Aussie weather warning: Hot days ‘triple in 20 years’


 

Australians are being warned to brace for longer fire seasons, more intense short-duration heavy rainfall events, and fewer but more extreme tropical cyclones.

The country had 43 extremely warm days in 2019, more than triple the number it experienced in any year prior to 2000, a new report into the country’s weather has found.

The biennial State of the Climate Report from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, released today, reveals 2019 was Australia’s hottest year on record, with 33 days in which the national daily maximum average temperature exceeded 39 degrees.

This total number of extremely hot days is “more than the number observed from 1960 to 2018 combined, which totalled 24 days,” the report stated.

 

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Head of Climate Monitoring. Dr Karl Braganza.

 

Dr Karl Braganza from the Bureau of Meteorology said 2019 was our hottest year “by a reasonable margin” but 2020 was “not tracking to beat 2019”.

“It’s not going to be our warmest year on record, but it will be another warm year,” he said.

There had also been a “significant increase in the frequency of dangerous fire weather days across Australia, particularly during spring and summer, leading to an earlier start to the southern fire season,” Dr Braganza said.

The report stated Australia’s climate had warmed by 1.44 degrees since 1910 (with an almost quarter degree margin of error) – a slight increase but also a more exact estimate than the 2018 edition of the report, which said Australia’s climate had warmed by just over 1 °C.

Global sea levels have risen by 25 centimetres since 1880, and the oceans around Australia are acidifying and have warmed by around one degree since 1910, the experts found.

 

Dr Jaci Brown, Research Director at CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre.

Dr Jaci Brown, Research Director at CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre.

 

Dr Jaci Brown from the CSIRO said half the sea level rise since 1880 had occurred after 1970, and the sea level was currently rising by three and a half centimetres each decade.

Dr Brown said the sea level rise was partially explained by the melting polar ice caps, but also just through thermal expansion.

“As the water warms it expands, contributing to sea level rise,” she said.

Despite the drop in greenhouse gas emissions associated with 2020’s COVID-related economic slowdown, the report stated the decrease would have “negligible impact” in terms of warming global temperatures.

“Although carbon dioxide [emissions] did slow down we still saw an increase … and that slow down is indistinguishable from the background noise,” Dr Brown said.

She likened the situation to a long-term junk food addict who switched to a healthy diet and stepped on the bathroom scales the next day expecting to see a radical drop in their weight.

Dr Braganza said one of the themes of this year’s report was that “Australia is experiencing climate change now”.

The kinds of warming statistics that Australia was experiencing now was “in the envelope of where we saw them going,” in previous years, Dr Brown said.

Speaking with regard to temperatures, Dr Brown said: “Ten to 20 years from now, 2019 won’t be unusual. This decade will be one of the coolest in the next 100 years.”

 

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Originally published as Aussie weather warning: Hot days ‘triple in 20 years’





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AFL 2020: Eddie McGuire and Luke Darcy to leave Triple M Hot Breakfast show after 11 years


Eddie McGuire has revealed he’s leaving his breakfast radio program after more than 11 years in the gig.

McGuire’s co-host, and former Bulldogs ruckman, Luke Darcy has also confirmed he’ll depart Triple M’s Hot Breakfast, with the duo’s program to finish up on November 27.

McGuire and Darcy’s departures were confirmed by Southern Cross Austereo on Wednesday morning after beginning the show in 2009.

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Fmr baseball player convicted of triple murder


Brandon Martin runs the bases during an extended spring training game with the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2012. (Mike Janes / Four Seam Images)

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UPDATED 3:15 PM PT – Saturday, November 7, 2020

Former minor league baseball player Brandon Martin has been found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder.

On Thursday, the 27-year-old was convicted of killing his father, uncle and an alarm system installer with a baseball bat back in 2015 in Corona, California.

He reportedly attacked Michael Martin, Ricky Anderson and Barry Swanson after being released from a mental health facility where he was held for two days after choking and threatening his mother.

On the day of the murders, the family was getting an alarm system installed for protection.

Martin was the Tampa Bay Rays first-round pick in the 2011 draft. Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against him.

MORE NEWS: N.Y. Gov. Cuomo To Increase National Guard Presence At N.Y. Airports

 





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A Triple Threat Against Cancer



AsianScientist (Oct. 29, 2020) – Instead of using antibodies to target immune checkpoints, researchers in China have used small hairpin RNA (shRNA) to achieve the same goal. When combined with chemotherapy drugs and an enzyme targeting the tumor microenvironment, the shRNA were able to successfully treat tumors in mice. These findings have been published in Science Advances.

Hailed as one of the most significant breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy, immune checkpoint blockade has shown dramatic results—but only for certain cancers. While antibodies against CTLA-4 and PD-1 are now available in the clinic, patients using them can sometimes experience severe side effects. One possible reason is that the systemic use of antibodies could over-stimulate the immune system and trigger a harmful response.

To get around this problem, a team led by Professor Tian Huayu from the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences turned to a different inhibitory technique. Instead of using antibodies specific to PD-1, Tian and the team blocked PD-1 expression using shRNA. In addition to targeting PD-1, they also introduced a plasmid producing hyaluronidase, an enzyme that degrades a key component of the extracellular matrix and is found to be overexpressed in certain tumors. Finally, the team packaged the shRNA, plasmid and the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin into pH-sensitive nanoparticles, which were designed to accumulate in the acidic environment surrounding the tumors.

The combination therapy was found to be more efficient than the traditional combination of chemotherapy and immune checkpoint inhibition, leading to dramatic tumor shrinkage in multiple mouse tumor models. Furthermore, the team also found that the treatment helped to prime tumor-specific T-cells by inducing immunogenic cell death and transforming the tumor microenvironment from immunosuppressive to immune-active.

“These excellent outcomes are mainly attributed to the increasing amount of peripheral CD8+ T-cell infiltration in tumors, which can also induce strong immune memory effects and effectively prevent tumor metastasis,” said Tian.

Although the work has yet to be replicated in humans, it nonetheless presents a promising comprehensive immunotherapy strategy that integrates multiple aspects of regulating the cancer-immunity cycle, including tumor antigen release, T-cell trafficking from the periphery to the tumor, effective killing of tumor cells and the generation of immune memory T-cells.
The article can be found at: Wu et al. (2020) An Immune Cocktail Therapy to Realize Multiple Boosting of the Cancer-immunity Cycle by Combination of Drug/gene Delivery Nanoparticles.

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Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.


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Amazon third-quarter earnings soar as pandemic sales triple profits | Technology


Amazon reported blowout third-quarter results on Thursday as a pandemic sales boost helped the company triple its profits amid a 37% increase in earnings.

The company’s revenues of $96.15bn were better than analysts expected and its net income increased to $6.3bn in the third quarter, compared with net income of $2.1bn in third quarter 2019. Its cloud-services unit, Amazon Web Services, reported net sales of $11.6bn for the quarter, up 29% year over year.

The gains came despite a decision to spend $4bn on coronavirus-related measures, including procuring personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of its facilities and wage increases.

The company is also expecting a bumper holiday shopping period, as Amazon gave revenue guidance in the range of $112.bn to $121.bn, above analyst expectations of $112.7bn.

Amazon says PPE and related spending spending was $7.1bn over the first three quarters, and will spend $4bn in Q4. It added 250,000 jobs in the third quarter, and had already added 100,000 in the first month of the fourth quarter.

Earlier this week, Amazon said it would add 100,000 seasonal jobs to its current workforce of close to 900,000 people to assist with increased demand – jobs, the company stated, would offer either a “path to a longer-term career” or “extra income and flexibility during the holiday season”.

In statement, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, whose personal fortune is now in excess of $200bn, drew attention to the company’s jobs growth and decision to boost the minimum wage for workers.

“Two years ago, we increased Amazon’s minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees across the US and challenged other large employers to do the same. Best Buy and Target have stepped up, and we hope other large employers will also make the jump to $15. Now would be a great time,” Bezos said.

Bezos added that “offering jobs with industry-leading pay and great healthcare, including to entry-level and front-line employees, is even more meaningful in a time like this, and we’re proud to have created over 400,000 jobs this year alone.”

The Amazon boss said the company was seeing “more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season. Big thank you to our employees.”

Amazon’s results came as US stocks bounced back Thursday a day after their biggest rout in four months, with the S&P 500 rising 1.2% as investors were encouraged by better-than-forecast economic data.

Technology heavyweights Apple, Facebook, Google-parent Amazon and Alphabet all rallied on Thursday ahead of earnings reports, adding a collective $230bn to their market value. Facebook jumped over 5%, with Apple and Alphabet each up nearly 5%, and Amazon adding nearly 3%. Twitter, also reporting Thursday, surged 8%.

The rally came after two days of selling over which the six biggest tech companies (Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Tesla) lost around $270bn on fears of a global surge in coronavirus cases and enduring US political impasse over a new economic stimulus package.

Amazon lost roughly $30bn, while Microsoft, which reported weak revenue guidance on Tuesday, lost $70bn. Apple, which hit a $2tn market cap over the summer, shed $70bn in value, while Tesla dropped $13bn.

Despite this, the tech giants are still coming out as winners for the year. The six largest tech companies were worth about $5tn in January. They are now worth more than $7.1tn.

But while Amazon has benefited massively from at-home shopping during the pandemic, there have also been warnings of a tech bubble. Investor David Einhorn warned this week that technology stocks are in an “enormous” bubble.

“The question at hand is where are we in the psychology of this bubble?” the head of hedge fund Greenlight Capital wrote in a note.

“Our working hypothesis, which might be disproven, is that September 2, 2020 was the top and the bubble has already popped. If so, investor sentiment is in the process of shifting from greed to complacency.”



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Belichick captures Breeders’ Stakes to deny 1-eyed Mighty Heart the Canadian Triple Crown


Josie Carroll completed the Triple Crown sweep Saturday, just not the one that mattered.

The Carroll-trained Belichick claimed the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack for his first career victory. But it came at the expense of stablemate Mighty Heart, the one-eyed colt that was looking to become the first OLG Canadian Triple Crown winner since Wando in 2003.

“Very [bittersweet],” Carroll said. “It’s very exciting to win with this horse, he’s a horse I’ve said had a lot of promise from the beginning.

“But how often do you get the opportunity to win a Triple Crown? I thought Mighty Heart ran his little heart out. Unfortunately he was hooked all the way with that one horse and never got a chance to relax.”

Jockey Daisuke Fukumoto took Mighty Heart, the even-money favourite, to the lead from the start, which like he did in the $1-million Queen’s Plate that his horse ended up winning by a whopping 7 1/2 lengths ahead of Belichick as a 13/1 longshot. But Kunal, and jockey Emile Ramsammy, kept pace with Mighty Heart for three-quarters of a mile.

Mighty Heart still held the lead after a mile, and while Kunal had dropped back to seventh, Told It All was giving Mighty Heart chase in second. Not having the chance to relax and settle in then took its toll on Mighty Heart, who simply ran out of steam and finished seventh.

WATCH | Belichick spoils the party at Woodbine:

Belichick captured the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes to deny stablemate Mighty Heart’s Triple Crown bid. 0:48

“It’s different when they’re running easy and you’ve got a horse dogging you,” Carroll said. “Especially a competitive horse like [Mighty Heart], he wasn’t going to let that horse get away from him and I think he used most of his race up against one competitor.

“I think had [Mighty Heart] got a chance to relax . . . he would’ve had a lot more finish.”

Fukumoto agreed.

‘He got tired’

“He was sharp like in the Queen’s Plate,” he said. “I tried to take hold and he relaxed a little bit in the backstretch but with the mile and a half you need the stamina . . . he got tired.

“He gave me many experiences and I’m so proud of him. I want everyone to keep following him when he runs again next time.”

Contreras – who in 2011 won all three Triple Crown races with two horses – had Belichick sitting eighth at the start and moved him up to fourth after a mile. The 3/1 second pick surged into the lead with a quarter-mile remaining and posted an impressive four-length victory in 2:32.51 on a good turf.

“It’s a hell of a way to break your maiden,” Carroll said. “I’ve said all along this was a good horse, I wasn’t surprised to see him jump up today.

“He’s still lightly raced and he’s a big, rangy horse that’s still growing into himself. I don’t think he’s even done growing yet.”

Contreras, who won his third Breeders’ title, said after a somewhat difficult start, Belichick settled in and had plenty left when it counted most.

“They kind of broke early in the race so I just tried to see them and relax my horse as much as I could,” he said. “He was very uncomfortable, this horse has a different style to run so I just let him be happy wherever he wanted to be.

“Turning for home, I was just in hand all the way to the quarter pole. I asked him to run from the stretch home and he did.”

Meyer, a 54/1 longshot ridden by Sahin Civaci, finished second ahead of English Conqueror, a 12/1 pick that was supplemented for this race and ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson.

The field was reduced to 11 horses after Olliemyboy was scratched earlier Saturday.

The remainder of the field, in order of finish, included: Deviant; Clayton; Enchant Me; Mighty Heart; Muskoka Giant; Told It All; Glorious Tribute; and Kunal.

‘It was a good course’

Carroll had expressed concern last week about a potentially soft turf course given all the rain the fell in the Greater Toronto Area. However, she said the surface wasn’t a major factor in Saturday’s race.

“I went up on it this morning and Woodbine did a really good job on this turf,” she said. “It was a good course.

“It had a little cut to it but there’s nothing wrong with a little give on the turf. It really wasn’t that soft of a turf.”

Belichick has now finished in the money in all four of his career races (win, twice second, third) and received $240,000 for Saturday’s victory.

“Mighty Heart is the little scrapper but Belichick, he’s just a dude,” Carroll said. “He can be really, really laid back but he’s also full of himself.

“He knows who he is and climbs all over top of the people when they’re trying to walk him. He just always has to assert himself.”





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A bullish Luke Hilton chases triple success


Gosford trainer Luke Hilton feels he’s got Mornay’s race preparations right now which is why his mare is shooting for back-to-back wins at Scone on Friday.

The five-year-old Unencumbered mare runs in a Benchmark 66 Handicap (1100m) after winning the same grade of race last start at Canberra over 1000m three weeks ago.

Before that she had a two-start campaign in Brisbane and won at Dubbo a race earlier.

“She’s done a bit of travelling and we’re just starting to work her out. She appreciates the shorter distances like 1000m and 1100m and needs to be kept fresh,” Hilton said.

The Form: Complete NSW Racing thoroughbred form, including video replays and all you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!

“It’s definitely and open race. I thought her win last start was very good and she’s carrying that form through and she’s in very good order.

“It’s probably a harder race. More numbers make it interesting and Scone’s 1100m is a bit different. There wasn’t a lot of tempo last time but I think they’ll go a bit quicker this time.”

Mornay will be ridden by Ashley Morgan again and Hilton was happy when she drew gate seven in the capacity 14-horse field where luck in running will naturally play a role.

“I think she gets into a really nice spot. She gets the run of the race and definitely gets her chance so she’ll take a fair bit of beating,” Hilton said.

“It’s hard to tell at this stage of her preparation (if she’s improved) but she’s shown me that spacing her runs is something she really relishes.”

BEST BETS, INSIDE MAIL FOR SCONE

Buckle Up Baby carries the top weight in the fifth race over 1600m for Hilton and she too is a last start winner at Canberra over the same trip.

And she gets the same weight with apprentice Dylan Gibbons on board after she sat off the speed last start and swooped past them.

“She won well. That’s how she enjoys to race,” Hilton said.

“With the claim she’s been able to get into a Benchmark 58 race with the same weight she carried at Canberra. She’ll be hard to beat as well.”

The Star Witness five-year-old hasn’t race for three weeks but it would’ve kept the speed in her legs to stay at the mile.

“We looked to go up in trip but she had a little set back between runs so we’ve kept her at the mile again. She didn’t miss any work and we’ve found a race on a Showcase meeting,” Hilton said.

Playard, to be ridden by Aaron Bullock, is Hilton’s other runner in a Class 3 Handicap (1400m) and while he isn’t coming off a win he’s primed for a big run too even though he ran seventh last start at Wyong over 1100m.

“The sectionals said he was very good. He ran the second fastest last 600m of the race after getting a long way back,” Hilton said.

“He’s racing more relaxed this time in which is why we’ve gone to the 1400m quickly.

“He might need this run but he’s got the blinkers back on and last time we went to Scone he only just got beat by Savatiano so if he can race like that he’s hard to beat.

“The blinkers will switch him on a bit and hopefully he can find some cover.”

Sinclair finds the key to unlock Bell’s talent

She’s not really bred to run a trip but True Bell was telling her trainer months ago to give her a shot at a race over more ground.

So Moree’s Nathan Sinclair did and she’s won two of her past three runs over 1900m and 2050m. Naturally, Sinclair looked to find another race around those trips and today’s Benchmark 58 Handicap (2200m) at Scone was picked out.

“Since stepping up to the 2000m she’s been going really well. It’s really suited her and I couldn’t be happier with her at the moment,” Sinclair said.

“She wasn’t showing speed over the shorter distances and she was looking like she needed further and it all panned out that there were races coming up over 2000m so we thought we’d throw her in them and see how she went.”

True Bell, to be ridden by Belinda Hodder, is a five-year-old mare by Bel Esprit – Black Caviar’s sire – and her dam True Peace was a sprinter who never won over more than 1400m.

“The Bel Esprit’s are more the sprinting types but she’s one that enjoys the longer distances,” Sinclair said.

“It was a really good win last time at Armidale and she’s come on nicely after that. She pulled up really well and I couldn’t be happier with where she’s at.

“She’s been up a few these before and there’s some that will take some beating that we haven’t faced before so it will give us an idea of where she’s at.”

She will have to do it from barrier 11 but has regular rider Belinda Hodder on.

“She hasn’t had much luck with barriers this time in but it shouldn’t really bother her too much. She’s the sort of horse that can settle close to the speed if she gets a good run,” Sinclair said.

“She can go back too like she did the other day and the weight shouldn’t be an issue. I’d like her to sit just off the speed, that would be ideal.

“She’s strong late and when other horses come to challenge her she digs in and fights so she won’t be giving it up easily.”

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Tackling Triple Negative Breast Cancer



AsianScientist (Oct. 21, 2020) – Researchers in Japan have identified a marker that can track the response of patients with a particularly difficult-to-treat form of breast cancer known as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Their study published in Breast Cancer also suggests that the marker—a molecule called interleukin-34 (IL-34)—could be an attractive target for treating the disease.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women across the world, impacting 2.1 million women each year. The disease is classified into one of three types depending on the combination of cell receptor molecules present on the surface of the cancer cells: luminal A, Luminal B and HER2+. The receptors determine which hormone the cancer is dependent on for survival, and thus indicate which drugs can be used to treat the cancer.

However, there is a fourth type of breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer or TNBC, that does not have any of these three receptors. This type of cancer does not respond to standard treatments and the prognosis is generally poorer than for other types of breast cancer.

By analyzing data from over a thousand breast cancer patients from The Human Cancer Genome Atlas, a team of scientists from the Institute for Genetic Medicine (IGM) at Hokkaido University, Japan, found that TNBC is associated with high levels of a cytokine called IL-34. Because IL-34 is known to be associated with poor outcomes in lung cancer and liver cancer, the scientists decided to determine the relationship between IL-34 and TNBC.

To demonstrate that this relationship could be replicated in the lab, the scientists compared the growth and development of two cell lines that were identical except for the levels of IL-34 expressed: one cell line expressed high levels of IL-34 while the other expressed low levels. In cell culture, there was no difference observed between the cell lines; however, once introduced into mice, the cells that expressed high levels of IL-34 caused rapid tumor growth. Further research showed that IL-34 promotes creation of a favorable environment for the growth of tumors by protecting them from anti-tumor macrophages.

“Currently, chemotherapy is the only reliable means of treating TNBC, but it frequently develops resistance to chemotherapy,” said study leader Professor Ken-ichiro Seino. “Our findings show that IL-34 is an attractive molecular target for targeted cancer therapy.”

The article can be found at: Kajihara et al. (2020) Interleukin-34 Contributes to Poor Prognosis in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

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Source: Hokkaido University; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.


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Barry Hall sacked podcast, Sydney Swans, Barry Hall Brent Staker, Barry Hall Triple M comments, anger issues, weight gain


Former AFL forward great Barry Hall has revealed he didn’t enjoy around “80 per cent” of his successful AFL career, lifting the lid on his time in the game and the post-footy identity crisis that saw him blow out to 125 kilos.

Speaking on the Herald Sun’s Sacked podcast, Hall went into detail about a falling out with his father over footy and the anger issues that saw him cited for several incidents over his career, the most infamous of which was a king hit that could’ve killed Brent Staker.

Hall revealed his 289-game, 746-goal career across three clubs and 16 seasons was the source of a significant rift between himself and father Ray, with whom “s*** hit the fan” after Barry explained he wanted to pursue footy rather than boxing.

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“He didn’t speak to me for years after that, which you might think is an exaggeration. But sitting at the table, no words, no nothing,” he said.

“Dad was trying to live his life through me … without blowing my own trumpet, I was good at it.

“(Quitting boxing) was not good news for him and it wasn’t good news for our relationship.”

Hall explained just how hard he had to work to make it as an AFL player given both of his parents weren’t approving of his decision.

“I got selected for the Murray Bushrangers in Wangaratta with my parents not on my side,” he said.

“How do I get there? It’s two and a half hours away. I had to start work in a panel shop around the corner, sweeping floors to save up enough money because in Victoria at 16 and nine months you can get your ‘L’ (plates) for your motorbike.

“I bought this s*** motorbike and started riding up and down the freeway for training and luckily I got selected.”

ANGER MANAGEMENT

Hall’s anger issues on the field cost him games, respect and also his time at the Swans.

After being let go by Sydney in 2009, Hall finally started to work on his temper, which he could trace back to his childhood, including his strained relationship with his father.

“From the age of zero to seven is your programming as a child,” he told the Sacked podcast.

“I had a lot of underlying issues which I don’t want to go into too much … because I take responsibility for my actions as an adult.

“I don’t want to use it as an excuse.”

Once he acknowledged his problems, Hall “signed a document … a commitment that I was not going to let my past dictate my future.”

POST-FOOTY CRISIS

Hall went into detail about the battles he would face immediately after his footy, which would prove to be as great if not greater than those he faced on the field.

“When I retired I went through some real struggles,” Hall said.

“There is such a thing called an identity crisis, which a lot of elite sportsmen and women get. You wake up after you retire and you think ‘Who am I now’?

“I identified (as a footballer) for so long. I had a goal to get up and train seven days a week and all that is gone.

“All your structure is gone, your identity is gone. You fall into a state of depression, (thinking) ‘What am I now if I am not that’?”

Hall said he “got up to 125 kilos” after “eating crap” and “drinking every night”, before willing himself to get fit again and turn his life around.

WHAT COMES NEXT

Hall admits he has made several mistakes throughout his time both during and after footy, including an inappropriate on-air comment that saw him sacked from Triple M and left without income.

Still, he feels he is better-equipped as a person and as a father than he has ever been.

“I have made mistakes and I have accepted responsibility for them,” he told the Herald Sun.

“I have done some really crappy things that I regret, but it has put me in the position I am in now.

“I know exactly who I am. I am a big believer in creating your own environment so that I don’t have s*** around me. I only have honest people.

“They are not fake; they are all real and they have got my back.”



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