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Editor’s note: This is part of a series on Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson that focuses on the phenomenon and uniqueness of the 2019 NFL MVP in the final guaranteed year of his rookie contract. Part 1 (Jackson as seen by teammates and opponents). Part 2 (Jackson through the eyes and words of the fans). Part 3 (Quarterback-turned-defensive coordinator Vance Joseph on the shift in quarterbacking in the last 30 years).

BALTIMORE — Regardless of how the rest of the Ravens’ season unfolds, this much is clear: the franchise and its star quarterback, Lamar Jackson, have arrived at a critical crossroads in their relationship. The question is coming down to this: can the Ravens envision life without Lamar Jackson; can Jackson envision life without the Ravens?

Including the game in which he was injured, the Ravens have played five games without Jackson, winning three and losing two. That’s enough of a sample size to show the Ravens what life might look like without Jackson, who turns 26 on Jan. 7. Since Jackson was injured against Denver, the Ravens’ offense has scored 59 points, for an average of 11.8 points per game. They were averaging 25 points per game before the injury.

And it’s not clear whether Jackson will play in the season finale in Cincinnati.

Even in the cold business of NFL football, some players are harder to replace than others. This is true of the Ravens with Jackson: especially at a time when four AFC rivals have found potential generational quarterbacks: Cincinnati with Joe Burrow, Buffalo with Josh Allen, Jacksonville with Trevor Lawrence and the Los Angeles Chargers with Justin Herbert. On Sunday, the Ravens were beaten by their archrival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, when the Steelers’ rookie quarterback, Kenny Pickett, drove 80 yards and threw a game-winning touchdown. Pickett is 24 years old.

Even though Jackson has been sidelined since Dec. 4, his presence hovers over the organization like the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe, the Baltimore-born poet who is the Ravens’ patron saint. In some ways, Jackson’s contract saga, indeed, his NFL career, has become a drama that Poe could have imagined.

A young African American whose father died when he was young, raised by his mother who eventually became his agent. He goes to college, wins the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback, bursts onto the NFL scene when the incumbent Ravens quarterback is injured. He then becomes the league’s Most Valuable Player in his first year as a starter and shatters, perhaps forever, the resistance by NFL gatekeepers to young uber athletic quarterbacks who play outside “the pocket.” He ushers in an era of mold-breaking quarterbacks: Justin Fields, Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray — who have been the beneficiaries of Jackson’s success.

Will Jackson become a victim of his own success?

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson scrambles as Denver Broncos defensive lineman DeShawn Williams rushes during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Dec. 4, 2022.

In 2019, Jackson set a high bar when he became the league MVP. A year later, the Ravens finished 11-5-0, good for second place in the AFC North. Jackson won his first playoff game when the Ravens defeated the Tennessee Titans. They lost to Buffalo a week later.

The 2021 NFL season wasn’t great for Jackson or the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson started just 12 games in 2021 and missed the last four games of the season due to an ankle injury. He threw 13 interceptions, a career high, and only 16 touchdowns, his lowest total since his rookie season. The Ravens finished in last place in the AFC North with an 8-9 record and missed the playoffs. Now he’s hurt again.

This season, the Ravens were 8-4 when Jackson was injured, but even before the injury the Ravens’ season was marked by a series of blown leads — against Miami, against Buffalo, against the Giants, and against the Jaguars. Last week, the Ravens earned a playoff berth without Jackson even being in the lineup.

So how will this drama end?

The Baltimore Sun recently reported that the Ravens and Jackson will resume negotiations when the season ends. Jackson and his team are gambling that the Ravens’ season will end next month at the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. It may take that kind of improbable championship run to compel the Ravens to give Jackson the fully guaranteed contract he feels he deserves. Such a run will beef up his modest playoff record which includes three appearances and one victory.

That will be a steep hill for a less-than-100% Jackson to climb. To even reach the Super Bowl Jackson — and the Ravens defense — must go through a veritable Murderers’ Row of quarterbacks in the AFC: Buffalo’s Allen, Cincinnati’s Burrow, Jacksonville‘s Lawrence, Los Angeles’ Herbert and of course, King of The Hill, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.

Short of achieving that? Rough and tumble negotiations. When the Browns signed Deshaun Watson, Ravens owner Steve Biscotti intimated that the signing was not a model he planned to follow, that he would not make a move that did not make good business sense. Does it make business sense to let Lamar Jackson walk? The Browns were desperate to sign a quarterback with Watson’s skill. The Ravens, so Biscotti’s thinking went, are not desperate. After all, they already had a generational quarterback in Jackson.

But the contract impasse and the back-to-back injuries raise the question: do the Ravens see Jackson as a generational quarterback, or simply as a quarterback who can only function in the system they created for him?

But do you want to let him go and begin all over?

Thus far, the negotiations between Jackson and the Ravens have avoided the sort of acrimony that has become commonplace in the sports arena. Jackson is apparently well liked within the Ravens organization and the word within Jackson’s tight circle is that the superstar quarterback respects the Ravens and would like to stay. Both sides have agreed to wait until the season ends to resume contract negotiations, one can only wonder who will have the leverage when talks resume.

Much of that will depend on how the season ends. Will it end with an unexpected championship run with Jackson hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? Will it end in a deep playoff run with Jackson on the field? Will it end with an early exit?

Jackson remains popular among the Ravens fans, but how long will the good will last if the player who wants a record-breaking contract keeps missing championship moments?

Jackson and the Ravens have arrived at a crossroads in their relationship. Which of them can envision life without the other?

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By: William C. Rhoden
Title: Lamar Jackson, the Ravens and the arrival at a crossroads His injury absence and lack of a new contract have hovered over the organization, but does the team see him as a generational QB?
Sourced From: andscape.com/features/lamar-jackson-the-ravens-and-the-arrival-at-a-crossroads/
Published Date: Thu, 05 Jan 2023 16:16:56 +0000

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Motor

1974 PANTERA GTS: Selling with No Reserve at the 2024 Scottsdale Fall Auction

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1974 PANTERA GTS: Selling with No Reserve at the 2024 Scottsdale Fall Auction

This 1974 De Tomaso Pantera GTS is one of 138 GTS cars built in this model year. The 351ci Cleveland engine remains in stock condition, except for an improved cold-air intake and exhaust system and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. An adjustable rear shock tower brace was added as well. It’s finished in Brilliant Silver with a GTS blacked-out hood and engine cover, black leather interior, radio delete and larger custom billet wheels resembling the original design. The designs and materials for performance improvements came from Pantera experts from California, the Midwest and South Florida.

The cooling system has been improved with a radiator, water tubes and flow system design. The air conditioning was moved to the front of the car. The electrical system has improved wiring and ignition. This true GTS is confirmed by the letters “GT” in the VIN. The car has been kept in a climate-controlled collection. Included are several original Pantera parts and original electrical schematic. 16,641 miles (title reads exempt). From the Prestige Collection.

Selling with No Reserve at the 2024 Scottsdale Fall Auction, October 10-13, at WestWorld.

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: 1974 PANTERA GTS: Selling with No Reserve at the 2024 Scottsdale Fall Auction
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/1974-pantera-gts-selling-with-no-reserve-at-the-2024-scottsdale-fall-auction/
Published Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2024 18:02:01 +0000

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Motor

Wrench, Ride, Repeat: Analog reworks the Bimota DB3, again

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Custom Bimota DB3 Mantra by Analog Motorcycles
Of all the motorcycles that Bimota ever made, the DB3 Mantra is perhaps the most peculiar. As you’d expect from the Italian firm, the DB3 featured a Ducati engine in an aluminum trellis frame and was known for its nimble handling. But its alien-like aesthetic was a little too far out there for most pundits.

As rare as the Bimota DB3 Mantra is, customized examples of it are even rarer. We’ve only ever featured one custom DB3 on these pages—and now, that very same bike is back for another round. It’s just gone under the knife for the second time at Analog—and now looks even better.

Custom Bimota DB3 Mantra by Analog Motorcycles

The DB3’s first makeover happened eleven years ago, when Analog’s Tony Prust modified it for his good friend and drummer of the rock band Chevelle, Sam Loeffler. The bike made waves at the inaugural Handbuilt and Mama Tried shows, and starred in an episode of Café Racer TV. More importantly, Sam rode it… a lot.

More recently, Sam brought the bike back to Tony for a couple of mild changes. He wanted a front suspension upgrade, and he wanted to add a front fender (something that was excluded the first time around).

Custom Bimota DB3 Mantra by Analog Motorcycles Read More

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By: Wesley Reyneke
Title: Wrench, Ride, Repeat: Analog reworks the Bimota DB3, again
Sourced From: www.bikeexif.com/custom-bimota-db3
Published Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2024 16:22:33 +0000

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Tech

These board games want you to beat climate change

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It’s game night,and I’m crossing my fingers, hoping for a hurricane.

I roll the die and it clatters across the board, tumbling to a stop to reveal a tiny icon of a tree stump. Bad news: I just triggered deforestation in the Amazon. That seals it. I failed to stop climate change—at least this board-game representation of it.

The urgent need to address climate change might seem like unlikely fodder for a fun evening. But a growing number of games are attempting to take on the topic, including a version of the bestseller Catan released this summer.

As a climate reporter, I was curious about whether games could, even abstractly, represent the challenge of the climate crisis. Perhaps more crucially, could they possibly be any fun?

My investigation started with Daybreak, a board game released in late 2023 by a team that includes the creator of Pandemic (infectious disease—another famously light topic for a game). Daybreak is a cooperative game where players work together to cut emissions and survive disasters. The group either wins or loses as a whole.

When I opened the box, it was immediately clear that this wouldn’t be for the faint of heart. There are hundreds of tiny cardboard and wooden pieces, three different card decks, and a surprisingly thick rule book. Setting it up, learning the rules, and playing for the first time took over two hours.

the components of the game Daybreak which has Game cards depicting Special Drawing Rights, Clean Electricity Plants, and Reforestation themed play cards
Daybreak, a cooperative board game about stopping climate change.COURTESY OF CMYK

Daybreak is full of details, and I was struck by how many of them it gets right. Not only are there cards representing everything from walkable cities to methane removal, but each features a QR code players can use to learn more.

In each turn, players deploy technologies or enact policies to cut climate pollution. Just as in real life, emissions have negative effects. Winning requires slashing emissions to net zero (the point where whatever’s emitted can be soaked up by forests, oceans, or direct air capture). But there are multiple ways for the whole group to lose, including letting the global average temperature increase by 2 °C or simply running out of turns.

In an embarrassing turn of events for someone who spends most of her waking hours thinking about climate change, nearly every round of Daybreak I played ended in failure. Adding insult to injury, I’m not entirely sure that I was having fun. Sure, the abstract puzzle was engaging and challenging, and after a loss, I’d be checking the clock, seeing if there was time to play again. But once all the pieces were back in the box, I went to bed obsessing about heat waves and fossil-fuel disinformation. The game was perhaps representing climate change a little bit too well.

I wondered if a new edition of a classic would fare better. Catan, formerly Settlers of Catan, and its related games have sold over 45 million copies worldwide since the original’s release in 1995. The game’s object is to build roads and settlements, setting up a civilization.

In late 2023, Catan Studios announced that it would be releasing a version of its game called New Energies, focused on climate change. The new edition, out this summer, preserves the same central premise as the original. But this time, players will also construct power plants, generating energy with either fossil fuels or renewables. Fossil fuels are cheaper and allow for quicker expansion, but they lead to pollution, which can harm players’ societies and even end the game early.

Before I got my hands on the game, I spoke with one of its creators, Benjamin Teuber, who developed the game with his late father, Klaus Teuber, the mastermind behind the original Catan.

To Teuber, climate change is a more natural fit for a game than one might expect. “We believe that a good game is always around a dilemma,” he told me. The key is to simplify the problem sufficiently, a challenge that took the team dozens of iterations while developing New Energies. But he also thinks there’s a need to be at least somewhat encouraging. “While we have a severe topic, or maybe even especially because we have a severe topic, you can’t scare off the

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By: Casey Crownhart
Title: These board games want you to beat climate change
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2024/06/14/1093384/catan-climate-change-board-games/
Published Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2024 09:00:00 +0000

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