Saturday, October 29, 2005

MIT Professor Fired

At MIT, a biology professor named Luk Van Parijs has been fired for fabricating data. I first ran across this at Slashdot, which also reminded us of the infamous Jan Hendrik, a man whom some considered a Nobel Prize candidate. I blame computers, they are just making it too easy to fabricate data. Seriously though, I have run across some paranoid academic types who think other people are getting the jump on them, stealing their ideas or whatever. If the news is to be believed, it seems that most academic impropiety is just garden variety plagarism or fabricating data.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Congratulations to the White Sox!

Yeah, baby, yeah! I know I am a few days late, but I had to catch up on some things between being out of town last weekend and spending my evenings cheering on the men in black. It hasn't sunk in yet for me, and Chicago hasa seemed pretty united in supporting the world champion Chicago White Sox. Since the prissy Jay Mariotti is the reason I asked my parents to stop getting the Sun Times I greatly appreciated Eric Zorn's post where he collected all the ways JM bad mouthed the players, Ozzie, management and even Sox fans. In your face, you power tool. Here are some choice excerpts
December 19, 2004 --If the Sox had given (former Cub Matt) Clement an extra $5 million and (pitcher Omar) Vizquel an extra year and $3 million, they would have a quality No. 3 starter behind Freddy Garcia and Mark Buehrle and a fielding wizard to anchor the infield. But because they bid low in both cases, they'll be a .500 team next year. Or worse.

April 23, 2005 --If someone in charge doesn't muzzle Ozzie Guillen with duct tape, inject him with a horse tranquilizer or simply order him to shut the [bleep] up -- his favorite expression, not mine -- the man is going to talk himself out of a job and shame the city and ballclub he represents. .... Guillen's penchant for bizarre, unnecessary controversy is rising at the same approximate rate. ....Guillen is only confirming what his critics said: He's too nuts, off the wall and out of control.

August 20, 2005 --Only a fool thinks a scratch-and-tickle offense doesn't need Ken Griffey Jr.... A theme is emerging, and it isn't pretty for the South Siders. Barring an unforeseen deal by general manager Ken Williams, who is too protective of team chemistry and not focused enough on reality, the Sox will enter the postseason with one of the tamer offensive lineups in recent memory -- which places incredible pressure on starting pitchers to throw great games... I subscribe to a growing theory that the club's playoff fate is most dependent on Garland.

September 1, 2005 --The final, final, final trading deadline passed late Wednesday night without activity, leaving the Sox with one of the flimsiest batting orders of any contender in years. (The Sox are) a downwardly spiraling imposter that has little chance to win a postseason series, unless ominous patterns unexpectedly turn bright in coming weeks...... Buehrle doesn't have his stuff. You don't know what you're getting from Garland. El Duque is fading. Dustin Hermanson still has an iffy back. The team looks tired. The defense has been woeful. The lineup has too many automatic outs. The Sox aren't playing well at home. Who is Geoff Blum, anyway?

September 20, 2005 --Other cities host the World Series. Chicago hosts Choke Job Theater....Part of our lot in life is that the local baseball teams are destined to tease, crash and burn.....The Sox are deluding themselves if they believe Bobby Jenks -- a 270-pound rookie reliever -- can stop a historic free-fall. Who do they think he is, Ricky [Wild Thing] Vaughn of "Major League" fame?.... The thing about chemistry is, sometimes the test tube explodes and leaves your dreams in pieces. .... Whether the Sox go on to finish the biggest regular-season fold in baseball history or somehow do a backdoor slider into the playoffs, it should be obvious now that the rampaging Indians are a much better team and are worthier of the American League Central title.

October 16 -- You can feel the gathering eruption, a convergence of crashing and booming that comes when 45 years of frustration are trumped by rare autumn rewards. The White Sox, once a nondescript franchise of inferiority complexes and White Flag trades and fans who tackle umpires, are one victory from the World Series.... I never thought it would happen, and if you check your inner conscience, neither did you.
Speak for yourself.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Researchers work to create computer 'study buddies'. Researchers are trying to make computer study buddies to help under-represented females feel more comfortable in computer science classes. Among the questions posed:
Can this computer student “peer” find acceptance among female undergraduates, whose enrollment numbers in computer science are on the decline?
Barbara Di Eugenio, associate professor of computer science, thinks so.
And finally the money quote:
“For many women, [computer science is] like an alien culture. They often feel like they don’t belong in computer science,” said Di Eugenio of the male-dominated computer field.

“If the computer can act as a nonthreatening peer, then maybe women will find it more helpful.”
This view is of course based on research that shows it is easier to socialize computers than computer geeks.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bombs over Sox Park

After watching the Sox make it to the Big Show, it reminded me of a story in Stuart Dybek's The Coast of Chicago, which is essentially an anthology of his short stories about growing up in the South Side (Pilsen, 18th St...whut!) in the 50's. I read it when it was the One Book One Chicago selection last year. One of my favorite stories in the book, 'Blight', recounts the summer when the Sox last won the pennant. In the story, one of the characters (a guy named Pepper) has these terrible dreams about when the Sox finally win, there would be bombs dropped on the city with a huge mushroom cloud over Comiskey Park. What follows is the perfect encapsulation of what I believe it's like to be in Chicago right now:
A couple of weeks later, on a warm Wednesday night in Cleveland, Gerry Staley came on in relief with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, threw one pitch, a double-play ball, Aparacio to Kluszewski, and the White Sox clinched their first pennant in 40 years. Pepper had already left on the bus for Parris Island. He would have liked the celebration. Around 11:00p.m. the air-raid sirens all over the city began to howl. People ran out into the streets in their bathrobes crying and praying, staring up past the roofs as if trying to catch a glimpse of the mushroom cloud before it blew the neighborhood to smithereens. It turned out that Mayor Daley, a lifelong Sox fan, had ordered the sirens as part of the festivities.
Not much has changed since then.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Compassionate Ozzie Guillen

How could you not read this and go awwww....

Monday, October 17, 2005


Awesome. Chicagoist has a good roundup and a link to the go-go white sox theme song.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fine Lines, Indeed

From Eric Zorn's fine lines we have the following
(The White Sox) defeated the Boston Red Sox 14-2. I'm sorry, did I say "defeated"? They didn't just "defeat" the Boston Red Sox. They stepped out onto that field and completely obliterated the Red Sox. Eliminated them—unraveled them to their base molecular structure and erased any record of their ever having existed. The destroyed them so badly that even their relatives began disappearing, like in "Back to the Future." .... Cubs fans! Hate the White Sox! The last thing we need is for you to start mucking up our inexorable march to the World Series with your "Oh, I'm a Chicago fan" garbage... you're all a bunch of losers and we don't want your loser juice dripping all over our unstoppable baseball team....Ramsin Canon, Gaper's Block

Update: the ball hit the ground

Baseball Rules

I was wondering about inherited runners during the game yesterday. Suppose a reliever comes in with no outs and a runner at first. The next player hits a fielder's choice. Is the new runner on first the reliever's responsibility or the starter's?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Family Reunion

I got back Sunday from my family reunion at my brother's place in Indiana. Not much to report, but it was nice to see everyone and get away from the city for a weekend. Now its back to working my schedule around the White Sox.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Thought Police

Today Ruben Navarrette Jr takes his righteous stand against Bill Bennett. The byline captures his view
Quit blustering, start apologizing and respect the right of others to be offended
The way I remember it, we have a right to free speech. Not a right to be offended, but I'm no constitutional scholar. For those of you who don't know, Bill Bennett said
You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. [But that would be] an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do.
I found it interesting that the following passage appeared in his op-ed piece
Fox News Managing Editor Brit Hume asked if Bennett didn't have a point, given statistics suggesting that blacks account for more than their share of crime, and he insisted that Bennett had nothing for which to apologize. And right-wing radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, a longtime friend of Bennett's, went even further.

He suggested that Bennett should actually be "applauded" for arguing that abortion is a moral issue that can't be justified by, among other things, a desire to reduce crime.

Conservatives in the media, Limbaugh said, were going to stick together and not "let each other hang out to dry on something like this."
As I understand it, RL predicted that his "applauded" would be quoted out of context and that newspapers would try to paint him as a racist...

Update: Bennett replies here

Lets Go Go Go White Sox

We know you'll fight and do your very best!
We're proud to have you here in the middle west!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Liberal tin hat tomfoolery Check this out (via soap blox chicago)
What do we make of the Saturday, October 1 Washington Post headline “Poison Found in Air During Anti-War Protest”?...Equally puzzling was an earlier Post report: “Weekend protesters hit travel snags.” The article reported that

Amtrak trains from New York City were turned back, cancelled or delayed from heading to the nation’s capitol for the biggest peace demonstration since the Vietnam War era. Also, Metro subway cars coming into the capitol were disrupted by repairs.

Federal officials are still pondering the

death of five people on U.S. soil and scores of others who were infected with U.S. military-grade anthrax in the fall of 2001

...Coincidence theorists. You gotta love ‘em and their great faith in believing in the statistically improbable occurrence of events, rather than an

alternative hypothesis: that friends of Bush (FOBs) planted the tularemia bacteria, just as they most likely sent anthrax to Democratic senators and the media

...Unfortunately, tularemia has been long used as a military biological weapon. We should consider the presence of tularemia a shot across the bow to the peace movement from

an administration willing to cheat, steal, torture, lie and kill to further its political agenda. Karl Rove, the president’s brain, brags of his worship of Machiavelli and will do anything to keep his Texas prince in power.

This history of tularemia suggests it is a long-standing weapon used by

fascists, militarists and authoritarians

...In another coincidence, it was the

Battelle Memorial Institute that “botched” the exit polls in the 2002 election that would have served as protection against the unexplainable defeat of Senator Max Cleland of Georgia who was up 9-12 points in the tracking polls just prior to Election Day.

Is this satire? It's getting hard to tell. Since they are cleary aspiring to Kosian level, I have promoted their link, S-to-the-oap Bizzle Chigizzle

Monday, October 03, 2005

Did Anybody Else Notice?

For the past few years Saturday Night Live has been really bad. In fact it got to the point the last few years that if I did find myself watching TV on a Saturday night, I would watch MAD TV. I know, I should be ashamed of watching TV on Saturday, I should go out more, whatever. However, mostly for nostalgia I try to watch the season premier of SNL each year. Just to see the new faces and such. This year was quite strange...

First, they seem to have moved to a no punchline format. They just play situations without any jokes or physical humor. If white was reality and black is outrageous satire, this is definitely light grey at best. Also, the humor was decidedly, how to say, conservatively influenced. There were the usual jabs at bush (and a funny cartoon about John Roberto), but also jabs at the media and celebrities(!). Now I know celebrities are often made fun of via impressions; these jokes focused less on accurately doing someone's voice or mannerisms, but instead on celebrities super-sized egos. Not sure if it's new writers, different demographics or what but it was certainly surprising ot me.