22 years later it’s, ‘Hello, again’

first_imgNORTON, Mass. – “I guess, hello, world.” It was a sheepishly delivered line that changed golf. Within days, Nike Golf turned the remark, be it spontaneous or otherwise, into a marketing franchise and within 24 hours Tiger Woods set out on a historic journey at the Greater Milwaukee Open. “The last few years seemed like it took centuries. I was struggling a bit. But just looking back on it, I remember so many shots from my early start in Milwaukee. I remember all that,” Woods said on Thursday at the Dell Technologies Championship when asked to reflect on that start 22 years ago. “That it’s been 22 years since then, it has gone by more fast than I would have imagined.” The 1996 GMO wasn’t where the world learned that Tiger was special – an incomparable amateur resume had already checked those boxes – but it was where the prodigy turned pro. The fans that descended on Brown Deer Park in late-August to catch a glimpse of the can’t-miss kid may not have known what was in store, but John “Jumbo” Elliott had a pretty good idea what to expect. “I had played with [Woods] at Riviera when he was 16 years old,” explained Elliott, who was deep into his third full season on the PGA Tour in ’96 when the computer spit out the grouping of a lifetime. “It was funny I was playing with [Robert] Gamez in a practice round, and told him that I’d played with [Justin] Leonard in his first [round as a professional] and [Charles] Howell in his first. I said, ‘I’m probably going to get paired with Tiger.’” Photo gallery: Tiger Woods’ pro debut at the ’96 GMO Dell Technologies Championship: Articles, photos and videos Elliott knew what to expect for his first two days with the heir apparent – huge crowds, mayhem and an impressive new brand of golf; but as his 1:36 p.m. tee time approached he was surprised by the lack of buzz. “After he did the ‘Hello, world,’ moment the night before, we were on the range hitting balls, I was like, ‘This is odd, no one is here.’ I went to the first tee, they were five to 10 [people] deep,” Elliott said. “It was a U.S. Open crowd on a Saturday or Sunday.” But if the crowds were predictable – and they were given the hype of Tiger’s pro debut – the quality of play was not. After all, Woods would not be the first transcendent athlete to fall short of expectations, but as the round unfolded Tiger turned out to be exactly what the experts thought he was. Tiger birdied Nos. 3 and 4 and added an eagle at the par-5 sixth hole to move to 4 under par. What Elliott most vividly remembers was his game off the tee, with Woods hitting five of his first six fairways … with a driver, no less. That kind of proficiency off the tee hasn’t exactly become Tiger’s calling card now that he’s two decades removed from that groundbreaking moment. By comparison, he found just 9 of 14 fairways each of the first three days last week at The Northern Trust, where he tied for 40th. “When I played with him he would aim that driver right center and hit a trap draw right down the middle,” said Elliott, who recalled Tiger roping his opening drive 337 yards down the middle of the first fairway. “If he would just do what he used to do. I don’t know why he still doesn’t do that?” Woods is more of a high cut guy now, although given his stats he’s no less impressive in the power department. But Elliott’s point is valid. That first edition of Tiger, the one before injuries robbed him of countless seasons, was as good as advertised in every aspect of the game. Tiger would go on to shoot 67, beating Elliott by a stroke, and finish the week tied for 60th. The next month he’d win his first Tour event, the Las Vegas Invitational, on his way to a two-victory season and his first start at the Tour Championship. It was, by any measure, an impressive start even by the unrealistically high expectations the golf world had placed on the then-20 year old’s narrow shoulders. Elliott’s path wouldn’t cross with Tiger’s again for eight years, after he’d won eight of his 14 majors “In 2004 I’d been on the Web.com Tour and made it to the U.S. Open. I was on the range and I went up to Tiger and said, ‘If I would have fallen asleep in 2000 and woke up in 2004 and you’d have won all these majors I wouldn’t have believed it,’” Elliott recalled. “He said, ‘me, too.’” In a unique way Tiger is now in a similar position. For the first time since 2013 he’s been able to play a full season on Tour and he continues to inch closer to another seminal moment in his career following near-miss victories at The Open and PGA Championship. “I told my buddies at the Dye Preserve [Golf Club] in the winter, I’ve always said he will win if he’s healthy. It may take some time but if he stays healthy he could win three or four more majors,” said Elliott, who caddies at the Dye Preserve when he’s not chasing his dream of playing the PGA Tour Champions. As Tiger continues to check off competitive boxes, the blueprint looks vaguely familiar to Elliott. He recognizes this most recent comeback and a path that’s starting to feel like a “Hello, again” moment.last_img read more

Sen. Barbara Bollier changes party affiliation to Democrat, says Republican party ‘morally not going where my compass resides’

first_imgSen. Barbara Bollier formally changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat this morning.Mission Hills Sen. Barbara Bollier this morning officially changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.Citing “frustrations that have been ongoing for nine years,” Bollier said Wednesday that the inclusion of anti-transgender language in the party platform  had proved a breaking point for her.“Morally, the party is not going where my compass resides,” Bollier said. “I’m looking forward to being in a party that represents the ideals that I do, including Medicaid expansion and funding our K-12 schools.”Bollier had been publicly at odds with Republican leadership in recent months, putting her support behind Democrats Tom Niermann and Laura Kelly in the Kansas 3rd Congressional District and gubernatorial elections, respectively, moves that led to her being stripped of her committee assignments by senate leadership. A physician by training, Bollier was especially upset at having been removed from the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.“Once I was removed from my committees, it no longer made sense for me to try to represent my constituents as a Republican,” she said.Bollier had lent her support to an initiative by Scott Morgan, a former aide to Republican Sens. Nancy Kassebaum and Bob Dole, to form a new Party of the Center in Kansas that represented moderate values. But, she said, it became clear to her that to have any influence in the capitol, she needed to be affiliated with one of the two major parties.“I still support a movement like that for a moderate party, but I have found that the rules of the legislature are really set up for a two-party system,” she said. “If you aren’t affiliated with one of the two parties, you can’t sit on committees. And until that changes, there isn’t going to be a way to make it work.”Local Republican officials said the news of Bollier’s departure from the party was not a surprise.“The JCRP was not shocked by today’s news,” said Johnson County Republican Party Chair Dave Myres. “After her recent endorsements of Democrats in both the primary and general elections, as well as a voting record more liberal than many Democrats, we applaud her for her honesty.”Bollier says she will run for a new term in 2020Bollier said that she will run for a second term in the Senate in 2020, this time as a Democrat. She moved to the state’s upper chamber after having served in the House from 2010-2016.District 7, which she represents, runs roughly from the Wyandotte-Johnson County line at 47th Street on the north to 99th Street at the south; and from State Line Road on the east to Metcalf Ave. on the west. It includes all of the cities of Roeland Park, Fairway Westwood, Westwood Hills, Mission Woods, Mission Hills, Prairie Village and Mission as well as parts of Overland Park and Leawood. The district strongly supported Democrat Laura Kelly in the gubernatorial election, giving her a 39 percent margin over Republican Kris Kobach.County Republican leaders, though, indicated they planned to challenge her next cycle.“We look forward to an exciting election ahead in 2020 as Republicans have true representation on the ballot in Senate District 7,” said Myres.In an announcement released Wednesday morning, Sen. Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said he welcomed Bollier to the Democrats’ ranks.“We are excited to welcome Senator Bollier to our caucus,” Hensley said. “She has been a longtime friend and respected colleague with the best interests of Kansas at heart. Her expertise, pragmatism, and courage enrich the entire Kansas Legislature — regardless of whether she calls herself a Democrat or Republican.”While clearly a victory for Senate Democrats, Bollier’s addition does little to change the math for the minority party in the legislature: Democrats will now hold 10 of the 40 seats in the Senate instead of nine. And there was apparently no love lost on the part of Republican Senate leadership.“Senator Bollier has a voting record more liberal than some Democrats, so it’s no shock she joined the party of Nancy Pelosi,” Sen. President Susan Wagle of Wichita wrote on Twitter. “The only surprise is that she didn’t end her facade of being a Republican sooner.”Sen. Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park also shared his reaction to the news.“It is unfortunate to be losing a member of the Republican caucus, but I believe this will be a healthy change for Sen. Bollier personally, her constituents, and for the Republican Caucus,” Denning wrote on Twitter. “I wish her the best and look forward to continuing to work with her next session.State Republican Party leaders have not responded to an invitation to comment at this time. We’ll update the story as soon as we connect with them.Bollier has not received her committee assignments from Democratic leadership at this time.“I love my constituents and I love the state of Kansas, and I’m trying to find the path to serve them best,” she said of the decision to switch.last_img read more

Some neurons choose mom’s gene and others choose dad’s

first_imgLinkedIn “We usually think of traits in terms of a whole person, or animal. We’re finding that when we look at the level of cells, genetics is much more complicated than we thought,” says Christopher Gregg, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy and senior author of the study which publishes online in Neuron on Feb. 23. “This new picture may help us understand brain disorders,” he continues.Among genes regulated in this unorthodox way are risk factors for mental illness. In humans, a gene called DEAF1, implicated in autism and intellectual disability, shows preferential expression of one gene copy in multiple regions of the brain. A more comprehensive survey in primates, which acts as a proxy for humans, indicates the same is true for many other genes including some linked to Huntington’s Disease, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, and bipoloar disorder.What the genetic imbalance could mean for our health remains to be determined, but preliminary results suggest that it could shape vulnerabilities to disease, explains Gregg. Normally, having two copies of a gene acts as a protective buffer in case one is defective. Activating a gene copy that is mutated and silencing the healthy copy – even temporarily – could be disruptive enough to cause trouble in specific cells.Supporting the idea, Gregg’s lab found that some brain cells in transgenic mice preferentially activate mutated gene copies over healthy ones. “It has generally been assumed that there is correlation between both copies of a gene,” says Elliott Ferris, a computer scientist who co-led the study with graduate student Wei-Chao Huang. Instead, they found something unexpected. “We developed novel methods for mining big data, and discovered something new,” Huang explains.The investigators screened thousands of genes in their study, quantifying the relative levels of activation for each maternal and paternal gene copy and discovered that expression of the two is different for many genes. Surprised by what they saw, they developed statistical methods to rigorously test their validity and determined that they were not due to technical artifacts, nor genetic noise. Following up on their findings, they examined a subset of genes more closely, directly visualized imbalances between gene copies at the cellular level in the mouse and human brain.Results from Gregg and colleagues build on previous research, expanding on scenarios in which genes play favorites. Imprinted genes and X-linked genes are specific gene categories that differentially activate their maternal and paternal gene copies. Studies in cultured cells had also determined that some genes vary which copy they express. The results from this study, however, suggests that silencing one gene copy may be a way in which cells fine tune their genetic program at specific times during the lifecycle of the animal, or in discrete places.“Our new findings reveal a new landscape of diverse effects that shape the expression of maternal and paternal gene copies in the brain according to age, brain region, and tissue type,” explains Gregg. “The implication is a new view of genetics, one that starts up close.” Share on Facebook Email Share on Twittercenter_img Share Most kids say they love their mom and dad equally, but there are times when even the best prefers one parent over the other. The same can be said for how the body’s cells treat our DNA instructions. It has long been thought that each copy – one inherited from mom and one from dad – is treated the same. A new study from scientists at the University of Utah School of Medicine shows that it is not uncommon for cells in the brain to preferentially activate one copy over the other. The finding breaks basic tenants of classic genetics and suggests new ways in which genetic mutations might cause brain disorders.In at least one region of the newborn mouse brain, the new research shows, inequality seems to be the norm. About 85 percent of genes in the dorsal raphe nucleus, known for secreting the mood-controlling chemical serotonin, differentially activate their maternal and paternal gene copies. Ten days later in the juvenile brain, the landscape shifts, with both copies being activated equally for all but 10 percent of genes.More than an oddity of the brain, the disparity also takes place at other sites in the body, including liver and muscle. It also occurs in humans. Pinterestlast_img read more

Transfer: Arsenal finally decide on Aubameyang joining Man United

first_imgArsenal have finally decided to sell striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, amid interest from Manchester United.According to Newsmen, the Gunners are willing to sell the Gabonese international if they get at least £56million offer for the attacker.This is coming after Aubameyang had said “yes” to a switch to Manchester United.Aubameyang has been linked with a shock move from Arsenal to United in the past few days.Man United identified Aubameyang as a perfect replacement for Romelu Lukaku should the Belgian leave this summer for Inter Milan.Aubameyang scored 22 Premier League goals for Unai Emery’s side last season.The 30-year-old also netted eight goals for the North London in the Europa League last term.He joined the Emirates club 18 months ago from Borussia Dortmund.last_img read more

PSG admit defeat in their bid to sign Barça’s Neymar this summer

first_img Neymar’s desire is to continue at Barcelona, where he is happy next to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, forming the best trident in the world. But what could alter his desire would be the off the pitch tax issues which have been linked to his contract. Sport EN Paris Saint-Germain’s dream of signing Barcelona star Neymar as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s replacement will have to wait. The French club are aware that the Brazilian is ready to continue in Catalonia, despite the difficulties he has had recently off the pitch.  CEST Upd. at 13:14 According to L’Equipe on Tuesday, Neymar is the player most liked by PSG’s owners. However, and despite the fact they have been in contact with the player for a while, there are several ‘inconveniences’ when it comes to doing a potential deal.  PSG will wait until Neymar is ready to leave Barcelona until they make a serious move for the Brazilian. For now, his priority is to continue at Barça with Messi and Co. as it’s the best place to win titles. Therefore, Cristiano Ronaldo is the alternative for the Ligue 1 side. In France they know Neymar will continue with Barça next season and that he has a deal until 2018. They recognise the fact he will play the Olympics and not the Copa America this summer is a sign he has a good relationship with the club, while he is negotiating a new deal with the Blaugrana, too.  10/05/2016last_img read more

Galway Athletics Report

first_imgFixturesKilconieron 5 MileNext Sunday 25th February will see the 10th edition of the Kilconieron 5 Mile Charity Run & Walk, which will take place at 12.15pm, with a kids run at 11.30. The race is a major charity fundraiser and this year recipients are the Réalta & Butterfly Classes, Autism Unit, Carrabane National School & Carrabane Community Games. Registration is at The Gate Lodge pub and the start line is a short walk from thereprint WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email National Senior Indoor Championships Jerry Keary Craughwell AC, left, Silver medal winner in High Jump, with Barry Pender winner and Lucas Moylan thirdConnacht Indoor Championships The 2018 Connacht Indoor Track and Field Championships take place in the Athlone IT Arena next weekend, and will be held over two days.  Saturday 24th sees the U12 and U13 age groups compete, and Sunday 25th February will feature the 14 age groups up to Senior, with a 10 am start both days, and close to one thousand athletes expected to compete. Winner Sean Breathnach of Galway City Harriers A.C. competing in the Senior Men Shot Put during the Irish Life Health National Senior Indoor Athletics Championships. Picture Credit: Sportsfile Alanna Lally of UCD AC, Co Dublin, celebrates winning the Senior Women 800m during the Irish Life Health National Senior Indoor Athletics Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown, Dublin. Picture Credit: Sportsfile Award for Dempsey Jack Dempsey, Athletics Ireland award winner for 2017Jack Dempsey of Galway City Harriers was awarded “Galway Athlete of the Year” for 2017 by Athletics Ireland in Tullamore at the National Juvenile Awards held Saturday last. Dempsey was National Champion over 60m indoors and 100m outdoors as well as a 200m bronze medalist in 2017 in the U19 category.The young GCH star has also been selected on the Irish relay panel for the upcoming U20 World Championships to be held in Tampere, Finland. It was a phenomenally successful weekend for Galway athletes at the National Track and Field Indoor Championships, held in the superb National Indoor Arena in Dublin, with national titles for both Sean Breathnach and Alanna Lally.Sean Breathnach of Galway City Harriers gets better with age, and on Sunday he took yet another National Shot Putt title, and in the process set a new National Indoor Shot Putt record of 18.30m, to win gold after an enthralling competition. Breathnach had a great battle with the up and coming John Kelly (Finn Valley AC), who led early on with a best throw of 17.53m, which ultimately gave him second to a champion performance from the Connemara man Breathnach.Galway’s Alanna Lally now with UCD AC, won her first National senior title in the women’s 800m, where she dominated from the gun, to take gold in 2:08.71.Jerry Keary of Craughwell AC also took his first National Senior medal claiming silver in the Men’s High Jump with a 1.90m leap.Other notable Galway performances over the weekend came from Veronica Burke of Ballinasloe and District AC, who placed fourth in the Ladies 3k Walk and Sinead Gaffney of Craughwell AC who made the 800m final, placing eighth and running a club record 2.19 in the process. GCH’s multi-eventer Michael Breathnach competed in five events, with a best finish of fourth in the Shot Putt, behind brother Sean, while Brendan Staunton of GCH was seventh overall in the Shot final. NUIG athlete Damien Landers placed fifth in the Men’s 1500m, competing for Ennis Track AC.last_img read more

Spinning black holes could fling off clouds of dark matter particles

first_img By Adrian ChoFeb. 22, 2017 , 2:45 PM A spinning black hole (white) should produce huge clouds of particles called axions (blue), which would then produce detectable gravitational waves, a new calculation predicts. Masha Baryakhtar Spinning black holes could fling off clouds of dark matter particles Few things are more mind bending than black holes, gravitational waves, and the nearly massless hypothetical particles called axions, which could be the mysterious dark matter whose gravity holds galaxies together. Now, a team of theoretical physicists has tied all three together in a surprising way. If the axion exists and has the right mass, they argue, then a spinning black hole should produce a vast cloud of the particles, which should, in turn, produce gravitational waves akin to those discovered a year ago by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). If the idea is correct, LIGO might be able to detect axions, albeit indirectly.“It’s an awesome idea,” says Tracy Slatyer, a particle astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, who was not involved in the work. “The [LIGO] data is going to be there, and it would be amazing if we saw something.” Benjamin Safdi, a theoretical particle physicist at MIT, is also enthusiastic. “This is really the best idea we have to look for particles in this mass range,” he says.A black hole is the intense gravitational field left behind when a massive star burns out and collapses to a point. Within a certain distance of that point—which defines the black hole’s “event horizon”—gravity grows so strong that not even light can escape. In September 2015, LIGO detected a burst of ripples in space called gravitational waves that emanated from the merging of two black holes.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The axion—if it exists—is an uncharged particle perhaps a billionth as massive as the electron or lighter. Dreamed up in the 1970s, it helps explain a curious mathematical symmetry in the theory of particles called quarks and gluons that make up protons and neutrons. Axions floating around might also be the dark matter that’s thought to make up 85% of all matter in the universe. Particle physicists are searching for axions in experiments that try to convert them into photons using magnetic fields.But it may be possible to detect axions by studying black holes with LIGO and its twin detectors in Louisiana and Washington states, argue Asimina Arvanitaki and Masha Baryakhtar, theorists at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, and their colleagues.If its mass is in the right range, then an axion stuck in orbit around a black hole should be subject to a process called superradiance that occurs in many situations and causes photons to multiply in a certain type of laser. If an axion strays near, but doesn’t cross, a black hole’s event horizon, then the black hole’s spin will give the axion a boost in energy. And because the axion is a quantum particle with some properties like those of the photon, that boost will create more axions, which will, in turn, interact with the black hole in the same way. The runaway process should thus generate vast numbers of the particles.But for this to take place, a key condition has to be met. A quantum particle like the axion can also act like a wave, with lighter particles having longer wavelengths. For superradiance to kick in, the axion’s wavelength must be as long as the black hole is wide. So the axion’s mass must be extremely light: between 1/10,000,000 and 1/10,000 the range probed in current laboratory experiments. The axions wouldn’t just emerge willy-nilly, either, but would crowd into huge quantum waves like the orbitals of the electrons in an atom. As fantastical as that sounds, the basic physics of superradiance is well established, Safdi says.The axion cloud might reveal itself in multiple ways, Baryakhtar says. Most promising, axions colliding in the cloud should annihilate one another to produce gravitons, the particles thought to make up gravitational waves just as photons make up light. Emerging from orderly quantum clouds, the gravitons would form continuous waves with a frequency set by the axion’s mass. LIGO would be able to spot thousands of such sources per year, Baryakhtar and colleagues estimate in a paper published 8 February in Physical Review D—although tracking those continuous signals may be harder than detecting bursts from colliding black holes. Spotting multiple same-frequency sources would be a “smoking gun” for axions, Slatyer says.The axion clouds could produce indirect signals, too. In principle, a black hole can spin at near light speed. However, generating axions would sap a black hole’s angular momentum and slow it. As a result, LIGO should observe that the spins of colliding black holes never reach that ultimate speed, but top out well below it, Baryakhtar says. Detecting that limit on spin would be challenging, as LIGO can measure a colliding black hole’s spin with only 25% precision.Safdi cautions that the analysis assumes that LIGO will see lots of black-hole mergers and will perform as expected. And if LIGO doesn’t see the signals, it won’t rule out the axion, he says. Still, he says, “This is probably the most promising paper I’ve seen so far on the new physics we might probe with gravitational waves.”last_img read more

What Honey Boo Boo Taught Me about Fundraising

first_imgMy Network for Good colleague Caryn Stein recently wrote this post. It has my all-time favorite headline. For that reason alone, it merits sharing. Enjoy. And thanks, Caryn.In a recent episode of TLC’s “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” (oh yes, we went there), Honey Boo Boo* (real name: Alana) decides the family should create a lemonade stand to raise money for an upcoming beauty pageant. You might be surprised, but this popular pageant princess can actually teach nonprofits a few things about fundraising – no lemons required.Have Personality. Whatever else you might say about Honey Boo Boo, the girl has personality. Let your nonprofit’s unique quality shine through on your website, in your social media outreach and in your fundraising appeals. (Need ideas? Try these 7 Ways to Show Your Nonprofit’s Personality)Be Bold and Colorful. What color did Honey Boo Boo choose for her lemonade stand poster? Neon pink, of course! Follow suit and make your DonateNow buttons big, bold and colorful to stand out and make it easy for your supporters to donate. (Make your DonateNow button more effective with these tips.)Put Good Stuff in It. Honey Boo Boo’s lemonade recipe calls for at least five pounds (!) of sugar in each batch. Yikes. While we’re not advocating a sugar overdose, don’t forget to pay attention to your special recipe when communicating with your donors. (Make your outreach stand out with these 6 Foolproof Tips for Great Nonprofit Content.)Don’t Be Afraid to Make the Ask. Honey Boo Boo’s not shy about asking for what she wants (understatement), and you shouldn’t be either! As we head toward year-end fundraising season, practice making clear and direct calls for your supporters to make a donation. (Learn the Art of the Online Ask.)Be Grateful. At fifty cents a glass, it may take a while for Honey Boo Boo to save up for her next pageant dress, but she knows that giving an enthusiastic thank you to each patron is good business sense. It’s a simple thing, but it matters to your supporters. (Read why thanking donors is so critical – and learn how to do it properly.)*Don’t know Honey Boo Boo? Wikipedia can help.last_img read more

How truly great fundraising can flourish

first_imgOver the past year, researchers Adrian Sargeant and Jen Shang have sought to answer the question, how can truly great fundraising flourish?It’s a timely question given that half of fundraisers want to quit – and a quarter of bosses said they fired their last fundraiser.The report – commissioned by the firm Clayton Burnett Limited – is out, and I wanted to share the findings. (You can get the report and executive summary for free at the firm’s website – just give a it a day or two for them to email it to you.)One answer was that organizations with incredible growth in fundraising have achieved that with the right people. Successful organizations have strong fundraising managers who achieve desired change through a combination of will and personal humility. They “devote considerable attention to what they regard as the critical building blocks of success, namely building an exceptional team, structure(s) and culture.”I’m going to highlight here some of the ways high-performing organizations built their teams. For additional findings, check out the full report.1. The manager built or retooled the fundraising team members and focused on a few, small early wins. This led to “improvement in confidence and morale, which became self-sustaining as individuals began to recognize their own potential to succeed. Technical expertise on the part of team members was important, but so too was conscientiousness, a willingness to support others, and a propensity to engage in appropriate levels of risk-taking.”2. The researchers note this shift in culture addressed turnover woes. “After the right team had been built, none of the organizations we examined suffered from the high turnover rates that otherwise pervade our sector. Being a part of a successful team appears to engender high levels of loyalty and our all our leaders were personally invested in their teams. The loyalty thus cut both ways. It was also interesting to note that those who defined their team more broadly, to include external agency personnel also exhibited a high degree of loyalty to that agency. Some were maintaining relationships with suppliers that had existed for over a decade.”3. Once a strong team was in place, they focused on the big picture in the right ways. Says the report: “We also found evidence in goal setting, that our outstanding leaders aligned their organizational metrics with the longer term drivers of donor value. Their objectives were couched not in the short-term minutia that typically pervade our sector, but in the standards and behaviours they identified would add value forsupporters and thus pay-back in the longer term. Their appraisal and reward systems were similarly aligned, to focus team member ambitions on the things that mattered most to longer term growth.”That said, the researchers also emphasized the system in which these people work: “Great systems are often more important than great people. A well-designed system filled with ordinary but well-trained people can, according to academic research, consistently achieve well above average performance.”I wish we saw more of these approaches. What works at your organization? Which of these ideas resonate with you? Who are your people and what are your systems?last_img read more

3 reasons donors won’t give — and what to do about it

first_imgDonors feel they have no connection to your charity.For your appeals to be effective, you must answer the question of “Why me?” Your need alone is not enough. You are competing with many messages and many appeals. Think about why your cause is personally meaningful to your audience. Here’s how to do it:Understand why your donors give. Invite them to tell you their stories to gain insight on what motivates people to support your programs. In-person events, thank you phone calls, and online surveys are all easy ways to collect this information.Segment and target appropriately. Don’t use the “spray and pray” method of marketing to win support for your cause. Segment your audience and tailor your messages to speak to each group. (Learn how you can appeal to your audience’s sense of identity.) In a recent review of U.S. Trust’s Insights on Wealth and Worth report on wealthy donors, The New York Times shared three key reasons why donors don’t give. While the report focused on those who have at least $3 million in investable assets, it’s not hard to imagine that these reasons are similar for donors of all income levels. Here are three reasons donors may opt not to give to your organization this December, and some ways you can address their concerns:Donors are concerned their gift will not be used wisely.If a donor is unsure about how their gift will be used or if there is any question that their gift will be put to good use, they’re not going to respond to your fundraising appeal. It’s critical that you let donors know the impact their gift will have. Here’s how to do it:Be clear about how their gift will be used. Give would-be donors tangible examples of how their donations will be used to address the problem you’re trying to solve. Let them know how their dollars will make an impact and be clear about the expected result. (More ideas on how to show the impact of a donation.)Show your results. Highlight what results have already been made possible by other donors and continue to report on your organization’s work. If it’s not easy to find stories and photos that illustrate your progress, donors may assume you have none to share.Share your ratings. Include your ratings and endorsements in your fundraising appeals, on your website, and in printed materials. These ratings reassure donors and let them know that you’re a reputable organization.Make your information readily available. Make your ratings, annual reports, program information and other financial reports easily accessible from your website. Don’t make potential donors have to hunt for the information that will help them make a decision about your cause. Be sure to also update your information on 3rd-party sites, like Charity Navigator and Guidestar, where many donors will go to research your charity. Donors don’t want to be on a “solicitation list.”I’ve heard many donors of all giving levels echo this sentiment, which means we’re not doing our jobs as fundraisers and marketers. It’s our responsibility to balance our fundraising asks with updates and other messages that give back to the donor. This ultimately goes back to the first two points: by being good stewards of donors who feel a connection to your cause, you’ll be creating a community of supporters who will welcome your updates, and even your next fundraising appeal. Here’s how to do it:Have a solid stewardship plan that focuses on building long-term relationships with your supporters. Go beyond a standard thank you letter to keep your donors up to date on the impact of their gift and make donors feel like part of your community. Pamela Grow has some great advice on how to create “wow” experiences for your donors that will make them look forward to hearing from you.Set clear expectations. Let donors know what to expect once they donate. Will they hear from you monthly? Should they expect to receive a newsletter in the mail? Be upfront about your communication frequency—and then make good on your promise.Put the control in the hands of the donor. Obviously, no one ever wants to have a donor opt out of their communications, but you must make it easy for them to do so if they come to that decision. By highlighting the fact that they can easily control their contact preferences, you’ll actually make donors feel more at ease about giving you their contact information.center_img For more tips on connecting with donors this holiday season, don’t miss out on our next free webinar. I’ll be leading a session on how to create an effective appeal for the last few weeks of the year. I’ll share some great examples and take your questions. Here are the details:Free Webinar: Create Amazing Last-Minute Fundraising AppealsTuesday, December 10, 2013 at 1pm ESTRegister Now(Can’t attend the live session? Register anyway and we’ll send the recording of the presentation straight to your inbox!)last_img read more