Posts Tagged ‘Freakonomics’

New Baseball Idea

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Another cool Freakonomics blog from the New York Times: “A New Kind of Starting Pitcher?

The suggestion is start a baseball game with “the Opener”, kind of like a closer, someone to pitch lights-out for the first two innings and then hand over the next six or seven innings to, well, the starting pitcher.


So, why ask starters to pitch until they fail? Why not ask them to pitch for just six innings, the third through the eighth? Most starters would be delighted by this “light” load and pace themselves accordingly. I’m not a pitcher or even a baseball player, but I just think there’s a lot of weakness in not knowing how long you’re going to be out there.

Pretty clever stuff …

Vacations For All of Europe

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Again with the Freakonomics blog on the New York Times: “An Important Human Right.”

Subsidized vacations for citizens over 65, kids between the ages of 18 and 25, and families facing “difficult social, financial or personal” circumstances.

Lucky bastards.


Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Months that should be summer’s prime,
Sleet and snow and frost and rime.
Air so cold you see your breath,
Eighteen hundred and froze to death.

Oh that Freakonomics Blog at the New York Times has another interesting one: “The Next Great Scary Story?

They’re linking the recent eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland to the 1815 Eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia that caused the year without a summer a/k/a “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.”

Oddly they see it in a positive light, which I equate with making lemonade out of lemons.

Personally I don’t care much for frozen lemonade, though.

Read the wikipedia article about the summer, but for a more local perspective here’s a clip from “The Weather” section of Portland’s long lost Eastern Argus from June 12, 1816:

The extraordinary cold state of the atmosphere during the week past, surpasses the recollection of the oldest person among us. The wind from N. to N.W. continued extremely high till yesterday [June 11] accompanied with a winter chill that rendered a fireside very comfortable – but a check is given to all vegetation, and we fear the frost has been so powerful as to destroy a great portion of the young fruit that is put forth. – On Saturday last [June 8] a gloom was cast over the face of nature by the appearance of snow which fell plentifully about 7 o’clock in the morning. On Monday [June 10] the coldest since 25th of May, thermometer stood in the morning 34 above 0 – much ice made in various parts of town the preceding night; and in the country we are told it was more severe.

Yes, snow on June 8th, ice on June 10th.

That’s not what I’m looking for in my summer vacation.

Just to prove how weird this all is, I’m going to quote another poem; Darkness was written by Lord Byron in July 1816 … during that summer.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind the blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went – and came, and brought no day…


Fixing the Currency

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The Freakonomics blog over at the New York Times had a good post yesterday about money in the United States – specifically what to do with the dollar bill and one cent piece. It’ll never happen, but it’s still a good thought: “Cutting the Currency Gordian Knot.”

No Need For Speed

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The Freakonomics blog over at the New York Times is always an interesting read.

The other day they had a good post about the speed limit, and how, according to a recent scholarly paper “the lifting of the federal 55 mph speed limit in 1995 was responsible for 12,545 deaths between 1995 and 2005.”

So slow down, speedy.

No Census Online

Friday, March 19th, 2010

I love the decennial census, but you know this (see Census Fun).

We got our form in the mail the other day and I was confused to see you couldn’t fill the form out online. Doesn’t that seem like a logical option?

I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who found this odd: “One Thing You Still Can’t Do Online.”

Water Use Graph

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

I love-love-love things like this.

From the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times we get a graph showing water consumption in Edmonton from February 28 – during the men’s Olympic hockey gold medal game.

Green line is the consumption from February 27.

Graph: EPCOR