My main Insider piece this week was on sustainable MLB breakthroughs in 2015. I meant to include Rougned Odor on this list, and somehow just plain forgot him when I sat down to write the piece. Anyway, this is my mea culpa and statement that I believe his improvement at the plate is real, sustainable, and only the beginning for him.
I also covered the Metropolitan Classic high school tournament that’s hosted and organized by the NY Mets, writing about the top 2016 and 2017 draft prospects there.
And now, this week’s links…
- The nationwide rise in the popularity of authentic barbecue has left black pitmasters behind, even though that style of cooking has roots in African-American culture.
- An excellent longread from the BBC on the forced repatriation of Chinese sailors in the UK after World War II, with the story of one woman whose biological father was one of those deported.
- Baseball is on the rise in Uganda, believe it or not. It’s a sport that requires a long gestation period when it manages to take hold in a new region or country, but it seems to be growing well in the small sub-Saharan African nation, where it’s still against the law to be gay.
- A chemistry decoder to send to that idiot friend from high school who keeps posting FoodBabe links on Facebook.
- A personal post from a woman whose son nearly died from the flu. It’s just about flu shot season, too.
- Another sugar (sucrose) substitute, the natural but uncommon sugar allulose, may be moving toward the marketplace, but like sugar alcohols, it passes right through the upper GI tract and can cause some problems further on down the line.
- Kevin Folta, a scientist at the University of Florida, is under attack by the tin-foil hat crowd because Monsanto provided $25,000 for an educational outreach program, covering his travel costs. The personal nature of the attacks and the ignorance of how corporate funding actually works in academic research result in a deeply disturbing application of the genetic fallacy.
- Longtime reader Tom Hitchner has a good post up on why teams keep getting sweetheart government-funded stadium deals. It’s happening in Milwaukee, and it’s happening in disgusting fashion in St. Louis, where a law prohibiting such deals was overturned by a judge as “too vague.”
- TV critic extraordinaire Alan Sepinwall asks if there’s too much good television right now. I say yes, there is, and I have little to no hope of watching most of it.
- U.S. tennis pro Mardy Fish had to quit the sport due to anxiety, but he’s back, and he’s talking about his affliction.
- Mental Floss assembled a group of clever airline safety videos from around the world. The two Delta ones are both funny and effective; the first time I saw each this year I had to put down my book to watch them.