Puig leaves LA, warms to wintery new home with Reds
By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer
Thursday, January 31
CINCINNATI (AP) — Yasiel Puig boarded a jet in Los Angeles, flew all night and arrived in his new home just before sunrise. The temperature was still falling toward zero, and the wind chill was enough to cause frostbite in a few minutes.
That first blast of cold as he left the plane was another reminder: You’re not in LA anymore, Yasiel.
The former Dodgers outfielder who was part of a seven-player deal with Cincinnati in December decided to explore his new town Wednesday. He did just about every Cincinnati thing that a visitor could do on a below-freezing day.
Puig looked for a place to live, visited Great American Ball Park, and spent time with children at the Reds’ baseball academy. He went to City Hall and met the mayor. One of the local chili parlors tweeted hello.
During his visit to the new clubhouse, Puig got a Reds home jersey with No. 66 and his name on the back. Also, a red-and-gray stocking cap that sure came in handy under the conditions, though he insisted that 20-below wind chill wasn’t intimidating.
“It’s not that cold,” he said in a tone that had less conviction than his words. “It’s all in your head. I’ll be fine. It’s not going to be like that in the season.”
Reds fans are hoping Puig and a cadre of newcomers can make this season one worth following, finally.
After four straight rebuilding seasons with at least 94 losses — and significant attendance drops — the Reds have overhauled their rotation and lineup in a series of trades giving them an entirely different look for at least one year.
The Reds got Puig, left-handed starter Alex Wood and outfielder Matt Kemp from the Dodgers in December . Puig and Kemp are free agents after this season, so Cincinnati could be just a one-year stand for them.
For Puig, it’s a chance to solidify his free agent resume in a smaller ballpark and a much smaller city that’s been waiting for a reason to be excited.
LA to Cincy? Dodger Dogs for three-way chili? How’s that going to work?
“I’ve been playing in a small city, a small country, almost all my life,” said Puig, who grew up in Cuba.
He hasn’t yet met most of his new teammates — that will happen in a few weeks in Goodyear, Arizona — but he’s part of a text chain with 10-15 players who stay in touch daily. The most familiar person on the team is batting coach Turner Ward, who left the Dodgers after last season to join manager David Bell’s staff.
Ward helped Puig significantly in LA, and the outfielder showed his appreciation by planting a kiss on his cheek after a home run. Puig also developed a habit of licking his bat when he feels he needs good luck. He plans to continue the smooching and showing his personality in his new town.
“I was born like that,” he said. “No matter where I play, no matter what’s the city, I do that.”
The Reds’ offseason makeover involves more than Puig and a new coaching staff. They also traded with the Nationals for starter Tanner Roark and with the Yankees for starter Sonny Gray, giving him an additional three years on his contract that added $30.5 million in guaranteed money from 2020-22.
It’s unclear how far they can rise in the tough NL Central, where they’ve been at the bottom for years. Puig’s arrival gives them a fresh face that fans already know from afar.
Puig has already had one memorable moment in Cincinnati. During a Dodgers visit in 2014, he went to the zoo and got a snake draped over his shoulders, leaving him with a look of dread that made for a memorable photo. Puig plans to visit the zoo again.
“But the snake thing — that’s not going to happen for myself,” he said.
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New York museum exhibit marks Jackie Robinson centennial
By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
Thursday, January 31
NEW YORK (AP) — As the 100th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s birth approached, Sharon Robinson is sure her father would have a lot to say about the current political climate in the United States if he were still alive.
“I know he would be outraged,” she said.
Jackie Robinson, who died at age 53 in 1972, would have turned 100 on Thursday. He broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, and the centennial of his birth marks the opening of an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York titled “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait of a Baseball Legend.”
It features memorabilia and 32 photographs originally shot for Look magazine, plus footage of Robinson hitting grounders to his son in the backyard of the family house in Stamford, Connecticut. Many of the photos shot by Frank Bauman and Kenneth Eide from 1949 and 1953 had not been on public view previously.
Rachel Robinson, the ballplayer’s wife, planned to attend the opening, still a force at age 96. The celebration and baseball’s annual Jackie Robinson Day on April 15 will focus attention on the Jackie Robinson Museum in the SoHo section of Manhattan, scheduled to open in December.
Della Britton Baeza, CEO of the Jackie Robinson Foundation, said $28 million has been raised toward a $42 million goal — matching Robinson’s uniform number, which was retired throughout the major leagues in 1997. The money raised covers construction costs, and an additional $4 million is needed for marketing and staff. The overall goal includes $10 million for an endowment, she said.
“In this day and age in this climate of our country, we really are going to take on this issue of discussing race relations,” Britton Baeza said. “What better place than a place that pays tribute to one of the great integrationists of the last century? So we’re going to roll up our sleeves. We will do it from a position of goodwill and from a position of starting with the facts, if you will, but we’re going to take these things on and talk about activism in sports.”
The exhibit, which runs until Sept. 15, is a partnership between the Museum of the City of New York and the foundation, and some of the memorabilia will wind up at the Jackie Robinson Museum.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has been a major backer of the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the museum, and he will be honored at the foundation’s annual awards dinner on March 4 along with businessman Maverick Carter and musician Kristopher Bowers.
“The centennial of his birth is an opportunity for MLB to recognize the historical significance of Jackie Robinson and to continue to teach younger people the impact he had on baseball and society,” Manfred said.
Sharon Robinson, MLB’s education programming consultant, said today’s players need to have greater knowledge of the foundation’s efforts.
“There was a shift in their awareness with the movie ‘42,’” she said of the 2013 film that starred Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey. “A number of players came up to me or coaches and said, ‘I thought I knew the story but now I get it.’ There’s no time better than now because this country needs healing, needs to continue to move forward in terms of not just dealing with racism but sexism and the whole gamut of isms. So there’s no better time to look back into history and see how much has changed but how much work still needs to be done.”
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Travel EXPO features dozens of trip giveaways to attendees
Visitors can enter to win vacations, event and attraction tickets and more
Columbus, OHIO – There’s no better cure for the winter blues brought on by this week’s arctic blast than planning a vacation, especially if the trip is a prize giveaway from the Great Vacations Travel EXPO, presented by AAA. Dozens of travel professionals from destinations near and far will give visitors the opportunity to enter to win multi-day trips, overnight packages, tickets to attractions and excursions. Giveaway prizes include week-long getaways to warm-weather spots; experience packages, including NASCAR tickets and a trip to a haunted and historic insane asylum; getaways for a family of four; quick escapes to regional hot spots; and more.
The EXPO offers couples, families and friends the perfect place to start planning their next trip, whether travelers have a destination in mind or need to find the perfect escape from their normal routine. The EXPO runs Friday, Feb. 8-Sunday, Feb. 10 at the Ohio Expo Center in Columbus. While there, guests will have the opportunity to speak with experts from more than 150 top destinations as travel pros from around the globe and across the region pack Kasich Hall, offering tips, trips and EXPO-only discounts.
Just a few of the giveaways featured at the Great Vacations Travel EXPO include:
· Trafalgar: Seven-day tour of Florence, Rome, & Venice, including airfare for two
· Royal Caribbean: Win a four-night Bahamas cruise for two aboard the Mariner of the Seas
· Visit Tampa Bay: A weekend getaway
· Cabarrus Convention & Visitors Bureau: Two pairs of Grand Stand Tickets for the NACAR Coca-Cola 600, Sunday, May 26
· Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB: Two-night, three-day stay
· Currituck County Travel & Tourism: A six-night stay at a luxurious Carolina Shore Vacation Rental
· Daytona Beach Area CVB: Three-night stay at the oceanfront Holiday Inn Resort, sightseeing and attraction passes and a $25 gift card to the Ocean Deck Restaurant & Beach Club
· Lake Cumberland Tourist Commission: Two-night luxury cabin or lakeside hotel stay at Lake Cumberland State Resort, plus fishing or leisure charter
· Hocking Hills: Cedar Grove Retreats hot tub cabin getaway for a family of four with passes to Hocking Hills Canopy Tour and High Rock Adventures
· Virginia Beach CVB: Two-night stay at the new Hyatt House, Town Center and Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center admission
· Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau: $250.00 lodging certificate good at any member property
· Louisville Tourism: Louisville getaway
· Shipshewana/LaGrange County CVB: Overnight for two
· Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum: Four Floor Historic Tour and Criminally Insane Tour plus choice of T-shirts from the gift shop for four
· Holland Area Visitors Bureau: Two-night Holland, Michigan getaway, including hotel and passes to Windmill Island Gardens, Holland Museum and Nelis’ Dutch Village, gas cards, food gift certificates and a Holland wooden bowl
· Yadkin Valley, NC: A two-night vineyard getaway, with meals, winery, brewery and “Mayberry” tours, horseback riding and other experiences
The Great Vacations Travel EXPO, presented by AAA, opens Friday, Feb. 8 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Ohio Expo Center. Hours are Friday: Noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door or at any AAA Ohio Auto Club store. AAA members who show their AAA card receive 50 percent off admission. Children ages 16 and under are admitted at no charge. Additional event details are available at AAAGreatVacations.com.
First private spacecraft shoots for the moon
January 31, 2019
Neil Armstrong Chair and Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The Ohio State University
John Horack 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.
The Ohio State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
“Moon of Israel” is an epic 1924 film from the golden era of silent movies, and helped launch the directing career of Michael Curtiz, of “Casablanca” fame. Sequels seldom live up to the original. But if Israel’s plans to put a robotic lander on the moon in February 2019 can be considered a sequel, this new “Moon of Israel” mission, led by the nonprofit company SpaceIL, will be a blockbuster in its own right.
Lunar landings date back to the 1960s. The United States landed 12 people on six separate occasions as part of the Apollo program, along with robotic spacecraft such as Surveyor, which served as a precursor to human missions. The Soviet Union preformed robotic Luna missions and landed Lunokhod automated rovers in the 1970s. Most recently China landed the Chang’e 4 robotic probe on the back side of the moon. These missions are all amazing technical accomplishments, and marvels of human know-how, sponsored and built by large government space agencies.
New moon, new mode of exploration
The moon’s next visitor is different. SpaceIL’s Beresheet – Hebrew for “In the Beginning” – will become the first privately funded mission to launch from Earth and land on the moon, and the first spacecraft to propel itself over the lunar surface after landing by “hopping” on its rocket engine to a second landing spot. The mission marks yet another milestone, not only in the history and technical arc of space exploration, but also in how humankind goes about space exploration.
SpaceIL was founded in 2011 to compete in the Google Lunar XPrize, a program that planned to award US$30 million to the first privately funded team who could build a spacecraft and land it successfully on the moon. Beyond landing, the spacecraft, or a rover, had to travel a distance of 500 meters or more and beam high-definition imagery of the landing environment to Earth. The Google Lunar XPrize contest deadline ended in 2018 without a winner. Undaunted, SpaceIL forged ahead with the development and construction of the spacecraft, and is now ready to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The Beresheet lander is about the size and shape of a family dinner table, roughly 6 feet in diameter and 4 feet high, weighing (on Earth) about 350 pounds. This doesn’t include the nearly 1,000 pounds of fuel needed to land the spacecraft on the moon. Carrying instrumentation to measure the magnetic field of the moon, a laser-reflector provided by NASA and a time-capsule of cultural and historical Israeli artifacts, the mission will ride into space as a secondary payload – like a rideshare passenger – aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Going to the moon, without a rocket
The primary cargo on the SpaceX launch is not the SpaceIL lander, but instead a communications satellite for delivery a very high Earth-centered, geostationary orbit approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth’s equator. This effectively parks the communications satellite above a fixed point on the Earth, its orbit synchronized precisely with our planet’s daily rotation. The Beresheet spacecraft will accompany the primary satellite on its journey. But in order to reach the moon, it needs to travel more than 10 times farther.
In spaceflight, the primary constraint in traveling from place to place is not distance, but the quantity of energy required. The Falcon 9 rocket only carries Beresheet about 10 percent of the total distance to the moon. But it provides nearly 90 percent of the total energy required to get there. Consequently, once lifted from the surface of the Earth, and with a small amount of additional energy from its own propulsion system, Beresheet can boost its own orbit by positioning itself so that it’s captured by the moon’s gravitational pull. This process will take several weeks.
Once landed on the moon, however, the mission may only last a few more days. The lander is not designed for the long haul, but instead will demonstrate advances in technology as well as the business model for a privately funded spacecraft landing on another body in the solar system. In this sense, Beresheet will create a second and even more memorable “Moon of Israel.”
There is no air on the moon – and therefore also no sound. So, like the original 1924 film, this sequel will also be silent. But the participants are not actors, and the view will be in high-definition color. The technical know-how developed by the engineering team, the scientific and technical data from the spacecraft’s instruments, learning how spaceflight missions can be executed outside of a government program, and the inspiration provided for an entire generation of young people – especially in Israel and the Middle East region – will all bring valuable insights and inspiration for decades to come.
Capturing carbon to fight climate change is dividing environmentalists
January 31, 2019
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Georgetown University
Holly Jean Buck
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
Holly Jean Buck receives research funding from The Nature Conservancy and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. The views expressed are her own and do not reflect those of her funding organizations.
Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò 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.
Partners: University of California provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Environmental activists are teaming up with fresh faces in Congress to advocate for a Green New Deal, a bundle of policies that would fight climate change while creating new jobs and reducing inequality. Not all of the activists agree on what those policies ought to be.
Some 626 environmental groups, including Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity and 350, recently laid out their vision in a letter they sent to U.S. lawmakers. They warned that they “vigorously oppose” several strategies, including the use of carbon capture and storage – a process that can trap excess carbon pollution that’s already warming the Earth, and lock it away.
In our view, as a political philosopher who studies global justice and an environmental social scientist, this blanket opposition is an unfortunate mistake. Based on the need to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and the risks in relying on land sinks like forests and soils alone to take up the excess carbon, we believe that carbon capture and storage could be a powerful tool for making the climate safer and even rectifying historical climate injustices.
We think the U.S. and other rich countries should accelerate negative emissions research for two reasons.
First, they can afford it. Second, they have a historical responsibility as they burned a disproportionate amount of the carbon causing climate change today. Global warming is poised to hit the least-developed countries, including dozens that were colonized by these wealthier nations, the hardest.
Consider this: The entire African continent emits less carbon than the U.S., Russia or Japan.
Yet Africa is likely to experience climate change impacts sooner and more intensely than any other region. Some African regions are already experiencing warming increases at more than twice the global rate. Coastal and island nations like Bangladesh, Madagascar and the Marshall Islands face near or total destruction.
But the world’s richest nations have been slow to endorse and support the necessary research, development and governance for negative emissions technologies.
Bad track record with coal
What explains the objections from climate justice advocates?
The U.S. has heavily funded experiments with carbon capture and storage to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new coal-fired power plants since George W. Bush’s presidency.
Those efforts have not paid off, partly because of economics. Natural gas and renewable energy have become cheaper and more popular than coal for generating electricity.
Only a handful of coal-fired power plants are under construction in the U.S., where closures are routine. The industry is in trouble everywhere, with few exceptions.
In addition, carbon capture with coal has a bad track record. The biggest U.S. experiment is the US$7.5 billion Kemper power plant in Mississippi. It ended in failure in 2017 when state power authorities ordered the plant operator to give up on this technology and rely on natural gas instead.
Carbon capture and storage, however, isn’t just for fossil-fuel-burning power plants. It can work with industrial carbon dioxide sources, such as steel, cement and chemical plants and incinerators.
Then, one of two things can happen. The carbon can be turned into new products, such as fuels, cement, soft drinks or even shoes.
Carbon can also be stored permanently if it is injected underground, where geologists believe it can stay put for centuries.
Until now, a common use for captured carbon is extracting oil out of old wells. Burning that petroleum, however, can make climate change worse.
Going carbon negative
This technology may potentially also remove more carbon than gets emitted – as long as it’s designed right.
One example is what’s called bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, where farm residues or crops like trees or grasses are grown to be burned to generate electricity. Carbon is separated out and stored at the power plants where this happens.
If the supply chain is sustainable, with cultivation, harvesting and transport done in low-carbon or carbon-neutral ways, this process can produce what scientists call negative emissions, with more carbon removed than released. Another possibility involves directly capturing carbon from the air.
Scientists point out that bioenergy with carbon capture and storage could require vast amounts of land for growing biofuels to burn. And climate advocates are concerned that both approaches could pave the way for oil, gas and coal companies and big industries to simply continue with business as usual instead of phasing out fossil fuels.
Every pathway to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the most recent U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report projected the use of carbon removal approaches.
Planting more trees, composting and farming in ways that store carbon in soils and protecting wetlands can also reduce atmospheric carbon. We believe the natural solutions many environmentalists might prefer are crucial. But soaking up excess carbon through afforestation on a massive scale could encroach on farmland.
To be sure, not all environmentalists are writing off carbon capture and storage.
The Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council, along with many other big green organizations, did not sign the letter, which objected not just to carbon capture and storage but also to nuclear power, emissions trading and converting trash into energy through incineration.
Rather than leave carbon removal technologies out of the Green New Deal, we suggest that more environmentalists consider their potential for removing carbon that has already been emitted. We believe these approaches could potentially create jobs, foster economic development and reduce inequality on a global scale – as long as they are meaningfully accountable to people in the world’s poorest nations.
David Arthur is a Friend of The Conversation: Thanks for these thoughts. There’s one possibility that might be added to your table of technologies, and that is the production of carbon fibre by electrolysis of CO2 in molten carbonate salt (ref One-Pot Synthesis of Carbon Nanofibers from CO2, Nano Lett., 2015, 15 (9), pp 6142–6148).
This wouldn’t just be carbon capture, it’d also be conversion of that captured carbon to a useful material that could actually replace some of the aluminium and steel that is produced via CO2 emitting industry; instead of emitting 2,200 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere as byproduct of producing producing 1,700 million tonnes of steel each year, 600 million tonnes of carbon fibre could be made alongside that 1,700 million tonnes of steel.
If there’s only worldwide demand for 1700 million tonnes of steel or steel replacement carbon fibre, then captuing and converting the carbon from production of 1,250 million tonnes of steel would produce about 450 million tonnes of carbon fibre, with no net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.
Of course, steel production could be further scaled down and carbon fibre instead synthesised from CO2 directly drawn down from the atmosphere – or from any CO2-intensive industrial process, such as cement manufacture.
Paul Braterman, Hon. Research Fellow; Professor Emeritus, University of Glasgow: My concern is not with ideology or even economics in tghe narrow sense but with practicability.
Converting CO2 to feedstock, or to carbon fibre as David Arthur suggests, will require a greater energy input than that obtained by burying the fossil fuel in the first place.
Around twenty years ago, as I recall, Los Alamos was involved in a zero emissions coal project, which involved reacting the CO2 with silicate rock to produce carbon and rock and silica. but I believe they were never able to get anywhere near making that reaction fast enough to be useful.
If there has been progress in this direction, I would be delighted to learn more about it.