Wisconsin’s o-line working through transition

first_imgTravis Frederick is widely expected to fill in at center on the offensive line after the early departure of Peter Konz. Frederick is one of few offensive linemen to know his spot on the line next season.[/media-credit]At a program renowned for the pure mass of its offensive linemen who often manhandled opponents, more impressive skills such as versatility are often overlooked.Standing as a testament of each player’s deep understanding of the different techniques and responsibilities of each position, the ability to line up at several spots along the offensive line was a trademark of now departed O-line coach Bob Bostad’s system.Redshirt junior Travis Frederick, the centerpiece of this year’s line, started 11 games at left guard and two more at center while filling in for All-American Peter Konz last season. Ryan Groy, another returning trenchman who saw serious playing time last year, shared the spot with Frederick’s place at left guard and also lined up at center. And though the offensive line’s basic scheme and approach will remain nearly identical under new position coach Mike Markuson, this constant rotation of players at different spots likely will not be as commonplace under Markuson.“I think it’s going to be a little bit less [position changes] than you’ve seen in the past,” Frederick said. “The new coach wants to keep it focused on one position, and get you moving in there.”As the offensive line looks to fill the voids of three starters in Konz, Kevin Zeitler and former right tackle Josh Oglesby, the Badgers are experimenting with different players at several spots on the line. And though the spring may be a kind of musical chairs among offensive linemen, by August Markuson hopes to have a fairly stable list of his starters for next season’s opener.Frederick has all but locked up the spot at center – a position his new coach believes suits the Sharon, Wis., native’s intelligence for the game – and though not set in stone, Ryan Groy and Ricky Wagner look like the probable starters at left guard and left tackle, respectively. But along the right side, where Zeitler and Oglesby played last year, the competition is much more open. “Obviously there’s some depth issues there, but you just got to fight through that, try to get guys in the right position where they can feel comfortable helping the team,” Markuson said. “So that’s why we’re moving around some, experimenting.”Wagner, who started all 14 games for Wisconsin last season at left tackle, mentioned that his preferred spot is at right guard.While players say they valued the increased versatility of playing two or three different spots in the same year, many seem to appreciate the fact that they can focus their work on a single position. Rob Havenstein, Oglesby’s backup, explained the extra preparation required when there was the potential of being thrown into a different spot.“For me last year, I was the backup tackle, so I watched a lot of tackle,” Havenstein said. “But I also knew I could be thrown in there at guard, so watch some film at guard, get your mind right, and then just have technique sound in practice.”But in a system that has become a breeding ground for NFL-caliber offense lineman, filling in vacated spots has become little more than an annual routine. Havenstein – an early frontrunner for the starting spot at right tackle currently nursing a shoulder injury – noted that he always emulated his predecessors in Oglesby and current tackle Gabe Carimi, now with the Chicago Bears.This cycle of younger linemen picking up tips and improving their technique by learning from their accomplished predecessors is something Frederick sees as a strength of the program.“That’s something our offensive line has always been really good at,” Frederick said. “Just having a chance to step up and taking advantage of that, guys that are just stepping up and taking their play to the next level.“Our group does a good job of fostering that development and moving forward with that.”Despite all the change taking place around UW’s offensive line, Frederick is pleased with the chemistry he has seen from the newest collection of burly run-blockers.Among that group there is perhaps no spot more wide open than right guard, the former home of Zeitler. Casey Dehn looks to have a good shot at landing the starting job. However, fifth-year senior Robert Burge, a player who has spent a majority of his career as a special teams player, is also competing for the spot.This major transition for players comes during an off-season stretch where the Badgers lost their offensive line coach and their offensive coordinator, the two coaches that work most closely with this tight-knit group. But Frederick found a silver lining in all this turnover: The experimentation with different players that comes with a fresh face at the helm has drawn familiarized more players with each other, preparing them for the inevitable moment when someone goes down with an injury.And at Wisconsin, regardless of how the approach to the game changes under Markuson, the standards offensive linemen hold themselves to remain a bastion of stability.“I don’t think we’ll be much different, just replacing a couple All-Americans, but every year we kind of fill of those positions,” Wagner said. “Just kind of different techniques, a couple different plays here and there.”last_img read more

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Making Up Facts to Fit a Narrative

first_imgTo be a good evolutionary scientist, write your narrative first. Then observe things. Finally, make up a model that fits the narrative.Many students are taught to believe that scientists draw their conclusions from observations of facts. That’s so old-fashioned. Facts are just incidental to the real fun in science: telling a good story with imaginary facts. The story is more exciting if observations create a crisis, so that the scientist can invent a model to rescue the main plot. We offer three recent examples.Imaginary planet factory:  Narrative: planets form from the bottom up, through a process of accretion of dust. Observation: radio waves were observed in a dust disk around a T-tauri star, inferred to come from objects 2cm or larger. Model: “Astronomers See Pebbles Poised to Make Planets” (Royal Astronomical Society).  (Are other interpretations possible?  Certainly. Assuming the objects are pebble-sized, they could be debris from collisions, but that’s not as sexy a story.)The precocious monkey:  Narrative: monkeys evolved into man, and one sign of it was increasing brain size.  Observation: An old-world monkey fossil had a skull capacity the size of a plum.  Tweak: With a little modeling from a CT scan of the skull, scientists at Duke University could guess at “what the animal’s brain likely looked like” including how many imaginary folds the small brain likely had. Auxiliary hypothesis: the more folds, the smarter the monkey. Model: “Old World Monkey Had Tiny, Complex Brain; Findings offer new clues to how primate brains changed over time.” Visualization: video clip showing 3-D model of folded brain rotating.Whoops; there’s a problem: didn’t Darwin expect brains to get bigger before they got smarter? Bring in the rescue device:“In the part of the primate family tree that includes apes and humans, the thinking is that brains got bigger and then they get more folded and complex,” Gonzales said. “But this study is some of the hardest proof that in monkeys, the order of events was reversed — complexity came first and bigger brains came later.”The findings also lend support to claims that the small brain of the human ancestor* Homo floresiensis, whose 18,000-year-old skull was discovered on a remote Indonesian island in 2003, isn’t as remarkable as it might seem. In spite of their pint-sized brains, Homo floresiensis were able to make fire and use stone tools to kill and butcher large animals.“Brain size and brain complexity can evolve independently; they don’t have to evolve together at the same time,” Benefit said.How Enceladus stayed old:  Narrative: Enceladus formed 4.5 billion years ago (see A.S.S.) as a satellite of Saturn. Observation: geysers at the south pole give off several gigawatts of heat. Crisis: that kind of energy output cannot go on for 4.5 billion years:The source of this energy is believed to be tidal dissipation. However, the observed south polar heat flux cannot be sustained over the age of the Solar System. Furthermore, thermal evolution models suggest that any global subsurface ocean should freeze on a timescale of tens to hundreds of My, sharply reducing future tidal heating, unless large amounts of antifreeze are present in the ocean.Rescue device: James H. Roberts invents a model that won’t give ammo to young-earth creationists:Here I propose an alternative internal structure for Enceladus, in which the silicate core is fragmented, and that the tidal deformation of the core may be partially controlled by interstitial ice. I find that fragmentation of the core increases tidal dissipation by a factor of 20, consistent with the long-term dynamically sustainable level, even when the interior is completely frozen, but only if the interior starts out warm and tidal heating is strong from the beginning. If this is not the case, radioactive heating will be insufficient to prevent the interior from cooling. Although an ocean need not be present in order for the interior to experience significant tidal heating, all models that dissipate enough heat to prevent runaway cooling are also warm enough to have an ocean. Tidal dissipation in the weak core provides an additional source of heat that may prevent a global subsurface ocean from freezing.Resulting model: “The fluffy core of Enceladus” (Icarus). We can’t see the fluff, but it must be there, or else the A.S.S. gets kicked.This is the 21st century way of doing science. Modern audiences love stories. Scientists cannot thrive on epistemic modesty alone; they need to get with the theater generation to make science trendy. The only rule with today’s science theater is never to question the meta-narrative (scientific materialism). That requires never giving aid and comfort to those who question the meta-narrative. The penalty for that is expulsion from the scientific community.___________*”Hobbit man” is not considered a human ancestor by most paleoanthropologists, but a side branch of Homo erectus perhaps (but it seems too recent to fit that narrative).  As for brain size and intelligence, see the 6/26/15 entry.“Science is truth; do not be misled by facts” (Finagle’s Creed).  If you were to look at the observations in each of these articles alone, they would be so narrow as to be boring. It’s essential for the mandarins of science to maintain the illusion that the men behind the curtain have special powers of divination. They can see beyond the empirical evidence into the mystical realms of possibility.The meta-narrative (big bang to man) is Accepted Truth that must never be questioned. And yet anomalies crop up. The job of the scientist is to creatively fit any troublesome observation into a “model” that not only preserves the meta-narrative, but brings glory to the mandarins. This enables the mandarins to finance the outrage industry (a.k.a. Darwin Lobby) against doubters.What? You thought science was about following the evidence where it leads with an open mind? Get over it. (6/25/14) (Visited 180 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Western Ohio cropland values and cash rents 2016-17

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio cropland values and cash rental rates are projected to decrease in 2017. According to the Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents Survey, bare cropland values in western Ohio are expected to decrease from 4.4 to 8.2% in 2017 depending on the region and land class. Cash rents are expected to decline from 1.4% to 4.2% depending on the region and land class. Ohio cropland values and cash rentOhio cropland varies significantly in its production capabilities, and consequently cropland values and cash rents vary widely throughout the state. Generally speaking, western Ohio cropland values and cash rents differ from much of southern and eastern Ohio cropland values and cash rents. The primary factors affecting these values and rates are land productivity and potential crop return and the variability of those crop returns. Soils and drainage capabilities are the two factors that most influence land productivity, crop return and variability of those crop returns.Other factors impacting land values and cash rents are field size and shape, population density, ease of access, market access, local market prices, potential for wildlife damage, field perimeter characteristics, and competition for rented cropland in a region. This fact sheet summarizes data collected for western Ohio cropland values and cash rents. 2017 study results The Western Ohio Cropland Values and Cash Rents study was conducted from February through April in 2017. The opinion-based study surveyed professionals with a knowledge of Ohio’s cropland values and rental rates. Professionals surveyed were farm managers, rural appraisers, agricultural lenders, OSU Extension educators, farmers, landowners, and Farm Service Agency personnel.The study results are based on 120 surveys returned, analyzed and summarized. Respondents were asked to group their estimates based on three land quality classes: average, top, and poor. Within each land-quality class, respondents were asked to estimate average corn and soybean yields for a five-year period based on typical farming practices. Survey respondents were also asked to estimate current bare cropland values and cash rents negotiated in the current or recent year for each land-quality class. Survey results are summarized for western Ohio with regional summaries (subsets of western Ohio) for northwest Ohio and southwest Ohio. Factors affecting cash rental ratesUltimately, supply and demand of cropland for rent determines the cash rental rate for each parcel. The expected return from producing crops on a farm parcel and the variability of that return are the primary drivers in determining the rental rates. Many of the following factors contribute to the expected crop return and the variability of that return. Secondary factors may exist and could affect potential rental rates. These secondary factors are also listed.Expected Crop ReturnRent will vary based on expected crop return. The higher the expected return, the higher the rent will tend to be.Variability of Crop ReturnLand that exhibits highly variable returns may have rents discounted for this factor. For example, land that is poorly drained may exhibit variability of returns due to late plantings during wet springs.Factors Affecting Expected Crop Return and Variability of Crop Return:Land (Soil) Quality: Higher quality soils translate into higher rents.Fertility Levels: Higher fertility levels often result in higher cash rents.Drainage/Irrigation Capabilities: Better surface and sub-surface drainage of a farm often results in better yields and higher potential cash rent. Likewise, irrigation equipment tied to the land will allow for higher yields, profits and rents.Size of Farm/Fields: Large farms/fields typically command higher average cash rent per acre due to the efficiencies gained by operators.Shape of Fields: Square fields with fewer “point rows” will generally translate into higher cash rents as operators gain efficiencies from farming fields that are square.Previous Tillage Systems or Crops: Previous crops and tillage systems that allow for an easy transition for new operators may enhance the cash rent value.Field Border Characteristics: Fields surrounded by tree-lined fencerows, woodlots or other borders affecting crop growth at the field edge will negatively impact yield and therefore should be considered in rental negotiations.Wildlife Damage Potential: Fields adjacent to significant wildlife cover including woodlots, tree lined fencerows, creeks, streams, and such may limit production potential to border rows and should be considered in rental negotiations.Secondary Factors Affecting Rental Rates:Buildings and Grain Storage Availability: Access to machinery and grain storage may enhance the value of the cropland rental rate.Location of Farm (Including Road Access): Proximity to prospective operators may determine how much operators are willing to bid for cash rents. Good road access will generally enhance cash rent amounts.USDA Farm Program Measurables: Farms that participate in the USDA Farm Program and have higher “program yields” may command higher cash rents than non-program farms.Services Provided by Operator: Operators that provide services such as clearing fence rows, snow removal and other services may be valued by the landowner. This may even be a partial substitute for cash rent compensation.Conditions of Lease: Conditions placed on the lease by the landowner may result in fewer prospective operators and a lower average cash rent.Payment Dates: Leases that require part or all of the rent to be paid early in the year (up-front) may result in lower rental rates due to higher borrowing or opportunity costs for the operator.Reputation of Landowner/Operator: Reputations of the parties may play a part in the cash rental negotiations. A landowner with a reputation of being difficult to work with may see cash rents negatively affected by this reputation. Farmers with a similar negative reputation may have to pay higher rents.Special Contracts: Farms with special contract commitments may restrict the operator from changing crops based on market conditions. This may negatively impact cash rents. There may also be contracts that positively affect cash rents such as high value crop contracts or contracts for receiving livestock manure.To access the complete summary go to:https://farmoffice.osu.edu/farm-management-tools/farm-management-publications/cash-rentslast_img read more

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New Study Finds Correlation Between Social Media and Financial Success

first_imgA new study released by enterprise wiki provider Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group shows that the brands most engaged in social media are also experiencing higher financial success rates than those of their non-engaged peers. To determine this relationship, the study focused on 100 companies from the 2008 BusinessWeek/Interbrand Best Global Brands survey and the various social media platforms they used like Facebook, Twitter, blogs, wikis, and forums. Although it’s difficult to prove for certain that the companies’ involvement in social media has led to their increased revenues, the implication behind the new data is that it has. After examining the companies and their social media activity levels, the brands were ranked on an “engagement scale” where scores ranged from a high of 127 to a low of 1. Those brands that were the most engaged saw their revenue grow over the past year by 18% while the least engaged brands saw losses of negative 6%.Four “Engagement Profiles”The study grouped the brands into one of four engagement profiles that related to the number of channels they’re involved in and how deep that involvement is. At the top of the list are “mavens,” the brands heavily engaged in seven or more social media channels – like Starbucks and Dell, for instance. “Butterflies” are like wannabe “mavens,” and are also engaged in seven or more channels but are spread too thin, investing in some channels more so than others. “Selectives” focus on six or fewer channels but engage customers deeply in the ones they’ve chosen. Finally, there are “wallflowers,” or brands engaged in six or fewer channels with below-average engagement; these include companies like McDonalds and BP. Out of the top 10 brands engaged in social media, the mavens dominate the list. All of the top 10 are mavens and have seen financial success even in a down economy:1. Starbucks (127)2. Dell (123) 3. eBay (115) 4. Google (105) 5. Microsoft (103) 6. Thomson Reuters (101) 7. Nike (100) 8. Amazon (88) 9. SAP (86) 10. Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)$$$ Does Social Media Pay? $$$Of course what everyone really wants to know is whether or not social media actually pays off in terms of dollars and cents. This study seems to show that it does. The most-engaged brands are significantly outperforming their peers across numerous industries in both revenue and profit performance. They have even sustained strong revenue and margin growth in spite of the economy, notes the report. Whether this correlation is actually a causation cannot be proven with the data on hand, it can only make the implication. Given the large number of companies analyzed and the consistent findings, it seems probable that social media has had a major impact on the companies’ financial success. It’s also worth noting that the level of engagement appears to be a factor, too. The companies deeply engaged in fewer channels (“selectives”) delivered higher gross and net margins than those only lightly engaged in more channels (“butterflies”). It other words, as the report says, “it’s not about doing it all, but doing it right.”The ENGAGEMENTdb Web SiteAlong with the complete study, available here, an accompanying web site has also been launched at www.engagementdb.com. On the site, companies can compare their social media efforts with the top 100 cited in the report. They can also opt to detail their social media efforts for inclusion in the online database at the site for future research and study. sarah perez Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…center_img Tags:#Features#NYT#Trends#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts last_img read more

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