6 December 2013 Former South African president Nelson Mandela, who passed away on Thursday evening, will be remembered not only as an icon whose sacrifices made the world a better place, but also as a man whose achievements came at great personal cost, to himself and to his family. In separate interviews conducted earlier this year in Mandela’s home village of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, his sister Nonyekana Bulehluti and cousin Sketshetshe Mandela spoke about their relations to the revered former statesman, who passed away on Thursday evening. Bulehluti, who has since passed away, said at the time that she could still recall the days when she used to fear her “stubborn” brother”, whom she described as someone who never talked much. She remembered Mandela as someone who stood out from the rest of the family due to his beliefs in education and his insatiable curiosity. While they never had the normal sister-brother bond, due to his activism and the many years he spent in jail, she never doubted the love he had for her. “I never spent time with bhuti [older brother],” said Bulehluti, who at the time of the interview had left the original Mandela home to live with her daughter about 15 kilometres away. “When I was a teenager, he was already igqobhoka [an educated man]. He was very quiet, but loved to laugh at anything, and that’s how I remember him – laughing and laughing.” She and Mandela shared a father but were not of the same mother. Mandela’s father, Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, a chief by both blood and custom, had four wives, the third being Mandela’s mother Nosekeni Fanny, while Bulehluti’s mother, Nodayimani, was the fourth wife.‘You could see he was different’ While Bulehluti was not born yet when Mandela left Qunu at the age of nine to live at nearby Mqekezweni village following his father’s passing, their later interactions revealed astonishing characteristics of a man who would later lead South Africa to its first democratic elections. “He was born to lead,” she said. “You could see he was different from all of us. He questioned things and liked to be in the company of the elders. He never spent much of his time with us … and before we knew it, he was gone [to study].” However, Bulehluti explained that the family never felt abandoned or deserted by Mandela, as they were aware of his passion for politics and his desire to see his people free. “For us, it became a matter of saying – yes, he is our brother, but he does not belong to us but to the nation. It’s something that we learnt to live with over time, and I can never regret having him as a brother. Even though it was not easy at first, he has achieved what he wanted.” ‘The children must know who this hero was’ Mandela’s cousin Sketshetshe Mandela, 78, still lives in the original family yard where Mandela and his host of siblings used to play. Mandela’s father had 13 children, four boys and nine girls, but as in any African home, the house was always filled with babies and other children of relatives. While the three huts Mandela’s mother presided over in Qunu have since been demolished to make way for a modern house, traces of the old structures are still visible. Mandela mentioned in his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, that of the three huts, one was used for cooking, one for sleeping and the other for storage. “In the hut in which we slept, there was no furniture in the Western sense … we slept on mats and slept on the ground,” he wrote. Sketshetshe, who bears a striking resemblance to Mandela’s mother Nosekeni, said that while a lot has changed since those days, the family still plants and harvests mielies as well as small scale poultry farming. “We are still living the way he [Mandela] left us. We refused to change now that he found fame, and whenever he comes, he finds us here still doing things the old way,” he said, holding up a portrait of himself and Mandela for the duration of the interview. On the walls of the living room are pictures of Mandela and other family members, together with other famous pictures taken during the struggle for liberation – perhaps an indication of how proud the family is of the man. “We want the children to know who this hero of the family was,” Sketshetshe said. “We want them to continue with the legacy and the foundation he laid for the entire Mandela family and the Madiba clan.” Source: SAnews.gov.za
Natural gas supply and demandA glut of natural gas floods the domestic market currently, and that’s a boon for consumers and many segments of the U.S. economy. It has led to a fairly rapid shift away from oil and coal toward natural gas. Nearly all of the new power plants built in the last few years have been natural-gas-fueled. With transportation, some large fleets, such as UPS and FedEx, are converting from diesel or gasoline to compressed natural gas. So are some urban bus fleets—at great benefit to urban air quality.But as these conversions continue, the buyer’s market for natural gas will gradually end as demand inevitably catches up with supply. Natural gas prices will rise.That shift can’t come soon enough for natural gas producers. In a June 2012 presentation to the Council of Foreign Affairs, Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson noted that the wellhead prices being paid for natural gas—then about $2.50 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf)—were far below the cost of production.“What I can tell you is the cost to supply is not $2.50,” Tillerson told moderator Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal. “We are all losing our shirts today. You know, we’re making no money. It’s all in the red.” (Since then wellhead prices have risen to about $3.30/Mcf in the U.S.—probably high enough for about a third of shale-gas wells to break even.)The international market will also affect natural gas pricing. In Europe and Asia the wellhead price of natural gas is three to more than five times higher than in the U.S. Natural gas isn’t stored and transported as easily as petroleum, so the pricing tends to be more regional.As technologies and facilities improve for compressing or liquefying and transporting natural gas, prices internationally are likely to equilibrate to a significant extent—in our increasingly global economy. As many as 15 liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals are in the works. If approved and built, these could export as much as 21 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) per year—80% of the current U.S. domestic consumption (26 Tcf). If just a fraction of these LNG terminals are built—as the conversion from coal to gas continues in the utility sector and from diesel to CNG continues in the transportation sector—natural gas prices can be expected to rise significantly. I will be surprised if we don’t see natural gas above our historical highs (over $10/Mcf in mid-2008) well within ten years. Converting to natural gasI would like to be 100% behind natural gas as the fuel of the future. Indeed, I am hopeful that the current low price of natural gas will result in the shutdown of more coal-fired power plants.But I can’t help worrying that when we pump undisclosed chemicals into the ground (“trust us, they’re safe”) and break up geologic strata in ways that alter the flow of groundwater and gases, we’re unleashing a Pandora’s box of problems that our children and grandchildren will have to deal with at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars—for an energy return that proves fleetingly brief.My hope is that the low-cost natural gas we enjoy today will continue to spur the transition away from coal while buying us enough time for the truly clean, nearly greenhouse-gas-free, renewable energy sources like wind and solar to gain the foothold needed to usher in a lasting green and safe energy future. Alex is founder of BuildingGreen, Inc. and executive editor of Environmental Building News. In 2012 he founded the Resilient Design Institute. To keep up with Alex’s latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feed. In many parts of the country and for many applications, natural gas is considered a panacea to our energy challenges.Comprised mostly of methane, natural gas is clean-burning, with just a tiny fraction of the particulates, nitrous oxides, and other pollutants that are emitted from burning coal or oil. Because the ratio of hydrogen to carbon is higher with natural gas than with longer-carbon-chain fossil fuels like coal and oil, less carbon dioxide is generated when it is burned. At the point of combustion, natural gas releases about 500 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour (kWh), compared to about 900 grams for coal. That’s good news in terms of climate change.And the dramatic upsurge in natural gas production made possible through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has cut prices dramatically over the past five years. These low prices have contributed to utility companies replacing some of the nation’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants with advanced, natural gas plants—and this has lead to rather significant reductions in our nation’s carbon dioxide emissions over the past few years.Natural gas seems like a winner. What’s not to like about it? Shale gas and frackingThe surge in natural gas production in the U.S. and the low prices over the past six years have been driven by shale gas extracted through fracking. In mid-2007, shale gas production in the U.S. totaled less than 5 billion cubic feet per day; by the end of 2011 that production had risen to nearly 30 billion cubic feet per day.With fracking, water, sand, and chemicals are injected under very high pressure into wells up to several miles deep and extending horizontally up to several more miles. Controlled explosions fracture the 350-million-year-old shale, followed by the injection of fluid under high pressure that extends fractures into the rock. Next, sand or a like material (“proppant”) is injected to “prop” open those fissures so that natural gas can flow out into the pipe and be extracted.Along with the water and proppants, various chemicals are injected that serve as lubricants, viscosity agents, and anti-bacterial agents to aid in the process. Much of this frack fluid is pumped to the surface, along with highly saline water and various toxic elements from the rock (including barium and arsenic) and must be disposed of. That which doesn’t get pumped back out remains underground. There is very little transparency by the industry on exactly what chemicals are being used and what quantities.Along with the considerable environmental concerns about fracking, there is concern among some experts that just as gas extraction rates increase rapidly with fracking, those production rates will also drop off very quickly. A June, 2011 article in the New York Times raised concern that depletion of fracked gas wells occurs more quickly than with conventional gas wells.According to petroleum geologist Arthur Berman, Associate Editor of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin and director of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, the annual depletion rate in the Eagleford Shale (which he calls “the mother of all shale plays”) is over 42%. Fugitive methane emissionsThen there’s the issue of fugitive methane emissions from gas drilling—and particularly fracking. Natural gas is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and some experts suggest that as a result natural gas’s contributions to climate change are significantly greater than the CO2 releases during combustion would suggest—though the widely publicized claim by a Cornell University scientist that the greenhouse gas impact of natural gas is greater than that of coal has largely been dismissed.
What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture CEO of BairesDev, a technology services company that specializes in software development, software outsourcing, and testing solutions. Latin America’s tech-savvy workforce has attracted international companies to maintain support offices in the region for years. However, the recent government commitment to develop innovation hubs, coupled with a growing middle class that lead in the adoption of mobile devices, has made Latin America prime territory for global tech companies to target local consumers. More and more foreign tech companies are entering the region with confidence, tapping into the numerous industries that remain largely underserved by technology. From Amazon to Alibaba, here’s a look at how Latin America is drawing in some of the world’s biggest tech companies.Growing demand for cloud servicesAmazon has been expanding its operations globally for years – most notably its cloud computing operations and services. In Latin America, Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently set up a new data center in Argentina, adding to its list of existing offices in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. The addition of an AWS center in Argentina signifies just how important Amazon’s cloud computing services have become for tech companies in the region, and that the demand for these services is growing. Having a data center nearby helps companies reduce costs and improve data speeds, eliminating the need to rely on services outside of their country or region. Not to mention, Argentina is home to one of Latin America’s largest and most successful tech companies, MercadoLibre, which uses AWS. With operations in 16 countries and over 3,200 employees, 800 of which work in the IT division, MercadoLibre uses several AWS products to develop its real-time solutions quickly and easily.With a recent spike in investor interest in Latin America from global venture capital firms, such as Sequoia Capital and Softbank, there is an increasing demand from growing tech companies for more support services like AWS. According to a Gartner report, the global market for public cloud services is expected to increase by 21.4% in 2018 and generate revenues of $186.4 billion. Amazon’s expansion in Latin America is likely a strategic move to capitalize on this market opportunity as well as to stay ahead of its competitors Google and Alibaba in the worldwide cloud services space.A new generation of tech workers in BrazilBrazil is one of the top three countries in daily active users for Google, and Portuguese is the second most popular language for Assistant usage on smartphones. What’s more, São Paulo is home to more than 2,700 active tech companies and has been cited as the most mature startup ecosystem in South America. Therefore, it makes sense that the city is one of the latest additions to Google’s network of Launchpad Accelerators and Campus spaces. In addition to mentoring and training local entrepreneurs, Google recently launched a community program called Grow with Google which offers free training sessions, tools, and events to help anyone grow their skills, career, or business. With a presence in four cities in Brazil, the program has already trained more than 17,000 people. The tech giant continues to launch new initiatives in Brazil all of the time. For instance, Womenwill is another Google program that has helped train more than 2,500 women in leadership, negotiation tactics, personal finance, and digital marketing. Google also announced a grant of $1 million to support the local nonprofit Instituto Rede Mulher Empreendedora with training up to 135,000 women in Brazil over the next two years.E-commerce is still developing, and full of potentialAlmost half of Latin Americans that go online to buy something visit MercadoLibre.com. The “eBay of Latin America” is the largest e-commerce marketplace in the region, with more than 174.2 million users in 15 countries. While it has operated for years with few outside threats, there are still significant opportunities for more niche e-commerce sites and other global e-commerce giants to make a profit in this space. Over the years, global heavyweights like Amazon and Alibaba have remained distant; however, this is now starting to change. Alibaba has made a number of moves that signify its interest in the Latin American e-commerce space. The company not only signed three memorandums of understanding with governments in Latin America but also established partnerships with local postal services. Alibaba also launched various programs to help make cross-border transactions and trade easier in countries such as Mexico and Argentina. Amazon is also strengthening its position in the region, launching a number of services in Brazil. Another e-commerce giant gaining a strong position in Mexico and throughout Central America is Walmart. Latin America’s e-commerce market is forecast to grow 18% annually over the next five years, yet it still only represents 2% of the world’s retail market, meaning there are still considerable gaps in the market to fill, and plenty of e-commerce companies up for the challenge. Tech adoption in Latin America is acceleratingFrom services for small business owners to greater retail options, many industries in Latin America remain underserved by technology, and Amazon, Google, and Alibaba certainly aren’t the only ones that have taken note. For instance, Latin America is currently a top growth market for Spotify and Netflix as well. Mexico and Brazil are top markets for Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp in terms of monthly users. In fact, almost 100% of connected Brazilians use WhatsApp. The global ride-hailing leader, Uber, has also noted that its top three cities by volume are all in Latin America.As more and more substantial tech companies enter the region, not only are they bringing with them innovative solutions and hiring local tech talent, but they are also inspiring the latest generation of entrepreneurs and forming beneficial partnerships in Latin America, bringing a new wave of energy and excitement about the region’s potential. Nacho De Marco Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Amazon#Argentina#Brazil#Google#Latin America#MercadoLibre#Mexico#Technology in Latin America Follow the Puck
Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City MOST READ (L-R) Lavar Ball and LaMelo Ball look on from the audience during week eight of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFPLOS ANGELES — LaVar Ball is pulling his 16-year-old son LaMelo out of his Southern California high school to be home schooled and so he can be made into “the best basketball player ever.”LaVar told The Los Angeles Times that LaMelo, a junior, will leave Chino Hills High School on Tuesday so he will have fewer distractions and better focus.ADVERTISEMENT Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Read Next LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary LATEST STORIES Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cavaliers moving Love to center, Thompson to reserve role LaMelo is considered one of the nation’s top high school recruits and has committed to play at UCLA, where his brother Lonzo played last season. Lonzo is now a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers and their brother, LiAngelo, will be a freshman at UCLA.LaMelo, who scored 92 points in a game for Chino Hills, will focus on playing for his father’s travel team, Big Baller Brand.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLaVar has grabbed attention over the past year with exaggerated claims and headline-grabbing antics. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds PLAY LIST 01:42Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds03:122 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self00:54Palace: Up to MTRCB, DFA chief to pull out ‘Abominable’ from cinemas01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City View comments
COLLEGE STATION, TX – OCTOBER 08: Texas A&M Aggies fans cheer from the stands in the first half of their game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Kyle Field on October 8, 2016 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)College sports-themed celebratory cakes seem to be a hot trend. Lollie Houch of LollieCakes of Baytown, Tex., has gotten in on the act, and here’s a look at a gorgeous Texas A&M “Gig’em” cake she created.That looks incredible, almost too nice to eat. For good measure, Lollie also made some Aggie-related sugar cookies.Texas A&M cookies! Whoop! #lolliecakes #sugarcookies #tamu #a&m #whoop #gigemaggiesPosted by LollieCakes on Friday, June 12, 2015Aggie fans, if you’re in the mood for some baked goods, hit her up.
Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,412.70, down 57.4 points).Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 1.59, or 12.22 per cent, to $11.42 on 69.36 million shares.Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH). Health care. Down $2.53, or 13.83 per cent, to $15.77 on 16.71 million shares.HEXO Corp. (TSX:HEXO). Health care. Down 89 cents, or 13.26 per cent, to $65.82 on 15.25 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up nine cents, or 2.47 per cent, to $3.73 on 12.45 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financials. Up 29 cents, or 1.39 per cent, to $21.15 on 8.28 million shares.Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED). Health care. Down $6.84, or 11.16 per cent, to $54.46 on 7.17 million shares.
VANCOUVER, B.C. – The British Columbia government has filed a second lawsuit against Alberta over its turn-off-the-taps legislation.A statement of claim filed in Federal Court on June 14 is similar to a document filed last month in Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench that alleges Alberta introduced the bill to inflict economic pain on B.C. by limiting the supply of petroleum products to the province.The claim says Alberta’s attorney general brought an application to have the action dismissed in the Court of Queen’s Bench on the grounds that B.C. has no standing to challenge laws created in the Alberta legislature and that the legal action is premature. The B.C. government says it believes the case can be heard in Alberta but if it is found not to have standing there, it wants the Federal Court to declare Alberta’s Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act unconstitutional.Alberta’s former NDP government passed the bill but it wasn’t proclaimed into law until after the United Conservative Party was elected earlier this year.[videopress xMiGyrnQ]
Global trends in money management and business efficiency are a useful guide to build and scale Indian businesses, especially to increase the efficiency of capital usage. The one trend that has been in focus throughout the asset management industry, especially the private equity world, has been that of “permanent capital”. This is broadly defined as access to funds for long periods, instead of the usual seven to ten-year fund horizon that has been the norm in the private equity industry. Permanent capital funds focus less on existing investments in a defined period – and the emphasis is more on generating potential long-run investment returns. Also Read – A special kind of bondInvestors have generated permanent capital through a variety of strategies. Some large investors such as the likes of Blackstone, Apollo & KKR have utilised Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) to generate capital they can then invest strategically. Apollo has also generated permanent capital through investing and managing assets for a retirement solution focused annuity business called “Athene”, which, through its annuity business, generates significant cash that Apollo has utilised to generate returns. Also Read – Insider threat managementAccess to a constant pool of capital has helped boost returns for both the capital provider and capital allocator. The essential point to learn is that a higher degree of permanent capital allows businesses to access opportunities for longer time-periods, ride out periods of high market volatility and, most importantly, acquire assets at attractive valuations when rivals are unable to do so due to unfavourable market conditions or internal distress. The lessons and advantages from permanent capital apply as much to companies as they do to asset managers. The vital question businesses must ask is whether they are building sources of permanent capital or, even better, are they improving the stability of cash flows available to the business – especially with a view on the next market downturn. For a company or conglomerate, “permanency” of capital can be obtained through access to businesses that provide stable incoming cashflows. For instance, a firm focused on high-risk-return projects in the biosciences field must continuously evaluate whether it has a portfolio of royalty-generating patents that provide it with mission-critical capital inflows. As mentioned earlier, in market downturns, stable cash flows can help shield businesses from the adverse funding conditions and assist a company in acquiring valuable assets across the industry. Most importantly, the steady incoming cash flows that provide the permanency of capital can assist a firm in continuing to pursue the high-risk-return projects that may yield significant investment returns in the future. In a world where factors such as specialisation, patents and vertical integration can provide competitive advantages to firms, so can greater access to permanent capital. To frame the argument differently, firms that can have greater permanency to their capital or can unlock sources of permanent capital will have distinct advantages over their rivals. For companies to succeed through permanent capital vehicles (PCVs), whether through private company platforms or structures such as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), the aim must be long-term value-creation and not just short-term capital raising. Creating market credibility through both efficient capital usage and managing investor relationships is vital. For businesses that are exceptional operators, PCVs are the avenue to partner with patient capital providers to generate value for all. For investors looking towards emerging markets such as India, PCVs are essential, especially in the context of relatively lesser secondary market liquidity, longer investment horizons for value generation and smaller size of debt capital markets. The utilisation of PCVs to hold on to investments longer for value creation could be a vital factor. However, it will be crucial that PCVs, when utilised by investors or companies to raise and manage capital, avoid the issues that have been prevalent in some cases. The focus must be on long-term value creation and not on capital “extraction”. Therefore, the PCVs must be structured to incentivise the operators to maximise long-term value and not focus on merely creating large investment vehicles to generate high fees. As the capital markets and businesses in India evolve, winners and losers in highly competitive markets will get determined by a variety of factors, including sources of funds. Both the quality and quantity of funding available will be one of the fundamental factors that determine long-term winners. Permanency of capital offers some essential insights into improving one’s competitiveness.(Taponeel Mukherjee heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm. Views expressed are personal)
Up until his Golden State Warriors failed to mount a second-half comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, it had been a great week for Stephen Curry. Late Sunday, word leaked out that the Warriors’ guard would be named MVP for the 2014-15 NBA season, and Curry accepted the hardware Monday.Curry’s chief rival for the award, Houston’s James Harden, was reportedly disappointed over the outcome of the voting. It’s a completely understandable reaction: The best advanced metrics had Curry and Harden neck-and-neck in the MVP race for most of the season, so Curry’s big edge in first-place votes likely owes more to the Warriors’ incredible team record than any real difference between the two players. In fact, according to our wins above replacement (WAR) metric, Harden slightly edged Curry in value, 16.8 to 16.6.The truth is, we’ll never know which player really deserved the award … in part because a phrase like “most valuable” is very hard to quantify. Metrics are imperfect, probably to a much greater degree than any stathead would like to think. But one thing we can do to combat a false sense of certainty is assign probabilities to each player’s case for adding the most value. Along the way, we can also compare the results to past MVP races — for instance, how did Curry-over-Harden compare to other MVP decisions in history?To measure the uncertainty between a player’s measured WAR and his actual “talent” — that is, the number of WAR he would earn if we were omniscient and knew the exact contributions of every NBA player — we can look at the confidence interval around a player’s measured value.1In this case, since we need to use Statistical Plus/Minus (SPM) for historical seasons, I looked at the standard error between a player’s multi-year projected SPM talent and his Real Plus/Minus (RPM), a new metric that melds a player’s boxscore stats with his on-court influence over the team’s scoring margin. I then combined that with the standard error between RPM and “true talent” to estimate the probability that any given player had the league’s true best WAR in a given season. In turn, those confidence intervals can tell us the probability that a player was truly the most valuable (by WAR) in a given season.This year, Harden was the most likely “true” WAR leader — but with a mere 22 percent probability of being the best. In the past 37 NBA seasons,2The 1978-79 season is the earliest for which this calculation can be run. this year is the seventh most uncertain in terms of whether a WAR leader was actually the league’s true most valuable player. Meanwhile, Curry came in third this season with a 12 percent probability of being the true best player in the league (the Clippers’ Chris Paul was sandwiched between Harden and Curry at 19 percent).In some ways, 12 percent is very low probability. Since 1978-79, only 12 players have won the award with less certainty that they actually produced the league’s greatest value. But the 2014-15 season also featured an unusually wide-open MVP race. Kevin Durant, last year’s winner and the presumptive favorite going into this season, missed 55 games with injuries and only recorded 4.5 WAR. And LeBron James, who’d been projected as the league’s best player on a per-minute basis every season between 2005-06 and 2013-14, produced his lowest WAR (13.1) since his rookie season — yet still had a 9 percent probability of being the true best player in the NBA. And that’s without even getting into the cases to be made for Russell Westbrook (9 percent probability of being the best) or Anthony Davis (4 percent).On the other hand, the gap between Harden and Curry’s odds of being the best player was just 10 percentage points. Excluding the 17 seasons since 1978-79 in which the most likely true WAR leader was also named MVP, that’s the sixth-smallest gap between any MVP and that season’s leader in “true best player” probability:By that standard, Curry’s win was a far cry from past miscarriages of MVP justice, such as Michael Jordan losing out to Magic Johnson in 1988-89 despite Jordan having a 55 percent probability of being the league’s true best player — the second-highest “best player” certainty of any season since 1978-79, trailing only James’s 66 percent mark in 2009-10.Conversely, there was no such certainty in a season like 2014-15, where several of the usual MVP suspects were absent from the front of the race. In such a situation, you can’t really go wrong (or, perhaps, you can’t really go right) no matter which MVP you choose.
OSU senior guard Ameryst Alston (14) dribbles the ball during a game against Northwestern on Jan. 28 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe surging Ohio State women’s basketball team (18-4, 10-1) handled a struggling Wisconsin team (6-15, 2-9) with a suffocating defensive performance Thursday night to keep the train running smoothly into the highly anticipated matchup with No. 5 Maryland on Monday.Coming into the matchup against the Badgers, the Buckeyes had won 13 of their last 14 games overall. The 87-61 victory pushed No. 7 OSU’s home winning streak to 11 games, while the Badgers have now dropped nine of their last 10 games overall.OSU coach Kevin McGuff said he was satisfied with the way each member of the team immediately found their individual roles and contributed in the contest.“We had good communication, good concentration, good effort,” McGuff said. “Everybody (that) came off the bench knew exactly what we were in. They were locked in and focused.”The Scarlet and Gray started the game off slow, plagued by poor shooting. But that all changed with a little over two minutes left in the first quarter. The Buckeyes scored 11 of their 19 first-quarter points in that short amount of time, aided by a trio of 3-pointers.The momentum OSU created carried over into the second period. The Buckeyes quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead and started to step it up on defense. The lead blossomed to 20 points midway through the quarter, but a late surge pushed the Badgers back to a 13-point deficit at the break.In the opening half, senior guard Ameryst Alston led the way for OSU with 12 points, while junior forward Shayla Cooper added 10 points along with seven rebounds. The nation’s third-leading scorer, sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell, was held to only three points in the first half but found other ways to help her team out. For the Badgers, Cayla McMorris and Michala Johnson each put in eight points.While the Buckeyes held a steady lead at the break, they saw the opportunity to put the game away early with a lopsided third quarter, and did just that.“The third quarter was as good a defensive quarter as we’ve had probably all year,” McGuff said.The Buckeyes held Wisconsin to only seven points in the entire third period, pressuring the Badgers into shooting only 18.2 percent from the field. Using the full-court press to their advantage, the Buckeyes put together a lockdown team effort throughout the 10 minutes.When the final buzzer sounded, the Buckeyes headed off the floor with heads held high. Alston was the leading scorer for OSU with 21 points, while Mitchell, who had a strong second half shooting the ball, added 16. Cooper earned her sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds, as well.Nine different OSU players saw the floor, eight of whom scored in the game, displaying an ability and a willingness to get everyone involved.“I think that’s what’s so special about our team. We have so many different aspects (and) a lot of us can contribute,” Alston said. “It’s always great to see (different) people out there playing.”Continuing Big Ten play, the streaking Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Maryland at home Monday, which is scheduled for a 9 p.m. tipoff.