Mars Discoveries Change Paradigms

first_imgMars is under assault by an armada of orbiters gathering intell from the planet with photons and radar beams.  What kind of information has been seized recently?Dry rivers:  Remember the networks of river channels that were telltale signs of water?  Remember the hope for life those images generated?  Some of those riverbeds could have been lava flows.  Lava, understandably, doesn’t have quite the same astrobiological ring to it.    Space.com reported on the most detailed analysis of the channels by NASA scientist Jacob Bleacher.  “To understand if life – as we know it – ever existed on Mars, we need to understand where water is or was,” he said.  Then he compared Mars channels with those on Hawaii.  On Mauna Kea, he found “most of the features that were considered to be diagnostic of water-carved channels on Mars.”  He also noticed evidence of collapsed lava tubes in some of the Martian channels.  He believes his analysis allows making “a strong case that fluid lava can produce channels that look very much like water-generated features.”  It’s important, therefore, not to jump to conclusions about water on the red planet, he said.  His co-author Andy de Wet believes what they found applies to channels all over the Tharsis Bulge.  While their study does not rule out some liquid water channels, “It may also have some implications for the supposed widespread involvement of water in the geological evolution of Mars.”  National Geographic shows pictures of the channels.Hard water:  There is water on Mars – if you’re talking about the hard kind (ice).  PhysOrg echoed a press release from Jet Propulsion Laboratory about findings from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) with its powerful HiRISE camera.  “Extensive radar mapping of the middle-latitude region of northern Mars shows that thick masses of buried ice are quite common beneath protective coverings of rubble.”  Jeffrey Plaut of JPL explains its origin: “The hypothesis is the whole area was covered with an ice sheet during a different climate period, and when the climate dried out, these deposits remained only where they had been covered by a layer of debris protecting the ice from the atmosphere.”  Nothing was stated about whether the H2O was ever liquid.Mars on the move:  Mars is alive in one sense: the dunes are moving.  Another press release from Jet Propulsion Lab described how scientists are identifying which sand dunes are traveling and which are marching in place.  Some dunes, they claim, “have been stationary for 100,000 years or more.”  How would they know, since observations go back only a decade or more?  That’s only 1/10,000 the time claimed.  The method used depends on crater counts (see 09/25/2007, 10/20/2005).  “Examination of ripples at the edges of craters can show whether the ripples were in place before the crater was excavated or moved after the crater formed.”  This gives relative ages; how are absolute ages estimated?  Mars expert Matt Golombek said, “There’s enough of a range of crater ages that we can bracket the age of the most recent migration of the ripples in this area to more than 100,000 years and probably less than 300,000 years ago.”  This depends on the current accepted scheme for assigning dates to craters based on their characteristics and densities.  To keep the dunes static for such a long time, in spite of wind and dust, Golombek postulated the stable dunes are made of heavier particles, like the “blueberries” (concretions) found by the Opportunity rover: “The blueberries appear to form a [sic] armoring layer that shields the smaller sand grains beneath them from the wind.”  It was not clear from the short press release why finer sand would not form on top of the armoring layer, or why the blueberries would form ripples at all if they are too heavy to be moved by the wind.  In the finer sands of Meridiani Planum, “Opportunity has seen resulting changes in its own wheel tracks revisited several months after the tracks were first cut.”Mars-o-Phobia:  The Mars Express orbiter of the European Space Agency took the highest resolution photos of Phobos, the larger of the Martian moons named for the Greek god of fear.  Scientists fear that tidal forces will tear this low-density rubble pile apart some day.  “Researchers suspect the moon is simply a collection of planetary rubble that coalesced around the Red Planet sometime after its formation,” BBC News article speculated.  “Another explanation is that it is a captured asteroid.”  Its density is so low, some planetary scientists believe “its surface probably hides many large interior voids.”JPL is working feverishly to assemble and test its next-generation rover before a scheduled launch in the fall of 2011.  One chief goal of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), nicknamed Curiosity, will be to look for evidence of current or past life.  Jennifer Eigenbrode, a Goddard scientist highlighted in a MSL press release, strung together a series of maybes in her description of the rationale: “Maybe life existed back then.  Maybe it has persisted, which is possible given the fact that we’ve found life in every extreme environment here on Earth.  If life existed on Mars, maybe it adapted very much like life adapted here.”  None of MSL’s 10 instruments is prepared to look for life directly, however; but “SAM [Sample Analysis at Mars] has a key role of checking for carbon-containing compounds that potentially can be ingredients or markers of life.”We can play the maybe game, too.  Maybe pigs had wings in the past and flew.  Maybe they left no fossils.  Maybe they evolved on Neptune and flew here.  Maybe doesn’t cut it in science, baby.  Let’s see your evidence.  You can’t appeal to life in extreme environments on earth when discussing fictional life on Mars.  That’s called begging the question.  Show us life on Mars, then we can discuss how well adapted it is.    Once again we find ad hoc theorizing to keep Mars old.  The dunes move, so they had to cap them with blueberry armor to keep them as old as the craters tell them they must be.  But even then, they can’t keep them older than 300,000 years – just 7% the assumed age of Mars.  How come there are no craters 300,001 years old or more?  The error bars are bigger than the bars.  On a body that has global dust storms and volcanoes, it is a risky business to estimate crater ages.  It is risky estimating the moon’s age by craters – and the moon has no atmosphere (read about some of the problems in crater-count dating in the 09/25/2007 and 10/20/2005 entries).    Most egregious in planetary science reporting these days is the endless storytelling about life.  The lava-flow theory of the channels will only be a temporary setback.  Since the Maybe Game has achieved legitimacy, they can invent stories ad nauseum without needing any evidence.  Maybe a crater hit the ice and melted it for a few days.  Maybe life evolved on the fast track.  Maybe it evolved antifreeze before the heat was all gone.  Maybe MSL will find it.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA expats buying homes at home

first_img3 June 2005More and more South Africans living and working in the UK are buying properties in SA with a view to returning home, with positive media coverage of SA and the local property boom among the reasons for the trend.Pam Golding Properties’ London office says about a quarter of all inquiries for South African homes come from expatriates wanting to invest in property back home.The agency told Business Day newspaper recently that this had been encouraged by positive reporting on SA in the British press, with extensive coverage of the country’s property market.Some 50% of Pam Golding Properties’ expat buyers plan to return to SA in the next year or two, says CEO Andrew Golding. The other half want to acquire a property as an investment for when they return home in the future.“Since the start of 2005 South Africa has received a great deal of good press in the UK media,” Golding said. “Most ‘holiday and homes abroad’ magazines have included extensive editorials on the property market in South Africa.”A place in the sun“A Place in the Sun”, an ITV Channel 4 programme, filmed footage in South Africa and carried a 12-page editorial in its January magazine on buying property in South Africa. Both editions have since carried editorials on the SA property market.Jawitz Properties MD Herschel Jawitz told Business Day that his group was “definitely seeing” an increasing number of expats both asking about and buying property in SA.“It is a result of the very positive sentiment that surrounds SA at the moment and the drive by organisations such as the Homecoming Revolution to draw South Africans back home,” Jawitz said.SA’s leading mortgage originator, Mortgage SA, says it has seen a marked rise in South Africans who live abroad applying for home financing through its website and call centres.“With the many excellent property websites showcasing South African property, increasing numbers of expats are comfortable buying property this way, then coming to us for financing,” Mortgage SA MD Saul Geffen told Business Day.A place to investMary-Jane Lefevre of the website Escape Artist says South Africa is at an exciting stage of development, with confidence in the country running high both among citizens and in the international community – and SA property is seen as an excellent investment.Reasons for this, according to Lefevre, include personal tax relief, lower property transfer duties, growth in household disposable income, low inflation and interest rates, strong domestic demand for housing, a rapidly growing middle class in previously disadvantaged communities, and continuing foreign demand.The latest Absa index of SA house prices reported strong growth, forecast to continue. SA’s basic home loan rate is currently at 11%, the lowest since 1980, and is unlikely to rise dramatically over the next few years.And getting finance has become a lot easier as competition between banks has increased, with banks offering 100% bonds and even loans with cost in certain cases.“South Africans thinking about emigrating should take into account the number of foreigners that view South Africa as a prime destination,” Lefevre says.“Given the distance and travel time to South Africa, the foreigners and expats investing in South African property must be basing their purchase decision on lifestyle.“Foreign buyers invest primarily as a result of lifestyle – climate, type and size of property and cost of living. But equally important is the interest rate environment, stability of exchange rates and consistent growth in property values. These are drawcards to foreign investors, and should also be seen as such by South Africans.”Average house prices in SA’s main centres, according to the Absa index, are as follows:Cape Town – R699 275Johannesburg – R635 123Pretoria – R676 984Bloemfontein – R494 449Durban – R639 707Port Elizabeth – R564 008According to Mortgage SA, South Africa has one of the best deeds registration systems worldwide, with an exceptional degree of accuracy and of tenure being granted.Property can be owned individually, jointly in undivided shares, or by an entity such as a company, close corporation, trust, or similar entity registered outside South Africa.How to buy South African propertyThere are a vast number of websites through which South Africans abroad can buy property at home. See the Related Links above right.But acquiring property from outside the country can be complicated. For this reason, the website Ask Harry has published “The Power of Property”, an “accessible, entertaining and comprehensive guide to the benefits and potential pitfalls of the SA property investment market, from the perspective of a non-SA resident or expat.”Ask Harry aims “to provide South Africans operating overseas with financially relevant information, to keep you informed so you can make better financial decisions, and eventually bring more money back to SA.”Order the Power of Property from Ask HarryAlso see Mortgage SA’s guide to buying SA property from outside the countrySouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

The Cave — Geocache of the Week

first_img <> Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:More Faro,PortugalN 37° 05.219 W 008° 25.466 If you make the trek, make sure to sign the logbookClose your eyes. Take in a deep breath. Let it out. Transport yourself to the most exquisite beach you can imagine. It’s sunny, warm, and there’s even a remote cave. Now imagine there’s a geocache there, too. This is no dream. This is “The Cave” in Faro, Portugal, our Geocache of the Week. Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. This corner of Europe is known for their fabulous beaches, traditional fishing villages, exquisite port wine, rich culture, and their passionate geocaching community.“The Cave” is also known as Algar de Benagil“The Cave” is also known as Algar de Benagil, located along the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal in the municipality of Faro. This T5 Traditional can be accessed by boat, canoe, or kayak and takes about 15 minutes from nearby Praia de Benagil (Benagil Beach). Swimming to the cave is not advised since ocean currents can be strong. You may pass several local fishing boats as you make this trek.Can be accessed by boat, canoe, or kayakFrom late morning to mid-afternoon the cave comes alive and is perfect for those posts to make all your friends back home jealous. The sunlight permeates directly from the top opening which creates an interesting contrast between light and shadow. Algar de Benagil is Instagram-famous so to increase your chances of a remote getaway, make the journey at off times and rent your own kayak (and life vest) rather than booking with one of the tour boats.Being the only ones there is still possible if you’re flexible with timesWhile you’re there, consider hiking to the dome on top of the cave. It is possible to make the trek in flip-flops, but if you have a dry bag to add a pair of sneakers, it’s a good idea. It’s advised to stay behind the fence and take in the view from there.View from the top of the domeSince satellite reception is non-existent inside the cave, the cache is not at the given coordinates. The coordinates will get you to the west entrance, but the cache is hidden in the highest rock at the darkest part of The Cave. You’ll just have to go there and find out for yourself. Difficulty:2Terrain:5center_img TraditionalGC1EFM0by global trekkers The Cave — Geocache of the Week The Cave — Geocache of the Week The Cave — Geocache of the Week The Cave — Geocache of the Week The Cave — Geocache of the Week The Cave — Geocache of the Week The Cave — Geocache of the Week SharePrint RelatedIndiana Jones and the Mysterious Waterfall — Geocache of the WeekFebruary 21, 2018In “Community”Pirate’s Booty / Bonaire — Geocache of the WeekJuly 20, 2017In “Community”Cathedral Cavern Cache — Geocache of the WeekOctober 9, 2019In “Community”last_img read more

Common Consumer Frauds & How to Avoid Them Webinar

first_imgThe next Personal Finance webinar will be held Thursday, March 20 at 11 a.m. ET. Dr. Barbara O’Neill will present Common Consumer Frauds & How to Avoid Them.Several groups of Americans are particularly susceptible to fraudulent practices including older adults and young enlisted service members. In addition, some frauds, such as hacked data bases, are beyond an  individuals’ ability to control. Thus, everyone needs to know about common consumer frauds and how to reduce the risk of becoming a fraud victim. This 90-minute webinar will focus on three common types of consumer frauds: identity theft, investment fraud, and income tax refund fraud. It includes a description of fraud risk factors, a personalized identity theft risk assessment quiz, resources for personal and/or professional use, research findings about identity theft risk reduction practices, and a discussion of how to adjust income tax withholding to have a low or no refund for potential tax identity thieves to steal.)To join this webinar, simply go to the event page a few minutes before 11 a.m. ET on March 20 and click on the location link. Enter the room as  a guest. If you have not joined one of our webinars in the past or if you will not be joining from a military installation, you may need to install security certificates. Instructions are available here. The slides and other resources for this webinar will be available here. We hope to see you online on March 20!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on March 18, 2014.last_img read more

SMB-Kia trade deal on hold

first_imgThe impending trade that would send the No. 1 overall Draft pick, who could be Christian Standhardinger, to San Miguel Beer has yet to gain approval from the Philippine Basketball Association.A league source on Monday said PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa would sit down with Kia Picanto board member Bobby Rosales and clarify the reason why they are trading away the top pick.ADVERTISEMENT Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Blackwater, which owned the top pick in the last two seasons, will be selecting third. Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 LATEST STORIEScenter_img Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Leo Austria, SMB wary of ‘more experienced’ Hotshots ahead of PBA Finals rematch PLAY LIST 01:33Leo Austria, SMB wary of ‘more experienced’ Hotshots ahead of PBA Finals rematch01:07No. 1 pick Standhardinger’s monster game further fuels SMB debut hype01:28’Walang bigayan’: Expect all-out war between sister teams Magnolia, San Miguel01:37Protesters 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 Read Next Generika out to bounce back from opening-day loss Rosales is out of the country on a business trip.The Draft is scheduled this Sunday at Robinsons Place Manila with the 6-foot-8 Filipino-German likely to be made the top pick and Kiefer Ravena, the former UAAP Most Valuable Player with Ateneo, second overall.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 shutoutStandhardinger will reportedly play for the Hong Kong Eastern Lions in the Asean Basketball League.NLEX, who holds the second pick, has made it no secret that they would go for Ravena in the event that Standhardinger is picked first. View commentslast_img read more

Madrid thrashes APOEL 6-0 to make Champions League last 16

first_imgRead Next Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Ronaldo has been struggling in the Spanish league with only one goal in 12 rounds, but he already has eight in the Champions League and is the competition’s leading scorer.The Spanish powerhouse is trying to become the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win threeconsecutive European titles. Ajax did it in 1971-73, and Madrid won four in a row from 1956-60.APOEL hasn’t won a group stage match in the Champions League since 2012.“Today we’ve made so many mistakes that we haven’t made before,” APOEL coach Giorgos Donis said. “In the last game we’ll try to avoid those mistakes.” MOST READ QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Grand Slams planning to cut seeds from 32 back to 16 in 2019 Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, center, celebrates after scoring the fifth goal of his team during the Champions League Group H soccer match between APOEL Nicosia and Real Madrid at GSP stadium, in Nicosia, on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)NICOSIA, Cyprus— With Karim Benzema finding its scoring touch and Cristiano Ronaldo adding to his tally, Real Madrid again made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League.Benzema scored twice in the first half and Ronaldo netted twice in the second as Madrid thrashed Cypriot team APOEL 6-0 to guarantee a spot in the last 16 on Tuesday.ADVERTISEMENT PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games00:40Trending Articles01:42Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds01:37Protesters 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’ boss LATEST STORIES Luka Modric and Nacho Fernandez also scored for the defending champions, who have made it past the group stage for 22 straight seasons.The result eliminated Borussia Dortmund, which lost to Tottenham 2-1 in Germany in the other Group H match.Tottenham heads into the final round leading Madrid by three points and has already secured first place. Dortmund and APOEL have no chance of advancing.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 shutoutMadrid also finished second in its group last season, to Dortmund, marking the first time the Spanish club has failed to advance in first place since the 2012-13 season.Tottenham hosts APOEL on Dec. 6, while Madrid hosts Dortmund. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa “We came here to qualify and we did it,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “It was a good night. We aresatisfied.”Madrid won only one of its last four matches in all competitions, but it found easy pickings in Nicosia to earn its biggest ever away win in the Champions league.Modric opened the scoring with a long-range shot midway through the first half and Benzema and Fernandez added their goals seven minutes apart just before halftime.Benzema hadn’t scored in six matches in all competitions.“Forwards aren’t always about scoring,” Benzema said. “If I can help my teammates with passes and movement, I will do (it). Today I was lucky enough to score two goals and do something good for my side.”ADVERTISEMENT Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

13 days agoHyypia has no doubt about Liverpool title focus

first_imgHyypia has no doubt about Liverpool title focusby Paul Vegas13 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool Champions League title winner Sami Hyypia has no doubts about the team’s title focus.But while Liverpool stretched their lead over Manchester City to eight points going into the ­international break, ­Hyypia knows there is a long road ahead. He said, “It’s a great thing that no one left last summer – they kept all their big players. And, when I see them play, it looks like everyone wants to be there to play for this club and be in this team.“I watch them and it seems they are having fun ­playing at such an ­extraordinarily high level – but they are also ­demanding of each other. That’s why they won’t ease up.“I saw the episode with Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, but, far from thinking that was ­damaging to the dressing room spirit, I thought that showed how strong it is.“It just shows that everyone wants to win together and what a great group Klopp has built with that dynamic.“It’s always good to have that kind of openness where players can call each other out. That’s part of the culture of winning.“All successful teams have that desire, which means they ­demand more from each other.“I remember some sparks ­flying between players when I was at Anfield – and that’s only good for the team.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Video: Devin Gardner Responds To Teammate Devin Funchess’ Dunk Video With One Of His Own

first_imgView of a Michigan Wolverines football helmet before their game against the Utah Utes.SALT LAKE CITY, UT – SEPTEMBER 3: View of a Michigan Wolverines football helmet before their game against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)Apparently wide receiver Devin Funchess is not the only recent Michigan football player who can throw down. After seeing Funchess’ impressive dunk on Instagram on Sunday, quarterback Devin Gardner decided to make one of his own.Gardner’s dunks are definitely impressive, especially for someone who focuses on another sport, but we’ll have to award this impromptu Wolverine dunk contest to Funchess. That vertical leaping ability is sure to impress NFL scouts in the coming weeks during the combine and other draft preparation events.last_img read more

Its Time For Drew Brees And The Saints To Break Up

201311-511-56-10 Broncos1984-90Elway (30)1.1 Vikings1968-78Tarkenton (38)9.0 Rams1999-04Bulger (27)10.8+ 201011-58-86-10 If there’s still a good NFL team lurking in Louisiana, it’s hiding. Since a gritty win in Philadelphia in the divisional playoffs on Jan. 4, 2014, the New Orleans Saints have gone 7-12, despite playing one of the NFL’s easiest schedules. According to our Elo ratings, they’ve suffered the sharpest decline of any NFL franchise since the start of the 2014 regular season. And after an 0-2 start this year, they have just a 15 percent chance of making the playoffs.Once upon a time, this would have been no big deal: The Saints have had a mostly miserable history, and they still rank 28th out of the 32 active NFL franchises in lifetime winning percentage. But we’d grown used to something different. Under quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints won a Super Bowl and were consistently in the championship conversation. Despite the occasional hiccup, they maintained a league average Elo rating (1500) or higher for more than six consecutive seasons, from Nov. 24, 2008, through Dec. 7, 2014.What happens when a franchise declines suddenly after such a sustained period of success? Can it sometimes be a false alarm? Can it replace a few parts and return to contention? Or is it doomed to years in the wilderness?The short answer: yes, yes and yes. It depends. It depends mostly on the quarterback situation and how the franchise manages it.I searched our all-time Elo ratings database for cases similar to the Saints’: teams that were very good for at least five consecutive seasons but then declined fairly quickly. (See the official criteria in the footnotes.1Specifically, I looked for cases since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 in which a team:Had a streak of five or more years in which its Elo rating was always league average (1500) or higher,Had an average Elo rating of 1600 or higher during the streak, andDeclined to an Elo rating of 1450 or lower within a year of the streak breaking. 20077-97-96-10 Dolphins1980-87Marino (26)3.0 Bears1984-89Harbaugh (26), Tomczak (27)0.9 Saints2008-14Brees (35)?? SAINTS’ RECORD WITH … Chiefs1965-74Dawson (39, injured)7.0 20088-88-87-9 Steelers2004-13Roethlisberger (31)1.3 Colts2002-11Manning (35, injured)3.1 YEARDREW BREESAVERAGE QB (PROJECTED)REPLACEMENT QB (PROJECTED) 20127-95-113-13 200913-311-510-6 ) There have been 14 of them since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, including some of the fabled dynasties of the modern NFL.In the table below, I’ve also named the team’s incumbent quarterback — or quarterbacks, in the event of a controversy — at the time the 1500-plus Elo streak was broken.2If the incumbent was knocked out because of an injury, I still list his name rather than his understudy’s. Finally, I’ve listed how long it took the team to recover to contender status, which I define as having an Elo of 1600 or higher. Total87-5975-7159-87 Cowboys1966-86White (34, injured)5.0 Raiders1982-87Wilson (30), Hilger (25)3.2 200610-610-68-8 TEAMHIGH-ELO STREAKQB AT END OF STREAK (AGE)YEARS TO RECOVER TO CONTENDER STATUS Colts1963-72Domres (25), Unitas (39)3.1 20150-20-20-2 201113-310-69-7 At first glance, this list doesn’t look all that bad for the Saints. The median team took 3.1 years to recover to contender status; the average team3The St. Louis Rams have yet to achieve a 1600-plus Elo rating since the Kurt Warner years ended. For purposes of calculating this average, I’m using their current time of 10.8 years since their high-Elo streak was broken — but the Rams could take longer still to recover. took 4.1 years.But the average looks better than it otherwise would be because of a series of teams that had a stud quarterback in the prime of his career. Dan Marino’s Dolphins, John Elway’s Broncos, Donovan McNabb’s Eagles and Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers each endured a rough patch. But those QBs were between 26 and 31 when the slump began, leaving their teams with plenty of time to adjust around them.Brees, by contrast, was 35 when the Saints’ Elo streak was broken last season. Past teams like the 1974 Chiefs, 1978 Vikings and 1986 Cowboys that held on to their aging QBs a year or so too long (sometimes through intermittent injuries) took longer to recover — and it was only once a new quarterback replaced the veteran that they did.The 2011 Colts, with Peyton Manning, and the 1999 49ers, with Steve Young, appear to be exceptions — both franchises rebounded pretty quickly after miserable seasons. But Young and Manning were injured so severely that their teams were forced to contemplate life without them — or at least had a convenient excuse to move on. Both had already played their last games for their clubs4And Young, forced into retirement, had played his last in the NFL. at the time their Elo streaks ended, it turned out.Brees is in the all-time inner circle of franchise quarterbacks: Only five others (Manning, Brett Favre, Marino, Elway and Tom Brady) have accumulated more passing yards with a single club. The problem is that a quarterback who’s been good for as long as Brees can obscure deterioration in the team around him. ESPN’s QBR includes a calculation of how much a quarterback is worth to his team in each game, relative to an average or replacement-level QB. This allows us to estimate how often a replacement QB would swing a game from a win to a loss, or vice versa. For instance, if the Saints win by 7 points and QBR estimates that Brees was worth 8.2 points, that’s a game where the quarterback made the difference. 20147-95-114-12 Eagles2000-05McNabb (29)3.0 49ers1981-99Young (38, injured)2.1 Basically, we’re looking for cases in which a quarterback plays really well in a close win.5Or plays poorly in a close loss. Brees has had a lot of those clutch wins.6The Saints don’t have an especially good record in close games under Brees, but he’s played extremely well in close games, win or lose, according to QBR. He’s salvaged a lot of wins from the jaws of defeat and kept the Saints competitive in games in which they’d otherwise have been blown out. Since 2006, his first year with the Saints, the team is 87-59 in the regular season.But with a replacement-level QB, they’d be 59-87 instead, according to this method. And the last few years would have been especially awful: The Saints would have gone 3-13 in 2012, 6-10 in 2013 and 4-12 in 2014 with Mark Sanchez or Brandon Weeden or some other replacement-level QB at the helm.Or … maybe not, since the Saints would have had a lot more money to invest elsewhere in the roster. Brees’s contract counts for $26.4 million against the salary cap this year, making it the biggest cap hit in the league. Because the top NFL quarterbacks are probably underpaid relative to the disproportionate value they can provide to their clubs, that’s not even all that terrible a contract so long as Brees is among the top half-dozen quarterbacks in the league — as he was until this season. But the minute Brees gets hurt, or reverts to league average (or worse) because of age, the Saints are left with a rotting carcass of a roster and a salary cap crisis.In fact, for all their irrationality in other areas, NFL teams have usually been able to anticipate these problems and have been remarkably unsentimental in parting ways with aging franchise quarterbacks in the salary-cap era. The first signs were in 1993, when Joe Montana was traded.7The salary cap would not officially be implemented until 1994, but NFL teams were aware of its impending impact at the time of Montana’s trade in April 1993. Then came Phil Simms — who, after a somewhat miraculous comeback season in 1993, was unceremoniously released the next spring. Troy Aikman might have retired anyway because of injuries, but he was ushered out the door. The same goes for Young, who was not welcome back in San Francisco. Warren Moon was passed around like a joint at a Phish concert toward the end of his career. Kurt Warner was benched. McNabb endured a fate worse than being benched: He was dealt to Washington. Favre had a reality-TV-style mess of a divorce from the Packers. Manning was let go once the Colts knew they had an opportunity to draft Andrew Luck.These NFL teams have generally recognized that it’s better to break up with an aging quarterback a year too early than a year too late. And almost none of those decisions look bad in retrospect.8The Colts releasing Manning without much of a fight might be the closest call, given Manning’s record-setting years in Denver, but they can’t exactly be unhappy with Luck. Brees may still have something left — quite possibly enough to lead another franchise somewhere to a deep playoff run — but it’s probably time for he and the Saints to move on from each other.Check out our NFL predictions for odds on every Week 3 game. read more