The US Is Downright Mediocre At The World Baseball Classic

South Korea1471.79 Australia19-3.73 Teams are ranked according to the Simple Rating System (SRS) for all WBC games since 2006, with extra weight applied to games in later rounds.Source: Wikipedia China28-6.12 Japan — not the U.S. — dominates the World Baseball Classic Puerto Rico1380.67 Cuba1480.67 COUNTRYWINSLOSSESWEIGHTED SRS United States1010-0.41 National pastime or not, America’s unexceptionalism probably won’t improve until the U.S. starts treating the WBC less like an exhibition event, and more like the international showcase other countries already think it is. Share on Facebook Italy47-1.49 Dominican Republic1441.49 American fans like to think of the U.S. as the home of baseball; they even tried to mythologize it into the game’s place of origin at one point. And, yes, the majority of the game’s best players are from America. But in the World Baseball Classic, arguably the highest-profile event in international baseball, the U.S. is merely ordinary: It’s 10-10 over the tournament’s history, despite playing a relatively weak slate of opponents over the years. What gives?The WBC has always held more appeal for international players and fans, whose national teams take it far more seriously than the U.S. team does. The U.S. seldom sends its best players to the event, for better (it reduces the risk of key injuries in games that are essentially treated as exhibitions) and worse (it deprives the game of its best players playing on a worldwide stage). That means we won’t be seeing the likes of Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw in this year’s Classic, much less living legend Mike Trout.As a result, the U.S. has gotten mediocre results on the field, far from what might be expected out of a country that still considers itself baseball’s standard-bearer. To get a schedule-adjusted ranking of how countries have performed at the four World Baseball Classics,1Including 2017’s games, as of March 8. I calculated Sports-Reference’s Simple Rating System (SRS) for every WBC game since the event began in 2006.2A few more details: I gave more weight to games that took place in later rounds (first-round games had a weight of 1, second-round games a weight of 2, WBC semifinals a weight of 4 and WBC finals a weight of 8.) I also used a home-field advantage term of +0.16 runs per game, matching what it is in MLB since 2006. Among the 13 teams that have played double-digit WBC games, the U.S. ranks just seventh — far behind No. 1 Japan, who has dominated the tournament more than any other country. Mexico69-2.05 Chinese Taipei39-3.26 Venezuela107-0.22 Netherlands910-1.20 Japan1973.40 read more

Vegas Is The Best Expansion Team In NHL History

Right wing James Neal — who leads the Knights in scoring this season — recorded 40 goals in the 2011-12 season and has scored at least 50 points four times in his career. Winger Reilly Smith brings more scoring touch (he notched 25 goals with the Florida Panthers in 2015-16) and respectable possession metrics to the table. And while winger David Perron’s career scoring pace of 48 points per 82 games doesn’t qualify him as an elite scorer, it still makes him a nice addition — through seven games, he’s tallied the third most points for the Knights. Vegas even managed to nab a three-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury.4Fleury was a starter for only one of those three cups, but he played in at least 35 regular season games in the seasons the Penguins won those cups.But despite scoring some key pieces in the expansion draft, the Knights are still an expansion team. The average expansion team since ’92 collected just 57 points in its first NHL season — which is to say that the average expansion team hasn’t been very good.5For reference, only four teams in the past four NHL seasons have notched fewer than 57 points: the 2016-17 Colorado Avalanche, which is among the worst hockey teams in the history of the NHL; the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabers; and the 2014-15 Arizona Coyotes. And before the season began, some writers predicted that the Knights might even be very bad. (The regular kind of bad or, worse, the historically kind of bad.) Still, there’s hope for the Knights — they may just have to wait a few years.Five of the other nine expansion teams improved enough early on to qualify for the playoffs by their fourth season, and only three teams — the Atlanta Thrashers (who are now the second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets), the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Nashville Predators — took at least six seasons to earn their first playoff berth. However, none of them became .500 teams by the end of their fifth season, and only a handful have become postseason mainstays. 1992-93Lightning+186.3+121.9-11.8+296.4 1993-94Panthers+130.7+162.1+155.1+447.9 1992-93Senators+217+76.8+18.9+312.7 2000-01Blue Jackets+295+73.5+31.7+400.2 1998-99Predators+254.9+18+2.9+275.8 One of those mainstays is the San Jose Sharks. Their first-season roster was middle-of-the-pack as far as expansion teams go, and while they struggled mightily early,6The Sharks won just 11 games during their second season. they’ve been by far the most successful expansion team of the past three decades in terms of playoff appearances: In their 25 seasons, they’ve made the postseason 19 times. But then there’s the case of the Thrashers/Jets, whose first-year roster matched San Jose’s in terms of previous season GVT but who, after 17 seasons, still haven’t managed to win a playoff game. An expansion team’s previous career GVT isn’t a guarantor of immediate success, but of the nine expansion franchises that came into the NHL between 1991 and 2001, only the Florida Panthers — whose previous career GVT is second only to the Knights — took less than a decade to get to the Stanley Cup Finals, making it in just their third season.7Despite a glut of playoff appearances, it took the Sharks 24 seasons to make their first Stanley Cup Finals. And three of the nine expansion franchises are still without a finals appearance to their credit.The Panthers, like the Knights, were able to snag an established goal scorer (Scott Mellanby) and goalie (John Vanbiesbrouck) in the expansion draft, so they had some crucial puzzle pieces in place from the jump. They also drafted well early on — they snatched Rob Niedermayer in their inaugural draft and Ed Jovanovski the following year — and that mix of fresh talent and solid veterans came together in a magical, rubber rat-infested run to Eastern Conference preeminence. We’re not sure how Vegas will draft, but if they’re able to score the right players, they may find themselves in a similar position as those early Panthers teams.But the sun has rarely shone in Sunrise since that early success — in the 20 seasons subsequent, the Panthers have made the playoffs only four times. For the Panthers, previous career GVT correlated with early success, but it meant little in the way of long-term franchise well-being.Truth is, expansion franchises since 1991 haven’t had a whole lot of success in terms of championships won. Only two — the Lightning and the Ducks — have lifted Lord Stanley’s mug, and neither did so within their first decade of existence.The Knights are off to a historically great start, but history also suggests they’re still probably looking at a spring void of playoff hockey. And if it’s a Stanley Cup they’re after, the Knights shouldn’t hold their collective breath. But who knows: maybe the Knights, with their historically good expansion roster, will shock the NHL. Source: Hockey-Reference.com, HockeyAbstract Three weeks into the NHL season, there’s little that makes sense in the standings. The Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers — Eastern Conference stalwarts in recent years — have combined for three wins.1One of which came when New York beat Montreal. Meanwhile, several of the league’s recent doormats — like the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils — are looking surprisingly dangerous. But perhaps the biggest oddity of all is this: The Vegas Golden Knights are playing some good hockey.Of course, it’s early and the Knights are up against some tough narratives: The quixotic practice of desert hockey hasn’t exactly worked out for the NHL to this point (looking at you, Phoenix), and no expansion team from the past 26 years has made the playoffs in its first season. But no expansion team from the past 26 years — or in the history of the NHL, for that matter — has gotten off to this good of a start, either.The Knights’ six wins in seven tries are remarkable considering how their expansion brethren have fared. Among the other nine expansion teams that began play since 1991, only three — the 1992-93 Tampa Bay Lightning, the 1993-94 Florida Panthers and the 1993-94 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim — managed to win more than one of their first seven games. And then there’s the case of the putrid 1992-93 Ottawa Senators, who didn’t win their second game until their 23rd try.What’s more, there’s reason to believe the Knights aren’t hovering around the top of the Western Conference standings by accident. The team’s roster — like all expansion teams — is largely a Frankenstein’s monster of the rest of the league’s broken parts. But the Knights cobbled together a decent group of players! (As far as expansion teams go, and as far as teams in the 2017-18 NHL go, too.) According to goals versus threshold (GVT) statistics,2GVT was developed by Tom Awad of Hockey Prospectus and is similar to baseball’s VORP in that it seeks to determine a player’s value in goals above what a replacement player would contribute. the Knights entered the NHL with one of the best expansion rosters of the past three decades.3We looked at expansion teams dating back to the league’s seventh expansion, which happened in 1991-92 and saw the addition of the San Jose Sharks. Average+201.4+78.6+36.6+316.7 PREV. CAREER GVT 2000-01Wild+95.8+50.9+10.8+157.5 Vegas has some of the best expansion talent everGoals versus threshold (GVT) in previous careers for expansion teams’ top 12 forwards, top six defensemen and top two goalies, since 1991 1993-94Mighty Ducks+51.1+70.5-2.3+119.3 1991-92Sharks+280.8+9.4-6.5+283.7 1999-00Thrashers+225+90.4+30.5+345.9 2017-18Golden Knights+277.7+112.8+136.9+527.4 YEARTEAMFDGTOT read more

At Wimbledon Ryan Harrison Suffers Again From His Bad Luck of the Draw

To make the most of their abilities, young tennis players need training, coaching and good health. Then there’s another factor, also important and beyond their control: the luck of the draw.The careers of young Americans Ryan Harrison and Christina McHale show what a difference luck can make. When Harrison has been lucky in Grand Slam tournaments, he has been very good. But he’s usually been unlucky, drawing one of the tournament’s top players in the first round and losing. The latest Harrison conqueror was Grigor Dimitrov, the No. 13 player in the world, who straight-setted Harrison out of Wimbledon on opening day Monday in London. Harrison’s frequent early exits from Grand Slams have contributed to his fall out of the top 100.McHale, meanwhile, has been much more fortunate. She opens her Wimbledon campaign Tuesday against the 97th-ranked player in the world, Chanelle Scheepers. In the 17 Grand Slam tournaments where McHale could have faced a seeded player in the first round, she has done so just three times — and never had an opponent in the top 20.Along with the intended intrigue and variety, the random draw at tennis tournaments creates inequity. For the 128-player Grand Slam singles draws, this is, roughly, how the draw works: The best 25 percent of players are given seeds, and each of the 32 seeded players is slotted in a four-player pod in which the other three players are unseeded (kind of like our Burrito Bracket). In the first round, the seeded player plays one of the unseeded players in the same pod, and the other two unseeded players play each other. Drawing players randomly into these pods, rather than seeding all 128 of them, helps keep things interesting, creating tough sections of the draw and openings elsewhere.Every unseeded player has a one-third chance of drawing a seeded opponent in the first round, which is, generally, an unlucky draw. That’s not always the case: Sometimes the seeded opponent isn’t as tough as rankings suggest, because of weakness on the tournament’s surface or a recent injury. Drawing a weak seed near the bottom of the top 32 players can open up a player’s draw, since the next opponent wouldn’t be seeded.All else equal, though, if you’re unseeded, you don’t want to match up against a seeded player in the first round. Yet Harrison seems to be drawn inexorably toward seeded opponents by some as yet undiscovered magnetic field. In the 16 majors he’s entered as an unseeded player, he’s drawn seeded opponents nine times. By chance alone, he could have expected just five such tough matches. More than 98 percent of players with 16 opportunities to draw a seed in the first round should do so eight times or fewer, according to the binomial distribution. Harrison is in the unlucky 1 percent.Not so with McHale. About 13 percent of players who have played 17 majors as an unseeded entry, as she has, could expect to get three or fewer seeded opponents. She has also never drawn a top 10 opponent in the first round, something just 15 percent of players in her shoes could say.Against unseeded first-round opponents at majors, Harrison is a dominant force: He’s 5-2, including wins in his past five matches. Against seeded opponents, he’s 1-7; Harrison’s loss to Dimitrov Monday was his seventh straight against seeded opponents. All those first-round losses have contributed to Harrison’s drop in the rankings to 150 from 43 two years ago.Luck of the draw matters for non-Americans, too. I studied 18 young men and women at Wimbledon who have entered at least five majors without a seed. Together they have won half of first-round matches against unseeded opponents, but fewer than one-third of matches against seeded players.As hard as Harrison’s had it, he’s been blessed to avoid the fate of David Goffin. The 23-year-old Belgian has entered nine majors unseeded. Seven times he has drawn a seed in the first round, including four top 10 seeds. Of 1,000 players with his Grand Slam history, 999 could expect to have drawn fewer seeded first-round opponents, and fewer top 10 seeds.Goffin hasn’t won a Grand Slam match in two years, and his ranking fate has resembled Harrison’s: He’s dropped from No. 42 in the world to No. 105. His latest rough draw came against defending champion Andy Murray, the No. 3 seed at Wimbeldon. Murray dispatched Goffin in straight sets on Monday. read more

Adrian Beltre Is Hall Of Fame Worthy

A long drive, deep over the outfield wall … without a boost from performance-enhancing drugs.It’s an old-time ideal that Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers has played out over and over again. Earlier this week, he smashed two home runs, closing in on a relatively exclusive honor: membership in the 400 home run club. (Beltre needs one more dinger to become a card-carrying member.)In our view, and according to advanced stats, Beltre should be a Hall of Famer someday. But we worry that he won’t be because his conventional stats lack that Cooperstown shine.Why do we think Beltre should be enshrined alongside the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Bill Mazeroski (more on him in a minute)? Beltre is a rarity — a player who excels at both offense and defense. And in both cases, that excellence is best illustrated using sabermetric measurements.1His offensive bona fides are also clear from such traditional statistics as home runs, of course. Among third basemen, Beltre, with his nearly 400 long balls, ranks fifth all-time; three of the four ahead of him are either already in Cooperstown or are locks to make it someday (Chipper Jones).For instance, in terms of per-plate appearance rates, Beltre ranks in the 80th percentile of his peers2Qualified hitters (according to Fangraphs’ leaderboard) who played between 1998 and 2015. in isolated power, the 70th percentile in contact rate, the 50th percentile in speed and the 82nd percentile as an overall hitter. (His only real offensive weakness is a 27th-percentile walk rate.) And those are just the rate statistics; Beltre’s durability has also seen him notch the second-most at-bats of any active player and the 53rd-most of any player ever.That longevity is a big reason why Beltre ranks ninth all-time in offensive wins above replacement (oWAR) among third basemen. Only one non-Hall of Famer, the easily forgettable Toby Harrah, ranks higher, and Beltre should pass him (plus Home Run Baker) this season, assuming that Beltre’s 2015 oWAR resembles his yearly output over the past five seasons. In fact, based on projections from Baseball Prospectus, there’s a good chance that the only players ahead of Beltre in oWAR by the end of his career will be offensive juggernauts Wade Boggs, George Brett, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews and Mike Schmidt.And defensively, Beltre’s advanced numbers are among the best ever. Per defensive WAR (dWAR) and defensive runs saved above average (DRAA),3Defense is harder to measure than offense, and traditional measurements have a way of propping up horrible defenders (see Jeter, Derek). But advanced statistics such as dWAR and DRAA (which is based on video-tracking data for recent seasons and estimated “zone ratings” for years before that) seem to capture defensive skill well. All modern players in the top 10 for DRAA have won at least one Gold Glove, and all but two have won at least four. Beltre is the second-best defensive third baseman in baseball history. Only Brooks Robinson, whom Reds manager Sparky Anderson had nightmares about after Robinson’s unforgettable defensive performance in the 1970 World Series, ranks better. According to dWAR, only 19 other players (across all positions) in baseball history were more valuable defensively than Beltre has been.The defender most like Beltre at this point is Mazeroski, who made it to the Hall almost entirely on his defense. Beltre, by contrast, combines Mazeroski-like defense with vastly superior offensive stats and greater durability.Yet, we worry about Beltre’s fate because his traditional measurements lag behind his advanced ones. The case against Beltre starts by saying that his nearly 400 home runs may be somewhat devalued by the steroid era — more than half of the club’s 51 members hit the majority of their home runs in the 1990s or 2000s — even if Beltre has never been implicated for steroid use. And Beltre’s other impressive credentials (four Gold Gloves, four Silver Sluggers and four All-Star Game nods) are good, but not great. Eric Chavez, for example, will only see Cooperstown as a visitor, but he won six Gold Gloves at third base. In addition, Beltre is unlikely to hit above .290 for his career or win a most valuable player award, and he has never won a World Series (only playing in a single Fall Classic).Simply put, Beltre’s conventional résumé falls short of Cooperstown’s traditional benchmarks. While there is no generally accepted baseball equivalent of Basketball-Reference.com’s Hall of Fame probability metric, Bill James developed a few good ways to gauge a player’s traditional statistical portfolio: the Hall of Fame Standards and Monitor tests, as well as the Black Ink and Gray Ink tests. Together, those metrics measure how well a player met certain (admittedly arbitrary) benchmarks that, historically speaking, are strongly correlated with Hall of Fame induction.In the “Ink” tests — which measure how often a player led the league and finished among the top 10 in important statistical categories — Beltre sits well behind the typical Hall member. He does fare somewhat better in the other, benchmark-based calculations (though he still ranks below average in both the Standards and Monitor tests), and at just 36 years old, Beltre still has time to add to his totals. But overall, he may not even have a coin flip’s chance at the Hall of Fame, according to traditional gauges. A logistic regression between the James metrics and Hall of Fame enshrinement for the eligible players on Baseball-Reference.com’s leaderboards4With additional variables for a player’s era and whether a player was publicly linked to steroids. would assign Beltre a mere 18 percent chance of induction if he retired today.But our hope is that Hall of Fame voters are slowly moving past the older considerations. If they look instead at Beltre’s advanced numbers, they’ll see a Hall of Fame worthy outlier. Look at the Jaffe WAR Score system, or JAWS.5For those curious, the eponym behind the number is Sports Illustrated’s Jay Jaffe. Built on the foundation of WAR, JAWS attempts to strike a balance between players who compiled value over a long period of time (think Paul Molitor, whose JAWS was 57.5) and those who burned brightly for a shorter span of seasons (think Jackie Robinson, whose JAWS was 56.8). And the difference between Beltre’s actual JAWS and what we’d predict from his conventional credentials6As measured by a regression using the James metrics. is stark.Beltre is one of only 10 non-Hall of Famers7Among either eligible players who were not elected or those ineligible for induction. in major league history to produce a JAWS rating above that of the average Hall of Famer, despite a predicted JAWS below the average Hall of Famer.8Predicted JAWS is designed so that its average equals the average JAWS.How can there be such a big difference? It’s partly because predicted JAWS doesn’t take into account defense (because it’s using conventional stats) and actual JAWS does. As we noted previously, defense is very hard to measure in a conventional sense. That’s especially the case at third base, where people can’t even agree on the best skill set for the position. It used to be impossible to say what exactly a player’s defensive range was, for instance. That’s why James’s metrics don’t make much of an attempt at incorporating defense, with the exception of taking into account a player’s position and where it sits on the defensive spectrum.But now we can understand how valuable Beltre is defensively. And we know that his mixture of offensive and defensive production for a third baseman is very rare.The question left is whether Hall of Fame voters will see things that way, conventions be damned. read more

Duos effort helps Buckeyes club Gophers

Double-doubles by Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahlis fueled Ohio State past Minnesota as the Buckeyes torched the Gophers 81-58 Thursday night at the Schottenstein Center.A combined 43-point effort by the duo almost matched the Gophers point total on their own. The two also combined for 17 rebounds.Prahalis added 10 assists, including an array of impressive no-look or down-court passes that earned loud cheers from the crowd. The game was never close as OSU opened up the first half with a 10-point run, then added a 14-2 run four minutes later and never looked back.The victory answered many questions about OSU after it lost Monday night to Purdue, a team they were heavily favored against.The Buckeyes looked like the team of weeks past, shooting 10-21 from three-point range and grabbing 10 steals.The Prahalis-Lavender combo seems to be back in action and with those two hitting on all cylinders, the Buckeyes hope to avoid another surprising loss in conference play. read more

The Lantern examines concussions

Concussions have become a hot-button topic all over the country. As science and medicine are continuing to discover how big an impact head injuries can have on someone’s day-to-day functions and future livelihood, sports organizations, and even Congress are beginning to take notice. Just this week, the NFL made its players aware of a new policy that will institute suspensions for its athletes for malicious helmet-to-helmet hits on a defenseless player. While once seen as a minor deterrent, the long-term effects associated with concussions have helped to paint a frightening portrait of what’s to come for our favorite athletes if they aren’t properly protected. Starting Monday, The Lantern will run a series on concussions beginning with part 1, prevention. Part 1 will be focusing on what can be done to better prepare oneself for avoiding a head injury, as well as offering a detailed look into why concussions are so hard to predict, who gets them, and what’s being done to protect athletes from having to worry about receiving one. Part 2, running Tuesday focuses on treatment. The story explains the dangers caused by head injuries both physically and mentally, what physicians and trainers look for in terms of symptoms, and what athletic trainers are doing to ensure that football players are ready to play after going through a concussion. Part 3, Second Impact Syndrome, focuses on a rare condition associated with a second head injury. SIS can lead to permanent disabilities and even death, but determining who’s susceptible to SIS is nearly impossible beforehand. Make sure to check out The Lantern in print or online for this exclusive look at concussions. read more

Eurostar train ploughs into wild boar causing delays for passengers

first_imgA spokesman for Eurostar said: “They obviously had to stop and check the train was safe to carry on and that caused residual delays on the line.”The wild boar in the area can “take it upon themselves to roam from their area onto the track”, a spokesman said.Customers complaining about delays to their journeys were told on Twitter there had been “an incident involving a wild boar” and they would be “on the move shortly”. Wild boar are related to domestic pigs and have thick, bristly coats. They weigh around 20 stone – although some males can reach double that – and live for approximately 30 years. The train later arrived safely at the Gare du Nord in Paris.  Delays on Eurostar. Leaves on the line? No. A wild boar. Bacon sandwiches all round…— Vicki Dodge (@vickiD1971) October 2, 2016 Elsewhere a Grand Central train hit a herd of cattle between Peterborough and London Kings Cross, causing delays for passengers. Eleven cows died in the incident.  The end is nigh: @Eurostar delayed due to a wild boar— Zoe Tabary (@zoetabary) October 2, 2016 @LisaPhelps20 Apologies Lisa, another Eurostar hit a wild boar earlier and this has held up the traffic for a while causing some delays.— Eurostar (@Eurostar) October 2, 2016 Eurostar passengers were delayed after a train ploughed into a wild boar, holding up services behind it.The 14.22 service travelling from London to Paris hit the animal near Huate Picardie, roughly halfway between Calais and Paris, causing delays of around an hour.Speed restrictions were put in place after the incident. The wild boar in northern France can occasionally roam onto the railway tracksCredit:Christopher Jones Wild boar @kateaustin496 Sorry Kate, there’s a bit of congestion on the line due to speed restrictions following an earlier incident with a boar— Eurostar (@Eurostar) October 2, 2016 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Queens Christmas message 30 things you didnt know about Her Majestys annual

first_imgQueen Elizabeth II delivers her 2007 Christmas speech in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace The Queen in the Long Library at Sandringham after making the first televised Christmas day broadcast to the nation in 1957Credit:PA The custom of a Royal Christmas address was came into force for good in 1939, when King George VI wanted to boost morale during WWII. The Queen has given an address every year since 1952, apart from one – in 1969. In 1969, the Queen decided to write a Christmas message instead of broadcasting one. This was apparently because the Royals felt that they had been in the spotlight too much, after the release of the documentary film ‘Royal Family.’ It was also the same year as Prince Charles’ investiture. The Queen wrote ‘I want you all to know that my good wishes are no less warm and personal because they come to you in a different form.’ During the 1957 broadcast, some viewers complained that their radio transmissions were interrupted by an American police radio frequency. One instance of interference included a police officer saying “Joe, I’m gonna grab a quick coffee.” 1992 was described as an “annus horribilis,” by Her Majesty. In a year where the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew  fell apart as well as a large fire at Windsor Castle, The Sun leaked the speech two days early. The Queen sued, and the paper paid £200,000 to charity. Between 1986 and 1991, David Attenborough produced the Queen’s Christmas address. In 1989 Elizabeth II read part of her speech in front of an audience at the Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time that an audience had heard the speech prior to broadcast. The Queen writes her Christmas address herself. Rather than using a script writer she is believed to sit with advisors and put forward her ideas and words. The broadcast is filmed at Buckingham Palace, or one of the Queen’s other properties a few days before Christmas. The idea for a Royal Christmas address came from Sir John Reith, founder of the BBC The time of 3pm was chosen so that all parts of the commonwealth could listen or watch at a reasonable hour. Today, the message is broadcast to New Zealand at 6:50pm local time, Australia at 7:20pm local time and Canada at midday, local time, as well as live on the Royal’s YouTube channel. The Christmas address was broadcast on radio or television exclusively by the BBC until 1997. Since then, the production has rotated every two years between ITV, and from 2011, Sky News. In 2015, the Queen’s message was the most watched Christmas Day programme, pulling in 7.5 million viewers in total, beating Downton Abbey’s 6.9 million.Who writes the speech?While poet and author Rudyard Kipling drafted the first speech for King George V, the Queen writes her own Christmas speeches and it is one of only a few instances where she is able to speak publicly without any advice from her ministers.Planning begins months earlier once the Queen decides on her theme of the year. From there appropriate archive footage is collected and assembled for the speech which is recorded a few days before Christmas. The Queen in the Long Library at Sandringham after making the first televised Christmas day broadcast to the nation in 1957 Queen Elizabeth II making her first ever Christmas broadcast to the nation from Sandringham House Queen Elizabeth II making her first ever Christmas broadcast to the nation from Sandringham HouseCredit:Getty Every year, at 3pm on Christmas Day, millions of us around the country turn on the radio or television, take off our party hats, and listen to the Queen’s Christmas message.But what are the origins? Why did we hear American police officers in 1957? And which phrases does the Queen reuse the most?Here are 30 things you might not have known about the Queen’s Christmas Day address: ‘The Queen’s Speech’ is not actually called ‘The Queen’s Speech.’ The formal name given to the event is ‘Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech.’ The first ever Christmas address, by King George V started: “I speak now from my home and from my heart to you all; to men and women so cut off by the snows, the desert, or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them.” The first Royal Christmas address was written by Rudyard Kipling, in 1932 and delivered by Elizabeth II’s grandfather King George V. The first Christmas address was 251 words long. Queen Elizabeth II averages 656 words. There was no broadcast in 1936 or 1938 because the annual tradition was not yet established. Queen Elizabeth II making her Christmas broadcast to the peoples of the British Commonwealth from New Zealand in 1953 When and where can I watch or listen to it?The Queen’s Christmas Message is embargoed until 3pm on Christmas Day. It is then broadcast on BBC One, ITV, Sky 1, and Sky News from 3pm until 3.10pm. You can also listen to it on BBC Radio 4.center_img Queen Elizabeth II delivers her 2007 Christmas speech in the 1844 Room at Buckingham PalaceCredit:Steve Parsons/PA Why is it done?King George V’s original Christmas speech in 1932 was intended to be a one-off event as a way to inaugurate the BBC World Service, but over the years it has become one of the most important events in the royal calendar, and a Christmas staple for those living in the Commonwealth.It was firmly established as tradition during the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 where King George VI, in his first Christmas as the King, sought to reassure people and boost morale.What did she say in last year’s speech?Reflecting on a year of terror attacks including the events in Paris and Tunisia, the Queen used her 2015 Christmas Day broadcast to make one of her most “overtly religious” addresses to the nation in many years. What is the Alternative Christmas Message?Since 1993 Channel 4 has been broadcasting an alternative Christmas message to the Queen’s Christmas Message broadcast on BBC, ITV, and Sky.Sometimes it is a humorous message – Marge and Lisa Simpson gave the speech in 2004, where they compared the “special relationship” between the UK and the US to the relationship between Mini Me and Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers films.Other times the message is a serious one. In 2013 Edward Snowden delivered the message and urged the government put an end to mass surveillance, while Abdullah Kurdi, father of Alan Kurdi, the young Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, gave the speech in 2015. What is the Queen’s Christmas Message?The Queen’s Christmas Message is a broadcast made by the monarch to the 52 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations each Christmas.Originally called the King’s Christmas Message when the tradition began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by King George V, the message has been read by Queen Elizabeth II since 1952.The Queen typically uses the speech as a chance to reflect on the year and the major events that have occurred throughout it. She also makes a comment on her own personal milestones of the year and expresses her opinion on Christmas in general. Queen Elizabeth II making her Christmas broadcast to the peoples of the British Commonwealth from New Zealand in 1953Credit:PA Quoting directly from the Bible, she said: “It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’.” In her first Christmas address, the Queen described the British Commonwealth and Empire as an “immense union of nations” which “can be a great power for good – a force which I believe can be of immeasurable benefit to all humanity.” The highest ratings for the Christmas address came in 1980, when an extraordinary 28 million people turned onto the BBC at 3pm. According to mathematicians at UCL, The Queen has said 42,000 words during her Christmas addresses. But…only 3991 are distinct – meaning she has used 90% of the words more than once in a Christmas Address. This high percentage of recycled vocabulary is comparable to rappers Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z, in their music catalogues. Although their language is rather more colourful, the Queen likes to repeat the phrases ‘shining example’ ‘weak and innocent’ and ‘the Commonwealth.’ In 1952 the broadcast was shown on television for the first time, but with sound only. The first broadcast in colour came in 1967, the same year as the Queen had taken part in a five week tour of Canada. In 1975, the Broadcast was filmed outside for the first time, in the Buckingham Palace gardens. 2015 also saw the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, something the Queen also touched on in her speech: “One cause for thankfulness this summer was marking 70 years since the end of the Second World War. On VJ Day, we honoured the remaining veterans of that terrible conflict in the Far East, as well as remembering the thousands who never returned.”Acknowledging the birth of Princess Charlotte in May, the Queen also added: “One of the joys of living a long life is watching one’s children, then grandchildren, then great grandchildren, help decorate the Christmas tree. And this year my family has a new member to join in the fun!” 2006 was the first year in which you could download the speech as a podcast. In 2012, Sky News produced the christmas address in 3D. Viewers were able to see the Queen donning a pair of 3D glasses, rather different to her usual rimless spectacles. This year, the broadcast will be live on Facebook and Youtube as well as television and radio. last_img read more

BBC robot animals to go undercover to film nature even David Attenborough

first_imgThe BBC programme will feature 34 robot animals Chimps proved curious about their new robot friend It will see 30 different robot animals sent to live among the real thing, with fully-working skeletons built bone by bone, a realistic muscle structure and an exterior created painstakingly by artists.The orangutan, the most expensive of the animatronics, saw each hair planted one by one in its body, while newly-hatched crocodiles were waterproofed in case their new mother dropped them into the river.A wild dog puppy was “taught” how to make characteristic submissive and playful gestures in order to help it be accepted by the pack, while a strategically egret and tortoise help film-makers capture an elephant family trying to protect its new baby while on the move. John Downer, producer, said the programme, which took three years to make, will help shed light on human emotion and behaviours, by showing they also exist in the animal kingdom.While is used to be frowned upon to anthropomorphise the nature world, he said, academics were now coming round to admitting the similarities.“I think that’s been the great breakthrough over the last ten years,” he said. “I think animal behaviourists knew it, but they didn’t dare say it.“You can’t spend any time with animals without realising that so much of what they do is just like us.“We’re seeing behaviour mirrored in that natural world. Now there’s no one who studies, particularly the primates but increasingly other animals. Some of the animals were a little too realistic A wild dog pup is designed to make a submissive bow, before adults accept it into the pack Chimps proved curious about their new robot friend One scene, which they claim has never been captured on camera before, will show a chimp attempting to keep a tiny genet kitten as a pet, while another sees a family of langur monkeys grieving after believing they had killed the lifeless robot animal.Tom McDonald, the BBC’s head of natural history commissioning, said the programme marked a “real change” in natural history filming, providing “genuinely mind-blowing” footage he promised would show viewers the world “in an entirely new way”.The results will be shown in a new series entitled Spy In the Wild, due to broadcast on BBC One in January.Grouped into themes, each episode will explore how animals display love, intelligence, misbehaviour and friendship across species: or, as one programme-maker described the latter, “whether the Lion King could be true”. “As scientist have been getting closer to them, they are now interpreting that behaviour through how we would express things.“To deny it is to fly in the face of what you’re seeing.“Everything always used to have to be couched in very scientific language. Those barriers have broken down, because it really stops you understanding what’s going on.”Rob Pilley, producer, said academics were now encouraging their use of animatronics in filming behaviour they had written about but never filmed, adding films were “contributing, albeit on a small level but a significant one, to science”.Spy in the Wild will be broadcast on BBC One on January 12. For decades, Sir David Attenborough and his television descendants have been creeping ever-closer to the natural world to show it off to viewers in all its glory.But the BBC will next year go one step further, as it commissions 34 hyper-realistic animatronic  spy creatures to go undercover in the animal world.A new BBC natural history show will see life-like animals from baby crocodiles to adult orangutans infiltrate the jungles, deserts and grasslands of the planet, in an attempt to assimilate into wild families.The results, programme-makers say, will prove once and for all that animals experience the same emotions and relationships to humans. The BBC programme will feature 34 robot animals One animal proved too realistic for its own good, after cameras caught a real tortoise valiantly trying to mate with its robot companion.Programme-makers admitted sending the finished creatures into their new families was “quite nerve-wracking”, with concerns about upsetting the natural order of families.In one difficult scene, a young langur monkey appears to believe she has dropped the robot baby to its death, with the family gathering round to mourn it.Robot animals were also sent to live among a penguin colony, as a chick hatching out of its own egg inside a bird’s nest and among dozens of giraffes filmed assembling in mourning for a family member which had died of old age. Some of the animals were a little too realistic The langur monkeys were later filmed grieving, after dropping the robot baby The langur monkeys were later filmed grieving, after dropping the robot baby A wild dog pup is designed to make a submissive bow, before adults accept it into the pack Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Blogger Stacie Pridden forced back on organ waiting list as her body

first_imgStacie Pridden was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2002Credit:Adam Gray/South West News Service Stacie Pridden, 26, writes a blog documenting her journey On her blog – Life is Worth The Fight – she took her readers through the ups and downs of her illness. But she finally underwent her organ transplant at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge in May 2015.Her body has accepted the heart well. “Everyone knows when they have a transplant that they will eventually go into some form of rejection,” she said.”I kind of hoped I would reach the five-year average but unfortunately I was one of the unlucky people that went into rejection sooner.”I think my family find it hard watching me go through it again because this time I’m a lot iller than I was the first time and they’re having to do a lot more for me.” I think my family find it hard watching me go through it again because this time I’m a lot iller than I was the first timeStacie Pridden A LOT of pain today. Pleurisy + coughing = Agony Not impressed with my body today, at all!— Stacie Pridden (@staciep90) January 4, 2017 I’m still regular old me, I’m just very ill again and I’m using a wheelchair again and I can’t really walk very farStacie Pridden Miss Pridden was born with three holes in her heart and has endured operations every year until she was 13.She was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension in 2002, a rare blood vessel disorder in her lung, and knew an organ transplant was the only thing that would keep her alive.She was officially put on the transplant list when her condition significantly worsened after her 18th birthday and was given three years to live. “While I was deteriorating I did feel like I was dying and every breath was my last. It feels a lot more urgent this time.”A double lung transplant is even rarer the second time around. I believe it has only been done twice in the world.”Nine out of ten people can’t go back on the waiting list for various reasons.”I’m just extremely lucky that I’m still young and that my drugs haven’t had time to destroy my other organs yet.”I’m still regular old me, I’m just very ill again and I’m using a wheelchair again and I can’t really walk very far.”General day-to-day stuff is very hard for me yet again. But I still feel very happy and positive.”center_img Stacie was first diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension in 2002 Stacie Pridden, 26, writes a blog documenting her journeyCredit:Stacie Pridden / SWNS.com Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. However, she is at the back of the queue for a donor and a “transplant on top of a transplant” operation has only been carried out twice in the world.She said: “Whereas the first time around I had 20 years of deteriorating, this time I had six weeks to deal with it. An inspirational blogger who captivated Twitter as she underwent a double lung and heart transplant has been forced to turn back to the waiting list after her body rejected the lungs.Stacie Pridden, 26, touched people around the world with a blog documenting her journey as she waited for the organs.The risky transplant went ahead in May 2015 and, shortly afterwards, she posted a photo to her Twitter followers saying: “I’m alive guys.” She appeared to recover well until she got an infection and was diagnosed with chronic lung rejection in July last year.Her lung functionality dropped from 80 to 25 per cent in just six weeks and doctors have now told her she will need another double transplant.Miss Pridden, from Pinehurst in Swindon, Wiltshire, is now relying on oxygen and a cocktail of medication to stay alive, and doctors have been unable to tell her how long she may have to live.last_img read more