J.J. Hardy is one of the slickest fielding shortstops in the major leagues and his work around the bag on double plays is a leading reason why. Jonathan Schoop isn’t bad around the bag either and has a cannon for an arm to go with it. Put the two together and you have the best double play tandem in the MLB residing in Baltimore.

Hardy has been good the whole time he's been in Baltimore, but seeing him surrounded by good middle infielders, and good corners, and we've been getting to watch something special.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches.

Perfect. Less a guide, and more a justification of being polite in an increasingly less polite world.

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AuthorJehan Alvani

Great Safari extension for blocking the time-drain websites in your life. Giving you the ability to schedule when your restrictions are in place, and the ability to temporarily permit yourself to go to the site, anyhow.

I've used hacks to accomplish something similar in the past, but this is a better fit, in my opinion.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Parking in the alley behind the row home, he saw something in his headlights before turning them off. A striped cat sprinted out of the darkness, across the beams, and into the darkness on the other side of the alley. Almost immediately, a giant rat scampered through the light, hot on the trail of the cat. The lesson he took from that experience was that while the cat might look rather impressive, you really have to respect the rats because this is a rat town. The flashy and chic are out of place in Baltimore. Hard work and dependability is the currency here.
I call Baltimore a rat town with fondness. It is a charming dirty, old port town with wonderful places spread throughout.

This excerpt captures Baltimore well, I think. It's exactly what I love about this city, and it's told in a way that doesn't take itself too seriously.

The article is about the current Orioles, and doesn't touch on some of our higher-profile castaways like Chris Davis, who struggled to stay in the majors while signed with the Rangers.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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For the first time in history, an independent crew is taking control of a NASA satellite and running a crowdfunded mission. They’re doing it all from a makeshift mission control center in an abandoned McDonald’s in Mountain View, CA, using old radio parts from eBay and a salvaged flat screen TV.

The headline on Betabeat is needlessly sensationalistic; "Civilians in Abandoned McDonald’s Seize Control of Wandering Space Satellite" makes it sound like the group was not working with NASA's blessing. Regardless, this is incredible. Another step toward the democratization of space.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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I was looking for an excuse to play with spark, and cooked up a little shell script that pulls historical stock data. It's still a little rough, but it's got some basic validation, and it's good enough for me to use it for the time being.

I might improve on it here and there, but you should feel free to mess around. I'm sure there are others that provide this functionality and much more, but I wanted to write it myself from soup to nuts.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Robert McGinley Myers:

I’m reminded of a recent Radiolab episode about Ötzi, the 5000 year old Iceman discovered in the Alps in 1991. For more than two decades, Archaeologists have poured over the details of his clothing, his possessions, his tattoos, and the arrowhead lodged in his back, evidence he was murdered. From the contents of his stomach, they’ve even determined what he ate for his final meal.

I wonder if there will someday be archaeologists who sift not through our stomachs but our hard drives, tracing out the many digital trails we’ve left in the web, trying to determine not what we were eating, but what we were thinking. Will their findings be accurate?

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Jie Qi, Co-Creator of Circuit Stickers:

I hope that after making something with circuit stickers, people will feel like circuits can be just another art and craft material, like paint and canvas. Except now, in addition to colors, we can tell our stories with light, sensing, and interactions

I love this. Things like this and 3D printing mean that kids growing will have an entirely different concept of things like electricity, circuits, and material objects in general. So awesome.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Dan Greenwalt, Creative Director on Forza Motorsport 5:

Well, it's hard to say with the XP boost, because that was an experiment just seeing whether people are interested are not. It's not meant to be something that you're meant to do. Right now we're looking at whether people are using it or not. If they're not using it, we'll remove it, if they are using it we won't remove it. The work's already done to put it in, and we're experimenting - we didn't expect people were going to take it as a statement. That's something... I understand how people took it. Most of us were just surprised that people were up in arms. I'm not blaming people, and I want to be clear on that. I'm just saying that wasn't our intention going in, and so it was surprising to us.

It's interesting, to me, to read this article. By and large, I see FM5 as a huge success and a blast to play. I understand the design decisions Turn 10 has made, and I think it works. I've used to XP Boost, myself, as a quick way to gain levels. I understand that adding a way to use real-world currency to purchase cars makes the game more fun to people who don't want to spend hours and hours grinding out wins to earn enough credits for one car.

Maybe it's a function of growing up. I don't have the time to invest in games that I had ten or fifteen years ago, and when I do play games, I really want to get the most out of my time, so I see the value in how Turn 10 designed the systems. I'm certainly not a "hardcore" gamer, so I might not be in the demographic that feels hurt by this.

Obviously, I'm a fan of the game. There's a lot to love. But, maybe nothing more than the ablity Turn 10 has to iterate and experiment with a game that's in production. It's wonderful.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Maybe each of these activities (listening to high end audio gear, drinking high end wine, having needles inserted into your chakras) is really about ritualizing a sensory experience. By putting on headphones you know are high quality, or drinking expensive wine, or entering the chiropractor's office, you are telling yourself, "I am going to focus on this moment. I am going to savor this." It's the act of savoring, rather than the savoring tool, that results in both happiness and a longer life.

Added to my RSS feeds. Interesting and thoughtful.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Dan Benjamin:

As a parent I try to be more guide than enforcer, but if my 6 year old’s favorite Beatles album isn’t Revolver there’s gonna be hell to pay.

Amen.

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AuthorJehan Alvani

It's one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they're doing, but have other people doing it … It's not going to happen.

How do you think he reconsiles this with Andy Rubin's new job? From the New York Times piece on Google's robotics division, headed by Rubin:

The company is tight-lipped about its specific plans, but the scale of the investment, which has not been previously disclosed, indicates that this is no cute science project.

At least for now, Google’s robotics effort is not something aimed at consumers. Instead, the company’s expected targets are in manufacturing — like electronics assembly, which is now largely manual — and competing with companies like Amazon in retailing, according to several people with specific knowledge of the project.

I guess it's fine for government and corporations to have autonomous robots, because of some vaugely-defined "legitimacy". I don't know. I can't make sense of it.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Amazing to see how some of these breeds have been bred for such terrible qualities. And, be aware, it's not only these breeds that have suffered this fate. This is only a selection of dozens of breeds that have become much less robust in the hands of breeders.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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I got to run the marathon in the Baltimore Running Festival, yesterday. I say "got to run", but it was really not too tough. The 4000 available slots aren't in such high demand that it's terribly difficult to sign up. The tough part is the months of training leading up to the race, the weekly runs of increasing distance, the difficulty getting up and down stairs after your first 20 mile training run (not to mention after the actual 26.2 mile race).

I saw a few things that I thought were really interesting this year as compared to years past (I ran the half in 2008 and 2009, and the relay in 2011). I thought I'd take a couple minutes to document them.

  • The oragnizers have strong opinions that people shouldn't use headphones during the race, but well more people were wearing headphones than weren't; and significantly more people were using them than I'd seen in years past. Especially full marathoners, and myself included. First time I've worn them in a race, and I'd frequently taken them off to talk to the runner next to me. I saw many people doing the same. I think it's a shift in the idea that when you have headphones on, you're being antisocial.
  • I saw people with all types of phones on the course, taking photos and video while spectating. iPhones had the majority by a long shot, but I saw dozens of Samsungs, a couple HTC, and a couple LG.
  • I saw half a dozen runners using their iPhones to FaceTime with friends and family while running. A couple relay members coordinated with their teammates running the next leg by FaceTime, but most often it was a runner talking to a friend or family member who was sitting comfortably at home. It struck me as an amazing way to share the experience with a loved one.
  • I never saw anyone with anything other than an iPhone making a video call. I'm not saying it wasn't happening, but I didn't see it.
  • Cell reception in the runners' area and celebration village was spotty at best, and significantly less reliable than in years past. Not sure if this is due to the proliferation of smartphones, or if more people were simply using the available bandwidth at a given time. Talking to people, the experience was the same on all carriers.
  • To go along with that, we've run our pop-up retail shop on a 3G card in a router for the past three years are the BRF, to much success. This year it was a painful experience.
Source: http://brettterpstra.com/2013/10/12/run-wh...
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AuthorJehan Alvani
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Sometimes, it's worthwhile to take a step back and look at where you are versus where you've been. It's a quick read that's worthwhile for a bit of perspective. We could all use a little perspective from time to time.

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AuthorJehan Alvani
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