One of the more knowledgable people in our section — as opposed to the guy last night that called every ground ball a “can of corn” and his date who thought the umpires should reverse their hand signals for out and safe — said this evening that whomever scored a run would win. And he was right.
Game two of the last series of the season was a fine one. Auburn put Mike O’Neal on the mound. Check out this delivery:
Have you ever seen a pitcher get that low to the ground with an overhand delivery? I’ve seen submariners with scrapped up knuckles, but this is a different thing. That’s long been O’Neal’s style, though, and I’m sure that’s what stymied Florida through nine innings last weekend in the most heart-breaking loss of the season.
But O’Neal shook it off, took the ball and delivered again. Seriously, though, the guy is down if he played college football:
O’Neal allowed four hits and one run through seven innings and 100 pitches. The junior has had some hard luck lately, with a record now sitting at 8-4, but he’s got a great command of the mound.
Tonight he just happened to be facing the guy who perhaps a first-round pitcher:
Seriously, between Arkansas’ Ryne Stanek and two LSU, we’ve watched a major league pitching corps this year. Anyway, Stanek scattered six hits and four walks in seven and two-thirds innings and was never not in control of the game. Just a rock steady performance as Arkansas defeated Auburn 1-0. The guy in our section was right.
Here are the highlights, including a 98 mile per hour fastball from Stanek. He was throwing into the mid-90s in the sixth inning:
Auburn did, by virtue of other teams’ play, manage to secure their 10th seed in next week’s SEC baseball tournament. Now they have to go out and beat Arkansas tomorrow to end the season on a high note.
Things to read and watch: This video is described as “A crowd-funded video trailer boosting America’s future in space” which is in the trailer package of the new Star Trek movie. It was shot in Huntsville, which is reason enough to watch it I guess. I share it because it looks pretty awesome, and someone booked Optimus Prime to do the v/o.
In 1910 the USS Birmingham was the first warship to launch an airplane, which would be cool enough to say since the ship was named for Birmingham. Today the navy is launching and landing UAVs via aircraft carrier.
Murder rates? Early data suggests way down. How far down? Century-record lows. There’s an interesting hypothesis:
Analytically speaking, murder is an especially interesting crime because we have pretty good homicide statistics going all the way back to 1900. Most other crimes have only been tracked since about 1960. And if you look at the murder rate in the chart below (the red line), you see that it follows an odd double-hump pattern: rising in the first third of the century, reaching a peak around 1930; then declining until about 1960; then rising again, reaching a second peak around 1990. It’s been dropping ever since then.
This is the exact same pattern we see in lead ingestion among small children, offset by 21 years (the black line). Lead exposure rises in the late 1800s, during the heyday of lead paint, reaching a peak around 1910; then declines through World War II; and then begins rising again during our postwar love affair with big cars that burned high-octane leaded gasoline. Lead finally enters its final decline in the mid-70s when we begin the switch to unleaded gasoline.
This is powerful evidence in favor of the theory that lead exposure in childhood produces higher rates of violent crime in adulthood.
Meanwhile, in Washington D.C. …
If you’ve been glossing over the IRS hearings, that’s a good place to start.
Meanwhile, also in Washington, D.C. …
My second-favorite part of that Eric Holder press conference, after when he ignored a reporter’s question of about if the attorney general can see how the media “would find this troubling” was that claim about national security. That, with the actual timeline in place, stood up to scrutiny for several full minutes:
(I)t seems fairly clear that the claim that this leak was among the most damaging in American history simply doesn’t add up. If that’s the case, then why would the CIA have told the AP that the national security concerns it had previously expressed were “no longer an issue?”
All of this took about six seconds to become political. There was probably never a time when we seized on things purely in the pursuit of good governance, but I wish that time were now.
Finally, I’ve probably talked about helmets and bicycle crashes enough here in the past year. The farther removed from all of the events of last summer the more convinced I am about how lucky I was, head trauma-wise, and how bad that hospital was, head trauma-wise. (Here’s my helmet after the crash. The sum total of my head exam was telling a triage nurse I was cognitively fine. That’s it. Frightening. I have some generally spotty recollections of things between the trauma and the surgery and the recovery. It is disconcerting, to say the least, to hear about things I don’t remember, or read things I have no recollection of writing after the fact. And my old helmet, by definition, more or less completely did its job.) Anyway, this is one more story worth reading, and probably Bicycling’s best piece in some time:
If you crash and hit your head, there are two types of impacts. One is known as linear acceleration. That’s the impact of skull meeting pavement. Today’s helmets do an excellent job of preventing catastrophic injury and death by attenuating that blow.
The second type is known as rotational acceleration. This is where things get tricky. Even if the skull isn’t damaged, it still stops short. That causes the brain to rotate—the technical term is inertial spin—which creates shear strain. Imagine a plate of fruit gelatin being jarred so hard that little cuts open throughout the jiggly mass. That strain can damage the axons that carry information between neurons.
There are other factors involved, but research has consistently pointed to rotational acceleration as the biggest single factor in a concussion’s severity. The CPSC helmet benchmark is based solely on linear acceleration. There’s never been a standards test, required or voluntary, for rotational acceleration.
A report last year by the International Olympic Committee World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport summed up the state of the art in a sentence: “Little has changed in helmet-safety design during the past 30 years.”
There may never be an improved government standard for bicycle helmets. Experts may never come to a consensus on a standard for testing the forces most closely associated with concussions. But one test can be administered now: the market test. After all, new technology costs more. “Adding that upcharge to a $50 helmet,” Scott Sports designer John Thompson told me, “is a harder sell.”
This is the bike-helmet industry’s air-bag moment. The new rotation-dampening systems may not be perfect, but they are the biggest step forward in decades. The choices cyclists make with their money matter. You can pretend to protect your brain, or you can spend more money and get closer to actually doing it.
The science isn’t settled by a longshot, the industry is filled with legal frights and there are all kind of marketing concerns. But there’s also plenty to consider in that full piece, which is worth a cyclist’s time.