Imagining Worlds: Is It Science?

first_imgAn entry on is almost pure speculation with no observation.  Does it belong on a science news site?    Reporter Clara Moskowitz gave Viorel Badescu [Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania] free rein to imagine life on free-floating planets (FFPs) – bodies wandering free in space after being abandoned, like wayward children, from their parent stars.  “The search for alien life usually focuses on planets around other stars,” she began.  “But a lesser-known possibility is that life has sprung up on planets that somehow were ejected from their original solar systems and became free-floating in the universe, as well as on small bodies called sub-brown dwarfs [SBDs], which are stars so small and dim they are not really stars at all, but function more like planets.”    First of all, do such bodies exist?  Badescu admitted they are “extremely hard to detect.”  Moreover, “Present day technology does not allow a systematic search for habitable FFPs and SBDs,” but that did not stop him from imagining that “Sub-brown dwarfs weighing between 1 and 13 Jupiter masses may be about as common as stars, Badescu said.”  So far, we have imaginary planets; now, we need to imagine life on them.  What are the conditions for life, and can we imagine them existing on these imaginary habitable planets?Heat:  Without a star to warm them, FFPs would presumably be hopelessly frozen to death.  No problem; thanks to internal radioactive decay, “One may expect a rather stable heat release for long periods of time, exceeding two or three times the present age of the solar system,” Badescu surmised, not having observed even one present age of the solar system.Atmosphere:  The imaginary planets also have imaginary atmospheres.  “Though meager, this heat could be trapped on the object by an optically thick atmosphere.”Solvent:  Needless to say, FFPs would probably not be warm with lush oceanic baths of water for microbes.  But even though all life we know about relies on water, one can imagine any other liquid doing the job: “In particular, Badescu found that ethane – a compound of carbon and hydrogen – could function well as a solvent for alien life.”    One of the two instances of observation in the article is found in this sentence: “Synthesis of observational data makes it possible to conceive chemical reactions that might support life involving non-carbon compounds, occurring in solvents other than water, Badescu wrote in his paper.”  The observations were not about actually making chemical reactions work that might support life – but only data that “makes it possible to conceive” of reactions that “might” do so.    Speaking of ethane, no life has been observed on the only world we know about that has some liquid ethane – Titan.  And no origin-of-life researcher has ever come up with a theory of how ethane would work in alien life-forms.  Despite those difficulties, “Badescu said that some sub-brown dwarfs might have lakes or oceans of liquid ethane that could prove quite homey to alien microbes.”Polar solvent:  Problem: ethane is not a polar molecule, like water.  It’s the “polar properties of water [that] enable certain kinds of molecules to dissolve easily in water, while others remain stable.”  That would not be the case with ethane.  “However, the challenge is not insurmountable,” according to Badescu’s fertile imagination: “– a completely different type of molecule could be used to code life’s blueprint on a FFP or SBD.”  He did not offer any candidate molecules.Genetic code:  So what would convey the genetic information required by alien cells swimming in ethane on imaginary worlds?  After all, “small changes in molecular structure may create large changes in molecular behavior” with a non-polar molecule, and “That is not acceptable in an encoding biopolymer that must support Darwinian evolution, in which case, the molecule’s physical properties must remain relatively constant when the informational content changes.”  Again, though, his way out was simply to assert that “the challenge is not insurmountable”.After surmounting all these difficulties with leaps of imagination, Badescu gave his grand finale: “it might be conceivable that FFPs and SBDs are the most common sites of life in the universe.”  Well, then, we should search for them: “the existing observation programs” [there’s the other instance of the word observation] “of young star forming regions should be supplemented with activities related to FFP and SBD identification and characterization.”  It might be worthwhile; we might just find imaginary life some imaginary day.  But even before that, since it might be conceivable that imaginary life is common on imaginary worlds, we would first have to find out if it is even possible to conceive of such things; it might be, or it might not be.    The article was decorated with imaginary images of imaginary landscapes.  Speaking of imaginary landscapes, that was the title of musical compositions by John Cage that experimented with “chance music” as a kind of divination – i.e., “imitating nature in its manner of operation” (Wikipedia).  In Imaginary Landscape No. 4, 12 operators twiddled the knobs of 12 radios at random.  One never knows; it might produce imaginary music.  To be more like Badescu’s speculation, though, one must imagine the radios and the operators, too.Reread the 01/17/2007 commentary.Exercise:  Write a fairy tale with this much imagination and see if you can get or one of the other secular science news sites to publish it without any criticism whatsoever.  If Badescu can do it, it would be discriminatory not to let you do it.  Be sure to portray it as a scientific quest.Extra credit:  make a case for funding your search for your imaginary whatever.  Be careful not to specify a timeline, dollar limit, or any criteria for success.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

How Science Could Destroy Itself

first_img(Visited 351 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Without this essential ingredient, long taken for granted, science could collapse.Imagine a world where science journals could not be trusted. In this imaginary world, at least half of all journal articles have been generated by artificial intelligence (AI), but are fake. The algorithms have gotten so good in this imaginary world, nobody can tell the difference—not editors, not peer reviewers, not even other AI algorithms. And as another consequence, suppose that reporters are fooled, and write up these fake research findings as fact. Is this dystopian vision possible?We hear a lot about fake news in politics. Each election season, journalists worry about disinformation campaigns by the Russians using social media to stir up partisan attitudes based on bogus claims. Is science immune from the Big Lie? New Scientist looked into the very real problem that AI can generate fake science. In “Fake news generating AIs could be the best weapons to fight fake news,” Donna Lu included two fake science stories, generated by AI, that mimicked the content and style of New Scientist itself. One of them claimed, “Eating bread crusts actually gives you curly hair.” Another headline made in the experiment proclaimed, “Overweight dogs have barks that sound cuter to humans.” Amusing as these spoofed articles are, it’s scary how believable they look. When more credible articles appear, who will be able to detect the fakery? Donna Lu thinks that AI can heal itself.Fake news spreads faster than the truth on social media, and as fake news generating machines get more sophisticated, distinguishing real from fake is becoming more difficult than ever.Artificial intelligence that can quickly generate convincing paragraphs of text from a simple prompt already exists and can be used to churn out convincing but untrue stories for influencing public opinion. But paradoxically, these problem AIs may also offer a solution.Lu is trusting in an algorithm by “Rowan Zellers at the University of Washington and colleagues” who “have created an AI that can both write and detect fake news.”Most likely Zellers and team have the public good in mind. But let’s ask a simple question. Can you trust Rowan Zellers?They trained the AI, called Grover, on tens of millions of articles from news websites totalling 120 gigabytes of data. Grover learned to write articles, adjusting its style to mimic pieces published during a particular time period or that feature on a specific news website, such as fake headlines such as “No substantial evidence for climate change” or “New study provides evidence that vaccines cause autism”, within seconds it spits out articles complete with invented statistics and faked quotes, often from real experts or politicians….A little bit of thought leads to the concern that such a tool could be used for either side of an issue. Grover can only blindly do whatever it is ordered to do by its creator. It could generate fake science to support either side. And the higher the stakes for influencing the outcome, the higher the temptation to cheat. If those in power want more climate skepticism, they could generate “science” for that side. If those in power want more support for the climate consensus, they could generate “science” to support that side. Reality need not be part of the equation.Powerful interests will have plenty of money to perfect the AI algorithms so that they can generate even more convincing material. A drug company could write a journal paper that demonstrates high efficacy of its questionable product. A foreign power could publish fake research to build up its image in the scientific community. And scientists with a political agenda their funding agency likes could generate tons of fake science that give their position an aura of legitimacy.Peer Review, Reproducibility and Self-CheckingSome may argue that fake science could never succeed for long, because science is self-checking and reproducible. But as many journals have worried, there is a “reproducibility crisis” going on, and peer review has also come under scrutiny (18 May 2019). Many science projects are too expensive or difficult to reproduce. Who will build another LHC to check an exotic particle? And what if peer reviewers have the same political bias as the research they are reviewing? Who will watch the watchers?Fake-science algorithms using AI should worry scientists as well as politicians. Lu hopes that AI algorithms can become better, but the spy-vs-spy scenario is turning into AI-vs-AI, where watchers may have to choose which algorithm does a better job. One algorithm given a mix of fake news and real news achieved 73 percent accuracy. Grover achieved 92 percent. That means that 6 percent got through the screener. In cyber warfare, the effectiveness of the algorithms will depend on skill of the programmers to understand what the adversary is trying to do. Programmers differ on their opinions about the advisability of sharing the algorithms. The creators of Grover want to make the code open to all, but Elon Musk’s Open AI group disagrees.“It seems quite possible that the release of generators is going to be quite harmful,” says Open AI’s Jeff Wu. In the wrong hands it would equip people with the ability to rapidly generate tens of thousands of articles, he says.The Essential IngredientAs possibilities for Big Lie tactics proliferate, the spy-vs-spy scenario morphs into lie-vs-lie. Leaders from the top down are going to really need to know whom they can trust. Somehow, somewhere, there needs to be a real, live, breathing human being with the essential ingredient:Integrity.In its 3 June editorial, Nature pointed out that “Research integrity is much more than misconduct.” A morality-colored word creeps into the sub-heading: “All researchers should strive to improve the quality, relevance and reliability of their work.” What does science know about “should”? The word connotes responsibility to a moral standard. They continue: “Conducting research with integrity, honesty and accuracy is something to which every scientist should proudly aspire.” They use the word four times.AI algorithms will do what they are told, whether good or evil. Only a righteous-minded scientist or engineer with integrity will respond to the should word. If all scientists come to have ulterior motives, and look at every directive only for how it can promote their selfish interests, science is doomed.In the same issue of Nature, C. K. Gunsalus believes she has a solution. “Make reports of research misconduct public.” But notice how this strategy can backfire. What if an unscrupulous lab manager accuses one of his underling’s work to be misconduct? He follows the advice of Gunsalus and makes it public, ruining his career. Worse, any reporter could dox a scientist they don’t like, threatening his safety as well as his career.If the ones writing reports of research misconduct have no integrity, no amount of should-ing will solve the problem. In the asymptotic limit, science collapses into the fatalistic dystopia, “Everybody lies, but nobody listens.”How did integrity evolve? That is the conundrum Darwinism cannot answer. Darwin’s world is one of rampant self-interest. Even when self-interest morphs into group-interest, the only value is survival. Whatever works to pass on genes of the population is “moral” in that view. For those Darwinians who worship science as their sole pathway to truth, abandon all hope.If you are a scientist who values trustworthy science, promote the teachings that give human beings the desire and the power to achieve integrity. An essential start is the command, “You shall not bear false witness.” Given human nature, though, a command only condemns; it cannot empower. The same Voice that gave the command later promised He would write His law on men’s hearts, implying they would become able to obey joyfully and willingly. Read how here. Exercises.Look at this article on, “Changing minds: How do you communicate with climate deniers?” The protagonist, Emma Frances Bloomfield, a communications specialist at the University of Nevada, is portrayed as a nice, gentle lady only trying to help people overcome their wrong views. She listens. She interacts. She engages. This is all fine and good, but the entire article conveys a narrative of the elitist persuading the buffoon. Bloomfield takes the consensus as undeniable fact, and she is there to heal the “deniers” who (predictably) are portrayed as motivated by religion. How could Bloomfield be replaced by an AI robot to achieve the same objective?Read this article on Medical Xpress, “Where to draw the line between mental health and illness?” Given that psychology’s values and categories evolve, how could powerful science lobbies use fake science and AI to marginalize skeptics of their consensus with the label ‘mental illness’?last_img read more

Workshop for nutrient management plan development software

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Nutrient management plans provide a field by field risk evaluation for sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen loss and nutrient recommendation for crop production. The workshop will demonstrate one method to develop plans for general use and is accepted for Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) practice cost share program.  The software used is open access and work on PC platforms. There is not cost.The software can also be used by Technical Service Providers (TSP) to provide planning services for Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans for livestock producers and Conservation Activity Plans used for NRCS programs as well. For more information on TSP program see is the Workshop About?Workshop will demonstrate:1.                MapWindow GIS with MMP Tools2.                MMP3.                NRCS Ohio Nutrient Management Templates used for programs such as EQUIP.The training will use a sample farm to demonstrate the utilization of these two programs to generate a plan that can be presented to NRCS for approval.Program description and download location.·        MapWindow GIS is an open source GIS product that is used to develop nutrient management plans by defining fields and farms then downloading spatial data such as soil types which provide base information needed for MMP is Nutrient Plan development. Data generated is exported to MMP through the MMP tools function. The version used for the workshop is dated 7/28/2015 on the website at·        MMP Version 0.37 (25-Aug-2016) current release of the program from Purdue and is linked for download through workshops are coming up:January 25, 9:30-4:00, OSUE-Putnam County, 1206 E Second St, Ottawa, OHFebruary 1, 9:30-4:00, OSUE Madison County, 217 Elm St, London, OHFor more details and to register go to: read more

A Green Guide to Choosing a Christmas Tree

first_imgEnvironmentally conscious consumers often ask me whether a real Christmas tree or an artificial one is the more sustainable choice. As a horticulture and forestry researcher, I know this question is also a concern for the Christmas tree industry, which is wary of losing market share to artificial trees. And they have good reason: Of the 48.5 million Christmas trees Americans purchased in 2017, 45 percent were artificial, and that share is growing. Many factors can influence this choice, but the bottom line is that both real and artificial Christmas trees have negligible environmental impacts. Which option “wins” in terms of carbon footprint depends entirely on assumptions about how long consumers would keep an artificial tree versus how far they would drive each year to purchase a real tree. From seedling to wood chipper Many consumers believe real Christmas trees are harvested from wild forest stands and that this process contributes to deforestation. In fact, the vast majority of Christmas trees are grown on farms for that express purpose.RELATED ARTICLESRecycling Christmas trees leaves mulch to be desiredWe Calculated How Much Trees Save for Your CityNRDC: Burning Trees to Make Electricity is an ‘Environmental Disaster’Healthy People Live With Trees To estimate the total impact of something like a Christmas tree, researchers use a method called life cycle assessment to develop a “cradle to grave” accounting of inputs and outputs required to produce, use, and dispose of it. For natural Christmas trees, this covers everything from planting seedlings to harvesting the trees and disposing of them, including equipment use, fertilizer and pesticide applications, and water consumption for irrigation. Life cycle assessments often will also estimate a system’s carbon footprint. Fuel use is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Christmas tree production. Using 1 gallon of gas or diesel to power a tractor or delivery truck releases 20 to 22 pounds (9 to 10 kilograms) of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. On the positive side, Christmas trees absorb and store carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, which helps to offset emissions from operations. Carbon represents about 50% of the dry weight of the wood in a tree at harvest. According to recent estimates, Christmas tree-sized conifers store roughly 20 pounds of carbon dioxide in their above-ground tissue and likely store similar amounts below ground in their roots. Christmas tree farming requires careful planning to manage a crop that takes six to seven years to mature. However, using 1 gallon of gasoline produces about the same amount of carbon dioxide, so if a family drives 10 miles each way to get their real tree, they likely have already offset the carbon sequestered by the tree. Buying a tree closer to home or at a tree lot along your daily commute can reduce or eliminate this impact. And natural trees have other impacts. In 2009, Scientific American specifically called out the Christmas tree industry for greenwashing, because growers’ press releases touted carbon uptake from Christmas tree plantations while ignoring pesticide use and carbon dioxide emissions from plantation management, harvesting, and shipping. Is synthetic better? Artificial trees have a different set of impacts. Although many people think shipping trees from factories in China takes a lot of energy, ocean shipping is actually very efficient. The largest energy use in artificial trees is in manufacturing. Producing the polyvinyl chloride and metals that are used to make artificial trees generates greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. China is working to reduce pollution from its chemical industry, but this may drive up the prices of those materials and the goods made from them. Moreover, to consider sustainability from a broader perspective, production of real Christmas trees supports local communities and economies in the United States, whereas purchasing artificial trees principally supports manufacturers in China. Going head to head Recently the American Christmas Tree Association, which represents artificial tree manufacturers, commissioned a life cycle assessment comparing real and artificial Christmas trees. The analysis considered environmental aspects of sustainability, but did not examine social or economic impacts. The report concluded that the environmental “break-even” point between a real Christmas tree and an artificial tree was 4.7 years. In other words, consumers would need to keep artificial trees for five years to offset the environmental impact of purchasing a real tree each year. One major shortcoming of this analysis was that it ignored the contribution of tree roots – which farmers typically leave in the ground after harvest – to soil carbon storage. This omission could have a significant impact on the break-even analysis, given that increasing soil organic matter by just 1% can sequester 11,600 pounds of carbon per acre. Reuse or recycle your tree Consumers can’t affect how farmers grow their live trees or how manufacturers produce artificial versions, but they can control what happens after Christmas to the trees they purchase. For artificial trees, that means reusing them as many times as possible. For natural trees, it means recycling them. This is essential to optimize the carbon footprint of a real tree. Grinding used Christmas trees and using them for mulch returns organic matter to the soil, and can contribute to building soil carbon. Many public works departments across the United States routinely collect and chip used Christmas trees after the holidays. If local tree recycling is not available, trees can be chipped and added to compost piles. They also can be placed in backyards or ponds to provide bird or fish habitat. In contrast, if a used tree is tossed into a bonfire, all of its carbon content is immediately returned to the air as carbon dioxide. This also applies to culled trees on tree farms. And if used trees are placed in landfills, their carbon content will ultimately return to atmosphere as methane because of the way materials buried in landfills break down. Methane is a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a century, so this is the most environmentally harmful way to dispose of a used tree. All kinds of factors influence choices about Christmas trees, from fresh trees’ scent to family traditions, travel plans, and the desire to support farmers or buy locally. Regardless of your choice, the key to relieving environmental angst is planning to reuse or recycle your tree. Then you can focus on gifts to put under it.   Bert Cregg is a professor of horticulture and forestry at Michigan State University. This post originally appeared at The Conversation.last_img read more

Throwback Thursday: Oklahoma State Beats St. Mary’s, Wins National Championship

first_imgI’d say this is legit, the cryatal ball has arrived in Stillwater @Lauren_Rew— Jr Colmenares (@OSUJr) October 13, 2016So let’s take a dive back into the archives to see Oklahoma State’s title-winning game against St. Mary’s in the 1946 Sugar Bowl. It was the last time OSU would play in the Sugar Bowl until 2016, and the entire thing was incredible. Just listen to this opening of the game recap from the Sugar Bowl’s website.Men against boys. Even though the boys were pretty good, so were the bigger, more worldly men.Oklahoma A&M was a team that started seven war veterans, including fullback Jim Reynolds who flew 52 missions over Germany, and tackle Bert Cole who had been shot down over Yugoslavia and spent months among the Chetniks while making his way back to allied lines. In contrast, St. Mary’s was a lot like Alabama in 1945 with seven 17-year-old starters on a team with an average age of 18-1/2.Also, A&M, the heaviest team to play in the first 12 Sugar Bowls at a 203-pound average, was man-for-man 15 pounds larger than the Sugar Bowl’s youngest team ever.Oklahoma State rolled to a 33-13 win that day that flummoxed St. Mary’s coach Jim Phelan. He literally locked the media out of his locker room after the game before finally letting them in to chat.“Too much power – too much speed. And, above all, too much Fenimore.”Fenimore ran for 125 yards that day and two TDs. He threw for another. The win for AP No. 5 OSU capped off a 9-0 season. OSU allowed just 76 points all year (can you imagine the Vines we would have gotten had Glenn Spencer been coordinator?) Here’s a look at the full schedule which included Denver and Tulsa.screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-3-33-17-pmI have no idea why the AFCA retroactively awarded OSU with this national championship, but apparently we are shipping in the trophies, the crystal and everything that goes along with a title. Here is the AFCA’s reasoning:The Oklahoma State squad of 1945 (then-referred to as Oklahoma A&M) had an average margin of victory of 23.2 points and still hold numerous school records, including fewest points allowed, lowest average points allowed, fewest first downs allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest yards allowed per game. The 1945 squad also ranks in the top 10 in several more offensive and defensive categories, all of which is remarkable considering that season was played 70 years ago.The AP No. 1 team that year was Army. Army’s schedule was soft! Louisville Field! Melville PT Boats! SMH! Sad!screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-3-36-28-pmAll of this unfolding on Thursday elicited maybe the greatest tweet I have ever seen. Such sweet words I never thought I would hear. But now they are true. Oklahoma State has a national championship in football! And we have the trophy to prove it.Look what showed up at #okstate ??— Allison Gappa (@AllisonGappa) October 13, 2016 Also, I bet none of these men every thought someone would make a GIF of them 70 years later.#okstate scores to beat St. Mary’s and win a national title. What a day!— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) October 13, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. @Jake_Trotter they also beat Germany on the road— James Burcham (@e4burch) October 13, 2016Here’s what it looks like to win a national title. What a day.last_img read more

Oklahoma State QB Recruit Spencer Sanders Picks up TCU Offer; Still “Very Firm” in OSU Commitment

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. For as crazy as the last few days have been around Stillwater, one bright light continues to shine: 2018 quarterback commit Spencer Sanders.Sanders is widely considered to be one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks. Not just in Texas — but in the country. Rated as a four-star prospect, he picked OSU over many offers — and garnered yet another on Tuesday in TCU.He took the time to announce his offer, and also made it very clear where his loyalty lies: With Oklahoma State. I am VERY firm with OSU, but still honored and blessed to receive an offer from TCU??— Spencer Sanders (@SpenceSanders) December 7, 2016Sanders has been a commitment of the Cowboys for a few months. He is the only recruit committed in the 2018 class. So having him on board and fully committed will be a huge piece in adding around him to fill out the class.Don’t be surprised when other schools continue to keep giving him a shout with scholarship offers, especially this offseason as he prepares for his senior year at Denton Ryan. But at this time, Sanders appears to be all OSU. Having him solid in his commitment says a lot about his integrity, and will go a long ways for the OSU staff in recruiting the rest of the class.last_img read more

A Look Back At The 2016 Oklahoma State Football Survey

first_imgEd. note: OKC Dave did great work putting together his survey for the 2016 football season last fall. Today we’re going to take a look back at how we all voted vs. how the season actually played out.Thanks to Zac Pogue (@Pogalo) for the prompt to take a look back at how the survey results compared to OSU’s 2016 football season. Let’s dive in.Number of winsFans predicted 8.5 regular season wins. The Cowboys won 9, or 10 if a) the officials know the rules or b) James Washington runs a route. In the nine years I’ve done the survey, this is the 6th time the team has outperformed the survey.Easiest/Toughest GamesFans said the toughest games were OU (36% chance of winning), TCU (49%), and Baylor (59%). OSU went 1-2 in these games. Fans said the easiest games were SE Louisiana (97%), Kansas (92%), and Central Michigan (92%). OSU went 2-1* in these games.Poll FinishFans predicted OSU would finish 13th in the final polls. OSU finished 11th in both polls. This is the closest fans have come to predicting the outcome in the five years I’ve asked this question.Offensive/Defensive Improvement92% of fans said OSU’s offense would be better than 2015’s team. I don’t think anyone would argue otherwise. OSU finished higher offensively in the FEI and S&P+ system, scored more points per drive, and could actually gain yards on the ground.Only 32% of fans said OSU’s defense would be better than the 2015 unit. The results are mixed. The defense was slightly better in FEI and points per drive, but slightly worse in S&P+. The improved offense and Zach Sinor put the defense in better position to succeed, and they did — some of the time.I think the fans were correct in their assessment – the most popular option chosen in this question was selected by 46% of fans: the defense would be about the same as last year.Big 12 PredictionsFans said K-State (26%), OSU (20%), and Texas (16%) would do better than expected. Kansas State was picked 8th in the pre-season media poll and finished 6-3 in conference play (4th). OSU was picked 3rd and finished 2nd. Texas was picked 5th and finished 6th. Fans missed out on West Virginia, who was picked 7th and finished 3rd.Fans thought Baylor (34%) and Texas (21%) would underperform expectations, and both did. Baylor was picked 4th and finished 8th. The mixed opinion among fans on Texas was appropriate – for a time, they appeared to be better – but by the end of the season Charlie Strong was packing his bags.Approval RatingsYou can’t really say if the ratings are right or wrong, but I thought it would be interesting to take a glance at what fans thought before the season:Gundy: 98% – I imagine his rating will be around the same area next year as we head into the most anticipated OSU football season in 6 years.Underwood: 75%. TBD.Holder: 79%.Hoops84% of fans said OSU would make the NCAA tournament this year. KenPom currently predicts a 6-12 finish in the Big 12 – and even if we have the best conference in the country (and we do – in fact, Pomeroy rates the Big 12 as the best conference since the 2004 ACC), 6-12 has NIT written all over it.Freshman most excited to see1) Stoner, 2) Bundage, 3) Hill. All good choices, but no doubt it was Hill that stole the show.Breakout players (offense)1) Sanders, 2) McCleskey, 3) Ateman. Again, Hill would be obvious winner here. But you could also make arguments for Carson and Lacy.Breakout players (defense)1) Richards, 2) Lampkin, 3) Bundage. Vincent Taylor was chosen by 4% of fans, good for 10th on the list.Best RB1) Sanders (64%), 2) Carson (21%), 3) Childs (10%), 4) Carr (4%). I didn’t even put Hill on the list of choices, which seems utterly ridiculous in hindsight.Hard to believe it will be the 10th survey this year. I’ll be back in August with more questions. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

All-Sports Roundup: Tennis Stumbles Against No. 2 Wake, Edwards Sets Elite Mile Mark

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Ed. note: We wanted to take a look back at what you might have missed recently in some of OSU’s non-revenue sports, and our tennis guy Nick Welch gamely tossed that together. Hope you guys enjoy it.By: Nick WelchCowboy TennisThe OSU men’s tennis team went 2-1 this weekend winning matches against Alabama (7-0) and UMKC (7-0), and dropping a tightly contested battle against No. 2 Wake Forest (4-3).The highlight of the weekend was clearly the top-15 matchup against the Demon Deacons. The Cowboys went into an early 3-1 hole before mounting a monstrous comeback to even the score at 3-3, leaving the final singles match as the overall deciding factor.Nonetheless, the No. 12 Cowboys went toe to toe with their counterparts despite having to take on the No. 1 singles player and No. 1 doubles team in the nation, both both of which happen to play at Wake Forest. With a 2-1 record this weekend, the Cowboys moved to 7-1 on the year.Final score from Stillwater. #okstate pushes No. 2 Wake Forest to the limit, but the comeback falls just short in the end.— OSU Cowboy Tennis (@CowboyTennis) February 12, 2017The Cowboys will next travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to compete in the ITA Indoor Regional Championships.Cowgirl TennisThe OSU women’s team missed out on the warm Oklahoma weather this weekend in exchange for a snowy trip northeast to New Haven, Connecticut to compete in the ITA Regional Indoor Championships.A motivated Cowgirl team annihilated No. 19 Ole Miss 4-0 in Round 1 before falling to No. 7 Ohio State 4-3 in the quarterfinals in the battle of OSUs. This was the first time an OSU women’s team had reached the quarterfinals of this event.The Cowgirls were rewarded with a consolation matchup against No. 8 California and came away victorious 4-2. With their first loss of the season, the No. 5 Cowgirls fell to 8-1 on the season.Thanks to @CowgirlTennis coaches Chris Young and @Matt_Manasse for helping us out of a jam @OleMissWTennis— Jason Ontog (@JasonOntog) February 9, 2017The Cowgirls will play one more ITA game before heading down to the sunshine state to play two incredibly tough opponents in No. 4 Stanford and No. 1 Florida.Cowgirl BasketballThe Cowgirl basketball squad dropped their fifth game in a row, losing in Morgantown Saturday to the Lady Mountaineers, 79-53. A huge second quarter by West Virginia propelled them to an easy home victory over Oklahoma State (13-11, 3-10 Big XII).The Cowgirls shot just 37 percent from the field and 16 percentfrom three in the loss. Forward Mandy Coleman led all Cowgirls with 17 points and shooting 8-12 from the field. Final from Morgantown. #okstate falls to West Virginia in the first meeting this season between the two schools.— Cowgirl Basketball (@OSUWBB) February 12, 2017The ladies will look to end their slide at home against TCU (12-12, 4-9 Big XII) on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena.Cowgirl SoftballThe Cowgirls played five games in Baton Rouge over the weekend at the Tiger Classic. They went 3-2 in those games with the following results.McNeese State (5-1 win)LSU (14-2 loss)McNeese State (6-5 win)Penn State (1-0 win)LSU (5-2 loss)“There are some positives, without a doubt,” head coach Kenny Gajewski said. “I thought we really laid an egg the first game against LSU so I wanted to see how this team would respond in the next one. I thought we came out great, set the tone with a big home run. Then we kind of let this one get away. Credit them, they got clutch hitting when they had to.”#AirCowgirlOne is loaded up and heading back home. See you soon, Oklahoma.— Cowgirl Softball (@CowgirlSB) February 12, 2017Track and FieldSuperstar Kaela Edwards ran the seventh-fastest mile in NCAA history in New York at the Millrose Games. Her time was 4:28.75. She raced against mostly pros.“It was really fun to run at that level and hold my own against all of those pros,” Edwards said. “I had some bigger goals going into the race, but a four second PR and a time that’s top-10 in collegiate history is pretty good. Competing in something like this is only going to make me better, and it was great to be a part of that.”A new NCAA leading time for @run4okstate’s Kaela Edwards in the #NYRRMillroseGames Wanamaker Mile, 4:28.75 ->— FloTrack (@FloTrack) February 11, 2017At the Husky Classic in Seattle, three men’s runners dipped below four minutes in the mile. OSU joins Syracuse, Michigan and Colorado as the only programs to produce three sub-four minute miles this season.last_img read more

Offensive Notebook: Tyrell Alexander Has Incredible Hands

first_imgWe talked about the defense and what Coach Gundy had to say already, but I also wanted to jot down a few notes on Mason Rudolph and Co. on offense from Wednesday’s practice.• On offense, LSU transfer Tyron Johnson was among the firsts to get reps at receiver. He lined up on the right side (where James Washington normally is). I could not see Washington from where I was standing, but I did see him later in practice.• Johnson has a big, tall frame. Looks like an NFL receiver already, no wonder he was a 5-star recruit. He looks like Marcell Ateman but a couple inches shorter. Also, he has more tattoos than I can begin to count.• Elsewhere at receiver, Dillon Stoner looked good, Washington looked better, but Tyrell Alexander looked best. Yes, Tyrell Alexander.• Receivers coach Kasey Dunn was running the jugs machine for the receivers, who got as close as five yards away. Alexander kept catching them, and with each catch, Dunn’s “DAMN, Tyrells” got louder and louder. He called Alexander the most improved after the first day in pads, and he said that about 30 seconds into the first drill.”DAMN, Tyrell.”–@kasey_dunn #OKState— Hayden Kyle Barber (@HK_Barber) March 23, 2017• Dunn had fun picking on redshirt freshman walk-on Mitchell Perkinson who dropped the first ball that was shot at him. Dunn shot a few more at him then told him to get out of the drill and said, “Sorry. That’s my fault. I should have thrown it better.”• Dunn asked Washington how his dislocated finger was doing. I couldn’t hear what Washington said back, but Dunn responded with a relieved, “Good.”• Got to talk with new running backs coach John Wozniak for the first time. Seemed like a good dude. Dare I say Underwood-esque. No, not in the negative way. We had a funny conversation about Jeff Carr.As Carr was jogging out to practice, someone threw him a ball, and he caught it with one hand and kept running.• Also spoke with newly hired offensive line coach John Henson who said the transition back home has been anything but difficult.• Rudolph’s cadence was much deeper and louder than any other quarterback’s. It was almost uncomfortable how piercing it was. I’m not sure whether that’s new, but I think center Brad Lundblade will hear him just fine.• Rudolph threw the ball well, but out of the couple of throws I saw out of redshirt freshman Keondre Wudtee, he did not.• Lastly, Vincent Taylor and Jhajuan Seales were there working out that Body By Glass. They were mostly on the resistance bikes with the injured players. They looked fine though. Probably just stir crazy. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Spring Retrospective: OSU Still Has Questions at Corner

first_imgWhile you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. CB3LaMarcus MortonFr. To kick off our spring retrospective, we’re going to take a look at the biggest question mark Oklahoma State has on defense currently: Cornerback.SummarySpring camp started with the news that Ramon Richards would move to safety to join Tre Flowers which left basically zero experience at the cornerback position. This, interestingly, did not seem to bother Mike Gundy and Glenn Spencer.So either they know something we don’t know (likely) or corner is just going to be a hot mess all fall (hopefully not!)“They still make mistakes, but what I like about the young group of corners is that they are long, rangy and they seem like they are going to be physical,” said Gundy during spring camp.“[That] will help in this league as skilled as the wideouts are on the perimeter. They’re going to take some lumps at some point during the season, but hopefully we can bring them along enough that as we progress we can trust them more in the middle of the season than we could now. We may have to score a few points early though.”Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer was a little less effusive in his praise, but he still seemed encouraged by A.J. Green, Madre Harper, Rodarius Williams and Co.“We’re just trying to analyze them as a whole,” said Spencer. “A couple of them will have a good day, and then a bad day. They’re showing some sparks and then they will give up some things.“It’s been an up-and-down spring for some of those guys. They’re a lot better now than they were when we started all of this. It helps to be able to go up against our group of wide receivers every day. It makes us all better.”That’s true. At the beginning of camp, Gundy pointed at something that I think was a little bit of a through line from then until the end of the season. OSU is just … better and more talented than it has been in the past, even in 2011 (Brandon Weeden touched on this when he dropped by for practice a few weeks back).“I just think we have more depth,” said Gundy of the defense. “I think that we’ve recruited longer and that our culture is in place so we have more depth than we did then.”Biggest NewsThe biggest news post-Richards moving to safety was pretty easily the transfer of Adrian Baker (great name, by the way). In the same mold as Lenzy Pipkins, Josh Furman and Michael Hunter, Baker will provide experience and talent right away. OSU could not have asked for a sneakier (or better) final few weeks of spring ball with Baker transferring in to help solidify what seems like will be a young but talented defense and Aaron Cochran filling a crucial role on the offensive line.“We’ve got to get a couple of corners,” said Gundy. “We need to get a couple of guys that we trust that can play. We’re going to play multiple guys, but at some points we need to get a couple of guys in there in key situations that are fresh that you trust because you’ve got to be able to cover a little bit in this league.”They got at least one in Baker.Camp StarDarius Curry stood out to us. He doesn’t have the most talent, but he might be the guy Gundy and Co. trust the most. And you know how big Gundy is on that.“Curry has been improved, just from being a veteran,” said Gundy. “But the young players have continued to get better.”It could be a matter of talent (A.J. Green and Madre Harper) vs. trust (Curry) come Game 1 in the fall.Projected Two DeepThis is what Kyle Boone thinks, and I would agree. I also love that he worked an “-or-” in there. Very Gundy of him. CB1A.J. GreenSoph. CB3Malik KearseSr. CB2Darius CurryR-Sr.center_img CB1Adrian BakerSr. Depth ChartPlayerClass CB3Bryce BalousR-Soph. CB2Rodarius Williams -or- Madre HarperR-Fr./Soph.last_img read more