Bowl Predictions 2020: College Football Playoff Predictions for Top Teams | Bleacher Report

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    The Ohio State Buckeyes are viewed as the front-runner to reach the College Football Playoff out of the Big Ten, but to follow through on that title, they need to play cleaner than they did on Saturday. 

    Ohio State eked out a seven-point win over the Indiana Hoosiers, who were down by 28 points early in the third quarter. 

    The top threat standing in the way of a playoff berth for Ryan Day’s squad is now the Northwestern Wildcats, who emerged as the Big Ten West favorite with a win over the Wisconsin Badgers. 

    Northwestern is one of the outside playoff contenders that will be lurking beneath the top four over the coming weeks. 

    At the top of the rankings sit the Alabama Crimson Tide, who turned in yet another dominant performance in Week 12. 

    The other two primary playoff contenders did not suit up Saturday. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were on a natural bye week, and the Clemson Tigers experienced a late postponement of their clash with the Florida State Seminoles. 

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    We did not learn anything new about Alabama on Saturday. 

    The Crimson Tide put up 63 points on an overmatched Kentucky Wildcats defense to move one step closer to the SEC Championship Game. 

    Mac Jones padded his Heisman Trophy resume with 230 passing yards and two touchdowns. DeVonta Smith was responsible for 144 receiving yards and a pair of scores. 

    If Alabama flexes the same offensive dominance in its next two games, it would enter its showdown with the Florida Gators in terrific form.

    The Auburn Tigers and Arkansas Razorbacks should be tougher tests for Alabama, but the Tide have proved to possess the superior talent in a landslide over all of its SEC foes. 

    A potential loss to Florida is the only thing standing in Alabama’s path to the No. 1 overall seed and a matchup with the No. 4 seed in the Sugar Bowl. 

    If Clemson wins the potential rematch with Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game, the Irish would likely drop to the No. 4 seed. 

    Notre Dame faces a tricky Week 13 trip to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels, who at one point this season were ranked in the Top Five. 

    If Brian Kelly’s side continues its high scoring rate, it could breeze past what should be its final legitimate challenger before the December 19 title clash. 

    Due to Clemson’s Week 12 postponement, we do not have an idea of what Trevor Lawrence looks like after a long COVID-19 impacted layoff, but if he returns to his No. 1 overall draft pick form, Notre Dame’s defense needs to be much better. In the last two games, Notre Dame allowed 71 points to Clemson and Boston College. 

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    Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

    Ohio State appeared to be in cruise control at the start of the third quarter against Indiana, but then it let the visitors back in

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‘I can’t go out like that,’ Jets’ Frank Gore says of potentially ending career with 0-16 season

Time is running out on a win for the Jets — and also for Frank Gore’s NFL career.

At 0-10, the Jets became the first team in the NFL to be eliminated from postseason contention in 2020, thus ending any kind of last-ditch miracle run to the playoffs and that elusive first Super Bowl in more than 50 years.

Gore realizes that time isn’t on his side when it comes to a win in 2020, and also his NFL career — and he said as much on Sunday night.

“You don’t want to go 0-16, especially if this is my last year,” Gore said Sunday after the Jets’ 34-28 loss to the Chargers. “I can’t go out like that. Hopefully, we can get one. And I can’t wait until we get it. I’ll be so happy. If it is my last year, I can’t say I’m going out 0-16.”

MORE: Updated 2021 NFL Draft order

Really, it’s no surprise that Gore is thinking about hanging up the cleats: He has far outlived his NFL shelf life as a running back, finding the fountain of youth as a 37-year-old in the backfield while reuiniting with Adam Gase this season. It was a late signing, too, and Gore somehow beat out both Le’Veon Bell (well, he’s gone now) and fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine to remain the No. 1 back on the team.

Gore has been OK, but not exactly deserving of that first-string label: Through 10 games, Gore has 447 yards rushing (3.6 yards per carry) and a touchdown. If his rate stats hold, he’ll surpass his 2019 total of 599 yards on the ground.

The Jets’ remaining schedule isn’t friendly, either, if Gore is thinking about a W: New York plays the Dolphins, Raiders, Seahawks, Rams, Browns and Patriots, with New England the only sub-.500 team left on the docket. 

So if Gore doesn’t want to “go out” like this, then his only option might be to come back for another season.

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Tomorrow’s Top 25 Today: Northwestern crashes top 10 of new college football rankings

A week without too many surprises in top 25 action provides an interesting backdrop for AP Top 25 voters as they contemplate the new college football rankings after Week 12. This is, after all, the final balloting before the release of the first College Football Playoff Rankings of 2020.

The CFP Selection Committee and the AP voters have an interesting give-and-take relationship where Sunday’s poll serves as an instant reaction while the CFP Rankings on Tuesday nights involve more debate and deliberation. One can inform and/or influence the other from what we’ve seen over the last six seasons, but in this unique year, we’ve never had less involvement from the committee this deep into the season. 

Of course, we are also dealing with a season that has provided several disjointed resumes in the top 25. Teams like Wisconsin and Oregon have played as many games as Alabama and Notre Dame have left on their schedules, which makes sorting out the rankings more difficult than usual. The Badgers are sure to drop after losing at Northwestern, but how far is going to be tied to the boost the Wildcats are sure to receive after the top 10 win. There’s also closer-than-expected wins from Oregon and Georgia to consider.

All of it adds up to an interesting table-setter for Tuesday’s rankings release. The top four, and maybe even top six, should be close to matching the AP Top 25, but anything goes when you look at the middle of the top 25. We can make some judgements for the new rankings on Sunday thanks to a more than two months of voting behavior, but there’s no guarantee they won’t be impacted by what the committee says this week. 

Here’s how we think the new AP Top 25 poll will look on Sunday. Last week’s rankings in parenthesis.

1. Alabama (1): No Iron Bowl lookahead issues were apparent as the Crimson Tide picked Kentucky apart in a 60-point home win. Next week’s edition of the rivalry will also be in Bryant-Denny Stadium, where it’s hard to imagine anything but Alabama’s best the way they’re playing right now.  

2. Notre Dame (2): The Fighting Irish were off in Week 12. 

3. Ohio State (3): Any chance of making a claim to No. 1 after Saturday was lost when a 35-7 second half lead against Indiana became a 42-35 win that was on the line in the final minutes. There’s plenty of compliments for the Hoosiers coming out of the game but also a critical look at the Buckeyes, who will likely fall short of the Irish again in this week’s balloting. 

4. Clemson (4): The Tigers’ game at Florida State was postponed hours before kickoff when the two medical groups could not agree on proceeding with the game due to a positive test from a Clemson player on Friday. Since the player practiced with symptoms, there was concern that he had been contagious even though he had been testing negative through the week. It

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Helicopter Pilots Spot Sci-Fi-Looking Object In Utah’s Red Rock Country : NPR

This monolith was discovered in rural Utah, but officials do not know its source or reason for being installed.

Utah Department of Public Safety

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Utah Department of Public Safety

This monolith was discovered in rural Utah, but officials do not know its source or reason for being installed.

Utah Department of Public Safety

State officials were flying over southeastern Utah looking for sheep as part of a routine task. Instead they found something straight out of a sci-fi movie.

From a helicopter, officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety spotted a large metal monolith — a single block of metal or stone — last week. It was sitting in Utah’s Red Rock Country in the southeast. Officials have no idea how or when it got there — or who might have placed it.

“That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying,” helicopter pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL TV.

Hutchings said the structure appeared to be 10 to 12 feet tall and looked like it was planted there — not dropped from the air. In any case, officials said it isn’t legal.

“It is illegal to install structures or art without authorization on federally managed public lands,” said the Utah Department of Public Safety in a statement, “no matter what planet you’re from.”

It also referenced the structure’s out-of-this-world appearance on social media.

“We came across this, in the middle of nowhere, buried deep in the rock. Inquiring minds want to know, what the heck is it? Anyone?” wrote the department in an Instagram post.

As for would-be visitors, officials decided not to disclose the exact location of the monolith. It’s in a remote area — and if people attempt to visit it, “there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” the department said in its statement.

Utah’s Bureau of Land Management is assessing whether further investigation is necessary.

Hutchings has his own theory.

In the classic sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey, a group of prehistoric ape-men were baffled by a large black monolith that appeared in an African desert.

“I’m assuming it’s some new-wave artist or something,” Hutchings said, according to KSL TV. “Somebody that was a big fan [of the film].”

One man stands on the shoulders of another to peer on top of the monolith.

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One man stands on the shoulders of another to peer on top of the monolith.

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Colgate University proved why testing is key to opening campus amid coronavirus pandemic

Some colleges managed to salvage the fall semester by bringing students back to campus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The key to success? Lots and lots of testing.

Colgate University in upstate New York is one of the schools that prioritized testing early on. The 200-year-old college has conducted roughly 11,000 COVID-19 tests for its 3,000 students, according to the school’s dashboard. The school also engaged in wastewater sampling to detect COVID cases.

“Testing that many people that often has allowed us to stay safe and remain open,” Colgate Dean Paul McLoughlin told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “But also, it is what’s necessary. It’s allowed us to sort of identify early.”

Colgate, which is currently reporting 0% positivity rates for four weeks in a row, has offered its students antigen tests on a voluntary basis between November 16 and 17 before students head home for Thanksgiving. Furthermore, the school will move to virtual instruction after the Thanksgiving break. (Vanderbilt, another school that successfully reopened campus, moved to virtual instruction the week before Thanksgiving.)

When students return to campus in the spring, they’ll be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test prior to their arrival. They’ll be given at-home tests. And after that, they’ll be tested again 24 hours after their arrival and will also be quarantined.

a large clock tower in front of a house: Colgate University campus in 2015. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Colgate University campus in 2015. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Testing approaches vary significantly

Other schools that tested early and often managed to get a handle on the highly infectious disease.

A recent report published by the CDC, and written by Duke professors and researchers, stated that 10,265 Duke students had been tested nearly 69,000 times in the fall. 84 were positive, with half of those cases being asymptomatic. 

Before coming back to campus, students self-quarantined at home for 14 days and were subjected to “entry testing.” 

They then signed a “Duke Compact,” a document which Colgate asked its students to acknowledge, in which they agreed to mandatory masking, social distancing, and participating in entry and surveillance testing. Those who missed scheduled tests lost access to the campus facilities and services, so compliance was pretty high at 95%. 

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had a similar aggressive strategy to detect coronavirus cases. At one point in August, the school had reportedly performed about 2% of all COVID-19 tests in the entire country.

Big Ten Network sideline reporter Elise Menaker during a college football game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Illinois Fighting Illini on November 7, 2020 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Big Ten Network sideline reporter Elise Menaker during a college football game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Illinois Fighting Illini on November 7, 2020 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

At the other end of the spectrum, many states had vague testing policies, as reported by NPR.

This included Long Island University, which had shut down in-person instruction in October due to a surge in cases on campus. The school was reported to have ramped up surveillance testing and wastewater sampling and subsequently resumed in-person classes. The school is

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Three Things About Yourself You Should Take Into Account When Making a Career Plan

It is very important to have a career plan. This will help you manage the direction of your career. It will also inform you of the job skills and knowledge you will need and help you to put a plan in place in terms of how you may acquire them. One critical element in the development of a career plan is a self-assessment. A self-evaluation is extremely important because it leads to a self-understanding. Socrates was right when he pleaded, "know yourself." Self-understanding is something that is often missing in our day and age. However, this was not less true at the times of Socrates than it is today. How, then, does one arrive at such a self-knowledge? you wonder. This article aims reasonably at answering this very question.

Again, the process to arrive at a self-understanding is a self-assessment. A self-assessment is an honest conversation with yourself about yourself . Often it will benefit you to include in that conversation other people who know and care about you. Such a process will lead to the discovery of things about yourself that you might have been aware of. If you want to make sure that you plan your career appropriately, it is particularly important for you to know the kind of person that you are. A career strategy needs not be too elaborate. How sophisticated and detailed you want to be is entirely up to you. However, a sound self-assessment will consider, among others, the following aspects of your life: your values, your passion, and your current knowledge. Let's now look at each one of these briefly.

Your Values . Everyone has some things that consider more important than anything else in life. These are things that would probably always stand for no matter the circumstances. These things could have some social aspects of life (like family), some political convictions (like the right of women to vote), some religious beliefs, etc. Often, values ​​are things for which someone would even consider dying. Nelson Mandela, for example, believed that apartheid was unjust and, in his own words, informed that he was prepared to die to see that political system collapse. Whether they are conscious of them or not, everyone has values. You should know yours and take them into consideration when you plan your career and professional direction.

Your Passion . We all have things that we are rather passionate about. These are things we enjoy. They are things we catch ourselves doing all the times. In a way, we are never tired of doing things we are passionate about. For example, some people enjoy reading. They read all the times and they do it effortlessly. Others enjoy public speaking. They find great joy and a huge sense of accomplishment when they are speaking to a live audience. Wherever they are, they quickly become the life of the party. People's passions also keep them awake at nights. If you pay attention to yourself, you will discover what your passions are. They …

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COVID-19 hampers men’s college basketball’s start, causing scheduling headaches

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton is sharing with his players the same sentiment this November he told them last March before the NCAA tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic: Control what you can control. 

Leonard Hamilton standing in front of a crowd: Florida State's head coach Leonard Hamilton talks up his bench in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game with Boston College Saturday, March 7 2020, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 80-62. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

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Florida State’s head coach Leonard Hamilton talks up his bench in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game with Boston College Saturday, March 7 2020, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 80-62. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

As the 2020-21 men’s college basketball season is set to tip off Wednesday – pushed two weeks back from its initial start date – the sport is once again mired by COVID-19 challenges. Preseason No. 1 Baylor, No. 8 Duke, No. 14 Tennessee and No. 20 Oregon are among the latest schools to pull out of non-conference games due to positive tests. Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, Baylor’s Scott Drew, Tennessee’s Rick Barnes and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo are among the high-profile coaches sidelined by the virus. 

“What’s happening in our sport right now is unpredictability all over the board. It’s not like someone is intentionally putting someone in harms way, we are all trying to do what’s safest,” Hamilton told USA TODAY Sports. “When you look around the country at games being canceled, you can allow your imagination to run too far ahead. With our program, we are trying to stay in the moment and try to trust the decision makers’ judgment.” 

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Those decision-makers, like Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball, decided that starting games around the Thanksgiving holiday would clear out campuses with students on break to make for a safe scenario for student-athletes and staff. The revised start date also provides ample opportunity for Division I schools to build up their schedules with non-conference games (or time to reschedule those games) all as part of the annual buildup the sport’s main draw, March Madness.

The NCAA did not respond to several requests for comment.

The season’s tip-off starts just as the Centers for Disease Control is advising Americans not to travel because of a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Experts in the public health specter are strongly advising against games in November and December, as more than 40 of the 357 Division I programs are paused in quarantine or have canceled their season altogether. Wichita State is the latest school in men’s college basketball to opt out of the first two weeks to quarantine from a COVID-19 outbreak. The UConn women’s team is following similar protocol. The Ivy League canceled its sports altogether for the entire school year earlier this month. 

“You couldn’t be starting a season at a worse possible time. COVID-19 transmitting is worse than ever with more cases per day than in February,” said Dr. Sten Vermund, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Yale’s School of Public Health. “Theoretically, basketball is the most problematic of all because this is an

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Can we harness a plant’s ability to synthesize medicinal compounds?

Can we harness a plant's ability to synthesize medicinal compounds?
A plate showing Senna tora, also called Cassia tora. Credit: From Flora De Filipinas by Francisco Manuel Blanco, in the U.S. public domain.

Anthraquinones are a class of naturally occurring compounds prized for their medicinal properties, as well as for other applications, including ecologically friendly dyes. Despite wide interest, the mechanism by which plants produce them has remained shrouded in mystery until now.

New work from an international team of scientists including Carnegie’s Sue Rhee reveals a gene responsible for anthraquinone synthesis in plants. Their findings could help scientists cultivate a plant-based mechanism for harvesting these useful compounds in bulk quantities.

Senna tora is a legume with anthraquinone-based medicinal properties that have long been recognized in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions, including antimicrobial and antiparasitic benefits, as well as diabetes and neurodegenerative disease prevention,” Rhee explained.

Despite its extensive practical applications, genomic studies of Senna have been limited. So, led by Sang-Ho Kang of the Korean National Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Ramesh Prasad Pandey of Sun Moon University and MIT, the research team used an array of sophisticated genetic and biochemical approaches to identify the first known anthranoid-forming enzyme in plants.

“Now that we’ve established the first step of the ladder, we can move quickly to elucidate the full suite of genes involved in the synthesis of anthraquinone,” said lead author Kang.

Once the process by which plants make these important compounds is fully known, this knowledge can be used to engineer a plant to produce high concentrations of anthraquinones that can be used medicinally.

“The same techniques that we use to help improve the yields of agricultural or biofuel crops can also be applied to developing sustainable production methods for plant-based medicines,” Rhee concluded.

Newly discovered enzyme helps make valuable bioactive saponins

More information:
Sang-Ho Kang et al, Genome-enabled discovery of anthraquinone biosynthesis in Senna tora, Nature Communications (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-19681-1
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Duckbill Dino Odyssey Ended in Africa

In North America, fossils of duckbill dinosaur are abundant. So abundant that paleontologists sometimes ignore them in search of more exciting species, like T. Rex or Triceratops.

“They were so common we often wouldn’t collect them and just left them out in the field.”

University of Bath evolutionary biologist Nick Longrich.

But duckbills had never been found in Africa. So, Longrich did a double take when he was visiting the Natural History Museum of Marrakesh in Morocco and came across the 66-million-year-old jawbone of a previously undocumented duckbill species.

“I instantly knew what it was, and I just couldn’t figure out what it was doing there.”

Its presence in North Africa was problematic because during the Late Cretaceous period the planet was warmer, which means sea levels were higher.

“Africa was isolated from all the other continents by water, and there didn’t seem to be any way that they could get there.” Unless, perhaps, duckbills swam hundreds of miles across open ocean from what is now Europe.

It’s not as far-fetched as it might sound. In fact, paleontologists once thought duckbill dinosaurs were aquatic, but that theory eventually fell out of favor. Nonetheless, there’s evidence that duckbills were well-adapted for swimming.

“They have these really big, powerful hind limbs. Great big feet. They’ve got a long, deep tail they could have used for sculling. So, they might have been pretty good swimmers.”

Plus, other animal species have been known to cross oceans, albeit rarely. Elephants, monkeys, and even hippos, for example, have all colonized new places after swimming or floating there.

“It’s incredibly improbable. But over millions of years, these once-in-a-million-year events will happen on average once every million years.”

To better understand the migrations of duckbill dinosaurs, Longrich and his colleagues reconstructed their evolutionary tree.

“The duckbills seem to originate in North America. They migrate across the land bridge into Asia, jump over into Europe. And then finally this European lineage, one branch of that evolutionary tree, jumps into Africa.”

Longrich’s team dubbed the new species Ajnabia odysseus. Some duckbills were 50-feet long, but Ajnabia was perhaps the smallest of these Cretaceous vegetarians, about the size of a pony. And while North American duckbills were being hunted down by hungry T. rex, in Africa, Ajnabia likely had to contend with fearsome Abelisaurs, which were smaller, but similar to T. rex.

The study is in the journal Cretaceous Research. [Nicholas R. Longrich, et al., The first duckbill dinosaur (Hadrosauridae: Lambeosaurinae) from Africa and the role of oceanic dispersal in dinosaur biogeography]

Insights into Ajnabia could help answer questions about the end of the age of the dinosaurs.

“This is just before the asteroid hit. So, we’re getting a snapshot of the dinosaurs in their final moments. The sort of twilight of the dinosaurs. Along with things like T-Rex and Triceratops, these were the last dinosaurs on earth.”

—Susanne Bard

(The above text is a transcript of this podcast)

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Theories abound over mystery metal monolith found in Utah

A giant, metal mystery slab has captured the attention of millions, as people speculate over how such a structure came to be in a remote part of southern Utah.

a close up of a rock wall: Photograph: Utah Department of Public Safety/Reuters

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Photograph: Utah Department of Public Safety/Reuters

The object was first spotted last week by a helicopter pilot and wildlife officers who were flying above the rugged area to conduct an annual count of bighorn sheep for the state. It immediately drew comparisons to the monolith featured in 2001: A Space Odyssey as well as inviting suggestions it could be the work of extraterrestrials.

a close up of a rock wall: The metal monolith found in a remote part of Utah.

© Photograph: Utah Department of Public Safety/Reuters
The metal monolith found in a remote part of Utah.

The helicopter pilot, Bret Hutchings, had the opportunity to see the big metal slab up close and guessed it was probably the work of an artist and between 10ft and 12ft high (about 3 metres).


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“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big 2001: A Space Odyssey fan,” Hutchings told local news station, KSLTV, which first reported on the slab.

The work was compared to those of many minimalist sculptors, including artist John McCracken, who died in 2011. His gallerist, David Zwirner, told the Guardian the mystery object was not one of his works.

“While this is not a work by the late American artist John McCracken, we suspect it is a work by a fellow artist paying homage to McCracken,” a David Zwirner spokesperson said.

One thing that is known is that without authorization, it is illegal to install structures or art on federally managed public lands, according to Utah’s department of public safety (DPS). This is true, “no matter what planet you’re from”, the agency said in a statement.

The agency said it does not plan to reveal is the exact location of the object. “It is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” DPS said.

That did not stop Reddit users from identifying its likely whereabouts, as well as discussing theories about the ways the object could have got there and why.

In zoomed in photos of the structure, Reddit users noted there were lines by its base which suggested a rock saw had been used to put it in the ground and that it appeared to be held together with screws, dispelling the theory it could be one large hunk of metal.

The structure also caused controversy in the geography world, which took issue with Utah’s government using the word “monolith” to describe the object.

A monolith is technically a geographic feature made of stone, while this slab appears to be made of metal. Merriam Webster’s dictionary, however, allows for a looser interpretation of monolith as “a massive structure” and it is the word used to describe the structure director Stanley Kubrick made famous in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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