My predictions for 2017, including full standings, playoff stuff, and award winners. If you skipped the intro and got mad online about it, I’ll reiterate here: it’s just for fun. I do not run projections, and I will never beat a well-run model at the predictions game except as a fluke. I also wrote one post earlier in the week covering Cardinals, Tigers, and Atlanta prospects I saw while in Florida; there will be another post coming this weekend. I did not chat because I was in the car or at games all week.
My book is back from the printers! 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.
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And now, the links…
- This week’s big distraction was Mike Pence’s rule about declining to dine alone with a woman who isn’t his wife, a rule that employment lawyer Joanna L. Grossman says is probably illegal.
- The House “Science” Committee held a sham hearing on climate change that featured some of the dumbest anti-science questions you could possibly imagine. If any of these clowns is your representative, call his/her office on Monday and voice your support for actual science.
- There’s a wide measles outbreak in Romania, with children dying of the disease, thanks to lack of access to health services and idiot parents declining to vaccinate their children.
- How about real science? A new paper claims to have discovered the cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s a single protein that normally inhibits a particular pathway in the amygdala; when the protein is absent, the pathway becomes overactive and OCD results.
- Meanwhile, many states, all in the south and midwest, have at least seen bills introduced that would allow creationism or other anti-science crap to be taught in public schools.
- The Cayman Islands are moving forward with a plan to release genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the Zika virus. The mosquito species in question, Aedes aegypti, also spreads dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. This is distinct from efforts to use specific strains of the Wolbachia bacteria genus to make the mosquitoes resistant to these virii.
- This longread from The Chronicle of Higher Education dissects the ongoing troubles at Penn State – caused by Penn State in the aftermath of the school’s inaction on Jerry Sandusky.
- The glory of being on the road so much this week was that I missed the crazy mom who claimed human traffickers were stalking her kids at Ikea. This kind of mass hysteria mirrors the way anti-vaccine bullshit and right-wing fake news have spread online in recent years.
- Apple accepted, then rejected, an app that tracks US drone strikes. The decision is bizarre, as the app doesn’t appear to violate any of the App Store’s terms of service, and speaks to the problem with a closed format. Even if the company itself didn’t make these decisions, it would be too easy for a government agency to force them to do so.
- The two “activists” whose doctored videos at Planned Parenthood made it seem like PP employees were selling fetal body parts have been charged with 15 felonies for their actions. Their attorneys claim they’re “journalists,” but it’s clear by their actions – and lack of any respect for the law or journalistic ethics – that they’re not.
- Speaking of abortion rights, Iowa Republicans have proposed a bill that would let an unmarried woman’s parents prevent her from having the medical procedure, even if she were, say, 30 years old. Meanwhile, Arkansas, the one state I haven’t visited and clearly won’t any time soon, passed a law that forces doctors to investigate a patient’s reasons for having an abortion. Does it surprise you to know that Arkansas is also one of the worst states for vaccination rates?
- Why did Secretary of Labor nominee Alexander Acosta cut a sweetheart deal with wealthy child molester Jeffrey Epstein?
- I didn’t know what the Chinese dish jianbing, a sort of omelet folded into a crispy crepe-like crust, was before I saw this article on where to find it in New York, but I’m interested now.
- Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn goes into the science of smoke, and how smoke can be dirty or clean.
- Fellow fans of Studio Ghibli might enjoy this news item on Ghibli-themed teas, available for sale in Japan. I bet those tins show up as collectibles even without the teas inside. It’s not a Ghibli title, but the critically-acclaimed animated film Your Name (Kimi no na wa) will be released on Friday in the U.S.
- “Travel tips” posts tend to be useless, but I thought this list from Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern, who travels the world to some seriously off-the-path places, was unusually informative.