Chris Paul dominated the game with a high of 40 points and 11 assists to bring the Los Angeles Clippers to a 118-111 overtime defeat over the Denver Nuggets at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night.Paul made a layup with 22 seconds left in regulation sending the game into overtime. In a total of 42 minutes he added seven rebounds and 12 of 13 shooting to his efficient game.Paul had 15 points by halftime, when the Clippers trailed 47-46.The Nuggets lost their chance to win in regulation when JaVale McGee missed a 6-foot jumper at the buzzer.Clippers’ Darren Collison looked good with his 27 points, hitting 10 out of 13 shots. Blake Griffin scored 17 points with eight rebounds in 39 minutes of play for the Clippers.Evan Fournier and Anthony Randolph both scored 16 points for the Nuggets, while veteran Andre Miller dropped 15.Los Angeles shot 52 percent from the field compared to the Nuggets’ 49 percent.According to Yahoo Sports, “This is the second straight year the Clippers played at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Last year, the first time the Clippers hosted a game in Las Vegas, Ty Lawson’s layup at the buzzer gave Denver a 106-104 win.”
Only in baseball can $2 million in cash, plus the Nos. 56 and 75 overall picks in the draft, seem like chump change. That’s what the St. Louis Cardinals were forced to give the Houston Astros as punishment for hacking into Houston’s scouting database several years ago. All told, it was an unprecedented penalty to be levied against a baseball team for an unprecedented act of espionage.Yet compared to cheating scandals in other sports, the Cardinals got off easy. Using the various draft-value charts floating around in the sports analytics blogosphere, let’s compare the relative value of the picks St. Louis relinquished with the consequences of some of the NFL and NBA’s biggest cheating scandals in recent memory. (We’ll put aside any monetary penalties, simply because each sport has its own salary structure, making those kinds of cross-league comparisons difficult.)According to research conducted by The Baseball Analysts, a sabermetric blog run by Rich Lederer, the 56th and 75th picks in the MLB draft tend to produce about 4.9 wins above replacement over their careers. How much is that? Losing 5 WAR over, say, a 10-year span decreases the average team’s odds of winning at least one World Series in the decade by 1.4 percentage points.1Based on a logistic regression for MLB teams since the 1994 strike.By contrast, consider the New England Patriots. For their role in Deflategate, they were stripped of the No. 29 pick in the 2016 NFL draft, plus a fourth-rounder (let’s say No. 1302That’s the final non-compensatory pick of the fourth round, which would go to the Super Bowl champion; our Elo prediction model currently favors the Patriots to beat the Falcons on Super Sunday.) in 2017. According to Chase Stuart’s draft value chart, those picks tend to produce about 43 total points of approximate value over their careers, the loss of which over a decade would cost a team 4 percentage points from their odds of winning at least one Super Bowl in that span.3Based on a regression since the NFL playoff field expanded to 12 teams in 1990. I also assumed a replacement-level NFL player would produce about 6 points of AV over that span. And the Patriots’ penalty for Spygate seven seasons earlier — losing the 31st pick in the 2008 draft — would lop 3.2 percentage points off a team’s odds of winning at least one championship in a 10-year period.(Similarly, the New Orleans Saints’ Bountygate scandal, which cost them a pair of second-round picks, carried a penalty that would decrease the average team’s odds of winning a Super Bowl over the next decade by a whopping 4.4 percentage points.)The granddaddy of all league-imposed draft-pick sanctions probably belongs to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who lost five first-rounders for an under-the-table agreement with forward Joe Smith that attempted to circumvent the NBA’s salary cap rules. Although two of the picks were eventually restored, those that weren’t were worth about 61 career win shares, according to research by Basketball-Reference.com founder Justin Kubatko.4Note that it’s impossible to reconstruct exactly where the Wolves would have drafted in an alternate universe without the penalty, because the sanctions changed their roster for years to come. But going from their actual records, they would have owned the No. 13 pick in 2001, No. 23 in 2002 and No. 28 in 2004 — which add up to a value of 61 WS. Losing that many wins over a 10-year period5While also adding back in the roughly 8 win shares generated by replacement-level players. would reduce an NBA team’s championship odds for the decade by 6.5 percentage points — a crushing blow that helps explain why Kevin Garnett had to leave Minnesota to win his first championship.In light of those comparable scandals in other leagues, the Cardinals got away with a relatively light slap on the wrist. But then again, in a sport where the World Series favorite only has a 15 percent chance of winning it all in any given year, every single point of championship probability counts. Share on Facebook
.More than one hundred foreigners died in the past two years in Malaysia’s immigration detention centers from various diseases and unknown causes, according to documents from the government-funded National Human Rights Commission reviewed by Reuters.The toll, which has not been previously disclosed, is based on Malaysian immigration department data provided to the commission, which is known by its Malay acronym Suhakam. There were 83 deaths in 2015, and at least 35 in 2016 up to 20 December.It is unclear whether the death rate is higher than in neighboring countries. Government officials in Indonesia and Thailand told Reuters they do not disclose such numbers. The rate is higher than in major industrialized nations such as the United States, which in the last financial year recorded 10 deaths in its immigration detention system, which has many more detainees than Malaysia’s.More than half of the 118 dead are from Myanmar, the source for tens of thousands of refugees coming to Malaysia, including Rohingya Muslims escaping persecution by Myanmar’s authorities and its majority Buddhist population. The number of Rohingya fatalities in the camps is unknown.For a graphic on deaths in detention in Malaysia, click hereMalaysian prime minister Najib Razak has been a harsh critic of the Myanmar government and its de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi after a crackdown in October by Myanmar’s security forces led many Rohingya to flee across its borders amid multiple allegations of mass killings and gang rapes by troops. He has called for foreign intervention to stop the “genocide” in Myanmar.Najib’s office did not return calls seeking comment.“The numbers are too many and are shocking and it calls for the overhaul of the system,” said Jerald Joseph, one of eight commissioners at Suhakam, which was established by the Malaysian parliament through an act in 1999 and is due to publicly announce the numbers next week in its annual report on human rights issues in Malaysia.He described conditions at the centers, some of which he has visited, as “appalling” and said the deaths should be investigated as a criminal matter. The illnesses that led to some of the deaths may have been caused or exacerbated by poor sanitation and food, physical abuse and a lack of medical attention, said Joseph, who was speaking on behalf of the commission.BRUTAL CONDITIONSMalaysia’s home ministry, which oversees the immigration department, said it was trying to improve the conditions in the centers but that its budget was constrained.“I agree there is some overcrowding and the conditions are not ideal. We are always trying to improve the procedures, health conditions and management of these sites. The problem is we hit a budget brick wall,” said deputy home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed in an interview.He said there wasn’t enough funding to upgrade facilities, provide adequate healthcare and hire and train enforcement officers. Jazlan blamed overcrowding on the “never ending flow of people seeking better future in Malaysia.”The living conditions inside the Malaysian camps are grim – overcrowded, unhygienic and brutal – according to interviews with 13 former detainees, and 12 others who have regularly visited the centers, including people from government agencies and rights groups.Those who had been detained say they did not get adequate food, water or healthcare, that many inmates developed skin and lung infections, and the sick are usually not isolated, leading to the spread of contagious diseases.All of the detainees interviewed also allege they were beaten by guards at the camps or witnessed others being beaten. One former Rohingya inmate of the Lenggeng camp in the southwestern state of Negeri Sembilan told Reuters in an interview that he witnessed detainees being beaten and then saw them die when the resulting injuries were not treated. “When we asked for medicines, we were beaten,” he said.Reuters could not independently verify his account or the similar accusations made by other detainees. They all declined to be identified for fear of reprisals.Asked about the claims of beatings, Jazlan said he needs more evidence to establish if it was prevalent. “I hope critics won’t rely on detainees’ testimony, and come up with proper evidence,” he said.FARED WORSEOf the 118 people recorded as dying in 2015-2016, 63 were from Myanmar, and people from that country have fared worse than those from elsewhere, the documents from Suhakam and data from the Malaysian government’s Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) show.During 2016, for example, there were 14,180 Myanmar nationals detained and at least 14 of them died, while there were only five fatalities among 34,586 Indonesian inmates. The documents and data don’t explain this discrepancy and Reuters was unable to independently confirm the reason for it.People from Myanmar, including Rohingya Muslims, tend to stay in the detention centers longer as they try to persuade the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to issue them with identification cards that allow them to stay in Malaysia temporarily, rights groups and former detainees said. People from other countries are often undocumented migrant workers who are deported home relatively quickly.Malaysia, which has not signed the UN Refugee Convention, treats refugees as illegal migrants with few rights.Asked about the deaths of Myanmar nationals in Malaysian detention centers, Zaw Htay, who is spokesman for Myamnar’s Suu Kyi, said that “we haven’t heard about these cases.” He also said that “a lot of Bengali people in Malaysia say they come from Myanmar to get UNHCR cards.”“Bengali” is a derogatory term used by many in Myanmar to refer to the Rohingya that suggests they come from Bangladesh, even though many Rohingya have lived in the country for generations.LUNG INFECTIONSThe documents reviewed by Reuters give causes of death for 68 detainees. Pneumonia and lung infections led to 19 deaths, at least 10 were the result of various heart-related conditions, and five died from the bacterial disease leptospirosis, which is often spread through the urine of infected animals, including rodents.Sepsis, or septic shock, a condition usually triggered by other illnesses, claimed 21 victims, including some who were suffering from pneumonia or leptospirosis, various forms of tuberculosis led to three deaths, and one Filipino woman committed suicide.The 13 detention centers in Malaysia held a total 86,795 detainees for various periods during 2016, according to the EAIC.Malaysia isn’t the only country in southeast Asia that has faced criticism for the conditions in its prisons.In its human rights report for 2016, the US State Department said Indonesian and Thai facilities, including those used to detain immigrants, are overcrowded. It said government figures showed that 548 prisoners died “in custody” in Indonesia between January and June of 2016, and 762 died in “official custody” in Thailand in the year to September 2016. However, there was no breakdown between those who died in ordinary jails and those who died in other forms of incarceration, such as immigration detention facilities.No cause was given for 50 deaths in Malaysia. They are classified in the documents as “no report” or “pending autopsy” or “undetermined” or “awaiting report from hospital” or “unascertained.” One center in Kuala Lumpur had 13 deaths in 2016, but no reasons were stated for any of them.When asked about the lack of reasons given for so many deaths, Jazlan said he will look into it.The documents do not specify the reasons for the lower death rate in 2016, though a Reuters analysis of them and related data shows that there was a 27 percent drop in the number of people detained at the end of 2016 from a year earlier.
Share X David Fulmer via FlickrA view from the South Rim trail at Big Bend National Park on a hazy day.Environmental groups say the Environmental Protection Agency is taking a “do-nothing” approach to dealing with pollution in Texas.On Friday, a coalition of groups sued the agency over the latest version of a rule meant to reduce haze in scenic parts of Texas and the U.S., saying it doesn’t go far enough.There is consensus on one point: that haze in national parks is a problem. The EPA acknowledged that when it finalized its new haze cleanup plan in October, saying that average visibility in many national parks and wilderness areas is “about one-half to two-thirds of the visual range that would exist without anthropogenic air pollution.”Stephanie Kodish is an attorney with the National Parks Conservation Association, which worries about pollution in the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains parks coming from power plants.“Not only do these sources compromise visibility, but they also affect visitor health, and they’re the same sources that have an impact on our climate,” Kodish said. Her group and others argue the Obama Administration’s approach to cleaning up haze would’ve had better results. The new plan gives Texas power plants alternatives to installing costly emissions controls, one of them being an emissions trading program within the state.The EPA said its policy is to not comment on pending litigation, but in deciding on the new rule, the agency had considered arguments from Texas power companies that the old version would’ve been unnecessarily costly, and that it was an example of federal overreach. The groups suing are also formally petitioning the EPA to reconsider the new rule. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen 00:00 /01:06
Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 2 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Putting your office chair in its place is such hard work. You have to push the thing where you want it to go, which involves actually touching it and, well, actually thinking a little.Who has time for that?Nissan knows you don’t and feels your Dilbert-like pain. That’s why the carmaker created a creeping fleet of self-parking office chairs to help we lazy worker schlumps deal. Too bad they’re just a concept for now.Related: Spooked by Self-Driving Cars? Get a Load of Daimler’s Awesome Autonomous Big Rig.The gimmicky “smart chairs,” technically called “Intelligent Parking Chairs,” per an announcement this week from Nissan, slowly slink to and fro (without working stiffs in them) using the nerdy tech wizardry of embedded sensors. The sensors communicate with a network of four cameras positioned throughout the room the 360-degree-turning chairs are in. They “generate a bird’s-eye view to wirelessly transmit the chair’s position and its route to destination.” Fancy.To send the wheeled robo-chairs packing — and neatly under desks, where they darn well should be after meetings and such — users simply clap their hands once. Raw power, right in the palm of your delicate white-collar hand.Related: Meet the $25 Standing Desk Made of Collapsible CardboardPretty neat stuff, we think. Also a little goofy to watch in action. Take a seat in your dumb chair and have a look to see what we mean.The semi-autonomous chairs were inspired by Nissan’s forthcoming “Intelligent Parking Assist,” a vehicle self-parking feature that the Japanese company recently showed off using a mobile app prototype and a LEAF electric car, minus a driver. It’s not clear if these sweet seats will ever be available for purchase, though we wouldn’t mind shelling out a bit to park ourselves in one — and to park one.We reached out to Nissan for more details, but have yet to hear back. In the meantime, we’ll be daydreaming about commanding a pack of ergonomically correct conference room chairs, one bossy clap at a time.Related: Sick of Sitting? Tired of Standing? Take a Load Off With This ‘Leaning’ Desk. Register Now » February 17, 2016