The lack of Black college football coaches is still glaring, and so are the excuses behind it

I began covering college football in 1987. Nick Saban wouldn’t be a head coach for another three years. Mack Brown had 11 career victories.

The first story I wrote about the lack of racial diversity among major college football head coaches ran in 1992. The number of Black head coaches in major college football that year had shrunk from three to zero. I thought the story — actually a series of stories for The Dallas Morning News — broke new ground. I thought college football would break new ground. I thought the new generation of coaches — my generation — would be judged on merit alone.

Revisiting the lack of diversity in college football coaching has become an annual chestnut of what we journalists refer to as enterprise reporting. Many of my colleagues have written on the topic. I wrote about it again at New York Newsday in 1996 and have revisited the issue more than once since then. Here it is, now 2020, literally a generation later. Nick Saban is in his 25th season as a college head coach. Mack Brown has 257 career victories. Other than Saban and Brown, there isn’t much else that is familiar about college football then and now.

Offenses no longer huddle.

Defenses no longer tackle.

Coordinators make millions.

Don’t get me started about realignment.

But nothing is more evergreen than the lack of diversity among college football head coaches.

This year, there are 14 Black head coaches among 130 FBS programs. Oops, Vanderbilt just fired Derek Mason this past weekend; make it 13. While that’s 13 more than there were in 1992, it also means that only 10% of the programs have Black head coaches in a sport in which nearly half the players are Black, according to the NCAA Race and Gender Demographics Database. In the SEC, 61% of players are Black, and now that Vanderbilt has fired Mason, two of the Power 5 conferences — the SEC and the Big 12 — do not have a Black head coach. In the year 2020. And with hiring season about to begin anew, there’s no expectation of much changing.

Over the past few months, I asked commissioners, athletic directors, university administrators and, of course, college football coaches why we lost a generation — why my generation, the administrators my age, failed to make any headway on the issue. Everybody has talked the talk for nearly 30 years. The walk? Not so much.

“I don’t think there is an answer,” said Stanford head coach David Shaw, who has won more games (87) and conference titles (three) than any other Black head coach in FBS history.

“It’s a great question,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who, as

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Swarms of ‘primordial’ black holes might fill our universe

The universe might be full of tiny, ancient black holes. And researchers might be able to prove it.



a star filled sky with Great Blue Hole in the background: a black hole


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a black hole

These mini black holes from the beginning of time, or primordial black holes (PBHs), were first dreamed up decades ago. Researchers proposed them as an explanation for dark matter, an unseen substance that exerts a gravitational pull throughout space. Most explanations for dark matter involve hypothetical particles with special properties that help them evade detection. But some researchers think swarms of little black holes moving like clouds through space offer a cleaner explanation. Now, a new study explains where these PBHs might have come from, and how astronomers could detect the aftershocks of their birth.

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Where did the little black holes come from?

A black hole is a singularity, an infinitely dense point in space packed with matter. It forms when that matter gets so tightly packed that the force of gravity overwhelms everything else, and the matter collapses. It warps space-time and surrounds itself with an “event horizon,” a spherical boundary region beyond which no light can escape.

The laws of general relativity allow black holes to exist at any scale; crush an ant hard enough and it will collapse into a black hole just like a star; it’ll just be incredibly tiny.

Most PBH theories assume these objects have masses like small planets, with event horizons as small as grapefruits. It’s an outlandish idea, still on the fringe of black hole and dark matter physics, said Joey Neilsen, a physicist at Villanova University who was not involved in the new study. But recently, as other dark matter theories have turned up empty, some researchers have given the PBH notion a second look.

If PBHs are out there though, they have to be very old. In the modern universe, there are only two known methods for creating new black holes from normal matter: stars much heavier than the sun colliding or exploding. So every known black hole weighs more than the entire solar system (sometimes much more).

Related: Is our solar system’s mysterious ‘Planet 9’ really a grapefruit-size black hole?

Making small black holes requires a whole other set of mechanisms and ingredients.

Those ingredients would be “the stuff of the Big Bang, the same stuff that makes the stars and galaxies,” Neilsen told Live Science.

Right after the Big Bang, the newly expanding universe was full of hot, dense largely-undifferentiated matter expanding in all directions. There were small pockets of turbulence in this morass — still visible as fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB), the afterglow of the Big Bang — and those fluctuations gave the universe structure.

“If it’s a little more dense at point A, then stuff is gravitationally attracted to point A,” Neilsen said. “And over the history of the universe, that attraction causes gas and dust to fall inwards, coalesce, collapse and form stars, galaxies, and all the structures in the universe that we know of.”

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University of Maryland Administrators Partner With Black Student Leaders on Campus Climate



The University of Maryland recently assembled a group of Black student leaders, representing about 30 student organizations, to help advise university leaders on how to set an “anti-racist agenda,” announced Dr. Darryl Pines, the university’s president.

“The pursuit of excellence and a supportive, respectful community require determined, cooperative and ceaseless work,” Pines wrote in an email to the campus community. “We will build on the work we have already begun.”

Dr. Darryl Pines

Students have had monthly virtual meetings with administrators since May.

“It kind of feels like – for the first time – to be heard,” said senior Nadia Owusu, co-founder of Black Terps Matter and vice president of external affairs for the Student Success Leadership Council. She sees the collaboration as an opportunity to “put a name and a face to our stories.”

In higher education, too often, university leaders “do as they believe the students would want” without their direct involvement, she added. To meet with the university president and other administrators as often as they do has been “a very different experience.”

Together, students and university leaders will discuss ways to increase the number of Black faculty and staff, invest in initiatives to support Black students, increase minority enrollment – particularly from local communities like Prince George’s County and Baltimore City – and honor the legacy of Richard Collins III, a Black lieutenant and student at Bowie State University who was killed by a former student while visiting the university in 2017.

The goal is to “open doors of communication that lead to ongoing collaboration,” said Dr. Georgina Dodge, University of Maryland vice president for diversity and inclusion. “We want to be an inclusive university. We know that we cannot have excellence without diversity, and we know that in order to recruit and retain diversity we need to be inclusive.”

“Some of the concerns I heard [from students] were concerns I had as a student back in the Stone Age,” she added. “…That has fueled our determination to make progress.”

Already, Black student leaders have devised a list of 25 demands. Those demands were sent out as a Google form to the student body – so action items could be ranked in order of importance to students – and ultimately submitted to the university president, Owusu said.

For her, it’s crucial that the university focus on Black student safety, develop a racial incident hotline and mandate racial bias training for all faculty, staff and students.

“I believe that you could hold people accountable better if you’ve given them all the knowledge and understanding possible,” Owusu said. “And one of the best ways is to make people unlearn the stereotypes and the falsehoods that have been amplified outside our UMD community.”

Dr. Patty Perillo, vice president for student affairs, emphasized that involving student leaders in University of Maryland’s agenda-setting process is a part of what it means to be an educational institution.

“We are committed to developing students as

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Peeking into the pods of black soybeans

Peeking into the pods of black soybeans
The scientists examined how much Cy3G and 2F3G were present in the black soybean seed coat as it turned colour from green to black once it was exposed to air and light. The immature seed coat contains the colorless precursor, 2F3G, which is oxidized to Cy3G, turning the seed black.  Credit: Kumi Yoshida

Nagoya University scientists have furthered understanding of how plants make a common pigment that might have medicinal applications. They published their findings in the journal Scientific Reports.


“We studied black soybeans and found a new biosynthetic precursor of the most common anthocyanin in plants,” says Kumi Yoshida of Nagoya University, who led the study and specializes in natural products chemistry.

Anthocyanins are plant pigments with anti-oxidant activities. They are responsible for many of the red through purple to blue colors found in flowers, fruits, vegetables and roots. Scientists are currently researching their medicinal potential for treating metabolic diseases like diabetes and obesity. But so far, anthocyanins can only be extracted from plants. Scientists want to be able to synthesize large amounts of the pure compounds to accelerate research into their potential benefits, which requires understanding how plants make them.

The most common anthocyanin is cyanidin-3-O-glucoside (Cy3G). Scientists already know quite a lot about how it is made in plants. However, recent research has cast doubt on part of its biosynthetic pathway. Yoshida and her team investigate how plants synthesize pigments, and set out to clarify how Cy3G is made in black soybeans. Normally, the immature seed is green in its pod. Over the course of two months, it turns black due to the accumulation of Cy3G. Exposing the immature green seed to light and air accelerates this process, causing it to turn black within a day.

Yoshida and a team of scientists from Nagoya University and the National Institute of Health Sciences in Japan took advantage of this rapid transformation and analyzed the molecular contents in the seed before, during and at the end of the color change of exposed seeds. They specifically focused on Cy3G and another compound called tetrahydroxyflav-2-en-3-ol-O-glucoside (2F3G), which was identified by another research team a few years ago.

Yoshida and her team found that very immature true-green seeds did not contain Cy3G or 2F3G. However, just before they begin to change color, 2F3G can be found in the seed coat. This is followed by an increase in Cy3G and a subsequent decrease in 2F3G. The scientists found that the black seeds in the final stage had a large amount of Cy3G but no 2F3G. They concluded this means 2F3G is a precursor of Cy3G. Further analyzes indicated the conversion from 2F3G to Cy3G occurs in the vacuoles of the seed coat and might not be catalyzed by an enzyme previously thought to be involved in Cy3G synthesis.

The team next aims to clarify the full steps of Cy3G synthesis in the black soybean and to determine whether these steps are the same in other plants.

The paper, “5,7,3ʹ,4ʹ‑Tetrahydroxyflav‑2‑ en‑3‑ol 3‑O‑glucoside, a

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Earth Closer To Supermassive Black Hole Based On The Reimagined Map Of Milky Way

KEY POINTS

  • Project VERA’s proposed map indicates that the Earth is now 2,000 light-years closer to the  supermassive black hole
  • VERA stands for Very Long Baseline Interferometry Exploration of Radio Astrometry
  • It tries to provide a better understanding of the spatial distance between the Earth and the Milky Way

Earth is closer to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole than previously thought if the new map of the galaxy Japan has presented is to go by. 

Specifically, Earth’s movement toward the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy just got faster by 7 kilometers per second. At the rate that it’s going, Earth is now 2,000 light-years closer to the supermassive black hole, according to a proposed map from Japan’s VERA project. For context, the Milky Way is about 150,000 to 200,000 light-years across and 2,000 light-years deep from Earth. 

VERA stands for Very Long Baseline Interferometry Exploration of Radio Astrometry. Japan started the project in 2000, aiming to map the three-dimensional velocity and spatial structures in the Milky Way. 

To be clear, the proposed map offers no indication that the Earth is being hurled toward the supermassive black hole. What the project VERA tries to provide is a better understanding of the spatial distance between the Earth and the Milky Way.    

Black holes possess extremely strong gravity that not even light can escape if it gets sucked up inside of it. Meanwhile, supermassive black holes possess about a million and a billion times more mass than regular black holes. They only exist in large galaxies and in this case at the center of our Milky Way.   

Because of this extremely complicated position, there is no way to view the actual position of the celestial bodies in the universe. This is where the VERA project attempts to come in. By calculating the center of the Galaxy, the project estimates that the supermassive black hole is located 25,800 light-years from Earth. 

“This is closer than the official value of 27700 light-years adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1985,” the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ), which is behind the project VERA, explained in a press release.

“The velocity component of the map indicates that Earth is travelling at 227 km/s as it orbits around the Galactic Center. This is faster than the official value of 220 km/s,” the NAOJ further explained. 

Moving forward, the project will attempt to observe more spatial objects. Its focus lies on the celestial objects closest to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole. 

Supermassive black hole This artist’s concept illustrates a supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun. Supermassive black holes are enormously dense objects buried at the hearts of galaxies. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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Dangerous ‘naked’ black holes could be hiding in the universe

Black holes are regions of infinite density, known as a singularity. And according to mainstream physics, each of these cosmic matter munchers is fringed by an event horizon –- a boundary where once you fall in, you never come out. 



An illustration of a black hole.


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An illustration of a black hole.

But what if some black holes are naked — completely lacking such frontiers? As far as we can tell, singularities are always wrapped in event horizons, but a more detailed look at the math of general relativity suggests that doesn’t have to be the case. 

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If such naked black holes dot the universe, new research reveals how we might be able to detect one: by looking at the ring of light surrounding it.

Related: What’s inside a black hole?

‘The Emperor Has No Clothes’

Black holes are a consequence of the mathematics of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Those equations tell us that if a clump of matter collapses on itself into too small of a volume, the gravity of that matter will just keep shrinking it ever smaller until it crushes into an infinitely tiny point. That point is called a singularity, and it’s a signal that the math we’re using to describe spacetime is completely breaking down.

The gravitational pull of a singularity is infinitely strong. Objects can be pulled toward the singularity faster than the speed of light. Near a singularity, the physics of general relativity can no longer predict the future trajectory of particles — which is one of the main points of physics. Without the power to make predictions, physics falls apart.

Related: 8 ways you can see Einstein’s theory of relativity in real life

Thankfully, as far as we know, all singularities are wrapped in an event horizon. The event horizon is the distance away from the singularity where the gravitational attraction is strong enough to pull in anything –- the point where you would have to travel faster than the speed of light to escape. That’s what makes a black hole black — even light can’t escape them.

Ever since we first discovered the existence of black holes, we’ve wondered if it’s possible to form a singularity without the associated event horizon — a so-called “naked” singularity. This would be a very dangerous place indeed, because it would be a location where the laws of physics break down that is fully accessible to the rest of the universe. At least with a traditional black hole, the singularity is safely wrapped beneath an event horizon, so even though it’s a place of extreme and unknown physics, at least whatever happens there is locked away from the rest of the cosmos.

Twisting a point

If naked singularities exist, they certainly aren’t common. We know of only one confirmed way of forming singularities, and that’s when a giant star runs out of fuel and collapses in on itself. When that happens, the singularity naturally gets an event horizon.

The presence of a naked singularity

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Earth now 2,000 light-years closer to Milky Way’s supermassive black hole

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Earth is a little closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way than we believed.


NAOJ

At the center of the our galaxy, with a mass roughly 4 millions times that of our sun, is a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*

And great news! It turns out scientists have discovered that we’re 2,000 light-years closer to this gigantic black hole than we thought.

This doesn’t mean we’re currently on a collision course with a black hole. No, it’s simply the result of a more accurate model of the Milky Way based on new data.

Over the last 15 years, a Japanese radio astronomy project, VERA, has been gathering data. Using a technique called interferometry, VERA gathered data from telescopes across Japan and combined them with data from other existing projects to create what is essentially the most accurate map of the Milky Way yet. 

By pinpointing the location and velocity of around 99 specific points in our galaxy, VERA has concluded that the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A, at the center of our galaxy, is actually 25,800 light-years from Earth — almost 2,000 light-years closer than what we previously believed. 

In addition, the new model calculates Earth is moving faster than we believed. Older models clocked Earth’s speed at 220 kilometers (136 miles) per second, orbiting around the galaxy’s centre. VERA’s new model has us moving at 227 kilometers (141 miles) per second.

Not bad!

VERA is now hoping to increase the accuracy of its model by increasing the amount of points it’s gathering data from by expanding into EAVN (East Asian VLBI Network) and gathering data from a larger suite of radio telescopes located throughout Japan, Korea and China. 

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Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole than previously thought

A new map of the Milky Way created by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan shows Earth is spiraling faster and is 2,000 light years closer to the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than was previously thought. 

In 1985, the International Astronomical Union announced that Earth was 27,700 light years away from the black hole, named Sagittarius A*. But a 15-year analysis through Japanese radio astronomy project VERA found that the Earth is actually only 25,800 light years away. They also found that Earth is moving 7 km/s faster than they previously believed.

Sagittarius A* and black holes of the like are dubbed “supermassive” for a reason — they are billions of times more massive than the sun. 

But the NAOJ said there is no need to worry, as the latest data does not indicate the planet is “plunging towards the black hole.” It just means there is now a “better model of the Milky Way galaxy.” 

20201126-mizusawa-fig-full.jpg
Position and velocity map of the Milky Way Galaxy. Arrows show position and velocity data for the 224 objects used to model the Milky Way Galaxy. The solid black lines show the positions of the Galaxy’s spiral arms. The colors indicate groups of objects belonging the same arm. The background is a simulation image. 

NAOJ


Using the VERA Astrometry Catalog, scientists created a position and velocity map that lays out the center of the Milky Way galaxy and the objects that reside within. The first VERA Astrometry Catalog was published this year and includes data for 99 objects. 

Positioning indicates that Earth orbits the Galactic Center, where the black hole is located, at 227 km/s. Astronomers originally thought the orbit was at a speed of 220 km/s.

“Because Earth is located inside the Milky Way Galaxy, we can’t step back and see what the Galaxy looks like from the outside,” NAOJ said in a press statement. “Astrometry, accurate measurement of the positions and motions of objects, is a vital tool to understand the overall structure of the Galaxy and our place in it.”

VERA, Very Long Baseline Interferometry Exploration of Radio Astrometry, was created in 2000 and uses interferometry to aggregate data from radio telescopes located throughout Japan. Through the project, scientists can create the same resolution as a 2,300 km diameter telescope, which “is sharp enough in theory to resolve a United States penny placed on the surface of the moon,” NAOJ said. 

NAOJ scientists are hoping to gather data on even more objects, with a focus on those that are close to Sagittarius A*. 

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Earth is 2,000 light-years closer to supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy than we thought | World

More than a century ago, Albert Einstein developed his famous theory of relativity. The idea that space and time are linked together means that time travel might be possible … one day, once physicists figure out how it works.

However, travelers and archeologists have known for centuries that the opportunity to step back in time already exists. Yes, really. By visiting archeological sites around the world, you can see how the city of Pompeii worked right before it was covered in volcanic ash, the lost Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, incredible cave drawings in Brazil and Spain, and even the wealthy trading hub of Petra—no flux capacitor required. Even just learning about archeological findings from home, like the Rosetta Stone and its captivating code or a 44,000-year-old pictorial story from Sulawesi, Indonesia, offers a deeper appreciation for collective ancestors and a humbling reminder of our place in the universe.

When it comes to archeological discoveries, you’ve got a seemingly infinite array of options to read and learn about. So which ones have made the biggest impact on scientists’ understanding of humankind? To find out, Stacker took a look at 50 of the greatest archeological findings of all time, based on reports in news outlets (like National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, BBC News, and The Guardian), UNESCO World Heritage site listings, articles from archeology magazines, and other publications. The list includes important discoveries from around the world, ranging from the Americas to Asia, and even Antarctica.

While we’re all stuck at home, there’s no better way to transport yourself to a different time and place than by learning about fascinating archeological sites and discoveries across the globe. Click through to see 50 of the greatest archeological discoveries made throughout history—and don’t be surprised if they inspire future travel plans, once it’s safe to explore the world again.

You may also like: Oldest cities in America

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Earth is closer to supermassive black hole at center of our galaxy than we thought

This map has suggested that the center of the Milky Way, and the black hole which sits there, is located 25,800 light-years from Earth. This is closer than the official value of 27,700 light-years adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1985, the release said.

New type of black hole detected in massive collision that sent gravitational waves with a 'bang'

What’s more, according to the map, our solar system is traveling at 227 kilometers per second as it orbits around the galactic center — this is faster than the official value of 220 kilometers per second, the release added.

These updated values are a result of more than 15 years of observations by the Japanese radio astronomy project VERA, according to an announcement released Thursday from the National Observatory of Japan. VERA is short for VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry and refers to the mission’s array of telescopes, which use Very Long Baseline Interferometry to explore the three-dimensional structure of the Milky Way.

Because the Earth is located inside the Milky Way, it’s difficult to step back and see what the galaxy looks like. To get around this, the project used astrometry, the accurate measurement of the position and motion of objects, to understand the overall structure of the Milky Way and Earth’s place in it.

Nobel Prize in Physics awarded for black hole discoveries that revealed the 'darkest secrets of the universe'
The black hole is known as Sagittarius A* or Sgr A* and is 4.2 million times more massive than our sun. The supermassive hole and its enormous gravitational field governs the orbits of stars at the center of the Milky Way. Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez earned the 2020 Nobel prize for physics for its discovery. There are several types of black holes, and scientists believe the supermassive ones may be connected to the formation of galaxies, as they often exist at the center of the massive star systems — but it’s still not clear exactly how, or which form first.

More precise approach

In August, VERA published its first catalog, containing data for 99 celestial objects. Based on this catalog and recent observations by other groups, astronomers constructed a position and velocity map. From this map, the scientists were able to calculate the center of the galaxy, the point that everything revolves around.

Star merger created rare Blue Ring Nebula

VERA combines data from four radio telescopes across Japan. The observatory said that, when combined, the telescopes were able to achieve a resolution that in theory would allow the astronomers to spot a United States penny placed on the surface of the Moon.

To be clear, the changes don’t mean Earth is plunging toward the black hole, the observatory said. Rather, the map more accurately identifies where the solar system has been all along.

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