A central mechanism of aging identified – and it might be reversible

Scientists at the Salk Institute and the Chinese Academy of Science have identified what may be the underlying cause of premature-aging disorder Werner syndrome, and with it a possible key to reversing the aging process (Image: Salk Institute for Biological Studies)

Research into the underlying causes of a genetic disorder that causes premature aging and death has revealed a key driver of aging in all people. Better yet, this mechanism is reversible – and with it, perhaps, scientists may be able to slow or reverse the aging process.

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Section: Health and Wellbeing


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Nuclear waste stored in the open air near Ukrainian front line

‘Shocking’ store of over 3,000 spent fuel rods stand in containers in an open-air yard just 200km from Ukraine’s warzone and highlight wider tensions over energy relations with Russia

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You Can’t Achieve Your Goals if You’re Never Working Towards Them

Having goals isn’t the same thing as working towards them. Many of us have things we’d like to accomplish that just sit in the back of our mind. But if you never get out of your head and into the workshop, those goals will never go anywhere.


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Mike Freeman’s 10-Point Stance: Is an NFL Quarterback Drought Coming?

In the 2015 NFL draft, something remarkable happened, and it went mostly unnoticed. Teams drafted the fewest number of quarterbacks in more than 60 years. Sixty.

Seven quarterbacks were drafted. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com (via Bleacher Report’s Brad Gagnon), that’s the fewest since 1954. Subtract four…subtract five…carry the one. Yeppers, that’s 61 damn years.

It’s obviously impossible to tell where this quarterback class will rank in terms of ability. It’s clear, however, where it will rank in depth. This is one of the lightest QB drafts of all time.

This could mean something, or it could not, but people I speak to around the league think it’s a harbinger of things to come. They believe we are on the verge of a quarterback drought.

This seems improbable to me, but the signs are there. No hard-core metrics. No exact data. And certainly young quarterbacks like Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and others point to a solid future.

Yes, it’s all anecdotal, but it’s there. A few things to consider, according to personnel men I’ve spoken to:

The Bust Factor: “The spread option is both good and a curse,” one scout told me. “It’s neat to run and can confuse defenses, but college quarterbacks have a hard time running it in the pros.”

For every Russell Wilson who has been wildly successful, there’s a Tim Tebow or Blaine Gabbert. A lot of those spread busts are now out of the league or backups. The voids they left haven’t truly been filled.

The Bad Coaching Factor: Based on the ones I’ve talked to, if you polled every assistant coach in the NFL asking what football coach other than Bill Belichick they respect the most, it would be Jim Harbaugh, now at Michigan. The only criticism assistants I’ve spoken to have of Harbaugh is that he failed to develop Colin Kaepernick once the quarterback became a star. Kaepernick‘s evolution stopped—suddenly and violently—and that’s on Harbaugh.

But this isn’t just a Harbaugh issue; it’s a systemic problem around the NFL. The league is still having problems developing, and protecting, quarterbacks. Another example was Robert Griffin III

The Dad Jeans Factor: Some of the game’s best quarterbacks are getting old. Really old. Tom Brady is 37. Peyton Manning is 39, with 69-year-old knees. Drew Brees is 36. Eli Manning is 34. Ben Roethlisberger is a creaky 33. Same with Philip Rivers. Tony Romo is 35. Same with Carson Palmer.

Sure, some of those guys potentially have some years left, but that is a lot of firepower, name recognition and stardom getting up in age.

Most importantly, look at the backups at those positions, and tell me who is replacing them. When Palmer went down last year, the Cardinals were done. They couldn’t competently fill the position.

Don’t get me wrong: There will certainly be quarterbacks—maybe from this draft, certainly from ones in the near future—who turn into stars.

But we might be seeing the end of a renaissance where names like Brady and Peyton retire and their replacements aren’t close to Brady and Peyton because that’s impossible. 

With the renaissance over, now comes the drought.


2. Thin-skinned Winston

A few final draft notes.

Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch reported that Jameis Winston declined to give ESPN an interview directly after he was drafted because he doesn’t like the way the network has covered him.

This look from Jameis Winston and his camp is not a good one. If Winston’s approach in the future will be to not interact with any media entity that criticizes him, there will be few newspapers, sites or television stations left for him to speak to.

No one has been unfair to Winston. The criticism, concerning the nature of one accusation in particular, has actually been fairly tepid. Winston’s skin will have to dramatically thicken if he’s going to survive in the NFL.


3. Saints fans really enjoyed the draft

This surprised me: Deitsch reported that the top TV market for the draft was New Orleans, with a 5.3 rating. The rest of the list: 2. Cleveland (4.7); 3. Columbus (3.7); T4. Jacksonville (3.3); T4. Birmingham (3.3); T4. Philadelphia (3.3); 7. Buffalo (3.1); 8. Denver (3.0); T9. Norfolk (2.9); T9. Greensboro (2.9); 11. Baltimore (2.8); T12. Las Vegas (2.7); T12. Atlanta (2.7); 14. West Palm Beach (2.6).


4. Aggie-licious

This is amazing, per NFL guru Gil Brandt:


5. Chip Kelly continues makeover

Either Chip Kelly is going to be spectacular in football, as in Bill Belichick spectacular, or he will supernova like no coach ever has before. Yes, even bigger than Mike Ditka in New Orleans.

Kelly continued to GoodFellas (contains profanity) people in the personnel department: 

To be clear, this is what new coaches do. They bring in the people they want around them. This is also what new coaches who have total control do. Kelly has every right.

But all of these changes, on the field and off, had better work. Soon. Not five years from now, but in one or two. I think that’s still possible. I think it’s possible Kelly starts churning out 11- and 12-win seasons. It’s also possible he churns out six- or seven-win ones. I just don’t know. No one does. Half of the people I speak to around the league think Kelly will succeed, and half think the whole thing will blow up in his face.


6. Teams monitoring La’el Collins case

“We are all watching this (La’el Collins) situation closely,” one team personnel man said. “Every team. If he’s cleared, every team wants him.”

Another team executive made an interesting comparison: “The rush to get Collins will be like the space race from the ’60s.”

It all has a surreal kind of feeling to it. After news of Brittany Mills’ murder, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police want to talk to Collins. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mills “Is believed by police to be a former girlfriend of Collins.” He is not a suspect, and police just want to see if he can assist with providing information at this time.

Meanwhile, NFL teams are in the corner, waiting like sprinters at a starting line, to chase Collins. Just strange.


7. Philip Rivers highly disingenuous

This story from ESPN’s Jim Trotter is excellent. Philip Rivers needs to be called out for trying to manipulate the Chargers into a contract extension. And that’s exactly what he (or his agent) did.

Rivers knew what he was doing when he said this to Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego:

What we’ve established here with my growing family is hard to recreate. It’s hard to up and recreate that. I know that moves are part of life. But that certainly is fair to say that (not being sold on moving to Los Angeles) is part of it. The good thing is I’m not under contract in a year where we’d potentially be in Los Angeles.

That’s a threat saying if the team moves to L.A., he won’t want to move with it. That’s his right to say, but then you can’t try and act like you’re the victim in this situation.


8. Have Halle Berry announce draft picks

I am absolutely, positively, crazy obsessive over this idea from Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, which stems from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling Marcus Mariota to apologize for pronouncing his last name “Marioto”:

Now that the first round of the NFL draft has become a prime-time TV spectacle, why is the commissioner still the one who announces the picks? Whether they hire James Earl Jones or Michael Buffer or Jeremy Irons or Sam Elliott or Morgan Freeman, the draft has become big enough that the NFL should consider getting a professional speaker with a memorable voice to call out the names—especially if the commissioner isn’t going to nail each and every name, each and every year.

It is indeed true the draft has become a huge event—200,000 people attended NFL-related events downtown, according to the league—so why have the commissioner announce the names? The NFL could afford to pay a star do it.

My top five:

  1. William Shatner: Just allow me one Trek guy. OK, thanks.
  2. Sandra Bullock: Charming, funny and acted in a football movie.
  3. Jamie Foxx: See above.
  4. Amy Schumer: No way in hell this would ever happen, but imagine the possibilities.
  5. Halle Berry: No explanation needed.


9. Seahawks didn’t do their homework

According to Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times, the Seahawks did not interview witnesses to an “ugly” hotel incident from November 2014 involving second-round pick (No. 63 overall) Frank Clark. Clark, a defensive end, was kicked off Michigan’s football team following his arrest.

Clark pleaded guilty to persistent disorderly conduct. He was initially charged with two first-degree misdemeanors for domestic violence and assault, but his plea deal with prosecutors only resulted in a $250 fine (in addition to two days already served in jail).

Per Baker, the Seahawks said, “Team officials had conducted an extensive investigation of their own and felt confident that the 6-foot-2, 277-pound Clark had not struck his girlfriend.”

That’s in stark contrast to what Baker is reporting: “Two women say they found the girlfriend of Seahawks draft pick Frank Clark sprawled half-naked on her hotel-room floor and barely moving the night of his arrest on charges of domestic violence and assault.”

General manager John Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle on Monday that “Whether it was punching a woman or striking a woman, [Clark] would not have been on our board.” 

Seattle was happy enough with Clark’s explanation, but Baker’s report doesn’t speak to a thorough investigation. The Seahawks could have passed on Clark. Let some other team draft him.

They chose not to.


10. One last thing on the Seahawks

They are an example of why it’s so hard to keep NFL dynasties intact.

The late George Young, former general manager of the Giants, used to say the two most dangerous times for teams were when a star player signed a huge contract and after winning a Super Bowl. The latter was because every player started wanting theirs. The team concept was always in danger of disintegrating because so many guys start looking around saying, “Where’s mine?”

The Seahawks mostly avoided that last season (at least publicly). But Bruce Irvin’s profane rant about the Seahawks failing to pick up his option, reported by Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, was one of the first public cracks. He wasn’t happy, and the reason was understandable. The difference in monies is extensive—about $6 million.

“Worked for everything I got in my life this s–t will b no different! I earns my keeps!” Irvin said in a tweet.

“Faced way tougher adversity getting outta them streets coming up! That’s (expletive) is nothing! (Expletive) THAT OPTION!” he later added.

Yeah! Expletive that option!

Keep this in mind: Irvin has 16.5 sacks in three seasons.

They’ll probably work this out, but this is one of the few times we’ve seen a Seahawk publicly complain about cash. He may not be the last.


Mike Freeman covers the NFL for Bleacher Report.

Palladino: Mets Need To Call Up Matt Reynolds If Flores Fails

By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns

Sandy Alderson decided months ago to make his 2015 bed with Wilmer Flores as his starting shortstop. Now that things have turned rather lumpy over there, with no real prospects of swapping out the whole mattress, it’s time at least for a new set of sheets.

This is not the time of year for white sales around the league, so the choice of new linens remains limited. If anything, the demand for Alderson’s rich closet of pitching talent will remain just as expensive and, probably, intensify unless the always budget-conscious Mets willingly eat whole contracts of trade targets.

In essence, the White Sox’s Alexei Ramirez, the Rays’ Asdrubal Cabrera, the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki, the Cubs’ Starlin Castro, and the Dodgers’ Jimmy Rollins are not coming here. Alderson didn’t make a strong move for any of those guys in the offseason, though each was mentioned as a solidifying agent to a real shortstop deficiency. And now that the season has started, none of those teams are going to be quick to unload veteran know-how for anything less than a gaggle of young arms which lately have become even more valuable to the franchise.

Matt Reynolds, however, is right under their noses and won’t cost them more than a plane ticket to bring him in from Triple-A Las Vegas. The Mets don’t have any immediate plans to bring him up, but they should. It would be a shame if they squandered the 17-10 mark they hold going into Wednesday’s game against the Orioles because of weak defensive play up the middle and below-par offense from the man they thought would at least hit.

Flores is back from a two-game benching to clear his head from the maelstrom of mistakes he’s made over the past few games, so consider this the beginning of a trial period. He doubled, scored and didn’t produce an error on Tuesday. If he doesn’t keep it together offensively and defensively, the Mets may have no other choice than to call up Reynolds, who has five fewer errors in 20 games in Vegas than Flores’ team-high seven in 23 games up here.

While Flores has allowed his fielding problems to carry over to his hitting — he’s down to .244/.280/.397 — Reynolds is thriving at the plate. He’s at .327/.388/.525 with two homers, 12 doubles, and 25 RBIs.

The Mets’ one move to bulk up the middle defense is in its formative stages as Dilson Herrera has taken over at second, a fielding upgrade over the spotty Daniel Murphy, who will remain anchored at third until David Wright gets back. Until Herrera proves he’s the answer at second, though, Juan Lagares stands as the middle defense’s only strong point in center as he flashes almost every game his Gold Glove worthiness.

Good teams have strong defense up the middle. Reuniting Reynolds with Herrera may not give them an impervious alignment, but it would be a step in the right direction absent a long-time veteran shortstop. Reynolds is said to have limited range, like Flores. But, unlike the incumbent, Reynolds makes the routine play.

In other words, he won’t be kicking games away as Flores did last week against the Yanks. When you’re the Mets, even a fast start is not fast enough. Now that the injuries have started to mount up, the margin for error (in Flores’ case, errors) has narrowed.

The Mets simply cannot afford to give away games in the field, especially at a spot they should have addressed in the winter.

Flores has had his break. Terry Collins has done right by him in giving him a chance to step away, rest, and gather himself. His second trial period has begun.

It should not last as long as the first one.

If Flores can’t turn his season around in short order, Reynolds should get his shot.

It’s either him or a van full of talent for a veteran.

That bed Alderson made with Flores is starting to feel awfully lumpy. He should at least change the sheets.

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Current Celeb Favorite: Denim on Denim with Neutral Bags

Current Celeb Favorite

What do Kate Hudson, Gisele Bündchen, Kylie Jenner, and Mindy Kaling have in common? Besides, of course, the fact that they’re all women with enviable careers (if not mega-powerful families).

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Instagram snapshots: 
Debbie Rowland on the 
blossom trail in Japan

From train journeys past forests of bamboo to tunnels of blooms and hillsides bursting with new buds … Debbie Rowland hit the cherry blossom trail in Japan

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Letting The Freedom Of Truth Uncover The Value Of Life

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