Designated Hitters in the NL?

As a die-hard Cardinals fan, this week’s news that Wainwright has been sidelined for 9-12 months by a torn achilles is devastating, and it has brought the conversation back around to whether or not there should be a DH in the National League.

To me, I think that it’s inevitable, the DH will come to the National League within the next 10 years. But, as much as I’ll miss Waino this year, I think that it’s the wrong move. Having a pitcher who bats brings another dimension and level of nuance to the strategy of the game. Having a tough inning? The 9-hole is your best friend, your sanctuary. On the flip side, when you’ve got the bases loaded and two outs and your pitcher comes up and bloops it into right or, miraculously, drives it over the wall for a grand slam, you feel like the heavens have opened up and the baseball gods are shining on you.

So please, please, leave the DH in the AL, and let’s keep the NL just like it is. Except maybe we could get rid of instant replay, please?

The Devil Didn’t Want Creflo Dollar To Have A $65 Million Jet

Excerpted from The Devil Didn’t Want Creflo Dollar To Have A $65 Million Jet – One Mile at a Time:

In mid-March I wrote about Creflo Dollar, the “prosperity gospel” preacher who wanted his congregation to fund a new $65 million Gulfstream G650.

As the church explained it, they were looking for 200,000 people to give contributions of $300 or more to make this a reality. They even created a nearly six minute promotional video trying to convince people to contribute:

“Project G650,” as it was called, was quickly withdrawn, though that didn’t stop the church from justifying the project, explaining we were missing the point. After all, Creflo Dollar was planning on transporting 100,000 pounds of food with him on the G650… never mind the fact that the maximum takeoff weight of the plane is less than 100,000 pounds.

And now the story gets even better. This past weekend Creflo Dollar returned from a “sabbatical,” and addressed the private jet situation with his congregation. And it’s amazing:

To recap:
1) If/when there’s life on Mars, you can expect him to “believe” God for a billion dollar space shuttle
2) The devil didn’t want him to have a private jet

Read the whole article on One Mile at a Time

Why do you go to Disney?

I’ve never understood it… I’ve been to Disney World and Disneyland once each, both when I was under the age of 13, and enjoyed it, but I don’t understand why adults choose to spend their vacations at Disney, when, for the less than a week at Disney, you could spend a week on the Mediterranean or in South America or Thailand or Scandinavia or, or, or…

So, I know a lot of people love Disney… can someone explain it to me?  I welcome your comments with open ears and an open mind…

Learning Through Tinkering

If we want to raise kids to be independent thinkers and change-makers, one of the best things we can do is give them the tools to figure stuff out for themselves. And a terrific manual for that is “50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do),” by Gever Tulley, a self-taught software engineer.

“There are not enough opportunities in a child’s life to be taken seriously, to be given autonomy and to learn authentically,” says Tulley. “I think they need learning opportunities that respect and incorporate their ideas.”

From “Learning Through Tinkering” in the New York Times

Six days with the new retina MacBook

In 2013, as I was lugging my 15″ MacBook Pro around WordCamp Providence, I noticed that WordPress celebrities Andy Nacin and John James Jacoby were sporting new, tiny 11″ MacBook Airs.  Intrigued, I asked them about it, and the both raved about the diminutive laptops.

Always up for a new gadget, I ordered one as soon as I got home, and fell in love. My MacBook Pro never left my desk again.

Using an 11″ MacBook Air as my primary machine for the last year and a half, I’ve had plenty of incredulous feedback.  “That’s your computer?”, “You do work on that?”, etc.

Yep, it is.  And, while I enjoy my 3-monitor setup at my desk and it’s expansive space, I can do anything on my Lilliputian laptop that I can at my desk.  Photoshop, Illustrator, Aperture, and PHPStorm all worked just fine.  As fast as on an iMac or MacBook Pro?  Obviously not.  But the trade-off of having a computer the size of a small notepad and barely heavier than my first cell phone was totally worth it to me.

So, as you can imagine, I was really excited about the new MacBook.  In a smaller footprint than the 11″ Air, I could get a thinner laptop with a bigger, retina screen, which is pretty exciting.  I ordered one as soon as they were available, and it arrived this past Tuesday.

This thing is fan-friggin-tastic.

The screen is absolutely the killer feature of this laptop.  On a 12″ display, I have the equivalent of a 1440×900 screen.  This means that I have the same amount of screen real estate on this minuscule computer as I had on my 15″ MacBook Pro (which was twice as expensive and weighed three times as much) just over two years ago.

The only downside of this computer? The Keyboard.
I understand that things needed to change in order to get it into this form factor, but the new keyboard feels mushy, and contrary to Apple’s advertising, keypresses are occasionally missed. My accuracy and speed has improved, and, I assume that it will continue to do so, but I definitely prefer the key action on my air. On the flip side, the new key lighting is fantastic.

Have any questions? Got a new MacBook already? If so, what do you think of it?

Algorithm-driven content?

39304743_eca2585a54_zAt the beginning of the month, Automattic posted an April Fools announcement about a new service, AutoMatton, which would algorithmically create blog posts for you.

A friend sent over an article from the New York Times from last month that shows that this might not be too far from reality:

The Associated Press uses Automated Insights’ Wordsmith platform to create more than 3,000 financial reports per quarter. It published a story on Apple’s latest record-busting earnings within minutes of their release. Forbes uses Narrative Science’s Quill platform for similar efforts and refers to the firm as a partner.

Then we have Quakebot, the algorithm The Los Angeles Times uses to analyze geological data. It was the “author” of the first news report of the 4.7 magnitude earthquake that hit Southern California last year, published on the newspaper’s website just moments after the event. The newspaper also uses algorithms to enhance its homicide reporting.

If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?
New York Times, March 7, 2015

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