Lionel Messis Majestic Season

This Saturday, the magisterial Lionel Messi will lead FC Barcelona against Italian powerhouse Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final. For you non-cosmopolitans, this is like Messi’s Super Bowl — if more people watched the Super Bowl.1Although claims of worldwide television audience can often be exaggerated, the UEFA final is one of the few events (along with the World Cup) to actually, regularly outdraw the Super Bowl in TV viewership. After winning La Liga last month and the Copa del Rey2Spain’s national cup. Sort of like the playoffs for Spanish soccer, except it runs throughout the year. last weekend, Barcelona is poised (and favored) to give Messi his second “treble,”3Although there are a lot of “treble” scenarios, it mostly requires that a team win its league (in this case, La Liga), its country’s national cup (in this case, the Copa del Rey), and its continent’s inter-league championship (in this case, UEFA for Europe). Note that Juventus is also playing for a treble. which would make it the first European squad to accomplish the feat twice.That Messi is once again on the precipice of glory isn’t entirely unexpected considering his talent and reputation. But not long ago, it seemed far from a sure thing.Messi’s 2014 World Cup performance was somewhat disappointing and even a little strange. Despite winning the Golden Ball (controversially) and leading Argentina to the final before succumbing to Germany in overtime, he only facilitated one goal (albeit on a game-winning assist) in the knockout rounds and curled a potential Cup-winner wide. By the end of the tournament, Messi’s bursts of brilliance were accompanied by the spectacle of him often strolling or even standing still on the pitch — he covered the least distance per minute of all forwards in the tournament. Was he exhausted? Or was he playing some bizarre metagame?A disappointed Messi returned to an uncertain situation with his club team. Barcelona was under new leadership, and despite already having Messi and Brazilian megastar Neymar, it acquired English Premier League (EPL) standout Luis Suarez as well. Although Suarez is now an essential member of the “holy trinity” of Barca forwards, it was unclear what all this meant for Messi at the time. Some wondered if Messi’s best years were behind him, and with many seeing Neymar as the future, rumors spread that Messi might be transferred to Chelsea or some other EPL squad.Barcelona started the season strong, but it lost its most important first-half test — taking a 3-1 beating at Real Madrid — Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid. Messi failed to score or assist in the game. When Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or for the second year in a row, the choice wasn’t even controversial.Oh how far we’ve come in a few short months. Messi’s season — once mired in disappointment and doubt — has turned unambiguously triumphant. Regardless of what happens this weekend, Messi’s 2014-15 season weaves together aesthetic achievement, statistical accomplishment and compelling narrative into a tapestry of genius.Your eyes do not deceive youDuring last year’s World Cup, I wrote “Lionel Messi Is Impossible” — a casual ditty of over 5,000 words and 15 charts — so I could wrap my head around something that my eyes already knew: This little dude is unreal.For example, let’s take this instant-classic goal from last weekend’s Copa action:In that incredible run, Messi takes on a defender close to midfield, finding space down the sideline. Two more defenders descend, and Messi takes on — and beats — all three. Yet another defender gets in front of him, with two more rapidly approaching as he breaks left and curls it in past everyone (the person who appears to have come closest to derailing the play is teammate Suarez).Messi’s unparalleled ability to make plays on his own when necessary is thrilling to behold, whether on TV, in viral Internet clips or in amazing scatterplots. In particular, his skill at taking on defenders is as much nerd-candy as eye-candy:In the past five years, Messi has taken on defenders one-on-one (or one-on-more-than-one, as in the Copa) 1,995 times, with 55 percent of those succeeding. The forwards with the next-most attempts are Suarez with 1,113 (success rate of 35 percent) and Ronaldo with 872 (success rate 43 percent). In the 2014-15 season, Messi has taken on defenders even more often (averaging 9.6 attempts per game vs. 8.3 in the previous four seasons) without sacrificing his success rate (56 percent vs. 55 percent).Statistics inform aesthetics (and vice versa). In this case, the statistics help us understand the scope of what we can see already: It’s not just that Messi is good, but that he plays the game a whole different way.The reckoning (plus Messi vs. Ronaldo)Messi’s 2015 success has brought narratives of resurgence, redemption and maturation. His statistical accomplishments inform those narratives, although I believe they ultimately lead the story somewhere slightly different.Let’s look at the ongoing saga of Messi vs. Ronaldo. At the year break, each had 32 goals plus assists for their club teams (not counting penalty kicks4Note that Ronaldo is historically a little better than Messi at PKs, but the value of this skill (as I’ve previously estimated) is perhaps 1 goal per year at most, not the several goals that may separate them any particular season.). But what had been a tight battle then started going more and more Messi’s way.For the most part, Messi’s brilliance in 2015 is just a linear extension of his brilliance in 2014. The separation from Ronaldo is more a product of Ronaldo’s slightly flatter production.Of course, the broader Ronaldo/Messi debate rages on, and in the abstract, I don’t want to take sides. They’re both outrageous outliers who play very different styles, and they’re both so deep in the zone of incomprehensibility that perfect knowledge of their true value is likely impossible:On the other hand, insofar as we have created statistical metrics to compile and measure our observations, they pretty much side with Messi: He scores more goals, shoots more efficiently, gets more assists, passes more aggressively, passes more accurately, and more.For more detail on the subject, I would again direct you to my longer piece from last year. The 2014-15 season changes little. If anything new has developed, it may be that Messi’s defensive contributions are greater than ever. Messi has 40 tackles this season with a tackle rate of 58.8 percent (high for a striker), compared with Ronaldo’s 10 tackles and 38.5 percent rate. Messi also had 16 interceptions to Ronaldo’s four.5Ronaldo continues to dominate Messi in clearances (he has 42 to Messi’s one) and aerials won and aerial win percentage (78 to 16 overall and 52.3 percent to 34.0 percent). While defensive stats in soccer are limited, what we do have for Messi was already perfectly adequate for a high-volume striker, and for 2014-15, his “defensive plays made per opponent possession” is now in the upper echelon of his cohort.Here is the goal production (non-penalty goals plus assists) over the past five years for Messi, Ronaldo and 3,280 other forwards and midfielders:In other words, both players have shifted back toward their multiyear performance.6That third line, which managed to match Ronaldo at its peak last season, is Suarez.Aside from his injury-affected 2013-14 season (which was still pretty great), Messi’s otherworldly production has been rather consistent. Despite the drama and protestations and the thousand Internet discussions, the most remarkable thing we’ve learned in 2015 is that Messi is pretty much as he ever was. That may not sound like the most thrilling observation, but when you’re as big of an outlier as Messi, staying the same is amazing in itself.Beware the fury of a patient MessiAlthough the data mostly suggests that Messi is just being himself, the revenge narrative that has emerged is enticing, and not even the most cold-hearted stat-geek can resist it.In addition to reclaiming his statistical throne from the man who usurped him as the official “best player in the world” by winning the last two Ballon d’Ors, Messi led Barcelona to victory against Real Madrid in Camp Nou, 2-1.7On a lighter note, Messi has presently moved in front of the usually-dominant Ronaldo in that most important of metrics, Google searches. Unfortunately, Real Madrid lost to Juventus in the Champions League semifinals, denying us the ultimate rubber match.But Messi’s revenge narrative truly converged with his aesthetic accomplishment in Barcelona’s 3-0 thrashing of Bayern Munchen8As a former resident of Germany, I reserve the right to call them this. I hope my editor agrees! [Ed note: I only kept this because I forced you to find a synonym for “scientia” higher in the article.] in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal. That Bayern team — led by Messi’s former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola — features many of the Germans who denied Messi in Brazil, and he carved them up. He had two amazing goals, virtually back-to-back, including this one:The opposition on that goal: the same two guys Messi faced on his missed potential Cup-winner, all-world goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng.Messi’s performance against Bayern was a master class in what makes him so good. In addition to his two goals (one from long range, one that put a defender on the ground), Messi also had three successful through ball passes in four attempts (including on this cringe-worthy Suarez miss). In the past year, Messi has attempted through-ball passes more than twice as often as any other player and has had twice as many assists from them as a result (and he has been doing that for years as well).For a 10 minute distillation of Messi greatness, watch this 10 minute supercut of his touches from that game (and watch for the through-ball attempts — they can be just as impressive as goals). It’s Messi being Messi. And the fact that Messi is still Messi may just be the most beautiful thing in sports. read more

The story behind the Crazy Rich Asians Black Panther viral cast photo

first_imgThe Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther viral joint cast photo was made possible by Harry Shum Jr. Steven Lam When the casts of Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther posed together for a photo at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January, the shot immediately went viral. The picture — which includes Crazy Rich Asians stars Constance Wu and Harry Shum Jr., as well as Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o — lit up the internet with delight.Turns out the moment was made possible by Shum, who just wanted to show his appreciation for the Black Panther ensemble, which won best cast in a motion picture at the awards ceremony.”I remember going to some [Crazy Rich Asians] cast members and saying, ‘Yo, let’s go say congratulations to the Black Panther cast,'” Shum said in an interview. “And then that happened.” “It was just this thing that started. People saw us mingling, and it was like, this is a perfect example of what Hollywood should be like, what it needs to do,” he continued. “It’s not just about your own community. How do you reach out with the community in mind, and collaborate or just support?”Shum spoke at a reception Thursday evening in Los Angeles for the Gold House A100, a list that honors Asians and Asian Americans in tech, entertainment and business. The list, announced earlier this month, includes several Crazy Rich Asians stars, including Shum, Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina and director Jon M. Chu. On Friday, Gold House also gave Chu its inaugural A1 award for the “single most impactful Asian of the year.”Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther were two of last year’s cultural milestones. The two films represented a push in Hollywood to tell more diverse stories and get more people of color on screen and behind the camera. Both movies were critical and commercial successes, and proved that movies with predominantly nonwhite casts could do well at the box office. 2:02 0 Now playing: Watch this: 2019 movies to geek out over Share your voice Danai Gurira, woman of actioncenter_img For Shum, the joint cast photo was an encapsulation of that push for representation. “It’s just a celebration of being there at this award show when so many faces have been erased or have been invisible,” he said. “And just to be there and see [the Black Panther cast] holding those trophies, it’s special.”Outside of entertainment, other heavy hitters honored by Gold House include Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Momofuku chef David Chang and Toronto Raptors point guard Jeremy Lin.Gold House also tries to ensure the success of projects driven by Asian people. A campaign by the group called #GoldOpen aims to buoy opening weekends by urging donors to buy out movie theaters and snap up tickets in bulk. The group made a big push around Crazy Rich Asians last year, which has grossed almost $240 million at the box office to date, and is the top grossing romantic comedy in 10 years. Tags 77 Photos Post a comment Culture Black Pantherlast_img read more

Samsung Galaxy S10 camera to greatly improve in next update Report

first_imgClose Huawei P30 Pro First Impressions, a super camera smartphone with extensive photography skills Samsung Galaxy S10-series set the benchmark pretty high for flagship smartphones, but for a price. Not too long after, chief rival Huawei changed the playing field where it crushed Samsung with the P30-series launch and left consumers wondering whether buying the Galaxy S10 was the right choice.Huawei P30 and P30 Pro greatly improved the camera experience like no other smartphone has, and one of the most-talked-about features include incredible zooming capabilities and extraordinary low-light photography. Samsung Galaxy S10 phones do fairly well when compared side-by-side, but they lacked a dedicated night mode – a feature that became the golden standard for comparing phone cameras since Google did its magic in Pixel 2 and Pixel 3-series.While most phones, including Huawei P30 Pro, Pixel 3 and even Pixel 2 series, offer a dedicated night mode, Samsung Galaxy S10 lacked the setting. That doesn’t mean the Samsung phones didn’t have the night mode in them, only that it works when the camera deems it necessary. Samsung Galaxy S10 seriesSamsung Mobile PressSamsung Galaxy S10-series come with Bright Night feature, which is supposed to offer a similar experience as Huawei P30’s Night mode and Google’s critically-acclaimed Night Sight. Not only the Bright Night feature lacked the precision with which Huawei and Google brightened a night shot. If the latest report is to be believed, Samsung is going to put an end to the criticisms.Noted mobile tipster, Ice Universe, is suggesting that Samsung is going to roll out a software update to its Galaxy S10 phones in April or May, which could add a dedicated night mode and also update the camera algorithm. This is Samsung’s best bet to put up with the challenge presented by Huawei P30 Pro as it cannot improve the hardware post-launch. With the right amount of software tuning, Samsung could get the results users want to see in their Galaxy S10 phones. Samsung Galaxy S10 to get camera upgrade soonSamsung Mobile PressSamsung has updated the biometrics apps on the Galaxy S10 to improve fingerprint unlock speed. The company had promised that the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner in the Galaxy S10 required users to simply tap and lift the finger to unlock the device, but then reality hit Samsung hard. Through a software update, Samsung seems to have addressed the problem.There’s no concrete evidence that Samsung will improve the camera as said above, but seeing it is taking customer feedback seriously, don’t lose hope just yet.last_img read more

Over 28 of Japanese population old

first_imgMasazo Nonaka of Japan, aged 112, smiles after being awarded the Guinness World Records` oldest male person living title in Ashoro, Hokkaido prefecture on April 10, 2018. Nonaka was born on 25 July 1905. Photo: AFPMore than 28 per cent of Japan’s population is now officially classified as elderly according to government data, the highest rate in the world as the first wave of postwar baby boomers enter old age.Those aged 65 or older now make up a record 35.6 million, or 28.1 per cent of the total population, the government said Sunday.The proportion is the highest by far in the world, ahead of 23.3 per cent in Italy, 21.9 per cent in Portugal and 21.7 per cent in Germany, according to UN data for those countries.The government also said those aged 70 or older accounted for 20.7 per cent of the population, surpassing 20 per cent for the first time.The figures show the nation’s postwar baby boomers are now entering old age, it said.The demographic shift is due to a combination of a low birthrate and long life expectancy.Japan’s rapidly greying population poses a major headache for policymakers who are faced with trying to ensure an ever-dwindling pool of workers can pay for the growing number of pensioners.last_img

Annual Meeting and Awards Celebration

first_imgThe Arc Baltimore will hold its 2015 Annual Meeting and awards ceremony on May 6. The reception and open bar will begin at 6:30p.m at the North Baltimore Plaza Hotel, 2004 Greenspring Drive, Timonium, Maryland. Tickets are $20 for Arc staff and supported individuals and $40 for all others. To RSVP contact Lauren Seabolt at 410-296-2272 ext 5210 or visit www.thearcbaltimore.org.last_img