Friday, September 4, 2009

Clinical New Zealand seal series

New Zealand 170 for 4 (Ryder 52, McCullum 49) beat Sri Lanka (Sangakkara 69, Jayawardene 41, Bond 3-18, Nathan McCullum 2-18 ) by 22 runs

Brendon McCullum reaches out wide to slash, Sri Lanka v New Zealand, 2nd Twenty20, Colombo, September 4, 2009
Brendon McCullum slammed 49 off 34 balls © AFP

Having been beaten soundly in the Test series, New Zealand now head into the tri-series brimming with confidence after a second consecutive 20-over victory over Sri Lanka, this time by 22 runs. Brendon McCullum and Jesse Ryder's clinical hitting and Nathan McCullum's teasing offspin were responsible for driving New Zealand to victory and handing Sri Lanka their fourth Twenty20 loss in a row.

Brendon McCullum and Ryder were badly out of form during the Test campaign, but showed both courage and muscle during an 84-run opening stand in 62 deliveries, while Nathan McCullum gave further proof that New Zealand's limited-overs recruits have helped shape a change in fortunes. When Sri Lanka quickly slumped to 11 for 3 this game looked almost over as a contest, but Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara still had a sting to inflict, adding 67 in 43 balls. Then came the fatal blow in the 11th over, bowled by Nathan McCullum, as Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews departed to clever changes of pace. Thereafter, Sri Lanka were never in the hunt.

There were to be no fireworks this evening from Tillakaratne Dilshan, who flicked straight to deep square leg in the first over, giving Shane Bond his first international wicket since 2007. In walked Mahela Udawatte at No. 3, the one change Sri Lanka made, and back out he went after he checked his first ball from Kyle Mills and gave point a dolly. Sri Lanka's chances dimmed when Mills got Sanath Jayasuriya to miscue to midwicket in the fourth over.

Mills' third over wasn't as productive, as Jayawardene put away two full tosses and a half-volley on the pads. After the Powerplay overs Sri Lanka were 37 for 3, compared to 64 for 2 on Wednesday. Then Jayawardene and Sangakkara stepped on the gas, rattling up a 50-run stand in 6 overs. Where Jayawardene improvised to dab the ball past Brendon McCullum behind the stumps, walk across and paddle, and pull six over fine leg, all off Ian Butler, Sangakkara used his feet to come out and bisect midwicket and square leg.

By now the crowd had roared back to life and New Zealand appeared worried, but in one over the mood changed dramatically. Daniel Vettori called on Nathan McCullum, who came in for this game in place of Peter McGlashan, and within four balls he snapped Sri Lanka's spine. Jayawardene's top edge was well held by Ryder at short fine leg, and then Angelo Mathews chipped softly to midwicket. Vettori knew taking the pace off would work, and that was a sensational over from Nathan McCullum.

Nathan McCullum put down a very tough caught-and-bowled chance off Sangakkara, who reached his half-century off 40 balls. Sangakkara kept flaying but his luck ran out on 69 when he top-edged back to Oram. Bond completed the dénouement with 3 for 18.

It was only a matter of time before Brendon McCullum and Ryder found their groove in coloured clothing. Brendon McCullum got off the mark with a cramped chop to third man, but there was nothing restrained about strokes that raced to the boundaries at backward point, square leg and midwicket. Against Nuwan Kulasekara he began by pulling off his own version of the scoop trademarked by Dilshan, with some help from his helmet, getting way across and scooping the ball from outside off stump, on to Sangakkara's helmet, for four.

Lasith Malinga's second over cost 19. First Brendon McCullum steered a couple to third man by getting outside leg stump, then backed away and carved six over backward point, put a no-ball away for four with power past two off-side fielders, and finished off by slapping three through cover.

Ryder had been content allowing his partner take charge, ticking along to 10 by the time Brendon McCullum was 35. Ajantha Mendis came on for one over, the sixth, and allowed just three but Malinga Bandara was given a rude welcome by Ryder, who got down and swatted six over midwicket. He nonchalantly paddled Jayasuriya for four and Brendon McCullum slammed Dilshan for a six, his 100th boundary shot in this format.

With New Zealand's run rate 8.30, Jayasuriya struck when Brendon McCullum knocked back a return catch for 49. Ryder accelerated his game efficiently, repeating the slogged six twice off Dilshan in a 20-run 12th over in which he raised his fifty off 31 balls. Then Mendis returned to bowl the next over and immediately had Ryder beaten in the flight and popping an easy catch to extra cover.

Jayasuriya, after a break and a change of ends, came back to dismiss Ross Taylor playing across the line for 16. Martin Guptill, demoted to No. 4, jacked the run-rate back with six and a four in Kulasekara's comeback over, the 17th, which cost 17. Malinga bowled a seven-run final over in which he yorked Guptill for 32, but by getting 87 in the last ten overs New Zealand had done well.

So well, in fact, that victory was all too easy.

Online Schooling Picks Up Students—and Respect

Thanks to the recession, Internet schooling is taking on growing importance—and gaining acceptance.

The huge cost of a higher education—plus the need by many laid off workers to learn new skills—has sparked a sharp increase in the number of people taking online courses. And online degrees, especially from well-known institutions, are gaining acceptance among educators and employers.

Woman using a computer

Some 3.94 million people were enrolled in at least one online course in fall 2007, up 12.9% from 2006, according to studies by Sloan Consortium, an online education service provider. By contrast, the overall enrollment in higher education during that period only grew at a 1.6% rate.

The enrollment number for this year, coming out in November, is expected to be considerably higher. Today, almost 85% of college students are taking online courses of some kind.

“The recession has been a bonanza for the online education industry,” says Frank Mayadas, program director at Sloan Foundation, an advocacy group for education and parent of Sloan Consortium. “It comes as a result of a mixture of pursuit for convenience, fear for job loss and desire to recharge while unemployed.”

As unemployment rate spikes to near 10%, more working adults are taking online courses either to find a better job or to keep their jobs.

“It’s always good to have some leverage behind my name,” says Michael Hounshel, 35, a high school graduate and father of three. He entered an online associate degree program at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana after being laid off from a travel management company about a year ago.

For Hounshel, opting for the online program was to save fuel costs and enjoy flexible study hours.

“There would be no possible way for me to juggle between family, kids and a potential employer if it was not for the online program,” Hounshel says. All together, Hounshel estimates he saved about $160 a month on gas he would have had to pay to drive to campus twice a week.

According to Vicky Philips, founder of, a website ranking online programs in the US, online programs usually cost as much as regular classroom programs. What really lures many into taking courses online is it allows people to compare tuitions and opt for more affordable programs without leaving home.

“It’s the first time they can chop on cost and shop for education,” Philips says.

Maryam Alkhas, a 53 year-old physical therapist seeking a doctorate degree at New York University, is planning on switching to a similar program offered online by Boston University. Alkhas is expecting to save $500 on each credit, or $10,000 all together on tuition, while still keeping her job in New York.

As more students flock to online courses, established schools are taking notice. Many consider it more feasible to invest in online programs in today’s economic times.

Fingers typing on a keyboard, close-up.

According to Jane Conoley, dean of the Education Department at University of California, Santa Barbara, the school is discussing plans to build its 11th virtual campus to curtail costs on building physical facilities, especially given the ever-shrinking state budget.

While many still have reservations about the quality of online courses, studies by U.S. Department of Education show that online learning courses are as effective as classroom-based instructions, if not more.

The study further proves the “blend model”—combining face-to-face instruction and online elements —is the most effective. According to Marshall Smith, Senior Counselor to U.S. Secretary of Education, online education has been working effectively for the last decade.

For that reason, Smith says Congress is considering a $650 million budget for technology improvement in schools from Obama’s Recovery Act.

The Department of Education "is very supportive of online learning,” Marshall says in an interview.

UC Santa Barbara's Conoley also says online courses are effective. She cites a study in which students at the University of Texas, Austin who took a course online posted similar test results as those who took the same course in a classroom.

Conoley says that today’s technology allows online elements such as data, pictures and videos to enhance interaction among students as well as that between students and instructors.

Online diplomas also enjoy various degrees of acceptance among employers. Surveys done by show that employers are more and more satisfied with workers with online degrees. Yet still the majority prefer online degrees from colleges with long history.

Since many existing online courses are blended with classroom instruction to make up the full curriculum, diplomas usually don’t specify the online part. Under comparison, students taking the whole degree online are less acceptable. Experts also point out that employers generally have little concern about vocational online degrees.

According to Andrew Steinerman, education sector analyst at JPMorgan, many companies today encourage their employees to take virtual courses/degrees by reimbursing the tuition. JP Morgan, according to Steinerman, is also offering such benefit to their employees.

Still, not all online programs are worthwhile, especially since the industry is still relatively new.

“It's very important that the industry deliver quality courses and qualified instructors" says Mayadas of Sloan Foundation, “Only when people realize it’s quality education and you’ve got to earn it, it will work.”

Williams sisters cruise into U.S. Open last 16

(CNN) -- Serena Williams moved a step closer to defending her U.S. Open title, although she had to produce her best tennis to see off Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Serena Williams shows her relief after clinching victory over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

Serena Williams shows her relief after clinching victory over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez.

The 27-year-old American won 6-3 7-5 to secure a fourth-round showdown with Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova, who eased past another American, Vania King, 6-2 6-2.

Second seed Williams had to fight back from 1-3 down in the final set to claim victory and praised her opponent afterwards. "She was serving really well especially in the second set, but I just kept on fighting," the American told reporters.

"It's not often that I play someone that serves and volleys like that.

"Playing doubles here helped with that. I got super-pumped when 1-3 down in the second set as I knew I had to recharge my batteries."

Serena will be joined by sister Venus, who survived a tough challenge from Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-2 7-5.

Venus Williams next faces former world number one, Kim Clijsters. The Belgian ace continued her fine run on her grand slam comeback on Friday, brushing aside compatriot Kirsten Flipkens, 6-0 6-2.

In-form Italian Flavia Pennetta is also through to the last 16 after crushing Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1 6-1.

The 27-year-old 10th seed, who has now lost just six games in three rounds, was joined by compatriot Francesca Schiavone, who upset eighth seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 4-6 6-2 6-2.

Pennetta won titles at Palermo in July and Los Angeles last month and comes into New York in the best form of her career.


She defeated Romania's Edina Gallovits 6-0 6-4 in the first round and then whitewashed India's Sania Mirza 6-0 6-0 in the second round.

Pennetta will next play seventh seed Vera Zvonereva for a place in the quarterfinals, where she could run into favorite Williams

Easy Egg Recipes from Our Readers

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The future of libraries, with or without books

(CNN) -- The stereotypical library is dying -- and it's taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it.

Libraries are trying to imagine their futures with or without books.

Libraries are trying to imagine their futures with or without books.

Books are being pushed aside for digital learning centers and gaming areas. "Loud rooms" that promote public discourse and group projects are taking over the bookish quiet. Hipster staffers who blog, chat on Twitter and care little about the Dewey Decimal System are edging out old-school librarians.

And that's just the surface. By some accounts, the library system is undergoing a complete transformation that goes far beyond these image changes.

Authors, publishing houses, librarians and Web sites continue to fight Google's efforts to digitize the world's books and create the world's largest library online. Meanwhile, many real-world libraries are moving forward with the assumption that physical books will play a much-diminished or potentially nonexistent role in their efforts to educate the public.

Some books will still be around, they say, although many of those will be digital. But the goal of the library remains the same: To be a free place where people can access and share information.

"The library building isn't a warehouse for books," said Helene Blowers, digital strategy director at the Columbus [Ohio] Metropolitan Library. "It's a community gathering center."

Think of the change as a Library 2.0 revolution -- a mirror of what's happened on the Web.

Library 2.0

People used to go online for the same information they could get from newspapers. Now they go to Facebook, Digg and Twitter to discuss their lives and the news of the day. Forward-looking librarians are trying to create that same conversational loop in public libraries. The one-way flow of information from book to patron isn't good enough anymore.

"We can pick up on all of these trends that are going on," said Toby Greenwalt, virtual services coordinator at the Skokie Public Library in suburban Chicago.

Greenwalt, for example, set up a Twitter feed and text-messaging services for his library. He monitors local conversations on online social networks and uses that information as inspiration for group discussions or programs at the real-world library.

Other libraries are trying new things, too.

The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, in North Carolina, has a multimedia space where kids shoot videos and record music. It also runs a blog dedicated to gaming and hosts video game tournaments regularly.

Kelly Czarnecki, a technology education librarian at ImaginOn, a kids' branch of that library, said kids learn by telling their own stories.

"Our motto here is to bring stories to life, so by having the movie and music studio we can really tap into a different angle of what stories are," she said. "They're not just in books. They're something kids can create themselves."

Czarnecki believes that doesn't have to come at the expense of book-based learning.

The Aarhus Public Library in Aarhus, Denmark, takes things a step further.

The library features an "info column," where people share digital news stories; an "info galleria" where patrons explore digital maps layered with factoids; a digital floor that lets people immerse themselves in information; and RFID-tagged book phones that kids point at specific books to hear a story.

"The library has never been just about books," said Rolf Hapel, director of the city's public libraries.

Community Centers

Jason M. Schultz, director of the Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic at the University of California at Berkeley Law School, said libraries always have served two roles in society: They're places where people can get free information; and they're community centers for civic debate.

As books become more available online, that community-center role will become increasingly important for libraries, he said.

"It depends on whether we prioritize it as a funding matter, but I think there always will be a space for that even if all the resources are digital," he said.

Some libraries are trying to gain an edge by focusing on the "deeply local" material -- the stuff that only they have, said Blowers, the librarian in Ohio.

"How do we help add that value to a format like the Internet, which is expansively global?" she said. "So we look at what do we have here that we could help people gain access to by digitizing it."

That material can be used to start community discussions, she said.


This shift means the role of the librarian -- and their look -- is also changing.

In a world where information is more social and more online, librarians are becoming debate moderators, givers of technical support and community outreach coordinators.

They're also no longer bound to the physical library, said Greenwalt, of the library in Skokie, Illinois. Librarians must venture into the digital space, where their potential patrons exist, to show them why the physical library is still necessary, he said.

A rise in a young, library-chic subculture on blogs and on Twitter is putting a new face on this changing role, said Linda C. Smith, president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education.

Some wear tattoos, piercings and dress like they belong on the streets of Brooklyn instead of behind bookshelves. They're also trying on new titles. Instead of librarians, they're "information specialists" or "information scientists."

Libraries like the "Urban Media Space," which is set to open in 2014 in Aarhus, Denmark, are taking on new names, too. And all of that experimentation is a good thing, Smith said, because it may help people separate the book-bound past of libraries from the liberated future.

"It's a source of tension in the field because, for some people, trying to re-brand can be perceived as a rejection of the [library] tradition and the values," she said. "But for other people it's a redefinition and an expansion."

Funding woes

In the United States, libraries are largely funded by local governments, many of which have been hit hard by the recession.

That means some libraries may not get to take part in technological advances. It also could mean some of the nation's 16,000 public libraries could be shut down or privatized. Schultz, of the Berkeley Law School, said it would be easy for public officials to point to the growing amount of free information online as further reason to cut public funding for libraries.

Use of U.S. public libraries is up over the past decade, though, and many people in the information and libraries field say they're excited about opportunities the future brings.

"I came into libraries and it wasn't about books," said Peter Norman, a graduate student in library and information science at Simmons College in Boston who says he's most interested in music and technology. "Sure I love to read. I read all the time. I read physical books. But I don't have the strange emotional attachment that some people possess."

"If the library is going to turn into a place without books, I'm going to evolve with that too," he said.

Indiana Grower Recalls Cantaloupes

Few things are as refreshing as chilled melon in the hot months of summer, but Midwesterners may have gotten more than they bargained for. Over the weekend, Melon Acres issued a recall on cantaloupes sold in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio after samples were found to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Melons are, unfortunately, a not uncommon source of Salmonella contamination but this particular case begs a number of questions. The melons, distributed by Farm-Wey Produce of Lakeland, Fla., were tested by the Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 11, and then distributed two and three days later to Aldi’s in Greenwood, Ind., and Meijer stores in Lansing and Newport, Mich., and Tip City, Ohio. The FDA reported its results back to Melon Acres on Aug. 21. The recall was issued Aug. 29.

So, what took so long? Communication appears to have been the biggest problem. Melon Acres, based in Oaktown, Ind., wasn’t notified of the results until about 6 p.m. on a Friday.
“Have you ever tried to get a hold of a lawyer on a Friday night?,” asked Norm Conde, project manager for Melon Acres. The growers needed the lawyer to help write up the recall, he said.

Once they did finally reach their attorney at 9 a.m. the following Monday, they were faced with more hurdles. Communications between the lawyer and an FDA official based in Michigan foundered a few times and it was the end of the week – Friday – before they finally were able to issue the recall, said Conde. By that point, of course, the melons had been on the market for a week.

No illnesses have been reported from this particular outbreak, but there have been plenty of illnesses related to Salmonella-contaminated melons – cantaloupes in particular – in the past. One of the problems with cantaloupes is the very thing that protects them: their skins. Mottled and pocked, the rough surfaces of cantaloupes provide perfect hiding places for dirt and bacteria. Unless you effectively remove all the dirt on the surface, you risk pushing pathogens into the flesh of the fruit when you slice into it. Studies show that simply rinsing or scrubbing the skin does little more than move the pathogens around, frequently into uncontaminated areas of the surface. Pathogens can work their way into the flesh through the point where the stem joins the melon, too.

“Know your grower” is probably the best rule to follow, but even that isn’t a complete safeguard. As it happens, this is the first time in its 33-year history Melon Acres has had to deal with this issue, Conde said, and the company follows strict safety practices to ensure the safety of their produce. They grow their melons on plastic mulch, for example, which in addition to speeding up the growing process also provides a barrier between the fruit and the soil, and they avoid using manure – even composted manure – for fertilizer. An on-site lab, opened this year, lets them perform their own tests, as well.

Nothing, however, is guaranteed. When you’re dealing with dirt, you’re gonna get dirty.