News News VenezuelaAmericas August 25, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday’s tear-gas grenade attack on the Caracas headquarters of privately-owned TV news station Globovisión. It has been claimed by La Piedrita, a radical group based in the west Caracas slum of 23 de Enero that has claimed previous attacks on news media critical of President Hugo Chávez’s government.“La Piedrita has yet again acted on its insane view that certain privately-owned media should be regarded as ‘military targets’,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The government disowned the group’s stance after a physical attack on Globovisión journalists in October but its disavowal should have been followed by judicial measures and yesterday’s attack shows they have been too long in coming. Those responsible for yesterday’s incident must be identified and brought to justice before they do anything irreparable.”The tear-gas grenade was thrown at the Globovisión building by two individuals on a motorcycle. It went off after landing on the roof and discharged tear gas into an air-conditioning duct with the result that the building had to be evacuated. Leaflets signed by La Piedrita, criticising Globovisión and the daily El Nacional, were found at the scene.A radically pro-Chávez group, La Piedrita has in the past four months been responsible for two similar attacks on Globovisión, an attack on the daily El Nuevo País and an attack on the home of Globovisión reporter Marta Colomina. The government condemned the group’s “political infantilism” after it attacked a Globovisión crew that was covering a demonstration in 23 de Enero.President Chávez regards Globovisión as a “coup monger” and “traitor to the motherland” and had an administrative investigation brought against the station for alleged “violation of the electoral law” after regional elections on 23 November. The move has been widely criticised, including by members of the National Electoral Council. Help by sharing this information RSF_en Two journalists murdered just days apart in Venezuela to go further Organisation Receive email alerts June 15, 2020 Find out more News January 13, 2021 Find out more Coronavirus “information heroes” – journalism that saves lives News VenezuelaAmericas January 2, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 New Year’s Day attack on TV station by radical pro-Chávez group Follow the news on Venezuela New wave of censorship targeting critical media outlets
For Harvard hoops, an off-court education HSAC’s current leadership shares Puopolo’s commitment to moving the field forward. Current co-president Erik Johnsson, a junior concentrating in statistics and a member of the Crimson volleyball team, recently completed a project designed to improve upon the Elo model, a widely respected player skill-level rating system often employed by statistics heavyweight fivethirtyeight.com. When perusing fivethirtyeight while watching an NBA game, Johnsson noticed that the site had “huge percent chances” for then-underperforming teams the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans to make the playoffs, which he thought to be “a little odd.” So Johnsson read up on the site’s model, replicated it, and, to make the model more exact, added in some new variables (in short, accounting for off-season changes in team strength by making adjustments in ratings for games earlier in the current season). His findings: Over a 10-year period, his model did make “slightly better” yet “statistically significant” predictions.By working with the Elo model, Johnsson followed in the footsteps of HSAC faculty adviser and senior lecturer on statistics Mark Glickman, whose Glicko Rating System was also developed as an improvement to the Elo model. Johnsson was also able to implement ideas from a Harvard statistics course in his analysis. This spirit of learning and then teaching, especially among members of the Collective, has always been a big part of what HSAC does.“We actively encourage members to ask us for help,” said the other current co-president, Jack Schroeder, a sophomore studying government and data science who is also on the curling team, “either with the methodology behind the project, the writing process, or even just getting the data, which is often the hardest part.”Faculty adviser Rader added that he is able to maintain a largely hands-off approach in his own role thanks to mentoring from the older members in the group, who have a wealth of institutional knowledge and a stronger understanding of potential methodologies than some of their younger counterparts. He said he only steps in when he sees an opportunity to push the students further by recommending more sophisticated models that they may not be familiar with yet. Hoping for an edge in this year’s March Madness office pool? Have a longstanding argument with your friends on which team’s fans are the most loyal? Always wondered how much of a difference it makes to be able to throw the last stone in the initial curling end? You can find your answers in the work of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (HSAC), a student-run organization dedicated to the quantitative analysis of sports strategy and management.Since its founding in 2006 under the tutelage of “Moneyball”-cited statistician and Professor Emeritus Carl Morris, HSAC has been answering a variety of sports-related questions, employing often-sophisticated statistical models to get to the bottom of longstanding debates or offer context to those eye-popping and head-scratching numbers that excite, and boggle the minds of, sports fanatics and pundits all over the world. (The collective just posted its analysis of this year’s March Madness college basketball tournament.)HSAC member projects, which range from social media posts drawn from simple fact-finding exercises to senior theses engaging complex quantitative analysis, reflect what’s current and relevant in the sports world, and they often emerge from spirited conversation during Collective meetings, which take place Tuesday nights in Winthrop House. According to HSAC faculty adviser and senior preceptor in statistics Kevin Rader, popular methodologies compare two groups (teams, leagues, player pools) or look at how things have changed over time. “Or a really extreme event happens,” he explains, “something cool happens in the Super Bowl, and a decision needed to be made. Was it the right decision? Let’s investigate that from an empirical perspective.”This past January, HSAC took to Twitter to answer a simple question many college football fans were likely pondering during Clemson’s surprising national championship drubbing of Alabama, 44–16, namely: When was the last time the Crimson Tide gave up more than 50 points in a regulation game? The answer, according to HSAC: When they lost to Sewanee 54–4 way back in 1907. The tweet received close to 250 retweets and nearly 500 likes.,When the HSAC team looks to delve deeper into a question and really engage their skills as statisticians, they’ll write about their findings on the blog, which has drawn coverage from significant mainstream media outlets like ESPN, NBC Sports, Bleacher Report, the Boston Globe, and The New Yorker, as well as major league franchises and the leagues themselves, including the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Orlando Magic, the National Football League, and Major League Soccer. Some popular posts over the years: “A Way-Too-Early Prediction of the NFL Season,” “Conference Bias in College Football,” and “Which Sports League Has the Most Parity?”Often, existing fan theories (“that referee hates my team” or “we never win in that stadium”) inspire HSAC members to challenge their veracity. Last February, HSAC President Emeritus Andrew Puopolo, a senior at the College and a self-professed soccer addict, sought to answer the age-old question of referee bias using the oft-maligned English soccer official Mike Dean, who is particularly reviled by supporters of the London-based Arsenal Football Club, as an entrée into a statistical analysis of referee/team-specific bias throughout the English Premier League. In short, Puopolo looked at every combination of Premier League teams and referees who managed at least 15 of their matches between the 2005–2006 and 2016–2017 seasons, comparing actual results against pregame betting odds in his quest to find bias — of which, in the end, he found “no alarming signs.” Not that an Arsenal supporter would ever be swayed by the data, even if it was culled from tens of thousands of combinations.Which is fine by Puopolo, who is the first to admit when he finds flaws in his own methodologies, and who loves the opportunity to spark conversation — on sports, but especially on statistics — in a quest to help himself and his colleagues get better. Often, HSAC analyses encourage readers to make their own decisions about the data; there isn’t always a clear-cut answer to every question. This spirit of engagement in finding new ways to look at data is what HSAC is all about. Often, existing fan theories (“that referee hates my team” or “we never win in that stadium”) inspire HSAC members to challenge their veracity. On a Southern swing, men’s basketball team meets former President Carter and visits Martin Luther King Jr.’s church and gravesite Quidditch, anyone? Inside Harvard club sports Johnsson, Schroeder, and Puopolo all foresee potential future careers in sports analytics, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of HSAC alumni such as Alec Halaby ’09, vice president of football operations and strategy for the Philadelphia Eagles; Daniel Adler ’10, HLS/HBS ’17, director of baseball operations for the Minnesota Twins; and recent grad Nathán Goldberg Crenier ’18, who is already assistant to the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. And opportunities may arise in fields outside of traditional sports venues, said Puopolo. As more and more states seek to legalize sports gambling, there will be new opportunities for machine-learning- and data-science-minded graduates to pursue careers in that field as well.The pipeline is real, and the connections to the professional major sports are active. Last semester, Puopolo set up consulting projects with teams from the National Football League and Major League Baseball, which are ongoing.“[These projects] give everyone a chance to take these skills that we talk about during meetings, and stuff people are learning at school in an academic setting,” said Schroeder, “and really apply it in a professional, business setting.”“We see this as a great way to increase membership in the club, too,” added Johnsson. “If we can convince freshmen and sophomores who like sports and statistics to come to the club, and who can then gain actual experience working for real teams, and say they have connections with [major professional sports teams], it’s a great way to get people involved and excited.” Related Snapshots of student athletes in motion The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.
Brannon said he was surprised to get a response to his letter – he was the first in his class to get a reply – and even more surprised to learn the school would get to participate in a taste test. He plans to write another letter, this time to Principal Kenny Lee, to ask for more improvements. Most of the students echoed Brannon’s concerns about variety and said they wanted healthier choices. But 18-year-old Brandon Kafton of Woodland Hills, who plays right guard for the school’s football team, disagreed. “When you go home, your parents make you eat salads but here, you want something that tastes good between long lectures for hours on end,” he said. Students today have more sophisticated palates, and want hot, favorful food that is restaurant-quality, said Sanchez, the nutrition specialist. Mexican and Asian cuisine are the top requests, along with Subway sandwiches. The latter are too expensive for LAUSD to offer, but the district does its best to serve a reasonable facsimile, she said. Sanchez said the results of Thursday’s tests will be tabulated and the product with the highest scores – nothing less than a 70 percent approval rating will do – will go on to be evaluated in terms of cost, ease of preparation, nutritional value and other variables. [email protected] (818) 713-3663160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WOODLAND HILLS – Bob Goretski took a bite of the chicken patty in front of him, leaned back and bounced in his chair with excitement. “Guys! I called it! This one’s scrumptious,” said Goretski, 17, of Woodland Hills. “It’s crunchy, it tastes better, it’s high-quality, it’s phenomenal.” He paused. “It could use a little more salt.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Goretski, who aspires to be a food critic, was one of about 25 El Camino Real High School students who spent Thursday morning tasting three varieties of baked chicken patties to select a new brand for the campus cafeteria. Jamie Sanchez, nutrition specialist for Los Angeles Unified’s District 1, said she and the other nutrition specialists routinely conduct taste tests with up to 40 students, trying new products and finding out what students like – and hate – about cafeteria fare. Thursday’s sampling, however, came about as a result of a letter that student Michael Brannon, 16, of West Hills wrote to school board member Jon Lauritzen as part of a history assignment. In his letter, Brannon complained about the cafeteria’s long lines and the bland and unappealing food. “By the time some people get up to the food court, some of the food is sold out, and people don’t get to choose what they want,” said Brannon, who wants to go into business or become a chef. “People don’t like the taco bean dip because it doesn’t look good; it doesn’t look like something you’d find in a restaurant.”