How Kevin Durant is coping with Clifford Dixon’s passing

first_imgKlay Thompson subscribes. You can too for just 11 cents a day for 11 months + receive a free Warriors Championship book. Sign me up!OAKLAND — For once, Kevin Durant likes what he has seen people write about himself on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.For the past two weeks, the Warriors’ star has mourned the death of his childhood friend and former AAU teammate, Clifford Dixon. He was shot and killed outside of an Atlanta bar. Since then, Durant has received plenty of well wishes both in …last_img

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Greenpeace takes on Africa

first_imgGreenpeace volunteer Tshepo Peele sells the Greenpeace concept to passersby. (Image:Tamara O’Reilly ) The Greenpeace ship MY Esperenza sets sail from Rotterdam harbour, The Netherlands bound for Cape Town, South Africa in 2005. (Image:Greenpeace) The dense Congo Basin Rainforest is critical to mitigating global warming in that part of Africa. (Image: Michael K. Nichols National Geographic) Tamara O’ReillyEnvironmental watchdog Greenpeace has opened its first African office in Johannesburg, and is making no secret of its arrival.Greenpeace activists are well known worldwide for their protests, which often involve a good measure of drama and publicity. The organisation made headlines in 2007 when six UK volunteers attempted to shut down a coal-fired power station in Kent, England. The members scaled a building with the intention of painting “Gordon bin it” but only managed the then Prime Ministers name before being served a high court injunction – delivered by helicopter. In Canada, activists have been waging a 10-year war to save the country’s Great Bear Rainforest, this despite numerous arrests, complaints of intimidation and even beatings.Nomawethu Mayekiso joined the Greenpeace family, who set up home in South Africa in November this year, and while she doesn’t have any ambitions to scale buildings or be beaten, yet, as a Greenpeace volunteer she is doing her bit to help.At the moment, that means stationing herself at shopping malls around Johannesburg to ask for contributions. It’s not very dramatic, but it gets the important job done of raising money so that an organisation like this can exist.“Some people think I’m irritating, but I don’t care. I’ve heard so many excuses; ‘my son is an environmentalist so I don’t want to hear anything more about the environment’ or they say they are ‘rushing to the bank’. Banks are closed on Sundays. We have to be persistent because although people already know about climate change and global warming, they have this idea that ‘it’s not me doing it’ or that they will be dead anyway before the worst is here.”The organisation has 2.9-million supporters from over 40 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Americas.  To maintain their independence, Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but relies on contributions from individuals. Since the volunteers began their scouting, 120 South Africans have made a financial commitment to the organisation.This figure may seem negligible, but according to Greenpeace fundraising director Michael McTernan, the response is among the best he has seen. Greenpeace mostly tackles culprits whose activities impact on the environment, but much of the money they receive is spent on legal assistance for those affected by environmental damage.  “It’s just been two weeks and we have managed to sign up more people in this time than when we were two weeks old in Indonesia or the Philippines. We all know it’s a difficult financial time and for so many willing to help out it really is something.”New Zealander McTernan arrived in South Africa four months ago to begin the fundraising drive. This involves arranging canvassing spots at malls, organising publicity material, screening volunteers and making the organisation’s presence known.Focus on AfricaA second office will be opened on 24 November in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a third is earmarked for Dakar, Senegal in 2009.“While the environmental threats facing Africans are urgent and critical, Africa is in a position to leapfrog dirty development and become a leader in helping to avert catastrophic climate change and protect the natural environment. We are here to help make that happen,” says Amadou Kanoute, executive director of Greenpeace Africa.Although the African continent is not as bad a culprit when it comes to climate change, the region nevertheless feels the environmental, social and economic effects of modern-day industrial activities. For instance, over the past 30 years Africa has been experiencing drought, unpredictable rainfall, lower crop yields due to pollution and poor soil quality. These factors in turn lead to conflicts between governments, corporations and communities and to people migrating to non-sustainable areas.“Tackling environmental problems in Africa is vital to ensuring a future for its children and the world as a whole,” says Gerd Leipold, executive director, Greenpeace International.“While it is most likely to be one of the hardest and quickest hit by the effects of climate change, some of which can already be seen, Africa is also a major part of the solution. Through harnessing its renewable energy potential and protecting its tropical forests, Africa can lead the way in environmental development.”Greenpeace has had a presence in Africa since the early 90s. It aims to continue what it started in West Africa by creating sustainable fishing and fish processing operations in this region. The activities of foreign trawlers here have affected local communities, depriving them of critical nutrition and increasing poverty and food insecurities. The Congo Basin Rainforest – which at more than 1-milion square miles is the second largest rainforest in the world – will be highlighted as an area more valuable intact, than for the monetary value of its wood. Around 40-million people depend on the forest for their livelihoods. Currently, the lush forest is facing rapid depletion due to poaching and logging.  Do you have any comments or queries about this article? Email Tamara O’Reilly at [email protected] articlesClimate park to cool off animals Saving the land with ecotourism Saving albatross, on sea and land Green lifestyle magazine for SA Useful linksGreenpeace Africa Green clippings Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourismlast_img read more

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The sky is not the limit for African astronaut Mandla Maseko

first_imgMaseko won the global Axe Apollo Space Academy competition for an hour long sub-orbital trip of 62 miles, or about 100 kilometres. Handpicked for the trip on the Lynx Mark II Spaceship, Maseko is one of only 23 civilians from around the world to win a seat on the space mission. He saw off a million other entrants to emerge victorious. (Image: Sthe Shabangu)It is an extraordinary dream come true. Like music to Mandla Maseko’s ears, this part-time DJ will blast off into space, literally. No-one in Maseko’s family has ever stepped outside South Africa, but now the 25-year-old is preparing to rocket into space in 2015.Maseko won the global Axe Apollo Space Academy competition for an hour long sub-orbital trip of 62 miles, or about 100 kilometres. Handpicked for the trip on the Lynx Mark II Spaceship, Maseko is one of only 23 civilians from around the world to win a seat on the space mission. He saw off a million other entrants to emerge victorious.last_img read more

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Can The Sharks Win The Stanley Cup With Historically Bad Goaltending

2017-18Capitals59.858.3 2018-19Sharks40.2%50.0% 2011-12Kings60.585.0 2008-09Penguins50.043.5 Despite losing on home ice on Monday, the San Jose Sharks are three wins away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for just the second time in franchise history. For a franchise that has been consistently disappointing in the NHL playoffs, a Stanley Cup would provide some much needed redemption. The Sharks lifting the Cup would also be strange by playoff hockey standards: Teams generally don’t succeed in hockey’s second season with subpar goaltending.There’s little doubt about San Jose’s offensive prowess — the Sharks have scored the second-most goals in the playoffs, and they tied for the second-most goals in the regular season — but deficiencies on the defensive side of the puck, and especially between the pipes, have been a recurring problem. The San Jose goaltending tandem of starter Martin Jones and backup Aaron Dell was abysmal during the regular season, leading the team to a dead-last ranking in save percentage (.889). To be fair, Jones has been better in the postseason, but he is by no means the playoffs’ hot goalie. His playoff save percentage is .905 — an improvement over his regular-season mark of .896 to be sure, but hardly the stuff of world-beaters.There is a certain mystique attached to the premise of the hot goalie in the NHL playoffs. Save percentage accounts for a higher proportion of a team’s success than any other factor, so it follows that quality postseason goaltending is compulsory if a team wants to win the Stanley Cup in June. The narrative — that these hot playoff goalies appear from the ether — is sexy, but the reality is that most of them build a solid-to-excellent body of work during the regular season and carry that solid-to-excellent form into the postseason.As such, it’s rare to see a team win the Stanley Cup after enduring a regular season of poor goalie play. Since the lockout, only the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes and the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks won the title with below-average goaltending during the regular season. Even then, Carolina goaltenders finished close to the middle of the pack in 2005-06 — but just six teams in 2009-10 got worse regular-season save-percentage performances from their goaltenders than the Hawks did.All this leaves the San Jose Sharks in something of a historical bind. Since the league began recording the stat in 1959-60, no Stanley Cup-winning team has finished last in regular-season save percentage — not even when the league consisted of only six teams. The Sharks are just the third team in the 14 seasons since the lockout to qualify for the playoffs after finishing in the save percentage basement. And not since 1992-93 — an era of the NHL during which it was somewhat unclear whether teams actually put goalies in front of the net — has the eventual Stanley Cup winner posted a worse regular-season save percentage than this season’s Sharks.But wait, it gets even worse! No team since the 2007-08 season, when this data was first collected, has won the Stanley Cup posting a regular-season quality start percentage1Quality start percentage was developed by Hockey Abstract’s Robert Vollman to determine whether a goalie gave his team a reasonable chance to win a game. A goalie must post a league-average save percentage or better to record a quality start. If a goalie faces 20 or fewer shots in a game, he can earn a quality start with a save percentage of .885. worse than 50 percent. Jones and Dell combined for a quality start percentage of just 40 percent. Is San Jose’s pitiful netminding a portent of impending heartbreak, or could the Sharks be the team that overcomes the odds? 2016-17Penguins51.264.0 2015-16Penguins61.062.5 SeasonTeamRegular Season QS%Playoffs QS% San Jose’s goaltending may not be Cup worthyHow the Sharks goaltending compares to previous Stanley Cup winners based on quality start percentage (QS%),* 2007-08 to 2017-18 2014-15Blackhawks68.360.9 2013-14Kings59.853.8 2010-11Bruins69.568.0 2012-13Blackhawks64.682.6 2009-10Blackhawks51.250.0 * Share of quality starts relative to total games started. A quality start is recorded when a goalie posts at least a league-average save percentage in a game. If a goalie faces 20 or fewer shots in a game, a save percentage of .885 or higher earns him a quality start.Source: Hockey-Reference.com 2007-08Red Wings56.159.1 That 2009-10 Blackhawks team might offer a decent blueprint for the Sharks. Chicago goalie Antti Niemi wasn’t that playoffs’ hot goalie, but he didn’t have to be — the Blackhawks simply scored more goals than any other team en route to their first Stanley Cup win in nearly half a century. As luck would have it, Jones is posting numbers that closely mimic those posted by Niemi in 2009-10. (Niemi posted a save percentage of .910 and a quality start percentage of 50 percent in 2009-10; Jones is currently posting a save percentage of .905 and a quality start percentage of 50 percent.) The only difference is that Niemi and partner Cristobal Huet were merely pretty awful during the regular season, and not historically awful like Jones and Dell.Perhaps the 2005-06 Edmonton Oilers are a better analog. They qualified for the playoffs in spite of some downright lousy regular-season goaltending by a quartet of journeymen and career backups, and they advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Final because one of those goalies got hot. Could the same be happening in San Jose?If Jones is able to hold on to his newfound mediocrity, the Sharks might have a puncher’s chance to upset six decades of history. Otherwise, the Sharks will remain what they’ve always been: minnows in apex predator’s clothes. read more

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