the season (for example, if you figure out how to use a previously unheralded third receiver in a particularly effective way, it may transform your offense overnight). And this may make matchups more important as well. When the balance of power between teams rests on intricate relationships of many variables rather than just size and strength, it’s easy to see how matchup problems might hinder a team’s regular-season outcomes, or bolster its playoff ones — depending on whom it faces.But I’m not sure any of this gets us 100 percent of the way there. In fact, virtually nothing explains the status quo over the last 14 years (much less the past nine), wherein divisional road teams have been winning as many (or more) Super Bowls as their home opponents.That is, to some extent, just freaky-deaky. Let me demonstrate by imagining an absurd case: Say there were one single best team in the playoffs, and that team won every game it played, and thus won the Super Bowl 100 percent of the time — and then assume playoff seeding were completely random. Since twice as many teams play in the wild-card round as those that get byes, the Super Bowl winner would end up being a TBFer two-thirds of the time. Thus, under the most absurdly extreme case imaginable, we would still expect the “trial by fire” to produce a champion at the same rate that the real-world trial by fire has over the past nine years.That absurd case is so crazy that it’s very unlikely that the TBF trend will continue as vigorously as it has in recent years. But I wouldn’t expect the phenomenon to go away, either. I expect that teams that win against strong opponents in a playoff environment will continue to be extremely dangerous, regardless of appearances.Sizing up the wild-card winnersOne thing we can do practically and theoretically is to consider what types of teams are most likely to exhibit the TBF power-up effect. So let’s take a gander at this year’s winners in the wild-card round.Dallas and Indianapolis are two division-winners who won in the wild-card round against fairly strong teams (the 11-5 Detroit Lions and 10-5-1 Cincinnati Bengals, respectively), and who weren’t that far behind their rivals to begin with. Counting the playoffs, Indianapolis now has the same number of wins as the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, and as of this moment Dallas has the best record in football (at 13-4). Both the Cowboys and the Colts face tough road games against the Packers at Lambeau and the Mannings in Denver. That makes it less likely that they’ll be picking up the TBF banner — unless they win. The difficulty of these games would make victories in them even more meaningful.The Baltimore Ravens had probably the most impressive win in the bye round against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They also have experience winning championships “the hard way” twice. And they’re playing the Patriots, who have been vulnerable to TBFers before. Since winning their last championship in 2004, the Patriots are only 5-4 against TBF teams as a bye team themselves, most notably losing to the Giants in the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowls, and to the eventual-champion Ravens in the 2012 AFC championship game.Of course, the most fun TBF case would be if the Carolina Panthers somehow kept winning. But at the moment, they haven’t accomplished much. In addition to their awful regular-season record, it’s not clear that beating the Arizona Cardinals without Carson Palmer on the field meant much (the Cards ended up 0-3 with Ryan Lindley starting this year). But if the Panthers somehow pull off a win against the powerhouse Seattle Seahawks this week, watch out!Charts by Reuben Fischer-Baum. read more

Former Buckeye wrestler adjusting to life as a coach

Ohio State alumnus and wrestling Big Ten Champion Lance Palmer followed his dreams and is now training for Mixed Martial Arts while coaching wrestling at Virginia Tech. This fall, Palmer heard there was a coaching position open for Virginia Tech’s wrestling team and traveled to the university the next day. Tony Robie, associate head coach for wrestling at Virginia Tech, said Palmer met the criteria the team was looking for. “Lance’s wrestling credentials speak for themselves,” Robie said. “He had a lot of success at the Division I level.” Although 23-year-old Palmer doesn’t have extensive experience in recruiting or administration, his biggest strength is his age, Robie said. “He is good at teaching our guys wrestling, getting on the mats, the physical part,” Robie said. Since he was in high school, Palmer knew he was interested in coaching. “Being in a coaching position has a lot to offer with experience and helping others achieve their goals,” he said. Aside from coaching, Palmer has also gotten involved with MMA since he graduated. He works out two to three times a day by practicing jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, sparring and other MMA training. He usually takes Saturday and Sunday off to travel with his team. “When we’re not doing wrestling, he is training,” said Kevin Dresser, head coach of the Virginia Tech wrestling team. “He is doing his mixed martial arts thing and staying sharp in the arena.” He said coaching and practicing with college wrestlers helps him train for his fights. “I see myself with a 3-0 in the MMA and helping out at VT,” Palmer said. “I can get the best of both worlds at the same time.” Robie said many successful MMA fighters have similar backgrounds to Palmer. He feels Palmer has a good shot as a fighter. “The sky is the limit,” Robie said. “He is a competitive and tough guy.” Palmer gives credit to his family members. He said they helped him get started with wrestling at a young age and pushed him to earn a full scholarship to OSU. “They have supported every decision I’ve made,” Palmer said. “A strong family base is the key to the success I’ve had so far.” read more