Has the US Mens National Team Plateaued

This view suggests the U.S. may have reached a new plateau. The performance of the 2002 team, for instance, is problematic from this vantage point. If the U.S. fails to beat Belgium on Tuesday, that means it will have gone three World Cups without equaling (much less improving upon) the 2002 team’s performance. Perhaps we’re left with the global soccer equivalent of the Atlanta Hawks: a team that will usually make the “playoffs” then lose in the first round.This might seem like a contrived reading of the evidence. But mapping the Americans’ trajectory from 1986 onward is also selective: It’s easy to make an upward pattern look more impressive by starting from what you know to be a low point.There’s a credible story behind each theory. Under the steady-improvement theory, the story is one of demographic and cultural trends abetted by some measure of self-perpetuating success (a positive feedback loop). Soccer has been a big youth-participation sport since the 1970s, but immigration from Latin America may be giving the U.S. even more young athletes who are interested in soccer. The occasional successes of the U.S. men’s national team, along with an increasingly popular domestic league (and improved television visibility for the English Premier League and Liga MX) may motivate some of these young athletes to play soccer professionally instead of transitioning into baseball, football or another sport.The punctuated-equilibrium theory suggests that the U.S. was badly underachieving its soccer potential for many years. Then it got its act together when it was chosen to host a World Cup: better facilities, more investment in the national team, a sustainable domestic league and so forth. But it was picking low-hanging fruit. It shouldn’t be that difficult for a super-wealthy country like the United States, which excels at so many other sports, to be half-decent at soccer if it tries.What’s more challenging is going from a country that sometimes makes the knockout phase to one that sometimes makes the World Cup semifinals — or beyond. It’s not clear that the U.S.’s wealth, or its athletic prowess, implies that it ought to be much more successful at soccer than it has been in recent years. For instance, we can compare each country’s GDP (taken as a natural logarithm) against its soccer team’s Elo rating as of June. There’s certainly some relationship, but it’s rough (soccer is a comparatively inexpensive sport). The trendline in the chart implies that a best guess for the United States is an Elo rating somewhere in mid-1,800s, almost exactly where it is today.The same story holds if we compare the number of medals each country has won at the Summer Olympics since 2000 (again taken as a natural logarithm5Because a number of countries have won no medals since 2000 — meaning that their natural logarithm would be undefined — I instead take the log of the number of medals won plus one.) against its soccer team’s Elo rating.There’s a high margin of error on these estimates. China’s GDP (and its Olympic medal count) is just a little less than the United States’ — but its soccer team has qualified for only one World Cup and has gotten worse in recent years. Germany also has a big economy and a big medal count — and its soccer team is great. The point is that the U.S. men’s national team is no longer underachieving reasonable expectations, as it was before the 1990s. Nor is it exceeding them. Perhaps what we’ve seen is about what we’re due to get in a populous, wealthy, athletic country — where interest in soccer is average, at best, by global standards.The success of the U.S. women’s national soccer team stands in contrast to that of the men’s. But soccer players are among the highest-profile female athletes in the U.S., suggesting that part of the problem for the men’s side is competition from other sports.The punctuated-equilibrium theory would imply that it may take some time for the U.S. men’s team to reach the next plateau. Perhaps an external catalyst would help: another American World Cup, a run to the World Cup semifinals, the emergence of an American soccer player who is recognized as among the best in the world. (Personally, I’d hope for him to be as brash as Cristiano Ronaldo, the better to spark headlines and stoke rivalries with other countries.) But it could be a long while before any of those things happen, and there could be some further delay before their feedback effects kick in.Or it could be that the steady-improvement theory is right. It also reflects a reasonable interpretation of the evidence. The data on youth interest in soccer is very encouraging, for instance.Tuesday’s game against Belgium will provide us with one data point — but just one. Unlike in the past, however, we might not need to wait four years for the next one. Instead, in 2016, the United States will host the Copa América Centenario, a special one-off tournament that will feature the best teams from both North and South America. It could serve as a preview of our soccer future. Playing at home produces the equivalent of an 100 Elo-point bonus — equal to eight years of improvement for the U.S. based on its 1986 to 2014 trajectory. If the U.S. will be ready to compete with the Colombias and Argentinas and Brazils of the world on neutral turf by 2022 and 2026, it should be able to do so on home soil in 2016.CORRECTION (July 1, 4:54 p.m.): A chart in an earlier version of this post mislabeled the Elo ratings vs. Olympic medal counts for China and Russia. The chart has been updated. For the United States, almost every recent World Cup match has been billed as the most important game in the history of the men’s national team. Its knockout-stage match against Belgium on Tuesday isn’t receiving quite as much hype.1The New Republic does describe the U.S.-Belgium game as the “most important sporting event in American history.” That’s apparently a joke, however. But a win would advance the U.S. to the World Cup quarterfinals for a Saturday afternoon match against Argentina or Switzerland. That would probably be the most-watched game in U.S. soccer history — the first World Cup quarterfinal that many American fans would ever see their men play live.2The U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002, but its game against Germany was played in South Korea at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time on a Saturday morning — not ideal viewing hours. The U.S. also advanced from its group to the semifinals in the inaugural World Cup in 1930, but that was when just four teams made the knockout stage.It’s tempting to say that these matches are the soccer equivalent of political “game changers” — much-ballyhooed events that seem exciting at the time but which rarely have as much lasting impact as the pundits claim. But it’s not unreasonable to feel as though every World Cup game is more important than the last. It’s a consequence of the long-term state of U.S. soccer.On the one hand, expectations are getting higher. The U.S. advanced from the group stage in 1994, 2002, 2010 and now 2014. Matches against England or Portugal or Germany are now thought of as opportunities rather than sure losses. On the other hand, the men’s national team has never quite had its breakthrough moment.When might the bar be raised? When might U.S. fans view a Round of 16 exit as a travesty and not a triumph?If you’re in your mid-30s, like me, the advance of the U.S. men’s national team might seem as inevitable as that of gay marriage. You’ll be just old enough to remember that the U.S. was once a soccer backwater. But you might not remember how long it took the Americans to get where they are today. The trajectory since the 1980s has always been upward:This chart shows the Elo rating for the U.S. in each World Cup year3Specifically, it shows the U.S.’s Elo rating as of the date of the World Cup final — whether or not the U.S. actually qualified for the tournament. For 2014, I’ve used the U.S.’s Elo rating at the end of the group stage. since 1986 — the last World Cup where the Americans failed to qualify, and the last one before 1988, when FIFA declared the 1994 World Cup would be played in the U.S.From this perspective, the upward trend has been extremely steady. In fact, other than the 2002 team arriving in the quarterfinals a little ahead of schedule, it’s been almost perfectly linear. Since 1986, the U.S.’s Elo rating has improved by almost exactly 50 points every four years.Imagine that the trend continues. Right now, the U.S. team’s Elo rating is nearly 1,850, which places it 15th in the world. Add another 50 points, and by 2018 it would be at 1,900 — somewhere around eighth or 10th in the world and near where Belgium and Uruguay and France are today. That’s a team that could be a dark-horse World Cup contender. By 2026, its Elo rating would be 2,000 — not far from where Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands began this year’s tournament. So in just 12 more years — in a World Cup that could possibly be held in the United States — the U.S. will be a global soccer powerhouse.Or perhaps not. Consider another look at the evidence, one where we run the numbers back further. For much of the 1970s, there was a lot of hope surrounding the growth of U.S. soccer, but the men’s national team repeatedly failed to qualify for the World Cup. In one year, the U.S. failed to win a single qualifying match. But let’s go back ever further, to 1950. This tells a different story. The men’s national team got worse from 1950 to 1958, bottomed out for almost 30 years with no sign of life, improved rather sharply in a concentrated period from 1986 through 2002, and has been fairly steady since.Yes, the U.S. has still gotten better by this reckoning — but it looks more like a case of punctuated equilibrium — a sudden change after years of stasis.4The so-called punctuated trend in the chart is drawn by fitting a regression with a dummy variable that is taken as zero between 1950 and 1986 and one between 2002 and 2014 and allowed to vary at a linear rate only in the intervening years. read more

The Historically Great Warriors Got Historically Crushed

6/2/[email protected] Finals-254.3 5/30/[email protected] final-255.6 5/22/00Lakersvs.Blazers2West final-290.1✓ 25+ point blowouts of conference No. 1 seeds in the NBA playoffs, 1984-2016 6/2/[email protected] final-272.2✓ 5/27/[email protected] final-292.5 5/3/[email protected] Rd. 1-252.2 5/27/[email protected] Finals-340.3✓ 5/26/[email protected] final-302.8 5/25/[email protected] final-390.2 In the NBA playoffs, No. 1 seeds have a special air of authority about them. Since the league expanded to a 16-team playoff format in 1984, top-seeded teams have won their conference about 55 percent of the time; unlike in sports that feature heavy randomness, it’s a surprise when the best team doesn’t win out in the NBA.But that doesn’t mean top seeds are invincible, as the Golden State Warriors found out Sunday night in Oklahoma when they lost 133-105. With the series tied 1-1, the Warriors were facing the most crucial game of their season — and the Oklahoma City Thunder absolutely shellacked them. Going back again to ’84, it tied for the 14th-worst defeat of a conference No. 1 seed in the playoffs: 6/7/[email protected] Finals-420.1% 5/11/10Cavaliersvs.Celtics5East Rd. 2-32<0.1 6/16/[email protected] Finals-330.3✓ 6/3/[email protected] Finals-330.4✓ 6/14/[email protected] Finals-253.5✓ 6/11/[email protected] Finals-360.2✓ Half of those 14 losses came in the NBA Finals, and six featured a No. 1 seed from one conference crushing its counterpart from the the other — not exactly comparable to Dubs-Thunder. So if you toss those out, Golden State’s loss is tied for the seventh-most-lopsided defeat by a No. 1 in the past 33 postseasons of conference play. (It’s also tied for ninth-worst among playoff losses by No. 1 overall seeds during that span.)The Thunder are a high-quality basketball team, perhaps far better than they appeared to be at various points during the regular season. But the degree to which they dominated the Warriors in Game 3 was stunning. According to the pregame Elo ratings (our pet metric for estimating each team’s strength at a given moment), there was a mere 1.1 percent probability that OKC would run up a victory margin of 28 or more points Sunday.1Based on a process similar to the NFL version I used here. We’ve hardly ever seen this incarnation of the Warriors destroyed so thoroughly, and never in a game that meant so much.Putting aside why it happened — yes, the Warriors had one of their worst (unluckiest?) shot-making nights of the season, but they also played some of their most porous defense of the year and looked out of sorts for long stretches of the game — Golden State’s Game 3 drubbing has left the team in trouble. Both opponents being equal, the team that wins at home in a 1-1 series goes on to win the series more than 69 percent of the time. And although we wouldn’t have considered the Warriors and Thunder to be equals before the West final tipped off, OKC has closed the gap considerably since then. (Plus, Draymond Green is at risk of being suspended for Game 4 after kicking Steven Adams in the crotch for the second time this series.) Now, our model considers the Thunder 64 percent favorites to make the NBA Finals.Plenty of historical teams who suffered similarly huge routs bounced back and won the series anyway, so all is not lost in Oakland. But the Warriors will have to regroup after a Game 3 performance that put them in an exclusive, unenviable club of vulnerable No. 1 seeds.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 5/24/[email protected] final-262.2✓ 5/22/[email protected] final-281.1— DATETEAMOPPONENTGAMEROUNDMARGINELO PROB.WON SERIES 5/19/[email protected] Rd. 2-281.2✓ Source: Basketball-Reference.com 6/17/[email protected] Finals-390.1 6/4/[email protected] final-252.3 5/21/92Bullsvs.Cavaliers2East final-260.2✓ 5/30/[email protected] final-350.3✓ 6/3/[email protected] Finals-330.8 read more

Football Wide receiver Binjimen Victors size and maturity making the difference in

Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Binjimen Victor (9) stands up after catching a pass for a touchdown during the second quarter in the Ohio State-Maryland game on Oct. 7. Ohio State won 62-14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOver the past two games, no Ohio State wide receiver has demonstrated as much potential as sophomore wideout Binjimen Victor.With six catches for 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Victor is quickly showing why coaches have praised the 6-foot-4 wideout, as demonstrated Tuesday afternoon by head coach Urban Meyer’s comparison between Victor and former Ohio State wideouts Michael Thomas and Cris Carter.Though he got off to a slow start to the year, Victor has shown why the Thomas and Carter comparisons are warranted as he has now added the weight needed to fulfill the various responsibilities of a wide receiver in Meyer’s offense, while also putting on display his ability to make leaping, athletic catches over cornerbacks and serve as a red-zone target for quarterback J.T. Barrett.Barrett, who has been the starting quarterback during both the tenures of Thomas and Victor, said Victor has something Thomas lacked: early opportunity.After both were used sparingly as freshmen, Thomas redshirted his second season in Columbus whereas Victor is listed as a starter and has begun to flourish.Though Victor is still far from being the true No. 1 wideout Thomas developed into, Barrett said he believes Victor has that potential if he continues to develop physically.“He’s a taller guy and [strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti has] been pushing him in the weight room,” Barrett said. “So make sure he’s physical in that aspect. But I think he’s coming along well.”Out of high school, Victor weighed only 170 pounds. Victor’s height has always given him the potential to be the red-zone, jump-ball target Barrett needed, but his weight limited his usefulness on the field. Meyer has often discussed the importance of being physical enough to block at receiver in order to see extended playing time.Two years since arriving in Columbus, Victor has bulked up to 195 pounds — though he still remains lanky. Victor said his increased size has led to an ability to fulfill the blocking requirement for Meyer’s receivers, aiding him in his quest to see more playing time.“Here you have to block to play receiver and also play special teams,” Victor said. “So offseason I try to work on getting stronger, getting bigger as well, so when it comes to blocking, I can be blocking from my slots and perimeter running.”The ability to block might have been what put him on the field, but he is far from the blocker several other receivers, like redshirt junior Terry McLaurin and sophomore Austin Mack, are currently. What separates Victor from everyone else is his height, which causes problems for the typically smaller cornerbacks because there is rarely a pass Victor can’t get his hands on.Victor said the trust Barrett has in him to come down with the catches stems from chemistry the two have built up over the spring, summer and into the fall.“You’ve got to trust in your quarterback to give you a chance on that 50/50 ball and using my height to my ability to go make a play,” Victor said. “It comes easy because you know we work on it throughout the week and come game time, we’ve got to make it happen.”That trust works both ways between quarterback and wide receiver. Just as Victor said he counts on Barrett to give him a chance, Barrett said Victor’s size gives him much more room for error on passes, making him a more comfortable target.“I think with Ben, I guess not necessarily be as accurate with his wingspan being so wide. He helps you out a lot,” Barrett said.Throw in the size and added confidence Victor has picked up from his recent successes and involvement in the offense, and Barrett said he has a guy he can continue to count on throughout the season. Having limited usefulness and thus a limited role in the offense last season diminished the confidence Victor possessed in his game, Barrett said. The three-time team captain said he now sees a receiver who believes in his own ability to make plays for the team.“Last year, he would be timid at times, and with that wouldn’t be open. And I see now he’s being more confident,” Barrett said. “Even when a guy is hanging onto him, he’s able to go up there and grab the football … So I think there’s something that has been really good for him just being more confident in what he’s doing being that this is his second year.”Though Victor no longer lacks confidence, the potential dynamic playmaker said he has more left to give the Buckeyes. As Meyer said, Victor believes he still has yet to scratch the surface.“I have a lot to work on. I’m not where I need to be right now,” Victor said. “I feel like I can become [that well-rounded receiver], so I can make this offense and help my teammates get better on it.” read more

Mens Volleyball Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson announces retirement

Ohio State head men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson will be inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in Columbus on May 22. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsAfter 35 years as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s volleyball team, Pete Hanson announced his retirement on Thursday. In his storied coaching career, Hanson has led three Ohio State teams to an NCAA Championship — in 2011, 2016 and 2017 — has been named the National Coach of the Year three times and has recorded 712 career wins, the third-most in NCAA history. “I will certainly miss Ohio State and the volleyball program, but I will never forget it,” Hanson said in a release.Hanson has also been inducted into three Hall-of-Fame classes: the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2015, the Ohio State Athletics in 2017 and the USA Volleyball in 2019. “Being in the Hall of Fame once obviously is a feat in and of itself. To do it three times is something just surreal and something crazy,” senior setter Sanil Thomas said. “I think what you wouldn’t expect is the same — I would imagine, the same amount of passion he brought day one he brings that passion day — a lot; it’s a lot of days. That’s why he deserves this more than anyone.”In Hanson’s tenure as head coach, the Buckeyes  won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season title 18 times, over half of the total seasons he had coached. In his 34 years, he has been awarded as the MIVA Coach of the Year 13 times. However, much of the impact Hanson has made is reflected in the players he coached. Hanson has coached 13 MIVA Player of the Year award winners, 17 players who ended up playing professionally and 17 players who competed for their national team. “The legacy of Ohio State volleyball was and has been built by all of those fine young men that wore the Scarlet and Gray,” Hanson said in a release. “I am forever indebted to them, as they helped to ensure that Ohio State volleyball remained one of the most respected programs in the country.” Hanson also made an impact off the court and into the classroom. More than 200 of his players have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, and, in the past 10 years, 65 percent of his players have earned Ohio State scholar-athlete recognition. “His impact far exceeds the men’s volleyball program, and even Ohio State Athletics, making a positive difference to collegiate volleyball across the country,” Ohio State deputy director of athletics and men’s volleyball administrator Janine Oman said. “The development of young men has always been paramount to Pete, equipping them to lead successful lives.”But on the court, especially inside St. John Arena, Hanson made his lasting mark. In his tenure, Ohio State has recorded six undefeated seasons at home and one 42-match winning streak, the longest in Ohio State history for a head-to-head sport. “Pete Hanson’s Buckeye career embodied our mantra of ‘The People. The Tradition. The Excellence,’” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “He’s found success on the court and molded young men off of it, preparing them for life after college. Pete leaves a lasting legacy at The Ohio State University.” read more

Real stories that inspire

first_imgEnter a world of technology breakthroughs, with the real story of starting up and unadulterated entrepreneurship; get an enormous amount of practical advice, tips and ideas to make a student brilliant; flick through a moving personal story and the ultimate guide to making the 50s the most fabulous decade of your life yet. Finally, let go of outdated and traditional ways of closing the skills gap, and embrace the urgency of “re-skilling” and “upskilling” the workforce as seniors in business organisations. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf Here are some books you can read on diverse issues: 1. Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks by Alok Kejriwal By the time he was 20, Alok Kejriwal had his life pre-planned for him. He would inherit the family business of manufacturing socks and be the hard-working, money minting, quintessential Marwari businessman, forever. Except that it didn’t turn out that way. A few years after surviving the family set-up, something turned up that sent Alok on a completely different career path: The Internet! Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveA crazy business idea Alok had turned out to be a winner and contests2win.com was born. Soon, Alok was fighting and thriving in a world completely different from the one he had grown up in. A world where technology breakthroughs, VCs and out-of-the-box thinking decided the real winners. ‘Why I Stopped Wearing My Socks’ is Alok’s story of starting up and unadulterated entrepreneurship. It traces his roller-coaster ride as an aspiring entrepreneur; traversing through a variety of business ideas in the family business up to his big breakthrough as one of India’s first entrepreneurs to tap the power of the internet. It details the amazing success of contests2win.com and Mobile2win, a venture eventually acquired by The Walt Disney Company. The chapters in the book are actual stories, throbbing with memorable anecdotes, that conclude with crisp learning for the readers. 2. The Art of Being a Brilliant Teacher by Gary Toward, Chris Henley and Andy Cope Teaching is an art. With the right techniques, guidance, skills and practice, teachers can masterfully face any situation the classroom could throw at them. With their fresh perspectives, sage advice and humour, Andy, Chris and Gary show teachers how to unleash their brilliance. For any teacher who has had a classroom full of angels who suddenly turn into devils for some unknown reason, or who realise too late that their best-laid lesson plans will go nowhere, or who is that teacher who has had their energy sapped by a negative colleague, this book will help rescue them. These problems and many others can be helped by reading this book which contains an enormous amount of practical advice, tips and ideas to make anyone brilliant. 3. Feisty at Fifty by Sudha Menon If you ever thought that women in their 50s must lead dull, boring lives, Sudha Menon is here to bust your myths and show you that life indeed begins at 50. Join this wise and witty 50-something in pursuing middle-aged sexiness, nailing the work-life balance, taking on the FOMO (fear of missing out), celebrating mid-life discoveries and generally feeling great about ourselves. Hilarious yet poignant, ‘Feisty at Fifty’ is both a moving personal story and the ultimate guide to making the 50s the most fabulous decade of your life yet. 4. The Expertise Economy; by Kelly Palmer and David Blake Keeping people’s skills in sync with fast-changing markets is the biggest challenge of our time. For companies and their employees to succeed, they need to focus on building skills for the future. ‘The Expertise Economy’ shows how the most forward-thinking companies big and small are transforming their employees into experts and ultimately, creating their biggest competitive advantage. The authors provide the latest scientific research on how people really learn and concrete examples from companies in both Silicon Valley and worldwide who are driving the conversation about how to create experts and align learning innovation with business strategy. It includes interviews with people from top companies like Google, LinkedIn, Airbnb, Unilever, NASA, and MasterCard; thought leaders in learning and education like Sal Khan and Todd Rose; among others. The book dares you to let go of outdated and traditional ways of closing the skills gap, and challenges business leaders to embrace the urgency of “re-skilling” and “upskilling” the workforce.last_img read more

Nvidia Just Unveiled a Super Smart Chip for Cars

first_img Chipmaker Nvidia on Sunday unveiled a new processor aimed at powering high-end graphics on car dashboards as well as sophisticated auto-pilot systems.At an event in Las Vegas ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show, Nvidia Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the Tegra X1 chip would provide enough computing horsepower for automobiles with displays built into mirrors, dashboard, navigation systems and passenger seating.”The future car is going to have an enormous amount of computational ability,” Huang said. “We imagine the number of displays in your car will grow very rapidly.”The Tegra X1 has twice the performance of its predecessor, the Tegra K1, and will come out in early 2015, Nvidia said.An upcoming platform combining two of the X1 chips can process data collected from up to 12 high-definition cameras monitoring traffic, blind spots and other safety conditions in driver assistance systems, Huang said.Combined with next-generation software, the chips can help detect and read road signs, recognize pedestrians and detect braking vehicles, he said.Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia in recent years has been expanding beyond its core business of designing high-end graphics chips for personal computers.After struggling to compete against larger chipmakers like Qualcomm in smartphones and tablets, Nvidia is now increasing its focus on using its Tegra mobile chips in cars and is already supplying companies including Audi, BMW and Tesla.In the third quarter, revenue from Tegra chips for automobiles and mobile devices jumped 51 percent to $168 million but it remained small compared to Nvidia’s total revenue of $1.225 billion.(Reporting by Noel Randewich) 2 min read Register Now » This story originally appeared on Reuters Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. January 5, 2015last_img read more

North American Nickels latest news from our 100

first_imgNorth American Nickel’s latest news from our 100% owned Post Creek property in the Sudbury mining camp is what geologists always hope for….a large, clearly defined, un-tested target close to surface in a known camp with excellent infrastructure advantages for mining. Drilling is scheduled to begin in September. In this case it’s an EM anomaly 200 m long, that has been interpreted as the electromagnetic signature of ‘near-massive to massive sulphide.’ It’s located approximately 55 m below surface and the trend of the anomaly corresponds, in part, to both the CJ#1 dyke and the Whistle Offset Structure to the south. Please visit our website to read the full news release and learn more about North American Nickel. Sponsor Advertisement Today we get the eagerly anticipated Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday.It was a nothing sort of day on Thursday.  The low price tick [around $1,586 spot] came shortly after 11:00 a.m. in London…and from there the price rallied to its high of the day…$1,603.10 spot…which came at the London p.m. gold fix at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time right on the button.  From there it got sold off into the close.  It was obvious, at least to me, that gold would have closed well above the $1,600 mark if it had been left to its own devices…which it wasn’t.Gold finished the Thursday trading session at $1,593.40 spot…down $4.00 from Wednesday’s close.  Net volume was around 114,000 contracts…a 60% decline from Wednesday.Silver’s price in Far East trading was more ‘volatile’…but had recovered to just above unchanged by the London open.  Then minutes after 9:00 a.m. BST, silver got sold down to it’s low of the day…which came shortly after 11:00 a.m. BST…the same as gold’s low price tick.Then, also like gold, it rallied to its high of the day [$29.58 spot] at the London p.m. gold fix at precisely 3:00 p.m. local time…10:00 a.m. in New York.  From there it got sold off hard into the close of electronic trading at 5:15 p.m. Eastern time.  Silver, too, would have closed significantly higher if it hadn’t run into selling pressure after the London p.m. fix.As it was, silver closed at $29.04 spot…down 23 cents from Thursday’s close.  Net volume was only 31,000 contracts.The dollar index didn’t do much of anything…spending almost all of the Thursday trading day barely above the 80.00 mark.Not surprisingly, the precious metal shares peaked shortly after the highs at the London p.m. gold fix at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time.  From there they fell all the way back into negative territory…and basically traded sideways into the close, but the HUI managed to finished slightly in the black…up 0.33% on the day.The silver stocks were mixed once again…but finished marginally higher.  Despite that, Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed down a smallish 0.15%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report showed that 21 gold and 47 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Monday…and the link to the Issuers and Stoppers Report is here.The GLD ETF reported that an authorized participant deposited 67,961 troy ounces of gold yesterday…and there were no reported changed in SLV.The U.S. Mint had a small sales report yesterday.  They sold 1,000 ounces of gold eagles…and another 75,000 silver eagles.  Month-to-date the mint has sold 31,500 ounces of gold eagles…1,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes…and 435,000 silver eagles.  I’m underwhelmed.Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday they reported receiving 101,993 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 801,311 ounces of the stuff out the door.  The link to that action is here.Nick Laird, who lives on the edge of the tropical jungle near the coast in north central Australia, sent me these two photos from around his yard.  Creepy-crawlies like this Green Tree Snake…and this Bat Flower are pretty standard fare in his location.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)While on the subject of Nick Laird, here’s his “Gold Price Oscillator” chart that he sent me in the wee hours of this morning…and he’s not at all happy with what it shows…and this is what he had to say about it…”This indicator over the last five years has given some of the most brilliant buy signals of all the charts I have. On each of the buy signals the markets ended up considerably higher many months later. Now it has just given a sell signal.”“I don’t know what will follow, but I think we’ll find out soon enough. New lows won’t surprise me now. Sub $1,500 is a good possibility.”“But I want to add the caveat that we could still bottom between here and the low in December…and if we bottom in the next $30 and then move higher then the low in December…that will validate it as the low. If we break that low, then yes, it could get ugly.”(Click on image to enlarge)I have the usual number of stories for you today.  The final edit is up to you.If I asked you to leave something for your great grandkids in a package to be opened one hundred years from now, would you leave them a wad of hundred dollar bills or one hundred gold coins? If you had any brains you would pick the gold coins. I’d venture that Warren Buffet would also pick the coins. Why? Because we know that one hundred years from now the gold coins would represent value and purchasing power and the dollar might not exist. End of story. – Richard Russell…04 May 2012There’s not a lot to talk about with yesterday’s price action in either gold or silver.  It’s obvious from the charts of both metals, that the rallies that began at 11:00 a.m. in London got smacked once the London gold fix was in.Here are the 3-year charts for all four of the precious metals.  As you can see from the RSI plot, we are at…or approaching…the most oversold conditions of the last three years in all these metals…and as I said yesterday, one has to wonder how much more downside price action there is left.(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)(Click on image to enlarge)In Far East trading on Friday, not much happened until 9:00 a.m. Hong Kong time.  Then the high-frequency traders showed up and began moving the price lower…tripping sell stops along the way.  As I write this paragraph [and the next] at 4:04 a.m. Eastern time, silver has once again hit new lows for this move down…and is currently down 50 cents from Thursday’s close.  It was precisely the same price pattern in gold, starting at precisely the same time.  The gold price has hit new lows for this move down as well…and at the moment, gold is down about seventeen bucks from Thursday’s closing price in New York.Volume, which had been reasonably light right up until about an hour before the London open, has now picked up substantially in both metals.  The dollar index is up about 6 basis points at the moment, so this engineered sell-off has nothing to do with whatever may be going on in the currency markets in late Far East or early London trading.Today we get the eagerly anticipated Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of Comex trading on Tuesday…and whatever improvements in the Commercial net short position it shows in both silver and gold, it’s already out of date.  With the new lows set on Wednesday, plus these new lows set so far during the Friday trading session, it’s a sure bet that the internal structure of the COT Report has improved further.  It’s just a matter of how much of that improvement has come from technical fund long liquidation…and further shorting by these same technical funds.And as I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:20 a.m. Eastern time, gold has recovered off its earlier 8:30 a.m. London low…as has palladium and silver…but platinum has just set a new low in the last few minutes.  Gold volume is up about 25 percent in the last hour or so…and silver’s net volume has almost doubled…and is well north of 8,000 contracts.Needless to say, I’m rather apprehensive about what the Comex trading session will bring when it begins at 8:20 a.m. Eastern time this morning.  From what’s been happening so far this Friday in the Far East and London markets…it could, as Nick Laird said, “get ugly”.Have a good weekend…and I’ll see you here on Saturday sometime.last_img read more