If early reports turn out to be accurate, Markelle Fultz is headed to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers traded the third pick in this year’s draft and a protected first round pick in either the 2018 or 2019 draft to the Boston Celtics. It’s a mammoth deal for both teams, and it has ramifications for the long-term outlooks of both. But lost in the commotion of assets changing hands and the deal’s implications on other big-ticket trades are the particulars about the player at the heart of the deal: Fultz himself.Playing in the Pacific Northwest on a nontournament team (and missing a chunk of time because of injury) made Fultz one of the most anonymous presumptive No. 1 picks in living memory. Just about every argument about the Washington Huskies guard is phrased in the subjunctive — a theoretical commodity more than a concrete set of skills. But dig down into what actually makes his game so good and it becomes obvious in a hurry that Fultz is a monster.Fultz has been billed as a pick-and-roll playmaker, which is true but vague. He doesn’t sit up high and find long, surprising passing lanes like James Harden does, nor does he feint and jab on a defense until it cedes ground like Chris Paul does. Fultz’s game is built around his jumper and his handle. He’s a strong shooter off the dribble and a strong enough dribbler to operate in tight spaces and get to the rim, where he’s an excellent finisher. This means defenses have to crowd him wherever he is on the floor, whether it’s 25 feet from the rim or having turned the corner on a pick and roll. And if a defense sends help, he’s a willing passer to the open man, even if that means a 40-foot, cross-court pass.The Huskies scored 109 points per 100 plays1Per Synergy Sports Technology when Fultz passed out the pick-and-roll, including 115 points per 100 on passes to spot-up shooters. To get a sense of how much the team relied on Fultz, consider those numbers in their full context. On spot-up jumpers that weren’t set up by a Fultz pick-and-roll or taken by Fultz himself (101 points per 100 plays), the Huskies managed just 82 points per 100 plays. That’s dreadful. That would have ranked 333rd out of 351 D-I schools. But Fultz was able to draw so much attention and create such good shots for his teammates that they went from one of the worst-shooting teams in the country to one of the best when he set them up.Not just any player commands the sort of defensive attention Fultz saw — even when he is by far the best player on his team. And what makes Fultz special is how good he is shooting off the dribble in traffic. On all pull-up jumpers, he scored 102 points per 100 plays, which is already very good. But when he was working out of the pick and roll, that number shot up to 118 points per 100 plays, as Fultz took advantage of the little bit of daylight created by the screen to get a slightly better look or to a better spot on the floor.Having a god-tier pull-up jumper is an increasingly critical skill for NBA guards, but so is finishing at the rim. Being a genuine threat on the drive is the reason the pick-and-roll offense works — it’s what makes James Harden and Russell Westbrook nightmares for opponents and what powers the LeBron Offense in Cleveland. And Fultz scored 130 points per 100 plays when going to the rim out of pick-and-roll plays. He has a tight (though not exactly dazzling) handle — aided by a nice little hesitation/head-fake move that freezes defenders who have to respect that pullup — and he uses it to get into the lane at will.All that said, the most spectacular offense in the league can’t do much for you if you’re giving up points at the other end. The Huskies were abysmal on the defensive end — they ranked 250th of 351 D-I men’s teams in defensive SRS — and Fultz’s personal numbers aren’t much better. He ranked in the bottom third of all D-I men’s players while defending all but one shot type, according to Synergy. But the defense Fultz plays in the NBA will be much different, mainly because the Huskies spent a lot of time in zone, and that asks players to do very different things to contest shots and deny space than pro-style defenses. But defense should still be a concern. Fultz has good physical tools — he averaged 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game — and he was actually quite good the few times he was isolated in man-on-man situations, but his attention away from the ball will need the same improvements as most rookies.Fultz is a top overall prospect because he’s very, very good at things that are fundamental to the pro game — pick-and-roll playmaking, pull-up shooting, finishing at the rim. He has fewer jaw-dropping highlights as fellow prospects Lonzo Ball or De’Aaron Fox do (though he does have a few); but he has fewer holes in his game, as well. If there’s one thing that could unravel his game as a pro, it would be his shot not translating. It’s not exactly the same species of skepticism as the concern trolling over Ball’s shooting form, but there’s at least some reason to wonder if Fultz will be as lights-out from deep in the NBA. His range doesn’t extend far beyond the college line, and his release is on the slow side. Just as concerning, he shot 64.9 percent on foul shots, which ESPN Insider’s Kevin Pelton pointed out is a slightly better predictor of NBA 3-point shooting ability than college 3-point percentage on its own — and Fultz wasn’t overwhelming enough from 3 (41.3 percent) to make up for the free throws.But the way Fultz had to manufacture his offense should also be taken into account: He practically never had an open shot he didn’t create himself. He scored 116 points per 100 plays coming off of screens, but that was largely because of the same things that make him good in pick and rolls, not effective screens. Fultz’s Washington teammates didn’t set great screens, but this is an area where he needs to improve as well. If Fultz is going to play off the ball in the NBA he’ll have to improve his feel for how to angle his runs to get the screener between the defender and the spot where he wants to catch the ball.This of course leads back to the question of how Fultz will fit in with the Sixers. Given that early reports suggest forward Ben Simmons, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, will play a de facto point guard role for Philadelphia, an ideal fit for Fultz might be as a sort of über-Bradley Beal. John Wall handles the majority of playmaking for Washington, and Beal runs off of flare screens and other off-ball actions to free himself up for jumpers. But when Wall doesn’t have the ball, Beal runs a fair bit of pick and roll himself (despite being a weak dribbler) and generally controls the offense. A similar division of labor between Simmons and Fultz would make a lot of sense for Philly.But that’s deeper into specifics than we need to go for now. Teams tend to find ways to make things work with players who can dribble, pass and shoot. For now, Fultz is a perfect fit for a Philly roster that needs ballhandling and shooting, and just as important, a perfect fit for the directions the NBA game is headed.
January 9, 2014 5 min read LAS VEGAS — At the 2014 International CES, amid all the new tablets and smartphones and audio systems and mega-huge TVs, is an area called Eureka Park. It’s where technology startups come together to show off their shiny gadgets and services. It’s where entrepreneurialism and innovation bubble over here at the big tech show. It’s fun. It’s inspiring. And the enthusiasm is contagious.I spent time checking out the startups here and speaking with the entrepreneurs behind these big ideas. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few of the startups I found particularly interesting:LifeLoggerWe already have Google Glass, so do we really need another camera on our face? Well, until someone creates a similar app or service for Glass, LifeLogger seems pretty cool.It’s a tiny, extraordinarily light camera that you can wear on a type of headband that shoots video as you walk around. The video is streamed to the LifeLogger cloud service where it is stored.The LifeLogger service is smart. It can read and identify the words on signs, so it knows the places you walked by. It can add geo-tags so you remember which areas or regions you were in. It can also identify voices and faces, so it can help you remember who you were with.”This is the future of augmented memory,” LifeLogger’s Drago Bojkov said. LifeLogger can be useful for marketers and online bloggers, for people who love to travel and even for educational purposes. This video can give you a better sense of how it works:Related: The Connected Home: A Huge Opportunity But Slow to Catch OnMojioYou’ve probably heard of car insurance companies that install technology on vehicles to monitor things like how often you use the car, how fast you drive, etc. Mojio is a startup that wants to put everything you can ever want to know about your vehicle into the palm of your hand via a smartphone app.Mojio is a cloud-connected device that plugs into your vehicle’s diagnostics port (works with any vehicle made after 1996) and monitors details such as such as speed, fuel level, location and more. The connection can also alert you if your car is being towed or broken into, the company says. Because the device is attached to the car and synced to the cloud, the information is always on and available, no matter if you and your smartphone are near the car or not. So, for instance, you can lend your car to someone and you can be notified the moment your car is driven outside a pre-determined area, or gets into an accident. Pretty cool.Launching in beta next month, Mojio is expected to release its first official version sometime in the second quarter. The company says it is working with a host of developers, including car companies, retailers and auto service providers to create their own apps for cars that will be supported by Mojio.Related: Intel Wants to Make Computers Think More Like HumansBounce ImagingI included this Boston-based company in my preview of this year’s CES. The idea and the technology is impressive. Started by MIT M.B.A. students Francisco Aguilar and David Young, Bounce Imaging Inc. develops low-cost, throwable sensors and cameras. The goal: make it so first responders don’t have to enter dangerous rooms or situations blind. The shape and approximate size of a baseball, the ball rolls into a space and six wide-angle lenses capture pictures and record audio. The data is transmitted over Wi-Fi and the images are stitched together to give you a complete visual idea of what a space looks like and who or what is in it. The device can also detect radiation and carbon monoxide levels. It seems like it would be perfect for first responders and perhaps the military.Related: A Tech Entrepreneur’s Insider Tips for Exhibiting at CESThe Clio from ClearView AudioI must admit, I don’t usually get excited by audio tech. And I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert. But the Clio from ClearView Audio caught my eye for one simple reason: You can barely see it.This speaker system features a curved, “optically clear” acrylic glass that dispenses sound waves in multiple directions. The sound is produced by stereo speakers and a two-inch subwoofer.Translation: if you’re tired of the typical black box audio system, this one might be worth a test drive. I tried to take a picture of the device but, really, there wasn’t any point. As the company says, it virtually disappears. Perhaps this short video will give you a better sense: Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Related: A True Transformer: Asus Announces a Laptop-Tablet That Runs Android and Windows Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »
TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 12,438.03 12,422.12 12,014.90 Dear Reader, Last week, our senior precious metals analyst, Jeff Clark, advised: Buy Gold NOW. So far that has worked out well, but it begs the question: What about gold stocks? When do we back up the truck for them? My own answer in the current edition of the International Speculator is that no one really knows, but that those who buy value when its price is low should do very well indeed. Jeff returns this week with a by-the-numbers look at the last two biggest gold stock corrections, comparing them to our market today. This is excellent context we would all do well to remember when asking such questions. Sincerely, Gold 1,470.70 1,574.75 1,637.75 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 12.20 14.67 22.30 Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research Oil 93.99 94.45 102.54
That’s the latest iteration of the CTC-iChip , created by a team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School led by Mehmet Toner. The “chip” is about two inches long, one inch wide, and paper thin. It’s designed to capture what are known as circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to give doctors a way to diagnose and track cancer that is less invasive, cheaper, and more informative than a biopsy. CTCs are shed into the bloodstream by tumors, and their isolation and analysis could lead to early detection of invasive cancers—which is important, because the earlier a patient is diagnosed, the better his or her chances of survival—and help doctors develop better and more personalized treatment regimens. The problem is that these things are rare, typically just 1 to 10 CTCs per billion blood cells. Isolating them has proven difficult over the years. The new CTC-iChip combines multiple technologies like size separation (which takes advantage of the fact that CTCs are larger and stiffer than blood cells) and magnetic-tag separation (which involves tagging white blood cells with magnetic beads so they can be discarded using a magnetic field after the sample is run) to isolate the individual CTCs. Isolating the individual CTCs this way allows scientists to perform single-cell genomic analysis. And that’s important. Consider a cancer biopsy. You can look at the sample and see that the cells are different from one another, yet the way researchers further analyze the sample is by grinding up the tissue and examining the smearing of all the genetic signatures of the different individual cells. This provides you with a rough average of the genetics of all the cells in the sample, but it masks critical differences. For example, the genetics of the metastatic cells are quite different from the cells that won’t spread the disease; with conventional methods of analysis you can’t see that. So you won’t be able to understand what makes the cancer go from a dangerous to a deadly state. By employing single-cell analysis that’s facilitated by this microfluidic chip, physicians can develop a better understanding of the disease, which could lead to more effective personalized treatments. Pretty cool. But it doesn’t stop there. Another new and particularly interesting effort in the area of microfluidics is a play on the well-known system-on-a-chip (SoC) technology from the world of computers. It can be described as human-organs-on-a-chip and could eventually become an invaluable tool that leads to a more efficient drug-discovery process. The idea is not to make replacement organs for transplant, but to replicate enough of an organ’s functions to make the chips useful in testing substances for toxic and therapeutic effects. That has immediate applicability, because a major part of the preclinical phase of drug development involves assessing safety and biological activity in the laboratory—especially in animal studies. (It’s difficult to access reliable figures, but it’s safe to say that billions of dollars a year is spent on animal tests.) The problem with these animal models—without even touching on the various potential ethical issues involved—is that, although they have historically been one of the most trusted tools in drug development, they are not actually all that predictive of the human situation. Not only do animal models fail to identify numerous drugs that are toxic to humans, they also derail drugs that would have been efficacious. Of course this makes sense. Different animals evolved differently and have different biologies. Nevertheless, we continue to rely on expensive, time-consuming, and unreliable animal models in the drug-development process because they’re the best we have. But thanks to advancements in microfluidic technologies, human organs on chips could be a better way. The breakthrough in this area came in mid-2010, when researchers from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard announced they had successfully developed a lung-on-a-chip. The device, which is about the size of a rubber eraser and is made using human lung and blood-vessel cells, actually mimics a living, breathing human lung. It’s essentially a porous membrane with human cells from the lung’s air sac on one side and human capillary blood vessel cells on the other side. There’s air flowing through the channel on the lung side and a medium (like blood) with human blood cells in it flowing through the channel on the capillary side. The whole thing stretches and relaxes like our lungs do when we breathe. And it does a good job replicating the natural responses of living lungs to various stimuli. Just as the living lung-blood interface recognizes invaders such as inhaled bacteria or toxins and activates an immune response, so too does lung-on-a-chip. The researchers tested this by introducing E. coli bacteria into the air channel on the lung side of the device while concurrently adding white blood cells to the channel on the blood vessel side. The lung cells detected the bacteria and, through the porous membrane, activated the blood vessel cells, which in turn triggered an immune response that ultimately caused the white blood cells to move to the air chamber and destroy the bacteria. Lung-on-a-chip was just the beginning. The Wyss Institute also has kidney-on-a-chip, bone-marrow-on-a-chip, and gut-on-a-chip—a silicon polymer device about the size of a flash memory stick that mimics complex 3D features of the human intestine. All could prove to be valuable diagnostic tools in the development of safe and effective new therapeutics. We’re on the cusp of a revolution in life-science research. This revolution promises to bring with it better ways to detect cancer and other diseases, as well as a more efficient drug-discovery process. And it promises these benefits on the cheap—thanks in large part to what’s known as microfluidics. Let’s back up for a moment… back to December 29, 1959. It was then that physicist Richard Feynman gave his now-famous lecture titled There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, during which he essentially anticipated what we now call nanotechnology. Feynman actually never mentioned the word “nanotechnology” in his talk—and it wasn’t until the 1980s that nanotech researchers began regularly citing his lecture—but what he did do at that time was posit the amazing possibilities afforded by miniaturization, including “miniaturizing the computer.” He foresaw that the clunky “computing machines” of his day would be infinitely more useful if they could be shrunk. At the time of Feynman’s talk, although transistors were beginning to replace vacuum tubes, computers were still huge and grossly inefficient. The IBM Stretch computer of 1959 managed to fit a mere 150,000 transistors into its 33-foot length. Meanwhile, Feynman was talking about wires “that should be 10 or 100 atoms in diameter” and circuits that “should be a few thousand angstroms across.” (One thousand angstroms is equal to 100 nanometers.) By 2011, Intel was mass producing processors with 32-nanometer technology that contained 2.6 billion transistors. Intel’s Xeon server chip that’s due to be released this year has 4.31 billion transistors. And consider that one of today’s smartphones has significantly more computing power than all of NASA circa 1969, when it sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon. While it’s true that we don’t yet have the capabilities Feynman envisioned—of building “a billion tiny factories, models of each other, which are manufacturing simultaneously” from the bottom up, atom by atom—his miniaturization-of-computers idea was clearly spot on. So what if we applied his approach to a different area of scientific study… say biology? After all, much of biology today is similar to where electronics was yesterday—except instead of vacuum tubes and cable wires, you have arrays of test tubes and hoses. What if all that “plumbing” used to study biological systems could be shrunk—would we reap the same benefits as we did in electronics? Turns out the answer is yes. And that’s where microfluidics comes in. Microfluidics is the science of fluid dynamics on the micro scale (i.e., millionths of a meter). We’ll spare you the details of the fluid mechanics at this scale—where things like laminar flow, diffusion, capillary effects, and surface tension dominate—and boil things down to one simple idea: Microfluidics and its application is all about conducting biological experiments and tests with really small plumbing. How small is the plumbing we’re talking about? The channels through which the fluids travel in the devices today are roughly the width of a human hair, and sometimes smaller. If you think you’re not already acquainted with the world of microfluidics, think again. Two very recognizable examples of microfluidic technologies are the glucometer to measure blood sugar levels and pregnancy tests. Basically, we’re talking about precisely manipulating fluids—to do things like blood screening for diseases and single-cell genomic analysis—using a microscale device built with technologies that were first developed by the semiconductor industry, and were later expanded into fluidics due to the benefits that accrue from shrinking things. For starters, miniaturization means lower costs, since researchers require much smaller volumes of samples and reagents to conduct experiments and run tests. There’s also the potential for running multiple experiments in parallel and cutting down on the number of steps required to run them. But microfluidics technologies also make novel tasks possible, like giving us the ability to interact with individual cells. Let’s look at another example to explain further. Lung-on-a-chip (top) and Gut-on-a-chip (bottom) The Wyss team’s ultimate goal is to build 10 different human-organs-on-chips and link them together on an automated instrument to mimic whole-body physiology. This could eventually lead to personalized chips that could predict a specific individual’s drug response. The bottom line: In theory, since these microfluidic human-organs-on-chips use human cells and mimic both the mechanics and biology of the organs they represent, they would be more predictive than animal models, so drug failure rates would be lower. Modeling with these chips would cut costs and reduce the time involved in the drug-discovery process. It’s still too early to tell how successful this field of research will be… but the prospects are exciting. Microfluidic technologies for many applications like this are still relatively early stage, but the above examples demonstrate how microfluidics should play an increasingly important role in disease detection and could ultimately disrupt the drug-discovery process for the better. This kind of game-changing technology is what we at Casey Extraordinary Technology specialize in finding and investing in. From cutting-edge biotech drug companies and molecular-diagnostic innovators to the firms that created the 3D printing industry and those that are building the smart grid, the track record of our investment recommendations stands out among all our competitors and truly speaks for itself, with an average gain per closed position during 2013 and 2014 of 66%. To become part of this track record of success, simply sign up for a 90-day, risk-free trial of Casey Extraordinary Technology.
Explore further Citation: Microsoft, Alibaba AI programs beat humans in a Stanford reading test (2018, January 19) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-microsoft-alibaba-ai-humans-stanford.html ©2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Reading comprehension: Alibaba model may get better marks than you First, they beat us at chess. Then it was Go. Now it’s basic reading comprehension. Credit: CC0 Public Domain The robots are coming.Two artificial intelligence programs created by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Microsoft beat humans on a Stanford University reading comprehension test, Alibaba said recently. Alibaba took the honors as creator of the first program to ever beat a human in a reading comprehension test, scoring 82.44 percent out of a perfect 100 and narrowly edging past the human’s 82.304 percent.A different program built by Microsoft scored higher than Alibaba’s at 82.605 on the same test, but that score was finalized a day later, according to Bloomberg.The test, known as Stanford Question Answering Dataset or SQuAD for short, asks contestants—human and robot—to provide exact answers to more than 100,000 questions drawn from more than 500 Wikipedia articles. The test is designed to see if artificial intelligence can process large amounts of information before fully comprehending it and offering precise answers.Some of the Wikipedia articles from which questions were drawn covered a wide range of topics, from Super Bowl 50 (“Where did Super Bowl 50 take place?” Answer: Santa Clara.) to Doctor Who (“What planet is Doctor Who from?” Answer: Gallifrey.).”These kinds of tests are certainly useful benchmarks for how far along the AI journey we may be,” Microsoft spokesperson Andrew Pickup told CNN. “However, the real benefit of AI is when it is used in harmony with humans.”Major technology companies in the United States and China have invested billions of dollars in artificial intelligence to gain a foothold in what may be the next technological frontier. The Chinese government has outlined a plan to create a $150 billion AI industry by 2030 in partnership with private companies such as Alibaba and Tencent.Microsoft in December announced its “AI on Earth” project to help the planet become more environmentally sustainable using the company’s in-house AI infrastructure. Microsoft will invest $50 million over the next five years, according to Microsoft CEO Brad Smith.”At Microsoft, we believe artificial intelligence is a game changer,” said Smith. “As we enter the world’s Fourth Industrial Revolution, a technology-fueled transformation, we must not only move technology forward, but also use this era’s technology to clean up the past and create a better future.”With comprehension skills now arguably better than a human’s, Alibaba’s chief data scientist said the new breakthrough will be applied to helping human customers.”The technology underneath can be gradually applied to numerous applications such as customer service, museum tutorials and online responses to medical inquiries from patients, decreasing the need for human input in an unprecedented way,” Luo Si, chief scientist for natural language processing at Alibaba’s Institute of Data Science of Technologies, told Bloomberg.