Bad Plots

A coworker pointed out this plot to me yesterday, and while it's not a huge problem in the grand scheme of things, the issue has kept bugging me.

Here is the offending item:

On one hand, it does a good job of illustrating the variation of temperature and density throughout the atmosphere. On the other hand, what the heck is going on with the two ordinate axes? The mixture of linear and log scales is okay, but tricky with the horizontal grid lines. Trying to have a log-scale ticking system between three orders of magnitude, however, just makes my head hurt.


Baking Overachievements

Given that it's that holiday season where one has a built-in excuse to randomly bake all sorts of yummy goodies, I suggest the blog people to point their 'tubes over to the Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s first annual Visions of Gingerbread: The Sweetest Architects holiday exhibition. Some impressive stuff, especially the gingerbread rollercoaster:



Rebuilding the Old Man?

When the blocks of granite in Franconia Notch that formed the Old Man in the Mountain's face (finally) broke off the cliff face in the spring of 2003 (how's that for a run-on sentence?), there was a lot of discussion about what to do.

One idea was to re-build the face, but instead of using concrete or granite, architect Francis Treves suggested using glass: "the grand metaphor with this piece of glass on the mountain is it’s not really a piece of glass, it’s a piece of ice,” Treves said. The Old Man, he added, “was sculpted by the glaciers; the ice gave it birth."

When first proposed, Treves' idea was met with considerable criticism - perhaps the "loss" was too recent to have any satisfactory solution? Anyway, I was intrigued by the sheer scale of Treves' solution, if skeptical of the actual implemented result.

internal schematic

Personally, I miss the Old Man, but I am doubtful that any attempt to actually rebuild/replace the original formation would be satisfactory. My understanding is that they will/did install some carved rock blocks down in the parking lot, has anybody been to the Notch since '07?



The fact that I've been living fairly far north/in places with winter for the last 33 years, I didn't really consider than you can get sunburn in March. Right? I mean March is a month of rain and jackets.

OMG! My ears and face are no longer lobster red, but my forearms are still nice and crispy. Ouchers.


A post on Baseball

So, I don't know that Pete even reads the blog anymore, and Tim is probably too busy, but maybe Jeremy or Nick will find this interesting. But anyway, I'm killing time while waiting for the board to sit in the sun so that I can scrape all the old wax off, so here goes.

(1) In light of the recent Yankee's signings - Burnett, Teixeira, and Sabathia for a combined ~0.45 BILLION DOLLARS - some of the "small market" team's owners have been complaining about the disparity and unfairness of the current system. While I'm obviously not a big NYY fan, I would firmly but politely tell those whiners to shove it. Recently Seattle wasted $13 million on four replacement-level-at-best players, where for that money they could have instead acquired a good player. Florida has been a big source of "woe is me" while they continue to sell good players at bad prices, waste draft picks, and pocket more revenue sharing than is pumped into their farm system.

(1a) As much as it pains me, John Henry's whining about how the Sox can't compete with the Yankees was pretty unfortunate, not to mention complete bullshit. Please, don't embarrass us.

(2) The worship of NY players, on the other hand, is certainly irksome, if for no other reason than it devalues the end-of-season awards. Michael Young's winning a Gold Glove was a complete joke, and Brian Cartwright over at Fangraphs has a great little breakdown of the difference between 'hands' and 'range' - and illustrates why Derek Jeter is perhaps the worst SS in the league. Yes Jeter may make a high percentage of outs on the balls that he fields, but since his range is so horrible, he lets an awful lot of balls get past him into the outfield:

The player with the highest rate of grounders kept in the infield is Adam Everett at 83.5%, while the worst is Ramon Vazquez at 76.5%. Jeter is next to last at 77.3%. No other shortstop today has such a wide divergence of the highly visible “hands” and the nearly invisible “range” as Jeter.

(3) With the NFL playoffs continuing last season's trend of being just as random as the NCAA's March Madness, I'm pretty excited that we are now less than a month from pitchers and catchers. I'm sad to see Varitek struggling to find a job, but I would have been more upset to see the Sox give him a rose-tinted-glasses contract.