Showing posts from September, 2009

What I Know About Baseball

I had an email exchange with a co-worker today about Aussie Rules football. I have worked with him for over 5 years and so it wasn't a surprise when he replied to one of my jargon-filled emails "I even understood some of that". He then asked me if I would like to learn about baseball. I replied with a list of all I know about the great American game: Create a World Series competition and only invite North America. Wear tight-fitting, striped, knee-length pants. Eat peanuts and crackerjacks. Sing the American anthem. Cover yourself with padding, wear a vision-obscuring helmet, and signal rudely to the pitcher. Shout "Strike One!", "Ball!" and "Safe!" at random moments during the game. In a gravelly voice, saliva spitting from your mouth, yell the words "you're" and "out" so that it sounds like "YEROUT!" while pointing to any player. Wear one oversized glove. Chew gum, spit generously and swear at the umpires.

Placebo Buttons

A placebo button is a button that, when pushed, does nothing other than make the button pusher feel like he has effected change. A famous example is the "close door" button in an elevator. Does pushing it actually close the doors, or do the doors close according to their programmed cycle, anyway? Certainly, pushing the button makes you feel like you have done something, but whether you actually have or not can only be determined by experimentation. The Museum of Hoaxes blog busts the myth that all cross-walk buttons are placebos. Some are, some aren't, some never were but are now. This whole thing got me thinking: What other things do we do that are really just placebos, dummy deeds we do to make ourselves feel in control? Just how much of our lives is rigged? Are we all being manipulated? Is there some great super-governmental force out there giving us the illusion that our opinions count? Here's a few things that might really be placebos: Half the operations w