54 thoughts on “February 22, 2017: Getting Closer”

  1. The first spring training game is Friday. I'm well aware of how meaningless spring training games are, but I'm still really anxious for live baseball.

    1. Given there was an exchange on the Train Platform on Friday, I think we can be excused for not having any material to exchange.

  2. as if our house weren't falling apart enough already, yesterday a cable broke on our garage door as it was closing (I didn't notice as I drove away, but a neighbor alerted us that the door was askew and not closed all the way). Repair dude said we might get another year or so out of it before it will need to be replaced, thanks to the twisting damage. w00t.

  3. Follow up on yesterday's health policy conversation (I think this will be less FZy than yesterday's):

    I wish we talked in terms of "years of life gained" by health care measures, instead of talking in terms of "lives saved." I feel like that would help us make better policy decisions.

    1. I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned about messaging. Your example is a good one.

      One I think about is trying to re-frame regulations more as consumer protection, especially when it comes to banks.

    2. There's a measure the UK uses called Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALY) or something, which puts less weight to time in long-term hospitalization or bedridden or disabled (so it values removal of disabilities, shortening of hospitalization, etc.)
      Flipside: seems like an Orwellian way to devalue lives of those with permanent disabilities and those experiencing old-age diminishment of facilities to the point of needing assistance.

      A similar measurement is Quality-Adjusted Life Expectancy (QALE), often to compare various treatments for potentially life-threatening disorders.

      1. I just want a pure "number of years" system. Because say 100 people die of Disease X, 50 of Disease Y. So we put lots of resources into eradicating Disease X because it "saves more lives." Of course, those 100 die of something else, eventually. Ideally old-age.

        But if Disease X tends to affect people in their 70's, and Disease Y affects people in their 20's, our decision should look very different. Say people die of old age at 100. If we put resources into solving Disease X we can buy 100 people 30 years of life. If we put resources into solving Disease Y we can buy 50 people 80 years of life. By that measure, we're saving 100 years of more life by solving Disease Y instead of Disease X.

        I get why there are quality adjustments too, but I have, strongly, the concerns you mention re: Orwellian devaluing.

        1. I'm pretty sure that's there. Which is (one reason) why lots of funding for AIDS research even though it is (and was) a much smaller cause of death (in the US) than many other diseases.

  4. Manfred says Las Vegas is a viable market for MLB. The Las Vegas MSA is the 29th largest in the US, smaller than any current market except Kansas City & Milwaukee. Here's a bit of context:

    Metro Pop. (millions) Pct Change 2010-2015
    Riverside-San Bernardino 4.489 6.26
    Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia 2.426 9.44
    Portland-Vancouver 2.389 7.33
    Orlando-Kissimmee 2.387 11.84
    San Antonio-New Braunfels 2.384 11.27
    Sacramento-Roseville 2.274 5.82
    Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise 2.115 8.38
    Columbus (OH) 2.022 6.29
    Austin-Round Rock 2.001 16.58
    Indianapolis 1.989 5.35
    San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 1.977 7.62

    Of course, MLB might point to the tourism & convention traffic as a unique factor in Vegas' suitability for a franchise, but I'm pretty skeptical that the transient traffic from those two industries is sufficient to support a team.

    It's worth noting that the Mets' frustration with Las Vegas' park effects, particularly with their pitching prospects, which are largely dictated by the climate. Las Vegas' Cashman Field would have had the third-highest park factor for runs scored in 2016.

    Park R HR H
    Coors 1.368 1.265 1.231
    Chase 1.225 1.292 1.139
    Cashman (LV) 1.235 1.249 1.133
    Progressive 1.207 1.168 1.115
    Fenway 1.199 1.065 1.161
    1. I was trying to figure out how Portland and Vancouver counted as a metro area since the entire state of Washington lies between them. Then I noticed that Vancouver, WA is a suburb of Portland, OR. Just across the river (and state line) to the north.

    2. I saw the Twins play a pre-season exhibition game at Cashman Field against the A's back in 1987 back when McGwire was a rookie. All I remember is that it was a typical AAA ballpark.

    3. Riverside-San Bernardino has the population, but we still feel like a suburb of L.A. despite it being 75 miles or so away because all of our local news stations and networks and all of our regional sports cable channels are based out of L.A. The only pro teams are Cal League teams in San Bernardino (Inland Empire 66ers), Rancho Cucamonga and Lake Elsinore (All 3 Cal League high-A teams) and the Ontario Reign hockey team, an affiliate of the Kings. The only D-I college is UC Riverside and they don't have football.

    4. Consideration:
      Some Metro areas listed already fall into natural fanbases for existing MLB clubs.
      Riverside: Angels (45 minutes from Angels Stadium), Dodgers
      San Jose: As, Giants
      Orlando: Rays
      Sacramento: As, Giants
      Indianapolis: Reds
      Columbus: Reds, Clevelands
      Portland: Mariners
      San Antonio and Austin: Astros

      Further, Las Vegas is separated from any potential existing team by large expanses of nearly unpopulated desert.
      Fandom decisions are social, and having a moderately dense population continuous from an existing team to a new team would probably draw the fandom line closer much tighter around the new team than MSA lines would suggest.
      Around Las Vegas the fan base would go as far until there's a gap of wilderness.

    1. I'm guessing most trains crash because they run into something. I'm not an expert, though. Better tune in to find out for sure!

          1. If you're not counting the ground, absolutely. Derailments due to weather or defects or excessive train speed happen a lot. The crash itself can often be the effect of an incident, not the cause.

              1. If you were riding on it and it flipped over on its side, I think you'd tell people you were in a train crash.

                Their use of "crash" is sensationalism; "Why Train Accidents Occur" doesn't draw the eyeballs.

  5. Turns out the TRAPPIST-1 has seven Earth-sized planets orbiting around it, including several in the habitable zone. Because the star is so small, the planets are very close together.

    If a person was standing on one of the planet’s surface, they could gaze up and potentially see geological features or clouds of neighboring worlds, which would sometimes appear larger than the moon in Earth's sky.

    And because the star is close to us, we will be able to study the atmospheres of the planets.

          1. Yep, I was using the original Star Trek series scale, which is ironic because I have only seen a handful of that series but have seen all the episodes of all the other series as well as the movies.

    1. Are they close enough to eventually see non-natural phenomena such as satellites, pollution, or energy production?

      1. I'd have to imagine that at 39LY we would have noticed some unnatural by now (radio waves, etc). Or not. I suppose we only have had a small window to detect such things so far.

        1. I think we would have had to point telescopes in that direction and listen for a while. 39 ly away, they will be getting our radio signals from 1978 so they could have detected us as well. I don't know what parts of the sky get watched by SETI.

          Looks like it's already been checked and nothing.

          1. 1978? That means the Trappists could be listening to me and my friends CB radio banter.

            That's a big 10-4 buddy.

      2. Energy production is the easiest to spot. There was a study about finding alien civilizations by trying to detect their waste heat. Short version is they found nothing. Note that I think we would have difficulty detecting ourselves using this method too. The measurements aren't sensitive enough yet.

        These planets are close enough that once the James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2018, we should get a great view in the infrared of those planets. If they, especially the dark sides, are unusually warm, we'll know.

  6. Gophers men win 6th straight in B1G at No. 24 Maryland. They are in 4th place with 3 games left and have road wins at 2 of the 3 teams ahead of them (Maryland today and Purdue early in the season). At 21-7, 9-6, hard to imagine any scenario in which they don't make NCAA Tourney after disastrous season last year.

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