First-World Phenomena: Superfluous College Funds

Some players get a watch when a veteran who joins the team takes their jersey number. Daniel McCutchen got a college fund.

via McCutchens compensation.

Ballplayers do this kind of thing a lot, I know, where an incoming guy will do some absurd favor for an incumbent wearing a coveted jersey number. But I observe that this is an especially warped example, roundly described as a sweet gesture by the relevant sports bloggers, of first-world phenomena.

The newcomer is starting pitcher A. J. Burnett, a nice-enough guy, apparently, who the Pirates took on for some peculiar reason in a salary-dump trade with the Yankees. The incumbent is Daniel McCutchen — not to be confused with the budding star (and much more interesting) Andrew McCutchen — a middling, 29-year-old middle reliever in his third season. The context is that Burnett has earned well more than $80 million in his career, and McCutchen was paid nearly half a million dollars, just in 2010. I ask, How sweet is the story of one overpaid ballplayer’s dropping a few dollars into the already-swollen pockets of another still-overpaid ballplayer?

“Eighteen years from now,” McCutchen said (his daughter is not born yet), “we’ll see what the market is.”

Eighteen years from now, if we have to step over upturned hot tubs and the burned shells of sports cars to finish a Where Are They Now article on Daniel McCutchen, we will at least know that Burnett did his part. (I add, truculently, that I wish Burnett did more of his part when he was in the Bronx [thanks for Game 2, though, O.K.? Seriously.]).

Neil deGrasse Tyson!

The issue here, is do people understand what it takes to achieve science literacy in a nation such as 21st century America? I don’t think they understand, even people who claim they understand.

via PopSci Talks To Neil deGrasse Tyson About Politics, New Frontiers, and Science Evangelism | Popular Science.

Dinner Is Served

Frankenmeat is an ethical alternative, as Mr Currie points out. However it is hugely expensive – £220 000. But if vegetarians were to eat Frankenmeat, they would increase its market, thus driving price down. They would also show it to be a palatable, socially acceptable alternative to farmed meat.

via Vegetarians Have Moral Obligation to Eat “Frankenmeat” | Practical Ethics.

‘You’re Gonna Need a Bigger’ Bib

The biggest lobster ever caught in Maine, a 27-pounder nicknamed “Rocky” with claws tough enough to snap a mans arm, was released on Thursday after being trapped in a shrimp net last week, marine officials said.

via Maines biggest lobster returned to Atlantic Ocean – Business – msnbc.com.

See also:

‘Its a bit like finding a foot-long cockroach.’

via Worlds biggest prawn discovered as scientists find 11 inch crustacean in deep sea | Mail Online.

[A] beefy, 18-pound crustacean was caught off the coast of Canada lobster and had set plenty of mouths to watering at a San Francisco seafood company.

via ‘They Didn’t Have a Pot Big Enough’ | Patos Papa.

Yes, Wyoming Should Build an Aircraft Carrier

An amendment by GOP state Rep. Kermit Brown, calls on the task force to examine “Conditions under which the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.” As the bills GOP sponsor, state Rep. David Miller, explained to the Casper Star-Tribune, “Things happen quickly sometimes.”

via Should Wyoming Build an Aircraft Carrier? Updated | Mother Jones.

Finally, Safe From Glitter

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is expected to get Secret Service protection Tuesday, according to an administration official with knowledge of the plan.

via Rick Santorum expected to get Secret Service protection – USATODAY.com.

He’s Not a Fan, He’s a Friend of the Owner

When asked how closely he follows the sport, Romney acknowledged that he isnt necessarily a hard-core fan but has a working knowledge of the sport and friendships with some of the people involved in racing. “Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans,” he said. “But I have some great friends that are NASCAR team owners.”

via Romney takes campaign detour to Daytona  | ajc.com.

The Privacy Problem

Like Facebook, Google says its information gathering will help it make products and choose ads that are better tailored to each user. Having a Google Web history also lets users look up their browsing habits organized by date and from any computer, which comes in handy if youre trying to track down a page you visited three months ago but cant recall the exact name. However, it also means that anybody who steals your Google account username and password could see your entire Web history. And Googles March 1 changes means that users have less control. You wont be able to customize different privacy settings for Gmail and YouTube. One set of privacy settings will apply to your Google account wherever you use it.

via Should You Delete Your Google Web History? – Popular Mechanics.

I get it, I do. I understand that privacy is important, if only for the principle, but I don’t really believe mine will be protected — no matter what I do. I ask, Does that matter? I know it does to some people but, barring criminal activity, I struggle to see why I should be worried if someone sees my entire Web history.

The bottom line is that the Internet is a well-lighted place where everyone can see you. Wear pants.

Candy Maker’s Benevolence

By the end of 2013, chocolate-maker Mars says all of its chocolate bars will be under — or right at — the 250-calorie mark. The 2-ounce Snickers currently sold in our NPR vending machine has 280 calories, and with the downsize it will lose about 11 percent of its size. …The idea is to “enable sharing or saving a portion for later,” according to a Mars spokesperson.

via Goodbye To The King Size: Mars To Downsize Candy Bars In 2013 : The Salt : NPR.

…But as ingredient prices began to fluctuate wildly in the 1940s 50s and 60s, the weight of the bar changed more than a dozen times, going as low as 13/16ths of an ounce by 1966. The shrinking bar brought much ridicule over the years, with the press comparing the size of a Hershey bar in the 1950s to a razor blade. A cartoonist, in a characteristic attack depicted the Hershey directors in a meeting, with the caption, “Gentleman, we can no longer afford to sell a wrapper without a bar.”…By 1968, the Hershey bar was almost half its original size…

via p. 228, Brenner, J. G. (1999). The Emperors of Chocolate. New York: Random House.

This Is Why We Can’t All Get Along

Between 5 and 7 percent of human genetic diversity is between subgroups within the classically defined races; 6 to 10 percent of the total human variation is between those groups that we think of as races in an everyday sense based on skin color. The remainder of the variation occurs at the individual level and cannot be categorized by group or subgroup.

via Race Finished » American Scientist.