Utah State’s Neemias Queta Declares for the NBA Draft

first_imgQueta was named the Mountain West Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year in 2018-19 after shattering the single-season blocks record at USU and helping the Aggies to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Queta finished the year with 84 blocks, far surpassing the previous school record of 59, set by Shawn Daniels during the 2000-01 season. Queta led the Mountain West and finished 14th in the nation with 2.4 blocks per contest. He started the year with at least one block in 29 straight games, the longest such streak in Utah State history, and recorded at least one rejection in all but one game during the year. Queta recorded a season-high six blocks in two games this season, matching the third-most blocks in a game in Utah State history and setting a new Mountain West freshman record. April 12, 2019 /Sports News – Local Utah State’s Neemias Queta Declares for the NBA Draft Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook (facebook.com/usumensbasketball), on Twitter (@usubasketball) and on Instagram (@usubasketball). Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube (youtube.com/utahstateathletics). FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailLOGAN, Utah – Utah State freshman center Neemias Queta announced on Friday he will declare for the 2019 National Basketball Association Draft. Queta is being represented by an agent during the process, but per NCAA rules can return to Utah State if he removes his name from the draft by May 29. Tags: NBA Draft/Neemias Queta/Utah State Aggies Basketball “We are excited for Neemias to go through this process. It will be great for him to test himself against some of the best basketball players in the world,” USU head coach Craig Smith said. “The new rules in testing the NBA waters will give him an accurate assessment of where he stands. This should be a positive experience for him.” The timeline for early-entry into the NBA Draft is as follows: April 21 – deadline for early-entry draft candidates; April 22-May 29 – NBA teams can conduct or attend workouts with early-entry players; April 26-May 3 – NBA Draft Combine and G League Elite Camp invitations sent to invitees; May 12-14 – G League Elite Camp (Chicago, Ill.); May 14-19 – NBA Draft Combine (Chicago, Ill.); May 29 – NCAA (post-combine) withdrawal deadline. Queta’s other individual accolades included being named second-team all-Mountain West, Mountain West all-tournament team, second-team all-district 17 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and all-district VIII by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. In addition to his defense, Queta finished second on the team with 11.8 points per game and led the team with 8.9 rebounds per game. Queta scored in double figures in 24 games and logged a team-best 10 double-doubles during the year. Queta’s team-leading 312 rebounds during the year marked the first time an Aggie has surpassed 300 rebounds in a season since the 1976-77 campaign and marked a new USU freshman record. Written by Robert Lovelllast_img read more

Little League Baseball Bats

first_imgIf you were watching this year’s Little League World Series, you might have heard the announcers say that they changed the rules on what bats could be used by the players.  Officials felt like there were too many home runs.  Personally, I don’t see why that was a problem, but Little League management thought it was.Until this year, bats were made from a reinforced carbon fiber polymer.  Over time, as the bat got older it acted like a trampoline and sent the ball higher and farther.  The new bat is now built to act more like the wooden bats used in the majors–less ping and less pop.  This means the pitchers and infielders are less likely to be hit by a laser line drive.  It also means that the ball does not go as far.  When will technology ever leave things alone?  What happened to the days when you taped up an old wooden bat and used it to play ball?last_img read more

Adult Stem Cell Breakthroughs Continue

first_imgAdult stem cells continue to show promise as more about these pluripotent cells comes to light.Heart repair:  Medical Xpress reported that organ-derived stem cell injections appear to have promise for tissue repair from myocardial infarction.  The cells come from skeletal muscle or adipose tissue.  A week after injection in subjects, “led to a substantial decrease in infarct size and a significant improvement in left ventricle function when compared with injections of cell culture medium alone.”Automatic wound repair:  New Scientist reported that human skin appears to maintain a pool of adult stem cells used in repairing wounds.  The cells exist in eccrine glands, “a type of sweat gland not found in animals,” the article said, adding, “Humans have three times more eccrine glands than hair follicles, making them the major contributor to new skin cells.”  A researcher from Howard Hughes Medical Institute remarked that the finding was “unexpected and against current dogma.”Personalized medicine:  According to Medical Xpress, researchers at Johns Hopkins and Memorial Sloan-Kettering are investigating the use of induced pluripotent stem cells for personalized medicine for those with genetic diseases.  “This approach could move much of the trial-and-error process of beginning a new treatment from the patient to the petri dish, and help people to get better faster.”Rebuilding skeletal muscle:  Another article on Medical Xpress discussed the potential for rebuilding muscle for those with degenerative diseases: “The therapy brings together two existing techniques for muscle repair – cell transplantation and tissue engineering – specifically, mesoangioblast stem cells delivered via a hydrogel cell-carrier matrix.”Stem cell transposable elements as un-junk:  PhysOrg reported that linc-RNAs, a type of non-coding RNA thought to be genetic junk from viral invasions, appear to be landing spots for endogenous retroviruses (ERVs).  David Kelley said that during his PhD work, “these repetitive hopping genes were a major nuisance, which got me thinking about what they were doing in the genome.”  He and John Rinn found that they appear to promote gene transcription.  “Perhaps more intriguingly, lincRNAs containing an ERV family known as HERVH correlated with expression in stem cells relative to dozens of other tested tissues and cells.” Rinn got emotional about this: “This strongly suggests that ERV transposition in the genome may have given rise to stem cell-specific lincRNAs. The observation that HERVHs landed at the start of dozens of lincRNAs was almost chilling; that this appears to impart a stem cell-specific expression pattern was simply stunning!”  From there the article went on to speculate about how this evolved.New kind of stem cell that may make regenerative medicine possible was reported by Medical Xpress.   Adult epithelial cells can be coaxed into induced pluripotent stem cells with desirable attributes; “These seem to be exactly the kind of cells that we need to make regenerative medicine a reality.”  For example, these cells could be used to create personalized medicine for cancer patients.  The cells appear to take on the characteristics of the organ they are transplanted into.Fountain of youth:  A way to refresh aging stem cells to look young again was found by researchers at the University of Toronto, Science Daily said.  It involves inserting growth factors into the stem cells that turn aging factors off.  “The discovery, which transforms aged stem cells into cells that function like much younger ones, may one day enable scientists to grow cardiac patches for damaged or diseased hearts from a patient’s own stem cells — no matter what age the patient — while avoiding the threat of rejection.”With so much success continuing for adult stem cells, it seems superfluous to work with ethically-charged embryonic stem cells.  Work continues on them as well, though – some of it raising fears of abuse.  Nature News, for instance, reported that “Researchers have coaxed cultured embryonic stem cells to develop into eggs that then give rise to normal offspring” in mice.  The article admitted ethical concerns.  The experiments might lead to treatments for infertility; “However, the prospect of transplanting such oocytes into women raises major safety and ethical concerns that will need to be discussed carefully if the findings are repeated in humans.”  But who will discuss the concerns?  Who will decide what “carefully” enough means?  And will it stop mad scientists more concerned about money than ethics?The Family Research Council, which maintains StemCellResearchFacts.org website, recently congratulated Dr. David Prentice, “one of the world’s leading experts on adult stem cells,” for getting a scholarly article published in Tissue and Cell Engineering, titled, Remembering Pioneers in Patient Treatments.  The article “talks about the groundbreaking new science that won Dr. Shinya Yamanaka this year’s Nobel Prize,” according to the FRC newsletter.Adult stem cells: proven track record, no ethical qualms.  Embryonic stem cells: no track record, large ethical qualms.  Enough said?  We cannot trust the scientists themselves to regulate safety and ethics.  These are issues for the public to insist on.  Beware when scientists perform “public engagement” to determine what people approve; read this case of rigged public engagement on Evolution News & Views. 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Cargill Faces Fire Over Amazon

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorOMAHA (DTN) — One of the areas feeling an impact from fires across the Amazon rainforest is the headquarters for Cargill Inc., just outside Minneapolis.The agricultural giant — the largest private company in the U.S. — was already under constant criticism from a relatively new environmental group, Mighty Earth, over Amazon deforestation before the fires became global news last month. In July, Mighty Earth dubbed Cargill “the worst company in the world,” accusing Cargill of making sustainability pledges while continuing to source soybeans from deforested areas of Brazil and Bolivia.Mighty Earth, which was founded by former U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., increased its pressure last week with a protest rally against Cargill at the Minneapolis Art Institute, a museum the Cargill family has helped support.Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has championed economic development over the environment and critics argue Bolsonaro’s views have helped spur a push for clearing land by burning that sparked more Amazon fires over the summer.“We have many people, including the big media, interested in criticizing President Bolsonaro for anything,” said Ricardo Arioli Silva, a farmer in Mato Grosso who also has a radio program on agriculture in the state, told DTN in an email. “The fires in the Amazon was a great opportunity.”On Friday, the presidents of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and Suriname all signed the “Amazon Pact” to increase cooperation in the Amazon. Bolsonaro did not attend the event, but did issue a video for the event and sent Brazil’s foreign minister to the conference. Some environmental groups complained the pact doesn’t go far enough.Silva was in the U.S. last week with other Brazilian farmers. He noted he heard several times that farmers were using the fires to clear more land and plant soybeans to sell to China because of the trade war. “That’s ridiculous,” he said.Silva notes there are no soybeans in the Amazon rainforest, because it’s too complicated to grow them there. It’s too expensive to convert the land to soybean production and too far away from roads and elevators to sell the beans. There are also complications in trying to sell beans from those areas specifically because of a moratorium.Still, agribusiness is tied to the Amazon fires. Twice during a CNN event last Wednesday on climate change, audience members asked Democratic presidential candidates what they planned to do to control agribusinesses causing Amazon fires and deforestation.Cargill has come under increasing criticism on social media and is associated with the deforestation. Climate activist Bill McKibben tweeted last Tuesday, “Glad to see people standing up to @Cargill for their role in Amazon fires.”In an interview with DTN last month, Cargill’s vice president of global sustainability for business operations and supply chain, Jill Kolling, said Cargill and other companies have been able to drastically reduce deforestation around palm oil production, but the challenges are more complex with soybeans in Brazil. And while Cargill is taking the heat, Kolling said it’s really an issue for the entire soy trade operating in Brazil.“We were saying that, when it comes to soy, the sector is not going to make that goal. It’s been a much more complex problem than palm oil where the industry has made really good progress working to eliminate deforestation there,” Kolling said.RAINFOREST OR CERRADO?Part of the challenge for the grain trade is a broadening of Amazon deforestation to include Brazil’s Cerrado, the country’s savannah, a large swath of which has been cleared over the past decades for farming, especially in the state of Mato Grosso. Brazil has sought to restrict further clearing of the Cerrado, but it continues.“The progress in the Cerrado has been a little different and we don’t think the solutions that worked elsewhere are going to work there,” Kolling said. She added, “As conservation groups have evolved their thinking, they believe that the Cerrado area — they will call it an upside down forest, because of the roots in the ground and the native vegetation are a really important carbon sink. The soil is sequestering carbon and it became a native vegetation sort of goal.”Mighty Earth and others want no conversion of native vegetation. Yet, while the world condemns the Amazon fires, Brazil has also become the biggest soybean and beef exporter to China. A Chinese state-owned oilseed and food company, COFCO, just last month announced it would buy 25% more soybeans from Brazil over the next five years and spend $60 million to help Brazilian farmers expand. Chinese officials have rejected ties between Amazon fires and agricultural exports to the country.Kolling noted the environmental challenges of deforestation, whether in the rainforest or the Cerrado, are pitted against the economics of rural poor areas in Brazil.“Some of those areas are some of the poorest areas of Brazil and they are really looking to agriculture as an economic lever, just like we did 100 years ago here,” Kolling said. “That’s the challenge we are facing as Brazil sees agriculture as a key to their future.”Cargill’s action plan came as the company sent a letter to Brazilian soy producers that it would not sign on a new soy moratorium in the Cerrado. Cargill, Bunge, ADM and others have been part of a pact to avoid soy production in the Amazon, but Cargill came out in June telling farmers it would not join a similar ban in the Cerrado. Cargill executives also met multiple times with leaders from Mighty Earth, but were unable to reach any agreement on deforestation and sustainability issues.“We agree on the importance of protecting the environment and protecting native lands in key areas,” Kolling said. “We absolutely agree on that. It’s the how that we really disagree on. We believe we need to consider that economic piece for the farmer and for the rural communities of Brazil, in addition to looking at the environment. And that’s part of sustainability and what makes it challenging.”Kolling added, “We really view it as a balance of environmental, economic and social. Sometimes if you are somebody who is really passionate about a single issue, you forget about the other side of it and unintended consequences that can happen.”Instead of joining a ban on Cerrado development, Cargill released a soy action plan that includes listing the Matopiba region in the Cerrado as a high-priority area for risk assessments and restricted sourcing. Among other actions in the plan are suspensions for suppliers who violate protected areas or appear on government lists regarding forced labor practices. “We recognize that as a leading company in food and agriculture, we must use our influence to help enact change. We take this role seriously,” Cargill stated.As part of its soy action plan, Cargill committed $30 million in June to a fund to protect the rainforest and Cerrado, but at the same time, Cargill acknowledged the company and the larger food industry as a whole, would not meet a goal to end deforestation in the soy industry by 2020.“Some Brazilian farmers from Matopiba are mad at them also, just because they announced a $30 million budget to promote sustainable production,” Silva said.Cargill, Bunge and three Brazilian companies were fined in May 2018 a combined total of $6.5 million following an investigation dubbed “Operation Soy Sauce” by the Brazil Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resource, which charged the companies with buying soy grown on land in the Matopiba region of Brazil without deforestation licenses. Matopiba is made up of four Brazilian states and the undeveloped areas are largely Cerrado.ADM and Bunge have issued statements about the Amazon fires, stating they do not source commodities from deforested areas and are using satellite images to enforce that. ADM told DTN it has joined a ban on Cerrado development.DRY SUMMER OR DEFORESTATION?A study released by the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in August blamed deforestation, not drought, as the main driver for the summer fires, which now top more than 90,000 across the Amazon. IPAM stated moisture levels in the Amazon were higher this year than in the past three years, but fires for 2019 are higher than any of the last four years across the Amazon. In its recommendations, IPAM stated, “Considering that deforestation is a direct driver of forest fires, the fight against illegal deforestation must be intensified, and producers must be supported to adopt better practices and quit using fire to prepare the land.”Click on this link to view the study: https://ipam.org.br/…Using numbers from the IPAM study, Brazil’s Vegetable Oil Industry Association — ABIOVE –pushed back on the argument that soy production was a driver for the fires and current deforestation in the Amazon. ABIOVE released a report showing the 10 areas with the most fires over the first six months of the year only accounting for about 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of planted beans. Brazil planted 36 million hectares (nearly 89 million acres) of soybeans last year.Yet, Reuters reported 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) of soybeans grew in one area hit hard by fires, Novo Progresso in Para state, where an investigation is taking place over fires started intentionally on lands along a major farm highway in the country, BR-163. Allegations claim as many as 70 people coordinated “fire day” on the social media platform WhatsApp to burn off more land for development.Click on this link to view the investigation:https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/…PAY FOR DEFORESTED SOYWhile groups clamor for agriculture to do more to help reduce deforestation, there are questions about broad commitments. Consumers, for instance, are not making major demands of companies on their soy purchases.“We don’t see consumers across the world saying, ‘I am willing to pay for deforestation-free soy.’ Some people are, but that’s not mainstream,” Kolling said.Commercially certified deforestation-free soy is available today, but that leads to higher costs because of the segregated supply chain and getting farmers certified for such a program.“We have these commercial options available today and we would like to see demand for those products grow. Because that sends a signal to the farmers too that this is what consumers want,” Kolling said.Chris Clayton can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(BAS/CZ)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Video: Duke Unveils 2015 National Championship Banner At Banquet

first_imgDuke basketball's 2015 national championship banner.duke 2015 national championship bannerThursday night, Duke basketball held its annual banquet – an event where the season prior is celebrated and captains for the next season are named. But 2015 was obviously a more special year than usual – the Blue Devils took home their fifth national championship after defeating Wisconsin in the NCAA title game earlier this month. As such, there was a great deal to commemorate.Most notably, the school unveiled its 2015 national championship banner – appropriately while Queen’s “We Are The Champions” was playing in the background.The school has also released a number of other bits of media from the event – including some cool photos of the players posing in their tuxedos.If you’re wondering, Duke named Marshall Plumlee, Amile Jefferson and Matt Jones as tri-captains for the 2015-2016 season.last_img read more