The Human Element


Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology.

We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic umpire. K-Zone will be that umpire. Better than he was before. Better… stronger… faster… more accurate‑er.

And then we will ignore him. Because The Human Element™


2014 Movies, Ranked

Comparing movies across genres is difficult, and probably not even fair. Most importantly, everything through Fury gets a thumbs up.

  1. Birdman
  2. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Interstellar
  4. Foxcatcher
  5. Nightcrawler
  6. Pride
  7. Boyhood
  8. Ida
  9. Under the Skin
  10. The Theory of Everything
  11. The Imitation Game
  12. Gone Girl
  13. The Lego Movie
  14. John Wick
  15. American Sniper
  16. Calvary
  17. Guardians of the Galaxy
  18. Edge of Tomorrow
  19. Fury
  20. Godzilla
  21. Noah
  22. I, Frankenstein

Why Using Parsecs Makes Sense For Han Solo and the Kessel Run

Han Solo: It’s the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs…

Nerd: Mr. Solo, isn’t a parsec a unit of distance?

Solo: Yes, it’s about 3.26 light years.

Nerd: Then how does it make any sense to brag about your ship because of a distance it travelled?

Solo: You see, Tommy—

Nerd: Timmy.

Solo: Whatever. Traveling through space is like driving from your house to a nearby store. You can’t just go in a straight line. There are things to avoid, like houses.

Nerd: …and cows.

Solo: Sure. Staying on the road allows you to avoid running into these things, but there are many routes that you can take. Let’s look at this helpful visual aid.


Solo: Here are three routes that you can take, outlined in orange, red, and blue. There is an unlimited number of potential routes you could take, and all will get you from your house to the store, but the orange one is clearly shorter than the other two.

Nerd: What’s this got to do with space? There are no roads there, so you don’t have any houses to run into.

Solo: Well, there are things like planets and in the case of the Kessel Run, there is the Maw Black Hole Cluster, which would kill you if you got too close. The big ships would plug their destination into their Universal Positioning System, which would probably give them a route like the red or blue one. But the Millennium Falcon has a navigation system, which I built, to give me an even shorter route, that still won’t get me sucked into a painful death. It’s like if you built a GPS that had twice as many roads as the standard models.


Nerd: Can I fly your ship?

Solo: No.

Nerd: Your wife is hot.

Solo: I know.

Leaving Guys On and Scoring

When many televised ballgames go to or return from a commercial break, they will flash up each team’s runs, hits, and errors, but sometimes they’ll throw in a bonus number: The number of runners each team has left on base. The inclusion of that number seems to indicate that stranded runners are an important aspect of the game. But is this actually true?

It does not come up often—announcers will bemoan a team leaving the bases loaded—but it seems that nobody talks about leaving guys on being bad because it is so obvious that failing to knock in runners will cost their team runs. In other words, a high number of runners left on will result in fewer guys crossing the plate. Analysts don’t tout teams for leaving another ten guys on tonight!

Here’s the thing: If we look at every MLB game from 2010-2014, we find that as the number of runners left on increases, so does the number of runs scored. Exactly the opposite of what everyone thinks!

Left on Base, 2010-14

Our conventional thinking is as if each team has a finite number of base runners each night, and the job is to knock them home. This is obviously not the case. A pitcher prevents a team from scoring runs by preventing runners from getting on base. From this perspective, the two clearly go hand-in-hand. There is a snowball effect at work; the more guys who get on base, the more are going to score.

But the number of runs scored comes down to the timing of the hits, not just the number of hits. It is obviously not the goal to leave more guys on base, it is the other way around. The teams who score runs are putting more guys on base and so they are stranded when the timely hit is not there, but at least they gave themselves a chance to hit with runners on base.

So don’t be too concerned the next time your team leaves a dozen guys on; not that you will necessarily be thrilled, but more baserunners is better than less.

Earlier related post