Two Insider posts this week from Arizona, one on Padres and Dodgers prospects and one on Dodgers, Reds, and Rangers prospects. I’ll have one more post coming from this trip. I did not chat this week because I was out at games every day. The trip also meant I didn’t get to review a boardgame this week either.
You can preorder my upcoming book, Smart Baseball, on amazon, or from other sites via the Harper-Collins page for the book. The book now has two positive reviews out, one from Kirkus Reviews and one from Publishers Weekly.
Also, please sign up for my more-or-less weekly email newsletter.
And now, the links…
- The best longread of the week comes from Patrick Hruby of Vice, on Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes and his lawsuit against the NCAA, challenging the college cartel’s rules on amateurism.
- Also great, although with some caveats: what is the fate of the critic in the “clickbait” age? There’s an underlying argument here about quality of content versus that clickbait mentality, but I think the author lapses into cultural elitism enough to undermine his point.
- The world’s only grass-eating monkeys survive in one protected savannah in Ethiopia, but their habitat is under threat from humans and climate change. The photography in this National Geographic piece is stunning.
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who belongs to a crackpot evangelical medical association called AAPS, said that states should decide on mandatory vaccination laws, and the Washington Post showed why this is a terrible idea, in graphical form. They also wrote about the AAPS’ “unorthodox” (read: bullshit) positions on science a month ago. It is absolutely insane that someone so virulently anti-science is running HHS.
- An algal bloom in the Gulf of Oman is growing thanks to climate change, which our Clueless Leader says doesn’t exist and/or is a Chinese hoax.
- Trump fired US Attorney Preet Bharara earlier this month, perhaps because Bharara was investigating Secretary Price’s stock trades for evidence of insider trading. The move may also benefit Friend of Trump Rupert Murdoch, whose Fox News was facing multiple investigations from Bharara’s office.
- If you live in Georgia’s sixth district, formerly represented by Price, and are as outraged as I am over the anti-science, anti-civil liberties policies of the current administration, consider supporting Jon Ossoff in the upcoming special election on April 18th.
- Congress is threatening to pass a national right-to-work law, which would deal the most serious blow to American unions since the Wagner Act guaranteed workers’ basic rights to organize. There is a legitimate debate to be had on unionization; closed shops can artificially restrict employment, and unionized labor forces can increase prices for consumers, to pick two issues that arise in industries with strong unions. Right-to-work laws circumvent the debate entirely, and serve no purpose but to help enrich employers.
- Meanwhile, in Australia, the Rational United States, the Prime Minister has proposed banning unvaccinated children from childcare facilities.
- The gluten-free fad may be a symptom of a bigger problem of patients forum-shopping and falling for quacks, like “naturopaths” or “allopathic” practitioners who con patients into submitting to expensive tests for conditions that can only be cured by those charlatans’ treatments.
- Gwyneth Paltrow, who has become an expert of pseudoscience and woo, proposed a “goat milk therapy” for parasites that is both stupid and dangerous. Paltrow appears to have the biology knowledge of very small rocks, but that hasn’t stopped her from recommending all kinds of fake “treatments.”
- The rise of Elijah Quashie, an amateur food critic in the UK known as the Chicken Connoisseur, led to this Eater piece asking who gets to be a food critic? Is it true, as Quashie said in this interview, that once you start being a critic, then you’re a critic, with no further credentials required? If not, then is criticism of food, art, fashion, etc., inherently elitist, available only to those who can afford the proper background or training?
- A basketball player in Maryland was prevented from playing in the team’s first regional final game because she was wearing a hijab. The error was the referees’, not the district or state authorities.
- The Guardian did an update and profile of Rachel Dolezal, the NAACP chapter head who was posing as a black woman until she was outed by her parents as white. The piece includes an excerpt from her upcoming memoir. I might have found a shred of sympathy for her after reading this, although I still think posing as a person of color and then comparing herself to transgender people was inexcusable.
- Reader Stephanie K. passed along this Modern Farmer link from last June on how cold-pressed juice is bad for you and for the environment. Pro tip: eat whole fruit, rather than just drinking juice.
- Reader Larry passed along this link from Vice on how lax regulations allow shady used-car dealers to sell cars they don’t own, which in turn become legal nightmares for the buyers.
- I’d mentioned a few weeks ago that Kurt Eichenwald had gone after trolls who’d sent him images with the goal of triggering his epilepsy. One of them was just charged with cyberstalking in Texas.
- Remember Srebrenica? The Bosnian town just elected a Serb mayor, reigniting long-simmering ethnic tensions in the village and in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole, where the three main ethnic groups are threatening to divide the country into yet smaller states along religious and linguistic lines.
- Another reader recommendation (I apologize, I can’t find your tweet): Ars Technica explores some of the boardgames the CIA uses to train officers. I don’t think I’ll be reviewing Collection or Kingpin any time soon.