Red Sox become 1st team in majors to clinch playoff spot
By DOUG ALDEN
Wednesday, September 12
BOSTON (AP) — The Red Sox became the first team in the major leagues to clinch a playoff berth and did not celebrate.
“Any time you make the playoffs and give yourself a chance to be that last team, it’s a pretty special thing,” Brock Holt said. “We’re excited by that, but we’ve got more work to do.”
Holt pinch hit in the seventh inning and hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night that guaranteed Boston no worse than a wild card berth.
At a major league-best 99-46, the Red Sox lead the AL East by nine games with 2½ weeks left. Their postgame celebration was lining up for routine high-fives and heading back to the clubhouse.
“We’re in great position to win the division and then to accomplish other things,” first-year manager Alex Cora said. “As I told the group, I’m very proud of them.”
Starter Chris Sale came off the disabled list and pitched one scoreless inning, striking out two and throwing 26 pitches. Sale has been slowed by inflammation in his left shoulder, and the Red Sox had said they would ease their ace back into action.
“We’re taking care of the guy,” Cora said.
Boston assured its third straight postseason team, matching the Red Sox teams of 2003-05 and 2007-09.
Ryan Brasier (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings as Boston used seven relievers.
Toronto led 2-0 in the seventh, when Steve Pearce hit a tying triple and Holt followed with a two-out home run off Ryan Tepera (5-5).
Kevin Pillar had an RBI single for Toronto during a two-run sixth, when Devon Travis scored the game’s first run on a double-steal and botched defensive play by the Red Sox.
Toronto starter Ryan Boruki, who allowed seven runs and eight hits July 13 at Fenway Park, held an opponent to two runs or fewer in at least six innings for the third time in four starts.
“He was tremendous today,” manager John Gibbons said. “He’s done a tremendous job for a rookie call-up.”
Sale continued tossing in the bullpen after he was pulled, trying to rebuild his arm strength for the postseason. He was hoping to get a second inning, but Cora said it didn’t make sense because the Red Sox weren’t going to let him throw more than 40 pitches.
“This is the first step in the right direction,” Sale said, crediting the Red Sox medical staff. “There was a lot of work by a lot of people that went into this.”
Holt also homered as a pinch hitter on Aug. 13 at Philadelphia.
“I guess I would rather be in there from the start than to come in and pinch-hit,” Holt said, “but if I keep on hitting homers then I’ll take it.”
Blue Jays: RF Randal Grichuk was back in the lineup, two days after he crashed face-first into a guard’s metal chair. Concussion tests were negative on Grichuk, who was left with a bloody nose, swollen left eye socket and a few facial cuts. … Pillar ran face-first into the center field wall chasing Pearce’s triple. Pillar needed a few minutes to get back to his feet, but stayed in the game.
Red Sox: Sale made his first start since Aug. 12 and threw 26 pitches. After a leadoff double by Lourdes Gurriel, he struck out two, then walked a batter before Grichuck popped out to end the inning.
RHP Aaron Sanchez (4-5, 5.17 ERA) faces Boston LHP David Price (14-6, 3.57).
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September 12, 2018
Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science to Study Opioid Field Test Method
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Bowling Green State University President Rodney K. Rogers, Ph.D. announced today that the Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science at Bowling Green State University is part of a team that will conduct a study that could help Ohio authorities safely, quickly, and reliably field test drugs for the presence of opioids.
The Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science (the Center) and Vuronyx Technologies are part of a partnership that today received a $200,000 grant as part of the Ohio Third Frontier’s Opioid Technology Challenge, an effort to find technology-based solutions to address or improve opioid abuse prevention, treatment, and overdose avoidance and response.
The grant funds will be used to develop small, portable paper test cards that could be used by first responders, law enforcement agencies, medical professionals, and crime scene investigators in the field to quickly detect opioids and cutting agents in drug samples. The Center will conduct a study to validate the results of the test cards using control substance standards alone and in the presence of cutting agents at various concentrations.
“Right now, we discourage local agencies from field testing drugs because opioids are just so dangerous, but we are excited about the prospect of helping to develop this new technology,” said Attorney General DeWine. “The goal is to help local authorities quickly determine what type of drugs they’ve encountered while limiting the chance for an accidental exposure.”
“As a public University, we’re committed to helping address the critical societal issues facing the state,” said President Rogers. “This is a great example of the real-world, applicable research the center is doing to aid law enforcement.”
“We welcome this opportunity to partner with Vuronyx to develop this rapid opioid detection technology,” added Dr. Jon Sprague, Director of the Center.
Delacroix at the Met: A retrospective that evokes today’s turmoil
September 14, 2018
Claire Black McCoy
Professor of Art History, Columbus State University
Claire Black McCoy does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
I’m an art historian and professor who studies and teaches French Romantic art. So when I was in France this past summer, I made sure to see the Louvre’s retrospective exhibition of French Romantic painter Eugène Delacroix.
In the galleries, I listened in on the other viewers discussing his paintings. Yes, they talked about their beauty and vibrant colors. But they also spoke of the images they depicted – scenes of tyranny and political upheaval, of resistance, chaos and refugees. They may just as well have been speaking of our present moment.
Now the Delacroix exhibition is coming to the United States. It opens Sept. 17, at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and will run through Jan. 6, 2019.
The exhibition will have a special resonance for those trying to make sense of the uncertainties and challenges we face today.
If you only know Delacroix from his iconic 1830 work “Liberty Leading the People” – in which a symbolic woman representing liberty celebrates the three glorious days of the Revolution of 1830 – you might think he was a political revolutionary. He was not.
Instead, the artist was a conservative man facing what he called “the century of unbelievable things.” During his lifetime, he experienced war, two revolutions on his doorstep and encounters with Islamic cultures that challenged and entranced him. The exhibition shows us a man trying to comprehend what is happening to his world.
A star is born
Born in 1798, Delacroix was a privileged child of the Napoleonic age. As a young student, he honed his skills by drawing in schoolbooks and sketchbooks.
But by the time Delacroix was 16 years old, both of his parents had died, and the family’s money dried up. Delacroix, realizing he would have to rely on his painting to make a living, enrolled in the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris while also studying in the studio of Pierre Guerin, where he befriended influential painter Theodore Gericault.
He was considered an early leader of the new Romantic style, an approach to painting that expressed passions through dramatic colors and loose, fluid brushstrokes.
While today he’s known as “the great Romantic,” Delacroix rejected that title. Instead, he styled himself as a painter who continued the glorious Classic tradition of French art; in his work, he often depicted Classical and historical subjects that were the bedrock of that approach.
He made his debut in the Paris Salon exhibition with the dramatic 1822 work “Barque of Dante,” an image of Dante and Virgil crossing into Hell that earned him widespread praise.
But Delacroix’s paintings of the Greek War of Independence – an early 1820s conflict between the Greeks and their Ottoman occupiers – catapulted him to fame.
Delacroix, like many in his circle, supported the Greeks in their struggle against the oppressive Ottoman Empire. While “The Massacre at Chios” (1824), dedicated to the brutal deaths of the Greeks on that island, will remain at the Louvre, the celebrated “Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi” (1826), an image of tragic defeat, travels to the New York exhibition. Delacroix began the painting shortly after the citizens of Missolonghi attempted to liberate their city only to be massacred by the Ottoman Turks in 1825.
In “Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi,” Delacroix embodied Greece as a single allegorical figure. Pale-skinned and clothed in traditional garments of white and blue – with her body lowered on one knee upon the fallen marble blocks – she recalls the Virgin Mary. Shrouded in darkness behind her, there’s a Turk – dark-skinned, turbaned and dressed in menacing hues of red.
At this point in his life, Delacroix had never traveled to the Ottoman Empire or anywhere else in the Islamic world; he only knew of it from the stories, objects and images he encountered in Paris. People in his circle wrote about the Oriental world of the Turks and North Africa as “the other,” at best, and barbaric at worst. In the painter’s hands, the Islamic world is cast as the infidel, while Christian Greece is represented with the imagery of the Virgin. It is a classic clash of West and East, liberty and oppression.
In Europe and America today, these old conflicts are playing out again with similar language and imagery being deployed. This binary relationship runs so deep in Western culture that it seems like a permanent fixture of our politics.
An artist broadens his horizon
In Delacroix’s art that simple binary never quite applied. Instead of seeing a border between the two worlds, it was as if he wanted to slip between them time and again. Though he was on the side of the Greeks two centuries ago, he was also fascinated by the glamour and violence he associated with the Islamic world.
In 1832, Delacroix, who seldom traveled, embarked for North Africa as part of a diplomatic mission to Algeria and Morocco. The voyage came about purely by chance when the ambassador, Count Charles de Mornay, sought a diverting traveling companion and artist to accompany him on the mission. Delacroix left within a month of receiving the invitation for the voyage.
The lure of the exotic Islamic world that Delacroix only knew through paintings and drawings was too much to resist. It changed the man and his art.
Little prepared him for North Africa and the beauty he found there. To Delacroix, all was soft and liquid in the light.
“I am dizzy,” he wrote his friend Pierret. “I am like a man who is dreaming.”
The artist’s small sketchbooks from North Africa, which will be featured in the Met exhibition, offer an intimate glimpse of the scenes and people that captivated him. He would return to these subjects repeatedly throughout his career.
A star of the New York exhibition, “The Women of Algiers in Their Apartment” (1834), brings viewers into Delacroix’s North African world. Years later, the journalist Phillipe Burty reported in his magazine article “Eugene Delacroix a Algers” that Delacroix had received permission to enter the private women’s quarter of an Algerian home with the help of an Algerian acquaintance. Even male family members needed permission to enter the “harem,” so Delacroix’s access would have been an extraordinary event.
The story may or may not be true, especially since Delacroix painted the piece in his Paris studio. Working from sketches, memory and Parisian models wearing the clothing he brought back from Algeria, Delacroix created what art historian Linda Nochlin once called an “imaginary Orient” – a world that may meld truth with fiction, but reveals much about its author.
Like many of us, Delacroix didn’t spend every moment obsessed with politics and conflict. He lived a rich life, and the exhibition shows the full scope of his work. His famous journal reveals a man about town, who immersed himself in literature and life. From the 1830s, the Met exhibition brings us paintings as varied as “Young Tiger Playing with Its Mother” (1830) and “Medea About to Kill Her Children” (1838).
During the Revolution of 1848, instead of creating a new “Liberty Leading the People,” the moderate Delacroix produced the vibrant “Basket of Flowers” (1848–49).
In focusing on natural beauty, it would seem as though the political warfare roiling the streets of Paris was the last thing on Delacroix’s mind.
Delcroix’s most famous paintings, like “Greece on the Ruins of Missolonghi” and “Liberty Leading the People,” arose out of the turmoil of the 19th century and evoke the uncertainties of our present day.
But “Basket of Flowers” may also say something important about finding beauty and equilibrium in the midst of chaos.
Ground-level ozone continues to damage health, even at low levels
September 14, 2018
Jamie T. Mullins
Assistant Professor of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jamie T. Mullins received funding from The Property and Environment Research Center.
University of Massachusetts Amherst provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Ground-level ozone is one of six major pollutants regulated nationally under the Clean Air Act. It is not directly emitted, but instead forms in the atmosphere through reactions between other pollutants from cars, power plants and industrial sources. Breathing ozone irritates the airways and can worsen respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
Regulation has reduced ozone levels across the United States over the past four decades, but exposure to ambient ozone still negatively impacts our health, well-being and productivity. In a recent article published in the journal Health Economics, I found that harm from ozone extends well beyond the high exposure levels and sensitive groups that have traditionally been studied. In fact, I identify negative effects of ozone exposure on the performances of intercollegiate track and field athletes under the relatively clean conditions common in the United States today.
These findings suggest that ozone exposure may be imposing harm on people even when they don’t end up in the hospital, and that much of the U.S. public may still regularly suffer some degree of negative impact from ozone exposure.
Hazardous even at low levels
Health researchers have long known that exposure to high levels of ozone is associated with acute negative health outcomes. These include premature death, compromised lung function and cardiovascular issues.
More recent studies have found evidence that ozone also has negative effects at lower exposure levels. For instance, ozone exposures below regulated levels have been shown to contribute to premature deaths and reduce productivity among outdoor agricultural workers. It is also important to note that ozone exposure affects people’s health by inflaming their airways even when functional effects are not measurable.
Ground-level ozone is formed by complex interactions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. As a result, ozone levels tend to be highest in summer months. My results are based on outdoor NCAA and NAIA track and field competitions which are held across the contiguous United States during the spring, when ozone levels tend to be below annual maximums.
Across the approximately 1,700 outdoor track and field meets that I analyzed, the average daily ozone concentration was only 33.47 parts per billion, which is well below ambient ozone levels regulated anywhere in the world. For instance, the current eight-hour average National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone in the United States is 70 parts per billion, and the current World Health Organization guideline is approximately 51 parts per billion.
But even at the low ozone levels in my study, and among a young and fit population of college athletes, I found consistent evidence that ozone had negative impacts on competitors in endurance events such as the 800 meter run, 3,000 meter steeplechase and 5,000 meter run.
Higher ozone levels, slower race times
Through the analysis of almost 700,000 competition outcomes in 277 different locations over nearly a decade (2005-2013) across the United States, I found that for every 10 parts per billion increase in ambient ozone levels, athlete performance was degraded by 0.4 percent across endurance events. This effect represents more than five percent of the average margin of victory in these races, and suggests that there was a 1.5 percent difference in average athletic performance between the 5th and 95th percentile ozone days in the data.
For a concrete example, consider performances in the 5,000 meter run event. The mean finishing time for men competing in this event was 15 minutes 54.7 seconds. But at meets with average ozone levels above 50 parts per billion, the mean finishing time was 16 minutes 26.0 seconds. The comparable times for women were 19 minutes 5.7 seconds across all ozone levels versus 19 minutes 58.5 seconds at the higher levels.
I found these negative impacts of ozone were larger for longer events in which athletes competed over more extended periods. However, I did not find larger effects for athletes who competed in multiple events. Nor did I observe effects in events which do not heavily tax aerobic capacity.
Ozone in the stratosphere protects life on Earth from ultraviolet radiation, but at ground level it’s a toxic pollutant.
This makes sense because ozone exposure harms the airways and lungs, which are critical to performance in endurance events. They are less important in sprint events, in which muscles can rely primarily on stored energy reserves, or strength events such as the long jump or shot put, which test a single maximum exertion. While athletes in non-endurance events are undoubtedly harmed by ozone exposure, competitive outcomes in such events did not prove useful for studying the damage.
My findings point to risks for anyone spending time outdoors at current ozone levels. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly half of all U.S. jobs require outdoor work. In 2004, nearly 27 million Americans were employed in industry sectors in which at least some workers spent much of their workdays outdoors, such as construction, utilities and agriculture. The agency projects that this number will grow to nearly 31 million by 2024, representing nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce.
US standards under review
The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to review and revise national ambient air quality standards regularly to ensure that they protect public health and the environment. Such reviews led to stricter standards for ozone in 1997, 2008 and 2015, lowering the regulatory threshold to 80, 75 and 70 parts per billion respectively.
The agency is currently preparing to carry out its next review of the ozone standard so that any updates can be finalized by October 2020. Earlier this year, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed changes to the review-and-update process that critics argue could weaken standards and threaten public health.
Deregulation advocates often emphasize the costs of complying with tightened regulations. For example, the EPA estimated that reducing the ozone standard from 75 to 70 ppb in 2015 would cost US$2.2 billion annually. Importantly however, the agency also projected that this change would generate health benefits worth between $4.1 and $8.0 billion annually.
A global health risk
Today more than 105 million Americans live in one of the 168 counties currently designated as part of ozone non-attainment areas due to violations of the current national ozone standard. The situation is worse in many emerging economies, such as India and China, where rapid industrialization has led to high and increasing ozone levels.
Climate change is expected to contribute to increases in ozone levels by warming the atmosphere and extending the annual period of high ozone formation from summer into fall. These possibilities, along with findings like mine showing ozone’s impacts even at low levels, underscore the continued importance of effective global monitoring and regulation of ozone and its precursor pollutants.