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So, let’s get this straight: Colin Kaepernick is 27-years-old, has led the San Francisco 49ers to within one play of advancing to the Super Bowl, has his team in contention again this season, and a group of NFL executives/coaches say they would take Derek Carr over Kaepernick.I know what you’re saying: “Who’s Derek Carr?”Fair question. He’s the rookie quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. The same Oakland Raiders that have won just one of 11 games this season. The same Oakland Raiders Carr led last week in their 52-0 humiliating loss to the St. Louis Rams, who are not exactly the ’85 Bears on defense.But according to cbssports.com, former NFL scout John Middlekauff polled several league personnel and QB coaches about the two quarterbacks who were, as fate would have it, both taken No. 36 in the draft, only three years apart.How could Carr go from a nondescript young quarterback to the subject of such an inquiry? Well, here is Middlekauff’s assessment of Kaepernick via the anonymous execs:“The consistent sentiment is [Kaepernick] may just be what he is and some of his fundamental flaws will not change (accuracy/touch) over time. Kap’s frenetic play is just something his coach and skill guys will have to learn to live with, it may not be something that changed. He will always be a guy that forces you to live with the bad because the good is so special.”Translation: That was a bunch of double talk. Fundamental flaws will not change? Why not? Why can’t he improve? Frenetic play? What’s that? And here’s the real kicker: “. . . live with the bad because the good is so special.”When are “special” talents that have produced on the field rated lower than a quarterback most did not know was in the league? Carr, who looks to be a nice player, has not distinguished himself in any way, yet NFL talent evaluators would take him over Kaepernick? Here is Middlekauff’s word on Carr:“Carr’s pocket presence and natural development over the ‘14 season has caught the eye of many around the NFL. His arm strength was never the question and he has quieted the ‘he may not be tough enough’ crowd quickly. Everyone I spoke with was very bullish on his potential and what he will become once Oakland surrounds him with talent.”What he really said was Carr, a 23-year-old rookie out of Fresno State, has not done much, but could do a lot. Maybe. They cannot be certain. And he’s rated ahead of Kaepernick? Does that ring reasonable?Granted, Kaepernick has been less the player expected of him after a 2013 season that landed him a $126 million contract. But even as he searches for a rhythm, the 49ers are 7-5 and fighting for a post-season position.He has completed 61.2 percent of his passes for 2,736 yards with 15 touchdowns against 8 interceptions. Carr has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 2,422 yards with 14 TDs and 11 interceptions.So, what’s really going on here? We have seen with Robert Griffin III and many other quarterbacks that one season does not make them an NFL star QB. It’s one thing to say Carr has a chance to be a solid or even a star quarterback if he continues to develop. To say he’s the choice over a battle-tested Kaepernick who has flourished against some of the more physical and sound defenses in the league, well, it’s a stretch at best, curious at worst.If Kaepernick’s last-second pass to Michael Crabtree in the NFC Championship game in January was not broken up by Richard Sherman, he could have been the second Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl, not Seattle’s Russell Wilson. What then?Of course, playing the “if” game could go on for a while and gets us nowhere. The reality is Kaepernick, for reasons unknown (wink, wink), is being judged quickly and harshly. Perhaps the significant contract contributes to the skepticism. Perhaps he’s been looked at through the lens that measures performance alongside salary.If that’s the case, Carr should be judged from the standpoint that his body of work is hardly enough to stack up against a playoff-winning quarterback who just turned 27 and has the capacity to grow. Why would Carr’s potential be greater than Kaepernick’s, especially when “Kap” has already won in the NFL?Why would they compare him to Kaepernick anyway? Why not Cleveland’s Brian Hoyer? Or Arizona’s Drew Stanton? Maybe it’s because Kaepernick and Carr face off on Sunday. Or maybe it’s something deeper. Could it be that Carr is white? Maybe not. But all of it is curious.
March 13, 2019 New lawsuit targets Prevagen, challenges claims that the supplement to improve memory Updated: 1:48 PM Sasha Foo, Sasha Foo Categories: Health, Local San Diego News, National & International News FacebookTwitter 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A popular supplement that claims to boost memory is the target of a new lawsuit. The supplement called Prevagen is sold in nearly every major retail store in the country, but critics say it’s worthless.In advertisements on TV and online, the manufacturer of Prevagen says the product will support a “sharper mind,” “clearer thinking” and “healthy brain function.”The product label says that clinical tests demonstrated some improvements in cognitive function in as little as 90 days.However, the plaintiffs in a class action suit fled in Texas in late February said those claims are false, deceptive and designed to “dupe consumers ” into buying a supplement that has no effect on the brain.Prevagen contains a synthetic protein called apoaequorin, modeled on a protein found in jellyfish.Dr. Neal Devaraj, a biochemist at the University of California San Diego said a protein taken orally would be broken down in the digestive process before it could reach the bloodstream. Since apoaequorin is a large water soluble protein, Devaraj said it would be unlikely for it to pass the barrier from the bloodstream into the brain.Even though many may question the scientific basis for Prevagen’s claims, the manufacturer is still permitted to make its claims through its commercials, on the product package and on the bottle itself. Miro Copic, a professor of marketing at San Diego State University said that products marketed as dietary supplements face much less regulatory oversight.“The dietary supplement space is kind of the ‘Wild, Wild West,’ ” Copic said. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, Prevagen isn’t subject to review by the Food and Drug Administration.The supplements are covered by a 1994 law that’s less protective of consumers.In the stores we visited, we found that the product was nearly sold out. A bottle of the extra strength formula sells for $60 a bottle, for a 30 day supply.Two years ago, the company that makes Prevagen was sued by the Federal Trade Commission. In its defense, Quincy Bioscience, based in Madison, Wisconsin argued that it had performed clinical trials to support its claims.The FTC countered that the initial studies were inconclusive. However, the judge hearing the case ruled in Prevagen’s favor, after the supplement maker went back to the data, and selectively picked data subgroups to support its marketing claims.While Prevagen prevailed in that 2017 case, last month a federal appeals court overturned the decision, setting the stage for the latest lawsuit. Copic said the suit poses challenges for the plaintiffs.“You’re not being forced to buy this. It’s not a prescription.They’re making no claims that it will help you specifically. That’s why a lot of times, lawsuits in this arena are really hard to win,” Copic said.Quincy Bioscience declined our request for an interview about the lawsuit.A company spokesperson told us, “Nevertheless, we believe the claims are baseless and we will continue to fight these allegations on behalf of the millions of consumers who take Prevagen every day to improve their memory.”The class action lawsuit filed several weeks ago is seeking reimbursement for the amount the class members spent on Prevagen and the difference between Prevagen and the market price of generic protein pills of a similar quantity and type. Posted: March 13, 2019
More than 300 artists worked on various CGI aspects of the show, including ships, castles and huge bloodthirsty battles. The dragon team alone consisted of almost 40 artists.This last season of Game of Thrones had a lot of close-ups of Daenerys’ dragon Drogon. Martin and the team worked hard to make sure Drogon showed emotion through facial expressions during so many moving moments, especially the shocking climactic death.Drogon’s expression was a critical element of this scene. HBO “It was important to not over-animate the dragon or to humanize him too much,” Martin told me. “Drogon should always be a lizard, still stay the animal. Our guideline was how we see our own pets — we can read their emotions even though they can’t talk and have a different physiognomy. We had to tread a fine line.”Having worked on Star Trek Into Darkness and The Hunger Games, Martin has won two Emmys for his work on Thrones. As well as designing dragons and building the Iron Throne itself, his team were also responsible for building a mighty armada of menacing ships.This shot sails by entirely in CGI. HBO “As VFX artists, we love to start with something real like a filmed background plate, which we will enhance or augment or build on top of,” Martin said. “In this case the establishing shot was full CGI, but needed to match the set ship we see in the following shots. To avoid any guessing, we started by collecting as many real references as possible. We selected photos with a similar light situation, sails and rigging, as well as a similar framing and references for ocean and white water.”The hull of each ship was animated by digital artists, while the sails and water were created by special simulation software using algorithms to mimic the movement of real surfaces. “The sails and rigging react to the ship’s movement in relationship to the wind blowing,” Martin added. “The ocean is a fluid simulation with waves and white water created by the hull slicing through.”The Iron Throne goes up in flames. HBO Since this was the finale of Game of Thrones, Martin hopes fans paid close attention to Daenerys’ reaction upon finally seeing the Iron Throne. Pixomondo worked on Daenerys’ dream sequence in season 2, which foreshadowed her entering the throne room as snow fell around her. “So now, several years later, we could do the actual moment happening with lots of recognizable shots,” said Martin.Eagle-eyed viewers may spot a few differences between seasons 2 and 8, however. “The ceiling structure has changed a lot,” said Martin, “as the throne room got redesigned for the best visual impact on the sequence.”Needless to say, working on the powerful ending to Game of Thrones gave Martin quite a few memorable moments. VFX vendors like Pixomondo generally work in their offices rather than on set, but the show’s overall VFX producer Steve Kullback and VFX supervisor Joe Bauer invited Martin to the set for the end sequence. “That was special,” Martin said. “Having spent so much time upfront with this scene, seeing it all come together on the soundstage was a very rewarding moment. After eight years of raising the dragons and having had all these adventures with them and Dany, we could finally help to finish her journey.” 187 Photos 3:38 1 Comment Now playing: Watch this: Game of Thrones season 8 VFX breakdown Game of Thrones HBO Filmmakers See all the Game of Thrones season 8 photos Tags The Game of Thrones series finale was a fiery CGI masterpiece. HBO The ending of Game of Thrones ignited a firestorm of controversy among fans. But whatever you thought about the story, it’s fair to say the final season of HBO’s smash hit fantasy series was pretty spectacular. We took a look at how the unforgettable final scenes were conjured through the artistry of cutting-edge computer-generated imagery.Caution: spoilers ahead! In the aftermath of one of the bloodiest battles ever seen in the show, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) faced her lover Jon Snow (Kit Harington) — who in turn found himself facing Drogon, a very angry dragon.In a new Game of Thrones season 8 VFX breakdown reel from effects company Pixomondo, fans can see how CGI brought these gutwrenching moments to life. You can watch the video below, while to find out more, we talked exclusively to the company’s award-winning visual effects supervisor Sven Martin. TV and Movies Share your voice
Productions of Romeo and Juliet are May 10 (adult performance) and May 12 (school age matinee) at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company located at 7 South Calvert Street, Baltimore. Maryland’s own Lauren M. Davis plays Juliet. Admission is free for students! Contact Jean Thompson, Call 443-845-6130 or email Thompson@chesapeakeshakespeare.com for more information.
By JAMEY KEATEN and MARIA CHENG, Associated PressGENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization said Friday that it’s seeing increasing reports of misconduct reported by staffers within the U.N. health agency, describing the trend as “a positive thing.”WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said at a press briefing in Geneva the agency has been investigating misbehavior for “years and decades” and would continue to do so.In this Tuesday Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a press conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on WHO Ebola operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). (Salvatore Di Nolfi/keystone via AP, File)The comments came after an Associated Press story Thursday which reported that WHO’s director-general had ordered an internal probe into claims the agency is rife with racism, sexism and corruption.The AP obtained three anonymous emails addressed to senior WHO managers charging that there were numerous problems at the agency, including “systematic” racism against African staffers and allegations that some money intended to fight Ebola in Congo was misspent.Last month, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus instructed the agency’s internal office of oversight to investigate the allegations, announcing his decision at a staff meeting in Geneva.The first email, which was sent last April, claimed there was “systematic racial discrimination against Africans at WHO” and that African staffers were being “abused, sworn at (and) shown contempt to” by their Geneva-based colleagues.Two further emails addressed to WHO directors complained that senior officials were “attempting to stifle” investigations into such problems and also alleged other instances of wrongdoing, including allegedly misspent Ebola funds.The last email, sent in December, labeled the behavior of a senior doctor helping to lead the response against Ebola as “unacceptable, unprofessional and racist,” citing a November incident where the doctor reportedly “humiliated, disgraced and belittled” a Middle East subordinate.Some staffers feared that funds donated to help stop Ebola in Congo “have not been used judiciously,” the email said, warning such blunders could undermine WHO’s credibility.Tedros — a former health minister of Ethiopia and WHO’s first African director-general — said during the staff meeting that investigators looking into the charges “have all my support” and that he would provide more resources if necessary.WHO spokesman Jasarevic said WHO has “established procedures and people can report on any concern they may have,” and that all such allegations would be assessed by its office of internal oversight.“There are more reports of concern, and this is a positive trend. It’s important for us to know where there are cases of misconduct so we can address them,” Jasarevic said. He added the increased reports also suggest staffers feel “more confident to report concerns.”But critics questioned whether WHO could effectively investigate itself, pointing out that it was WHO’s internal oversight office that botched the initial investigation into sexual harassment allegations at UNAIDS, which is technically part of WHO.WHO’s internal investigation dismissed those claims, but an independent report concluded last year there was a culture of impunity and toxic working environment at UNAIDS, which ultimately led its chief Michel Sidibe to announce his resignation last month, effective in June.“Having an internal investigation at WHO is as good as doing nothing,” said Ed Flaherty, a lawyer who represents Martina Brostrom, the UNAIDS whistleblower whose sexual harassment charges prompted the report.Jasarevic said WHO’s internal investigation office reports “to (an) independent expert oversight advisory committee, and that’s not a WHO body.” He said reports on “substantiated allegations” would be publicly submitted to the World Health Assembly.But according to a report from WHO’s internal auditor, the office reports directly to WHO’s director-general. And WHO’s 2015 “Accountability Framework” said the office is responsible both to WHO senior management and to the U.N. agency’s governing bodies.Flaherty disputed Jasarevic’s assertion that WHO staffers have confidence in internal misconduct reporting methods.“Whistleblowers at WHO get crushed,” Flaherty said. “The fact that people have resorted to anonymous emails to report these allegations is a sign of desperation.”___Maria Cheng reported from London.