News for nerds

Che Adams strikes to lift Southampton and sink lacklustre Watford

Sometimes one is enough. One shot on target; one goal; one away win. Che Adams’s deft first-half finish was all Southampton needed to delight their travelling faithful. Oh, how they enjoyed their marching-based evensong, having seen their team win on the road for the second time in 18 attempts.

It was three points that should have been more comfortable, with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side exerting control for large periods and guilty of missing opportunities. “It was a very deserved win,” he said. “The one criticism is we didn’t score more to be honest. One-zero is normally the result the manager likes the most. From this result, you can criticise what you have done but still know you have a positive atmosphere in the team.”

Watford have gone from the ridiculous, to the sublime, to the substandard in a fortnight. The substitute Ashley Fletcher almost earned what would have been an undeserved point – Alex McCarthy clawing away his late effort – but otherwise they went down with a whimper. Boos rang out at the final whistle; much for Claudio Ranieri to tinker with, perhaps. “We must be patient,” said the Watford manager. “Our fans must be patient, take us with love and support us.”

Southampton started brightly and retained their sheen throughout. Returning from suspension, the captain, James Ward-Prowse, was the heartbeat alongside Oriel Romeu. Pre-game murmurings that Ibrahima Diallo might be retained proved false; Hasenhüttl was never going to leave out a man who had completed 7,546 consecutive Premier League minutes before his red card at Chelsea.

Ward-Prowse’s presence gave the right-back Tino Livramento even more attacking licence; he and Kyle Walker-Peters on the opposite flank ventured forward with alarming frequency and freedom. “The first half was too easy for them to find a solution on the flank,” Ranieri admitted. “We arrived always late.”

Livramento was Chelsea’s academy player of the season last year, and turned down a new contract in favour of a £5m move to St Mary’s. Having never played a senior minute before his Saints debut, his award could conceivably be upgraded come June. “To play at this level at 18 years old, the way he does, you have a big future,” Hasenhüttl said.

Southampton’s issue since the departure of Danny Ings has, to put it simply, been goals. Adams was supposed to be a ready-made solution but began the afternoon without a Premier League goal this season. But having netted in the Carabao Cup midweek, he grabbed the winner with a lofted shot that nestled in the top corner.

Quite how he failed to add a second shortly afterwards only Adams will know, after he contrived to nod Adam Armstrong’s cross down and over from five yards.

Armstrong – who arrived from Blackburn after a prolific Championship campaign (28 goals in 40) – has just one Premier League strike himself. Recalled only due to Armando Broja’s ankle injury, his drought continues but only his finishing let him down: five times he failed to find the target. On other days, his wastefulness will prove costly.

Watford’s sole opening of the first half came seconds before Adams’s glaring miss. Ben Foster set Joshua King racing down the left and Ismaïla Sarr’s shot beat Alex McCarthy, but Walker-Peters cleared on the line.

Booed off, Watford improved slightly after the interval but created little until Fletcher’s late chance. McCarthy was largely engaged in gentle catching practice that mirrored his pre-game routine; Sarr was particularly guilty. “He is a champion,” said Ranieri. “All the champions have some matches where it is not easy. Then suddenly everything they touch is fantastic.”

The space Adams was afforded in the penalty area to turn and finish will worry Ranieri. Watford’s promotion was built on making Vicarage Road a fortress and a frugality in defence. Having kept 14 clean sheets here in the Championship – conceding 12 – they have already leaked 11. Every visiting team has scored.

Plus, there was a lack of time on the ball. Ken Sema and Tom Cleverley were introduced at the break simply to press; at times the visitors played walking football. “We were too passive in the first half,” Ranieri said. “I didn’t want this; I wanted to put them under pressure.”

His programme notes talked up the importance of belief. Watford will need that and plenty more if the season is not to become a slog.

Qatar, Rolls-Royce to plough billions of pounds into green tech startups

Qatar and Rolls-Royce (RR.L) will team up in a multi-billion pound project to develop and invest in green technology start-ups in the UK and the Gulf Arab state which they hope will reach “unicorn” status as worth more than $1 billion.

In a joint statement on Monday they said they aim to create five such fast-growing companies by 2030 and up to 20 by 2040, adding the venture would be based at a pair of science and engineering campuses that Doha will fund in the north of England and in Qatar.

The partners said the campuses would be testing grounds for start-ups to “prove and scale” technologies to combat climate change. They said they hadn’t yet decided on the exact location or design of either campus but would announce more in “mid-2022”.

The announcement by the world’s largest liquefied natural gas supplier and the aerospace group – first reported by the Times of London on Saturday – came as world leaders began the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

The project aims to create a “substantial” investment pool to finance research and development and provide early-state venture capital investment to create and scale-up businesses. Rolls is expected to provide engineering and manufacturing support.

The partners said they hope to attract co-investors and to create investment opportunities for Qatari businesses and investors. The project aims to create some 10,000 jobs.

The non-profit Qatar Foundation will administer the project for Qatar, in a shift for the wealthy Gulf state whose major investments in the UK are managed by sovereign wealth fund the Qatar Investment Authority.

Qatar holds several high-profile investments in the UK, including the Shard skyscraper, Harrods department store and the Savoy hotel.

LA’s Jetpack Guy was probably a Jack Skellington balloon

Although jetpacks have moved from the domain of sci-fi to reality in recent times, it seems multiple sightings of a man flying over Los Angeles using one of the devices may have a much simpler explanation: balloons.

The first sighting came back in August last year when American Airlines pilots radioed in that “We just passed a guy in a jetpack.” Another pilot, this one approaching LAX in a Jet Blue airliner a few minutes later, also reported a jetpack flyer passing their plane.

Another report arrived in October from a China Airlines pilot flying at 6,000 feet, followed by a sighting in July this year. There was also a video shared on social media in December 2020 that showed what appeared to be someone with a jetpack flying at around 3,000 feet off the coast of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

While jetpacks are real, such as this one used by a UK paramedic, the chances of this being a man flying around like The Rocketeer seemed unlikely, though we did see a jetpack pilot reach 6,000 feet last year from a ground take-off rather than an elevated platform.

Now, it appears that the mystery has been solved. The FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigated the reported sightings, none of which had been verified. The organizations say the working theory is that the pilots may have seen balloons.

The conclusion seems all the more likely given the images taken by a police helicopter (above) in November 2020, a couple of weeks after the second sighting. They show what looks like an inflatable balloon character, possibly Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, floating several thousand feet above LA—one would assume it broke away from a Halloween display.

However, witnesses interviewed by the Los Angeles Times claim to have seen a human-shaped object that changed direction rapidly rather than just floated, leading to speculation that what people saw was a dummy or balloon attached to a drone to resemble a person with a jetpack, something that European drone enthusiasts have already developed.

Underground nuclear bunker on sale for £550,000 hides three luxury apartments

A Grade II listed bunker built in 1951 during the Cold War has been completely transformed into a series of stunning apartments – and they even still have the original reinforced doors and walls

This nuclear bunker up for sale may look like any other from the outside, but on the inside, it hides three luxury apartments.

The Grade II listed building in the seaside area of Shrublands Road, Mistley, Essex, was built in 1951 during the Cold War.

It was originally designed to serve as the communications ‘hub’ of the county in the event of an attack.

Now, it has been carefully restored and converted into a series of luxury apartments – one four-bed and two three-beds.

Developers at BuildVantage have created the homes over two floors, centred around a beautiful light-filled atrium.

All three still have the original reinforced doors and walls made from military-grade tank steel and protected by thick reinforced concrete walls, and one of the properties even features an original ventilation system housed behind a glass wall.

The homes have a luxurious feel with Italian marble bathrooms, granite worktops and underfloor heating.

And each apartment comes with its own off-road parking and enclosed garden.

The properties are a stone’s throw from the historic village of Mistley and its train station, which has direct links to London Liverpool Street.

Mistley offers various local shops, a popular restaurant and train station whilst the walk to Manningtree will take you along the picturesque River Stour and lead you into the town centre where you can discover various local shops, eateries and other amenities.

The properties were originally listed individually with prices starting at £550,000 but are now being sold together at auction.

The auction, through Allsop, will take place on 9 November.

Property agent Max Turner from Savills in Ipswich said: “Effortlessly stylish, the developers have found the perfect balance of combining modern-day luxury with restored original features to create an extraordinary transformation.

“It’s a truly unique development – connecting the past and present in a landmark building that’s part of the area’s heritage and which will of course make a great talking point when friends and family visit.

“We’ve already received a lot of very positive feedback and people are obviously interested in the bunker’s history, but it also ticks a lot of the boxes that buyers are continuing to look for – tucked away on the edge of the village with plenty of access to outdoor space, yet within a short distance of shops, restaurants and the nearby station.”

Reece James double sinks Newcastle and stretches Chelsea’s lead at top

At half-time the crowd were urged to raise money for the Royal British Legion by participating in an auction to win “match worn” signed shirts streaked with mud, sweat and, in the case of Newcastle’s players, quite possibly tears.

No prizes for guessing whose top Chelsea fans would bid most money for. Reece James’s two second-half goals allowed Thomas Tuchel’s Premier League leaders to translate dominance into points as they left Newcastle stuck in the bottom three and still seeking their first win of the season.

“We don’t need to do shooting exercises in training with Reece, he shoots like a horse,” said a delighted Tuchel as his wonderfully cohesive team passed and moved three points clear of second-placed Liverpool. “It was an excellent performance but we have a long way to go.”

The home side’s new Saudi-led owners will surely park their tanks on Chelsea’s lawn one day but, more immediately, almost Newcastle’s entire armoury needs restocking. The immediate, extremely urgent, task facing Roberto Martínez, Erik ten Hag, Lucien Favre, Frank Lampard, Paulo Fonseca, or whoever is eventually appointed as Steve Bruce’s successor, will be to steer the team clear of relegation.

Bruce gave Newcastle’s players plenty of days off but Graeme Jones, his caretaker successor, believes they are better off being drilled on the training ground. There have apparently been no complaints about the resultant recent lack of time off from a team which, initially at least, showed off some impressive resilience and organisation while absorbing considerable Chelsea pressure.

Admittedly there were some ominously panicked clearances in the direction of row X but despite Tuchel’s side monopolising possession, a series of important blocks from Jamaal Lascelles ensured that, albeit only for a while, Karl Darlow’s goal proved surprisingly well protected.

Jones’s problem was that, with Newcastle offering negligible threat from open play and Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin regularly dropping back into midfield, Édouard Mendy had even less to do.

It dictated that a set piece seemed the home side’s sole realistic route to goal and offered Chelsea reason to believe that a combination of their inventively intelligent off-the-ball movement and almost inevitable defensive concentration lapses would eventually lead to that ostensibly formidable black and white wall collapsing into a pile of bricks.

As half-time beckoned, such visiting optimism was boosted as Hakim Ziyech curled a shot beyond Darlow only to see that effort disallowed for offside before missing a routine chance to side-foot past Jones’s goalkeeper after Kai Havertz flicked on James’s cross.

Not that Tuchel looked remotely satisfied. As the minutes passed the Chelsea manager’s technical area body language reflected mounting shades of exasperation at his side’s failure to overcome a Jones gameplan big on low blocks and long balls.

As if already being without the injured Romelu Lukaku was not bad enough, Tuchel could have done without Mason Mount having been sent back home to London after feeling unwell in the team hotel on Friday night.

As the second half began Chelsea fans probably felt James’s crossing had not been up to his customary standard. Before long though, that seemed hair-splitting pedantry as the right wing-back finally raised the tone, giving his side the lead courtesy of a stunning, high velocity, rising shot arrowed into the roof of the net with a sniper’s precision.

After meeting Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross, James cut inside and checked on to his supposedly weaker left foot before driving a stake through Newcastle’s collective heart.

With Geordie morale plummeting by the second James deployed his right foot to score a similarly unstoppable second goal. This time Ciaran Clark succeeded in partially blocking Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot but the fallout rebounded for the man of the moment to positively lash the ball home with Darlow wrong-footed.

Next Newcastle’s goalkeeper hauled Havertz down, precipitating Jorginho scoring Chelsea’s third from the penalty spot with a rather nonchalant chip.

Meanwhile Javier Manquillo’s snatched, non-menacing, 84th-minute effort represented Newcastle’s solitary shot on target.

The depression engulfing St James’ Park ran so deep that even the news, broadcast over the sound system at the final whistle, that Sunderland had conceded five goals at League One Rotherham barely raised a cheer.

“You’ve got to remember we were up against the Champions League winners and for 65 minutes we were right in the game,” said Jones. “But the manner of our reaction after the first goal was disappointing. It was a very difficult afternoon.”

Research reveals how osteocytes form critical structures that maintain bone health

Embedded within bone tissue are osteocytes, cells with tree-like projections called dendrites that are important for receiving communication from other cells. The loss of dendrites that occurs during aging contributes to bone fragility and osteoporosis. In a study published in Nature Communications, an international team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has revealed how osteocytes form dendrites—a discovery that might lead to strategies to maintain these projections and therefore help protect individuals’ bone health throughout life.

In their study, the researchers found that deletion of Sp7, a gene linked to both rare and common skeletal diseases, in osteocytes causes severe defects in osteocyte dendrites. This gene codes for a protein called a transcription factor, which controls the expression of other genes. The team found that the Sp7 transcription factor targets a gene called osteocrin, which promotes osteocyte dendrite formation. In mice, turning the osteocrin gene on made up for the absence of Sp7 and reversed defects in osteocyte dendrites.

“In this work, we demonstrate key roles for the transcription factor Sp7 and its target osteocrin in orchestrating a gene regulatory network needed to promote healthy connections between bone cells,” says senior author Marc Wein, MD, Ph.D., an investigator in the endocrine unit at MGH and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Understanding how osteocytes maintain this network of connections opens up exciting possibilities for new ways to treat osteoporosis and other diseases where bones are prone to fracture.”

Worsening shortages, high prices restrain U.S. manufacturing activity

U.S. manufacturing activity slowed in October, with all industries reporting record-long lead times for raw materials, indicating that stretched supply chains continued to constrain economic activity early in the fourth quarter.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) survey on Monday also hinted at some moderation in demand amid surging prices, with a measure of new orders dropping to a 16-month low. Still, demand remains strong as retail inventories continue to be depressed, which should keep manufacturing humming.

“Stress in U.S. supply chains isn’t abating, lending downside risk to our forecast for GDP growth in the near term and a clear upside risk to the forecast for inflation,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

The ISM’s index of national factory activity slipped to a reading of 60.8 last month from 61.1 in September. A reading above 50 indicates expansion in manufacturing, which accounts for 12% of the U.S. economy. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index would fall to 60.5.

The ISM reported 26 commodities were in short supply in October, some for as long as 13 straight months. That compared to 24 in September.

The economy is struggling with shortages across industries as global supply chains remain clogged. Supply constraints were worsened by a wave of coronavirus infections driven by the Delta variant over the summer, especially in Southeast Asia. Congestion at ports in China and the United States was also causing delays in getting materials to factories and retailers.

The motor vehicle industry has been the hardest hit amid a global semiconductor shortage. Transportation equipment manufacturers in the ISM survey said they had diverted chips “to our higher-margin vehicles and stopped or limited the lower-margin vehicle production schedules.”

Other industries are also hurting. Manufacturers of computer and electronic products reported “extreme delays” and that “getting anything from China is near impossible.” Food manufacturers said “rolling blackouts in China starting to hurt shipments even more.” Makers of electrical equipment, appliances and components said though demand remained strong, production continued “to be held back by supply chain issues.”

The ISM survey’s measure of supplier deliveries increased to a reading of 75.6 last month from 73.4 in September. A reading above 50% indicates slower deliveries. Economists and businesses expect supply chains could remain tight through 2022.

Longer waits for materials meant high inflation at the factory gate persisted. The survey’s measure of prices paid by manufacturers accelerated to 85.7 from a reading of 81.2 in September. Prices increased for 48 commodities last month, with only prices for wood falling. Prices for products like steel have increased for 15 consecutive months.

These higher costs are being passed on to consumers which, together with surging wage growth, is raising concerns that high inflation could be more persistent rather than transitory as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly argued. The government reported on Friday that wage growth in the third quarter was the strongest on record. read more

Fed policymakers are due to meet on Tuesday and Wednesday. The U.S. central bank is expected to announce that it will start reducing the amount of money it is injecting into the economy through monthly bond purchases.

Stocks on Wall Street were trading higher. The dollar (.DXY) fell against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasury yields rose.


“One interpretation of this dramatic fall could be manufacturers facing a shifting paradigm that accepts supply constraints as a new reality,” said Kurt Rankin, an economist at PNC Financial in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“Demand does not appear to be abating, raising the question of whether businesses’ patience and profitability potential is becoming exhausted and that new inventory management techniques and the promise of fewer goods on offer could be emerging.”

Factories hired more workers, with employment expanding for a second straight month. Though manufacturers said they were still struggling to find workers, there were hopeful signs.

According to the survey, “an increasing percentage of comments noted improvements regarding employment, compared to less than 5% in September.” It also noted that “an overwhelming majority of panelists indicate their companies are hiring or attempting to hire.”

This, combined with a jump in consumers’ perceptions of the labor market last month, suggests employment gains accelerated in October after the economy created the fewest jobs in nine months in September. Worker shortages, however, remain a constraint. There were 10.4 million unfilled jobs at the end of August.

The Labor Department is scheduled to publish its closely watched employment report for October on Friday.

A separate report from the Commerce Department on Monday showed construction spending dropped 0.5% in September, which was blamed on shortages and Hurricane Ida in late August. read more

Still, the spending composition was not as weak as the government had assumed in its advance third-quarter GDP estimate last week. That led some economists to anticipate that third-quarter GDP growth could be revised up to about a 2.2% rate from the published 2.0% pace when the government releases its second estimate later this month.

Niantic’s Pokémon Go clone Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is shutting down

Although Niantic’s Pokémon Go found worldwide success following its launch in 2016, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a very similar title released by the company in 2019, never came close to matching its popularity. As such, it will be closing down in just over two months.

Like Pokémon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is an augmented reality game, this one set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World and with more of a focus on the story. Niantic has announced that it will be removed from the App Store, Google Play, and Galaxy Store on December 6, 2021, and players will no longer be able to make in-game purchases as of that date.

“Not all games are meant to last forever,” Niantic wrote in a statement. “Our goal…was to bring the magic of the wizarding world to life for millions of players as they stepped outside and explored their neighborhoods. We accomplished that together, delivering a two-year narrative story arc that will soon complete.”

All features and servers for the game will be turned off on January 31, 2022, as will the community forum and all associated social media channels.

Using can keep playing the game until the end of January, and Niantic is adding in-game events throughout this month and December. There will also be several gameplay changes, including the cap on sending and opening gifts being removed.

Niantic never said why Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is closing down. Since release, it has lived in the shadow of Pokémon Go, and while the company never revealed official user figures, the newer game has 319,000 ratings on the Play Store while Pokémon Go has almost 15 million.

Facebook’s name change – and Mark Zuckerberg – mocked as Meta can mean ‘dead’

Social media users, especially those in Israel, have questioned whether Zuckerberg knew Meta sounds like the Hebrew word for ‘dead’ before making the change

Mark Zuckerberg is being mocked by social media users after changing Facebook’s name to Meta.

The rebrand came as part of a push to broaden Facebook’s business portfolio beyond social networking to develop a so-called metaverse.

The ‘metaverse’ is the term being used to describe an online world where people would be able to meet, play and work virtually, often using VR headsets.

While the wider company name has been rebranded to Meta, the established Facebook service is to remain unchanged.

However, social media users, especially those in Israel, have questioned whether Zuckerberg knew Meta sounds like the Hebrew word for ‘dead’ before making the change.

Twitter users were quick to jump on the change, suggesting Zuckerberg must’ve “slept through Hebrew class”, while others shared their thoughts through the #FacebookDead hashtag.

Facebook Newsroom tweeted on Thursday: “Today we’re introducing Meta, which brings together our apps and technologies under a new company brand. Learn more about how we’re helping build the metaverse and other news from Connect.”

In response to the name change, one Twitter user said: “In Hebrew, Meta means Dead. The Jewish community will ridicule this name for years to come.”

While another said: “In Greek it means beyond. Don’t be silly. Everybody knows what Meta means in English. If you apply this silly logic you can’t name anything because the word means something in some language.”

In Zuckerberg’s words: “Meta refers to the so-called ‘metaverse’ that the company wants to build.

“That metaverse is a world in virtual reality where social media, games and web stores come together, so that users no longer have to leave that world.”

The new Meta logo is the sign for infinity, which left many users on Reddit suggesting a number of different conspiracy theories.

One user suggested that Zuckerberg wants us to “transmit to a completely different digital reality” since ‘Meta’ also means ‘after’ in Greek.

Another user responded: “Conspiracies are better when they aren’t so forced.”

It wasn’t just opinions and debate over social media though, The ZAKA emergency services, who specialise in collecting body parts after accidents or attacks for a proper Jewish burial, tweeted: “Don’t worry, we’re on it.”

Maxwel Cornet caps Burnley’s early salvo to break duck against Brentford

Sean Dyche spoke of his delight at Burnley changing the narrative after they recorded their first win of the Premier League season with a 3-1 victory over Brentford at Turf Moor.

On the day Dyche reached nine years as the club’s manager, his side scored three times without reply in the first half, via Chris Wood in the fourth minute, Matt Lowton in the 32nd and Maxwel Cornet four minutes later.

The Brentford substitute Saman Ghoddos pulled a goal back with 11 minutes of normal time remaining, but the visitors were unable to spoil Dyche’s anniversary as Burnley took maximum points for the first time in 10 league outings this season, and 13 including the end of last term.

Dyche – whose team moved out of the relegation zone, up a place to 17th – said: “I thought we were excellent first half, the feel of the performance, the mixture of football we found to affect them.

“I’ve been saying recently the performances were good. I’ve been saying about the margins, about the details. It came together today without a doubt. I really liked the energy of the performance in the first half and also some of the quality.

“There was a bit of nervousness in the second half, you expect that. It’s one of those things, and I spoke to the players about it – it’s just kind of controlling the emotion of the game. We’re normally pretty good at that, but when you haven’t had a win, it does play on your mind.”

Burnley grabbed the lead early when Lowton lofted the ball forward on the right and Ethan Pinnock tried to intercept but could not prevent it running to Wood, who cracked a shot beyond the Premier League debutant Álvaro Fernández, replacing the injured David Raya, who is set to be out for several months after damaging ligaments.

The home side doubled their advantage in the 32nd minute as Lowton rose to head in Charlie Taylor’s cross. Burnley fans had barely finished celebrating when their team scored again as Cornet, in delightful fashion, notched his fourth goal in five league appearances since joining the club, bringing down a pass from Dwight McNeil and then smashing the ball past Fernández.

Brentford reduced the deficit via a superb volley from Ghoddos with 11 minutes left, but they could not make things any more nervy for Burnley in the closing stages.

Regarding his nine years in charge, Dyche said: “[The new ownership] have been very patient with what they are seeing, the old owners going out were very patient, and the fans have been very patient.

“I think it is an achievement, I’m aware of that, to be at a club so long in the modern era of football, the demands of it. But my personal take on it is more about the game. I had a glass of wine and a bit of dinner with my staff last night.”

Thomas Frank, whose Brentford side stay 12th after their third successive league defeat, said: “I think it was almost written in the stars that we had to lose today because Sean Dyche had been in charge nine years on this day and done fantastic. So I didn’t want to ruin that party obviously! I already praised Sean before, big respect.

“We have played 10 games in the Premier League, 20 halves, and we have had two bad ones – second half against West Ham and this first half. If we continue with that performance level, then no problem.

“We knew what Burnley would do, we were prepared for it, and then defensively we executed situations very badly … and in those moments, they executed perfectly, so that’s why it went wrong.” PA Media