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Photo by HC Van UrfalianFor their 1966 song, “Good Vibrations,” the Beach Boys assembled an unusual mix of instruments—including a jaw harp, a cello, and an Electro-Theremin—to produce one of their biggest hits. By arranging sound waves in a unique and particular way, they were able to elicit a positive response.Many doctors and researchers have the same goal. After all, the same “excitations” that helped the Beach Boys usher in an era of feel-good pop—the sound waves that propagate through air and water, bringing notes of music to our ears—are also noninvasively able to explore body tissues, helping to visualize babies in the womb, heal back pain, or even deliver chemotherapeutics to targeted tumors.One of the most-used “good vibrations” in medicine is ultrasound—sound waves delivered at a frequency inaudible to the human ear. Ultrasound has been used in medical settings since the 1940s for diagnostics and in recent years has gained popularity for use in physical therapy and to speed up drug delivery.But that, say chemical engineer Mikhail Shapiro and biologist Doris Tsao, isn’t all that ultrasound can do. The two, who met shortly after Shapiro was hired to the Caltech faculty in late 2013, have joined forces to develop a new technology that uses ultrasound to both map and determine the function of interconnected brain networks. Their goal: to one day be able to change abnormal neural activity deep within the brain using pulses of sound. The idea is so intriguing that, in September 2014, theirs became one of 58 projects nationwide to be awarded funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of President Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnology—or BRAIN—Initiative.They are an ideal pair for this project: Shapiro’s lab focuses on ways to use different forms of energy—like magnetic fields or sound waves—to penetrate deep into the brain in order to image or control specific processes, like neural function. Tsao, for her part, works to pinpoint specific areas of the brain where functions such as object perception occur. Together—and with the help of postdoctoral fellows Jerome Lacroix in Shapiro’s lab and Tomo Sato in Tsao’s lab—they hope to combine their specialties to use sound waves to inhibit or excite different areas of the brain in order to obtain a specific response.Their idea plays off of a technique called deep brain stimulation (DBS), which uses implanted electrodes to send electrical impulses to tightly targeted regions of the brain; those impulses block abnormal nerve signals to address severe, treatment-resistant depression and epilepsy, among other movement and affective disorders. The problem is that, as you might imagine, the technique requires highly invasive surgery, during portions of which the device’s recipient needs to be awake.“If you could stimulate the regions involved in such conditions in a noninvasive way—with ultrasound waves, for instance—it would be a huge advantage,” Tsao says.They have reason to believe that’s possible. For one thing, scientists at other institutions—including neurobiologist Jamie Tyler at Arizona State University—have shown that you can use ultrasound to stimulate brain cells in rodent models.“For example, Tyler showed you could make a mouse flick its tail when certain parts of its brain were stimulated in the motor cortex,” says Tsao, whose introduction to Tyler at a meeting a few years ago inspired her to start her own investigations into controlling brain cells with ultrasound waves. “It became obvious to me that if this could work in humans, it would have tremendous impact. With ultrasonic neuromodulation, not only could we stimulate any part of the human brain noninvasively, but we could ask subjects about their experience and do it all inside an MRI scanner, the data from which we could use to map the connectivity and gain a greater understanding of how the brain functions.”The problem is that the mechanism for how the neurons become excited or inhibited by ultrasound is largely a question mark. In fact, at the most basic level, no one quite knows how DBS works, either. So Shapiro and Tsao are, to some degree, starting from scratch.To begin, the team wants to study precisely what happens at the cellular and molecular level when ultrasound waves come into contact with certain neurons. So they have built an experimental setup with which they can use microscopy and electrophysiology techniques to look at what’s happening to cells and molecules while they are being bombarded by ultrasound waves. “You need a way for the sound waves to have more or less unfettered access to your cells,” explains Shapiro.Their solution was a big water tank into which an ultrasound transducer is submerged; brain cells, grown on a nutrient gel, are then placed on the surface of the water. Shapiro and Tsao can look at the cells from above with a normal microscope; they also have an electrophysiology device in contact with the cells to measure electrical activity in the neurons. “Constructing this exotic setup was the first step, and we’re there,” Shapiro says.Next, they want to use this setup to figure out what mechanism excites brain cells when they’re hit with ultrasound. From a technical point of view, they also want to figure out the limits of the technology and how to optimize it for use in different types of animals, with the goal of eventually testing it in humans.“This technology has a long way to go,” Shapiro notes. “But if at the conclusion of our three-year grant we’ve achieved all of our goals, we’ll be in a really great position to expand our research, maybe even into human trials.”Tsao, for her part, is already looking even further down the road. “I’d like to be able to pass this technique on to people at Caltech like John O’Doherty and Antonio Rangel who could potentially use it in their work on behaviors like addiction that are regulated by the brain” she says. “So if it does work, there are a large number of people who are at the ready to translate this. And that’s really exciting.”POWER VOCALSFinding a natural way to power those deep-brain stimulators once they are buried in the brains of people—as well as other devices implanted in or near the head—is the task electrical engineer Hyuck Choo has set himself.“If you use a battery, you have to replace it at some point,” he explains. “And if the device is already in the body, that means you have to have another surgical procedure. This makes people hesitant to use implants. If you can have a more permanent power source that continuously powers the devices, it would be a big advantage. So I’ve been looking for an energy source that we could reliably and easily harvest, or capture and store.”Choo thinks he’s found a solution, one we use all the time: our voice. He wants to harness the vibrations that vocal cords make when we talk, and use them to power implantable devices. So, for example, a deaf person could sing a song to charge up their cochlear implant.Last summer, Choo tasked undergraduate Sophia Chen with testing this idea—that our voices could be used to power devices—as part of her Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). “First, I analyzed the vocal-cord vibrations throughout the skull, which basically showed that we could harness those vibrations and turn them into storable energy,” explains Chen.Sophia Chen attaching sensors to the face of a volunteer. Photo by Lance HayashidaTo then test the strength of the vibrations, she simply attached tiny accelerometers to different areas of the head in 8 volunteer participants, one of whom was Choo. She asked the volunteers to hum at a constant frequency; then hum on a scale, from lowest to highest frequency; and then read aloud.“Sophia found that, no matter the vocal activity being performed, the acousto-mechanical vibrations were concentrated at a single frequency for 80 to 90 percent of the time,” says Choo. “By focusing on one frequency, we can really optimize the harvesting process.”This suggests that—instead of having wires running from the brain to a power source typically placed under the skin of your chest for deep-brain stimulation, or batteries mounted behind the ear for cochlear implants—a device harvesting energy from vocal cords could also be implantable. “There would be no wires sticking out or anything; everything would be inside the head,” says Choo. “That would be an advantage of this approach.”He is now working on building such a vibration-harnessing device, inspired by an off-the-shelf piezo-electric setup—a device that harvests energy from pressure, including that derived from sound vibrations. The team’s challenge is to scale down that technology so it can be implanted in the body while leaving it sizeable enough to generate the power needed, utilizing the energy provided. “Best we can tell right now from the data we have, a person would have to sing their favorite songs for about 10 to 20 minutes twice a day to keep their device powered,” says Choo.He notes that there is no worry of overdoing it, should one want to sing an entire opera or gab with friends for hours. A safety feature can be built into the device to cut off the charging process once the implant has enough juice.Because Chen—now finishing up her sophomore year at Caltech— has coursework to deal with, Choo and his lab are taking the SURF work she did and running with it. But Choo gives Chen all the credit for what he calls “a very viable option” for solving this medical challenge.“The right project for the right student makes a big difference,” says Choo. “We are continuously working on this project, and when the time comes to test the energy-harvesting device that we fabricate, I hope Sophia will come back and help us again.”SOUND IT OUTUltrasound machines and energy harvesters use regular old sound waves in unique and novel ways. But Caltech senior postdoctoral scholar Carly Donahue has taken a different tack; she helped devise techniques to try to change the way those sound waves behave, with the goal of giving sound more power in medical applications.In a research group lead by Chiara Daraio, Donahue and graduate student Paul Anzel worked to produce highly focused, high-amplitude acoustic signals called sound bullets because of their destructive power. The manipulated sound waves act much like a tidal wave, appearing to move by pushing all their energy forward in a single crest instead of in the classic squiggly (and weaker) waveform. The hope is that these focused packets of energy could one day be used to destroy unwanted tissue or trim away tumors, all without doing the kind of damage to the body that a real bullet would do.This work really began in 2010, when Daraio and her lab reported that they had learned how to control the way in which sound travels, using granular materials—in their case, macroscopic stainless-steel ball bearings, or spheres, assembled into a chain. An array of 21 such parallel chains created what the researchers call an acoustic lens—a pulse of sound pressure initiated at one end travels down each chain in much the same way motion in the Newton’s cradle children’s toy travels from the first ball to the last in a chain without moving the ones in the middle. The point of it all? To use the lens to focus all that pressure, all that sound, at one spot, creating a sort of bullet of sound.“It’s a simple concept, but it has such incredibly interesting physics,” Donahue says. “The whole idea of the lens is being able to control acoustic signals in a completely different, non-linear way.” According to Anzel, who is studying applied physics, the best way to focus sound at a specific point is to shape the way the signal moves through space.“What we took advantage of is that, just by squeezing a row of bearings, you can cause a signal to travel through it faster,” he says. “So, if you create rows of ball bearings and squeeze the outer rows more than the inner ones, you can control the speed of the sound pulses so that they arrive at the same time from a bunch of different directions to target an area.”Building on the 2010 results, which focused the sound waves to penetrate a solid material, Donahue and a team of colleagues began testing the concept in liquid. They also began thinking about applications: sound bullets traveling through liquids could be used to image and evaluate the structures of bridges, says Anzel, or solid objects on the floor of the ocean, much like weaker ultrasound waves are used to image the body.“We wanted to try this in liquid because, if we want to do medical applications, we have to deal with the fact that obviously the body is not solid,” Donahue explains. “For liquid, we had to think about how to actually transmit a wave from a solid material into a fluid, and the extra complications involved.”To create the lens in water, Donahue, Daraio, Anzel, and others first aligned the same spheres they’d used in their solid lens, but put each chain into individual tubes. Then, they constructed a waterproof interface—made of a glass disk and polymer encasing—so that they could submerge part of the tubes in water without the spheres falling out. After arranging the tubes next to each other to form the same kind of array they’re created in the solid version of the lens, they then generated a sound pulse, controlling each wave’s timing and amplitude.“The most surprising part of the study was how important the materials used in the lens-water interface were for controlling how the sound travels,” Daraio says. “We knew it would play a substantial role in the formation of the sound bullet and the energy trans- fer to the water, but we had not fully realized the complexity required in its design. This is something Carly really made important progress on.”A much smaller setup would be needed for use in the human body, so Daraio’s research group is investigating solutions for the miniaturization of such a device. And Donahue is now exploring how contacts between different materials work on smaller scales—at the microscale or even the nanoscale—where different forces may come into play. “We want to know the basic forces and how things behave to see if it will work,” she says.If successful, these tiniest of sound bullets might one day be used to noninvasively blast kidney stones and gallstones, remove blood clots, and potentially provide a more accurate imaging alternative, one that could produce even clearer views of the body than do current ultrasound technologies.“Reducing the device’s size would enable us to reach wavelengths of interest for medical applications, and I hope to see this realized in the next few years,” says Daraio. “It is exciting to see many years of hard work and passion for fundamental research leading to the creation of an instrument that may improve everyday life for many people.” EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Top of the News Make a comment Science and Technology Caltech: Good Vibrations By KATIE NEITH Published on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 | 11:10 am Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes First Heatwave Expected Next Week Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena
Here are more facts you probably didn’t learn in anatomy or physiology class.Neurons in the human eye are organized for error correction (Science Daily): “Seeing is believing,” but only insofar as it is accurate. This article discusses “Cells that send visual signals to the brain act collectively to suppress noise and improve accuracy.”Understanding X-chromosome silencing in humans (Science Daily): If females didn’t silence one of their X-chromosomes, they would have an imbalance of gene expression. “X-chromosome silencing is essential for proper development,” this article begins. Researchers add another protein to Xist involved in this operation. It’s called Xact. Interestingly, it appears in humans but not in mice.Super-you: Your body is a nation of trillions (New Scientist): It’s enough to give you the creepy-crawlies all night, just looking at the photo of an alien-like dust mite, then hearing that thousands of these eight-legged arthropods live on your face and skin. Indeed, Daniel Cossins writes, “Legions of creatures inhabit the cracks, contours and crevices of your body — and they all contribute to who you are.” You can take some comfort that it’s not just your problem. According to one Stanford biologist, “Each of us is really a complex consortium of different organisms, one of which is human.” Now back to sleep.Your left hand knows what your right hand is doing (Science Daily): Experiments at Tel Aviv University showed that when “people practiced finger movements with their right hand while watching their left hand on 3D virtual reality headsets, they could use their left hand more efficiently after the exercise.” The opening of the article says that “the saying” goes, “your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing.” If that was an off-hand reference to Jesus, the actual quote from the Sermon on the Mount does not make such a claim. He said, “when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret” – implying that both hands are in communication. The metaphor was not intended as a statement of science, but as a figure of speech to make a point about almsgiving.Why we walk on our heels instead of our toes (Science Daily): A barefoot runner at the University of Arizona wondered why humans land heel-first when walking instead of ball-first. His analysis showed that “Walking heel-to-toe gives humans the mechanical advantage of longer ‘virtual limbs’.” James Webber explains:“The extra ‘virtual limb’ length is longer than if we had just had them stand on their toes, so it seems humans have found a novel way of increasing our limb length and becoming more efficient walkers than just standing on our toes,” Webber said. “It still all comes down to limb length, but there’s more to it than how far our hip is from the ground. Our feet play an important role, and that’s often something that’s been overlooked.“Webber makes up a story about how humans evolved this heel-first habit based simply on the observation that barefoot runners tend to land on the middle or balls of their feet. But he acknowledges that the Laetoli footprints show the pattern of heel-first walking began early.Laetoli Footprint NewsSpeaking of the Laetoli footprints, a new trackway has been found. Reported in eLife, it shows a modern gait with basically modern human feet, according to New Scientist. The problem is there should not have been any modern humans around 3.66 million years ago, when evolutionists believe these prints were made in Tanzania. But instead of focusing on that problem, the news reports latched onto the scientists’ supposition, based on the print sizes, that a fairly large male (5’5″, large for a presumed Australopithecus) was accompanied by several smaller females. That’s all that popular news reporters needed to go ape:“Ancient human ancestor was one tall dude, his footprints say” (Phys.org)“Oldest early human footprints suggest males had several ‘wives’” (Collin Barras in New Scientist)‘Lucy’ Species May Have Been Polygynous (Charles Q. Choi in Live Science)From prints to polygamy; that’s one giant leap for mankind. One can only wonder what such reporters would concoct from footprints left by a teenage boy leading his younger sisters to the beach.For all Choi or Barras know, the prints were made by children walking to Sunday School. That’s the danger of letting Darwinians into the science business. Their speculation knows no bounds.Speculation drops the more you focus on details. Let these evolution-drunk reporters tell us about evolving a foot by mutation and natural selection. Let them tell us the specific accidents that yielded an efficient center of gravity below ground as they walk. Let them tell us what mistakes led cells to cooperate to improve accuracy of vision. Let them explain how two different proteins cooperated to silence an extra X-chromosome, or how a blind natural process figured out it needed to be done in the first place.The devil is not in the details; that’s where the angel is. The devil lurks in the blurry figures the imagination conjures up in Darwin’s crystal ball when the lights are turned low.(Visited 54 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
29 June 2006South Africa’s first group of environmental inspectors have completed their training and, from July, will start tackling environmental criminals in the country.The government introduced environmental management inspectors – dubbed “Green Scorpions” – in 2005 in order to protect South Africa’s natural resources.Gauteng province’s fledgling Environmental Management Inspectorate (EMI) has already stung syndicates peddling illegal elephant ivory tusks and forbidden plants.Working with the police, the EMI’s special investigation unit arrested one person last week after raiding a house in Johannesburg. Over 400 ornaments produced from ivory tusks illegally imported from Zimbabwe were seized.According to the provincial department of agriculture, conservation and environment, the raid also produced documents with details of curio shops, individual customers and large businesses suspected to be linked to this illegal trade.In a separate operation earlier this month, the EMI raided the mail centre at Johannesburg International Airport and impounded 14 boxes containing over 800 plants illegally imported from Namibia.Five suspects were subsequently arrested.The department is working with the national Department of Agriculture, customs officials and the Namibian and South African National Botanical Gardens to identify the plant species in preparation for a court case.“We consider these breakthroughs as symbolic of successes expected from the Environmental Management Inspectorate,” the department said in a statement.Source: BuaNews Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
28 May 2009Ticket sales for the 2009 Confederations Cup are fast approaching the 400 000 mark, with just three weeks left before the kickoff of Fifa’s “Tournament of Continental Champions”.Some 383 506 tickets, or 63% of the total 640 000 tickets available, had been sold by 21 May, according to Fifa. Of those sold, 25 000 had been bought over the counter since the opening of ticketing centres in the four host cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.Johannesburg is in the lead, with 33 509 tickets purchased and collected at its ticketing centre at the Sandton Isle, in Sandton.According to Fifa, tickets for several matches in various categories are sold out:Match 1 (South Africa vs Iraq): category 3 and 4;Match 3 (Brasil vs Egypt): category 4;Match 4 (USA vs Italy): category 4;Match 7 (USA vs Brasil): category 2, 3 and 4;Match 11 (Brasil vs Italy): all categories;Match 14 (semifinal, Johannesburg): category 4; andMatch 16 (final, Johannesburg); category 4Category four tickets are the cheapest tickets and are available exclusively to South African residents in rands. For the group matches and the third place match, category four tickets go for R70 only. Categories one to three tickets are available in American dollars to football fans living outside the country.Category one tickets are for seats alongside the pitch, between the goal lines. Category two tickets are for seats next to category one seats, in the corners; and categories three and four tickets are for seats behind the goals or in the corners.TeamsNew Zealand, Iraq and Spain and host nation South Africa will slug it out for top spot in Group A, while the United States, Egypt, Brazil and Italy will fight it out in Group B.The opening and final matches of the tournament, which kicks off on 14 June, will be played at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park Stadium, while Tshwane’s Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Mangaung’s Free State Stadium, and Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace will host group and semifinal matches.People can still apply for tickets through FNB branches. At bank branches, buyers must:Collect official ticket application forms from any FNB branch across the country;Fill out the application form, subject to the household limitations on ticket purchases – a maximum of four tickets per household, up to a maximum of seven matches. You must also choose which games you would like to attend, as well as supply personal details of the main applicant and guests;Return the ticket application form to an FNB teller, keeping the ticket purchase card as proof of payment;Wait to receive an SMS confirming the outcome of your application;Pay for tickets when advised that the request for tickets was successful; andCollect your tickets using your card at various points in the four host citiesTickets can also be bought online:On the Fifa website, register your request for tickets;Monitor the outcome or status of your ticket application online;Go online when advised that your ticket application was successful; andCollect tickets using your Visa payment card from various points in the four host citiesTickets can also be bought over the counter at ticketing centres in each host city. Simply walk into a ticketing centre with cash, credit or debit cards and buy tickets over the counter or through vending machines. The vending machines, which take only credit and ticket purchase cards, give customers step-by-step instructions on buying tickets, which are printed out.Once ticket applications have been approved, the tickets can be collected from inside FNB branches during normal FNB trading hours, as well as other designated collection points available at each host city.At all locations, customers need to bring along:Their payment card, if they used the card to buy their tickets via the Fifa website;Their ticket purchase card from their hard ticket application form, if they used the paper application form to buy their tickets; andProof of identity to confirm they are the person who ordered the ticketsSource: City of Johannesburg
Athandiwe Sikade’s entry was an animated retelling of uMboleki, a humorous children’s story with a deeper message about how to behave appropriately in society. (Image: Nal’ibali)A seven-year-old has become South Africa’s Story Bosso after winning the Nal’ibali storytelling competition.Athandiwe Sikade of Khayelitsha in Cape Town, who is only seven, is the winner of the competition. Itis a nationwide talent search to get people of all ages excited about reading and telling stories.The competition invited members of the public to send in audio or video clips of themselves reading or telling their favourite stories.“We collected more than 2 000 submissions from across the country,” said Jade Jacobsohn, the managing director of the Nali’bali reading-for-enjoyment campaign.”Stories came in from all age groups and in all languages.“They ranged from those that made us laugh, to those that made us cry, but best of all, they showed us that a spirit of storytelling – oral, written and in many languages is alive and well, which we can use to inspire children to want to read and write.”Athandiwe is joined by two runners-up: 12-year-old Atang Makgata, who was selected for her original story, A Dream About the Enchanted Forest, and Kerrin Kokot and Jayne Batzofin who entered their bilingual story, The Lonely Frog, in English and Sign Language.The finalists each receive cash prizes, Ackermans vouchers as well as a home library with books courtesy of Exclusive Books, Bargain Books, Cambridge University Press, Jacana Media and the Save Our Seas Foundation.Jacobsohn added that while they were delighted to have discovered so many promising storytellers, Story Bosso was ultimately about helping to root a culture of reading in South Africa.“Sharing stories builds children’s knowledge, concepts, language ability and imagination. So, growing the storytelling and reading habit at home, is a perfect way to help children become motivated and curious learners with greater capacity to succeed at school,” said Jacobsohn.A STORY ON BEHAVING APPROPRIATELYAccording to Nal’ibali, competing against 14 other finalists for the title of South Africa’s first Story Bosso, Athandiwe was chosen for her spirited storytelling style and skill relative to her young age.Her entry was an animated retelling of uMboleki, a humorous children’s story with a deeper message about how to behave appropriately in society.Athandiwe received a surprise visit from renowned local author and Story Bosso celebrity judge, Sindiwe Magona, who treated her and her class to a special storytelling of her own.“In books and stories you will find all the dreams you will ever need,” said Magona.”You will find all the truth the world can give and all the fun there is for each and every boy or girl, little, or big, or somewhere in between.”Athandiwe is from Chumisa Primary in Khayelitsha, where Nal’ibali hosted one of 30 Story Bosso pop-up auditions to source stories directly from the campaign’s network of reading clubs and communities across the country.Along with its partners, Times Media, National Book Week, Jozi Book Fair, Soweto Theatre, Vodacom Teacher Centres, Mad About Art and Africa Unite, auditions were held which served as an opportunity for Nal’ibali to provide caregivers and children across the country with books and literacy materials in their home languages.Over 13 000 books and 26 500 story cards in a range of South African languages were distributed over the duration of the competition.
Indian pugilists would look to secure Olympic berths besides fetching medals against a strong field in the World Boxing Championships starting in Azerbaijan on Monday. The top 10 in eight weight categories would qualify for the London Games, scheduled in 2012, while in the heavyweight and super heavyweight, the top six would book their Olympic berths. Apart from last edition’s bronze-medallist Vijender Singh there are others to watch out for as well. Suranjoy Singh (52kg) would be among the ones to watch out for. The diminutive Manipuri, fondly called “Chhota Tyson”, would be expected to not just book an Olympic berth but also fetch a medal. For the experienced Akhil Kumar (56kg), it would be about regaining lost ground. With more than 650 boxers from 120 countries in fray, it is one of the biggest world championships from where the first batch of Olympic qualifiers would be known.
Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman, the stylish Hyderabadi cricketer, is all set to call it a day.The 37-year-old middle-order batsman is likely to quit international cricket soon after the two-Test cricket series against New Zealand, commencing on August 23. The first match of the series will be played in his home town of Hyderabad.Laxman is expected to make the announcement on his retirement in a day or two.The “Very Very Special” batsman, who has been out of form for the last two seasons, reportedly told his close friends in the field and a couple of sports correspondents on Friday that he had decided to retire from international cricket and would like to make an announcement to this effect before the commencement of the India-New Zealand Test series for which he was picked up.”I would take a final call after discussing with my parents, wife, well-wishers, coaches and other friends,” he is learnt to have said.Laxman did not respond to the calls and text messages when Mail Today tried to contact him to get confirmation about the reports on his retirement. Sources close to him, however, confirmed that he made up his mind to bid adieu to cricket.Laxman, who made his debut in 1996 against South Africa, has played 134 Tests scoring 8,781 runs, including 17 centuries and 56 fifties, at an average of 45.97. He has also played 86 ODIs, scoring 2,338 runs with six hundreds.Sources said Laxman had, in fact, decided to announce retirement much before the selection of team for the two-match Test series against New Zealand. “The retirement of Rahul Dravid brought a lot of pressure on him to follow suit, as he had not performed well in both the Test series in Australia and England. Since then, he was toying up with the idea of quitting international cricket,” sources said.In fact, Laxman’s average during the four-Test series against Australia was 19.38, and before that, he had just averaged 22.75 in the series against England. In between these two series, however, he had put up a good show against the West Indies in a three-Test home series by scoring 298 runs with a stupendous average of 99.33.Following the pathetic performance in Australia, Laxman was under pressure to quit, as there was criticism against him that he was blocking the chances of youngsters. He was apprehensive that he might not be picked up for the series with New Zealand, but the selectors have thought otherwise. They picked him up for the squad as they apparently thought a senior cricketer like him would be the backbone of the team in the absence of Dravid. As a result, Laxman decided to play for the last time for the country.”Obviously, he wants to retire with grace by putting up a decent performance in the home series,” sources said.advertisement
Crystal Palace boss Hodgson confident Zaha will find his best formby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is confident Wilfried Zaha will find his best form soon.The 26-year-old winger was a target for both Arsenal and Everton during the summer and is reported to have handed in a late transfer request in the hope of pushing through a move.After resuming domestic action following a late return from the Africa Cup of Nations, Zaha has so far failed to open his account for the new season or provide any assists.Hodgson said: “Very few people in our teams have scored goals, we’ve only scored three so it is quite easy to remember who the goalscorers were.”As for assists it is only three possible assists, so it is probably a little unkind to start saying ‘you are not assisting enough or scoring enough.”I would say that we expect a lot more from Wilf in terms of assists and goals and I think that we are going to get it.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
We’re a little more than a day away from the 2015 Final Four. At 6:09 p.m. E.T. Saturday, Duke and Michigan State are set to tip off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Following that contest, at roughly 8:49 p.m. E.T., Kentucky and Wisconsin will play. Here’s the official game ball for the Final Four. It features the national championship trophy. Official game ball. Trophy embossed. pic.twitter.com/jJt9v0hq2i— Duke Basketball (@dukeblueplanet) April 3, 2015Which team will be throwing that ball into the air late Monday evening?The Final Four games will be televised on TBS.
HALIFAX – Celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary has been ordered to pay legal fees to a philanthropic organization that is suing him over allegations he backed out of a speaking engagement and cost the group more than $25,000.The decision, handed down Wednesday by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Judge Mona Lynch, rejects O’Leary’s attempt to dismiss the suit or move it to another jurisdiction, and awarded $3,500 in costs to the Canadian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.The chamber had been seeking $12,000 in costs, while O’Leary suggested legal costs of $1,000 after failing to have the suit dismissed after a half-day hearing last Dec. 7.In her analysis, Lynch said she was made to consider facts around the wealth of O’Leary, the brash star of the ABC show “Shark Tank” and former panellist on CBC’s “Dragon’s Den.”“The plaintiff asks me to consider that the defendant is a wealthy man who touts himself as a leading high-tech entrepreneur and investment guru; who prefers to be called ‘Mr. Wonderful’; who professes his knowledge and love of money; and who derides the death of money,” her decision reads, noting that she had never watched the show “Shark Tank.”“The award of costs that is just and appropriate in the circumstances and would do justice between the parties is $3,500.”The decision is part of a broader suit against O’Leary by the chamber’s Nova Scotia branch, which alleges that O’Leary reneged on a promise to be keynote speaker at the group’s gala event in Halifax on May 18, 2017.The group’s statement of claim, filed last Dec. 8, contends that O’Leary committed in February 2017 to speak at the Cedar and Maple Gala fundraising dinner in Halifax.It says the group set about booking a space and printing promotional materials for the event with O’Leary, who was in the midst of a leadership bid for the federal Conservative Party.But, the 10-page claim states that O’Leary abruptly pulled out of the speech without warning.Gavin Giles, who is representing the chamber in the proceedings, said O’Leary had another change of heart and agreed to speak only if a minimum of 50 members pledged to donate $1,550 to the Conservative party, “with 90 per cent of each donation being funnelled back” to O’Leary’s leadership campaign.That statement says he again withdrew when the chamber refused to agree to the conditions.The group says it had to seek out another speaker — author David Chilton — at a cost of more than $25,000, which it is seeking to recover from O’Leary along with other damages and costs.In his statement of defence, O’Leary’s lawyer Christopher Madill denies all of the allegations against his client and says the suit should be dismissed.It states that O’Leary agreed to give the address on Feb. 4, 2017, on the understanding that it would raise a minimum of $40,000 at $1,550 per person for his political run.“The defendant says that he agreed to give a keynote speech in consideration for the plaintiff organizing a major fundraising event for the defendant’s political campaign,” the defence states.“The plaintiff completely and unequivocally failed to honour its contractual obligations under the agreement.”Madill was not immediately available for comment.