Entries in the “Elsewhere” category

Links to interesting things found on the Internet

Roger Angell on Derek Jeter’s goodbye

Roger Angell’s essay on Derek Jeter’s impending retirement:

All right, I’ll settle for one more inside-out line-drive double to deep right —the Jeter Blue Plate that’s been missing of late. It still astounds me—Derek’s brilliance as a hitter has always felt fresh and surprising, for some reason—and here it comes one more time. The pitch is low and inside, and Derek, pulling back his upper body and tucking in his chin as if avoiding an arriving No. 4 train, now jerks his left elbow and shoulder sharply upward while slashing powerfully down at and through the ball, with his hands almost grazing his belt. His right knee drops and twists, and the swing, opening now, carries his body into a golf-like lift and turn that sweetly frees him while he watches the diminishing dot of the ball headed toward the right corner. What! You can’t hit like that—nobody can! Do it again, Derek.

I could read Angell all day long and never be bored.

Jawbone Up in cities

Jawbone looked at the data from Up devices from June 1, 2013 through June 1, 2014, organized by city.

The movement and sleep patterns of a city tell an amazing story about its culture and people. How active is a city? When do they go to bed on average, and how much do they sleep? How stark are the differences between weekends and weekdays? What events brought people together and significantly impacted the health of a city? Each pattern forms a distinct “thumbprint” for the city, the unique way its citizens live their lives. To an untrained eye, these images may just look like the abstract brush strokes of a Rothko painting. To a data scientist, however, these graphics richly detail the routines — and occasional abnormalities — of city denizens.

The main problem with data like this is that it represents a subset of a subset of people in the city: people who wear fitness trackers, and of those, people who wear a Jawbone Up. This is not a very representative sampling of people. By definition, people who wear fitness trackers are probably more concerned with their health and as such would, on average, go to bed earlier, get up earlier, and be more active than non-fitness tracker wearing people. The only data this really shows us is how Jawbone Up users in one city compare to Jawbone Up users in another city.

Quality beers in ballparks

The Washington Post takes a look at the quality of beers in each of America’s ballparks.

Counting single-day offerings, the Cincinnati Reds’ selection of distinct beers went from 42 to more than 130 – the most in Major League Baseball, according to a Washington Post analysis. Craft sales increased even more dramatically, by 363 percent. The biggest-selling beer at the Brewery District is still Bud Light – not exactly a craft product – but stadium officials found that rather than taking away from existing beer sales, craft consumers were actually creating a new category.

The Mariners are number one, while my Yankees are dead last.

Comprehensive guide to New York City hot dogs

Eater brings us a look at the NYC hot dog, both a history and a look at the unique varieties in NYC.

Sausages and bread are among the oldest forms of processed food. German immigrants to New York City served frankfurters and wieners with milk rolls and sauerkraut from pushcarts on the Bowery from at least the 1860s onwards. The recipes for these sausages dated back hundreds of years, with Frankfurt, Germany and Vienna, Austria vying for ownership of the “original” hot dog. But, just as with pizza, an old world food form was transformed and given greater significance in America. In 1871, German butcher Charles Feltman opened a hot dog stand in Coney Island, then an up-market destination for the affluent. It established Coney Island as ground zero for the hot dog.

Don’t read this until after you’ve eaten. Trust me.

Cutaway Leica M3 is beautiful

Here are some beautiful pics of a cutaway Leica M3. This is pretty much the definition of camera porn.

It’s up for auction, if you can afford it.

The first Range Rover is for sale

The Range Rover with chassis number 1 is available at auction. It has been restored, but for some collector, it has historical value.

It is agreed that Michael Forlong – The producer of the two Range Rover promotion films “A car for all reasons” and “Sahara South” was to become the first private owner of “No 1″ on 8th April 1971. Before taking possession, the car was re-sprayed into the production colour of Bahama Gold, and the textured dash was fitted. A private registration number WGA 71 was allocated to #001 in November 1975 when the vehicle passed to Mr. W.G Ansell of Belvedere, SE London. Before disposing of the Range Rover in 1979 to the next owner (a farmer in Kent) the WGA 71 number was replaced with an age related number EGU 16H, and so the identity of this important icon was inadvertently disguised for a further 6 years.

It gets about 14.4 mpg. The Hummer H2 only got about 9 or 10 mpg.

New words added to Scrabble dictionary

5,000 new words have been added to Merriam-Webster’s Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

This ain’t the English you learned in grammar school, but it’s Scrabble for the Internet age.

“These are words that have become part of the culture, part of the language and part of the dictionary,” says Peter Sokolowski, editor at large for Merriam-Webster.

Among the other new pop culture words added are “chillax” and “frenemy,” now recognized as common parts of our speech. Foreign words such as “qigong” — a Chinese exercise routine — and “qajaq,” which is the Inuit spelling for “kayak,” were also added to the updated version of book, available Aug. 11.

I hate “chillax” as a word, however, it’s 19 points and, if played right, it could be a big point getter.

Abolish tipping?

Brian Palmer at Slate makes a fairly convincing argument to abolish tipping in America.

Tipping does not incentivize hard work. The factors that correlate most strongly to tip size have virtually nothing to do with the quality of service. Credit card tips are larger than cash tips. Large parties with sizable bills leave disproportionately small tips. We tip servers more if they tell us their namestouch us on the arm, or draw smiley faces on our checks. Quality of service has a laughably small impact on tip size. According to a 2000 study, a customer’s assessment of the server’s work only accounts for between 1 and 5 percent of the variation in tips at a restaurant.

He makes several good points, however, most foreigners I’ve spoken with absolutely love the service they get while in American restaurants, and they believe that tipping is a huge part of that.

Items lost in New York’s transit system

Mona Chalabi at FiveThirtyEight takes a look at the items lost in New York’s transit system.

The MTA’s lost and found system is vast. It has to be — whether by bus, train or subway, millions of people travel on the network each day, and they leave a bunch of stuff behind. The MTA publishes its lost and found inventory (spotted by Tim Wallace), so we’re able to explore the items on its shelves. The data is updated hourly, so bear in mind that some of the stuffed animals mentioned in the chart below might be claimed, and some extra umbrellas might have been handed in. As of 3 p.m. Monday, there were 168,478 items in the system.

Who leaves behind an air conditioner? Twice.

Handshakes may be on the way out in hospitals

A recent study found that handshakes transfer more then double the amount of bacteria compared to a fist bump, and are ammunition for those who recommend that handshakes be banned in hospitals.

Whitworth and a student performed a study to see which type of greeting – the handshake, fist bump or “dap” greeting, or high-five – transmitted fewer bacteria. One wore a sterilized glove that was then dipped into bacteria, while the other also wore a sterilized glove. After each greeting – which varied in duration and intensity of contact – they measured how much bacteria had been transferred.

Upon analyzing the gloves in a solution, the researchers found that nearly twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake compared to the high-five. Even less bacteria were handed off with the fist-bump. With all three types of hand contact, the shorter and less vigorous the contact, the fewer bacteria transmitted.

In most cases, germs are good for us because they keep our immune systems working properly, however, in hospitals where patient’s immune systems may already be weakened, I can see the reasoning to switch to the fist bump.