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Will immortality take place by 2050? | Columns – Grand Haven Tribune

Can humans ever become biologically immortal? There are some people who believe that someday that could happen.

Biological immortality the ability to never die attracted my interest recently when I watched an old TV episode of Twilight Zone called Long Live Walter Jameson. In the storyline, Jameson, a college professor, is a 2,000-year-old man who hadnt aged since agelessness was stowed upon him by an ancient alchemist. His co-worker discovered Jamisons agelessness and asked if he could help him live longer. I wont reveal any more of the story line, but Jameson reveals that living 2,000 years has its pitfalls.

So, that got me wondering if there are people who believe in immortality. It turns out that there is at least one person believes immortality is not only possible but will happen sometime in this century.

According to an online article in The Sun, futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson believes that humans are very close to achieving immortality. Pearson predicts that by the year 2050, humans will have the ability to at least have their brains live forever.

He told the Sun that there are several different ways we could live forever. He suggested that biotechnologies and medicine might be able to be used to renew the body and rejuvenate it. No one wants to live forever at 95 years old, but you could rejuvenate the body to 29 or 30, you might want to do that, he told the Sun.

Most likely, though, he believes brains could be connected to robots. The mind will basically be in the cloud, and be able to use any android that you feel like to inhabit the real world, Pearson told the Sun.

If youre not rich, dont expect immortality right away. Pearson said initially the first brain-to-machine links will cost millions of dollars and will only be available to the rich and famous. By 2060, he predicts working and middle-class people willbe able to afford achieving immortality; and by 2070, it will be available to low-income people.

Pearsons theories are certainly interesting. As technology keeps improving, no one knows for sure what is in store in the next 50 years. Will there be cures for cancer and other diseases? Will there be immortality?

There will be opposition to mortality efforts. Besides the ethical and religious questions, some believe that living forever could be extremely boring, because there would be no incentive to accomplish anything.

I know that Im not going to be around in 2050, so I wont be able to see if Pearsons predictions come true. I do know, like many of you, that I have enjoyed my life, even though aging takes a toll on us. My friend, Jack Perko, and I sometimes joke about how bodies are like used cars and need replacement parts.

It also saddens me to learn that some of my good high school friends have passed away. I am in my 70s and hopefully I have a few more good years left, barring any diseases, or an accident.

Depending on what report you read, the life expectancy for Americans is 80 years. I have a brother who will turn 81 in April. Some of my aunts and uncles lived until their 90s.

Both of my parents died in their 60s. Both were heavy smokers, and my father worked in coal mines and steelmills, which certainly could have affected his health.

Even at present, technology has come a long way in helping us live longer. Potentially fatal illnesses can now be treated. Complicated surgeries in the past have become more routine now.

I know that I wont reach immortality or live for 2,000 years, but I have been happy with my life.

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Will immortality take place by 2050? | Columns - Grand Haven Tribune

Chip Walter is dying for you to read his new book on immortality. Or is he? – NEXTpittsburgh

Is it possible to cure aging?

Chip Walter says yes. The author spent years researching and writing his new book Immortality, Inc.: Renegade Science, Silicon Valley Billions, and the Quest to Live Forever which explores the efforts being taken to cure aging and hence dramatically prolong life.

This is not a work of fiction.

Walter, a science journalist, filmmaker, skeptic and former CNN bureau chief interviewed many authorities, including Craig Venter, the scientist who accelerated the completion of the first human genome and Robert Hariri, one of the worlds leading stem cell experts.

The book, published by National Geographic, is available in bookstores and online. As part of his tour to promote the book, Walter will appear at the Carnegie Library Lecture Hall in Oakland on Thursday, Jan. 16 to discuss the death of growing old. The event, which is part of the Pittsburgh Arts & Lecture Series, is free with registration.

The topic is fascinating with so many implications. NEXTpittsburgh caught up with Walter to ask him some burning questions of our own.

Define immortality. Is it infinite or are we talking hundreds of years?

None of us is going to live forever. Sooner or later well be hit by a bus or lightning, or maybe an angry spouse who just cant stomach celebrating their 400th anniversary! We used the title Immortality, Inc. in the book to differentiate it from simply living a couple of extra years or even a couple of extra decades. So, this book doesnt pretend to have revealed science that will guarantee infinite life, but it does explore scientific advances on the horizon that will very likely diminish and then eliminate aging. And since aging and age-related diseases are the number one reason why we die (one million people a week die of age-related disease), curing aging would radically lengthen healthy life spans into the hundreds of years, crazy as that may sound.

Do we have to cure cancer and conditions like depression first?

The opposite, I think.

If scientists solve aging, then it would also vastly reduce the number of people who die from cancer and many other diseases. The reason most people get cancer is because they are aging. If science can solve the underlying, biological causes of aging, these killer diseases would largely disappear. Well basically grow younger. And, as a rule, most people do not die when they are young unless its from an accident, murder or a severe genetic problem.

So, by curing aging, we will, in one fell swoop, cure much of the cancer, heart disease, Alzheimers and other major diseases. This arguably makes solving aging the best way to eliminate a whole group of diseases, rather than try to track each one down individually like were playing some game of whack-a-mole. In fact, you could argue that these diseases will never be eliminated unless aging is eliminated first. Well just create a series of band-aids, but eventually something will get us.

Issues like depression are more problematic because they are not directly related to aging (though they sometimes can be). But, an additional bonus is that as science attempts to cure aging, we may well develop cures for many diseases that afflict people in their youth genetic diseases, mental and emotional syndromes, viruses, childhood cancer because we will understand the genomics of the human body so much better.

How close are we really to achieving immortality and what will be the first discovery?

I doubt there will be a silver bullet any more than scientists found a silver bullet that would cure cancer when the war against cancer was launched in the 1970s. Its just too complex. But, I do believe that some major advances will be revealed and in use within the next four years. These advances will be incremental, but they will also gather speed. First, I expect to see a far broader use of stem cell technology to repair damaged and diseased bodies from arthritis to kidney disease. A company and scientist I explore in the book (Celularity) is tackling that.

Next, will come major advances as we better understand the human genome. We are gathering more and more information that is enabling us to decode the genome so that we can understand and develop drugs tailored to each individual. But first we have to understand what interactions within our DNA unravel the human body in the first place. ( I explore a company called Human Longevity, founded by genomic pioneer Craig Venter, that is working on that.) Third, based largely on genomics, will come advances that truly unveil why we age at all. Clearly we do. But why? Calico and Apple Chairman Arthur Levinson is working on that.

How will we solve all of these complex problems? Only the development of increasingly robust computing can solve that problem, and that software is advancing at an exponential pace. Ultimately, those machines, working with scientists of many stripes will crack some of these profoundly complex challenges. Generally, I believe those are the four forces that I believe will lead to the end of aging.

Has there been an actual breakthrough and if so, what is it?

There have been breakthroughs, but no cures (because, again, I doubt there will be a silver bullet). But as I reveal in the book, scientists now know, definitively, that genetics is the source behind why we age (or one of the key sources). We also know that certain key genes in other animals (like mice) can be switched, and when they are, the mice live far longer and healthier lives, sometimes more than four times longer. We also know that some mammals simply dont age. They die of other things, but not aging. This was discovered while I was writing the book. Scientists in the book also have discovered what they suspect is the explanation of youth. Why are we born young? How does that happen and then why and how do we age? So, we have already seen significant fundamental advances, and theyll continue to come.

How much of the book is about the personalities and how much is about science?

I did not want to write a book that was just a bland science survey filled with a bunch of facts. Theres a difference between fact and truth. When I first set out to explore and research Immortality, Inc., the main question in my mind was this: are we actually now living in a time when science could solve one of the greatest mysteries the human race has ever faced? And if science can accomplish that, what does it mean? To tell that story I needed to understand the history of the key scientists, and the finances and thinking of those involved. And I needed to gain access to them. It wasnt easy, but eventually I did. Much of what I found is exclusive information. Unknown until now.

In the end I wanted to thread all of those themes together into one larger, compelling story. How did something like this come to be? Who were these scientists? What motivated them? Are they crazy or geniuses? So, I spent a lot of time with all of them and I wrote about who they are and what led them to undertake such a monumental task. Who does that? Once I set the stage for outlining the personalities and the cultural and historical and financial issues, then I dove into the science that these scientists and companies were developing. I think this makes the book a much more compelling human story. At least I hope so.

How would you respond to critics who think the book is more about very wealthy older people in a quest to cheat death?

Well, the simple answer is thats not what the book is about. So folks should read it and theyll see that such an assumption would be off-base. I am sure that there are many well-heeled older people who would like to live longer and healthier lives. And I am sure that there are many not-so-well-heeled people who would as well. That doesnt make them evil. This is only evil if the rich, and only the rich, hold on to technologies that would lead to longer life. That would be wrong. But history shows that as new technologies evolve, costs drop and then they become more ubiquitous. I believe that will happen here. Insurance companies will begin to see that they can save a lot more money by enabling people to remain healthy longer than by paying to have them go into the hospital again and again.

When it comes right down to it, does anyone want to die (unless you are facing horrible physical, emotional or mental pain)? I mean when each of us is facing death, that day, do we really want to blink out? Living is literally wound into our DNA. Every living thing does everything it can to remain alive, until it simply cant anymore. From the beginning of time we have always tried to avoid dying. Thats the origin and purpose of Medicine with a capital M. Now, if we solve that problem and huge numbers of us live exceptionally long, will that create problems? Absolutely. But again, will most people say, Its okay, Ill die so we dont have an over population problem. Lets imagine someone has cancer and science offers a potential solution, do they say, No thanks. Not usually. I suspect the same will be true of drugs and treatments that extend life. A bigger issue in my mind is how, as a society, we are going to deal with a world in which we are living, not decades longer (as we already are), but hundreds of years longer. These advances are going to capsize everything. So I suggest we get a handle on it now.

Did you discuss immortality with any religious leaders or people in the death care industry? What were their thoughts?

I did speak to those people, but I didnt get deeply into it in the book or it would have been 600 pages long. Peoples feelings about this are all over the map, pro and con. There is, however, no religion that fundamentally holds that we must die. Some people, however, do feel its wrong to want to cheat death. That somehow its unnatural or that God wants us to die. But if this were universally true, then why take antibiotics? Why try to save people from automobile accidents? Why try to cure or treat any disease? All of these are basically ways to cheat death, at least for awhile.

But again, I want to clarify that my goal with this book isnt to advocate one way or another for outfoxing the grim reaper. I am simply trying to tell the story of these forces and people who are creating profound and fundamental change in the human story. I wanted to tell that tale, not explore the theology and philosophy of life and death because its not about my point of view. Its about whats happening and why its important.

Carnegie Library Lecture HallChip WalterImmortalityInc.National GeographicPittsburgh Arts and Lecture Series

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Chip Walter is dying for you to read his new book on immortality. Or is he? - NEXTpittsburgh

Corofin on brink of immortality | Irish Sport – The Times

Side chasing third All-Ireland in a row are relentless on and off pitch

In the autumn of 2017, Michael Donnellan had Mountbellew-Moylough in the Galway football final feeling good about themselves, and plenty others feeling even better about them. Corofin were the familiar face greeting them in the final, like the house band on a TV chat show. But people were asking questions whether Corofin could still hold a tune, the sort of questions that seem inconceivable now.

Corofin had scraped their semi-final against Annaghdown by a point while Mountbellew destroyed Monivea-Abbey. Corofin were already in full control of the wheel in Galway with ambitions well beyond that, but recent results suggested a weakening.

Mountbellew trusted the progressive, fast-paced football that swept them to the final. Corofin took a handful of steps backwards, strung a line of players

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Corofin on brink of immortality | Irish Sport - The Times

Immortality or Scam? Russian Company Offers to Freeze Dead Brains to Revive Them in Future – News18

Immortality has always been one of the biggest human obsessions. From fantasy to science fiction, eternal life is often depicted both a boon and a bane. And now, a Russian firm could be making these dreams of immortality real - for only Rs 25 lakh.

A Russian firm by the name of KrioRus is offering to freeze human brains and cadavers in cryogenic cylinders for the sum of Rs 25 lakh. the bodies will be frozen in liquid nitrogen for an unspecified time until the technology becomes available for reanimating the body again.

If it sounds like a nightmare out of Dr Frankenstein's head, you are probably not far off the mark.

When Alexei Voronenkovs 70-year-old mother passed away, he paid to have her brain frozen and stored in the hope breakthroughs in science will one day be able to bring her back to life.

It is one of 71 brains and human cadavers that KrioRus calls its patients - floating in liquid nitrogen in one of several metres-tall vats in a corrugated metal shed outside Moscow.

They are stored at -196 degrees Celsius (-320.8F) with the aim of protecting them against deterioration, although there is currently no evidence science will be able to revive the dead.

I did this because we were very close and I think it is the only chance for us to meet in the future, said Voronenkov who intends to undergo the procedure, known as cryonics, when he dies.

The head of the Russian Academy of Sciencess Pseudoscience Commission, Evgeny Alexandrov, described cryonics as an exclusively commercial undertaking that does not have any scientific basis, in comments to the Izvestia newspaper.

It is a fantasy speculating on peoples hopes of resurrection from the dead and dreams of eternal life, the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Valeriya Udalova, KrioRuss director who got her dog frozen when it died in 2008, said it is likely that humankind will develop the technology to revive dead people in the future, but that there is no guarantee of such technology.

KrioRus says hundreds of potential clients from nearly 20 countries have signed up for its after-death service.

It costs $36,000 (about Rs 25 lakh) for a whole body and $15,000 (about Rs 10 lakh) for the brain alone for Russians, who earn average monthly salaries of $760, according to official statistics. Prices are slightly higher for non-Russians.

The company says it is the only one in Russia and the surrounding region. Set up in 2005, it has at least two competitors in the United States, where the practice dates back further.

Voronenkov said he set his hopes on science. I hope one day it reaches a level when we can produce artificial bodies and organs to create an artificial body where my mothers brain can be integrated.

KrioRus director Udalova argues that those paying to have dying relatives remains preserved are showing how much they love them.

They try to bring hope, she said. What can we do for our dying relatives or the ones that we love? A nice burial, a photo album, she said. They go further, proving their love even more.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Immortality: Lowry and Arcidiacono to Have Their Numbers Retired in February – Villanovan

Villanova Basketball announced on Tuesday that as a part of its 100th season, it would be retiring two jerseys of former Wildcat legends. The two players who will receive the honor include Ryan Arcidiacono, who will have his ceremony Feb. 12th vs. Marquette, and Kyle Lowry, who will have his jersey retired Feb. 26th vs. St. Johns.

Each point guard had a profound impact throughout their tenure at Villanova. Arcidiacono, widely known as Arch, sported the number 15. Throughout his four years at the university, he averaged 11.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per contest in 144 career games. Arcidiacono was dominant from start to finish during his time as a Wildcat. Entering his freshman year in the 2012-2013 season, he was named team captain, and immediately productive and made the Big East All-Freshman team. In his junior season, Arcidiacono received the 2014-2015 Big East Player of the Year award. During his senior season, the 63 point guard excelled as a player and a leader. Arcidiacono led the team to go 27-4 throughout the regular season, then win the schools first National Championship in 31 years. He memorably brought up the ball and dropped off a pass to a trailing Kris Jenkins, who hit the game-winning shot to win the title. In addition to being on the 2015-2016 All-Big East second team, Arcidiacono was on the 2016 NCAA All-Tournament team, 2016 NCAA Tournament All-Region team, and was named the 2016 Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Arcidiacono had an outstanding impact at the university and helped bring the Villanova basketball program to another level. As a result, his well-known 15 will not be worn by any other mens basketball player and will hang proudly in the rafters.

Lowry, who donned number 1 at Villanova, played only two seasons with the team before moving on to the professional level. However, throughout his brief period as a Wildcat, he played a critical role to the teams success. Lowrys freshman year was in the 2004-2005 season. The 6 guard averaged 7.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, as he was named to the Big East All-Freshman team. In the following season, Lowry improved his overall game, and emerged as one of the best players in the conference. He played six more minutes per game, and averaged 11 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Lowry also improved defensively as he averaged 2.3 steals per gameincreasing from 1.3 steals per game from the season prior. Lowry was named to the 2005-2006 All-Big East second team, and declared for the 2006 NBA Draft. He was selected as the 24th overall pick and has since built himself a well-rounded NBA career. Today, Lowry is a five-time NBA All Star, and recently made history by helping the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA championship last season. After excelling in his two years as a Wildcat, Lowry has proudly represented Villanova basketball throughout his professional career. Hence, the former Villanovan will be honored as one of many great players to have contributed to the program.

Being given this honor solidifies players as all-time greats within a program. Arcidiacono and Lowry made enormous contributions to the school which have helped shape what it is today. Their jerseys will hang in the rafters, as their legacies will forever be engrained at Villanova University.

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Immortality: Lowry and Arcidiacono to Have Their Numbers Retired in February - Villanovan

On the brink of immortality | LSU – American Press

LSU Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) looks for a hole in the Texas A&M Aggies defense to run through during the Southeastern Conference matchup at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, November 30, 2019.

Clemson vs. LSU 7 p.m. ESPN

NEW ORLEANS Ed Orgeron and No. 1 LSU stand on the brink of immortality with one hill left to climb in this tour de force of a season.

To call it a magical run feels disingenuous given the relative ease with which LSU romped its way to the College Football Playoff National Championship. LSU has taken a blowtorch to the sports offensive record book. Only a handful of opponents managed to give the Bayou Bengals a 60-minute fight.

But if youre going to become the champions, eventually youre probably going to have to go through the champions. Thats the challenge that awaits LSU in No. 3 Clemson as the two teams play for a title in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome tonight.

This ones for all the marbles, but Orgeron has preached to his team to approach this game exactly like it did the 14 victories that came before it.

We didnt talk about going to play for the National Championship, Orgeron said. We talked about we have to prepare to beat Clemson, one game at a time, just like weve done. We have trusted the process. Today is focus Friday. The guys are getting excited. They are getting antsy. I can feel it. Im getting antsy, too. But I think we have to continue to work up through game time.

Something has to give in this meeting of dominant teams. LSU has played three one-score games this season and outscored its opponents by an average margin of 27.2 points per game. Clemson only had two such close calls and outscored opponents by a whopping 33.8 points per game.

They are going to make plays. Were going to make plays, Orgeron said. We have to work for 60 minutes and focus on winning the game and not worry about all the other stuff, block out all the noise just like we did all year.

LSU Tigers running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (22) looks for a hole in the Texas A&M Aggies defense to run through during the Southeastern Conference matchup at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday, November 30, 2019.

An LSU win would cement Orgeron a place among the programs legendary figures. It would complete an unbelievable redemption arc for a coach whose career was reduced to a punchline after a disastrous stint at Ole Miss, and its happening a mere two seasons after a loss to Troy that felt like rock bottom.

Being from Louisiana and Cajun heritage are essential pieces of Orgerons soul. To lead LSU to the pinnacle of the sport right here in New Orleans is the kind of storybook script that Orgeron couldnt have dreamt up during his year off from coaching in 2014.

Orgeron has turned his career around by staying in the moment and never making it about himself, but what an oh-so-sweet moment that would be for the 58-year-old football lifer.

Im excited to be at LSU at home where were proud of our Cajun heritage, Orgeron said. Were proud to be from Louisiana. I just feel at home here. People that made fun of my accent before, I thank them. That gave me internal motivation to do better, so I thank them.

None of that is to suggest that anything will come easy tonight. The opposing group of Tigers havent lost since Jan. 1, 2018, and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence hasnt finished second in a game since he was a senior in high school.

For all of Swinneys bellyaching about a perceived lack of respect for Clemson nationally, his program has undoubtedly become the preeminent force in college football arguably even more so than Alabama.

Clemson is playing for both its 30th consecutive victory and its third national championship in four years under Swinney. With a win, Clemson would become the first team this century to go undefeated while winning back-to-back titles.

Thats a dynasty any way you slice it. Clemsons prodigious accomplishments during this run rank up there with some of the hallowed teams in football history. Swinney wants his team to embrace their chance at history without losing sight of the task at hand.

Certainly we reinforce from time to time what their opportunity is, but its not like were giving them anything they dont know, Swinney said. They know. Theyre very well aware of what theyve been able to achieve. And listen, regardless of what happens in the game tomorrow night, its really been a historic run.

One way or the other, history will be made in New Orleans on tonight.

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On the brink of immortality | LSU - American Press

Williams and Baldens new X-FACTOR series to explore mutant immortality in the Marvel U – Comics Beat

One of the biggest game-changers to come out of the recentJonathan Hickman-led relaunch of the X-titles was the introduction of The Five, a group of mutants who, through the combination of their unique abilities (and the psychic back-ups kept of every mutant living on Krakoa by Charles Xavier), can create a perfect copy of any mutant. The Fives powers make all mutants essentially immortal, and weve already seen at least half-a-dozen mutants resurrected by The Five, from Shinobi Shaw to Charles Xavier himself. Now Marvel will be exploring the implications of and rules surrounding those resurrections in X-Factor, their latest addition to the X-line of books, per an announcement made via Polygon.

Written by Leah Williams and illustrated byDavid Balden,X-Factor will follow a team of mutants who investigate missing mutants to determine if theyre deadand thus candidates for resurrection. The team of detectives will be led by Northstar, and include Polaris, Prestige (Rachel Summers), Daken, Prodigy, and Eye Boy. The book will also focus on The Five themselves, to whom the team will report, and explore the impact immortality has on mutant culture on Krakoa.

Along with a focus on the Five, Williams and Balden will also be exploring the relationship dynamics between the members of X-Factor and their significant others. Of particular interest to Williams, according to her interview with Polygon, is the relationship between Northstar and his husband, Kyle, a human living on Krakoa:

Kyleisa human living in a world built for and by mutants comparatively an outsider [], Williams said. Well see a lot of their married life and will be exploring all the important nuance to their living situation in Krakoa. (Well actually see a lot ofeveryX-factor team members romantic life) Tini Howard [Excalibur,Thanos] and I might also be collaborating on a really exciting story involving human existence in Krakoa, so be on the lookout for clues about that in one of our books!

While this newest iteration ofX-Factor is clearly rooted in the current status quo for Marvels merry mutants, it does share some thematic DNA with its predecessors. The title has had an investigative aspect at its core since the second volume of the series launched in 2005, with the mutant-centric P.I. firm X-Factor Investigations serving as the crux of that title.

Check out the cover and a few pages of unfinished preview art by Balden for X-Factor #1 below. The first issue of the series will clock in at 48 pages, and is due out in comic shops and digitally in April.

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Colorado Rockies news: Walker will be inducted as immortalat least by one team – Purple Row

Rockies to retire Larry Walkers No. 33 before game against Cardinals in April | The Denver Post

Larry Walker has achieved baseball immortality by one big league team for certain. His jersey retirement will come on a Sunday afternoon this April, and well find out within the next week if his immortality will be furthered in Cooperstown.

Walkers number 33 is to join Todd Heltons 17 as the only Rockies numbers adorned on the face of the right field mezzanine. Walker spent his first six big league years in Montreal, the following nine and a half in Colorado, and then his final one and a half in St. Louis. He made one All Star appearance in Montreal, four in Colorado. A 1997 NL MVP with the Rockies cements his legacy in Colorado, and his collective resume has been deemed of sufficient regard for no Rockie to ever wear 33 again.

The Baseball Hall of Fame will announce the class of 2020 on Tuesday night, so this announcement cant really stand as a Hall of Fame marketing ploy for some votes. With Walkers final year on the ballot almost up, the timing of his jersey retirement does seem more than just mere coincidence, however; the team could have realistically done it at any point in the last 15 years. The motives behind why its upon us now, rather than before, make for interesting discussion.

If he were labeled as worthy as Helton, perhaps his number would have been retired over 10 years ago. If he didnt play for Montreal, maybe the number would have been retired by now, too. If Helton didnt suit up for all 17 of his years in Denver, maybe the immediacy of the number 17 jersey retirement wouldnt have been as quick, either.

Walker is also a prime topic of discussion in Rockies news at the moment, and celebrating him now is sure to give him a sizable ovation when his number is revealed in a few months.

Helton nearly doubled Walkers time in a Rockies uniform. He collected five All Star appearances, all consecutive. The serious longevity of Heltons tenure paired with his successes in Colorado made the decision easy for his number to be honored, so much so that it happened months after his retirement. Mix in a 2007 World Series appearance (and arguably the most iconic moment in Rockies history) and it makes that decision a no-brainer.

That discussion shouldn't knock Walkers accomplishments in the slightest; it exists more to reason where the standards may be for future Rockies jersey retirements. Walker and Heltons circumstances have been different in a lot of ways. With only two players receiving number retirement recognition thus far, its hard to determine the exact qualities necessary.

It also seems that nine years in Denver and an MVP, or 17 years and a World Series appearance, is a good place to start.

Jackie Robinsons 42 and the initials of Keli McGregor are recognized in the same space where Heltons number is, and Walkers will be. Robinsons 42 at Coors Field used to be on the actual fence in right field, as were McGregors initials. The addition of Helton as the third honoree prompted a move to their current location, above the visitor bullpen in right-center field.

Walker is not the final Rockie to ever wear 33; Justin Morneau did so in 2014 and 2015.

Whos On Track To Make The Baseball Hall Of Fame? | FiveThirtyEight

The projection thus far: Walker, 85.5 percent, 10.5 above the cutoff line. If Walkers name is indeed read off Tuesday night for a bronze Hall of Fame plaque, this would make for quite the month for him.

Hall of Fame ballot tracker Ryan Thibodaux has collected the results of over 150 ballots by voters that have made their votes public. The data collected gives a general idea for what may be to come, but a large margin of error remains with over half the remaining ballots unaccounted for.

The projections are also subject to their own sets of scrutiny, and a sampling that has inherent bias. The sabermetric-savvy voters are probably the tech-savvy ones, and likely use social media with ease to share their results. Someone that looks at less sophisticated stats may take a less sophisticated view to their Twitter account too, and keep their ballot private. A small Hall voter who picks significantly under 10 maximum players may be fed up with people telling them to fill out their boxes, so they might decide to stay private. Theres a reason for every voters decision to go public or private.

Essentially there are two outcomes on tweeting out your ballot: either most people agree and theres little commentary, or most people disagree and all hell breaks loose.

The less popular ballots in the public eye can understandably be labeled the ones that stay private. Three people didnt vote for Ken Griffey Jr. or hed have been unanimous. We still dont know who those three writers are to this day.

A private ballot challenges a fundamental principle of journalism. It wards off media transparency. The Baseball Writers of America vote for the Hall, and a professional writer or journalist should most definitely understand their job is completely dependent on revealing the truth (or at least it should be). Its what has kept them employed.

The privacy of a ballot can ensure votes remain integral without outside influence, however. The writers likely know more than anybody that publishing a less-popular take comes with baggage, even if they firmly believe in their particular take. Facing backlash they label as unnecessary isnt a real productive use of time, especially on a responsibility like the ballot they assessed for hours.

85.5 percent of public ballots have been serious about Walker. That would be over a 30 percent increase from last years results, which would get him his plaque. That number can understandably decrease when the private ballots are calculated, and likely will, but the 10.5 percent safety net provides at least some degree of cushion for a number likely to fall.

For the sake of a Rockies induction, hopefully that net is sufficient. Well know for real in three days.

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Colorado Rockies news: Walker will be inducted as immortalat least by one team - Purple Row

The Witcher Fan Theory Explains Why Jaskier Is Seemingly Immortal In Show – TheGamer

One Witcher fans theory on why Jaskier doesnt seem to age in the show seems like the best explanation yet.

We get that The Witchers timeline can be a bit confusing--especially since there isnt a lot of evidence on screen to suggest that time has passed. Geralt is a Witcher, so he ages extremely slowly, but so too do all the mages that populate The Witchers cast.

Jaskier isnt a mage; hes a bard. But he still seems to be as ageless as everyone else, and thats more than a little weird.

Between the first episode when Jaskier and Geralt meet and episode five, Jaskier himself says that 10 years have passed. And yet it seems as though Jaskier hasnt aged a day. Why is that?

One Witcher fan posted their theory on the Witcher subreddit. User Tumbleweed223 believes that Jaskier just pulled a Jaskier and put his mouth where it doesnt belong.

"They say they messed up on Jaskier by not aging him with all the time jumps in the show. I say he just bull****** his way to immortality by drinking some potion, thinking it was wine. Cause thats just a very bard thing to do."

RELATED: New Witcher Photos Show Off Jaskier In Iconic Dandelion Hat

This sort of wraps up the mystery, although it becomes strange that Netflix decided to cut the "Jaskier Accidentally Becomes Immortal" episode from the show's first season.

Another fan had a different theory and thought that Jaskier was just exaggerating how long he and Geralt had known each other. According to another user, however, 22 years have passed since the first and last episodes, putting Jaskier's age from 18 in the beginning to 40 at the end. He's one good-looking 40-year-old, and a life of wine and singing just isn't enough to explain away Jaskier's lack of wrinkles.

Potion of immortality. It just has to be.

Heres hoping that Jaskiers apparent immortality means well be seeing a lot more of him in season 2.

Source: Reddit

NEXT: Hello Kitty Becomes A Gundam Pilot In Bizarre (And Adorable) Series Of Shorts

Hello Kitty Becomes A Gundam Pilot In Bizarre (And Adorable) Series Of Shorts

Actually a collective of 6 hamsters piloting a human-shaped robot, Sean hails from Toronto, Canada. Passionate about gaming from a young age, those hamsters would probably have taken over the world by now if they didn't vastly prefer playing and writing about video games instead.The hamsters are so far into their long-con that they've managed to acquire a bachelor's degree from the University of Waterloo and used that to convince the fine editors at TheGamer that they can write "gud werds," when in reality they just have a very sophisticated spellchecker program installed in the robot's central processing unit.

The rest is here:

The Witcher Fan Theory Explains Why Jaskier Is Seemingly Immortal In Show - TheGamer

‘Texting Thru Recovery’: Our hearts know there is something more – Indiana Gazette

This isnt the column I began with. I wanted to tell a love story. Our kids took my honey and me on a trip down memory lane on our 50th anniversary. We toured our early IUP haunts, viewed a memory book, listened to 60s music, enjoyed a festive family dinner, thanked God for family.

Our children surprised us that morning at a coffee shop. I was sipping a mug of peppermint latte, embossed with the word Writer, when they waltzed in and announced our chariot was waiting.

As I started to write about it just now I paused to ask, Who am I writing this for? Thats pretty important, right?

Writing is my passion. Id write for a single reader, or just myself. For pay or for free. Writing is in my DNA, as surely as Im designed to be a tall, white, near-sighted female. A day never passes without my jotting a sudden inspiration on an envelope or scrap of paper.

If youre a writer, you understand. If you want to be one, start saving envelopes. Youll need them.

Someone on Facebook kindly said I was born to inspire. Maybe. I think were all born for something beyond ourselves. To connect to the Sacred Three, to people, the world.

Life is too short to worry if theres a preposition at the end of my sentences. We have this one, solitary moment that passes in the blink of a cats eye. When I reach the end of mine, I want to know I did more than dust furniture and pull weeds (neither of which I do well, or often).

My daughter in Philly said she and her husband went for a three-hour bike ride recently. Jim and I walked our furry dog that January night and I said, Imagine us ever doing that!

Well, we raised three kids and that was like a three-hour bike ride, every day

What Im formed to be differs from my children, husband, siblings, friends. And our activity, the stuff we do, may not be as important as our attitude, our being. God cares as much about our mindset as how we spend our nine-to-five.

This is the year to sort through more stuff I couldnt part with, before. I want fewer ties to temporary belongings. Everything thats out the door makes life lighter and simpler.

Remember drawings in schoolbooks of multiple levels of the earths crust? They reminded me of a cake from the best bakery, concocted with cherries, walnuts and chocolate cream, layer upon luscious layer. Life is more like that than a one-dimensional apple pie.

Theres this earthy world in which we move about as mortals, with a beginning and an end. It takes most all our effort to get through a day, crowded with activities, assignments, anxieties. We know in our heart of hearts there is more to the universe than this walking-around existence that consumes all our energy and oxygen.

For me, it makes living with the uncertainties of cancer an easier horse pill to swallow.

Look in the eyes of the next person you encounter and know youre looking at a creature without permanent tethers to this physical landscape. We each began in the heart of God and go about our days in search of how to return.

This is why I say God may be more interested in our attitude than our daily footsteps, important as they are. God knows were both flesh and spirit. Finite, fragile mortals created for immortality. Jesus entered history so we could spend eternity around the table with the Sacred Three.

One of the advantages of being a writer is I can express on paper what until then is floating around like vague blobs of consciousness, without form or substance. Thats why I couldnt present you with an itinerary of our anniversary celebration and feel it was worth your time. It lacked substance for you, my reader.

I write for my spirit to acknowledge yours, to affirm your personhood and your infinite value as my companion during these few orbits around the sun. Another dear friend passed through the veil last week, making eternity one step closer for those who loved him.

This is why I write. To walk the journey with you. To encourage your passion.

Maybe this is a love story, after all ultimately, Im writing a love letter to God.

P.S. If youd like to know what we did on our anniversary, Ill gladly tell you over a cuppa tea.

The rest is here:

'Texting Thru Recovery': Our hearts know there is something more - Indiana Gazette

That’s gotta be Kane! The Big Red Machine returns to the WWE ring on Friday Right – WBIR.com

WWE Superstar Kane, known to many locally as Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, made a grand return to the WWE ring for Friday Night Smackdown in North Carolina.

Kane cut right to the chase at the start of Smackdown -- talking about his storied past in the Royal Rumble and saying he wanted one more go at Wrestlemania.

"30 lost souls will put their mind, body and souls on the line for the opportunity of a lifetime... a chance to compete at Wrestlemania. A match where you go to hell... but the reward is a chance for immortality," Kane said before being suddenly interrupted by Bray Wyatt.

RELATED: Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs to return to the WWE ring as Kane for SmackDown

After talking about their less-than-friendly past, 'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt suddenly rose out of the ring.

"What took you so long?" Kane said as his former tag team partner Daniel Bryan rushed into the ring and ambushed The Fiend with a running knee, pummeling him before he vanished.

The reunion of duo sent the crowd cheering 'Yes!' with the two leading them on.

Shortly after backstage, Bryan proposed a Strap Match for his title match against Wyatt at Royal Rumble on Jan. 26.

As many know, just about anything can happen in the Royal Rumble. Surprises are the norm, such as the time Drew Carey showed up in the ring and then promptly eliminated himself after Kane showed up.

With all the foreshadowing, reunions and Kane's timely return... will the Big Red Machine be in Houston next week? Guess we're going to have to wait to truly find out.

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That's gotta be Kane! The Big Red Machine returns to the WWE ring on Friday Right - WBIR.com

Eagles great Harold Carmichael on making the Hall of Fame: ‘I feel like I’m dreaming’ – CBS Sports

Harold Carmichael wasn't even in consideration for the Pro Football Hall of Fame the first time around, never becoming a semifinalist when he was eligible for the modern-era ballot. The centennial class of 2020 gave Carmichael a second chance at football immortality, and the Philadelphia Eagles all-time leading receiver was inducted into the Hall of Fame Wednesday.

Getting the call from Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker was a dream come true for Carmichael, one that didn't seem possible until the past year.

"This is so much of an honor, oh gosh. Never thought this would happen. But thank you, God," Carmichael said to Baker when he received the call. "Thank you for telling me this, David. Appreciate you. I feel like I'm dreaming. I don't know what to feel. I feel so numb."

Carmichael owns every major receiving record in Eagles franchise history -- quite the impressive feat since he hasn't put on an Eagles uniform in 36 years. He is the Eagles all-time leader in receptions (589), receiving yards (8,978), and touchdowns (75). He also caught a pass in 127 consecutive games from 1972 to 1982, which was a NFL record until Steve Largent broke it in 1986.

Carmichael is 28th all-time in receiving touchdowns to go with his two All-Pro selections. He also was member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1970s all-decade team (second team) and the 1980 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. Only four wide receivers were in the Hall when Carmichael retired and five when he was up for induction in 1989, which explains why he was overlooked in the first place.

When Carmichael's NFL career ended, he was fifth all-time in catches, seventh all-time in yards, and tied for sixth in touchdowns. Carmichael led all NFL wide receivers in receptions (549), receiving yards (8,414), and receiving touchdowns (77) from 1973 to 1983.

"I just had a flashback from 60-some years ago and thinking about the guys that helped me to get here," Carmichael said on Good Morning Football. "Seventh-round draft choice, nobody expected me to make it. To be a part of the 2020 centennial class, is just...I'll tell every kid, be prepared to do this. This is the ultimate, ultimate honor you can get in the National Football League."

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Eagles great Harold Carmichael on making the Hall of Fame: 'I feel like I'm dreaming' - CBS Sports

Sealed for Your Protections – North Bay Bohemian

Shrink-wrapped, used paperback books. It's a thing. I spotted a rack of them in a Calistoga drugstore.

Among the titles were the usual suspects like Sue Grafton's "infinite alphabet" series (Z is for Zomebody Please Kill Me) and the no-doubt scintillating Her Ideal Man. Because they trapped the book inside form-fitting plastic, I couldn't thumb through itbut I suspect it's about a man who is ideal and, maybe, Fabio.

This kind of literary sleuthing is what an English degree is forI bet. Whether or not a melted, transparent film appreciably increases the resale value of these titles, I cannot say. But if it does, I'm going to insist the Bohemian get the plastic treatment. Will it up the newstand value? Trick questionthe Bohemian is free. Besides, you can't put a price on the freedom of the press, can you? Don't answer that.

Shrink-wrapping is a lens through which we can perceive something exquisitely on its own tattered terms. If we could shrink-wrap the perfect imperfections of our souls, we'd probably be better for it. And not because we'd all suffocate. Though I have to admit to a Sylvia Plathlike, by-way-of-polyvinyl-chloride-compulsion to stick my head in a shrink-wrap machine.

Perhaps I'd become like those saints whose bodies don't decompose, the so-called "incorruptibles," who no matter how green and leathery they look, are somehow in an everlasting state of beatification. At this point, that's about as close to literary immortality I'm going to getso crank up the machine.

Speaking of plastics, Buck Henry, the screenwriter behind one of the most iconic lines from The Graduate, died. As a refresher, the line went like this:

Older family friend, Mr. McGuire, corners recent grad Benjamin, played by Dustin Hoffman.

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

That, and an Oscar nomination, will keep you working in the biz for half a century. Henry was 89.

No word if they'll preserve Henry via plastination, the technique for preserving biological tissues pioneered by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens.

The results are life-sized Visible Man anatomy models. Hagens tours a show called "Body Worlds" that features dozens of plastinized cadavers, splayed and filleted in a variety of ways. It's like walking into Nirvana's In Utero album cover but without having to endure the '90s.

When performing his anatomical dissections, von Hagens insists on wearing a black fedora as a sort of sartorial reference to a hat depicted in Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. It's also sinister as hell when he's pumping corpses full of plastic.

I'll stick with paperbacks.

Excerpt from:

Sealed for Your Protections - North Bay Bohemian

Egyptian mummies are coming to Halifax – HalifaxToday.ca

Haligonians will soon have the opportunity to learn more about Egyptian history.

The Egyptian Mummies and Eternal Life exhibit will make its North American debut at the Museum of Natural History.

"This will be an extraordinary opportunity to see the richness of Egyptian culture and will capture the minds and imaginations of all," said Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Leo Glavine. "I encourage Nova Scotians to enjoy this amazing journey that showcases 6,000 years of history."

Visitors will get to see more than 100 original artifacts, including mummies, painted sarcophagi and burial items that evoke the mythical, mysterious landscape of the tombs and pyramids of ancient Egypt.

"In ancient Egypt, death was not considered the end of life but a time of passing from one form of life to another, that continued in the eternal afterlife," says a post on the museum's website. "The soul had to be prepared for this journey into immortality, to be reincarnated in its own body, which had to be preserved forever."

"The exhibition ... offers clear explanations of misconceptions that all the funeral rituals, even the most macabre, did not serve to simply preserve the body of the deceased, but rather to ensure the continuation of life beyond the grave. "

Egyptian Mummies and Eternal Life opens Feb. 22 and runs to June 21.

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Egyptian mummies are coming to Halifax - HalifaxToday.ca

The Memoir Consortium – East Hampton Star

There are three phases in our lives: youth, middle age, and you-look-great! Im in the third phase. Maybe you are, too.

This third phase, at 85, has earned me tenure in an institution I now recognize as old age. Thus I can render free advice. Freely. Old people like to give good advice, as a consolation for the fact that they can no longer set bad examples (La Rochefoucauld). But I can also supply a good example: writing my memoir.

My dwindling memory and declining energy reserves plus a stroke scared me into writing a chronicle. I wanted my children and grandchildren to know things about me that they didnt already know, before I myself forgot them.

So I researched other peoples memoirs: I examined the narratives of friends and contemporaries who were writing their life stories. I also availed myself of an assortment of memoir advisers, seminars, and support groups. Maybe they could help me capture good news about myself I could share. Woody Allen wanted to achieve immortality, not through his work, but by not dying. I wanted to achieve immortality through my memoir.

Writing a memoir was not something that came naturally; it was more like building my first treehouse and my second marriage. I had to struggle to learn how to measure twice, cut once.

I disciplined myself to reflect on what was important in my life and thereby what to exclude and include. This soul-searching revealed how essential my father and mother, friends, work, and mentors were in forming who I became. I discovered that each of us has three unequal parts: the part thats ones father, the part thats ones mother, and the part thats neither.

The women in my memoir support group treated me as if I were their equal. We would read our works in progress and then listen to polite or savage critiques of our efforts. Very few facts are both true and interesting, yet I was able to learn what was fascinating in peoples lives.

Enter an informal group of friends who were eager to listen attentively. We lightheartedly called ourselves The Memoir Consortium.

David Z. Robinson and I had been friends for almost 50 years. Dave, a splendid Dutch uncle and considerate big brother, is modest about his very impressive accomplishments. With a brilliant career in public policy, a well-lived life, a warm personality, and a lively wit, he is admirable to all who know him, from every angle a spherical mensch.

A born storyteller, Dave enchanted us with accounts of his role in the Cuban missile crisis, the hotline between Moscow and Washington, chimps and monkeys in space, nuclear particle accelerators, presidential politics, and other tantalizing morsels. His provocative recollections sparked freewheeling table talk and camaraderie.

Yet despite his distinguished career and intellectual bandwidth, David was reluctant to write his memoir, insisting he had no sitzfleisch (chair glue) to write his life story. He insisted that I had to lay bare my own life before he would lay bare his. Pointing at me during lunch with friends, he later declared, I wouldnt have done any memoir writing if it hadnt been for this guy. Inspired by Steves energy and persistence, my memoir really snowballed.

My irrational exuberance and my memoirs personal revelations finally overwhelmed his resistance and convinced him to do what I had done, but with the help of audio technology.

Our group met every few months, audiotaping hours at a time in our homes. We became invested in Daves mesmerizing memories and his natural joie de vivre. He told us with a polite, faintly ironic smile that when he listened to his stories on tape and typed them into his computer, he was able to clarify his spoken ideas, add forgotten material, and, as he said, make myself look a little bit better.

This isnt necessary; his colorful career stories are splendid without such grace notes. As Kierkegaard said, Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards.

Our consortium friendship has flourished. Over the years my mentor has enriched my life and inspired me to become a better person. An immense bonus has been my family members replication of our consortium model of an ongoing oral history. Because we taped Daves memoirs before a small, intimate audience, my family now tapes our own intimate memories. I can just imagine our great-grandchildren eavesdropping on the family stories that bind us. The me in memoir and the me in mentor live very well together.

Dave has also been helping his friends write their memoirs. So my good deed for my mentor became his good deed for his companions, for me, and for others. Even though I mentored my mentor, at age 85 I still need a mentor: my brilliant 92-year-old big brother.

Stephen Rosen, a regular contributor, lives in East Hampton and New York. His memoir is Youth, Middle-Age, and You-Look-Great!

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The Memoir Consortium - East Hampton Star

The Patriots defense is on the brink of several records and couldn’t care less – The Union Leader

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. The Patriots are on the precipice of history.

Their next step could land them among the NFLs all-time great defenses. It should at least place them in the franchises record books. Football immortality is that close.

And they couldnt care less.

Its wonderful, but we just want to win the rest of these games, said Pats defensive tackle Adam Butler. Thats the only focus.

Here are the records at stake for the Patriots, who have been regarded as the leagues gold defensive standard since late September.

If the Pats hold Miami to fewer than seven third-down conversions in Sundays regular-season finale, they will own the NFL record for fewest allowed in a season. Opponents have converted just 42 this season at a 23% clip. Opposing quarterbacks would have been better off flipping two coins and calling them both correctly in the air than taking a third-down snap.

If the Dolphins score 38 or fewer points, the Patriots will have reset the franchise record for points allowed in a season. By shutting out Miami again they demolished them 43-0 back in Week 2 the Pats will become the eighth team to allow fewer than 200 points in a 16-game season. Four of the previous seven won the Super Bowl.

And should the Pats maintain their league leads in total yards and points allowed through the weekend, they will finish with the NFLs top-ranked defense in those categories for the first time ever.

Playing within an era of all-time offense, this defenses record rise is proof positive resistance is possible. Its been like fighting gravity and winning.

But fourth-year linebacker and captain Elandon Roberts insists the Patriots only fight is with Miami; then with their playoff opponents, then living with the results of those battles. And the final result, Roberts says, will entirely color how he views the defenses journey to date, history or not.

Once its said and done, sometimes you look back and youre like, Wow, man. We did all this. But you only really look back on that and know what you did as a defense if that outcome at the end comes how you want it to come, Roberts said. You still appreciate what you did, but you dont look back on it if you dont accomplish what you wanted to accomplish.

Roberts cited last season and his rookie year of 2016 as examples. The Pats led the league in points allowed in 2016, a fact he may not have known had the team not triumphed in the Super Bowl the following February. Their defense had largely been at fault for the famous 28-3 deficit, allowing the Falcons to knife through their soft, buttery front and secondary for three quarters.

Of course, the defense eventually hardened, Tom Brady threw on his Superman cape and the rest is NFL history. The only kind of history that matters to Roberts.

Thats whats so good about this locker room is theres a lot of older guys and experienced guys thats telling you what you need to do to win, Roberts said. They look at the big picture, what we want to do as a team.

Roberts would prefer not to dwell on the 2017 season. The Pats defeat in Super Bowl LII is what eats at him, not their disastrous defensive performances and terrible statistical rankings during the regular season. Though, Roberts confessed, stats can be a point of pride.

You want them. But you dont get stuck on them, he said. They dont define your defense.

So what does then, if not history or numbers?

Its about how guys jell, Roberts said. Its a lot of camaraderie, a lot of trust. If you dont trust in the guy next to you, its hard (to win). And I feel like this year on defense, it was a lot of trust and communication and it just built.

Ever since the Pats edged the Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII, their latest title has been explained by veteran experience and cohesion. The Patriots executed arguably the finest defensive performance in Super Bowl history because they were older, wiser and more versatile. Having returned nine starters and several key backups, those same elements drove dreams of defensive dominance in the preseason.

Then the Pats hit the field and added a new twist: scoring.

Five touchdowns later, if the defense scores again against Miami, it will tie the franchise record for most defensive touchdowns in a season. Brady, Julian Edelman and Sony Michel are the only Patriots who have scored more than their defense. More history for the taking.

But again the cogs of the Pats defensive machine dismiss it, turning only for the purpose of victory.

Yeah personally, but I dont think that matters, Butler said. What matters to me is just helping my team win, just doing my job.

So on they march, toward the Dolphins with an eye on Miami, the site of Super Bowl LIV, where the story of one of the greatest defensive seasons in Patriots history will be soon celebrated, silenced or long forgotten.

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The Patriots defense is on the brink of several records and couldn't care less - The Union Leader

Reality: The Rise of Skywalker is a disappointing conclusion to the Star Wars saga – The Intelligencer

In a spoiler-filed review, one Reality panelist gives his take on the final episode of the main Star Wars saga.

Warning: This review contains MAJOR spoilers for The Rise of Skywalker and some minor spoilers from The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the ninth and final film in the core Star Wars saga, commonly referred to as the Skywalker Saga.

Starting in 1977 with Star Wars: A New Hope, the series has captivated audiences for generations, and continues to be a critical and financial success.

However, the previous film, titled The Last Jedi, was one of the most controversial films in the series, dividing longtime fans between those who enjoyed the film and those who felt betrayed by the narrative. In response, the latest installment in the franchise aims to reverse some of the key aspects of The Last Jedi, which leads to a choppy plot that spends more time on damage control than actual storytelling.

The Rise of Skywalker has received devastating reviews from critics and audiences alike due to the conflict with the prior movie. However, beyond how it worked to undo the plot of The Last Jedi, I was more upset with how it undermines the basic values and rules enshrined in the Star Wars universe, including the nature of the Force.

First, the movie introduces the use of the Force to heal injuries or even bring the dead back to life.

This occurs several times in the film; first when Rey heals a giant serpent in a cave, then to save the life of Kylo Ren and still later to save Rey herself. I have a major objection to this idea.

To quote Han Solo, Thats not how the Force works!

This new concept negates the idea of death in Star Wars. Since the Force can now allow somebody to be revived, there will never again be high stakes in a battle, as long as a Jedi is around. All you need is someone who is Force-sensitive near you during a conflict and they can just transfer some of their Life Force to you, meaning that characters essentially have immortality.

I was also annoyed that the first and last time we see this power is in the final movie. It seemed to have been thrown in as an afterthought, or a deus ex machina to save our heroine at the end of the film.

My other major objection to the film is the decision to revive Emperor Palpatine and make him the main antagonist.

It appears that the character of Palpatine was used as an excuse for the death of Snoke in The Last Jedi. When I was watching it for the first time, it felt as though the script writers had replaced Snoke with Palpatine in every instance to make up for Snokes death in The Last Jedi, which had angered so many fans.

But putting this aside, using Palpatine in this film brought into play an idea that has never been used in the saga cloning oneself and transferring ones soul into a clone body. This makes The Rise of Skywalker into something other than just another Star Wars film, as it delivers a concept never seen in any other movies as a major part of the plot and then just glosses over it as though it should be easy for the viewer to understand.

This movie was tasked with wrapping up eight movies worth of lore and decades of fandom, but by introducing the two new concepts of Force resuscitation and transferring souls into clones, the film fails at this task.

The bottom line is that the last movie in the franchise was not a place to experiment with new ideas. This was the place to conclude the narrative that fans adore, not to introduce new concepts that come off as underdeveloped and rushed.

This movie disappointed me because the characters I love from the new sequels were sidelined to make room for a new vision. But what is worse is that those powers have never been part of Star Wars lore, and they undermine the foundational myth of the series.

Originally posted here:

Reality: The Rise of Skywalker is a disappointing conclusion to the Star Wars saga - The Intelligencer

A winter walk through Cleveland Way to the ruins of Port Mulgrave – The Northern Echo

A WINTER walk that leaves the North Yorkshire Coast at Staithes and follows the Cleveland Way to the ruined Port Mulgrave before turning in and returning through the woods at Borrowby.

Staithes is closely associated with Captain Cook (he worked in a drapers shop) before he set off on his deeds of heroism and immortality. It has retained much of its local character although the famous Cod and Lobster pubs shows signs of the battering this part of the coast gets from the weather. Parking is at the top of the village so follow the road through the narrow streets at the waters edge. Pass Captain Cooks Cottage and take to Church Street, climbing sharply out the village to the south.

Rowing Boat Staithes

The cliff top path is part of the Cleveland Way. However it is also part of the English Coastal Path, a major project by Natural England that completes the entire English Coast on one footpath and is planned for completion in 2021. Quite a challenge for someone! Fortunately we are just walking 1 miles along the coast, enough to taste the lovely views, sea birds and no doubt wild sea. The first part of the coastal route is inland but towards Port Mulgrave sticks closer to the cliffs. Just before arriving at the village of Port Mulgrave there is a bench with excellent views over Lingrove Cliffs and past Runswick Bay to Kettleness.

Rows of houses mark the Port Mulgrave on the top of the cliffs but the greatest satisfaction is to descend the 300 foot path to the old, now derelict ironstone port. In the 1850s the ironstone was mined from the cliffs and transported to the furnaces in the Tees and Tyne to the north. Today the area is a fascinating mix of wooden sailing boats, mining remains. A derelict pier and lobster pots from the fishing vessels. It is worth the detour although the climb back up the cliff path has little appeal!

Staithes map

On returning to the cliff top leave the coast (the next section is particularly muddy) and follow the rad through upper Port Mulgrave to the church at the northern end of Hinterwell. Cross the road and follow a track, turning in to a path heading just south of east in to the woods of Dales Beck. Cross the stream and after a short climb turn right and follow the path through the woods for of a mile to a 2nd footbridge. This woodland section is very pleasant but at this time of the year may be a little muddy. Take the left fork and carry on to the small hamlet of Daleshouse (complete with the fine Fox and Hounds pub). Turn right and follow the road in to Staithes.

n Jonathan Smith runs Where2walk, an outdoor business in the Yorkshire Dales. He has written his own book, the Dales 30, which describes the highest mountains in the Dales. He also runs one-day navigation courses for beginners and intermediates, and learn a skill, climb a hill weekends. To find out more details on any of the above and details of many more walks in the area visit where2walk.co.uk.

Fact Box:

Distance: Roughly 5.5 miles

Height to Climb: 260m (850 feet) includes the detour to old Port Mulgrave.

Start: NZ 781185. There is a car park in Upper Staithes.

Difficulty: Medium. As with all cliff walking there is more up and down than expected and some of the paths are muddy.

Refreshments: There is a choice of pubs and cafes in Staithes.

The route description and sketch map only provide a guide to the walk. You must take out and be able to read a map (O/S Explorer 27) and in cloudy/misty conditions a compass (essential on this walk). You must also wear the correct clothing and footwear for the outdoors. Whilst every effort is made to provide accurate information, walkers head out at their own risk.

Please observe the Countryside Code and park sensibly.

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A winter walk through Cleveland Way to the ruins of Port Mulgrave - The Northern Echo

The 2020s May Be a Doozy. Stick With the Tried and True in Investing. – Barron’s

Futurists must be off their game. Were entering 2020, and nice round numbers are supposed to invite dazzling, spooky predictions for the decade ahead.

But lately all I see are Wall Street forecasts about stuff like interest rates and demographics. Apparently, if you like low stock returns and crowded cities, youll love the 2020s. There is a risk of something called monetary impotence, and not even Pfizer has a cure for it.

But wait: What about airborne robo-taxis and disease-curing nanobots? Im worried that the current prognosticatory lull means our best futurists have reached peak holy mackerel.

Take Ray Kurzweil, author of the 2005 book The Singularity Is Near, which predicts that humans and machines will merge by 2045. He has been right about many things related to computing power and connectivity, and early, perhaps, on some other things. Wearable computers should rule by now, for example, but unless that means cramming 6-inch smartphones into 5-inch pockets, were not there.

In 2016, Kurzweil told PBS NewsHour, Were going to get to a point, 10, 15 years from now, where were adding more time than is going by to our remaining life expectancy. He was talking about immortality. Im skeptical, because I recently threw my back out sneezing, which doesnt feel like something an immortal would do. But the point is, I dont know how you top a forecast like that.

Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk seems to be trying. In 2018, he said there is a 70% chance hell move to Mars. Back in 2016, he said were all probably living in a simulation. At least that should make his move to Mars easier.

With heavyweights like Kurzweil and Musk having already gone full-Matrix, aspiring futurists like me will have to go big to get noticed. I predict that electric socks will become self-aware in 2023. There is a 70% chance Ill accidentally learn Mandarin from all of the robo-calls Ive been getting. The singularity is near? Too cautiousI say its the Thursday after next.

While were waiting for tech seers to work up their next big ideas, lets look at what market strategists are saying about the decade ahead, just in case this isnt all a simulation.

UBS points to 790 million more people expected to move to cities by 2030, the number of internet users expanding to 7.5 billion from 4.3 billion, and connected devices numbering 46 billion, up from 10 billion. That should be excellent news for semiconductor companies, like chip roll-up Broadcom (ticker: AVGO) and equipment maker Applied Materials (AMAT).

Barry Bannister at Stifel estimates that the S&P 500 index will offer just 3% a year in compound average returns during the 2020s, based on high starting valuations. He predicts a major rotation from growth stocks to value, which sounds harmless enough, but he also points out that in the past, those have started with the S&P 500 dropping by half over two years.

Dont panic yet. Near the end of the decade, Bannister expects us to enter a long period of runaway price growth in commodities. Now panic.

OK, time to breathe easier. Credit Suisses Jonathan Golub would like you to know that even though price/earnings ratios for stocks are one standard deviation above normal (which is to say, high), prices relative to free cash flow are at long-term averages. Valuations have further to run, he wrote on Dec. 18.

Bank of Americas strategy team calls the 2020s a decade of megatrends unlike any before it. Globalization will wane, and consumer prices will rise. Worldwide interest rates begin the decade at the lowest level in 5,000 years of recorded references to the cost of money, so central banks will struggle to stoke growth with monetary policy. On the other hand, Generation Z, or todays teens, will overtake millennials as the biggest generation globally, and the middle class will expand in emerging marketsgood for e-commerce.

By 2035, up to half of the worlds jobs could be at risk of replacement by robots, BofA says. From now until 2040, $20 trillion, or roughly three-quarters the market value of the S&P 500, will flood into morality-based stock strategies. Who will judge which companies are virtuous? I say, let people who have lost their jobs to robots take a crack.

The rest of the themes include climate change (good for electric cars), space tourism (good for aerospace and defense), smart everything (bad for privacy), and China overtaking the U.S. in artificial intelligence by 2030. (Is Musk looking for roommates on Mars?)

That is a daunting swirl of possibilities. I recommend preparing for this brave new world with tactics that are neither brave nor new. Stick with stocks and stock indexes. They represent companies run by clever people who can react quickly to the predictions that come true, and the ones that flop.

Im partial to U.S. stocks. Thats called home-country bias, and too much of it isnt good, so put some in other markets, too. Dont bail out of bonds. They are woefully overpriced, but theyll prove a bargain if stocks tank. Remember commodities? They were popular back when there used to be something called inflation. Add just a smidgen, for old times sake.

And just in case theres something to this singularity stuff, stay on good terms with anything with a silicon chip. As a futurist, Ive been saying thank you to vending machines for years.

Write to Jack Hough at jack.hough@barrons.com

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The 2020s May Be a Doozy. Stick With the Tried and True in Investing. - Barron's

Close to Home | Artificial Intelligence and us – Mindanao Times

A curious event in 2018 when Facebooks AI robots started communicating among themselves with their own language which programming experts on Facebook could not understand had the company shutting down their bots and no news of having opened it yet again.

This happening with Facebook is not isolated. The AlphaGo incident where a professional human player of the game was beaten by a robot sent alarm to human beings concerned. AlphaGo is a computer program that plays the Chinese board game called Go. It was in March 2016 that AlphaGo beat Gos Best Player Lee Sedol in the game where combinations of moves are said to be as many as the stars in the universe.

A workshop called Sprit, Science, and Artificial Intelligence, facilitated by social scientist and activist Nicanor Perlas, discusses why these leaps on technology and the seemingly subsequent surrender of humans to it should be something that must be met with our full consciousness and wakefulness. With the technologys lure of conveniences and perfection, we human beings are slowly giving up our inherent capacities.

While we are so out to believe that technology is neutral, we need to dig deeper to come face to face with its inner logic. I used to say, and these days, I hear many say often, that technology is neither good or bad. That it is up to us to make it advantageous or otherwise. It sure looks like that on the surface level. But just beneath it, lies the inner logic of technology: if we look deeper, technology makes us give up our inherent capacities as human beings.

So then, it is best to ask ourselves: IF we have been created in the Divines image and likeness, what could be our inherent capacities? What could have been planted in us if we are to be the true and full human beings that the Divine intends us to be?

Technology tycoon Elon Musk has been very vocal about the threats to humanity that pervade with the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Recently, Tesla, Musks company, released all its patents to help humanity survive. In first world countries, it is said that teachers are being replaced by robots and computers. If you have seen Jimmy Falons interview with the robot named Sophia, it looks amusing at a glance, but if given a thought, one might think of the danger with human resources being replaced by these technological devices that seem to supersede us in terms of intelligence.

The lure of technology in the name of AI (now gearing up to be Artificial Super Intelligence, [ASI]) has three facets: Super Health, Super Intelligence, and Immortality. This has been created by AI companies to counter human imperfections. People get sick, so they offer super health, people often think at a very slow pace and what poor memory, so they offer super intelligence. Finally, people die, so they offer immortality. The proponents of these ideas think that consciousness resides on the brain, and so by creating artificial bodies that can accommodate the consciousness in the brain, thus making immortality at hand. They call this Transhumanism.

This Transhumanism gear of AI is slowly leading the human being to mass extinction as this would mean no more reproduction as humans. Are we, as humanity, moving like the sleeping children who were led by the Pied Piper of Hamelin to the abyss?

We will be convinced of this technology hype if we do not stop and discern over this lures. But taking time to contemplate over these things, it will be revealed that all these lures are become effective once we deviate from the path of nature. Mother Nature has been cradling our humanity.

For our super health, we have the plants and the four elements to take care of us. For our super intelligence, our thoughts and capacity to create has been inherent in us, provided that we commune with her. It is almost forgotten but our ancestors showed super intelligence. There were documents that tell of our ancestors being capable of telepathy and teleportation. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction. And finally, for our concern of death. We only need to be assured that we no longer die. A Spiritual Being in the name of Christ had long defeated death for us. But if we only look at it in a materialist perspective, we cannot have the faculties to understand it. Nonetheless, it still needs to be said.

While AI poses an abominable threat to the existence of humanity, there is no need to fear. The call is to face this task wide awake and conscious. The AI has become a dragon to defeat because we have not been living up to who were truly are. Now, this dragon wants us to show our courage and together brave this challenge for the future of our humanity. Many, I, myself included, believe that by going back to nature, the human being will make manifest once more that no one is stronger than us except God. Simply because, we are the summit of His creations His own image and likeness.

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Close to Home | Artificial Intelligence and us - Mindanao Times


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