Saturday, September 24, 2005

Mathematical elimination fever update.

The Mets are one away from falling out of the wild-card race. Of course, they're giving fans a great tease, going on a bit of a tear as the season winds down.

Realistic goals:

1. Finish above .500.

2. Finish 4th, not 5th in division (may need to sweep this series with the Nats to accomplish).

Meanwhile, with a Yank loss and a Red Sox win today, the AL East is tied going into the stretch.

In the immortal words of Louise Day Hicks: "You know weah I stand!"

9/25 update: Mets swept Nats, so hope remains they won't finish in the cellar. Nevertheless, while their elimination number remains at one, they're effectively out of wild card contention. Being thus relieved of expectations, they'll probably do well over their few remaining games, and finish above .500. A three game series in Philly starting tonight means they may also affect the outcome of the NL wild card race.

Red Sox and Yanks both won, and so stay tied in the AL East.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"Floating Island"

No, it isn't a dessert. It's a water-borne work of art. (Click on photo for enlargement.)

Since they're now effectively out of contention, ...

... the Mets have come back to life, winning a series from the Braves and assuring themselves of another from the Marlins.

Perhaps they'll get the satisfaction of helping to deny Carlos Delgado the post-season action for which he spurned them.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Update on slur against Katrina victims. now has an update on this story, including the doctor's statement disavowing the contents of the piece and pointing out that he was not at the convention center in Houston where these alleged incidents occurred. The Snopes piece also quotes relief volunteers from that site and others to the effect that evacuees did not behave in the manner described. You can find it here .

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Don't be fooled by "doctor's" slur on Katrina victims.

There's a blatantly racist rant about the "arrogance" of Katrina victims, allegedly by an M.D. affiliated with the Mississippi university system, that's been circulating by e-mail. A couple of right wing websites have picked it up, but a British conservative site has questioned its provenance and accuracy. Someone also posted it on the Denver Craigslist, but it has since been removed. The good folks at tracked down the truth, which is that the piece was not written by the doctor. It was instead posted on the website of an unnamed 23 year old male Texan, the doctor saw it and forwarded it to some friends (why isn't clear, but his subsequent reaction indicates it was likely because he didn't agree with it), and at least one of those friends sent it on with the doctor's name attached, though probably inadvertently. The doctor is now appalled by what has happened. You can find the discussion here.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cynicism analyzed.

Tyler Cowen, in Marginal Revolution, finds gold in Robin Hanson's The Cynic's Conundrum. Here's a choice nugget:

Interpreted as extreme claims, such as that people only care about low motives, or that high functions have no influence on social institutions, cynicism is clearly false. But interpreted in a more graded fashion, such as the fraction of behavior explained by low motives or functions, or the difference between claimed motives and real motives, cynical beliefs clearly tend to contain a lot of truth.

The conclusion:

... while hypocrisy and low motives probably are in fact much more widespread than most people acknowledge, most people are well-advised to pretend that they believe otherwise.

Taking what satisfaction we can.

A colleague, who is a Yankee fan but a thoroughly decent fellow nevertheless, expressed his wonderment about a group of Mets fans he had seen late yesterday, apparently enjoying themselves very much despite their team's being effectively out of contention. I explained that they were celebrating two events: a series victory over the Braves, and Tom Glavine's first victory over his old team this season (and only his second since becoming a Met). Sparkling defensive play by recently called-up second baseman Anderson Hernandez aided Glavine's cause, and gave more reason to hope for better things in 2006.

Addendum 9/20: Today's NYT has a piece on Carlos Beltran, in which Ben Shpigel quotes him as saying he regards Roberto Alomar as a model for his offensive game. Of course, he means the Cleveland Alomar, not the Mets Alomar ... we hope.