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  • Evolutionary Theory Evolves

    first_imgEvolutionists squirm when one of their own points out major flaws in Darwin’s theory.In his book Darwin Day in America, John West relates a strategy by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in 1997 to tell the media there is no controversy among scientists about evolution. This was in response to the practice of biology teacher Roger DeHart of “teaching the controversy” by quoting the writings of renowned evolutionists who pointed out significant debates about neo-Darwinism, natural selection, the fossil record and other major aspects of macroevolutionary theory. NCSE’s response was as if to quip, “Controversy? What controversy?”—it’s much ado about nothing. “The role of a high school teacher is not to be on the cutting edge of research,” NCSE president Eugenie Scott said; “It’s not doing the students any service to confuse them about some of the esoteric elements of a scientific disipline” (West, p. 235). This has been a common refrain among evolutionists to this day, presenting to the media and the public a confident voice that “all scientists agree evolution is a fact.” But even if they state that to outsiders, many of them, when talking or writing to insiders, will candidly admit to major disagreements about the fossil record, units of selection, whether microevolution can be extrapolated to macroevolution, and other enduring controversies.One of the most serious debates (largely ignored now but still alive) came in the 1970s, when Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge – both big names in evolutionary circles – pointed out that the “trade secret of paleontology” is the presence of gaps in the fossil record. These gaps are so pervasive, they argued passionately, that they present a serious challenge to Darwin’s notion of gradual evolutionary change. In its place, they offered “punctuated equilibria” (sometimes called “punk eek”) to keep Darwinism alive in spite of the fossil evidence. The idea is that evolution occurs in brief fits and starts that leave no trace, then continues for long periods of stasis.Stephen Jay Gould, a prolific writer and outspoken evolutionary biology professor at Harvard, died in 2002, but his partner in “punk eek” theory, Niles Eldredge (long time curator at the New York Museum of Natural History), still believes it. He has a new book out, Eternal Ephemera Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond (Columbia Univ. Press, 2015) that puts the “eek” in his punky title. It was reviewed in Science Magazine this week by philosopher Jim Endersby of the University of Sussex, under the headline, “The Evolution of Evolution.” Endersby is not particularly happy with Eldredge scratching that old itch.Eldredge’s research into 19th-century history is meticulous; he has clearly spent many hours in the archive, tracing the development (and loss) of the Brocchian strand in Darwin’s thinking. However, historians may feel (to paraphrase an old joke about statistics) that he uses history as a drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination. At one point, he announces bluntly, “I still think I am right” about punctuated equilibria and is pleased to see that Darwin once shared his opinion. Yet surely Darwin’s opinion adds nothing to Eldredge’s credibility, and the author’s determination to juxtapose current evolutionary debates with historical theories leaves him puzzled by some of what he finds in the past.So are there current evolutionary debates? Endersby just admitted as much. He didn’t say punk eek “is so 1979” or indicate in any way that it has been solved. It appears Endersby would prefer to put a bandage on that old sore spot by questioning Eldredge’s credibility. What he has done, though, may be more damaging. He has agreed, in some detail, that evolutionary theory itself has evolved since the pre-Darwinian speculations, all through the 19th and 20th centuries, till the present day. But if evolutionary theory evolves, it could evolve into its converse in the future. Who knows? The Darwinism of 2030 could be indistinguishable from intelligent design, or extinct altogether. If so, it will have demonstrated the self-refuting fallacy embedded in the phrase, “The evolution of evolution.”Don’t you think high school students should be taught the controversy? If you are a high school student, remember that Eugenie Scott insulted your intelligence. She intimated that you are too fragile to be “confused” by such “esoteric” things about Darwinism, like the fact that the fossil record contradicts it. You may belong to the debate club, and learn all about controversies about marriage and war and politics, but you are too delicate, in her opinion, to be exposed to the sausage-making filth behind the Darwin curtain. Stick up for your rights! Demand the teacher not give you a whitewashed version of Darwinism in the textbook. You want to learn more about Darwinism than the curriculum prescribes. Why? Any scientific theory off limits to critical scrutiny is suspect. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and there’s a lot of ugly infection on the biology arm of science to clean up. (Visited 34 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

  • Investing On a Shoestring

    first_imgBy Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, [email protected]  Many people mistakenly think that they need to have at least several thousand dollars to invest. This is simply not true. It is possible to invest on a shoestring, with small dollar amounts ($1,000 or less). The Cover image Military Saves Week by Langley Air Force Base, Airman 1st Class Areca T. Wilson for this webinar is licensed Creative Commons CC BY 2.0.http://https//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Military_Saves_Week,_Service_members_encouraged_to_take_charge_of_personal_finances_140117-F-IT851-042.jpg#filelinkshttps://www.dvidshub.net/image/1158411/military-saves-week-service-members-encouraged-take-charge-personal-finances#.VgrJRWRVikohttp:// Return to article. Long DescriptionEven people with modest incomes can build wealth over time, and they don’t need a lot of money to get started.  For example, they could open an investment account with money from accumulated savings or an income tax refund and then make smaller regular deposits (e.g., $50 or $100 per month).Some investments can even be purchased in increments of $100 or less (e.g., $10 per paycheck invested in an employer retirement savings plan).  Setting aside small amounts of money regularly and reducing household expenses to “find” money to invest are the keys to successful shoestring investing.Below are six action steps to invest with small dollar amounts for service members:Make Tax-Deferred Deposits at Work- The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is the tax-deferred retirement savings plan for service members and federal government employees. Contributions are made as a percentage of basic pay via automatic payroll deductions. Other advantages are a federal income tax write-off for the plan contribution amount and tax-deferred growth of plan deposits and investment earnings.Buy Stocks on a Shoestring– Back in the day, stock investors often needed five-figure sums and a broker to buy 100 shares of several stocks to set up a diversified portfolio. This is no longer the case. Low-cost stock purchase options include investment clubs, dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs), direct purchase plans or DPPs (where investors buy stock directly from a company), and various online investing platforms.Buy Bonds on Shoestring- All U.S. Treasury securities (i.e., bills, notes, and bonds) have $100 minimum deposits and $100 purchase increments. Specific details can be found on the Treasury Direct Other low-deposit, fixed-income investments include corporate bonds, zero-coupon bonds, and U.S. savings bonds. Series I bonds provide inflation protection, and series EE bonds pay interest based on current market rates.Buy Mutual Funds on a Shoestring– Initial minimum deposit amounts and minimums for subsequent deposits vary among mutual funds. If a mutual fund requires more than $1,000 to establish an account, it may still have lower minimums for IRAs and other retirement plans, minor’s accounts, and automatic investment plans where investors make regular deposits on a regular schedule (e.g., $100 per month).Collect Loose Change– Coins saved in some type of container add up over time and can provide “seed money” with which to make investment deposits. Better still, save $1 a day, plus coins (about $50 a month or $600 per year) or $2 a day, plus coins (about $80 a month or almost $1,000 per year). Ideally, use a clear jar or other type of container to see the investing seed money grow. Visibility provides motivation.Continue “Paying” an Expense- This strategy is powerful because it does not affect peoples’ cash flow or make them feel deprived. Simply continue making monthly “payments” as regular deposits to an investment plan after a loan or household expense ends. In other words, redirect the money from an expense to an investment. Examples include car loan payments, student loan payments, a mortgage, and child care.For additional information about investing on a shoestring budget, review the archived Military Families Learning Network webinar, Investing with Small Dollar Amounts and its accompanying handouts, including presentation slides, an online resource list, and an investment risk tolerance quiz. Another free resource for beginning investors with small dollar amounts is Unit 8 (Investing Small Dollar Amounts) of the free online Cooperative Extension basic investing course, Investing For Your Future.last_img read more

  • Irving gets hit in face, Celtics hold off Hornets

    first_imgKammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Hornets: Charlotte’s 57 points in the first half were the second most the Celtics have allowed in the first half this season, one fewer than Milwaukee scored in the opening half of a 108-100 win on Oct. 18. … Nicolas Batum (sprained left elbow) and Treveon Graham (right quad contusion) both sat out.Celtics: Shot just 33 percent (14 of 43) in the first half. … Coach Brad Stevens said Horford is “doing way better” but wouldn’t speculate about his availability.UP NEXTHornets: Host Cavaliers on Wednesday.Celtics: Host Raptors on Sunday. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 The lead grew to five before Walker’s three-point play got the Hornets back within 86-85. Marcus Morris connected on a jumper, but Walker responded with a driving layup to get it back to a point.Boston called timeout, but Rozier accidently stepped out of bounds on the ensuing inbounds play. Walker dribbled the clock down, but his jumper bounced off the back of the rim and was rebounded by Rozier. He was fouled and sank two free throws with 3.6 seconds left.Charlotte struggled throughout the final period, going 4 of 20 from the field and committing six turnovers.“We’re giving up huge leads. We’re not maintaining our game,” Walker said. “We’ve got to be better as a whole.”With Irving out, Charlotte took advantage against Boston’s reserves early, stretching its lead to as many as 18 in the second quarter and taking a 16-point lead into halftime.BANGED UPIrving’s injury is the latest stroke of bad luck for a Boston starter. Horford missed his second straight game with a concussion. And, of course, Hayward is out for the season after a gruesome leg injury on opening night.SLOW STARTThe Celtics opened just 1 of 11 from the floor, and that first made field goal never made it through the hoop. Brown was credited with a basket when Howard was called for goaltending with 8:58 left in the first quarter, cutting Charlotte’s lead to 9-2.Boston’s first field goal to actually fall through the basket came from Morris more than halfway through the quarter.TIP-INS Read Next Neymar is in tears after coach Tite defends his reputation LATEST STORIES Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:29Giannis Antetokounmpo powers Bucks in bounce back win over Celtics00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Terry Rozier finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists, playing an increased role after Irving left the game in the first quarter after taking an elbow to the face. Jaylen Brown added 10 points and 13 rebounds.The Celtics extended their win streak to 11 games. Charlotte has lost four straight.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“We just got a lot of fighters, a lot of resilient guys,” Larkin said of a team that’s now seen Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and now Irving beset by injuries.He said his teammates’ misfortunes have underlined the necessity of staying ready.“I’m always locked it. That’s my job. I don’t know when my opportunity’s gonna be there,” Larkin said. “Tonight I hit some shots early, coach kept rocking with me, so I tried to throw my best.” John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillioncenter_img QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Celtics center Aron Baynes’ elbow inadvertently struck Irving when Baynes was landing after a rebound attempt. Irving fell to the floor and was bleeding from the nose as he was escorted back to the locker room. Irving was ruled out for the rest of the game while he was monitored for possible concussion symptoms.Larkin said Irving spoke to the team at halftime and texted them all congratulations on the win.Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 20 points and 11 assists.Celtics trailed by 12 after three quarters, but opened the fourth on a 16-3 run and took the lead with 4:05 to play on a basket by Brown.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Team personnel assist Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving (11) after he was injured during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in Boston, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Irving took an elbow to the face and left the game. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)BOSTON — Another game, another injury, another win for the Boston Celtics.Jayson Tatum had 16 points, Shane Larkin added 16 off the bench and the Celtics overcame an injury to Kyrie Irving and a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Charlotte Hornets 90-87 on Friday night.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

  • Ranatunga blames Modi for India’s World T20 disaster

    first_imgIn a stinging attack on Lalit Modi, former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has blamed the Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner for the national team’s disastrous show in this year’s Twenty20 World Championships.”India lost the Twenty20 World Cup thanks to Lalit Modi. No one else. Lalit Modi and his IPL,” he said.”When I was playing, there were players who always wanted to achieve something for their country. We used to play for our clubs for no money,” Ranatunga said in a speech to the Oxford Union to be carried in the January issue of The Wisden Cricketer magazine.”It was an honour to play for our country. Not like nowadays,” he added.India, who went into the event as defending champions, couldn’t go past even the first stage when the tourney was staged in England earlier this year.last_img read more

  • 10 months agoWolves eyeing Derby County prospect Sibley

    first_imgWolves eyeing Derby County prospect Sibleyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveEngland U17 international Louie Sibley is attracting Premier League interest.The Mirror says Wolves are on the trail of Derby County prospect Sibley.The Black Country club are beefing up its resources and ambitiously recruiting the best young talent.Defender Sibley was promoted to Derby’s U-23s and scored the goal to earn a 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Thursday night. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

  • 16 days agoLiverpool fullback Alexander-Arnold: Klopp always paid attention to academy

    first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool fullback Alexander-Arnold: Klopp always paid attention to academyby Paul Vegas16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold says manager Jurgen Klopp has always paid attention to the club’s academy talent.Klopp has now spent four years at Anfield and Alexander-Arnold admits his interest in promoting young players was immediately obvious. “Within his first few weeks he was down at the academy watching the young lads, and that almost gave us a bit more faith and gave a statement to the club that he is going to use young players and give us those chances,” he said.”He’s shown over the four-year period that he has given those young players their chances and given them opportunities and obviously I’m one of the youngsters that have been given them.”A massive thanks to him, and hopefully there will be four more years of success.” last_img read more

  • Samsung Reports on Contract Cancellation New LoI

    first_imgzoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Screenshot from Wikimedia/Towel 401 under public domain license South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries informed that it has cancelled a contract for the construction of three special-purpose ships.The contract, worth KRW 415.7 billion (USD 366.1 million), was secured back in July 2018 with an undisclosed North American shipowner.Samsung said that the reason behind the termination was the shipowner’s inability to meet the shipbuilding price payment deadline.However, the company has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with a new client interested in taking over the cancelled ships, hence, SHI expects the impact from contract cancellation to be limited. The new deal is yet to be finalized.Earlier this week, Samsung won its first order this year for the construction of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.The contract is worth KRW 419.9 billion (around USD 376 million) and has been secured with Denmark’s Celsius Tankers.The two 180,000 cbm vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2021.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

  • Huawei P10 Named Official Smartphone of TIFF 2017

    first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Advertisement “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Huawei at this year’s Festival,” said Jody Sugrue, Director Content, Creative & Digital, TIFF. “The P10’s Leica camera creates beautiful content, and we are happy to be working with a smartphone camera of this calibre to capture our red carpets and Portrait Studio.”Known for its track record of introducing powerful and award-winning devices, Huawei Canada is excited for its P10 to capture all the star-studded moments of the Festival — in the official TIFF Portrait Studio, on the red carpet, and elsewhere.To get the inside scoop on TIFF 2017, follow Huawei Canada on social media:Instagram: @HuaweiMobileCanFacebook: HuaweiMobileCANTwitter: @Huawei_CanadaAbout Huawei Consumer BG and Huawei CanadaHuawei is the 3rd largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, with operations in over 175 countries. The Consumer Business Group is one of Huawei’s three business units, offering smartphones, PCs, tablets, wearables and cloud services.Huawei has been operating in Canada since 2008, and currently employs over 700 people. Huawei’s Canada Research Centre employs over 400 engineers and researchers, and is now ranked 29th in Canada for R&D investment. Huawei is committed to providing leading-edge technology to Canadian operators, customers and consumers. Twitter Login/Register With: Advertisement TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2017  – As part of a new partnership between Huawei Canada and the Toronto International Film Festival® (TIFF), the Huawei P10 is the official smartphone of TIFF 2017. As a sponsor of this year’s TIFF festivities, this partnership acknowledges a common ground for pursuing the utmost quality in creative expression.“TIFF is such a momentous time of year in Canada, where artistic visions and style are showcased and celebrated,” said Ron Cihocki, VP Marketing & Sales, Huawei Canada. “We really wanted to flip the script by using Huawei P10 mobile devices to shoot all the fast-paced action during the Festival, as the P10 is a true representation of innovation, style and reliability.”The Huawei P10 was recently named Best Smartphone Camera 2017-2018 by the European Image and Sound Association (EISA), a true testament to the quality of its new Leica Dual Camera 2.0. Co-engineered with Leica, the camera is equipped with a 12MP RGB and 20MP Monochrome sensor. Its advanced optimization software, including 3D facial detection, dynamic illumination and hybrid zoom, makes every shot a cover shot.last_img read more

  • Vegas Has The Best Expansion Team In The History Of Pro Sports

    The Vegas Golden Knights are only halfway through their inaugural season, and they’ve already redefined what anyone thought was possible for an NHL expansion franchise. Against all odds, the Knights are currently 29-10-3 with 61 points, good for the best record in the Western Conference — and only 4 points shy of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the best record in the entire league. It’s enough to make the Knights hockey’s greatest debut team ever, hands down.But that’s not all: Vegas is also lapping the field of expansion teams across every major pro sport. Even after adjusting for the way records are distributed in other sports, no other brand-new club in modern history came close to doing what the Knights have done so far. Expansion teams just aren’t supposed to have this kind of success this early.Constructed as a Frankenstein’s monster of unwanted parts from the rest of the league, a new club is usually very bad indeed. In a franchise’s first season, merely being “competitive” — code for losing but keeping things close most nights — is an admirable goal. And going into this season, there were plenty of people who had trouble seeing the Knights even reaching that modest level of success. Most outlets picked Vegas to finish either last or next-to-last in the Pacific Division.That was a reasonable expectation based on the past performance of first-year clubs. Our own analysis found that Vegas had dredged more talent out of the expansion-draft pool than normal — but that was just supposed to mean the Knights would exceed historical expectations. It didn’t mean we thought they’d make the playoffs, much less that they’d contend for the Stanley Cup.So far this season, however, Vegas has picked up 73 percent of the maximum number of points in its games and outscored its opponents by 0.7 goals per game. To compare those marks across NHL seasons, we converted them to z-scores, or the number of standard deviations they sat above or below league average. (This helps us account for changes in the league’s spread of talent over time and allows us to make comparisons between different sports — which will come in handy later.) In both categories, Vegas’s z-scores are easily the top marks for an NHL expansion team since the league blew up the Original Six and added six new teams in 1967-68:1Excluding the four World Hockey Association teams (the Edmonton Oilers, New England Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets) that merged into the NHL in 1979. Although those teams held an expansion draft, they were also able to keep some of their existing players, and they had existed in the WHA since its founding, making them different from brand-new franchises starting from scratch. 1967Chicago Bulls-3.7-0.740.7-0.5 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 21994Florida Panthers49.4-0.06 1961Los Angeles Angels-0.3-0.343.5-0.7 Point percentage 61968Minnesota North Stars46.6-0.40 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 YEARTEAMPOINT %–Z-SCORE Goal differential 1969Milwaukee Bucks-5.1-1.132.9-1.1 41968Los Angeles Kings48.7-0.16 31968Philadelphia Flyers49.3-0.08 101994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim42.3-0.76 12018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.28 81968Los Angeles Kings-0.3-0.62 51968St. Louis Blues47.3-0.32 YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 1968Seattle SuperSonics-6.5-1.328.0-1.3 41968St. Louis Blues-0.2-0.36 12018Vegas Golden Knights72.6%+1.73 61968Pittsburgh Penguins-0.3-0.54 1961Minnesota Vikings-8.7-0.921.4-1.3 Vegas beats other sports’ expansion teams, tooHow the Vegas Golden Knights stack up against top expansion teams in each league by z-score* of winning percentage, 1961-2018 1993Colorado Rockies-1.3-2.141.4-1.2 *Z-score is the number of standard deviations above/below average, relative to the overall league that season.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com 1969Seattle Pilots-1.0-1.339.5-1.1 The Florida Panthers used to be the model for a successful NHL expansion team. Florida was more than merely competitive in 1993-94 — it finished one win shy of a .500 record and scored exactly as many goals as it allowed. Then, with the good core of talent they had picked up in the expansion draft, the Panthers made the Stanley Cup final three seasons into the franchise’s existence. Before Vegas came along, that was the gold standard for brand-new clubs: solid in the first year, outright good within a couple seasons. But the Knights’ debut has flipped those expectations on their head.(Yes, it should be noted that the 1967-68 St. Louis Blues made the Cup final in their first season. But that was solely because the NHL dropped all six of its new teams into the same division, the winner of which had to make the final. Every team in the new West division, which housed all the expansion clubs, had a negative goal differential during the regular season, but someone had to win it — and the Blues were that team. They were also swept by the mighty Montreal Canadiens when they played for the Cup.)2In fairness to St. Louis, it was as close a sweep as you’ll see; each game was decided by a single goal.Vegas’s season becomes even more impressive when you compare its z-scores to those of the top expansion teams from other sports. No modern MLB expansion club finished a season any better than the 70-win 1961 Los Angeles Angels; no debut NBA team ever topped the 33 wins of the 1967 Chicago Bulls; no NFL expansion team could beat the 7-9 Carolina Panthers from 1995. Hockey does tend to see its teams’ records more tightly bunched than in such sports as football and basketball, but even after adjusting for that with our z-scores, the Golden Knights’ current season blows away any would-be challenger from the NFL, NBA or MLB since the early 1960s: 2018Vegas Golden Knights+0.7+1.372.6%+1.7 Vegas vs. MLB expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 21994Florida Panthers+0.00.00 YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 1968Cincinnati Bengals-8.1-0.821.4-1.1 Vegas vs. NFL expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 1990Minnesota Timberwolves-4.2-0.926.8-1.3 71968Pittsburgh Penguins45.3-0.57 1962Houston Colt .45’s-0.8-1.040.0-1.0 Full-season statistics are used for all teams except Vegas.Source: Hockey-Reference.com 31968Philadelphia Flyers-0.1-0.15 YearTeamValueZ-ScoreValueZ-Score 91971Buffalo Sabres40.4-0.65 1971Portland Trail Blazers-4.5-0.935.4-1.0 1967New Orleans Saints-10.4-1.221.4-1.3 Vegas is destroying its NHL expansion competitorsBest z-scores (standard deviations relative to average) for point percentage and goals per game differential, NHL expansion teams (1968-2018) 1969Kansas City Royals-0.6-0.842.6-0.8 Vegas vs. NBA expansion teamsScore DifferentialWin percentage 81973Atlanta Flames41.7-0.57 71973Atlanta Flames-0.6-0.58 1995Carolina Panthers-2.3-0.443.8-0.4 1966Miami Dolphins-10.6-1.221.4-1.4 91971Vancouver Canucks-0.9-0.77 One thing that jumps out is that many NHL expansion teams had better z-scores than the best expansion teams in the other sports. But why is it so much easier to build a strong NHL expansion team (relative to the league) than in the other Big Four North American sports? I don’t have a great explanation.Hockey is the sport with the least reliable individual stats — while scouts’ eye tests can be swayed by recency and other biases — so it may be that the caliber of players left available in the expansion draft is higher than in other sports. Or perhaps the outsize value of goaltending means one good pick between the pipes is enough to carry a team of talent-strapped skaters to respectability. Or maybe good coaching deserves more credit than it sometimes gets around the league. Whatever the reason, expansion teams have done better on ice in general, even before Vegas started to blow the doors off the league.We know that, in the NHL, it takes a lot of games to tell who’s good and who’s bad — which is why even a hot half-season can turn cold overnight. For Vegas, the heat has been generated by MVP-candidate seasons from the likes of William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault and a near Vezina-worthy performance from Marc-Andre Fleury — all players who were considered expendable as recently as seven months ago. Peeking under the hood, the Knights’ ratio of shots taken to shots allowed at even-strength is nothing special, even after adjusting for score effects and other factors. And let’s face it: Few teams can sustain this pace for an entire season: Of the 24 teams with at least 60 points in their first 42 games since 2005-06,3Excluding the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. only one (last year’s Capitals) had a second-half point percentage as good as it did in the first half of the season.So it would be logical to assume that a second-half regression could be lurking around the corner for the Golden Knights. But the advanced stats don’t suggest that Vegas has been particularly lucky. In terms of expected goals (which measures where a team’s chances come from in addition to their volume), the Knights have the ninth-best ratio in the league.Regression or no regression, various projection systems consider the Knights all but a lock to make the playoffs, which would make Vegas the first expansion team to claim that honor since the 1968 season’s standings guaranteed that four new clubs would qualify. Even the in-town sportsbooks are paying attention to the possibility of playoff action in the desert: The Knights are currently tied for the second-best Stanley Cup odds of any team in the league.For an expansion team, all of this seemed unthinkable going into the season. New franchises aren’t supposed to be instant contenders. They’re supposed to struggle, to require years of building before achieving this kind of success. Vegas clearly doesn’t care about any of that. And now we have an entirely new yardstick with which to compare every other expansion club that comes along in the future, no matter the sport. YEARTEAMGPG DIFF.–Z-SCORE 101971Buffalo Sabres-1.0-0.85 51994Mighty Ducks of Anaheim-0.3-0.37 read more