February 10, 2018

Posted by orrinj at 8:30 PM


Wait nearly over for Golden Rice release in Bangladesh: Beta carotene-rich grain key to fight vitamin-A deficiency (Reaz Ahmad, 05 February, 2018, UNB) 

Bangladeshi rice scientists have advanced a beta carotene-rich rice to a varietal release stage, heralding a new era in fight against vitamin-A deficiency (VAD).

They said the wait is nearly over for release of Golden Rice, a long touted remedy to VAD. 

According to the World Health Organization's global VAD database, one in every five pre-school children in Bangladesh is vitamin A-deficient. Among the pregnant women, 23.7 percent suffer from VAD.

Upon receipts of positive outcome from two successive years of 'confined' field trials, the breeders at the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) have just gone for a final cycle of multi-location field trials and sought regulatory approval from the government for an 'unconfined' field test prior seeking variety release approval. 

Posted by orrinj at 9:58 AM



For more information, contact:

Richard Grisham, Chief Marketing Officer

Mike Suszek, License Relations and Digital Content Manager

T.J. Lauerman, Community Manager


OOTP 19 screenshots: https://www.dropbox.com/home/OOTP%2019/Screenshots
OOTP 19 teaser trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-2mRthJ5Zc

January 26, 2018

Out of the Park Baseball 19 Releases Worldwide on March 22, 2018

OOTP 19 features dramatic 3D enhancements, a redesigned interface, new scouting systems, ultra-realistic artificial intelligence, 2018 Opening Day rosters, and more!

Available For Pre-Order Now With 10% Discount & Early Access

Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and MiLB.com, today announced that Out of the Park Baseball 19 will be released on March 22, 2018. OOTP 19 offers dozens of exciting new features and deep improvements to its award-winning gameplay.

Out of the Park Baseball 19 includes:
    • New 3D stadiums and player models with improved on-field movements, including running, sliding, jumping, and throwing.
    • New in-game screen design for an optimized virtual dugout.
    • 2018 roster sets with all Opening Day MLB rosters, as well as the complete minor league system from Triple-A to rookie leagues as well as the Arizona Fall League. All major league (and over a thousand minor league) player ratings will be based on the popular ZiPS player projection system. The 8 international leagues, as well as independent minor leagues in the US, also return this year with accurate rosters.
    • Rewritten scouting reports that give a more detailed and realistic look at players.
    • New tournament modes! Create a standalone tournament bracket and draw any teams in history into it. The possibilities are endless!
    • Ultra-realistic AI roster management and in-game decisions.
    • A reworked ratings module.
    • User voting for end-of-season awards
    • Many more improvements, including:
      • Redesigned interface, with the ability to choose between 6 different fonts
      • 800 custom team logos for fictional leagues
      • Improved Manager Home screen, with a more customizable layout and new widget options
      • A new stat -- RA9-WAR (WAR based on runs allowed) -- for pitchers
      • Delayed substitutions for injured players
      • And more to be announced prior to release
    This summer, Out of the Park Developments will unveil an exciting new online mode called PERFECT TEAM. An open Beta will happen this spring, and the company will announce more information soon.

    Customers can pre-order OOTP 19 for $35.99, a 10% discount off its full retail price. All pre-order purchases include access to the Gold Master version on March 19, three days ahead of the official launch on March 22. 

    OOTP 19 can be pre-ordered through this link:

    OOTP 19 runs on PC/Mac/Linux and, like last year, it features the American League and National League logos, the World Series trophy, official logos and jerseys for all 30 MLB teams, over 150 Minor League Baseball league and team logos, and historical MLB logos.

    OOTP creator Markus Heinsohn conducted an interview for the Out of the Park Developments blog which can be read here: http://blog.ootpdevelopments.com/an-interview-with-ootp-creator-markus-heinsohn/

    A look back at OOTP 18

    2017 was a record-setting year for Out of the Park Developments, which boasted more than 120,000 players of OOTP 18 around the world. More than 3.5 million hours of the game were played on Steam, which equals 405 years. A record peak of 1,147 concurrent players was set on Nov. 9 on Steam, and South Korea is now number two in total sales, surpassing Canada.

    The most-accomplished Achievement in OOTP 18 was a five-game team winning streak and the three rarest achievements were a player hitting 4 home runs in a game (accomplished by 0.4% of users), a pitcher tossing a perfect game (0.5%), and a hitter having 10 or more RBI in a game (0.6%).

    Quotes from OOTP Developments executives

    "After nearly 20 years of development, we're still finding ways to make Out of the Park Baseball even better," said lead developer, lifelong baseball fan, and Out of the Park Developments CEO Markus Heinsohn. "We can't wait for our fans to see what we have in store this year."

    "Out of the Park Baseball is unique. Its high quality, delivered over two decades, has created generations of loyal fans who recognize it as the gold standard of sports strategy games," said Out of the Park Developments CMO Richard Grisham. "Out of the Park Baseball 19 is our best version yet, purpose-built for those fans. We couldn't be more excited for it."

    About Out of the Park Developments 

    Out of the Park Developments is the developer of the award-winning OOTP and MLB Manager series of baseball management simulations, Franchise Hockey Manager, and Beyond the Sideline Football. German-based OOTP Developments was founded by Markus Heinsohn and Andreas Raht in 1999. OOTP Developments has consistently produced games that have met with critical acclaim, including winning Metacritic's coveted "PC Game of the Year" for the 2016 version of OOTP and "Game of the Year" for the 2007 edition of OOTP, which remains the second highest-rated PC game on Metacritic of all time. Further information on the company and its games is available from the OOTP Developments website,http://www.ootpdevelopments.com

    Posted by orrinj at 9:25 AM


    We Should Care About What Happened to Carter Page (Eli Lake, February 9, 2018, Bloomberg)

    The current debate over Page is whether the FBI overreached by seeking a warrant to spy on him from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court at the end of 2016. Republicans claim the FBI improperly relied on the opposition research dossier. Democrats say the Republican memo omits information that would discredit the GOP's case.

    But that misses a broader and more important point. It's a scandal that the public has known for more than a year that the FBI suspected Page of being a foreign agent in the first place. He has yet to be charged with a crime, but his reputation is in tatters because an element of the bureau's investigation into Russia's influence over the 2016 election has been publicly reported.

    Posted by orrinj at 9:23 AM


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    Just stimulate by using the money to pay off educational and mortgage debt.
    Posted by orrinj at 8:47 AM


    Alarm over white supremacist candidates in US (Patrick Strickland , 9 Feb 2018, Al Jazeera)

    Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier who is known for white supremacist advocacy, is poised to become the Republican nominee for an Illinois congressional seat. 

    The Illinois Republican Party has condemned Jones and disavowed his campaign, telling local media that "there is no room for Neo-Nazis in American politics". 

    In Wisconsin, Paul Nehlen, who has decried supposed Jewish control of media, is challenging a Republican incumbent for a seat later this year.

    Although Nehlen has little chance of beating incumbent Paul Ryan, who is the Republican Speaker of the House, in the primary runoff, and Jones is almost sure to lose to his Democratic opponent, critics say their presence in the Republican Party is indicative of a worrying trend.

    Jared Holt, a researcher and writer at Right Wing Watch, a watchdog group, explained that fringe candidates attempt to infiltrate mainstream politics in almost every cycle, but argued that 2018 "is a bit different".

    "Fringe candidates have made a lot more noise and have been more transparent with their fringe world view and alliances with extremists than we've seen in prior cycles," he told Al Jazeera.

    Although these candidates may have little chances of making it to office, Holt added that their rhetoric and publicity "still effectively shift the 'Overton Window' in a way that drags the right further towards the fringes and gradually works to make Republican voters more open to the ideas of the alt-right".

    Posted by orrinj at 8:46 AM


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    Fox News Executive VP Rails Against Diversity Of US Olympians: "Darker, Gayer, Different" (Paul Farhi, 2/10/18, MediaMatters)

    Fox News' John Moody, who serves as the network's executive vice president and an executive editor, criticized the diversity of Team USA in an op-ed a day before the 2018 Winter Olympics were scheduled to open in PyeongChang, South Korea.

    Moody decried the strides Team USA has made toward diversity of its athletes in a February 7 op-ed published on FoxNews.com. Though this is Team USA's most diverse delegation of athletes ever, as The Washington Postreported, the U.S. Olympic Committee still has a lot of progress to make: Out of 243 athletes, two men are openly gay, "10 are African American -- 4 percent -- and another 10 are Asian American. The rest, by and large, are white." Moody suggested without basis that the focus on diversity may cost Team USA medals, and speculated that athletes were given spots on the team that they didn't earn during their trials, because of their race.

    ...like Bruce Jenner?

    Posted by orrinj at 8:30 AM


    Nationalists' Immigration Policies Are Self-Defeating (Alice Calder & Donald Boudreaux, February 09, 2018, Real Clear Policy)

    Western countries are facing structural problems that immigration can solve. These include flagging social security institutions, revenue problems associated with aging populations, and a dearth of much-needed skills. Healthy levels of immigration help satisfy all three, resulting in a net good for a nation.

    Both low- and high-skilled immigration have been shown to benefit the U.S. economy. A 2013 Congressional Budget Office analysis found that a proposed bipartisan bill to increase legal immigration significantly would have increased the average wage by 0.5 percent by 2033 and GDP by 5 percent. High-skilled immigrants, in particular, help accelerate innovation, bringing much-needed skills in the science and technology fields.

    Immigrants not only increase the number of people employed; they also increase worker productivity in general. A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco found that immigrants stimulate investment, in turn producing efficiency gains and boosting income for immigrants and natives alike.

    None of the above is to say that immigration is completely without cost. It is true that immigration can harm the job prospects of unskilled workers. Statistics vary, but in the short term, immigration can negatively affect the wages of natives with no more than a high school-level education.

    In general, however, immigration clearly benefits society as a whole. Just as we shouldn't shun new technologies that increase productivity and prosperity on a wide scale -- while also, as a side-effect, reducing demand for certain workers -- we should not forego the huge positives of immigration. In effect, rejecting immigrants to protect the wages of some native workers ends up punishing many more.

    Immigration also benefits immigrants' home countries, especially developing countries.

    We ought not discount the degree of nihilism that drives such politics.  These are groups that have essentially given up because of demographics and want to bring everything crashing down with them rather than adapt emotionally.

    Posted by orrinj at 8:20 AM


    Alternative take: The total volume of US trade reached a record high in December, reflecting strength in the US economy (Mark J. Perry, February 8, 2018, AEIdeas)

    As I have done in the past, I present an alternative measure of monthly international trade in the top chart above, where instead of subtracting imports from exports, I add those two terms together to measure the monthly dollar volume of total international trade activities. Because both exports ($203.4 billion) and imports ($256.5 billion) reached all-time record highs in December, the total trade volume also set a new monthly record high of $459.9 billion. It really doesn't make sense to treat international transactions as a positive contribution to the US economy when an American company sells its goods overseas, but as a negative contribution when a US company buys foreign inputs. Both activities -- buying imports and selling exports -- are important economic transactions and contribute to the total volume of trade each month.

    As Mercatus Center senior research fellow Dan Griswold explained back in 2011 (my emphasis):

    Politicians and commentators love to focus on the trade deficit, as though it were a scorecard of who is winning in global trade, but the real measure is the total volume of trade. As economies expand, so does trade, both imports and exports. Exports help us reach new markets and expand economies of scale, while imports bless consumers with lower prices and more choices, while stoking competition, innovation, and efficiency gains among producers.

    Despite all of the almost universally negative media reports about America's "trade deficit" problem, Dan Griswold makes a very important, but almost universally overlooked, point that expanding exports and imports (and total trade activities) to record highs in December should be viewed as a sign of economic strength for the US, not a sign of economic "deterioration."

    While Donald's economic Nationalism has understandably worried free markets, it's general failure has been a huge boon.

    Posted by orrinj at 8:01 AM


    We All Live on Campus Now (Andrew Sullivan, 2/09/18, New York)

    Over the last year, the most common rebuttal to my intermittent coverage of campus culture has been: Why does it matter? These are students, after all. They'll grow up once they leave their cloistered, neo-Marxist safe spaces. The real world isn't like that. You're exaggerating anyway. And so on. I certainly see the point. In the world beyond campus, few people use the term microaggressions without irony or an eye roll; claims of "white supremacy," "rape culture," or "white privilege" can seem like mere rhetorical flourishes; racial and gender segregation hasn't been perpetuated in the workplace yet; the campus Title IX sex tribunals where, under the Obama administration, the "preponderance of evidence" rather than the absence of a "reasonable doubt" could ruin a young man's life and future are just a product of a hothouse environment. And I can sometimes get carried away.

    The reason I don't agree with this is because I believe ideas matter. When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based "social justice" movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well. If elites believe that the core truth of our society is a system of interlocking and oppressive power structures based around immutable characteristics like race or sex or sexual orientation, then sooner rather than later, this will be reflected in our culture at large. What matters most of all in these colleges -- your membership in a group that is embedded in a hierarchy of oppression -- will soon enough be what matters in the society as a whole.

    And, sure enough, the whole concept of an individual who exists apart from group identity is slipping from the discourse. 

    We can argue about the degree to which friend Sullivan has practiced identitarianism to advance Social Justice, but not deny it entirely. He is right to be horrified by what he has helped promote.
    Posted by orrinj at 7:57 AM


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    Trump's Loyalty Tests Are Uniquely Corrupting (David French, February 9, 2018, National Review)

    There's a three-step process to moral corruption. 

    First, there are lots of folks in Washington who are struggling to make the best of the Trump presidency. He might be a personal disaster, they reason, but we can still get some decent policies passed.

    Second, everyone knows that Trump demands loyalty. Everyone knows he's remarkably thin-skinned (even as he fires more than his share of verbal broadsides). So they know that any public critique carries with it a risk of being shut out -- of losing the president's ear and losing the ability to influence his policy-making. 

    Third, so even while he does things they'd publicly condemn in any other president, politician, or public figure, they'll often stay largely quiet. Sometimes they'll even grant "sex mulligans" or praise his crass and crude public manner as "authentic." Thus, they retain their access. They retain their influence.

    Not only is this process cowardly on its own terms, it's remarkably short-sighted.

    We retain some limited sympathy for those reluctantly defending him because they feel they need to use him to advance the GOP agenda, but none for the enthusiasts who are all either anti-immigration, anti-Islam or, most often, both.
    Posted by orrinj at 7:34 AM


    Trump concocted a story about a border agent's death. The truth won't catch up. (Dana Milbank Opinion writer February 9, 2018, Washington Post)

    This is the autopsy of a lie.

    On the night of Nov. 18, Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was found dying on the side of an interstate in West Texas. There were immediate signs it had been an accident. Martinez's partner, Stephen Garland (who suffered a head injury and doesn't recall the incident), had radioed for help, saying he thought he ran into a culvert.

    But President Trump and his allies saw an opportunity to whip up anti-immigrant fervor. At a Cabinet meeting Nov. 20, Trump announced, with cameras rolling, that "we lost a Border Patrol officer just yesterday, and another one was brutally beaten and badly, badly hurt. . . . We're going to have the wall." He also issued a similar tweet.

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, offered a reward "to help solve this murder" and to "help us catch this killer."

    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) declared the incident "a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses."

     Rogelio Martinez. (Reuters)
    And then there was Fox News, reporting that "a border patrol agent was brutally murdered" and going with the headline "Border Patrol agent appeared to be ambushed by illegal immigrants, bashed with rocks before death." Fox News host Tucker Carlson reported that Martinez was "attacked at the border in the most gruesome possible way."

    The FBI swung into action, mobilizing 37 field offices, and this week it announced its findings. Although the investigation "has not conclusively determined" what happened, "none of the more than 650 interviews completed, locations searched, or evidence collected and analyzed have produced evidence that would support the existence of a scuffle, altercation, or attack on November 18, 2017."

    Donald's words to live by: "All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation."

    Posted by orrinj at 7:23 AM


    How AI Can Transform Health Care Security Problems into Opportunities (Robert Lord and Dillon Roseen, FEB. 8, 2018, New America)

    A look at the numbers shows the punishing need for health care security professionals. A 2016 Institute for Healthcare Technology survey found that 72 percent of health care organizations in Georgia had more than 50 job openings. Healthcare IT News reported that "demand for skilled IT professionals is expected to continue to grow, with three areas most in demand: electronic medical record systems, cybersecurity, and system integration." Reinforcing this concern, CIO magazine wrote that "health care is continuing to experience a shortage of qualified health IT staff that, in the view of some observers, is growing worse," with one-third of managers reporting they had to postpone or scale back an IT project because of inadequate staffing. "Tens of thousands of jobs are going to be needed, and we don't have the people for it," said Frank Myeroff, president of Direct Consulting Associates, a health IT staffing firm.

    Further complicating the workforce shortage? Information security analysts can be expensive; such workers commanded a median annual wage of $92,000. Health systems, many of them resource-challenged nonprofits, must compete for these skilled workers against the deep pockets of corporate giants that seek them out in increasing numbers. And even as squeezed hospitals attempt to cut costs by replacing highly paid consultants with cheaper in-house staff, they continue to invest heavily in technology. Clearly, the growing need for professional information security analysis represents a serious challenge for many health systems, a problem many health care executives are likely to understand all too well.

    And yet, much of the actual work of information security analysis in a health care environment, such as meticulously checking access logs to prevent and respond to unauthorized entry, can be automated--if you have the proper tools. 

    Labor has no value.

    Posted by orrinj at 7:19 AM


    Bad info from Spirit Air led me to flush pet hamster down airport toilet, student says (DAVID OVALLE, February 08, 2018, Miami Herald)

    They're gonna need bigger toilets for the peacocks.

    Posted by orrinj at 7:16 AM


    Iran-Backed Militias 'Used U.S.-Made Tanks' Fighting IS In Syria (Radio Liberty, February 10, 2018)

    The Pentagon says Iranian-backed militias fighting Islamic State (IS) extremists in Syria used Abrams tanks that the U.S. military had originally provided to the Iraqi Army. [...]

    The Iranian-backed Shi'ite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are legally considered by Iraq to be part of the Iraqi Security Forces, [Pentagon spokesman Eric] Pahon said. 

    Posted by orrinj at 7:12 AM


    GOP Senate candidate defends sharing tweet that called for ban on mosques: 'So what?' (Andrew Kaczynski, 2/10/18, CNN)

    Gary Emineth, a Republican candidate for US Senate in North Dakota, defended in a radio interview Friday sharing an image on Twitter that said no more mosques should be built in the United States.

    Posted by orrinj at 7:07 AM


    Trump Won't Release Other Memo As Is (Karoun Demirjian, Rosalind S. Helderman and Matt Zapotosky , 2/09/18, The Washington Post)

    "I'm not surprised," said Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., in a statement. "Those on the side of truth don't fear transparency."

    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement: "The president's double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling. The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that's harmful to him. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?" The Nunes memo refers to the GOP memo, which was produced by the staff of Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

    A department spokeswoman declined to comment. Justice officials had raised national security concerns about the Republican memo before having seen it, but after Wray reviewed a copy, the FBI indicated publicly that it was concerned about the document's accuracy.

    The memo can't possibly be as damaging to Donald as the Nunes one was, so getting him to hide it is even better.

    Posted by orrinj at 7:06 AM


    L.A. federal judge rules that a key tool in Trump's immigration crackdown effort is illegal  (Joel Rubin, FEB 09, 2018,  Los Angeles Times)
    A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that police departments violate the Constitution if they detain inmates at the request of immigration agents, marking the latest legal setback for the Trump administration's plans to identify and deport immigrants in the country illegally.

    In his order issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. found that a now-defunct policy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department violated the constitutional rights of inmates who were kept in custody at the behest of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

    Birotte's strongly worded order bolstered similar previous court rulings, which found police cannot legally honor such detainer requests from ICE.

    "The LASD officers have no authority to arrest individuals for civil immigration offenses, and thus, detaining individuals beyond their date for release violated the individuals' Fourth Amendment rights," Birotte wrote.

    The Sheriff's Department has not delayed releasing inmates on ICE's behalf since 2014 and none of California's 58 sheriffs are willing to fulfill the ICE requests. 

    Posted by orrinj at 6:57 AM


    Israel launches 'large-scale' strikes in Syria after drone infiltration (TOI STAFF and AGENCIES, 2/10/18, Times of Israel)

    Israel's military attacked 12 Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria on Saturday in a new wave of strikes it described as a 'large-scale' attack, following exchanges of fire earlier in the day sparked by an Iranian drone infiltration from Syria.

    The military called the drone infiltration a "severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty" and said Iran would be held responsible for its outcome, marking a dramatic escalation in tensions along its northern border.

    The morning's clashes also saw the crash of an Israeli F-16 jet after it was targeted by Syrian anti-aircraft missiles.

    Turkey detains 31 suspected Islamic State members: Anadolu  (Reuters, 2/10/18) 

    Turkish police have detained 31 suspected Islamic State members in Istanbul who were preparing to launch an attack, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.