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News from Monmouth County, New Jersey

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    These are the 20 biggest questions surrounding boys soccer in New Jersey.

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    Which teams have taken a step forward and turned heads in 2018.

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    Jack Johnson, Incubus, Brandi Carlile and more brought more than 20,000 fans to Asbury Park

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    See the 28 biggest games in N.J. boys soccer this week.

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    The best matchups of the fifth week of the season

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    In a related story, the president now believes in climate change. Watch video

    First the good news: Science may no longer be the greatest casualty in Donald Trump's war on truth, as his official position on climate change has made a tangible shift from "Chinese hoax" and "nonsense."

    The bad news is that while his administration now acknowledges the reality of climate change, his policy is essentially this: The planet's screwed, so let's feel free to burn as much fossil fuel as we can.

    That is the message contained within an environmental impact statement drafted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which was written to justify Trump's recent decision to freeze fuel efficiency standards on cars and light trucks.

    The Washington Post found it buried on Page 191 of a 500-page report: At the current pace, the planet will warm by 4 degrees Celsius (7 Fahrenheit) by 2100, which scientists assert will be catastrophic, so the report concludes that there is no point in trying to prevent it.

    "The emissions reductions necessary to keep global emissions within this carbon budget could not be achieved solely with drastic reductions in emissions from the U.S. car and light truck vehicle fleet," said the NHTSA, adding that the only significant change can come by a "move away from the use of fossil fuels," which is "not currently technologically feasible or economically practicable."

    Behold: Defeatism is the new denial.

    This might be a good time for your grandkids to invest in life jackets and hazmat suits.

    This is their government saying that it has no interest in saving the planet, so future generations are just going to have to suck it up.

    It's not like we haven't been forewarned of this global cataclysm, of course. Almost daily, we get more feedback about the planet's current trajectory. Al Gore, the Cassandra in this old story, put it this way: "Every night on the TV is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation."

    Making America gray again: Trump wages tailpipe war | Editorial

    But when a nihilistic government publicly admits that the biosphere is so degraded that no human activity will halt runaway climate change -- and then shrugs its shoulders at the impending calamity -- that's a tipping point that deserves greater attention.

    "This is the same logic as, 'I'm going to die anyway, so eating fast food for every meal won't make a difference,'" Rep. Frank Pallone, D-6th Dist., said Monday. "In the face of insurmountable evidence, this toxic administration once again chooses corporate profits over our children's future."

    In many ways, it's worse than the standard wingnut denialism, because this is an area where America can show it still bestrides the world like a colossus.

    As the rest of the world commits to limiting the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era, Trump has pulled out of the Paris Accord, begun a repeal of the Clean Power Plan, brought coal plants back from the grave, rolled back emissions standards, and thinks vehicles should pour 8 billion more tons of carbon into the atmosphere because the glaciers are melting and cities are drowning anyway.

    It is morally indefensible. A real American leader would understand that a demonstration of global power doesn't always mean flaunting military and economic might. It can also take the form of leading the rest of the world toward a greener future. If only.

    Instead, we are careening and gasping toward disaster, as the official U.S. policy is to leave a charred hellscape, crafted by an emperor without clothes who will jeopardize life itself for the political present. At least now he admits it.

    Bookmark Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find Opinion on Facebook.


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    A couple of upsets this week have changed the statewide landscape.

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    Arthur Ashkin, a Rumson resident, developed "optical tweezers" that can grab tiny particles such as viruses without damaging them

    Three scientists, including a 96-year-old New Jersey resident who spent more than 40 years working at Bell Laboratories, won the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for their work with lasers.

    03_ashkin.jpgArthur Ashkin 

    Arthur Ashkin, of Rumson, was awarded half the $1.01 million prize; the other half is shared by Gerard Mourou of France and Canadian Donna Strickland.

    Ashkin is the oldest person ever named as a laureate for any of the prestigious awards. Ashkin is six years older than Leonid Hurwicz was when he won the economics prize in 2007. The economics winner in 2012, Lloyd Shapley, was 89.

    Sweden's Royal Academy of Sciences, which chose the winners, said Ashkin developed "optical tweezers" that can grab tiny particles such as viruses without damaging them.

    The Brooklyn, New York-born Ashkin, who graduated from Columbia before earning his Ph.D at Cornell, spent 40 years working for Bell Laboratories before retiring in 1992.

    Ashkin's breakthrough came in 1987 when he developed the tweezers that grab particles, atoms, viruses and other living cells with their laser beam fingers. The tool allowed Ashkin to use the radiation pressure of light to move physical objects. He succeeded in getting laser light to push small particles toward the middle of the beam and to hold them there, according to a press release announcing his win.

    Ashkin, who retired from Bell in 1992, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1984 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1996. 

    Strickland and Mourou helped develop short and intense laser pulses that have broad industrial and medical applications.

    Strickland is the first female Nobel laureate to be named in three years and is only the third woman to have won the physics prize; the first was Marie Curie in 1903.

    "Obviously we need to celebrate women physicists, because we're out there. And hopefully in time it'll start to move forward at a faster rate, maybe," Strickland said in a phone call with the academy after the prize announcement.

    On Monday, American James Allison and Japan's Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel medicine prize for groundbreaking work in fighting cancer with the body's own immune system.

    The Nobel chemistry prize comes Wednesday, followed by the peace prize on Friday. The economics prize, which is not technically a Nobel, will be announced Oct. 8.


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    Proposed projects range from new roofs to renovated gymnasiums, but no new schools.

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    Three players from each of N.J.'s six conferences

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    At 96, Arthur Ashkin woke up to the phone call of a lifetime in his Rumson home.

    The phone rang in Arthur Ashkin's house in Rumson well before dawn Tuesday.

    But the call felt decades late.

    The retired Bell Labs scientist was stunned to hear the early-morning caller say he was from the Nobel committee.

    "A guy called me up at 5 o'clock in the morning when I was fast asleep - from Sweden," Ashkin said. "He tells me I am the oldest person to ever win the Nobel Prize."

    03_ashkin.jpgArthur Ashkin 

    Ashkin - who started his revolutionary work with optical lasers at Bell Labs in New Jersey nearly 50 years ago - is 96 years old. He suspected he might be in the running for a Nobel Prize in Physics decades ago. But, when it didn't happen, he said he put it out of his mind.

    He had mixed feelings about hearing that he had finally won the biggest prize in his field.

    "I was a bit ambivalent. I am an old geezer," Ashkin said. "I can't get all that excited."

    Princeton prof celebrates Nobel by teaching

    Ashkin will get half of the $1.01 million Nobel Prize money. The other half will go to his co-recipients -- scientists Gerard Mourou of France and Canadian Donna Strickland.

    While working at Bell Labs, Ashkin said he came up with the idea that lasers could be used as tweezers to grab particles, he said. He successfully tried it out with glass beads and plastic, then wrote a paper in 1970 theorizing that he could grab atoms, viruses and other living cells.

    "In 1986, we finally accomplished that," he said.

    In separate research, Mourou and Strickland developed short and intense laser pulses that have led to innovations in medicine and other fields, the Nobel committee said.

    Ashkin said he knew his 40 year of work at Bell Labs was important. But he wasn't doing it to win any prizes.

    "I wasn't thinking of Nobel Prizes. I was trying to keep my job," he said.

    In its heyday, Bell Labs was an intense place, filled with scientists doing groundbreaking research in Holmdel and Murray Hill.

    After hearing he won the prize, Ashkin said his phone was ringing non-stop with calls from reporters, friends and fellow scientists. He had already done a live radio interview with a reporter in South America, he said.

    But, he really wanted to call his old friends who worked with him in Bell Labs, including Joseph Dziedzic, his former colleague from New Jersey who was a big part of his work with optical lasers, Ashkin said.

    Ashkin's Nobel Prize is the ninth won by workers at Bell Labs, which is now owned by Nokia, the company said.

    At 96 and "a bit feeble," Ashkin said he is unsure if his health problems will allow him to travel to Sweden to pick up his prize. But, he said he is grateful for the recognition of his work and those of his colleagues while he is still around the enjoy it.

    How will he celebrate? Ashkin said he told his wife of 62 years that she doesn't have to cook tonight. They are going out to dinner, somewhere nice on the water on the Jersey Shore, he said. He won't say where because he doesn't want the restaurant to make a fuss.

    The couple, who met while students at Cornell University, have lived in the same Rumson house for more than 50 years. They have three children and five grandchildren.

    Aline Ashkin, 86, said she listened in on the phone at the end of her husband's Nobel Prize phone call and was "overwhelmed" by the news.

    The former Holmdel High School chemistry teacher said she always knew the work her husband was doing at Bell Labs was important. Now, she's happy the rest of the world knows.

    "I'm happy he got the recognition. I felt all along he deserved it," Aline Ashkin said. "It has proved to be very valuable to science and society."

    She would like to plan a bigger Nobel Prize celebration for her husband, but she knows he is probably too busy, she said.

    Though he retired from Bell Labs in 1992, Ashkin has never stopped working, his wife said. He is currently experimenting at home with solar ray research for heating and other applications.

    "He's always involved in something," his wife said.

    Kelly Heyboer may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @KellyHeyboer. Find her at KellyHeyboerReporter on Facebook.


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    "I didn't know what I was looking at, but I knew it was something special," amateur photographer John Entwistle said. "The colors were incredible. It didn't seem real."

    An amateur photographer captured stunning photos of what appears to be a quintuple rainbow in the skies over New Jersey.

    John Entwistle said he was looking out his back deck when he spotted what's known as supernumerary rainbows two weeks ago as remnants of Florence passed over the Farmingdale-area.

    "I didn't know what I was looking at, but I knew it was something special," he said. "The colors were incredible. It didn't seem real."

    According to, supernumerary rainbows are made up of one main bright rainbow and multiple others. While two or three rainbows in a set in fairly routine, seeing more is a rare event

    "But the appearance in nature of 5 supernumeraries is exceptional," climate scientist Gunther Konnen told

    Entwistle's photo has gained more than 1,200 likes on his Instagram, shared hundreds of times via his Facebook page, and was picked up on a NASA website as "Astronomy Picture of the Day."

    An engineer by day, Entwistle took up photography as a hobby about five years ago and has learned to keep his camera ready. The experience of capturing the quintuple rainbow, he said, was made all the more special since he was with his 11-year-old daughter.

    "It was a moment for us," he added.

    At a time when many are glued to smartphones, Entwistle said he hoped his images would remind people to appreciate nature.

    "You should go outside and look up," he said.

    More of Entwistle's work is available on his FacebookInstagram and website.

    Noah Cohen may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @noahycFind on Facebook.


    0 0 picks the 32 games fans can't miss in Week 5

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    The strong storms that ripped through New Jersey and New York on Tuesday evening put on a show that lit up social media

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    Which sophomores are turning heads in 2018?

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    He pleaded guilty in January to tax evasion. Now, he faces up to five years in prison.

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    Event thanks benefactors for backing film idea "Joey Benefit." Watch video

    Joe Piscopo put some swing into "The Star-Spangled Banner," singing it like Francis Albert Sinatra, not as Francis Scott Key intended.

    Piscopo had it all down, the phrasing, the ad libs, the gestures to the drummer at cymbal crashes and brass blasts. He should. He's been paying tribute to Sinatra for almost 40 years, since his Saturday Night Live days in the early '80s. Paying tribute, not imitating.

    Piscopo doing Sinatra was only part of the Jersey equation at a fundraising event last month. He was performing at a Colts Neck mansion, used in a few episodes of "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." Is that Jersey, or what?

    The 200-guests were all-Jersey, too. Manicured and glammed up in that distinctive Jersey way, for which there are no adequate words.

    Piscopo is an equally proud of both his heritages -- Jersey and Italy - and his self-effacing monologues between songs zeroed in on both, getting big laughs from the crowd.

    They were there to help fund "Joey Benefit," a film Piscopo has wanted to make for more than a decade. It's a Jersey story.

    "Joey Benefit is a guy from Bloomfield," Piscopo said. "You know, the kind of guy whose father once met Frankie Valli in a diner. We're shooting the whole thing in Jersey. We could do it cheaper in other places, but it has to have that Jersey feel."

    That Jersey feel. Again, it defies description. But you know it when you see it.

    JoeP2.jpgJoe Piscopo before his show in Colts Neck to thanks his benefactors who are helping finance a new movie "Joey Benefit." (Mark Di Ionno | NJ Advance Media)  

    The script for the film is by writer/producer Norman Steinberg (''My Favorite Year," "Blazing Saddles") and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the project before it stalled.

    "We all got busy," Piscopo said.

    His busyness includes "Piscopo in the Morning," a four-hour, drive-time radio show on WNYM (970 AM), a conservative station called "The Answer." Then he thought about running for governor in the last go-round. Then there's the matter of performance schedule. And his family.

    "I got a kid at every exit," he said to the crowd.

    Joey Benefit doesn't have those problems. The character Piscopo invented is a guy with talent, looking for the big break that never comes. Still, he dreams, and believes stardom is at his fingertips, waiting for him to grasp.

    "He's a guy with a tuxedo who never says no," Piscopo said. "He takes any gig he can."

    He's also a guy with a big heart. You have a charity? Get Joey Benefit.

    This part of the fictional character is pure Piscopo.

    In the coming weeks, he will be performing at the Towers to Tunnels 5K to benefit catastrophically injured veterans and first responders, and then at a fundraiser for Several Sources Shelters, an agency that provides for homeless women and children.

    "Joe is an extraordinarily generous and committed guy, to people who need it the most," said Vic Richel, who ran several New Jersey banks and chairs boards at Trinitas Regional Medical Center and Union County College. "Especially the kids."

    Twenty years ago, he started the Positive Impact Foundation for at-risk kids, then merged it with the Boys & Girls Club of New Jersey. He remains their spokesman.

    The list of charities he has performed for is too long for this space.

    Piscopo hopes "Joey Benefit" will him give a chance to show off another side of talent. He said, "There is a sadness to this character. He's older. He hears footsteps. I think of Mickey Rourke in 'The Wrestler,' or 'Broadway Danny Rose.' He's nickel-and-diming his way through life, which is beginning to pass him by."

    For people who think of Piscopo as only the rubber-faced funnyman from his Saturday Live Days, Piscopo as Joey Benefit will surprise them.

    "There's certainly depth there. That's the best way to explain it. Just a greater depth."

    Mark Di Ionno may be reached at mdiionno@njadvancemedia.comFollow him on Twitter @MarkDiIonno. Find on Facebook.


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    Upsets galore spark changes in Group, conference rankings.

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    A look at the divisional races across New Jersey through Oct. 2.

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    These guys may not possess prototypical size for their positions, but they measure up as top-rate football players by all other standards

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