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first_img Print Article Southeast Gas has announced the Community Service Scholarship recipients for 2020. Twenty-two students were recognized for their outstanding commitment to serving others, and will receive a $1,500 scholarship to the university, college or technical school of their choice, said Shannon Jackson, director of marketing and communications.“Due to COVID-19, we were unable to gather our group of students in recognition for their work in Southeast Alabama,” Jackson said. “However, we still want to acknowledge them publicly.”Pike County students who were honored with Southeast Alabama Gas Scholarships are Chelby Foster, Pike County High School, Lindsey Kelly Charles Henderson High School. Pike County Sheriff’s Office offering community child ID kits Remember America’s heroes on Memorial Day The Community Service Scholarship program is part of an overall commitment by Southeast Gas to serve area schools through its Give Back to Schools initiative. Over the past 11 years, Southeast Gas has returned more than $1,000,000 to public schools in the company’s service delivery area through Give Back to Schools dollars and the company’s Community Service Scholarship program.In addition to the direct financial support Southeast Gas provides to these schools, Southeast Gas volunteers also spend time working to improve many of the campuses through construction assistance, landscaping, painting, gas appliance maintenance, light carpentry, tutoring, mentoring and many other activities. Southeast Gas provides natural gas service to 36 communities throughout Southeast Alabama, and is owned by 14 cities – Abbeville, Andalusia, Brundidge, Dothan, Elba, Enterprise, Eufaula, Fort Deposit, Greenville, Headland, Luverne, Opp, Ozark and Troy. Around the WebMd: Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch)Blood Sugar BlasterIf You Have Ringing Ears Do This Immediately (Ends Tinnitus)Healthier LivingWomen Only: Stretch This Muscle to Stop Bladder Leakage (Watch)Patriot Health ZoneHave an Enlarged Prostate? Urologist Reveals: Do This Immediately (Watch)Healthier LivingRemoving Moles & Skin Tags Has Never Been This EasyEssential Health32-second Stretch Ends Back Pain & Sciatica (Watch)Healthier LivingThe content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view your opt out options in Revcontent’s Privacy PolicyWant your content to appear on sites like this?Increase Your Engagement Now!Want to report this publisher’s content as misinformation?Submit a ReportGot it, thanks!Remove Content Link?Please choose a reason below:Fake NewsMisleadingNot InterestedOffensiveRepetitiveSubmitCancel Penny Hoarder Issues “Urgent” Alert: 6 Companies Are… Book Nook to reopen By The Penny Hoarder By Jaine Treadwell Troy falls to No. 13 Clemsoncenter_img You Might Like Pike County BOE on Wright’s departure: ‘It’s a loss for us’ At  the Monday meeting of the Pike County Board of Education, the board accepted the resignation of Willie Wright as… read more Plans underway for historic Pike County celebration Sponsored Content Published 7:41 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2020 SEAGD awards community scholarships Skip Latest Stories Email the author Tanner Simmons, Luverne High School,; Levi Carnley, Elba High School; Mary Smith, New Brockton High School; Emory Bush,  Brantley High School; and Charle Elliott, Highland Home High School were among area recipients of the prestigious scholarships. This year’s recipients also include: Claire Aplin, Ashford High School; Stuart Baker, Opp High School; Kaitlyn Bernard, Dale County High School; Morgan Cheatwood, Carroll High School; Victoria Cote, Enterprise High School; Donovan Evins, Greenville High School; Stephen Fischer, Headland High School; Daniah Lawson, Andalusia High School; Mikayla Lipscomb, Russell County High School; Sydny Morrow, Red Level High School; Addison Ralls, Pleasant Home High School; Cameron Stephens, Straughn High School; Chaeli White, Abbeville High School; Katera Williams, Cottonwood High School and Richard Wingate, Eufaula High School.The Southeast Gas Community Service Scholarship is a competitive scholarship available to high school seniors who serve their communities with a sincere intent of making the world a better place. This year’s recipients served in a variety of ways, including coaching youth sports, providing care for homebound senior citizens, tutoring underserved youth, building wheelchair ramps and much more. “Now more than ever, we are seeing first-hand that community matters,” said Southeast Gas President and CEO Greg Henderson. “These students exemplify our vision at Southeast Gas. Service is at the heart of who we are as a company, and now we’re able to help students who also see the benefits of giving back.”last_img read more

first_img View post tag: has View post tag: nuclear Russia Has to Lift Nuclear Subs from Arctic Seas Back to overview,Home naval-today Russia Has to Lift Nuclear Subs from Arctic Seas View post tag: News by topic View post tag: seas To guarantee favorable ecological state of the Barents and the Kara seas, two nuclear submarines – K-27 and B-159 – must be lifted and dismantled as soon as possible, reported RIA Novosti referring to Ivan Kamenskih, Deputy Director of Rosatom state corporation dealing with nuclear energy.“It is vital to make decision on either lifting or complete disposal of two nuclear submarines – B-159 sunken in the Barents Sea in 2003 at the depth of 248 meters, and K-27 sunken in 1989 in Stepanovo Bay, Novaya Zemlya at the depth of 33 meters”, Kamenskih said. This question was brought up at the session of Russia’s Security Council in Naryan-Mar.“I think, this issue should be settled in 2012. Obviously, picking up those subs needs significant financing. But we must be sure that the sea nuclear pollution problem won’t emerge at that region. Presently, radiation background at those sites is normal“, noted the interviewee.As for him, each of those submarines has two reactors with nuclear fuel.“Taking into account lifting experience of SSN Kursk, we are quite capable to perform such operations. Especially as the subs are at relatively shallow depths”, added Kamenskih.“On the other hand, if it is decided to dispose the subs completely, one should determine how to do that”, pointed out the interviewee.“Speaking of SSN Komsomolets sunken in the Norwegian Sea in 1989, the sub will obviously stay there for ever, since she lies at the depth of 1,685 meters”, said deputy director of Rosatom.On Monday Ivan Kamenskih delivered the report “Ecological problems of nuclear power plant utilization in Arctic” at the international Arctic forum arranged by Russian Security Council on board icebreaker Yamal during Arctic cruise from Varandei to Tlksi along the Northern Sea Route.[mappress]Source: rusnavy, August 11, 2011; View post tag: Lift Equipment & technologycenter_img View post tag: Navy View post tag: Naval August 11, 2011 View post tag: Arctic View post tag: Russia View post tag: Subs Share this articlelast_img read more

first_imgForeign Minister Retno Marsudi has expressed condolences over the passing of an Indonesian Military (TNI) soldier with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), or MONUSCO, who died during an attack against the peacekeeping mission.“My deepest condolences on the passing of Sgt. Maj. Rama Wahyudi, an Indonesian peacekeeper with the MONUSCO mission in the DRC,” Retno said in her Twitter post on Tuesday.Duka cita yang mendalam atas berpulangnya Serma Rama Wahyudi, salah satu anggota pasukan perdamaian Indonesia yang bertugas di Misi MONUSCO, Kongo (23/06).— Menteri Luar Negeri Republik Indonesia (@Menlu_RI) June 23, 2020Foreign Ministry Multilateral Affairs Director General Febrian Ruddyard said Rama Wahyudi had died from a gunshot wound. Citing a report from MONUSCO, the ministry said another Indonesian soldier, First Pvt. M. Syafii Makbul, was also injured during the assault and was currently under intensive medical treatment.The attack, which according to the UN peacekeeping mission was carried out by “suspected members” of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) — an armed group in eastern DRC — took place late Monday around 20 kilometers from the city of Beni in the country’s North Kivu province, AFP reported.Retno said the UN Security Council lambasted the attack against MONUSCO and asked the DRC authority to investigate the attack and take the culprit to court.She offered her highest appreciation to the late soldier and sent her thoughts and prayers to his grieving family.”Highest appreciation to Sgt. Maj. Rama Wahyudi for his service and sacrifice in maintaining world peace. May God give fortitude to his family,” said Retno. (aly)Topics :last_img read more

first_img “People said we lost faith in David Moyes. We didn’t. We knew he was trying to build something.” Meanwhile, former United captain Roy Keane has read the riot act on Vidic’s fellow defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, insisting the pair have “gone backwards”. Jones and Smalling were both named in England’s squad for the World Cup but Keane believes they have failed to live up to expectations and time is running out. “We were told two or three years ago Jones was going to be the new Duncan Edwards and Smalling was this and that,” Keane said at the launch of ITV’s World Cup coverage. “I’ve watched United live nine or 10 times this year and they have been none of those things – if anything I think they have gone backwards. “Jones needs to toughen up – he’s playing for Man United. Every time I see him he is getting carried off. “I don’t think they’ll play (for England) on their current form. The two of them have had disappointing seasons.” Keane believes Moyes’ sacking was harsh and says more blame should lie with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who failed to secure several high-profile targets last summer. “Why give Moyes a six-year contract? He had one transfer window and it’s not always down to the manager when players don’t come in,” Keane said. “I think Ed Woodward needs to look at himself. He’s got to get deals done. I think Moyes should have been given more time.” Departing Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic admits “everyone lost belief in the team” during a dismal season – but insists David Moyes was not to blame. Moyes succeeded Sir Alex Ferguson as manager last summer on a six-year contract but was sacked last month, United eventually finishing 22 points behind table-topping Manchester City and failing to qualify for Europe. The last of Vidic’s eight-and-a-half years with the club, ahead of a move this summer to Serie A side Inter Milan, was a disappointing one. Press Association “People end up saying the players are not good enough and we need to buy better ones,” he told BBC Sport. “It was a bad time and the players could have done better. But everyone lost belief in the team.” Moyes’ tactics were often criticised, notably after the 2-2 draw with relegated Fulham when United racked up 81 largely aimless crosses before conceding a stoppage-time equaliser. Vidic told the Daily Telegraph: “I am not saying that the David Moyes way was bad, but these players feel more comfortable playing a certain way. “(He) lost his job because he did not succeed in doing what he wanted to achieve. He was really committed to the job and desperately wanted to do well. But unfortunately, it didn’t happen and we are all sad.” The Serbia international acknowledges strong words were exchanged but denies any were aimed at Moyes. “The players did argue among ourselves,” he told BBC Sport. “But we were arguing to get better. “We never argued with the manager or his assistants. Never. last_img read more

first_imgSANTA CLARA – Running back Matt Breida’s pursuit of a 1,000-yard season appears ready to resume Sunday when the 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks.“As long as everything keeps going the way it has, they gave me the green light and I’ll be ready to go,” Breida said Friday.Inactive last game to rest his season-long ankle injury, Breida was limited in practice all week and is officially listed as questionable.With rain in the forecast, the 49ers (3-10) could rely more on running the ball in their …last_img read more

first_imgSANTA CLARA — Dante Pettis and Deebo Samuel should play leading roles as 49ers wide receivers for years to come. That’s why they went in the second round of the past two drafts. Speaking with them Monday, a different aura exists about their current state.With Pettis, he is “not surprised” he drew coach Kyle Shanahan’s public wrath after Saturday’s exhibition Kansas City, and Pettis acknowledged he must play with “more urgency” and run routes “deliberately with more purpose.”A few lockers down …last_img read more

first_imgThis story is not about Enron and Exxon, but about introns and exons.  The proportions of the scandals they are causing in evolutionary theory, however, may be comparable.    Introns are spacers between genes.  For several decades now, it has been a puzzle why they are there, and why a complex machine called a spliceosome takes them out and joins the active genetic parts – the exons – together. Only eukaryotes have spliceosomes, though; mitochondria have “group II introns” and some mRNAs may have them.  Their presence and numbers in various groups presents a bewildering array of combinations.  Figuring out a phylogenetic tree for introns has eluded evolutionary geneticists, as has understanding their origin and functions (02/18/2005).  Why do genes come in pieces that have to be reassembled?     William Martin and Eugene Koonin said in Nature1 that “The discovery of introns had a broad effect on thoughts about early evolution.”  Some theories have been falsified, and others remain in the running.  Consider the scope of the problems:A current consensus on introns would be that prokaryotes do indeed have group II introns but that they never had spliceosomes; hence, streamlining in the original sense (that is, loss of spliceosomal introns) never occurred in prokaryotes, although it did occur in some eukaryotes such as yeast or microsporidia.  An expansion of that consensus would be that spliceosomes and spliceosomal introns are universal among eukaryotes, that group II introns originating from the mitochondrion are indeed the most likely precursors of eukaryotic mRNA introns and spliceosomal snRNAs, and that many—conceivably most—eukaryotic introns are as old as eukaryotes themselves.  More recent are the insights that there is virtually no evolutionary grade detectable in the origin of the spliceosome, which apparently was present in its (almost) fully fledged state in the common ancestor of eukaryotic lineages studied so far, and that the suspected source of introns—mitochondria, including their anaerobic forms, hydrogenosomes and mitosomes—was also present in the common ancestor of contemporary eukaryotes (the only ones whose origin or attributes require explanation).    This suggests that intron origin and spread occurred within a narrow window of evolutionary time: subsequent to the origin of the mitochondrion, but before the diversification of the major eukaryotic lineages.  This, in turn, indicates the existence of a turbulent phase of genome evolution in the wake of mitochondrial origin, during which group II introns invaded the host’s chromosomes, spread as transposable elements into hundreds—perhaps thousands—of positions that have been conserved to the present, and fragmented into both mRNA introns and snRNA constituents of the spliceosome.This means that a complex molecular machine, the spliceosome (09/17/2004, 09/12/2002), appeared fully formed almost abruptly, and that the intron invasion took place over a short time and has not changed for hundreds of millions of years.  They submitted a new hypothesis:Here we revisit the possible evolutionary significance of introns in light of mitochondrial ubiquity.  We propose that the spread of group II introns and their mutational decay into spliceosomal introns created a strong selective pressure to exclude ribosomes from the vicinity of the chromosomes—thus breaking the prokaryotic paradigm of co-transcriptional translation and forcing nucleus-cytosol compartmentalization, which allowed translation to occur on properly matured mRNAs only.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)But this means that the nucleus, nucleolus and other complex structures also had to appear in a very brief period of time.  It means that the engulfed organism that somehow became mitochondria had to transfer its introns rapidly into a genome lacking a nucleus.  It means the nucleus had to evolve quickly to segregate the new mitochondrial genes from the nuclear genes.  A lot had to happen quickly.  “This bipartite cell would not be an immediate success story: it would have nothing but problems instead,” they admitted, but they believed that natural selection would favor the few that worked out a symbiotic relationship with their new invaders.    This is not the end of the problems.  The group II introns would have had to embed themselves with reverse transcriptase and maturase without activating the host’s defenses, then evolve into spliceosome-dependent introns and remain unchanged forever after.  Then those embedded group II introns would undergo mutational decay, interfering with gene expression.  Will this work without some miracles?A problem of a much more severe nature arises, however, with the mutational decay of group II introns, resulting in inactivation of the maturase and/or RNA structural elements in at least some of the disseminated copies.  Modern examples from prokaryotes and organelles suggest that splicing with the help of maturase and RNA structural elements provided by intact group II introns in trans could have initially rescued gene expression at such loci, although maturase action in trans is much less effective than in cis.  Thus, the decay of the maturase gene in disseminated introns poses a requirement for invention of a new splicing machinery.  However, as discussed below, the transition to spliceosome-dependent splicing will also impose an unforgiving demand for inventions in addition to the spliceosome.A spliceosome is not an easy thing to invent; it has five snRNAs and over 200 proteins, making it one of the most complex molecular machines in the cell.  Not only that, they appeared in primitive eukaryotes and have been largely conserved since.  Perhaps the miracles can be made more believable by dividing them into smaller steps:It seems that the protospliceosome recruited the Sm-domain, possibly to replace the maturase, while retaining group II RNA domains (snRNAs) ancestrally germane to the splicing mechanism.  While the later evolution of the spliceosome entailed diversification with the recruitment of additional proteins—leading to greater efficiency—the simpler, ancestral protospliceosome could, in principle, rescue expression of genes containing degenerate group II introns in a maturase-independent manner, but at the dear cost of speed.Will a lateral pass from maturase to incipient spliceosome during a long field run lead to a touchdown?  If a stumbling protospliceosome could survive, in spite of vastly decreased translation rate, it might have been able to run the distance with natural selection’s encouragement, they think.  Players would be falling left and right in this “extremely unhealthy situation,” they say, and “the prospects of any descendants emerging from this situation are bleak.”  How could the game go on, then?  “The only recognizable mechanism operating in favour of this clumsy chimaera is weakened purifying selection operating on its exceptionally small initial population.”  Purifying selection means weeding out losers, not adding new champions.  “Finding a solution to the new problem of slow spliceosomes in the presence of fast and abundant ribosomes required an evolutionary novelty.”    They winnow down the possibilities.  Getting instant spliceosomes smacks too much of an improbable feat.  Getting rid of spliceosomal introns from DNA apparently did not occur.  Their solution?  The invention of the nucleus, where slow spliceosomes could operate without competition from fast ribosomes.    This adds new miracles, however.  The nucleus has highly complex pores that permit only authenticated molecules into the inner sanctum.  They think, however, that it must have happened, somehow: “Progeny that failed to physically separate mRNA processing from translation would not survive, nor would those that failed to invent pore complexes to allow chromosome-cytosol interaction.”  So pick your miracles: since necessity is the mother of invention, “The invention of the nucleus was mandatory to allow the expression of intron-containing genes in a cell whose ribosomes were faster than its spliceosomes.”    The near-miraculous arrival of the nucleus is underscored by other feats it performs: “In addition to splicing, eukaryotes possess elaborate mRNA surveillance mechanisms, in particular nonsense-mediated decay (NMD), to assure that only correctly processed mature mRNAs are translated, while aberrant mRNAs and those with premature termination codons are degraded.”  How could this originate?  Again, necessity must have driven the invention: “The initial intron invasion would have precipitated a requirement for mechanisms to identify exon junctions and to discriminate exons (with frame) from introns (without frame), as well as properly from improperly spliced transcripts.  Thus, NMD might be a direct evolutionary consequence of newly arisen genes-in-pieces.”  But then, if it is verified that some translation occurs in the nucleus, that would be “difficult to reconcile with our proposal.”    They ended with comparing their hypothesis with others.  “Our suggestion for the origin of the nucleus differs from previous views on the topic,” they boasted, “which either posit that the nuclear membrane was beneficial to (not mandatory for) its inventor by protecting chromosomes from shearing at division, or offer no plausible selective mechanism at all.”  At least theirs is simpler and includes some requirements to select for the cells with the best inventors – or the ones with the luckiest miracles.1Martin and Koonin, “Hypothesis: Introns and the origin of nucleus-cytosol compartmentalization,” Nature 440, 41-45 (2 March 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature04531.Was any of this storytelling useful?  The shenanigans they pulled, couched in biochemical jargon, can be summarized by two principles in their own imaginations: (1) since the cell needed these superbly-crafted machines, it had to invent them somehow, and (2) since evolution is a fact, it had to happen somehow.  Do you catch any hint of a mechanism for actually inventing a 200-protein supermachine that would actually work?  Did you find any hint that any cell any time had a “protospliceosome” that only worked half-way?  All this was pure fiction built on childlike faith in evolution.    Presenting a hypothesis in science is fine, but how would they ever test something like this?  They offered a few tests that could discriminate between their just-so story and other just-so stories, but nothing that could explain how a spliceosome, or a nuclear membrane with its elaborate pore complexes, or nonsense-mediated decay could have been invented from scratch just because a cell needed these things.    Would that evolutionists would get off this storytelling kick and do something useful with their lives.  Let’s find a cure for cancer.  Let’s find better sources of energy, and think of ways to reduce risks of disease and terrorism, and use science to improve our lives and our world.  Stringing together uncooperative data into a fictional account of prehistory will accomplish nothing and is wasting time and money in a world desperately in need of the productive possibilities of true science.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgShare with your Friends:More Cache In Trash Out WeekendWe hear it all the time, “Geocachers are the nicest people!” It’s a wonderful compliment that good-hearted geocachers have earned for over a decade. Cache In Trash Out (CITO) weekend is just another example of geocachers giving back. Since 2002, tens of thousands of geocachers have cleaned up parks, trails and other geocaching-friendly destinations. Geocachers plan CITO events year round, but one weekend each year the global geocaching community unites to cleanup tons of trash together.CITO Event in TexasThe 11th Annual CITO weekend is scheduled for April 20, 21, and 22 2013. There will be hundreds of events to attend in dozens of countries, but if there’s not one in your area, it’s time to gather your friends and create your own CITO Event. Be sure to check the CITO Event calendar for gatherings near you.Those attending CITO Events on April 20, 21 or 22 (or all three!) will earn a 2013 CITO Souvenir for their Geocaching profile. Thanks for keeping the geocaching a community one of the nicest groups of people out there![Editor’s note: This video is spoken in German and Czech. Click the CC button for English, German or Czech subtitles.][vsw id=”HOqobTmkbbU” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”] SharePrint RelatedWill You CITO?March 24, 2013In “Cache In Trash Out”CITO 2013 – It Takes a VillageApril 22, 2013In “Cache In Trash Out”Join a Worldwide Geocaching MovementApril 8, 2013In “Cache In Trash Out”last_img read more

first_imgRelated Posts 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Tags:#gaming#Kickstarter 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutcenter_img 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App nick statt Ouya, the $99 Android game console that racked up more than $8.5 million in Kickstarter funding last August, will finally begin shipping to backers next month. The big date: March 28, according to CEO Julie Uhrman in a Kickstarter update this morning. A full launch in retail stores is still set for June.(See also: From Kickstarter to Target: Indie Ouya Gets Major Retail Partners)Uhrman acknowledged up front that units will ship in staggered fashion over a number of weeks, given that production is still ramping up and the company has a large number of orders to fill. She did tell the project’s backers to expect a tracking number with an arrival estimate via email.Ouya’s Confirmed GamesUhrman also announced a string of confirmed games for the console, expanding on a once-ambiguous set of titles that had many skeptical that Ouya could live up to its goal of revolutionizing the game industry.(See also: Can Ouya Challenge Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo?)Newly announced games include an exclusive title from Kim Swift (of Portal and Left 4 Dead fame) and Airtight Games, a port of developer Minority Media’s Papa & Yo, The Ball from Tripwire Interactive (maker of The Killing Floor), and a console version of the PC role-playing title ChronoBlade.Uhmran also announced the winners of Ouya’s 10-day game jam contest, co-sponsored with Kill Screen:CREATE Grand Prize: Strange Happenings on Murder Island (Free Lives)Most Surprising: Television (Laboratory Games LLC)Four Bright Buttons and Two Sticks: Bombball (E McNeill)Most Immersive: Whispering Willows (Night Light Interactive)Pop Your Eyes Out: Pipnis (Santa Ragione)Best Couch with Friends Games: 2D Cube Zombie Platformer (Molinware)Best Game Created Using Unity Engine: Stikbold (Team Stikbold)Ouya, of course, still has a long way to go before it becomes a console gamers can rely on. Uhrman is quite aware of all that:You will also get to watch Ouya evolve over the coming weeks and months. We’ll continue to add new features, refine our user experience, and bring on more games. As always, we appreciate your feedback (and apply it), so keep it coming.last_img read more

natesilver: I guess I’m saying a team like Toronto that is quick (at least with certain lineups) and can switch a lot, maybe they can contest that Lopez 3.Or get a few steals when the Bucks telegraph their intentions too much.tchow: Nikola Mirotic also may be back in time for Game 1. So yeah, the Bucks will have shooters.neil: And for what it’s worth (maybe something?), Milwaukee beat Toronto in three of their four regular season matchups. Those games were also before all the little upgrades Milwaukee made around the trade deadline. But we’ll have to see how the Bucks look at full strength and if they and the Raptors can even make it all the way to the Conference Finals to face each other.Let’s move on to the West, where — here’s a surprise — the Golden State Warriors are the No. 1 seed, for the fourth time in five years. Our model currently gives the Warriors a commanding 78 percent chance of winning the conference (and a 60 percent chance of winning the NBA title). On the one hand, that is amazingly high, but does it sound right to you guys?natesilver: The West playoffs feel a lot less climactic to me now that the Rockets wound up on the same side of the bracket as Golden State.chris.herring: It sounds about right to me. The one side of the West bracket is the equivalent of Michigan State and Duke being in the same region.natesilver: Utah is also a pretty rough first-round matchup for Houston. Rudy Gobert is going to make it much harder for James Harden to get to the rim.neil: Well, Chris, we were talking the other day this idea that the Rockets may have actually wanted the No. 4 seed so that they’d face the Warriors sooner. Can you explain a little about what you meant there?chris.herring: I fully believe the Rockets may be happy with this setup. At this point, they’re probably of the opinion that they can beat anyone other than GSW (and maybe them, too).Utah isn’t a pushover at all. It’s kind of an amazing first-round matchup that, in most years would be at least a second-round matchup, and in a post-Warriors universe, maybe even a conference finals.But that said, Houston beat Utah last year. And they did it by neutralizing what the Jazz do best: Take away threes and the rim. They forced the Rockets to take midrange shots, which they basically view as evil. But the Rockets did that — Chris Paul is a midrange specialist and went off for 40 points one game — and were able to win. So if the Rockets can get by Utah again, having the Warriors in round 2 instead of the Western Conference finals might be beneficial. Just so Paul and Harden aren’t exhausted or injured like they were by round 3 last season, when they played the Warriors.natesilver: Yeah, I think Chris Paul is key in that series. Utah’s pretty optimally designed to curb Harden as much as you can curb him, but CP3 is a big problem for them.natesilver: Overall, though, I think if I’m Houston, I’d rather have a hope-and-a-prayer that someone else knocks Golden State out before they reach the finals. Or that someone on the Warriors gets hurt.chris.herring: Yeah. They’d never admit it out loud, but the potential theory that they want GSW early is fascinating to me. If your line of thought is that you’re almost certainly gonna have to go through them anyway, might as well do it before you’re too spent to have a chance.neil: Right, because fatigue seemed like a big issue for them by the Western Conference finals last year.chris.herring: Golden State doesn’t fear anyone, but I think they would privately acknowledge that they see Houston as the only team that, in optimal circumstances, could beat themnatesilver: It could make the Western Conference finals pretty boring though. Our model says there’s a 93 percent chance the Warriors win the WCF (!) conditional on reaching them.chris.herring: Yeah. That’s why I keep saying the semifinals are gonna be the best round this year. Especially if Houston-Golden State is the matchup, along with those East series.tchow: Hey kudos to Oklahoma City for avoiding Golden State AND Denver AND Houston. Actually, OKC vs. Portland is the only series in the entire playoffs where the lower seed is favored according to our model. We give the Thunder a 78 percent chance of advancing.natesilver: OKC and Denver saw their championship odds improve when Houston wound up in the No. 4 seed, and it’s mostly because of the parlay that Houston beats Golden State (possible) and then THEY beat Houston (also possible). I’m not sure that Denver would have any chance against Golden State in a seven-game series, however.chris.herring: I feel bad that I don’t believe in Denver, given how well they played all year, with injuries, and with so many young guys on that roster.neil: Is Denver the weirdest No. 2 seed we’ve seen in recent memory? They didn’t even make the playoffs last year, albeit with 46 wins.chris.herring: Also, every single time Denver plays Golden State, it feels very much like GSW goes out of its way to show how easily they can dominate the Nuggets when they want to. Basically to show that a playoff series could get embarrassing if Golden State felt like imposing its will.natesilver: The Nuggets benefited a lot from their depth in the regular season — that’s why they battled so well through injuries — but depth doesn’t mean much in the playoffs.chris.herring: Their relative inexperience in the playoffs concerns me maybe more than it should.natesilver: It’s a pretty weird roster, and I think the Nuggets have some offseason work to do to turn a couple of their many, many league-average players into another really good player, especially someone who can play out on the wing.chris.herring: Part of me feels like they simply may not have another gear. Almost like those Tom Thibodeau teams. Because they’re young, perhaps they don’t know to pace themselves. And how could they? They missed the playoffs in the final game of the season last year.But the fact that Golden State just runs them out of the building whenever they play very much feels like an experienced team versus one that isn’t and needs some playoff seasoning so that they’re ready for the next time.neil: They feel destined to become another poster child for the difference between what wins in the regular season and the playoffs, for all the reasons you guys mentioned. But at least they do have a legit star in Nikola Jokic.natesilver: Denver does have a pretty big home-court advantage because of the altitude. So that they got the No. 2 seed is actually pretty relevant.chris.herring: That’s true. I at least like that they aren’t reliant on the altitude anymore to win games. (Although those teams that played at a breakneck pace under George Karl — and Doug Moe before that — were pretty fun to watch.)neil: Good point. They were an NBA-best 34-7 at home this season, and they are in that relatively lesser bottom section of the bracket.natesilver: I mean, we have the Nuggets with a 53 percent chance of reaching the Western Conference finals … and a 6 percent chance of reaching the NBA Finals. That tells you a lot right there.chris.herring: What else are you all interested to see in the West? Any hope whatsoever for Portland, despite the injury to Jusuf Nurkic?neil: Portland is another team with a lot to prove after that unexpected first-round sweep vs. the Pelicans (remember THEM?) last year. But OKC is a very tough draw.chris.herring: Portland got swept this year by OKC. Our projection model is right to not trust them. And Nurkic not being there is a killer. They had put together a really, really nice run before his injury, and perhaps could have made things interesting.tchow: I really feel for Portland fans. So many “what ifs” due to injury, and they always seem to happen when it looks like they’re on the cusp of putting it all together.natesilver: Pretty unusual to have a No. 6 seed be better than a 3 to 1 favorite (OKC is 78 percent to win the series, according to our model), but I think I agree, too.chris.herring: Yeah. There’s isn’t much to love about Portland’s chancesnatesilver: The Thunder are also the team that I’d fear the most if I were Golden State after Houston.chris.herring: Damian Lillard went nuts during the regular season against the Thunder. Had a 50-point game and averaged better than 30 a night against them, yet they dropped all four meetings.tchow: Is CJ McCollum going to be back for this first round?chris.herring: Yeah. McCollum is back. But he had a true shooting percentage of 46 against OKC, his worst mark of any opponent out West that he played at least three times.natesilver: Tenacious defense + Paul George (especially if he can get back to his midseason form) is a formula that gives you a puncher’s chance against any opponent.chris.herring: I don’t trust OKC yet. Some of that is Russell Westbrook’s tendencies being all over the place at times. Some of it is George not having played the way he was playing earlier in the year (still not sure his shoulder is completely right at times).Their defense, which is one of the best in the league, has been merely average since the break. They don’t have enough shooting. But their top-level talent is better than anybody else’s, outside of Houston and GSW. And that ultimately matters. And their side of the bracket is amazing.natesilver: Jerami Grant shot 39 percent from three this year, although that’s likely a fluke (he’s 33 percent careerwise).chris.herring: He’s been a big bright spot for them.natesilver: If they had another wing that was a true 39-40 percent 3-point shooter, that would make a ton of difference.neil: OK, so to wrap things up, let’s look at the big picture for the title as it runs through Golden State (like always). If we each had to put together a short list of teams — from either conference — who could beat the Warriors in these playoffs, how many teams would be on it and who are they?Mine might be two: Rockets and Bucks.natesilver: Our algorithm feels strongly that the list is EXACTLY three teams long: Milwaukee, Toronto and Houston.tchow: Bucksnatesilver: I guess people — or Neil and Tony, anyway — have trouble envisioning the Raptors doing it.tchow: Sorry, Toronto.natesilver: And to be clear, the Raptors would be big underdogs. Like 3:1 underdogs, per our model, despite having home-court advantage.tchow: Another way to ask that question, Nate, as a fan of gambling, Warriors have a 60 percent chance of winning another title. Would you bet on the field?natesilver: No. I think that’s a pretty fair price. And it’s pretty close to the Vegas odds, I think.chris.herring: Yeah. I feel much better about Milwaukee, just based off their season, analytics and star power than anyone else. But I don’t think Toronto would match up poorly at all with Golden State. They’d have guys who could credibly guard Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and have enough offense of their own to make things interesting.Boston seemed like a good bet to get there in preseason, but I don’t trust them to accomplish that without Smart being healthy., a And without them putting together a solid string of performances, I still ultimately think it’s the Warriors winning it all again. But I hope someone at least gives them a competitive series, be it Houston, Milwaukee (Toronto?) or both.tchow: That’s all folks! neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Now that every NBA team has played Game 82 of the regular season, we can finally get to the real business at hand: The playoffs. Let’s start with the Eastern Conference, where the Milwaukee Bucks earned the franchise’s first top seed since the league adopted the 16-team playoff format in 1984.What do we think about the big picture in the East? The No. 1 Bucks and No. 2 Raptors were the most dominant during the regular season, but seeds 3 and 4 (Philadelphia and Boston) have as much talent as anybody in the conference on paper. Who do you think should have the edge and why?natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): I’m going to go ahead and agree with our algorithm that there’s a big gap between the top two (Milwaukee and Toronto) and No. 3 and 4 (Philly and Boston). Milwaukee and Toronto were a LOT better in the regular season. I agree that Philly might have as much talent on paper, but they didn’t really get it together. I’m not sure you can say that about Boston, especially with Marcus Smart out.chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): Yeah. I spent some time around the Sixers over the past week, and Brett Brown admits what Nate just said: That the Sixers have an enormous amount of talent on paper, but he almost would’ve preferred to have less rest if it meant having more cohesion with that group.The Marcus Smart injury could end up being really problematic for the Celtics for a couple reasons, too — we don’t know exactly how much time he’ll miss, but it could even be a bad sign in this series vs. Indiana.Smart would have been the guy guarding Bojan Bogdanovic, who’s essentially taken over as the Pacers’ top gun since Victor Oladipo went down with injury.Bogdanovic struggled against Smart all season, and his worst numbers of the year were against Boston because of it. But now, I assume they’ll go to Jaylen Brown to defend him, and that hasn’t worked well at all in those instances.tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): Our predictions give the Celtics a 79 percent chance to advance. Even with the Oladipo injury for the Pacers, that still seems … high?chris.herring: Probably a little high, yeah. Especially now, without Smart.natesilver: I mean, I think people tend to underestimate how little luck there is in a seven-game series. The better team tends to win out, especially if it has home-court advantage.chris.herring: I tend to think the Pacers are The Little Engine That Could. They play very hard … but that will probably only get them so far.natesilver: For what it’s worth, our algorithm is giving Boston some credit for being more talented “on paper” than they played like during the regular season. Jayson Tatum is probably a better player going forward than what he showed this season, for instance. Gordon Hayward is obviously in a different category, but maybe him, too. Boston also had the point differential that you’d associate with a 52-win team instead of a 49-win team, which is not huge, but it’s something.chris.herring: Yeah. Hayward has come on really nicely as of late, including a 9-of-9 game vs. Indiana last week. If he’s getting back to his old self, it could be tough for Indiana.natesilver: It does seem, though, that it’s a team with only one real star-level talent right now, and Kyrie Irving seems pretty checked out. That’s subjective, I know, but they have a pretty big hill to climb — having to win three road series against three VERY good teams (likely Milwaukee, Toronto and Golden State, in that order) even if they get past Indiana.chris.herring: I’ll be honest: I’m not very amped about the East’s first round at all. But that second round will probably be eons better than the West’s conference final.neil: Yeah, it sounds from this like Boston-Indiana is the first-round series that has caught your attention the most. But that might be by default.chris.herring: I think Philly-Brooklyn could be somewhat interesting. It doesn’t sound like an absolute given that Joel Embiid will play Game 1. The Nets are essentially playing with house money, and though they’ve struggled as of late, they had a harder end-of-season schedule than the other teams fighting their way into the playoffs.natesilver: The Nets are kind of a buzzy team. But Philly, maybe in contrast to a Marcus Smart-less Boston, has enough talent that maybe they can be slightly subpar and still win fairly easily.chris.herring: Yeah. I don’t expect much from Brooklyn, but I could see them making things interesting because of the limited time the Sixers have had together. Other than that — and some slight interest in how Boston looks without Smart/what it means for Indiana — I wish I could just simulate the East’s first round like a video game or somethingneil: Haha. Let’s just play it out in NBA 2K.chris.herring: Maybe that isn’t fair to Orlando, though. They’ve been good for a decent amount of time now.neil: They’ve been on fire (11-2) since mid-March.chris.herring: I just feel like it ultimately won’t matter against a club like Toronto.natesilver: I also think Philly has more flip-the-switch potential than Boston. Maybe Jimmy Butler accepts his role as what’s essentially a third fiddle on offense and plays dominant defense and starts hitting 3s again. Maybe they treat the playoffs as a fun eight-week road trip instead of worrying too much about how the team is constructed in the future.tchow: Just tell me what needs to happen to get Sixers vs. Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals.neil: Well, the Raptors would have to lose in the second round AGAIN. How soul crushing would that be for that franchise? This was sorta supposed to be their year after LeBron left the East. (Especially after adding Kawhi Leonard.)chris.herring: I don’t know how I feel yet about the Sixers-Raptors series, assuming it happens. But I think the Bucks should be favored against everyone, honestly. I think everybody has downplayed them, even as they’ve had this unbelievable season, with the likely MVP and coach of the year.natesilver: The Raptors somehow won 58 games with Kawhi only playing 60. That’s seriously impressive.chris.herring: I don’t know if it’s a small-market thing. Or if it’s just that people seem to be a year late on everything. It is impressive!At the same time, they won 59 last year without him. So I’m more impressed by the Bucks essentially having the same cast and transforming into what they are now. I don’t know. Maybe it’s simply Milwaukee’s newness that I’m taken by.neil: Are we also maybe holding Toronto’s playoff track record against them? (Even if it’s a relatively new version of that team this season?)chris.herring: Nah. I’m not. Kawhi is such a different player than DeMar DeRozan, who had a game that didn’t translate all that well to postseason. Also, Pascal Siakam has improved by leaps and bounds. You could ignore him before on defense, and now that’s tantamount to having a death wish.natesilver: They also have one of the two real stars in the East that’s won a ring before (Kawhi, with Kyrie being the other). Which I know sounds like boilerplate sports radio talk, but our research has found that playoff experience is actually fairly predictive.chris.herring: I think Toronto fans have wanted to believe their team was different for a couple years now. Almost like that “Shawshank Redemption” scene where Red keeps going to the parole hearing and saying he’s a changed man, ready to rejoin society. But this time, the Raptors are different. Kawhi alone would have made them that way, but Siakam is a different player. As is Lowry, who hasn’t quite looked himself at all times. But has the experience, and has a better roster around him.natesilver: Our algorithm also thinks that all six of their top rotation guys are above-average defensively. So that’s likely to keep them in every game unless they get mentally checked out.Which, I don’t know. I wouldn’t totally rule out the possibility that they take a rough loss in a Game 1 or 2 somewhere and start panicking, and Kawhi starts thinking about how nice the Clippers could look next year with him in L.A.But on balance, I think I’m on the side that says people are reading too much into the Raptors’ past playoff failures. It’s a different team this year, and there’s no LeBron.chris.herring: Like the Munchkins when they realize the Wicked Witch is dead. Why do I keep using these movie references? What is wrong with me?neil: LOL.tchow: As of right now though, our model actually favors Toronto (slightly) over the Bucks to make the Finals (46 percent vs. 42 percent). Toronto fans have to be happy to see that.neil: Do you guys agree?natesilver: Yeah, that surprised me a bit. But Toronto has more playoff experience and Milwaukee has some injury issues.tchow: I guess it’ll go a long way in the “playoff experience” argument to see how far a team like the Bucks go this year after that seven-game series last season against Boston. I have a hard time betting against them in the East though.natesilver: On the flip side, Giannis Antetokounmpo is presumably going to start playing 37-38 minutes a game now after only playing 32.8 minutes in the regular season. That actually makes a pretty big difference.chris.herring: That surprises me, but only a little. Their records aren’t that far off. The Raptors have played Kawhi a lot fewer games than Giannis.What I do think will be key at some point, which we haven’t talked about yet, is the Bucks’ need to get back to full strength. They’ve been without Malcolm Brogdon, and Tony Snell has missed time, too. It doesn’t matter in a round 1 matchup. But it comes into play in a very big way in the following two rounds, should they get that far.natesilver: I do wonder if Milwaukee’s whole floor spacing thing will work slightly less well in the playoffs. If you can contain Giannis — obviously not at all easy — there really isn’t a second iso-ball scorer on the whole roster. Maybe Eric Bledsoe, I guess.chris.herring: I just don’t know how it’s donenatesilver: Containing Giannis you mean?chris.herring: Before, there wasn’t much trust or belief. But now, you kind of either have to help in the paint against him, or leave open someone like Brook Lopez, who will gladly shoot a triple.There were screenshots last postseason of four Celtics standing in the paint at one time to stop him, because Milwaukee wasn’t trained to score outside of his drives to the basket.Now, even Giannis will pull 3s every now and then, just to keep defenses honest. Bledsoe’s had a nice year. Lopez is there, but wasn’t before. read more