Friday, August 31, 2018
8:30 am pdt
History of the Future: Sabermetrics and the Demonstrative Display of Faith
Sabermetrics, the use of
statistical analysis in baseball to evaluate the performance of players, had been around since the end of the 20th
Century. It was in the summer of 2027 that Billy Crudesky, a sports writer for Weasel Sports, applied Sabermetrics to
demonstrative displays of faith in professional baseball. He sought to find out how players who crossed themselves before
batting, pointed to the sky after getting a hit, said prayers before taking the mound, or other obvious displays of their
religious beliefs actually performed relative to those players who did not. What he found was startling. Those
players who publicly demonstrated their faith did far worse than other players. Batters were found to hit,
on an average, a full forty points lower than those players who did nothing more than warm up. Base runners were thrown
out more often, and less likely to score. Pitchers had a higher ERA, walked more batters, and lost, on an average, five
more games per season. And fielders averaged more errors and made fewer marginal plays than those who simply did nothing.
By the end of the 2027 baseball season, Crudesky reported that demonstrative displays of faith had completely disappeared
from professional baseball.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
9:32 am pdt
Dog Days of Summer
It's so hot you can fry a dog on the pavement... not that you'd want to.
However, that's not why they call it the "Dog Days." The brightest star in the sky (if
you don't count our sun, and why would you?) is Sirius, which is also known as the "Dog Star" because it is the
most noticeable part of the constellation Canis Major, the Big Dog. And, as we all know, Canis Major is
Orion's hunting dog. (What are the Dog Days of Summer)
The heliacal rising of Sirius (meaning it rises in the morning) is
visible in the Northern Hemisphere from July 3 to August 11, more or less, depending on where you actually are. (What are
the Dog Days of Summer) So, really, we could just as easily call it the Dog Days of July instead of the
Dog Days of August... or whenever. The further south you are, the earlier in the year Sirius rises... like
in December. (Little) But here in the Northern Hemisphere, where everybody I know lives,
Sirius rises in what happens to be the hottest part of the summer, at least, it was before global warming. Why
does it get so hot in the summer? Well, that's easy! It's a combination of our sun and
Sirius. No, I'm not being serious, but all those folks in the olden days believed that. Of
course, they believed all sorts of things that aren't true, but we can't blame them for trying. (What are
the Dog Days of Summer)
The Egyptians, not necessarily believing the nonsense about a distant star heating up
our planet, associated Sirius with the Inundation, the annual flooding of the Nile, which brought life to that part of the
world. In fact, their new year began on the first full moon following the rise of Sirius. On
the other hand, the Greeks and the Romans, who notoriously believed in a lot of nonsense, saw the rise of Sirius as an ill
omen, bringing famine and pestilence, and if anybody could do pestilence well, it was those guys. Indeed,
"Sirius" means "scorching" in Greek. But then, disease rates really are higher
in the summer. (What are the Dog Days of Summer)
If you want to locate Sirius, you'll first have to go outside at night.
It just won't work otherwise. Then look up. Next, find Orion's Belt – those
three bright stars that almost everybody can identify, and then look down and to your left for the brightest star you can
see. Yup. That's Sirius. (Dog Days ) If you want
somebody to blame for the heat, that's where to send your complaints.
But, hey! There's
hope if you're patient enough, because of a little thingy called the Trepidation of the Equinoxes. The
earth, as it is wont to do, wobbles on its axis, so over time the stars shift in the night sky. In just
a scant 10,000 years Sirius will rise in the middle of winter. Maybe then we'll call it the Dog Days of
Winter, where it's so cold that even your dog wants to stay inside. (Dog Days)
"Dog Days." Wikipedia.
Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. (18 July 2018): n. pag. Web. 02
Aug. 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_days
Little, Becky. "Why Do We Call Them the 'Dog
Days' of Summer?" National Geographic. National Geographic Society
(10 July 2015): n. pag. Web. 02 Aug. 2018 https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/150710-dog-days-summer-sirius-star-astronomy-weather-language/
"What are the Dog Days of Summer?" The Old Farmer's
Almanac. Yankee Publishing Co. (2018): n. pag. Web.
02 Aug. 2018 https://www.almanac.com/content/what-are-dog-days-summer
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
9:41 am pdt
Pretty amazing, huh? I took out these walls here so the whole house would have that gallery feel.
It'll look a lot better once I get the walls patched. I got all the shelves from IKEA.
The foam on all the shelves – you can get that in bulk online.
It's the world's largest collection of burnt out lightbulbs.
Well, as far as I know. Technically, a lightbulb is called a "lamp," but most people don't know
that, so if you call a lightbulb a lamp, it's just confusing.
Over here... these are some of my favourites. This
one. This one was my first. It was from my nightlight when I was a kid.
This is the left turn signal bulb in the first car I ever owned. A 1964 Chevy Impala.
This one was from the streetlight in front of my childhood home. I'm not saying how I got it.
This is the automotive wing.
These are all car headlights. Ford here. That's Chevy. Chrysler.
Dodge. Foreign. Exotics. Check this one out. It's
from a 1992 Ferrari F40. I paid $38 for that, including shipping. It would've cost considerably
more had it not been burnt out.
These are all my florescent bulbs, by width and length. A lot of folks would argue that fluorescent
lights really don't use bulbs. And they have a point. I mean, I don't include neon,
and I know it's pretty much the same. I dunno. I just had a lot of them, so I thought,
"Why not?" The way I figure it, it's my museum. I can curate it like I want.
These are all novelty lightbulbs.
See? When you turn this one on, it's a smiley face. And the light's yellow.
Pretty cool. This one, it's a black light bulb. Most black lights that aren't
fluorescent, really aren't black lights. They've just been filtered to look that way. But
this really is a black light. It's a lightbulb-shaped fluorescent light with a little charger right in
the base. That is cool. It still works, too.
A lot of folks think I'm... you know... a bit off for collecting burnt
out lightbulbs. But check this out. I bet you've never seen a bulb like this.
1924. It's an antique. See how much more fragile that is? They
made lightbulbs before 1924... but who kept them when they burnt out? I'll tell you: Nobody.
Old ones turn up now and again, in old buildings and what not. But for the most part, they're all
is moving away from lightbulbs. Soon, it'll be all LED, and who knows what after that. The
classic lightbulb. The lightbulb you remember from when you were a kid. Soon they'll
be gone forever. And that's because nobody saves burnt out lightbulbs. Except for me.
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
4:13 pm pdt
DNA My Way
I always believed that I was related to George Washington Carver, the famous Black inventor.
And together we shared relatives who lived for centuries deep in the Congo before being sold into slavery. Motumba!
And then I had my DNA tested. They said I wasn't related to George Washington Carver at all. They said I wasn't
even Black. They said my relatives all came from Norway. Then I found DNA My WayTM. With DNA My Way, there are
no tests to take or forms to fill out. With DNA My Way you just tell them where you want to be from and who you want
to be related to, and they'll do the rest. With DNA My Way, not only am I related to George Washington Carver, but I'm
also related to Sitting Bull. And Ghandi! DNA My Way: Because nobody really cares.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
3:57 pm pdt
Ockham, without his razor