SIR Geoffrey Boycott’s 14-year spell on the BBC’s Test Match Special is over, with the commentator saying the coronavirus pandemic had essentially made the decision for him following his quadruple heart bypass.The 79-year-old former England batsman said he had “to be realistic”.The ex-Yorkshire player, who scored 8 114 runs in 108 Tests, had the operation in 2018.“I would have loved to continue but I need to be realistic,” he said.“My contract with the BBC finished end of last summer. I would like to thank BBC TMS and BBC Sport for a wonderful 14 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and just love cricket with a passion.“COVID-19 has made the decision for both of us.”Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “Geoffrey has been an iconic voice in our Test Match Special box for 14 years.“While we wish the circumstances were different, we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank him for his contribution to our cricket commentary over the years and we’re still hoping to hear his unique cricketing insight at some point on TMS this summer.”Boycott said he could still make the occasional appearance on the show.“Hopefully I may still have some input to BBC TMS if that tall, lanky ex-Leicestershire medium pace bowler (BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew) needs an honest appraisal or wants to take the Mickey out of me, maybe he will give me a call while on air,” said Boycott. (BBC Sport)
The USC Hyperloop team has been staying busy trying to perfect their presentation for the judges at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition at Texas A&M University this weekend.The SpaceX Hyperloop competition is a significant milestone in the race to make Hyperloop — a conceptual high speed transit system that billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk calls a potential “fifth mode of transport” — an increasingly believable reality. Three years ago, when Musk released a whitepaper on the SpaceX website that outlined plans for a revolutionary new transit system, many believed that it was an idea out of science fiction that would not see the light of day for generations to come.The Hyperloop is a 28-passenger pod that rides on a cushion of air inside a vacuum sealed tube and can reach a top speed of 760 miles/hour. This means that the 6-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco will take no longer than 30 minutes in a pod that has been pressurized to limit the effect of G-forces so that the journey will be as comfortable as flight.Multiple startups have amassed millions of dollars in investments for the sole purpose of creating the world’s first functioning Hyperloop.So, when SpaceX announced a competition to design and build a half-scale Hyperloop system, more than 100 student engineering teams from 20 countries responded.Last November, USC Hyperloop was not only invited to present their designs at the SpaceX Design Weekend starting this Saturday, but also nominated to try out their finished pods on the SpaceX Hyperloop track during the final competition in June this year.The 24-person team was formed by Alexander Declue, a sophomore majoring in astronautical engineering. Declue started his research as soon as the competition was announced last June. Declue said he was attracted by the innovative concept of Hyperloop.“High efficiency, low costs and blazingly fast speeds,” Declue said.Declue said his team is also driven by its belief in the project.“Our team is somewhat unique because this is an extracurricular activity for all of our members,” Declue said. “Our members choose to work on this project because they are adamant believers in the concept and crave the hands-on, fast-paced engineering experience that these competitions offer.”As with any extracurricular, he recalls that his biggest challenge as project manager was to find students that were skilled and committed to the project. Declue said the project leads meet three to four times a week and communicate constantly.After months of intense work, the team will finally learn if their designs are among the strongest at the competition at Texas A&M Friday and Saturday. Hyperloop Technologies Inc. even upped the ante when they recently announced that they would offer $150,000 in prize money to the teams with the strongest designs.For Declue and his team, the money would be a validation of their efforts and would mean that they would not need to crowdfund to meet their budget goals for their prototype pod construction.The finished Hyperloop system is estimated to cost $6 billion, a fraction of the $68 billion that the state has pledged to the development of the high-speed rail system.Declue said he counts himself lucky to have found a team of such great people. Though the current team exists only to compete in the SpaceX competition, if there is demand, he would be more than willing to take on a new project next year.The SpaceX Design Weekend will take place from Jan. 29-30 at Texas A&M University.
Monday was a triumphant day for the USC women’s tennis team as it took home both the singles and doubles championship crowns at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships.Winning stroke · Sophomore Danielle Lao won the ITA Southwest Regional singles championship after defeating senior Maria Sanchez in the final round. The Women of Troy had five singles players and three doubles teams make it to at least the round of 32. – Photo courtesy of USC Sports Information Sophomore Danielle Lao defeated her fellow Trojan senior Maria Sanchez to earn the singles crown, while the team of junior Alison Ramos and sophomore Valeria Pulido came out on top in doubles.“The whole team did great and we really stepped up this year,” Lao said. “We just swept the whole tournament, and if we look at the top of the draw it was all ’SC.”The team started off strong in the tournament, which began Thursday and was hosted by the University of San Diego and San Diego State, with five Women of Troy making it to the round of 32 in singles after the first day of play. Three teams made it through to the round of 32 in the doubles category on opening day as well, giving USC a strong presence in the top tiers of the tournament.“This tournament proved that hard work does pay off. This was a difficult draw with UCLA, ASU, University of Arizona and other good schools, and we ended up on top in singles and in doubles,” Ramos said. “That’s a huge confidence booster for our team, and it really makes a bold statement to other teams out there — we are going to be the team to beat.”As the tournament progressed, top-seeded Sanchez and Lao both made it to the semifinals of the singles tournament and, after defeating their respective opponents from UCLA, found themselves facing each other in the championship round.“When you play people from your own team you want to have fun and compete, and you know them so well that it gets you a little more nervous but it’s also more exciting,” Pulido said.The Women of Troy were rained out in San Diego Monday, so the singles championship match was played in USC’s own Marks Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Lao came out on top with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over her teammate. Lao’s victory marks the end of Sanchez’s winning streak in the Southwest Regional Championships, which the senior won in 2008 and 2009.Although it required teammates to battle it out against each other, this Trojan-against-Trojan matchup ensured a USC sweep of the entire tournament.Ramos and Pulido’s ultimate victory in the doubles competition occurred the day before Lao’s victory. The pair first defeated its own teammates, the pair of Sanchez and freshman Kaitlyn Christian, in the semifinals, 8-6. The two went on to overpower the Roxanne and Sierra Ellison team from host San Diego State 8-4 in the final to secure the doubles championship.“I am so happy that Val and I won doubles. We are really intense out there and we have so much fun playing together,” Ramos said. “Our energy rubs off on each other and I think that [it was] a huge contributing factor to our victory.”The singles and doubles champions will now prepare to compete in the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships from Nov. 4-7 in New York.“We basically are going to be playing in one of the toughest tournaments of the whole year because there will be the best doubles teams in the country there,” Pulido said. “Ali and I see it as a challenge and we just want to play really well.”
Nintendo’s E3 presentation was nonexistent when compared to Sony and Microsoft, but a couple of the games they announced are already in ready to play states so we went hands on.Rather than have a big press event at E3 this year, Nintendo opted to take their demo experience out of the convention center and into the hands of people who could already buy a console or pre-order the games they just played. Select Best Buy locations around the US offered a few users a chance to play. We stopped by and took a look at Mario Kart 8 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for the Wii U.First up is Mario Kart 8. From the title menu, Mario Kart fans will enjoy the HD boost to the game. Everything looks fantastic, and still feels very familiar. Choose your character, choose your track, and you’re good to go.The demo was limited to two players, one on the Gamepad and one on the WiiMote. The Gamepad could either be used to steer with the controls or with the gyroscope in the pad. The size of the Gamepad lends itself well to steering, especially for Mario Kart users who prefer to stick their WiiMotes in the plastic steering wheel for a more comfortable feel when they play. The added driving modes, like driving up the wall and ramping so high that you deploy a hang glider, all feel like natural additions to the game. Mario Kart fans have a lot to be excited about here.If you were a fan of the original The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, you’re really going to enjoy this HD remake. It’s not enough to make you buy a Wii U if you don’t already have one, but it looks very nice and was very comfortable to play on the Gamepad.The controls are always available on screen, while the display on the controller gives you a look at things like inventory and occasionally just a textured background with red text that says “look at the TV”. For the actual gameplay, it feels very much like the original Wind Waker. This isn’t as cool as, say, an actual new Zelda title, but the combination of nostalgia and desire to see this game in HD will likely be enough to drive both new and old fans to pick it up.The big question is whether or not Nintendo’s strategy worked. At the Best Buy I went to, there was quite the crowd. It was clear that the staff was not anticipating a crowd this size, and many people were willing to stand in line for hours just to get a few minutes with these games. I didn’t see anyone walking out of the store with a Wii U, however, and people walking around the store who didn’t already know about the event didn’t see any reason to hang around and ask questions or learn about the console itself.