Donegal’s ongoing food revolution aimed at making the county famous for food, received a tremendous boost this week with the news that Donegal Food Coast initiative has been short-listed as a finalist for Foodie Destinations 2019.The Foodie Destinations awards are run by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, with the aim of finding the ultimate foodie destination in Ireland. Head of Enterprise in Donegal, Michael Tunney, said it was fantastic to have Donegal in the short-listed finalists and he urged the people of the county to get behind the project in the public vote. Mr Tunney said: “The Food Coast – Donegal’s Good Food Initiative – was developed by Local Enterprise Office Donegal as a programme to support development, growth and quality in Donegal’s food sector. In a short space of time, it has become a central platform for establishing Donegal as a “Food County” – a place with a vibrant food culture and food economy and that’s something we are determined to expand upon,” he said.Head of Enterprise Michael TunneyMr Tunney explained that since the launch of the Donegal Food Strategy in 2012, Food Coast Donegal has worked collectively with interested food sector professionals to develop the county’s base of food producers and allow the chefs and restaurants to have a wider pool of local ingredients to choose from. “There is a new confidence growing in our local food sector and with the awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way, more people are looking to Donegal as a new place to explore and discover,” he suggested. Indeed, only recently, the county launched its 2019 list of Donegal’s Food Coast Experiences.A DONEGAL FEAST AT THE FOOT OF ERRIGALSEPTEMBER 30th 2019 – one of the Donegal Food Coast Experiences this year“Food plays an intrinsic role in the visitor experience and the series of food events we have in Donegal this year, offer a wide range of extraordinary experiences celebrating Donegal food and its champions,” he said.Add to that the county’s growing array of nationally and internationally recognised chefs, as well as national and international successes and the Head of Enterprise suggests the fruits of the work being done by Food Coast Donegal is really starting to pay off.“The vision of the Donegal Food Strategy has always been to collectively work together to make Donegal famous for food. To make the county recognised as a pioneering region for its approach to fostering and growing new start-up and existing food businesses.“We have plans in place for more initiatives to keep this momentum going, but in the meantime it is without doubt a great honour to have been short-listed as a finalist. “I am certain that everyone involved with the Food Coast will be looking forward to welcoming the judges and I would appeal to the people of Donegal to get behind the Food Coast in the public vote,” he concluded.The public will be able to vote for their favourite destination from noon on Wednesday 24th of July until noon on Tuesday 20th of August. They can do this through www.foodiedestinations.ieLocal Enterprise Office Donegal is supported through co-funding from the Irish Government and the European Regional Development Fund 2014 – 2020. To contact the Local Enterprise Office in Donegal, log on to www.localenterprise.ie/donegal or phone 0749160735.Donegal needs public vote to taste success in Foodie Destinations awards was last modified: July 22nd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
(Visited 655 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 An exceptionally-preserved foal has been found in Siberian tundra. Can scientists bring it back to life as a clone?A baby horse, the “best preserved ancient horse ever found” according to Live Science, has been recovered in Siberia. But is it as old as claimed?The astonishingly intact body of a young foal that died between 30,000 and 40,000 years ago was recently unearthed from melting permafrost in Siberia. Its mummified remains were so well-preserved by icy conditions that the skin, the hooves, the tail, and even the tiny hairs in the animal’s nostrils and around its hooves are still visible.Scientists believe it was about 2 months old when it died. The Lena Horse, as it is being called, measures about one meter in length. Phys.org adds that “The foal was discovered in the Batagaika crater, a huge 100-meter (328-foot) deep depression in the East Siberian taiga.” Fox News adds that this crater is known locally as the “doorway to the underworld.”Credit: Michil Yakovlev/SVFU/The Siberian TimesThe remains are so intact, Live Science says, that the research team believes it can recover details about the horse’s diet in the animal’s bowel. The foal is also genetically distinct from wild horses that inhabit the area today.Mindy Weisberger’s report stretches credibility about the dates of this and other remains found in permafrost:Siberian permafrost is known for preserving ancient animals for tens of thousands of years, and many superb specimens have emerged as global temperatures continue to rise and permafrost melts. Recent discoveries include a 9,000-year-old bison; a 10,000-year-old woolly rhino baby; a mummified ice age kitten that could be a cave lion or lynx; and a baby mammoth nicknamed Lyuba who died after choking on mud 40,000 years ago.Amazingly, one type of animal preserved in Siberian permafrost for tens of thousands of years was recently brought back to life. Tiny nematodes — a type of microscopic worm — that had been frozen in ice since the Pleistocene were defrosted and revived by researchers; they were documented moving and eating for the first time in 42,000 years, Live Science previously reported.Subtracting dates, this would mean that animals kept getting instantly entombed in permafrost for at least 31,000 years, such that even the contents of their stomachs were flash-frozen. Nothing like that is going on today. Why didn’t the animals migrate out of such inhospitable temperatures? And how could nematodes avoid cosmic ray decay for 42,000 years, only to revive when defrosted?It seems more credible that all these animals perished together in a widespread catastrophe, the likes of which has never been seen before or since. That explanation, however, would not fit the current evolutionary paradigm.Resurrecting the HorseIn a follow-up article on Live Science, Weisberger discusses the possibility of reviving this horse’s species by recovering its DNA. Researchers had already debated whether a woolly mammoth could be made “de-extinct” in this way. It’s a long shot, the article says, because recovering intact DNA after 40,000 years is unlikely. Nevertheless, this foal is genetically closer to a modern horse than a mammoth is to an elephant, so it could be step along the way to learning how to recover lost species.Cloning is possible only when the original animal’s DNA is intact, and the majority — if not all — of the DNA in ice-age specimens is typically degraded “into tens of millions of pieces,” Love Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, told Live Science in an email.If enough DNA from the mummified horse’s remains can be recovered, scientists might be able to construct a genome sequence by comparing the DNA of the extinct foal to the genomes of living horses, Shapiro added.One geneticist remarked that the improbability of finding an intact nucleus is astronomical, but they’re not saying it is impossible at this point.Update 9/16/18: The Guardian reports that a wolf pup and a caribou have been found in Canadian permafrost. The mummified specimens have been radiocarbon dated to be older than the horse: 50,000 years, but they don’t look 10,000 years older than the horse. The Yukon is a long way from Siberia where the horse was found. Did the same catastrophe entomb them all?On the face of it, the Biblical creation account is much more credible than the evolution account with its requirement for reckless drafts on the bank of time. All these Ice Age animals perished in one-time conditions that prevailed during or after the Flood (depending on the model used). The vast spread of tens of thousands of years is pure fiction.Additionally, this story defends the creation view that other animals like dinosaurs lived recently. Notice how the secular scientists expect DNA to decay rapidly, such that it is astronomically unlikely to expect DNA to remain intact after just 40,000 years. This is true of proteins and other molecular constituents, too. And yet dinosaurs with soft tissue, including remains of blood cells and stretchy tissues, have been reported to the complete astonishment and consternation of old-age evolutionists. The Jurassic Park films were premised on the notion that dinosaur DNA could be recovered. At this time, scientists dismiss that possibility. And yet dinosaur DNA has been reported, according to the Real Science Radio website, where host Bob Enyart keeps track of reported soft tissue finds.If scientists do recover this foal’s DNA, and if dinosaur DNA cannot be disputed, what do you think evolutionists will say about it? You know what they will say. They will clutch their beloved geological timeline, and say, “Well, what do you know! Dinosaur DNA can last for 80 million years.”
The memory of poet Ingrid Jonker lives on in South Africa. She inspired Nelson Mandela to quote her poem in his inauguration speech and she posthumously received the Order of Ikhamanga for her contribution to literature and commitment to the struggle for human rights. Her work is loved around the world.Ingrid Jonker was an attractive and sensual woman who had tumultuous relationships with men. (Image: Detail of the cover of Ingrid Jonker: Black Butterflies, Selected Poems, translated by André Brink and Antjie Krog. Photo by Desmond Windell)Lucille DavieSuch was the impact of poet Ingrid Jonker that decades after her death in 1965, the late Nelson Mandela read her poem, The Child who Was Shot Dead by Soldiers at Nyanga, at the opening of the first democratic Parliament on 24 May 1994.“The time will come when our nation will honour the memory of all the sons, the daughters, the mothers, the fathers, the youth and the children who, by their thoughts and deeds, gave us the right to assert with pride that we are South Africans, that we are Africans and that we are citizens of the world,” he said 20 years ago.“The certainties that come with age tell me that among these we shall find an Afrikaner woman who transcended a particular experience and became a South African, an African and a citizen of the world. Her name is Ingrid Jonker. She was both a poet and a South African. She was both an Afrikaner and an African. She was both an artist and a human being.”She had written the poem following a visit to the Philippi police station to see the body of a child who had been shot dead in his mother’s arms by the police in the township of Nyanga in Cape Town. It happened in the aftermath of the massacre of 69 people in Sharpeville, south of Johannesburg, in March 1960. They were marching to the police station to protest against having to carry passbooks.The third and fourth verses of the poem read:The child is not deadneither at Langa nor at Nyanganor at Orlando nor at Sharpevillenor at the police station in Philippiwhere he lies with a bullet in his headThe child is the shadow of the soldiersOn guard with guns saracens and batonsthe child is present at all meetings and legislationsthe child peeps through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothersthe child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywherethe child who became a man treks through all of Africathe child who became a giant travels through the whole worldWithout a pass*Writing in Drum magazine about the poem, Jonker said: “I saw the mother as every mother in the world. I saw her as myself. I saw Simone [Jonker’s own child] as the baby. I could not sleep. I thought of what the child might have been had he been allowed to live. I thought what could be reached, what could gained by death? The child wanted no part in the circumstances in which our country is grasped… He only wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga… [The poem] grew out of my sense of bereavement.”She sent it to several local Afrikaans newspapers for publication, but it was rejected. The Child was eventually published in Contrast magazine, and reprinted in the Netherlands, where Jonker still has a big following. It was translated into several languages, including Hindi, writes Louise Viljoen in A Jacana Pocket Biography of Ingrid Jonker. It was also translated into English and isiZulu and published in Drum, reaching a broader audience.Cape childhoodJonker was born in 1933 in Douglas in Northern Cape. Shortly before her birth her mother, Beatrice Cilliers, left her father, Abraham, because he had accused her of being unfaithful, and that the unborn child was not his. It was the start of a tumultuous and troubled relationship first with her father and then with other men in her life.She and her sister, Anna, were brought up by her mother and grandmother in the small coastal town of Gordon’s Bay, across False Bay from Cape Town. “The girls played on the beach and in the sea like two small otters, or buried themselves in the fantasy world of books, or spent hours gathering and then hiding ‘secrets’ in the pine forest,” writes Andre Brink in Ingrid Jonker, Black Butterflies, Selected Poems, in which he and poet Antjie Krog translated a selection of her poems. Brink, an internationally renowned Afrikaans novelist who has had his novels translated into some 33 languages, was one of Jonker’s lovers.Her mother suffered from nervous breakdowns and was institutionalised. In 1943, when Jonker was 11 years old, her mother died of cancer. Leaving their beloved grandmother, the two sisters were forced to live with their father. A year later she lost the second important woman in her life – her grandmother passed away in 1945.Her father had by now married again and had two children. The sisters had to adjust to a very different life with their father, who made it clear to Jonker that he did not approve of her. He was a disciplinarian and a National Party member of parliament, who was later appointed chairman of the parliamentary select committee for censorship laws on art and publications. His daughter opposed censorship, leading to clashes between them. At one point, he reportedly claimed in Parliament that she was not his daughter.OntvlugtingBy now Jonker had already begun to write poetry, encouraged by a teacher, but her father refused to acknowledge her talent. At high school she published a series of poems in the local school magazine, encouraged by a teacher. She left home as soon as she matriculated and went to work for several publishers in Cape Town, copy editing and proofreading. At the age of 23 she published her first volume of poetry, appropriately called Ontvlugting, or “escape”. She dedicated the volume to her father, but his reaction, according to Brink, was rejection before he had even opened the first page: “My child, I hope there’s more to it than the covers. I’ll look at it tonight to see how you have disgraced me.”Himself a writer, Abraham Jonker was well-educated and had been a journalist before going into politics. He had published several novels and volumes of short stories – perhaps this was one of the reasons she longed to have his approval of her writing.An attractive and sensual woman, Jonker began to mix with a Bohemian group of poets and writers, including Uys Krige, Breyten Breytenbach, Jan Rabie, and coloured poet Adam Small and others. It was a progressive group of Afrikaans writers who became known as the Sestigers. In 1956 she married one of them, Piet Venter. Within a year she had given birth to her only child, Simone. But the marriage broke up, and after living with Venter in Johannesburg for a while, she moved back to Cape Town with Simone, where she felt more at home.She met the writer Jack Cope, a divorcee 20 years her senior, and fell pregnant with his child. According to Brink, when she told Cope she was pregnant, he responded: “What are you going to do about it?” She had an abortion, but their relationship cooled. At this point she met Brink, with whom she had an instant rapport.Rook en OkerDuring this tumultuous time, in 1963, she published her second anthology, Rook en Oker, or “smoke and ochre”. In 1964, she won the Afrikaanse Pers-Boekhandel prize for the anthology, and decided to spend her prize money travelling in Europe. She spent time in Amsterdam and Paris, from where she wrote to both her lovers, Brink and Cope.Brink joined her in Amsterdam, but their relationship was already winding down. “Time and time again we would break up, sometimes with a whimper, often with a bang. Time and time again we would dive back into the love that beckoned like a dark and dangerous current. It could not possibly last,” he writes.It didn’t. Jonker appeared to be on a self-destructive roller coaster, unable to stop herself. As a teenager she had first spoken of suicide; on several occasions throughout her life she would stop midway in a conversation with friends, and ask: “Do you think I will commit suicide one day?” It was a premonition she obviously felt strongly throughout her short life.Her last months appeared to slip and slide out of control, with her spending time in the same mental institution in which her mother had been confined. Brink records: “There are confusing and conflicting reports about the last few months. About several heady affairs, surrounding the central relationship with the painter. About one or more abortions. About ruptures with friends. About an accident in which she broke her leg. About terrible financial straits.”‘I can no longer go on living like this’Jonker had been treated for depression for several years, exacerbated by her break up with Brink and rejection by Cope.Viljoen writes: “Periods of elfin charm and emotional calm alternated with bouts of extreme anxiety and tension, which led to drinking and an excessive use of medication. Generosity and loyalty towards her friends alternated with selfishness and a childish need for attention and affirmation.”In April 1965, she wrote a letter to Cope, with whom she had remained friends: “I can no longer go on living like this, and by the time this reaches you, it will be no good to search for me. I am not threatening you, this is the sum total of my desperation.”Viljoen records that her cries for help were met “either with incomprehension or indifference”. Her sister, Anna, recalls that Ingrid phoned her father to suggest they take a holiday together. “Apparently his response was that he would buy her a one-way ticket to Valkenberg [the state psychiatric hospital in Cape Town].”In the early hours of 19 July 1965, at the age of 31, Jonker walked into the sea at Three Anchor Bay in Cape Town, and drowned. Her friends reeled in shock and wanted to read tributes and poems at her funeral. But her father threatened them with legal action if they even spoke at her graveside, recount Lauren Segal and Paul Holden in their 2008 book, Great Lives, Pivotal Moments. Instead they stood opposite the family, listening to a Dutch Reformed minister talk of Jonker as a “young housewife”.A week later they organised a second funeral, when they met at the grave again and read her poems. At this memorial, the Ingrid Jonker Prize for debut poets was created. It is still awarded.Jonker retained a vulnerable, child-like quality throughout her life, seeking approval and acceptance from her father, which probably accounts for the broken relationships with the other men in her life. After her death, her father’s health deteriorated and he died of an aneurism barely six months later.A year after her death, Cope and Anna Jonker published an anthology of her unpublished poems, entitled Tilting Sun. Jonker had also written a play, A Son after My Heart, and several short stories.Her poems have been translated into German, French, Dutch, Polish, Hindi and isiZulu, among other languages. In 2004, she was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga for “her excellent contribution to literature and a commitment to the struggle for human rights and democracy in South Africa”.* From the translation by Andre Brink and Antjie Krog in Black ButterfliesWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
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Prime Minister Narendra ModiWith the first session of the 16th Lok Sabha coming to end on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will respond to discussions and criticism against the motion of thanks on President’s address, in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.The PM is expected to speak in the Lok Sabha at 4pm and later in the Rajya Sabha, and outline the agenda of the government.Sushma Swaraj is expected to unfold the agenda of governance of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha. This will be the first time she will defend the Modi government in the 16th Lok Sabha. The PM’s reply in the Rajya Sabha is likely to be a stormy one, as the BSP had staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday to demand the dismissal of the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh over the Badaun gangrape and murder incident, and lawlessness in the state.In his address on Monday, the President laid out the priorities and goals of the Narendra Modi government. The speech also included a series of ambitious policy goals that had been laid out in the election manifesto of Mr Modi’s BJP, including the creation of 100 new cities and a revamp of the railway network.”The country is passing through an extremely difficult phase on the economic front,” said Mukherjee. “Putting the economy back on track is paramount for my government.”
Please find attached the following documents:Nomination Form – For Players Attending NTL (attached)Nomination Form – For Players NOT Attending NTL (attached)Masters Trans Tasman Tour InformationMasters Trans Tasman Selection ProcessRelated Filescopy_of_nomination_form_-_attending__2_-xlscopy_of_nomination_form_-_not_attending__2_-xls
Hertha Berlin midfielder Grujic confident of future with Liverpoolby Paul Vegas9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveHertha Berlin midfielder Marko Grujic believes he has a future with Liverpool.The 23-year-old has returned to the German capital for a second consecutive season as he prepares to join Liverpool’s first team come 2020/21.”It’s not easy to become a part of the Liverpool squad, I can see myself in the red shirt but I have to become more experienced before I can wear it again,” Grujic told the Liverpool Echo.“I want to improve my physical performance and take my concentration to another level. I want to be ready for Liverpool so I will have a chance to get into the team.”Despite offers from Atalanta, Brighton and Eintracht Frankfurt, Grujic stayed at the Olympiastadion – revealing Jurgen Klopp was the driving force behind the decision.He said: “He said that it would be a great opportunity for me to improve my development. The Bundesliga is one of the strongest leagues in the world and Hertha BSC is a big club.“It is very important for me to play regularly right now and [Klopp] told me to fight for my place in the team.” TagsTransfersLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: Sports Writer Adam Schefter attends the Annual Charity Day Hosted By Cantor Fitzgerald And BGC at the Cantor Fitzgerald Office on September 11, 2013 in New York, United States. (Photo by Jeff Schear/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, who is constantly glued to his cell phone(s), is one of the hardest working people in all of sports, so it’d be one heck of a surprise if the Worldwide Leader decided to terminate him out of the blue. But Friday morning, for whatever reason, ESPN deactivated both his cell phone and his laptop computer, as if he’d been let go by the company. It was eventually reported as “accidental” by a company spokesman.Sources: Someone at ESPN “accidentally” placed @AdamSchefter on the terminated list. Devices have been deactivated. Looking for suspects— Seth Markman (@tunasweasel) August 21, 2015Schefter joked on Twitter that it was actually the second time it’s happened to him.Been through this before. Not any easier to take 2nd time around. Do want to thank all the great people at ESPN. https://t.co/vI4j6mDObm— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 21, 2015IT just told me HR confirmed to them that I have not been fired (whew). Now they need to figure out how to re-activate my Iphones and laptop— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 21, 2015The question, obviously, is whether someone did this as a joke intentionally or if it was just a mistake. If it was the former, perhaps someone will be getting fired by ESPN today.
The community of Mount Salem, in St. James, will have a Parent Place by the end of March, while several parenting seminars are on for Western Jamaica starting February 16.According to Chief Executive Officer of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), Kaysia Kerr, the agency is procuring equipment for the facility, which will facilitate the development of parenting skills for persons in the area and be an outlet for them to get crucial support.“(It) will offer psychosocial support, literacy intervention, skills building, and ongoing parent education,” Miss Kerr told JIS News.She said ineffective parenting has been identified as some of the reasons for much of the antisocial challenges in many communities, and the seminars will seek to provide meaningful responses with relevant professionals.The events form part of the NPSC annual support for parents whose children will be sitting the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).“We are going to have a cadre of persons – psychologists and others – who will interpret data, so that we can respond on spot to what we are seeing,” Miss Kerr informed.The first seminar will take place on Friday (February 16) at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Montego Bay starting at 11:30 a.m., followed by the second on Saturday (February 17) at the Hopewell Primary and Junior High School in Hanover at 3:00 p.m., and the third at the Mount Salem Primary and Junior High School in St. James on Sunday, February 18, beginning at 3:00 p.m.“The interventions are very important because, as parents, we can always improve our skill sets,” Miss Kerr said. She said ineffective parenting has been identified as some of the reasons for much of the antisocial challenges in many communities, and the seminars will seek to provide meaningful responses with relevant professionals. Story Highlights According to Chief Executive Officer of the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC), Kaysia Kerr, the agency is procuring equipment for the facility, which will facilitate the development of parenting skills for persons in the area and be an outlet for them to get crucial support. The community of Mount Salem, in St. James, will have a Parent Place by the end of March, while several parenting seminars are on for Western Jamaica starting February 16.
As we cross the one-quarter mark of the NBA season — with the Clippers in first place out West, the Kings playing .500 ball, and the Jazz and Rockets near the bottom looking up — things are starting to come into clearer focus. That clarity is more than welcome, given how topsy-turvy the league has been for the first month and a half of play.We know a lot will change between now and April, but for the time being, here are the five things we’ve been most and least surprised by so far this year.Surprising: The Celtics haven’t been good, and the Jazz have been even worse.Boston, finally healthy after losing two of its best players last year, has been one of the bigger mysteries of the season. The Celtics have been elite defensively again this year,1At least from a statistical standpoint. They haven’t been very good at limiting individual scoring outbursts at all. but the offense — which almost never gets to the line — can’t get out of its own way much of the time.Before the season began, Jaylen Brown expressed a belief that the starting wings (him, Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum) have nearly identical skill sets, which was affecting chemistry. And after watching them for a month and a half, we can’t say that he was wrong. With that in mind, Brad Stevens’s recent lineup shift to bring the struggling Hayward off the bench could help matters.Hayward and Brown, in particular, have both shot far better from the floor when playing apart from each other. Hayward sports a solid 53.9 percent effective field-goal rate without Brown but just 39.7 percent with him. And Brown’s 50.5 percent effective field-goal rate without Hayward is well above the 38.5 percent mark he posts while sharing the court with Hayward.Their net ratings also improve when playing apart. The Celtics outscore opponents by 9 points per 100 possessions with Hayward but without Brown, and Boston wins by a margin of 1.5 points per 100 when Brown is on the court but Hayward is on the sideline. But the Celtics hemorrhage 2.2 points per 100 possessions with the two playing together.Using floor-spacing forward Marcus Morris as a starter may work better because of his rugged screen-setting ability. His off-ball screens, useful for a lineup with so many scoring options on the wing, produce the best scoring efficiency of any player on the team2Minimum 15 screens. at 1.12 points per possession when both Tatum and Hayward are on the floor and a whopping 1.53 points per possession when Tatum and Brown are playing together, according to Second Spectrum.It’s also worth keeping an eye on Terry Rozier, who, to this point, has regressed badly on the offensive end after a highly encouraging postseason run, in which he filled in admirably for the injured Kyrie Irving.As for the Jazz, this — 10-12, and third-to-last in the West — is what happens when your league-best defense from last season is merely a middle-of-the-road one, and your offense not only fails to improve but actually morphs into one of the NBA’s five worst in that same window.What’s behind Utah’s slide? A handful of theories have been discussed. But two things stand out to me: 1) The team’s schedule — the toughest in the league3Similar to last season, when their December schedule was the toughest individual month played by any NBA team. So perhaps this is reason for optimism. — has been front-loaded, and 2) a number of players aren’t playing to their capabilities.Outside of a one-week stretch at the end of October, Donovan Mitchell has been terribly inconsistent, struggling badly from outside. Dante Exum’s offense still isn’t catching up to his defense. And perhaps the biggest issue: Ricky Rubio has been awful on both sides of the ball thus far — even more than he was to start last season, when he had just joined the club and was learning the ropes.Rubio has generally been able to hang his hat on his defense and his passing whenever he’s struggling to shoot. But this season, he has sometimes looked a half-step slower laterally on D, allowing nearly a 10th of a point more per drive he defends, at 0.98 points per play, than he did last season, according to Second Spectrum. And while opponents have long sagged off Rubio, daring him to shoot, that experiment has paid far greater dividends this season, as he’s logged just a 46.6 percent effective field goal rate on jumpers when given 6 or more feet of open space4Shots from at least 10 feet away. — down from 53.5 percent just last year, and the worst percentage he’s connected on since the 2013-14 campaign, according to NBA Advanced Stats.It’s still a little early to consider changing the lineup — especially after Rubio played so well at times last postseason. But if he doesn’t turn it around in the next month or so, it might be worth trying a new starting five and letting Mitchell handle the ball more. (Utah, realizing it needs more punch on offense, traded guard Alec Burks and two future second-rounders Wednesday for sharpshooter Kyle Korver.)We wrote this summer that we believed the Jazz could be true contenders this season — which looks incredibly wrong at the moment. But we said then that much of Utah’s hopes would hinge on Rubio’s play. For better or — to this point — perhaps for worse, that seems to be the case.Not surprising: The Grizzlies got back to Grit ’N’ Grind.A lot of people either wrote off or simply forgot about the Grizzlies after a dismal 2017-18 campaign in which they finished with 22 wins and the second-worst record in the league. But the case for believing in Memphis this season was relatively straightforward: This group, finally healthy with the return of Mike Conley and a more motivated Marc Gasol, had its best players back and added considerable two-way talent over the summer through a handful of deals.Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. looks like a potential star at times and is already the real deal defensively. The Memphis defense can be overly aggressive at times in helping from the weak side, which leaves corner shooters open more often than most teams. But the Grizzlies’ D is a top-5 unit, and it gets downright nasty when Jackson and Gasol play together, surrendering just 96.8 points per 100 possessions in 287 minutes. (Oklahoma City, which leads the NBA in defensive efficiency, allows 102.6 points per 100 possessions.)In case you need a sign of how smart the Grizzlies’ offseason pickups were, consider this: The team’s three most-efficient rotation players5By effective field goal percentage, counting only those who have played at least 100 minutes. to this point — Omri Casspi, Shelvin Mack and Jackson — were all acquisitions from this summer. Gasol is fourth on that list, but right behind him is Garrett Temple, for whom the Grizzlies traded.So don’t be too surprised if Memphis continues to hang around in the playoff race. There were indications all along that the Grizzlies would find themselves in the midst of this conversation.Surprising: Derrick Rose’s offense came back to life.Rose’s first career 50-point game earlier this year got considerable attention, but that game was no fluke: This whole season in Minnesota has been a consistent one for the former MVP. From an efficiency standpoint, he’s actually never played this well before.He’s shooting a career-best 49.8 percent from the field, and his 60 percent mark from a true shooting standpoint is 5 points better than he’s had in any other season. Rose used to be among the NBA’s worst 3-point shooters — enough of a liability that he essentially stopped taking triples altogether in New York — but he’s been good from that range, too. The 30-year-old, who’s long been a surprisingly good midrange shooter despite having the flattest shot in the game, is better than 48 percent from 3-point distance on almost four attempts per game to this point. His hot start even has him ranking as one of the NBA’s 15 most efficient offensive players, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metric.It’s still early, but this shooting display — even if his numbers fall off some — figures to lengthen his career, a meaningful development based on how things were going 10 months ago. We knew his otherworldly athleticism wouldn’t be the same after all his injuries, but a steady jumper has changed his outlook.Not surprising: The Rockets-Melo marriage failed.We, like many others, fully recognized the potential pitfalls with Houston’s Carmelo Anthony acquisition this summer. He seemed a less-than-ideal fit, particularly as a sort of replacement for the switchy wing defenders the Rockets lost in Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. So it’s not necessarily shocking that the experiment didn’t work.But never did we imagine that the team would pull the plug as quickly as it did. Houston cut bait on the fallen star just 10 games in — even though other clear problems seemed to exist (like the lack of depth behind Clint Capela, or Eric Gordon shooting far worse than he ever has). Still, it’s somewhat difficult to knock the haste with which the Rockets made the decision: They couldn’t afford to fall too far behind in the loaded Western Conference, where the playoff race figures to be a bloodbath, and they began playing far better after making the pragmatic choice to hold Melo out of the rotation. But even after winning five straight at one point earlier in the month, Houston now finds itself mired in a four-game skid, meaning that there’s more for this club to figure out.Surprising: California’s other NBA teams have been legitimately good.It was totally fair to wonder whether Los Angeles might be a factor in the Western Conference playoffs this season, but who would’ve thought that the Clippers would be the team making that kind of noise at this point in the year? (In fairness, LeBron James and the Lakers have played well lately, too, and may very well find themselves in the same conversation as we move forward.)A number of things illustrate how and why Doc Rivers’s team finds itself atop the West for the time being. The guard rotation of Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has done a fantastic job of defending; the Clippers have held opposing starting guards to 40.9 percent shooting, the NBA’s fourth-lowest figure through Tuesday’s games, per the ESPN Stats & Information Group. Danilo Gallinari, who hasn’t played more than 65 games in a campaign in six seasons, has missed only one game thus far and is shooting better than he ever has from outside.But above all else, the Clips have thrived because Tobias Harris — tied with Giannis Antetokounmpo for the league’s best effective field-goal percentage among wing players with at least 300 shot attempts — has quietly pieced together the offensive profile of a superstar this season. Between the huge leap he’s made and the gains of Victor Oladipo, the Orlando Magic front office has to be beside itself after trading away both players.And while Golden State has been Golden State so far, another Northern California team has been making a move. The Kings own a 10-10 mark and have been one of the more entertaining clubs so far. Just about everything begins and ends with their blistering pace. It seems possible that their ability to maintain that 106-possessions-per-48-minutes tempo for entire games may work to their advantage in the clutch, when Sacramento’s opponents simply don’t have anything left.Sacramento ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency in the first quarter, 25th in the second period and tied for 16th in the third, yet it sits sixth in fourth-quarter defense, right behind the defending champ Warriors. And get this: Despite the pace at which they play, the De’Aaron Fox-led Kings have yet to commit a clutch-time turnover this season — they’re the only team that can still make such a claim this late in the season. It’s part of the reason they are 8-3 — best in the Western Conference — in contests separated by 5 points or fewer with five minutes or less remaining, per NBA.com.Not bad for the NBA’s third-youngest team, one whose young players all seem to have taken a step forward this season.Check out our latest NBA predictions.