Forget Cineworld shares. This top growth stock looks a far better buy to me

first_imgForget Cineworld shares. This top growth stock looks a far better buy to me Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee. Image source: Getty Images. Paul Summers has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended FRONTIER DEVELOPMENTS PLC ORD 0.5P. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” The coronavirus has crushed the share prices of almost all leisure-related stocks. One of the most high-profile victims has been cinema-owner Cineworld (LSE: CINE). Since mid-February, its stock has dropped a simply horrible 70% in value. Could this be a great contrarian buy? Not in my opinion. 5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…Steering clear of CineworldCineworld was, of course, forced to close all its sites back in March in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19. While there’s now hope that restrictions will be lifted, things are very unlikely to return to normal soon. Indeed, the continuation of social distancing may even lead studios to postpone blockbuster releases until they can be sure of making a decent profit. They could even bypass the silver screen completely.The huge reduction in ticket sales isn’t the only problem Cineworld has. Thanks to a questionable acquisition strategy, the company has an absolute shedload of debt on the balance sheet. Reducing this burden could prove very difficult. What’s more, the relentless rise in the popularity of streaming services, such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, and the quality of home entertainment systems these days makes me wonder whether cinemas will ever be as popular as they once were. Why go to the trouble of travelling to a cinema and sitting among strangers when you can replicate at least some of the experience in your own living room?Taking all this into account, I just can’t see the road ahead being anything but rough for Cineworld and its shareholders. A valuation of just 4 times earnings may be enticing but feels fairly meaningless as things stand. For me, another part of the leisure sector looks a far safer bet, albeit at far higher valuations. A safer alternativeA clear beneficiary of lockdown has been gaming companies. With most of us stuck indoors, it’s no wonder this activity has become one of the most popular ways of passing the time. Today’s update from publisher Frontier Developments (LSE: FDEV) only serves as confirmation. The firm is behind four hugely popular games: Elite Dangerous, Planet Coaster, Jurassic World Evolution and, most recently, Planet Zoo. According to the company, demand for these titles has “continued to be high” over the last month. Sales of the aforementioned Planet Zoo, for example, passed the one million mark earlier in May, despite only being available since last November.With revenue now likely to come in above the previous range of £65-73m, Frontier now expects operating profit for 2019/20 will be “materially ahead” of the previous estimate (roughly £11m-£13m). What a difference to Cineworld’s plight!We’ll get another update on trading on 8 June. Nevertheless, CEO David Braben is already confident the company has “a bright future post-lockdown” and that new players will continue engaging with its games.One drawbackAs mentioned, the one issue with buying gaming stocks now is that most trade on (very) high valuations. Frontier’s shares were on an eye-watering P/E of 65 before this morning’s near-13% rise. As optimistic as I am on the company’s outlook, that’s too rich for me right now.We may, or may not, get a repeat of March’s market crash. If the former, I know which of Cineworld and Frontier I’d feel more comfortable taking a stake in. Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool.center_img Paul Summers | Wednesday, 20th May, 2020 | More on: CINE FDEV Enter Your Email Address Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. See all posts by Paul Summerslast_img read more

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Lost puppy leaves young boy longing

first_img Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits Latest Stories Troy falls to No. 13 Clemson Lost puppy leaves young boy longing Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration Print Article Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 8, 2016 By Jaine Treadwell The Wentlands began to canvas the area in hopes of finding Bryson’s best friend but feared that something had happened to her or that someone had picked her up.“Roxy is very friendly and she would have gone to anyone if they had called her,” Wentland said. “We just keep hoping that someone saw her and thought she was a lost dog and that they will bring her home.”Candy and AJ Wentland have searched all up and down Tennille Road for their son’s lost pup. They have posted flyers and made telephone calls. So far, nothing.“Roxy had on a hot pink collar and she will answer to her name,” Wentland said. “Bryson is lost without her. She makes him happy because he loves her so much. We just hope that anyone who has seen Roxy or knows anything about her will contact us. It would mean so much to Bryson to have her back.”Anyone with information about Roxy is asked to call the Wentlands at 1-334-341-3908 or 334-566-4270. Bryson has a rare bone disease, osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), which is a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause.“Bryson has had six broken legs and has had to have casts,” Wentland said. “When he was in a cast he couldn’t get around much and Roxy would sit right there with him. She was his favorite playmate. They loved each other. It breaks my heart to see him miss her so much.”The Wentlands have another Chihuahua, a male, and the dogs are allowed outside each day to exercise and have never gone far from the house.“It was Memorial Day weekend and we went to a barbecue and didn’t get back until late on Saturday night,” Wentland said. “I let the dogs out while we were gone. When we got back it was late and we went on to bed. Sunday morning, I went to let the dogs in and Roxy was not there. I called her but she didn’t come and that was not like her. We looked everywhere but couldn’t find her. It was not like Roxy to go far off. I knew something had happened to her.” By The Penny Hoarder Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies Are… Around the WebMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Blood Sugar BlasterIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Healthier LivingRemoving Moles & Skin Tags Has Never Been This EasyEssential HealthBet You’re Pretty Curious About Jaden’s Net Worth Right About Now, HuhBradofoThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancel You Might Like Pike County 4-H’ers enjoy week at state camp Students from Pike County recently attended a week-long campat the 4-H Center in Columbiana. Participants enjoyed the opportunity to swim,… read more Email the author Skip Roxy has been missing from the Wentland home on Tennille Road since the early hours of Sunday, May 29.Candy Wentland said she has done all she knows to do to find the two-year-old brown and black female Chihuahua that is her son’s best friend.“We just keeping hoping and praying that someone will find her and return her to Bryson,” Wentland said. “She means so much to him. He’s heartbroken without her and we are heartbroken for him.” Sponsored Content Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day For three-year-old Bryson Wentland, puppy love has deep meaning and stirs a longing loss.Since Bryson was no more than a pup himself, he has snuggled in bed each night with his best friend Roxy and awakened each morning to her “kiss” on his face.These days, Bryson cries himself to sleep at night and wakes with a whimper – the sounds of a lost puppy love. Book Nook to reopenlast_img read more

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Holladay powers to West Liberty win

first_imgBy Jerry MackeyWEST LIBERTY, Iowa (June 25) –The iWireless IMCA Late Model 25-lapper capped off the night’s racing action Saturday at West Liberty Raceway and Chad Holladay scored his third win of the season on a very high-speed track.The high humidity made for a heavy, fast track and the Shepherd Engine-powered Late Model of Hol­laday found the conditions to his liking as he took command early from race leader Ron Boyse and went on to score an impressive win. Andy Eckrich made a late race run to finish se­cond ahead of Boyse.The Performance Concepts IMCA Modifieds continue to thrill the West Liberty Raceway fans with great racing and Saturday night’s main event was another nail biter. Jerry Luloff came away the winner breaking a two-year winless drought at West Liberty. The win was a very hard-fought one as Luloff had to fight off eventual second place finisher Chris Zogg and a fast closing Bruce Hanford at the finish line.Dalton Simonsen scored his fourth Weikert Iron & Metal IMCA Northern SportMod win. Simon­sen advanced from the ninth starting position in scoring the win ahead of Aaron Osweiler and Jarrett Brown.Johnny Spaw took advantage of a late-race tangle of the two leaders and went on to win the Kile Motorsports IMCA Stock Car feature. Spaw crossed under the checkers ahead of Greg Gill and David Brandies.The US 6 Bodyworks IMCA Sport Compact main event was very much in doubt until the last lap. Cody Van Dusen was able to score the win over a fast closing Jason KlerkDerus.Racing will continue at the West Liberty Raceway on Saturday, July 2 with a full program of IMCA Weekly Racing Series action plus it will also be the fourth annual Drivers’ Reunion.last_img read more

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Winning Post: Regulatory enforcement – real punishment for a virtual breach

first_img GVC absorbs retail shocks as business recalibrates for critical H2 trading August 13, 2020 Share StumbleUpon JPJ Group, in its half year results, has confirmed it has signed a share purchase agreement for the sale of its social business for cash consideration of £18.1 million. Related Articles Share FSB selects Glenn Elliott as new COO August 12, 2020 Winning Post: Swedish regulator pushes back on ‘Storebror’ approach to deposit limits August 24, 2020 As has been well reported, Ladbrokes (GVC) will have to cease trading for a day on 3 September as punishment meted out by the Belgian Gaming Commission for continuing to offer Virtuals product against (disputed) regulatory changes – a product it once held a national monopoly over. Ladbrokes’ Belgium business represents c. 1% of GVC’s group revenue. If 3 September is an average day it would cost GVC c. €0.1m in revenue, which would probably drop to c. €600k in profit terms, but given the 3rd is a Monday, the figure is likely to be somewhat less than this. However, while the overall amount at risk might be negligible for a business the size of GVC, the type of punishment is perhaps significant.The tendency, and precedent, is to focus on the (small) amount, consider the Belgian response to be a bit ‘alternative’ (especially to a generation brought up on Eurotrash), and move on. However, the fiscal regulatory world is changing rapidly in a number of jurisdictions and regulators will be increasingly looking to other jurisdictions both for inspiration and for signs of operator behavior. Public punishments in one jurisdiction are therefore taking on a doubly important meaning for operators, especially those seeking to collect and expand POC licenses.While the amount might not be significant from a group perspective and the competitive landscape in Belgium is not sufficiently developed for a one day closure to be particularly harmful, in our view, imagine if this were carried out in another jurisdiction. The most extreme impact for GVC would be the UK: if all group licences were to be affected for just one day, this would cost c. €3-4m and the brand damage would be material. While we are not suggesting the GB Gambling Commission is even close to considering such sanctions, the precedent should be sobering (and the Commission has meted out bigger disgorgements – just without the much more public trading disruption).Another issue raised is question of how sanctions are determined and communicated. This week’s reports indicate that GVC may not have been informed directly of the Belgian Gaming Authority’s decision to enforce this penalty – but learned of it via third parties. If true, this represents a worrying development in approaches to regulation.As we have written before, the mounting cost of licensing failures is likely to place a greater burden on regulators for transparency of determination. In Britain, the long string of voluntary settlements (which few amongst the major operators have escaped) have as a rule represented the culmination of many months of discussion between the Commission and the licensee concerned. Operators may not always have liked (or agreed with) the end result; but they can have had few complaints about the level of their inclusion in the process. Equally, there is an argument that a visibly ‘tough’ regulator reduces the likelihood of negative change at the legislative level (more of that below).The regulatory landscape in Europe and elsewhere is shifting as a result of changes to market supply (including but not limited to the growing dominance of remote – machines are as hot a topic as ever), greater insight into (or fears about) harms, and pervading negative political moods (which encourage displacement of scrutiny with ‘political’ responses). Given the pressure that these factors place on the regulator-licensee relationship, trust is critical. Deterioration in trust between the regulator and the regulated (often arising from poor communication) is likely to result in adverse results all-round.The sanction itself is not without logic (after all, temporary trading bans sit on the same logical path as outright licence revocations) and other regulators may consider adding it to their arsenals. Indeed, next month’s International Association of Gaming Regulators annual conference (in Copenhagen) offers an opportunity for cross-fertilisation of such ideas (as well as the development of cross-jurisdictional regulatory pacts). We may also hope that the Belgian Gaming Authority learns from its peers about how to conduct licensees relations.On 3 September we will have the opportunity to witness an interesting natural experiment in terms of what Ladbrokes does (it will surely be under scrutiny from a number of stakeholders), how competitors behave and how the Belgian Gaming Authority and other regulators interpret the success of the trading ban. However, rather than displaying simply morbid interest in the regulatory banana skins of a competitor, GVC’s highly containable (this time) plight should be seen as a need to improve both regulatory relationships and work on more effective compliance responses.Global: Regulation – Mad Men losing the battle; affiliate loses the plot?“It’s nice to know you’re here. It’s nice to know you’re here. Now buzz off!” This is what passes for jovial football banter these days – at least so far as my prurient ears can make out. The lyrics also seem to be of growing relevance to the remote gambling industry – outside of the USA at least.This week, the Irish Football Association encouraged speculation that it may follow the English FA’s example by binning its partnership with Ladbrokes (and nixing any future gambling tie-ups) once the current marketing deal expires later this year. Gambling has been a hot topic in Ireland in recent years – the result of the government’s Sisyphean efforts to update the country’s ancient gambling laws (some parts still so old, they were framed when mobile gaming meant a pack of playing cards on a charabanc) and a string of press stories (and court cases) involving high profile Irish sports stars with gambling problems.While the FAI’s decision is unlikely to be significant in itself, it marks an increasingly uncomfortable relationship between (non-quadraped) sports and the promotion of gambling. Over the course of the last year we have witnessed important regulatory tightening of gambling marketing in a number of jurisdictions – notably Australia and Italy. In Great Britain, the Labour Party has called for a winnowing of sports sponsorship and it is likely that this will be a central theme within its review of gambling and mental health next month.Meanwhile in Spain, the new socialist government appears to be on a course of reform with GamblingCompliance reporting this week that ministers are likely to “propose more muscular regulation on gambling advertising, but looks set to resist pressure from politicians and action groups for an Italy-style all out ban”.It is because remote gambling lacks the defensible space (licensing and property) enjoyed by its terrestrial counterparts that advertising has become such a key battleground. The scale and nature of marketing for remote operators has excited controversy in the countries with the most liberal regulations. The backlash has been building for some time – spurred on in some cases by elements of the industry (motivated by the prospect of competitive advantage, concern for the industry’s reputation and perhaps in some cases heart-felt CSR concerns). Meanwhile, as one Westminster insider observed recently, defenders of the industry’s right to advertise seem unable to come up with positive consumer arguments for maintaining the status quo.The post-PASPA USA is bucking the trend at the moment. Casino giant MGM Resorts has agreed a $25m sponsorship deal with basketball’s governing body, the NBA – and further deals are expected to follow. Given cultural sensitivities around sports and betting in the US, the long-term future of gambling advertising in the New World may rest in part on the ability of operators to learn from chastening experiences in the Old.Moving from the controversial to the bizarre, a study this week has (allegedly) revealed that three-quarters of 18-25-year-old regular bettors borrow money in order to gamble. Given that borrowing to gamble is a diagnostic criterion for problem gambling, it suggests that (at most) only one-in-four regular gamblers could possibly be classified as non-problem gamblers. Such claims are not usual (or necessarily implausible depending on how “regular” is defined) but the source in this case is a turn-up for the books.Somewhat improbably, the sponsor and agent of the ‘research’ in this instance is the online affiliate site Even in the sometimes bonkers world of affiliate marketing, the use of stories of gambling harm to encourage gambling is a new one on us. Thank God it’s the weekend.GB horseracing: business news – Toast for Towcester?It has been reported that Towcester Racecourse is entering administration. The course is a much loved small independent (c. £3m revenue) that has been brave enough to continue a policy of free admission and also expanded into dogs during a period of significant retrenchment in that product. However, escalating costs, fixture disruption due to dog track development (which became more permanent than perhaps was initially expected) and a complicated loan structure (including the Hesketh family, the original owners of the course) have reportedly led to the directors having no option but to seek legal protection from creditors.  ARC is already reported to be riding the rescue, although the group has already part benefited from the cream of Towcester’s fixtures (7 out of 17 sold in 2015 for £1m to make way for and part-fund dogs expansion) and ongoing media rights through TRP/ATR structures. It might be tempting to see in the demise of Towcester a broader sign of the fragility of the GB racecourse ecosytem (a state more often lamented than understood, in our view). However, there are many ‘special circumstances’ within Towcester’s issues (deliberate loss of fixtures, deliberate dog track development, complex financial structure, including the family) which more than muddies the waters in terms of a trend (or, indeed a clear outcome). Overall, GB attendances have been robust and media rights have been stronger than ever. There are undoubtedly serious issues brewing for GB racing with the loss of LBO media income, but we do not see the writing on the wall by any means yet… New Jersey: sportsbetting – first full month hopesNew Jersey’s first full month of sports wagering has seen five landbased sportsbooks join the fray and post US$3.8m in revenue – optically an impressive start, especially as not all sites are onstream and the US sports season has yet to kick off in earnest. However, the way the NJ DGE calculates revenue includes the full value of unsettled bets – materially inflating the revenue figure, especially in the early days of a market and during a pre-season period (and this is both). Given that the DGE has reported a 5.8% ‘settled’ margin (in line with expectations), we can infer that the real revenue figure is about half that reported. In other words, c. 1% of landbased wagering revenue of US$272m for the month (itself up an impressive 10%). Equally, Monmouth Park reinforced the limitations of first-mover advantage, seeing a 63% fall in MoM activity. More encouragingly, online gaming reported 26% growth to US$26m – reinforcing our view that online will rapidly become a far more important battleground than landbased for NJ sports – a theory which August data should start to cast some initial light on. For now, we reiterate our view that while US casinos have a theoretical opportunity to create a powerful landbased sports product, the current offer is unlikely to deliver much more than niche relative to gaming.  Australia: video games regulation – no lootA senate inquiry is to be conducted in relation to the proximity of loot boxes within video games to gambling. This follows recent similar investigations by a number of European jurisdictions, where Belgium took the decision to completely outlaw loot boxes, while France, the UK and Netherlands decided against regulatory intervention except where chance items had monetary or equivalent value.According to press reports, state submissions from New South Wales and Victoia noted that items earnt through loot boxes may have ‘value’ to players, it was not thought the act of receiving random items fits the legal definition of gambling. Further submissions focus on the ‘psychologically addictive’ nature of the act of chance for prize within games and the overall effect on players its potential propensity to encourage real money gambling.Loot boxes and treasure chests have been part of the fabric of games for almost as long as they have existed and are just another addition to the RNG elements. The problems begin when items ‘earned’ begin to have a convertible value either monetary or for exchange (as ‘skins’). While is unlikely to be the intention of games publishers to encourage gambling or gambling type behavior, it is potentially an unfortunate consequence of the ability to earn valuable items within the game (which is particularly sensitive as many minors have access to this). It is inevitable that further government and regulatory scrutiny will continue – however, the lack of a consistent decision on the status of loot boxes will make it very difficult for publishers to make universal alterations to its titles.Pakistan: cricket spot-fixing – Jamshed banned for ten years for PSL fixingPakistani cricketer Nasir Jamshed has become the sixth player to be banned for an involvement in spot-fixing in the 2017 Pakistani Super League. Jamshed, described by the Pakistan Cricket Board as the “lynchpin” of the conspiracy, has been handed a ban of 10 years (having previously been banned for a year for not cooperating with the investigation into the matter).This highlights the importance to sports events and leagues of ensuring their integrity is well protected. While the fact that the fixing has been prosecuted in this case is reassuring, there is also a considerable risk that the PSL will be tarnished by this episode in the long term, with supporters and investors possibly finding it difficult to trust the product going forward, in our view. It serves as a reminder that, as far as sports integrity is concerned, curing a problem is far better than tolerating it, but prevention easily trumps both.US: Blockchain – linking together?Capital One is working on using blockchain technology to establish more convenient and secure user authentication methods for instances such as banking security. It has applied for a patent on a Blockchain system that will receive, store and retrieve encrypted user authentication data, according to a filling released yesterday.The proposed solution is described as “a distributed, non-reputable record of authentication interactions” that allows users to authenticate themselves across multiple institutions, but limits how much personal information is shared between them. In effect, the method retrieves identification data on a user when they commence the authentication process (assuming the user has a profile set up). The system will authenticate or reject the user based on the received authentication information, but the user data itself is kept securely on the blockchain.These developments will have significant implications for the gambling sector, both directly and in terms of payments / supply chain developments. As a start, this could be implemented as part of the online account opening and KYC process, where by this technology can be used to link and authenticate the customers details across multiple gambling organisations. However, blockchain is a classic issue of where disruption meets regulation the impact may not be remotely what was desired. While several POS jurisdictions are already embracing blockchain, it will be critical for POC regulators to understand and facilitate this technology for the inevitable disruption coming to be a positive one for the compliant end of the sector…Global: M&A Watch – Gaming Realms; JPJ Group; FanDuelGaming Realms has confirmed that it has completed the same of its UK online casino B2C business to River UK Casino Limited and that initial consideration of £4.2m (cash) has been received. Submit It has been reported that the co-founders of FanDuel, including former CEO Nigel Eccles, have issued a claim for $120m against new owners Paddy Power Betfair, having not received any consideration in the recent deal to acquire the business. It is reported that they claim the business was deliberately undervalued when its value should have been recalculated following the repeal of PASPA by SCOTUSlast_img read more

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Oscar winners saluted their ‘team’—it works the same in the sports world

first_imgby Aubrey Bruce, For New Pittsburgh CourierAs I watched the Oscars this past weekend in all its glamour, glitz and glory, one glaring fact leaped out at me. Whatever cinema-works that took home statues and even those that were merely nominated seemed to have a common denominator—teamwork.Aside from the lead and supporting actors’ roles, cinematographers, sound editors, video editors as well as set designers all shared the limelight with their on-camera colleagues.When it was in its infancy, professional football was almost totally built on teamwork, like its “rugby” predecessor. However, sometimes the professional football game seems in many ways to have evolved like a prodigal grandson, returning home only after his inheritance has been foolishly squandered on frivolous and wasteful things.Today’s game, in many cases, grossly overvalues some so-called marquee positions and grossly undervalues other positions. That is why there is no true sense of “equipoise” when it comes to salaries or marketing. But now, “the chickens have come home to roost.” Athletes no longer passively permit owners, agents, anything or anyone to place a value on their talent or services.Let’s begin with the case of the future Pittsburgh Steelers Hall-of-Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In 2018 the team finished the season with a record of 9-6-1 and missed the playoffs, with Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger played a little more than a game and a quarter out of a 16-game schedule in 2019 and the Steelers’ win-loss record was 8-8 without Roethlisberger as well as his primary offensive weapon, the recently exiled Antonio Brown. The last Super Bowl that the Steelers won was Super Bowl XLIII, beating the Arizona Cardinals by the score of 27-23. If not for a 100-plus-yard interception by Steelers linebacker James Harrison at the conclusion of the first half and a miraculous catch by Santonio Holmes near the end of the game, there might not have been a Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl victory. Why, well, in Super Bowl XLV played on Feb. 6, 2011 the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers by a mere six points, 31-25. In that game, Roethlisberger threw two picks, one was a costly pick six. It has been nine years since Ben Roethlisberger has competed in a Super Bowl or even won a meaningful playoff game, yet he has successfully negotiated questionable raises that seem to have been based on his individual performance as opposed to the success of the team. However, when it comes to others cashing in on their performances, have the same principals been applied?New England Patriots’ half-cheater and half-competer, Tom Brady, is another example of the fat cats getting fatter. Brady is unstoppable as long as he has the desired cast surrounding him as well as a few illegitimate and illegal processes available to him.It has been proven that when Terrific Tom loses key personnel, combined with his access to cheating, then Brady may very well be just an above-normal QB. When Brady’s tight end and security blanket, Rob Gronkowski, unexpectedly retired in March 2019, Brady could no longer throw a 15-yard pass and expect a 15- or 20-yard run after the catch. Brady also lost a humongous blocking presence in both the passing and running game. Gronkowski made Tom Brady’s football life immeasurably easy. So when teams, agents and players start tossing around the term “franchise quarterback” they had better make sure they are in the process of putting the franchise around him. Don’t believe me? Then go chase down ex-Steelers wide receiver Antonio “madman” Brown. He’ll tell you through tears that no man, no matter how valuable, is the franchise and if they tell you otherwise, regard that as “fake news.”last_img read more

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first_imgA typical Donegal hedgerow.Last week we chatted about Daffodils and looking ahead to Spring colour, this week our focus is on the old hedgerows which surround our fields, line the edge of the country path you take the dog for a stroll on, mark our townlands, or simply give you a smile when you see them in blossom in the spring on your drive to work.Here in Donegal we benefit from an estimated 6,500 miles of hedgerows, with hedges characterised by Ash, Hawthorn and Blackthorn (with some holly and gorse) being the most commonly found in the county. The most frequent tree species found in hedgerows is Ash, 28% of all trees are Ash.In survey work they tend to consider hedgerows with 4 or more species per 30m strip of native woody hedge species as bring native rich – scented honeysuckles and other scramblers are included in this species count, but obviously their appearance in a hedgerow provides further habitats and food sources for many species of wildlife. Over 40% of our hedgerows are considered to be species rich, providing many miles of habitat for wildlife of all types. Hedge training and pruning is essential for a hedgerow to provide its purpose in being a stock-proof boundary, but also for habitat and aesthetic value.Connie picking blackberriesNearly 40% of hedgerows in the county are described as being leggy, this is where large amounts of stem are visible and the hedge doesn’t have that fullness to the ground. This can be caused by incorrect pruning at the time of installation and poor management when the hedge was young – its recommended when you plant a hedgerow to cut the plants down to 6” to allow the plants to thicken from the base (it’s a tough call when you’ve just bought plants that are 24” or 36” high from the likes of Finn Valley Nurseries, but its what’s needed to get a thick hedge)The History of hedgerows in Ireland is well described in ‘Hedgerow Survey of County Donegal.’ Under the Gaelic system of joint landownership there was little need for permanent enclosure or fencing.Instead tillage plots were protected with fencing for one season before being moved elsewhere. There is, however, some evidence to suggest that some ring forts (raths) were set with blackthorn and whitethorn. Permanent banks with or without hedges on them may also have existed. The Normans introduced the concept of land ownership. With the subsequent introduction of the Landlord System, tenants rented fixed plots of land from the landlord. The division of land and enclosure of commons was encouraged, even in some cases enforced by landlords.The Medieval Period saw townlands become the smallest unit of land tenure. They were bounded by banks and ditches, which often had hedges too. The land within was largely unenclosed, though this was dependent on the landowner and their preferences. Townland boundary hedges thus tend to have larger banks and ditches than other hedges, and are often among the oldest hedges in the Irish landscape.For these reasons they may also contain a more diverse flora than other, non-townland boundary hedges. Old double ditches with paths running up through them were used by pedestrians in times of flood, and were a favourite route to the fair with animals because the double ditch recognized no townland barriers (Sharkey, 1985).It is evident from the first series Ordnance Survey maps, made in the 1820s, that by this stage much of County Donegal’s agricultural land had been subdivided into relatively small fields, whether by banks, drains, walls or hedges.In 1824, a House of Commons Committee recommended a survey of Ireland at a scale of six-inches to-one-statute-mile to facilitate a uniform valuation for local taxation purposes. The survey was directed by Colonel Thomas Colby who had available to him officers of the Royal Engineers and three companies of sappers and miners. In addition to this, civil servants were recruited to help with sketching, drawing and engraving maps, and eventually, in the 1830s, the writing of the Memoirs.The Memoirs, compiled between 1830 and 1840 under the general direction of Lieutenant (later Sir) Thomas Larcom, were written descriptions intended to accompany the Ordnance Survey maps. They are a unique source for the history of the northern half of Ireland before the Great Famine.Arranged on a parish basis, they generally follow a particular pattern and record natural features (hills,lakes, bogs, woods, climate, etc); modern topography (towns, public buildings, mills, gentlemen’s seats, bridges, roads, markets and fairs, etc); the social economy (local government, dispensaries, occupations, the poor, religion, emigration, habits of the people – dress, food, customs, etc); and ancient topography (antiquities and ancient monuments). They therefore document a great wealth of information about the landscape and about society in the 1830s.The Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland Parishes of County Donegal I and II (Day & McWilliams (eds.) (1997) describes the quality of the land, the sizes of farms and the nature of the fields and their associated boundaries of several Donegal parishes. To age a hedgerow there is a simple, well researched formula you can follow. Within a hedgerow count the species in a 30m length x 100 then divide by 30. Perform this over a number of areas within the same hedge, avoiding the start and finish of the hedge – as you’ll likely find garden escapees in these areas. If you follow the guidelines above you’ll get a good idea of the hedgerows age.Next week – Autumn lawn care focusGareth AustinGareth Austin is a member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, lectures in Horticulture with National Learning Network and can be heard regularly on BBC Radio Foyle. Join Gareth on Twitter @GardenerGarethGARDENING WITH GARETH – HEDGING YOUR BETS! was last modified: September 26th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalGardeningGareth Austinlast_img read more

adminDecember 22, 2019nishxLeave a Comment

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Gautrain beats dolomitic challenges

first_img17 March 2009As construction on South Africa’s rapid rail link, known as the Gautrain, has moved northwards from Johannesburg to Pretoria, engineers from around the world have worked smartly to overcome the challenges thrown up by different geological conditions along the route.The tunnelling that has taken place under the suburbs of Johannesburg has been relatively straightforward. Two methods have been used – dynamiting the tunnels, and the cut and cover method, which involves digging a hole, then covering a roof over it. These are fairly standard engineering jobs when excavating tunnels for an underground train.But with construction moving further north, dolomitic conditions in the Pretoria area have posed challenges which have produced a range of engineering solutions.In dolomitic conditions, the ground is unstable and may collapse, forming sinkholes, at any time. The Sudwala Caves in Mpumalanga province and the Wonder Cave in the Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg are examples of dolomitic caves. Changes in the water table, often brought about by human intervention through the sinking of boreholes or leaking utility services, cause the sinkholes to develop, often with tragic consequences.“Designing and installing heavy foundations in these conditions has been a unique challenge for the project team and Bombela mobilised a team of international and South Africa experts in the fields of geology, ground investigation, foundation design and construction, in order to accomplish this,” says a Gautrain statement.StudiesThe Gautrain team looked at studies recording 800 sinkholes. “Ninety-five percent of sinkholes are less than 15 metres in diameter,” says Errol Braithwaite, an engineer and technical executive at Bombela, the concession company building the Gautrain. Despite most sinkholes being less than 15 metres across, the engineers are designing the route as if all possible sinkholes will be 15 metres in diameter.“We have done a lot of ground preparation,” says Braithwaite. “We have been very careful about the dolomite.”The Gautrain will appear above ground at Marlboro station, in Alexandra, after travelling underground for 15 kilometres, from Park Station in downtown Johannesburg. It will then travel to Pretoria and OR Tambo International Airport above ground, on a viaduct or bridge.The viaduct through Centurion, immediately south of Pretoria, will be more than four kilometres long. The Centurion Rugby Club had to be relocated to make way for it.Solutions to dolomiteWhere bedrock is relatively shallow, a specially constructed mass concrete mattress is used, making it possible to build in unstable conditions.In areas of deeper bedrock, voids and cavities in the dolomite are filled with grouting. Piles are then drilled into the bedrock, and a viaduct pier is constructed.The soil can also be treated in other ways – it can be compacted either by repeated lifting and dropping of purpose-made steel pounders using a crane, or it can be “pre-loaded” by placing a thousand 10-ton concrete blocks on the viaduct foundation and then building the viaduct pier or column above this.In other areas ground beams or ground bridges have been built, stretching 15 metres in length, covering possible sinkholes. Sensors in the bridge will pick up ground activity, indicating a potential sinkhole opening up. Even if one does open up, the bridge will hold, and repair work can be undertaken beneath it.Construction of viaductsCommuters between Johannesburg and Pretoria would have noticed the huge viaducts going up alongside the freeways, and in some cases, crossing them. To support these going over the freeways, the engineers have sunk shafts of seven metres in diameter some 30 metres down to the bedrock.The viaducts next to the freeways are like huge concrete T-shapes, with two arms growing each way. Whereas viaducts away from the freeways are built using pre-cast concrete segments, put in place using large steel girders and cranes, and strengthened and bound together with steel cabling and high-strength epoxy glue, this is not possible alongside a busy road.In this case the T-shaped viaduct is built on site, with each side caste in the air simultaneously, balancing one another out carefully until they join with the growing viaducts on either side.Construction teamThe construction team, composed of professionals from 26 countries, has had to deal with a range of issues. From relocating indigenous frogs and moving 100-year-old graves, to constructing 50 small bridges over the undulating terrain, and moving over 1 000 underground utilities.Some six-million cubic metres of earth have been moved around, dug out in places and used to build bridges or overpasses in other places. Bridge walls have been built at bridges in high-density areas, to cut the noise level.Some 1 100 properties have been expropriated to make way for the construction of the Gautrain. While many houses had to be demolished in the Centurion area, Teazers nightclub refused to move and the track had to be re-directed around it.So far, 13 kilometres of the 80km track have been constructed. In all, 11 289 people are employed in an area of 41 square kilometres of construction.The rail link between Sandton and the airport will be complete on 27 June 2010, two weeks after the start of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.But, says Barbara Jensen, the communications and marketing executive for the Gautrain, a R150-million incentive has been built into the contract to get Bombela to finish the Gautrain two weeks early, the day before the World Cup begins.“We will only be in a position to determine whether we need to accelerate to finish two weeks before 8 June 2010 by June this year,” she says.The full 80km route will be complete by the end of March 2011.Source: City of Johannesburglast_img read more

adminDecember 19, 2019vfkxnLeave a Comment

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USDA grant awarded for Ohio specialty crops

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded more than $113 million in program grants to support farmers growing fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops, also known as “specialty crops,” through research, agricultural extension activities, and programs to increase demand and address the needs of America’s specialty crop industry. This includes a grant to Ohio State University for $46,253.These grants are administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).“Increasing market opportunities for local food producers is a sound investment in America’s rural economies, while also increasing access to healthy food for our nation’s families,” Vilsack said. “These investments will support local and regional markets, and improve access to healthy food for millions of children and supply thousands of farmers markets, restaurants and other businesses with fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables. The grants also help growers solve technology needs or make better informed decisions on profitability and sustainability, leading to stronger rural American communities and businesses.”The grant for OSU program seeks to increase specialty crop competitiveness by helping Ohio growers with organic production and food safety grant. The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association will provide Ohio beginning and existing organic farmers direct technical support and educational programming to help improve organic production and marketing skills. The project will also help transition other growers to certified organic production, and will help farmers of all sizes and levels of experience to establish and implement on-farm food safety plans.USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is awarding $63 million to 755 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program projects nation-wide. The grants are issued to State departments of agriculture for projects that help support specialty crop growers, including locally grown fruits, vegetables, and nursery crops, including floriculture through research and programs to increase demand. Since 2009, AMS has awarded 385 grants totaling $392.9 million for 5,484 projects, including those announced today.For example, an USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is announcing $50 million in grants funded through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), which is made available through the 2014 Farm Bill. This program develops and disseminates science-based tools to address the needs of specific crops across the entire spectrum of specialty crops production, from researching plant genetics to developing new production innovations and developing methods to respond to food safety hazards.In fiscal year 2015, NIFA made 15 new awards totaling more than $40 million. Other fiscal year 2015 grants include:University of California, Davis, Calif., $4,584,535University of California, Davis, Calif., $9,450University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $4,438,003University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $3,404,674University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla., $3,456,195Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $6,515,655Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., $27,606Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., $4,478,345North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $6,745,400Agriculture & Environmental Geographic Information Systems, Great Falls, Va., $46,257Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., $2,688,111University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $226,906USDA Agricultural Research Service, Peoria, Ill., $3,672,482USDA Agricultural Research Service, Houston, Texas, $46,350last_img read more

adminDecember 18, 2019zcpmwLeave a Comment

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Ohio State womens volleyball set for Kentucky in 2nd round of NCAA

Sophomore middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe waits to serve during a game against Lipscomb on Dec. 5 in Lexington, Ky., during the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament. OSU won, 3-0.Credit: Chris Slack / Lantern photographerLEXINGTON, Ky. — Ohio State and Kentucky have not played one another since the Wildcats defeated the Buckeyes in four sets in the 2012 NCAA women’s volleyball tournament, in Lexington, Ky.But after two years have gone by, each team has changed. And with that comes a chance at redemption.OSU and Kentucky are scheduled to square off Saturday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament after the Buckeyes swept Lipscomb on Friday.The No. 13 Wildcats were 15-3 in the 2014-15 regular season at Memorial Coliseum, but against ranked competition, things didn’t go their way.Playing five ranked teams this season, the Wildcats went 1-4, including a 1-2 record against ranked opponents at home. Their losses at home came to then-No. 6 USC and then-No. 7 Florida, while they swept then-No. 22 Texas A&M at home on Oct. 5.The No. 18 Buckeyes are 4-7 against ranked opponents on the season, and were 1-5 on the road in those games. Their lone ranked win on the road came against then-No. 8 Nebraska on Oct. 4 in five-sets.Now with OSU and the Wildcats set to face-off on Kentucky’s home court, both teams will have to adjust after playing a night earlier.“Fatigue is always something I worry about,” Buckeye coach Geoff Carlston said. “But I think we’ve done a pretty good job as a group of coaches, to taper a little bit, in terms of how we’re lifting and how we’re going about the length of practices … it’s a necessity in the Big Ten. So I think our team is pretty fresh.  We’re as healthy as we’ve been, for a long time, so the kids will be ready.”OSU hasn’t played in a back-to-back since Nov. 7-8, when it faced Maryland and Rutgers. On the other side, the Wildcats haven’t played in a back-to-back, since they played in the Carolina Classic Sept. 12-13.Kentucky coach Craig Skinner said his team can adjust to the Buckeyes’ style of play, even though they haven’t played them this year.“Because we’ve gone through game plans thirty- some times this year, there’s going to be a lot of things that we’re going to say that they’ve already done,” Skinner said. “We’re not going to tell them things that they haven’t executed before. There’s not enough turnaround time. We’re going to give them information that we’ve executed on certain teams in the past, and let us go after it, see where it falls.Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal commented on the possibility of OSU and the Wildcats playing before the second match Friday, between Kentucky and Oakland. One thing he said OSU needed to pay attention to is the play of Wildcats’ middle blockers.“I think that what you’ve seen out of Kentucky, as of late, especially with (freshman middle blocker) Kaz Brown, is more middle play and a lot more middle attacks,” Rosenthal said. “And I think that Ohio State’s gonna have to focus on that a little bit more. Obviously, everybody wants to focus on (senior outside hitter Lauren) O’Conner and what she can do. I think that’s gonna be fun to see as the outsides go at it. (Junior outside hitter Shelby) Workman on the outside does a real nice job.”Against the Golden Grizzlies, O’Conner led all players in kills with 14, followed by Brown with 10.  Workman provided six digs and three kills.One category that the Wildcats seemed to struggle in against the Golden Grizzlies, was service errors, in which the team had 11.The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start. read more

adminSeptember 28, 2019qhaegLeave a Comment

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