"In order to renew my Fangraphs membership, every six months, Dave Cameron flies out to meet me in an unmarked parking garage in Washington DC, where I swear a blood oath by candlelight on a stack of Necronomicons never to write anything complimentary about Derek Jeter’s mobility or range. Cameron’s post about Jeter yesterday was faithful to our sworn mission. The awful secret of Derek Jeter’s fifth Gold Glove requires a little background in a few of the more esoteric domains of human knowledge. This may be the most important blog post I ever write; if it is the last, dear readers, only you will know the truth."
Sure, FanGraphs appears to be a geeky site for baseball stat-heads who live in their mothers’ basements, crunch numbers whilst sipping Diet Dr. Pepper, and invent silly acronyms instead of dating girls. But FanGraphs bloggers quite firmly embrace their own nerdiness – even going so far as to create NERD, the stat, which rates the “watchability” of a team. Furthermore, they so often blend humor, politics, literature, and philosophy into their writings that to shun the site is to deprive yourself of fascinating, scrumptious nuggets of surprisingly accessible, occasionally math-heavy, and nearly always well-written baseball geekery. Would you like to know if better players have more Twitter followers? Wondered, Is The DH Dying? Derek Jeter cheated... so what? How about a lengthy meditation on baseball and the science of happiness?[more inside] posted by ORthey at 9:20 PM PST - 30 comments
"When you send a text message on the Verizon network, you can address your text by choosing a name out of your contact list, or you can address it by typing in a phone number. You can also type in a name. And if you type in L-E-I-L-A, then—bizarrely—your text will come to me.
This is a blog about the texts I have received. All of them are from strangers, intended for other Leilas, but obviously they missed their marks." posted by danb at 9:11 PM PST - 48 comments
Murderbullets, 102 pages of power armour, guns, mega-scale rapidly mutating biological horror, cancer sticks, tanks and general comics mahem by James Stokoe. posted by Artw at 9:10 PM PST - 17 comments
"From 1965 to 1971, we played together, inventing one thing or another.... But, like the bride of Bluebeard, there was one door I was not allowed to enter. That was the door marked “Colorforms”. That alone was off limits. Harry had invented Colorforms, the vinyl plastic pieces that stuck to a shiny surface. And he was convinced that there was no idea or application involving Colorforms, nor could there be, that he had not thought up already.... [H]e would entertain no further discussion on the subject. The very mention of “stick-ons” was off limits. The door to Colorforms was shut and bolted. Until 6 years later, through a curious set of circumstances, I broke it down once and forever."The Colorforms Years is Mel Birnkrant's illustrated history of two decades of ups and downs working with Colorforms, the first plastic-based creative toy and one of the first toys promoted in television commercials. [more inside] posted by jessamyn at 8:20 PM PST - 68 comments
"Weddings are elaborate in Dagestan, the largest autonomy in the North Caucasus. On August 22
we attended a wedding in Makhachkala, Dagestan's capital: Duma member and Dagestan Oil Company chief Gadzhi Makhachev's son married a classmate. The lavish display and heavy drinking concealed the deadly serious North Caucasus politics of land, ethnicity, clan, and alliance."
Thus begins a highly informative and somewhat amusing diplomatic cable, recently leaked by wikileaks. [more inside] posted by Guernsey Halleck at 7:15 PM PST - 38 comments
Following the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the rail networks of East and West Berlin were divided, necessitating the closure of a number of stations, creating ghost stations, through which West Berlin trains slowed, but did not stop. They appeared on West Berlin U-/S-Bahn maps as stations at which trains do not stop, in the case of stations lying in East Berlin through which trains passed or as out of service. The map also included some stations reachable only from East Berlin trains. The East Berlin map omitted the West Berlin lines and stations entirely. [more inside] posted by hoyland at 6:44 PM PST - 17 comments
Interested in doing a small favour to the environment? In raising awareness about planetary issues? In supporting an international environmental organization? Next time you’re going to share a document, save it as a WWF.[more inside] posted by Shepherd at 10:08 AM PST - 45 comments
"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. " -- Douglas Adams [more inside] posted by SpacemanStix at 9:54 AM PST - 74 comments
After a viral pandemic struck the world a few years ago, scientists had to scramble to stop the spread of the virus but they could do nothing for those who had already been infected. Now those who were exposed face their biggest challenge yet.... High School.[more inside] posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:11 AM PST - 10 comments
Paul Thomas Anderson (the auteur behind There Will Be Blood and Magnolia) is planning to adapt Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel, Inherent Vice. Robert Downey Jr. would play the lead role of Doc Sportello. posted by naju at 9:05 AM PST - 37 comments
The Defense Department forced all "war on terror" detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison to take a high dosage of a controversial antimalarial drug, mefloquine, an act that an Army public health physician called "pharmacologic waterboarding". The US military administered the drug despite Pentagon knowledge that mefloquine caused severe neuropsychiatric side effects, including suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and anxiety. The drug was used on the prisoners whether they had malaria or not.[more inside] posted by Joe Beese at 8:28 AM PST - 74 comments
A simple idea: take an ordinary savings account, but instead of paying interest to account holders, hold a lottery to see who gets the lump sum. Freakonomics Radio investigates Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts (Part 1, Part 2), which combine two things that seem completely at odds with each other: saving money and gambling. In Highland Park, MI, PLS accounts have been very successful at converting "non-savers" into "savers". Why hasn't it caught on in the US? It's illegal in most states, of course. posted by Jonathan Harford at 7:43 AM PST - 33 comments
A little ahead of schedule, Yahoo, AOL and Bing have released their lists of items most often searched for in 2010. Google hasn't released their list but you can see popular searches using their Insights program. posted by morganannie at 6:58 AM PST - 53 comments