The Economist examines the cult of the genius GM.
In sports, just like the rest of life, the rich keep getting richer. Anyone who saw or read Moneyball knows that the deck is stacked against small-market Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. Their only hope of competing, Michael Lewis’s story goes, is to acquire brilliant, innovative general managers (GMs) like his protagonist Billy Beane, who have mastered the “art of winning an unfair game” by outmaneuvering wealthier clubs. The problem with this narrative is that there is nothing to stop the sport’s plutocrats from hiring the finest minds money can buy, just as they sign the best athletes.The deep-pocketed Dodgers have lured away small market Tampa Bay's heralded GM Andrew Friedman to find out what happens when a man who consistently builds winners with one of the smallest revenue streams in the game can do with a payroll in excess of $200 million.
In an effort to raise awareness of the hunting of manta-rays to near extinction, Shawn Heinrichs made this beautiful underwater video of a model swimming with the mantas in their natural habitat. [more info at the via]
A gamma-ray burst, the most energetic explosions in the universe, converted to music. What does the universe look like at high energies? Thanks to the Fermi Large Area Telescope (LAT), we can extend our sense of sight to "see" the universe in gamma rays. But humans not only have a sense of sight, we also have a sense of sound. If we could listen to the high-energy universe, what would we hear? What does the universe sound like?
After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Fast forward one excruciating month to a dead heat with Tampa coming into tonight's bitter imbroglio. Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field, leaving them in the surreal position of rooting for the hated Yankees playing down in Florida. They can only watch from the sidelines as the rival Rays, tied with Boston in the pennant race but down 7-0 against New York, roar back to life with six runs in the eighth inning and a tie run on the final pitch at the bottom of the ninth. And then, after blowing two different strikes that would have salvaged the game, Boston loses to Baltimore, completing what is arguably the worst late-breaking collapse in the history of major league baseball.
Astronomers using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have detected gamma-rays from a nova for the first time, a finding that stunned observers and theorists alike. (via)
Robot penguins of the water and air are manufactured by German robotics manufacturer Festo, as well as aquatic and airborn rays (as in the fish). Here's another aquapenguin video from Festo's YouTube channel. These videos are so futuristic they don't seem real. [via, fittingly enough, William Gibson's Twitterfeed]
Tampa Bay Rays beat Red Sox, head to World Series - The Tampa Bay
Devil Rays began the 2008 season having never made the playoffs and or finishing the season above .500. Motivated by skipper Joe Madden's mathematically questionable slogan "9 = 8" ("9 players going hard for 9 innings means 1 of 8 playoff spots") but not considered a competitor for the AL East top spot by most fans and analysts, the Rays used their new name, uniforms and confidence to slowly emerge as one of the best teams in baseball this year. [more inside]
Geopathic Stress, otherwise known as negative earth energies, black streams or earth rays, have become acknowledged as a hazard to health.