John Henry’s disingenuous justification for trading Red Sox star Mookie Betts

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The Red Sox traded beloved outfielder Mookie Betts, one of the best players in baseball, along with pitcher David Price, to the LA Dodgers. They saved a boatload of money, in exchange for some younger but much less talented players. Fans are devastated. Team owner John Henry’s explanation is touching, in its way, but he … Continued

About that Iowa caucus . . .

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You: Can you believe what happened in Iowa? Me: A bunch of people voted in the Democratic caucus. That’s what was supposed to happen. You: No. I mean that epic screwup with the app so we still don’t know who won. Me: Doesn’t matter. You: Doesn’t matter? Be serious. This is a total disaster. Me: … Continued

Truth, science, and herd immunity

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In epidemiology, “herd immunity” is the essential concept that prevents the spread of deadly viruses. Now that disinformation and fake news are viral, we need to start thinking about herd immunity for the health of the nation’s perception of reality. When it comes to actual viruses, here’s how herd immunity (also known as community immunity) … Continued

Cheering for laundry and other reflections on loyalty

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Our team loyalties are unshakable. That’s what makes events like the Super Bowl enjoyable — we know who love, and we know who we hate. But loyalty ought to have limits. As Jerry Seinfeld memorably explained, we’re just rooting for laundry. The players change, the teams move, but we know who we like. Why are … Continued

Inside the New York Times Editorial Board presidential endorsement

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What follows is a transcript of a secret recording of the meeting last week of the New York Times Editorial Board as it discussed who it will endorse for President in 2020. Moderator: Okay, everyone, settle down. We have a momentous responsibility today. As you know, all the best people who are deciding who to … Continued

Bizarre art and architecture in Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

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Deep in Philadelphia’s South Street neighborhood is a structure — or piece of art, I’m not sure — that absolutely should not exist. It makes no sense. It boggles the mind. And it inspires. But what is one to do with the inspiration? How the magic gardens came to be In 1968, the city of … Continued

Words of wisdom for the Asimov centenary

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Isaac Asimov turned 100 years old yesterday. It’s a shame he didn’t live to see it, because we could use a man like him right now. My admiration for Asimov started when I was very young. I read everything of his that I could get my hands on, since his highly accessible writing made it … Continued

A stupid column about Jewish geniuses

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Are Jews smart? This is a really stupid question, but New York Times columnist Bret Stephens asked it anyway. His December 27 column “The Secrets of Jewish Genius” puts forth the theory that Jewish geniuses are different from other geniuses because of their Jewishness. It included a link to a racist and discredited study that … Continued