Oakland remains the favorite in the AL West, where their closest rivals may now be the Seattle Mariners. Los Angeles boasts an elite offense but is projected third due to poor pitching. Texas is mediocre, while Houston’s Year-2 gains could be undone without roster improvement.

SP (12.5): 

Gray (3.5), Kazmir (2.5), Samardzija (3), Pomeranz (1.5), Parker/Griffin (1.5), Chavez (0.5)

RP (4.5): 

Doolittle (2), O’Flaherty (0.5), Cook (0.5), Otero (0.5), Abad (0.5), Chavez (0.5), Scribner (0)

P: 17

C (4): 

Norris (2), Vogt (2)

1B (3):

Moss (2), Blanks (1)

2B/SS (0)

3B (5.5):

Donaldson (5.5)

OF (7.5): 

Reddick (3), Crisp (2), Gentry (1.5), Fuld (1)

DH (1.5):

Jaso (1.5)

O = 21. 5

T = 38.5

E = T + 47 = 85.5

LAA:

O = 27.5, P = 10.5, T = 37.5

SEA:

O = 23, P = 15, T = 38

TEX:

O = 21, P = 10, T = 31

HOU:

O = 17.5, P = 8, T = 25.5

Every cigarette turns a page in a book of blank pages.

Here I am again, waiting for inspiration. I palm a lighter and fish half a Spirit from its hiding place in the cleats an old roommate left on the porch. I notice the bright green Nikes every time I walk in the door. They have been there since March.

I’m out of ideas again, which is a desperate place to be when you’re a hyperactive thinker—like a sorority girl hyperventilating over an empty social calendar. Like my hypothetical Alpha Chi, I’m thinking it’s time to do something rash. The cool house is getting oppressive, and I wonder whether the wisps of smoke might be read, like tealeaves or lines on a palm, for a clue to the future. It is nice to feel the jagged edge of each brick on my bared back. They were once smooth and new; they will, someday, be smooth and old. For now, though, they have texture.

The day will be hot; Washington wears humidity like a knockout wears a spritz of Shalimar. If you are not careful either will put you to sleep. The unkept yard encroaches impolitely on the white plastic lawn chair we have, so I stay on the stoop. It’s hard to light the stub without burning my nose, and I almost cough myself to death laughing at the idea of walking around with a snout browned by idiocy. It is true, I am an amateur, an initiate, new to the cool desperation of waiting.

In inhale, and decimate myself. To maintain discipline, Roman commanders would kill a tenth of the centurions if a division failed to do its duty. I make a classic mistake of logical confusion, the effect for the cause, when I take the poison. Atonement for my sins, perhaps. If my karmic account is at zero, and I initiate my own pain, is my next punishment voided, a tax credit for the cosmos? A boy chases a ball down the hill; the ball, like everything else, only trying to go where it is wanted.

 

That’s what I don’t know: where am I needed, where am I wanted? My parents are understanding, too much so perhaps, and I yearn for something to box me in. I can hardly even face the full street; too many possibilities. In need of a smaller world, I close my eyes.

The leaves we burn in self-pity grow on alluvial plains, flattened by the onslaught of wind, water, and time. Curlicuing smoke signifies the approach of stillness. The sun, whose rays provide the energy for the tobacco plant’s lilting upward grasp, slouches towards silence as it lazily exhausts itself. My mind goes off-leash.

Our sun, beloved sun, never will supernova; instead, it heads for quiet stasis, a white dwarf in long contemplation of the suffering it birthed. For a long time, I thought heat death meant the death of the universe by heat, fire and brimstone become full. I might not have been so confused if instead the phenomenon were dubbed the death of heat: the exhaustion of our world’s entropic surplus. A whisper not a bang.

Our world is a hiccup in a quiet torrent, an ugly burp of brightness and right angles in an otherwise bland universe. The place is all taupe and flat, rather boring, without us. Wherever we are not dark and undifferentiated—wherever there is order—it exists as a fluctuation in the probabilistic ledgers, a lotto ticket to existence, an account to be drawn down carefully. Human intervention marshals disorder—our great anti-entropic crusade—and then, the crops cultivated, the leaves harvested, the paper rolled, we hurtle our efforts to oblivion. What we burn accelerates us toward that world of no contrast: the elegant geometry of the bonds, howsoever they are, now broken for a high, their energy dissipated. The electrons seek their base state, and I wish my own directive were so clear.

The slow march to sameness smolders, it seems, in the ashes of our afterthoughts. Reshuffle the deck, we wonder, and who knows what will turn up. This time, though, I’m down to the noxious filter. Time to play the cards I’m dealt. Maybe I can write about it.

When we smoke, we do so waiting, more often than not: for a friend to arrive, for a stroke of genius, for a worldly pain to pass. We flip ahead in the script of my life, hoping for the plot to thicken. We are all waiting to be pulled into something, for something to happen—but nothing ever does. “Happens” is, of course, the most noxious word in the English language.

I head inside, one thing on my mind, and more to follow. We wait, and in our waiting burn the wick of the world.

Every cigarette turns a page in a book of blank pages.

Here I am again, in my boxers this time, waiting for inspiration. Perhaps the wisps of smoke might be read, like tealeaves or lines on a palm, for a clue to the future. It is nice to feel the jagged edge of each brick on my bared back. I palm a lighter and fish half a Spirit from its hiding place in the cleats an old roommate left on the porch. I notice the bright green Nikes every time I walk in the door. They have been there since March.

The day will be hot. The unkept yard encroaches impolitely on the white plastic lawn chair we have, so I stay on the stoop. It’s hard to light the stub without burning my nose, and I almost cough myself to death laughing at the idea of walking around with a snout browned by idiocy.

In inhale, and decimate myself. To maintain discipline, Roman commanders would kill a tenth of the centurions if a division failed to do its duty. I make a classic mistake of logical confusion, the effect for the cause, when I take the poison. Atonement for my sins, perhaps.

The leaves we burn in self-pity grow on alluvial plains, flattened by the onslaught of wind, water, and time. Curlicuing smoke signifies the approach of stillness. The sun, whose rays provide the energy for the tobacco plant’s lilting upward grasp, slouches towards silence as it lazily exhausts itself.

Our sun, beloved sun, never will supernova; instead, it heads for quiet stasis, a white dwarf in long contemplation of the suffering it birthed. For a long time, I thought heat death meant the death of the universe by heat, fire and brimstone become full. I might not have been so confused if instead the phenomenon were dubbed the death of heat: the exhaustion of our world’s entropic surplus.

Our world is a hiccup in a quiet torrent, an ugly burp of brightness and right angles in an otherwise bland universe. The place is all taupe and flat, rather boring, without us. Wherever we are not dark and undifferentiated—wherever there is order—it exists as a fluctuation in the probabilistic ledgers, a lotto ticket to existence, an account to be drawn down carefully.

When we smoke, we do so waiting, more often than not: for a friend to arrive, for a stroke of genius, for a worldly pain to pass. I flip ahead in the script of my life, hoping for the plot to thicken. We’re all waiting to be pulled into something, for something to happen, but nothing ever does.

We wait, and in our waiting burn the wick of the world.

Climate change isn’t easy to understand. At any given moment, you’re unlikely to be able to see, smell, hear, taste, or touch it. For many of us its effects are so gradual as to pass by unnoticed. It’s a wildly interdisciplinary concept, and to grasp the issue in its full complexity, you’d need about five college degrees, one each in chemistry, economics, political science, environmental studies, and who knows what else.

That’s why teachers are, perhaps, the most important link to a sustainable future that we have.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and I’ve stopped to think about the massive impact my teachers have had on my life today–not least in shaping me into a concerned citizen and advocate for the environment.

I think about the strong school programs that took me to high, far-seeing places like Yosemite Valley. A sixth-grade field trip to the national park imbued me with a permanent sense of respect for the grandeur of nature–and, after seeing Hetch Hetchy Reservoir nearby, an interest in resource management. Without this experience, I would never have made the connection between human life and the environment at such an early age.

I think about Mr. Rossi, whose US History courses emphasized the ability of individual actors to make a real difference, especially when it came to standing up against unjust systems of oppression, and about Mr. Bowling, whose Government course allowed me to understand the formal avenues of power that change-makers must navigate. Without them, I wouldn’t have the courage, motivation, or wherewithal to make divestment happen.

I think about all my English teachers, from Mrs. Utchen to Professor Campbell, who gave me the tools and confidence to express my ideas to the public, and my science teachers, from Mrs. Jahns to Professor Striplin, without whom I wouldn’t have the requisite understanding of science to form an idea in the first place. Without them, I wouldn’t have the skills that make for an effective public advocate.

Strong schools and great teachers are good for the environment and good for society. DC Divest applauds the tireless example of great teachers everywhere. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

 

me:  sounds way cooler if you call it a metabase
 Dustin:  that makes it sound like a drug
 Sent at 3:21 PM on Wednesday
 me:  so way cooler
you guys should have a party next friday to celebrate phil’s freedom
PHILJAM
 Dustin:  haha
that exact idea — and name — has been discussed
 me:  isn’t that an annoying construction
because you’re never sure if it’s has or have
because the emdashes imply substitution, not plurality
but then when you get to the “has” you are confused and think, shouldn’t that have been “have”? because you have scanned the sentence as if the emdashes were commas
but they are not. they are emdashes.
 Sent at 3:23 PM on Wednesday

Check it out here or read it below. At the bottom I’ve also included two paragraphs that help contextualize/give more background on the evolutionary logic. Enjoy!

The men featured are young. Most are white. Many have tousled hair, a couple sport grizzly beards, and a few are tattooed. As a rule, the men are good-looking. Their cheekbones would make Derek Zoolander proud, but the models are not sitting for their “Blue Steel” close-ups. They are all posing for their mug shots. They are all under arrest.

The existence of hotandbusted.tumblr.com—recently featured on BuzzFeed as “13 Mugshots of the Hottest Guys Ever Arrested“—undermines the popular notion that criminals are usually unfortunate-looking. When browsing the website’s thumbnails, one is struck by a pattern, not of warty asymmetry, but of strong chins.

Scientists have tried to decipher why that pattern exists—to unlock the evolutionary meaning of face shape. Their research suggests “roguish good looks” are actually a cluster of physical characteristics, from wider faces to longer ring fingers.

Undergirding all of this is the influence of testosterone. Facial width and finger ratio have been proposed as proxies for testosterone levels, and both have been used predict to antisocial behaviors ranging from cheating in games to verbal and physical aggression—just the kind of mischief that landed our Tumblr sweethearts a late-night date with the sheriff.

Being hot and busted, then, goes hand-in-hand with masculinity. But why might good looks be packaged with a nasty temper?

[IMAGE DESCRIPTION]
A sample of faces on Hot & Busted (hotandbusted.tumblr.com)

Evolutionary theorists know that costs (in this instance, anti-social behavior) can obscure hidden benefits. Women prefer men with faces that are more masculine—i.e., more testosterone-inflected—than average, at least for sexual relationships. If these are the same men that are so prone to troublemaking, why would they be worth the worry—why are women attracted to them at all?

Some scientists believe that, like a peacock’s tail, more masculine faces signal underlying genetic strength. Presumably, these strong men are better able to get what they want—food, women, status—through aggression. Direct confrontation was historically a winning strategy, triggering coevolution of a psychological makeup that encouraged confrontation. Today we rely on social institutions to resolve conflict, but aggression continues to accompany masculinity.

Genes are famously selfish; evolution acts at the level of the gene, not the group. All things equal, anti-social traits will persist so long as they provide their owners a reproductive advantage. Consider not just the bedroom but also theboardroom, where dominant, masculine physical characteristics are still privileged over merit.

We can even relate the results of the 2004 U.S. presidential election in part to face shape. Voters prefer leaders with more masculine features during times of belligerence. With the Iraq War freshly launched, citizens weren’t about to hand control over to John Kerry and his longer, more cerebral face.

Should voting guides include facial breakdowns so that citizens can recognize their own biases? Perhaps, but the affinity for manly faces is built-in for both sexes, so the theoretical voter’s guide would also have to mention that hostile world leaders might be more likely to capitulate to dominant-faced presidents. A threat delivered by Sly Stallone seems—and probably is—more credible than one from Steve Carrell.

Returning to our rowdy heartthrobs—will the NYPD start profiling based on face-width instead of race? Perhaps the police could station female officers at street corners to frisk approaching hot dudes? Luckily, we will probably avoid this porny dystopia. No scientist would testify on behalf of such a program because biology does not equal destiny. Inclination is not action. Genes are neither a promise of reproductive success nor a guarantor of bad behavior. Masculinity may be carried into the present by genetic inertia, but its merit—like any evolved trait—is mediated by our choices, and by the world around us.

 

Omitted paragraphs on dual reproductive strategy–maybe the basis for a separate article!

[Knavery aside, masculine sires still promises better genes for their offspring. Note the word choice: sire, not partner. The ideal reproductive strategy for human women (romantics, avert your eyes) suggests that the sire—the biological father—might best be a different male than the woman’s life partner. Evolution, like capitalism, knows the benefits of specialization. Women maximize their fitness by ensuring that their offspring survive and procreate. Survival requires both good genes and good parenting. However, the men with the best genes are not necessarily the best fathers; because they are so desirable, they tend towards promiscuity (doing so maximizes their own fitness), meaning their attention and resources are divided amongst many partners. Moreover,there’s still that whole “aggression” thing to deal with. The point is, there are other men out there better suited to raise the children. But the best outcome is offspring fathered by a masculine, genetically strong sire, then reared by an appropriate partner.

To accommodate the two-pronged nature of this strategy, women’s tastes change every month with their cycle. The preference for masculinity—for signals of underlying genetic quality—is heightened during ovulation, the moment of peak fertility, and moderated throughout the rest of the cycle, when preferences tip towards non-genetic factors.]

I have just finished writing this. Not all numbers have been 10000% fact-checked, but I intend to go through and source everything as best as I can soon. It’s a work in progress. I may change things (that’s the whole point, anyway, is to change minds, and darn if it wouldn’t be arrogant of me to mention that my mind could change, too). Please contact me before using (for or against) so that I can make sure whatever it is I said is correct. Thanks for reading. Peace, love, unicorns. Humbly, guilelessly, sincerely, with love, etc.,

Hayden

Letter to Davidson: Divestment Song

Hello. My name is Hayden Higgins. I graduated from Davidson College in 2012 and now live in Washington, D.C., where I work for the National Journal and volunteer with 350.org and DC Divest. My work with the latter recently led me to the chambers of the DC City Council, where a four-hour hearing on the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013 was being conducted. Because of my familiarity with the divestment process in D.C., and because I had some preliminary discussions about it while I was at Davidson, I feel I can shed some light on some misconceptions about divestment and explain why I feel the way I do about it. I do this humbly. I know there are others who understand parts of this much better than I. I know my insight is limited. But I owe it to the public record to explain how I’ve arrived where I am today.

Should my recent peers, the students of Davidson College, fail to pass the student referendum on fossil fuel divestment, the measure of my discontent will be great indeed.

There are three major arguments against divestment, which I will address separately. Forgive the less-than-eloquent headings.

Argument One: Divestment means decreased performance for the endowment.

Divestment from direct holdings in fossil fuel stocks will almost certainly have no material effect on Davidson College’s ability to operate at its full capacity. (I cannot speak as well to the effect of divesting from commingled funds, which are more complicated—but there is a lot of time for the conversation about how to divest from those without compromising any fiduciary duties.)

First, a backwards-looking study conducted by HBS professors Eccles, Ioannou, and Serafiem concluded that fossil-free portfolios actually outperformed those containing fossil fuels over the past fifteen years. Moreover, scholars have found stocks that historically track with fossil fuel companies; investing in those companies with that profile would mitigate the potential changes to the overall fund.

Second, it has been suggested that Davidson should invest in more fossil fuels. Au contraire, UBS analysts have suggested that fossil fuel stocks are subject to a “carbon bubble.” This bubble will burst when other analysts conclude that much of fossil fuel companies’ value lies in reserves that are not feasibly retrievable for technical, economic, and political reasons. Morals aside, exposure to further risk on this front is not advisable.

Finally, I should note that at least in DC, direct holdings in fossil fuel companies are only a small part of the fund’s total, and that even in the worst case scenario the loss would be well within the range of effects planned for and brought on by macroeconomic flux.

Argument Two: Divestment from fossil fuel companies will initiate a slippery-slope situation, and calls for more and more divestment will follow.

This is a poor argument. There are two fallacies.

First, we must remember that divestment cannot happen except through a democratic process. It necessarily reflects the popular will. More divestment will only happen if people want it to.

Second, understand that divestment is a tool that has been carefully chosen, chosen because it is suitable to the task at hand. Let me explain. Many people have suggested that it is more effective to change companies from within than from without—that, by owning shares, we can dictate the direction of a company to reflect our values. This can be a powerful tactic for effecting change, especially if you join your votes with others’ to create a bigger voting bloc in a move known as proxy voting (the numbers have to be pretty huge for this to work).

Unfortunately, shareholder activism is not the best tool for changing the harmful setup of our energy economy. That is because fossil fuel companies are basically locked-in, long-term, to a business model that is all about extracting and burning fossil fuels. Investment in a new plant, for example, takes decades to pay off. That means they can’t change their strategy for another forty or fifty years, even under pressure from shareholders. They are who they are. That means shareholder activism is out, and divestment becomes the most effective tool for signaling that the status quo will not work for us any longer.

Argument Three: Fossil fuel companies are actually good for the world.

Let me say it plainly: fossil fuels have overstayed their welcome.

It is true that oil, gas, and coal have provided the cheap and abundant energy that have powered the Industrial Revolution that lifted the living standards of billions and set the stage for the modern economy we live in today. Without these fuels a number of advances in living standards would not have been made. However, the time has come to use the surplus value generated by fossil fuels to lay the groundwork for an energy economy that will do what fossil fuels have done—heat our homes, fuel our cars, electrify our hospitals—but without the immense, immense drawbacks we have seen as a result of their overuse.

Anthropogenic climate change, as caused by greenhouse gas emissions, is something that the vast majority of scientists agree upon. The world’s best scientists have come together under the auspices of the IPCC and have repeatedly, with greater and greater insistence, urged politicians worldwide to do something to curb emissions drastically. Those pleas have fallen upon ears deafened by mounds of campaign contributions, hush money from those who would play dice with the planet and the people on it as their collateral.

That’s right—dice. We do not know what will happen. (That’s why it’s climate change or global weirding, not global warming.) Science operates by induction (ask a philosopher), and that means that we’re out on a limb when we project what the effects of climate change. It could be that nothing will really change. Or it could be the collapse of civilization, as suggested by Stanford scientist Paul Ehrlich. The WHO recently estimated that climate change presently causes about 150,000 deaths annually. (Other estimates are as high as 400,000.)

That is roughly the same number of people killed as a consequence of the atomic bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945. Climate change, at its present rate, is like dropping a nuclear bomb directly on the heads of 150,000 people, once a year, for the foreseeable future.

I ask you please: what kind of math would make you comfortable with continuing down this path? What do the odds have to be to make this Russian roulette palatable for you?

Christians believe every living thing is God’s loving creation. Buddhists believe we are all connected. Even for someone whose morals come from purely material grounds—like Peter Singer, the radical utilitarian—distance from harm does not decrease the damage done. It does not matter if the ones we could save live on a small island in the Pacific that we will never see. It does not matter if the ones we could save live seven generations hence.

It matters that we have the choice, now, to try to do something about it.

You may not be convinced yet that it is given to you to right every wrong in the world, much less this one. I appeal, ye students, to that deity of the liberal arts, Immanuel Kant, the substance of whose categorical imperative runs thusly: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.”

A choice is an action. There are some who would choose that we remain silent as climate change accelerates. They are, by the categorical imperative, voting for a world where everyone remains silent on climate change; they are, by the categorical imperative, responsible for the consequences of that silence. If Davidson is silent, it chooses a world where all are silent. If all are silent, our present course will continue unaltered. As the Stern Report put it, that course endangers the basic building blocks of human civilization.

I will only quote one more dead white man, this time Milton, in whose epic Paradise Lost an angel commands to Adam, then enjoying the fruits of creation for the first time: “Dream not of other worlds.” What I would like for you to take out of this is that there is no other world for us; there is no Planet B. We are not in a disaster movie that we can walk out of into the sunlight: we are on our only planet, and we would risk it if only to fatten the pocketbooks of a small echelon of shareholders.

(By the way—there seems to be a thought that “global warming” is a conspiracy. Where do they meet? Is Dr. Hauser involved? Ask yourself, cui bono? I’ll tell you where the conspirators work and what their names are. They are not the underpaid postdocs in your labs. They are the companies posting record profits for every year we postpone our transition.)

Speaking of pocketbooks—make no mistake: the move away from fossil fuels encompasses a broader shift away from inequality in our society. Apparently some are saying, “We won’t be able to educate the poor if we divest from fossil fuels.” The sanctimony is astounding. Why speak of educating the poor if behind your backs you are going to fund the 1% who pollute their lungs, colonize their lands, and destroy their lives? The arrogance is astounding, too. Why would you expect the people—from the Philippines to New Orleans to New Jersey—whose lives are threatened, why would you expect to retain their admiration? If Davidson is to be on the sideline, to allow evil to run untrammeled, it no longer merits the attention of the poor scholar at all. It ceases all claim moral leadership as an operating principle.

I have encountered powerful opponents who blithely maintain the facile opinion that because divestment is largely symbolic, it is also ineffective. The book of American history defies that equation. Our country’s revolutionary movement was catalyzed by the symbolic act of tossing British tea into the Boston harbor; what is divestment if not boycott continued? Would they argue that Tommie Smith’s raised fist at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics was ineffective because it was symbolic? Yes, like Tommie Smith’s epochal, gloved gesture, divestment is symbolic—symbolic of the larger will, of a change that is going to come.

Martin Luther King, Jr. told us that the moral arc of human history is long, but it bends towards justice. As he well knew, it does not bend on its own, something he dedicated his life to illustrating. It takes bravery to change the course of history, a course that as of now, if left unchecked, will cause untold human misery in the name of personal convenience, political expediency, and financial greed. Change is not easy but it is our moral prerogative.

The Wallace Fund in Washington, DC recently became the largest foundation to date to have committed to full divestment of its endowment from fossil fuels. Their Executive Director, Ellen Dorsey, recently reported that they have since outperformed their pre-divestment benchmarks. It is not too late for humanity to outperform its grim projections as well. As a child, I sang, “If I had a hammer.” Now I have that hammer. We hold a vote in this election—a referendum on nothing less than the planet and the people that live on it—and I would like for us to use it. I said, “If I had a song,” and now I sing. I have a humble voice in this congregation—a group of loving, respecting, courageous peers—and I am speaking out. I urge you to do the same.

This is Ashok.

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