Duo are back-up options for Spurs ahead of £50m spree – report

first_imgThe Sunday Mirror say Tottenham will make a bid for Fulham star Moussa Dembele if Porto refuse to drop their £25m asking price for Joao Moutinho.Spurs are said to have previously made an offer for Dembele and remain interested in taking him to White Hart Lane.Dembele has been linked with Spurs several times.It is claimed the north London club are planning a £50m spending spree before the transfer window closes and that Chelsea’s Raul Meireles is also among their back-up options if they are unable to land their first-choice targets.Liverpool are planning a ‘final push’ to sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham, according to The People.The American has been linked with a move to Anfield for several months but no official bid has been made.However, it is claimed manager Brendan Rodgers has told Liverpool’s owners he is determined to capture Dempsey.The Sun on Sunday say Fulham have stepped up their apparent interest in Evian’s Ivory Coast striker Yannick Sagbo, who it is claimed is rated at £3m.The Sunday Mirror suggest Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill is ­weighing up a move for Tottenham’s Michael Dawson.The defender has stalled over a transfer to QPR, who have had a bid for him accepted, and is believed to be keen to join the Black Cats.Meanwhile, out-of-favour QPR striker Jay Bothroyd has again been linked with Sheffield Wednesday.The People claim Owls boss Dave Jones, who managed Bothroyd at Cardiff, is keen to complete a deal to sign him on loan.Rangers manager Mark Hughes recently stated that no approach had been made for the player.The Sunday Mirror run a story suggesting that Bothroyd, Luke Young, DJ Campbell, Rob Hulse and Tommy Smith are unhappy with the way they have been treated at Loftus Road.Smith has moved to Cardiff and the others have been told that they too can leave the club.A source said to be close to the players is quoted as saying: “They find the way they have been treated disrespectful.“They have not been a moment’s trouble to the club. They cannot understand what is going on and why this has happened.”See also:Tottenham ready to focus on Dembele as Modric’s replacement – reportFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Messages from Mercury

first_img(Visited 53 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 With MESSENGER in its final days before impact, the innermost planet has become a familiar place.NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has already made history before its scheduled crash into the planet Mercury on April 30.  After 10 years in space, 4,000 orbits (PhysOrg) and 10 terabytes of science data (see infographic), it will take years to digest the many discoveries made. After a near 40-year hiatus, MESSENGER, managed by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL), has provided a giant leap in Mercury science since the brief flybys of a far-less-capable spacecraft, Mariner 10, in 1974. MESSENGER’s swan song, a low-altitude campaign, has brought more discoveries to waiting planetary scientists and the public.A pre-crash news conference will be held on April 16. Results of a previous science conference (March 16) have been posted on PhysOrg.  Among the many surprises were thousands of  “hollows” (ranging in size from tens of meters to several kilometers across and tens of meters deep) that show Mercury is not a dead planet.  Because the “hollows appear to be younger than the planet’s freshest impact craters,” the finding “suggests that Mercury is a planet whose surface is still evolving.” Also, some scarps are thought to be less than 50 million years old, just a 1% fraction of the planet’s assumed 4.5 billion year history.  One more “geologically young” trait was found—young volatiles at the poles:MESSENGER’s low-altitude campaign has enabled imaging of the polar deposits in the permanently shadowed floors of Mercury’s near-polar craters at higher resolutions than ever previously obtained, says Nancy Chabot, the Instrument Scientist for MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) and a planetary scientist with APL.“Acquired with the broadband filter of MDIS, low-altitude images show that the deposits have sharp, well-defined boundaries and are not disrupted by small, young impact craters,” says Chabot. “These characteristics indicate that the deposits are geologically young. This inference points either to delivery of volatiles to Mercury in the geologically recent past or to an ongoing process that restores the deposits and maintains the sharp boundaries.”Another mystery was solved, that of Mercury’s dark color. The BBC News and Science Magazine relay the answer: the planet has been spray-painted with comet dust and with carbon from certain carbon-rich meteorites. Because it is so close to the sun, Mercury gets pummeled often by comets and wandering bodies pulled in by the sun’s gravity. The high-speed impacts create amorphous carbon with the darkness of pencil lead (graphite) and soot. The BBC article claims it has been going on for billions of years, but does not explain.  A press release from Brown University says that after billions of years, “Mercury’s surface should be anywhere from 3 to 6 percent carbon.”As with almost every object in the solar system, actual data provided by visiting spacecraft have been surprising, revolutionary, and contrary to expectations. Usually the data do not fit the A.S.S. assumption. Three evidences of youth are provided above; there are more, such as the magnetic field that should be long gone. Creation scientists freed from the bad A.S.S. of the moyboys may wish to look at the spray-painting by comets and make some projections about how much soot should be there after 4.5 billion years. Perhaps young craters can tell something about the depth of the material.Two other missions are worth watching for evidence of youth: the Rosetta Mission (ongoing) at a comet, and the July arrival of New Horizons at Pluto. Already, some are expecting it to be “gusty and gassy” according to Space.com.  For something out in the cold reaches of the solar system, that will be difficult for the moyboys to explain (but they will make up a story, as they always do).last_img read more

With West Indies at their weakest, chance for Team India to win a series overseas

first_imgEasy for Sir Viv to say. When the West Indies played their best cricket, no one else dared bark.Richards took part in 35 Test victories overseas and played in a team that once went 10 years losing only eight Test matches. In toto. Home and away. Sir Viv should know.But,Easy for Sir Viv to say. When the West Indies played their best cricket, no one else dared bark.Richards took part in 35 Test victories overseas and played in a team that once went 10 years losing only eight Test matches. In toto. Home and away. Sir Viv should know.But who shredded the script? How come nervous travellers India – they’ve won only 16 away Test matches in 70 years-have now stepped into Sir Viv’s borders for five Tests and find themselves anointed favourites? Brian Lara, Caribbean cricket’s answer to Bobby Fischer, has remarked he is “quietly fearful” of the Indians.Single Agenda: Sourav Ganguly leads a team which hasn’t won in the Caribbean since 1971Instead of a triumphant fist-pump, a quick double take is recommended. Sourav Ganguly and his weary men have, unfortunately, not yet turned into ferocious bad dogs. It is the West Indies who are in disarray. India happen to be visiting.It’s the synchronicity which has every expert proclaiming that this is India’s best chance to win an away series outside the subcontinent since England, 1986.Says former captain Dilip Vengsarkar, who was the best performer of the 1986 series and led the Indians through a shell-shock of a West Indian tour in 1989: “This must possibly be the weakest West Indian team ever. They don’t have experience in the bowling, don’t have the class. This is our best opportunity ever.”Flip the coin over and it looks a little different. What is being tested is not West Indies’ strength at home-their powers are fading but they have lost only three series in the islands in the past 30 years-but rather India’s ability to win abroad.advertisementIn 1992, a line-up that contained Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin, Ravi Shastri, Sachin Tendulkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Manoj Prabhakar, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath couldn’t beat Zimbabwe in Harare. Six years later, an Indian eleven including Azhar, Navjot Sidhu, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Nayan Mongia, Srinath and Kumble actually lost a Test at the same wretched place. The opposition was Zimbabwe, hardly classy world-beaters.Javagal Srinath leads India’s best attack in yearsIndia’s away record remains a hurdle, a handicap, a heartache and a headache that nothing-no home remedies like Tendulkar centuries, Kumble five-fers (five wicket hauls), Harbhajan hat-tricks or Gangulyan lofted sixes-can cure. It will only be cured when the jinx is broken.When Srinath- who pulled out of the 1996 tour due to a shoulder injury-talks about the West Indies today he could be an impatient commuter sprinting for a train, “There is not much time. The bottom line is I have won nothing abroad. We need to make sure that we do.”A veteran of two West Indies tours, Ravi Shastri says emphatically, “I think this is the first time we have the attack to take 20 wickets since 1971.” Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra and Tinu Yohannan are hardly the Beastie Boys, but they are not the Marx Brothers either.On wickets which are far slower than what Shastri and Co faced in the 1980s, the presence of Kumble and Harbhajan Singh should in theory give the Indian attack both bark and bite.Manjrekar too insists, “We should be looking at winning in the West Indies-that’s the only result we should be satisfied with.” India rarely travels with such gung-ho ambition. As a player Shastri watched the body language of teammates shrink into silence when faced with lively wickets and hostile quick bowling in the Caribbean.”You could tell from the guys’ faces who was s******g bricks, who wanted to play and who didn’t for fear of being exposed.” A player on the 1996 West Indies tour remembers what he was told even before landing: “Seniors told juniors all the usual stuff, ‘Oh, in Jamaica it will keep flying’. That’s nonsense, you get true wickets there. Some are even slower than India. Winning overseas is a mental block.”Mainstays: The slowing wickets should favour Sachin Tendulkar (left) and Rahul DravidClick here to EnlargeIt’s a block many in Ganguly’s team believe they are chipping away at. They cling to the memory of two wins outside India last year in Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. “It’s a confidence thing,” skipper Ganguly told INDIA TODAY.”We came back in Lanka after losing the first Test and squared the series with a depleted side.” India were the last team to beat Sri Lanka at home before Sanath Jayasuriya’s men won nine straight Tests in a row.The Indians are studying videotapes of the Windies’ recent series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The more Net-savvy have trawled through scoresheets of the Windies’ home games. They have discovered that scoring rates in the Caribbean have fallen: from an average of 3.3/ 3.4 runs scored per over to 2.3/ 2.4 runs per over in the past five years.advertisementIndia vice-captain Rahul Dravid translates the numbers into match-day scenarios, “It’s going to be a game of patience,” he told INDIA TODAY. “The key for the batsmen would be to try to get in on those wickets and be patient.” V.V.S. Laxman, who opened for the Indians on the 1996 tour, says, “The wickets there are similar to Indian wickets-you have to back yourself, occupy the crease and get the runs.”Occupation of the crease. Patience. Ho hum. Not quite our flash middle-order’s morning cuppa. The tour dangles many individual carrots: Captain Ganguly (and for that matter the unflash Dravid) have not scored a Test century overseas for three years, Tendulkar doesn’t have one in the West Indies and Laxman hasn’t crossed the three-figure mark since the Big One in Kolkata.Click here to EnlargeGanguly tosses aside the carrots and looks at the entire plot, “All of us need to score runs, but runs that are going to help India win the series. Those runs, scored under pressure, have more value.”On tour, Indian teams have rarely valued their chances or put a high-enough prices on their wickets. They have tossed opportunities aside like cheap trinkets. In 1989, current selector and ex-coach Madan Lal watched in horror as the Indian batsmen failed to chase 120 in Barbados.It would have given India the series, but Lal remembers their chance came in the earlier Test in Trinidad. He confesses “we didn’t push hard enough” to put up a good lead and let West Indies save Trinidad.The Slow Stuff: The spin of Anil Kumble (right) and Harbhajan Singh will test the WindiesNeither Lal nor any survivor of that tour will comment on how many of the 10 wickets that fell on the final day in Barbados were to genuine panic and how many were deliberately thrown away.”Let’s not go there,” says one player. “All we needed were two partnerships, we went numb,” says another. The Nasty Nineties are, on available evidence, behind the team but the habit of blowing chances overseas is not.In Harare (again) last year an hour’s poor batting let Zimbabwe back in the second Test and helped them level the series 1-1. In Sri Lanka, a few months later, the Indian batting threw away good starts in Colombo twice and let the Lankans take the series 2-1.India even scored 372 on the first day of the Test series against South Africa and went on to lose the game. Lal says sternly, “You have to use your skill at the right time.”The tour of the West Indies, old timers say, is a chance for individual players to “explore” themselves and to come to terms with what they are capable of. One of those is Harbhajan Singh whose battle against the West Indian batting and its left-handers is expected to be decisive.advertisementHe has a particularly good record against lefties and remarks, “I’m hoping when I come back, it will be better.” What about the most la guid lefty of them all-Prince Brian-who single-handedly denied the Australians a series victory on their 1999 tour? Ganguly steps in, “Lara is quality, but for a batsman all you need is one good ball. We’ve got to be disciplined and make sure he gets enough of those.”The Indians have travelled away from home in hope and anticipation before and the chorus on their departure has remained the same: opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. But like the old song says, it ain’t no chance if you don’t take it.last_img read more