Persistent New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma returned to federal court on Friday, where a judge is hearing arguments on the NFL’s motion to dismiss the Saints linebacker’s lawsuit seeking to overturn his bounty suspension.Vilma seemed hopeful but not overly so.“You never want to go into these things with expectations,” Vilma said upon his arrival for court. “Whatever happens, happens.”It’s not clear when U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan will rule, but if she does not dismiss the lawsuit, she could potentially rule on Vilma’s request to be allowed to temporarily return to the Saints while the case proceeds.NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has suspended Vilma for the entire 2012 season, saying the linebacker was among the ring leaders of a program that offered Saints defenders improper cash bonuses for injuring opponents.Vilma, several teammates and Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt have testified that Vilma never paid or accepted money for injuring another player.Vilma was one of four current or former players who have been suspended in connection with the league’s bounty probe of the Saints. Teammate Will Smith, a defensive end, got four games, while defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was docked eight games. Linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, was suspended for three games.Smith, Hargrove and Fujita are being represented by the NFL Players Association, which also has filed suit in federal court in New Orleans seeking to have the suspensions overturned.Vilma’s attorneys have argued that Goodell made biased public statements about the linebacker’s involvement in the bounty scandal well before the process of player discipline began, making it impossible for the commissioner to be an impartial arbitrator as called for in both the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement and federal labor law.The players union is arguing that Goodell did not have jurisdiction to appoint himself the arbitrator in the bounty matter because the accusations included on-the-field activity that, under the league’s labor deal, is supposed to involve an arbitrator other than the commissioner.
Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year for Missouri, revealed to several news outlets that he is gay, setting the way for him to become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports that were published Sunday, Sam, a defensive end, said his teammates and coaches at Missouri have known since August.“I am an openly, proud gay man,” he said. “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be. . . I want to be a football player in the NFL.”Last year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay after the season. Collins, a 35-year-old backup center, was a free agent and has not signed with a new team this season. MLS star and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers also came out a year ago. Division III Willamette kicker Conner Mertens, a redshirt freshman, said last month he was bisexual. There have been several NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay.The 255-pound Sam is projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage,” the NFL said in statement. “Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”Sam said many people at the Senior Bowl all-star game for NFL prospects seemed to know that he was gay. His team has known since August, he said.“I didn’t realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,” he told ESPN. “I want to own my truth. . . No one else should tell my story but me.”Before coming out to all his teammates and coaches, Sam said he told a few close friends and dated another Missouri athlete who was not a football player.“Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we’re from and something that no one knows about you,” Sam said. “And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, ‘Michael Sam finally told us.’ ”Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement Sunday night: “Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others. He’s taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other. If Michael doesn’t have the support of his teammates like he did this past year, I don’t think there’s any way he has the type of season he put together.”Missouri linebacker Donovan Bonner has been a teammate of Sam’s for five years.“We knew of his status for five years and not one team member, coach, or staff member said anything says a lot about our family atmosphere,” Bonner tweeted.
Barcelona Coach Ernesto Valverde has confirmed the club is keen on bringing in a new striker following Munir El Haddadi’s exit.Munir completed a switch to Sevilla on a permanent deal leaving them with no senior back-up for Luis Suarez in the position, with the January transfer window now open.“Yes I would like an extra striker, there is a space now Munir has left,” Valverde told reporters, as cited by Football Italia.“We are a little short in terms of numbers, especially with the injury to Rafinha and now the transfer window is open we can rectify that.Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“We must be mindful of the financial aspects of any deal and if this is not viable, then we will look to players from the B team.“We need someone who can adapt quickly, who knows the league and is available to play immediately.“There can be no settling in period but if we cannot find that striker, then we will proceed with what we have already.”Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata and Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente are among the names linked to a Camp Nou move.
Oculus Quest 5:18 43 Photos 13 See it Mark Zuckerberg says virtual reality is a bold bet on the future. James Martin/CNET If you list people’s complaints about virtual reality, they usually include how expensive the headsets can be, how clunky they are to connect by wire to a computer, and how there aren’t enough compelling games and apps.Facebook believes it’s about to make a big dent in all that with its new Oculus Quest.Powered by a self-contained onboard computer, the device is more powerful than the entry-level $199 Oculus Go and works with a pair of hand controllers.It can play many of the popular games on the high-end computer-connected Oculus Rift S, like the popular rhythm game Beat Saber and the boxing movie tie-in Creed: Rise to Glory. It’s also got an upcoming Star Wars game, Vader Immortal, planned around its upcoming launch.And it’s priced at $399, less than other high-end headsets like the new Valve Index or HTC Vive, both of which start at $499. This is gonna be a big year for VR. Mark Zuckerberg $398 Share your voice For game developers like Survios, which made Creed: Rise to Glory, that means coming up with even more must-have titles that work well with the new device. James Iliff, the company’s co-founder and creative chief, said he’s already pushing his teams to build their next games with the Quest in mind.”The Quest is a starting point,” he said. What excites him about it is the wire-free design, including cameras that can track your movements, so when you duck in the real world you do so in the game world too. That, in addition to offering the same hand controllers the higher-end Rift already uses, makes it a compelling device.”Quest is finally a synthesis of all these different technologies,” he said. “Things are taking longer, but progress is happening.”That’s likely how Zuckerberg feels too. “This is gonna be a big year for VR,” he said Tuesday while talking about the Quest and Rift S launch plans. “These are a real step forward.” Mentioned Above Oculus Quest We took Oculus Quest on vacation Bottom line, it attempts to answer most of people’s complaints about VR headsets so far. And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks that could be a game changer.The Quest is “the all-in-one headset that we’ve all been waiting for,” he said Tuesday while announcing the device’s shipping date of May 21 during his company’s F8 developer’s conference. “Quest just blows people away.”CNET’s Scott Stein agreed, declaring the Quest “the best thing I’ve tried this year.”What we don’t know, even with all that, is whether it’ll succeed. Now playing: Watch this: Review • Oculus Quest is amazing, even months later Tags Comments Oculus Quest is fully mobile VR The VR world has been riding a wave of hype for years. It started in 2012, when Oculus was a startup, co-founded by the device’s teenage inventor, Palmer Luckey. In a Kickstarter video, the company pitched a $300 headset that promised to let you “step into the game.”Fast-forward seven years, with a more than $2 billion acquisition by Facebook and the 2016 launch of the then-$599 Oculus Rift, and VR hasn’t yet proven to be the world-changing technology it promises to be. Headset shipments, which started in 2016 at about 6.6 million units, are estimated to rise just to 8.4 million this year, according to estimates from market watcher Nielsen’s SuperData Research.”VR has no necessity to it yet,” said Stephanie Llamas, who oversees VR research at SuperData. The technology has caught on with gamers, artists and tech enthusiasts, she added, but it’s struggled beyond that. That’s where she thinks the Quest could succeed. Facebook boasts at least 50 titles that will be available around when the Quest launches, including that Star Wars game.”The Quest could be the opportunity to bring in the second wave of users,” she said. “It depends.”Facebook sees the Oculus Quest as the next big step in VR. James Martin/CNET Beginning the QuestThe Oculus Quest and Rift S aren’t just new devices from Facebook’s VR division. They represent a second generation of VR, from one of the most influential device makers in the industry. One way Facebook is telegraphing the importance of the Quest is through retail stores. The company is updating its retail displays for stores like Best Buy with new large touchscreens that help people learn what the Oculus Go, Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S are, what games and apps are available for them, and why they’re different.The company’s also expanding its retail presence into GameStop retail stores, in an effort to draw gamers too.”We hope the Quest will mark an inflection point,” said Sean Liu, director of product management at Oculus. The company is beginning to sell to businesses as well, and plans to begin offering software to manage fleets of VR headsets soon. “There’s a lot of foundation work we need to do, and I think this is a stride in that direction.”Unlike the original Oculus Rift, the Quest doesn’t need a computer, a bunch of wires or additional sensors. It’s all self-contained. Sarah Tew/CNET Betting on QuestSome nagging issues could hold the Quest back. A recent survey by IDC sponsored by PlayStation VR maker Sony found that some of the top reasons people still hold off buying VR devices are the cost of hardware and a lack of compelling games and experiences. Lapsed VR users don’t have enough reasons to keep coming back.”Getting people to put the headset on for multiple hours per month is hard,” said IDC analyst Lewis Ward, who authored the study. He found that on average, VR owners spend less than seven hours per month in the headsets. That makes owners question the wisdom of their $250 to $800 purchase, not including the cost of a game console or PC to power their devices, he said. “What can be done to drive up hours of use?” he said. “You’ve got to drive that number up. And then those people will go tell their friends, ‘You gotta put the headset on, you’ve gotta try it.'” Things are taking longer, but progress is happening. James Iliff, COO at Survios CNET may get a commission from retail offers. News • Oculus Quest may have its first killer app with Beat Saber Mobile Tech Industry Gaming Virtual Reality Apps
An Afghan victim receives treatment at a hospital following a suicide attack in Mohmand Dara district of Nangarhar Province, on 11 September 2018. A suicide attack on protesters in eastern Afghanistan on 11 September killed at least 32 people, officials said, as an uptick in violence across the country dampens hopes for peace talks and elections. Photo: AFPA suicide attack on protesters in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday killed at least 32 people, officials said, as an uptick in violence across the war-torn country dampens hopes for peace talks and elections.There were chaotic scenes at several hospitals as medical staff struggled to treat 128 people wounded by the powerful blast in Nangarhar province.Gul Majid was among scores of protesters blocking the highway between the provincial capital of Jalalabad and a major Pakistan border crossing when he “heard a big bomb”.”Then I saw flesh, blood and people wounded all around me,” Majid told AFP outside one of the hospitals.”I am still looking for my friends. I don’t know whether they are alive or dead.”The men had been protesting over the appointment of a local police chief, provincial governor spokesman Ataullah Khogyani said.Provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal and Khogyani both confirmed the latest casualty toll.The attack came hours after a double bombing in front of a girls’ school in the provincial capital Jalalabad, which killed a boy and wounded four others.The first explosion happened in front of Malika Omaira girls’ school at around 8:30 am (0400 GMT), Khogyani told AFP earlier.A second bomb went off as students from a neighbouring boys’ school and locals gathered at the scene, he added.There has been no claim of responsibility for any of the attacks, but the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS) group are active in Nangarhar.A wave of violence across Afghanistan in recent weeks has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and security forces, as the Taliban makes gains on the battlefield and IS launches deadly urban attacks.The fighting has tempered optimism that had been tentatively growing as Afghan and international players ratchet up efforts to convince the Taliban to negotiate an end to the 17-year conflict.An unprecedented ceasefire in June followed by talks between US officials and Taliban representatives in Qatar in July raised hopes that peace negotiations could bring an end to the fighting.There has been speculation the two sides will meet again this month.The Taliban have long insisted on direct talks with Washington and refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, which they see as illegitimate.But newly appointed US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has cancelled further talks with the militants until he has reviewed the American strategy, a Western official in Kabul told AFP on the condition of anonymity.The information could not be immediately confirmed. One militant source, a senior Taliban commander based in neighbouring Pakistan, had told AFP he expected more talks to be held “soon”.- ‘Disaster’ -The intensified fighting has also fuelled speculation over whether Afghanistan’s long-delayed parliamentary elections will go ahead on October 20.The country’s already overstretched security forces will be tasked with protecting thousands of polling stations around the country at a time when they are already struggling to beat back insurgents.Delivering ballot papers and monitoring the vote, which is seen as a test run for next year’s presidential election, will be challenging, officials have warned.There are already concerns about widespread fraud.In the past two days Taliban fighters killed nearly 60 members of the security forces in a spate of attacks in the country’s north and threatened a provincial capital for the second time in as many months.After seizing a military base in Sar-e-Pul, Taliban fighters were closing in on the provincial capital in a situation that could result in “disaster” if reinforcements were not sent, the area’s police chief Abdul Qayom Baqizoy warned on Monday.Baqizoy compared the threat to the Taliban’s extraordinary raid last month on the provincial capital of Ghazni — fighters held large parts of the city located just two hours from Kabul for days.On Tuesday security forces had managed to push back Taliban fighters by a couple of kilometres, locals and officials told AFP.
The researchers specifically wanted to understand howstressful events affect the brain’s stress-response system later in life. Is itthe total amount of stress experienced across the lifespan that matters? Or doesexposure to stress during sensitive periods of development, specifically in earlychildhood, have the biggest impact? Young and colleagues wanted to investigate a thirdpossibility: Early childhood stress makes our stress-response system moresensitive to stressors that emerge later in life. For thestudy, Young and colleagues examined data from 90 individuals whowere part of a high-risk birth cohort participating in the Minnesota LongitudinalStudy of Risk and Adaptation. At age 37, the participants also provided daily cortisol dataover a 2-day period. They collected a saliva sample immediately when they wokeup and again 30 minutes and 1 hour later; they also took samples in theafternoon and before going to bed. They sent the saliva samples to a lab for cortisol-leveltesting. “What we find is that the amount of a person’s exposure toearly life stress plays an important role in the development of unhealthypatterns of cortisol release. However, this is only true if individuals alsoare experiencing higher levels of current stress, indicating that thecombination of higher early life stress and higher current life stress leads tothe most unhealthy cortisol profiles,” says psychological scientist Ethan Young,a researcher at the University of Minnesota. The researchers grouped participants’ LES scores into specificperiods: early childhood (1-5 years), middle childhood (Grades 1-6),adolescence (16 and 17 years), early adulthood (23-34 years), and current (37years). The researchers also investigated whether life stress inmiddle childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood were associated with adultcortisol patterns, and found no meaningful relationships. Young and colleagues note that cortisol is one part of thehuman stress-response system, and they hope to investigate how othercomponents, such as the microbiome in our gut, also play a role in long-termhealth outcomes. The researchers found that neither total life stress nor early childhood stress predicted cortisol level patterns at age 37. Rather, cortisol patterns depended on both early childhood stress and stress at age 37. Participants who experienced relatively low levels of stress in early childhood showed relatively similar cortisol patterns regardless of their stress level in adulthood. On the other hand, participants who had been exposed to relatively high levels of early childhood stress showed flatter daily cortisol patterns, but only if they also reported high levels of stress as adults. One of the ways that our brain responds to daily stressors isby releasing a hormone called cortisol — typically, our cortisol levels peak inthe morning and gradually decline throughout the day. But sometimes this systemcan become dysregulated, resulting in a flatter cortisol pattern that is associatedwith negative health outcomes. The researchers assessed data from the Life Events Schedule(LES), which surveys individuals’ stressful life events, including financialtrouble, relationship problems, and physical danger and mortality. Trained codersrate the level of disruption of each event on a scale from 0 to 3 to create anoverall score for that measurement period. The participants’ mothers completed theinterview when the participants were 12, 18, 30, 42, 48, 54, and 64 months old;when they were in Grades 1, 2, 3, and 6; and when they were 16 and 17 years old.The participants completed the LES themselves when they were 23, 26, 28, 32,34, and 37 years old. These findings suggest that early childhood may be aparticularly sensitive time in which stressful life events — such as thoserelated to trauma or poverty — can calibrate the brain’s stress-responsesystem, with health consequences that last into adulthood. Coauthors on the research include Allison K. Farrell, Elizabeth A. Carlson, Michelle M. Englund, Gregory E. Miller, Megan R. Gunnar, Glenn I. Roisman, Jeffry A. Simpson. Adults who report high levels of stress and who also hadstressful childhoods are most likely to show hormone patterns associated withnegative health outcomes, according to findings published in Psychological Science,a journal of the Association for PsychologicalScience. This project was supported by a NationalInstitute on Aging grant (No. R01 AG039453) awarded to J. A. Simpson, whichsupported the most recent assessments of the Minnesota Longitudinal Study ofRisk and Adaptation.