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Archive for the ‘Crazy Theories’ Category

As one of only seven people in the World to actually watch every episode of ABC’s remake of V I have long been prone to the idea that a species of reptilian humanoids may exist and be living among us.  Now thanks to this bat shit crazy video that Wired wrote about the other day (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2013/03/secret-service-reptile-aliens/) I finally have some hard proof.

Check it out at:

Normally I wouldn’t give much thought to a grainy video with a creepy voice over but since this lends credence to a belief that I’ve long held I’m susceptible to drinking the kool aid.  That belief?  That ancient aliens once visited the Earth.  How else do you explain how the Pyramids or Stonehenge were built?

The thing that bothers though me about this conspiracy theory is that it seems kind of pointless.  How could a reptilian bodyguard control policy?  Doesn’t our system of checks and balances prevent one person, one branch of government, heck even one entire alien race from dedicating what happens?

Perhaps that means that they are only here to protect us and steer us back on the right track when we go astray.  But then again maybe not since we seem to make lots of bad decisions that lead to costly protracted wars.  Moreover, I’d like to think that if an advanced alien species capable of interstellar travel and shape shifting really was looking after us that they would have long ago figured out a way to avoid the sequester.  Or have figured out a way to get rid of Sarah Palin.  Or the Kardashians.  Which is why as much as I want to believe in the idea that shape shifting reptilian alien overlords are secretly governing U.S. policy it’s probably not very realistic.  Or is it?

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Why is it that most secret service agents are bald? Is it because they are all shape shifting reptilian aliens?

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The second in a series of posts about baseball in honor of my trip to Spring Training:

Baseball is a game of numbers.  Balls and strikes.  Home runs and stolen bases.  Wins and losses.  Everything is tracked and preserved.  Passed down from generation to generation.  It’s why the Steroid Era hurt the game so much.  The ability to compare players from one generation to the next was lost forever.  What was once pure and innocent was tarnished.

But that hasn’t stopped the stat heads from continuing to roll out new and improved ways of measuring what happens on the field.  Batting average has given way to on base percentage which has given way to OPS which has given way to OPS+.  The latest craze?  Something called BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play).  Anything and everything that can be measured is being measured.  And I mean everything.  We’re talking about base running skills, routes taken to catch fly balls, and the number of times that the batter adjusts his cup before he swings.  If it’s happening on a baseball field chances are it’s being recorded and thoroughly scrutinized.  In fact, the only dirt more thoroughly analyzed than the infield dirt on a back field in Arizona is the dirt being captured by the Curiosity Rover on Mars.

Which is why I’m surprised that no one has thought of the one stat that can most accurately describe who the best hitters are:  the hard hit ball stat.   This stat doesn’t care if you reached based or if you drove in a run.  It doesn’t care if you moved a runner over.  Success as measured in the box score has no place here.  This stat is the great equalizer.  It only cares about one thing and one thing only: the result of your swing.  Of every swing.  Of balls in play.  Of foul balls.  Of swings and misses.

You see, this stat just wants to know who the best hitter is.  And in a game predicated on failure, where the greatest players of all time fail 70% of the time, if you want to measure greatness you have to ignore the obvious.  You have to ignore the fact that everyone is failing all the time.  That’s because making an out doesn’t mean that you failed.  It may just mean that you were unlucky and hit the ball right at someone.

So, here’s what I’m thinking.  Let’s devise a formula that rewards players for doing everything right.  If you hit a home run that’s the best possible outcome so that should be worth 10 points on a 1-10 scale.  But anyone can hit a home run that just barely clears the fence.  So if someone really hits a bomb that should be factored in. So let’s add a point for feet beyond the home run fence.  11 points for any home run that’s more than 420 feet and so on until we get up to 15 points for a 500 foot home run.  Flying out to the warning track on the other hand that’s 9 points.  If someone robs you of a home run that’s 9.5 points.  Diving catch on a smash into the gap that’s 8.5 points.  Running catch on a ball in the gap is just 8 points.  Live drive single that’s 7 points.  Line drive at a fielder 6 points.  Bloop hit?  5 points.  See what I did there?  Lining out is better than a bloop hit.  Weakly hit double play ground ball is worth negative points.  So is striking out.  And so on and so forth.  I’d even give out a few positive points for balls that are crushed foul and just miss landing fair.  Every pitch and every outcome would be accounted for once the formula is finalized.

How would this play out in actuality?  Well to find out let’s take a look at some of the results from the World Baseball Classic game that I attended last week when Team USA played Italy.  In that game the three hitters who scored the highest were David Wright who hit a Grand Slam to left field and was robbed of another home run at the wall in right field, Joe Mauer who doubled to left field, and Ryan Braun who just missed hitting a home run to left field before flying out.  Guess who was hitting 3-4-5 for USA?  Yep, Braun, Mauer, and Wright.  Is it any coincidence that the hard hit ball stat correctly identified who the three best hitters on the team were?

Of course that’s just one game but I’m willing to bet that this theory would hold up over the course of a full season.  And besides it can’t be anymore controversial than WAR already is.  I think it’s worth considering and I’d be curious to know which players scored the highest.  Would it still be MVP candidates like Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout or would it be someone else?  Someone obscure?  Someone unheralded.  I guess we’ll never know.

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Who really should have won the AL MVP award last year? Trout or Cabrera? Perhaps the Hard Hit Ball Stat could have settled the dispute.

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The first in a series of posts about baseball in honor of my trip to Spring Training this year:

The other day I kicked off my trip to Arizona by checking out the World Baseball Classic.  Contrary to popular belief I was not the fan who threw the water bottle during that brawl in the Mexico-Canada game.  But I was in attendance during the night game between the United States and Italy.  It was during the game that I was reminded of one of my old theories: that success in baseball can be predicted based on a player’s name.

This theory has a few conditions.  First off, having a unique name helps.  It’s why you have five colleagues with the last name of Smith and why Cooperstown is littered with plaques for guys with names like DiMaggio, Musial, and Mantle.  The kind of names that don’t take up a whole page in the phone book.   If you do have a player come along with a common last name then chances are they have a unique first name or nickname.  Case in point:  Chipper Jones.  Larry just wasn’t going to cut it.

Secondly, there can only be one good player per name.  It’s why the other Pedro Martinez never amounted to anything.  It’s why Adam Jones didn’t become good until the other Adam Jones started referring to himself as Pacman.  And it’s why Michael Stanton didn’t become good until he distanced himself from the former Yankees relief pitcher and changed his name to Giancarlo Stanton.

Lastly, names have to make sense.  Ironic names are a recipe for disaster.  It’s why Homer Bailey isn’t a good pitcher and it’s why Arizona Diamondbacks catching prospect Stryker Trahan will never amount of anything until he quits baseball and joins the UFC.

I know this sounds crazy but I think there’s something to do it.  Every year there are hundreds of pitchers who get drafted.  They all throw hard.  They all have ability.  Yet not all of them pan out.  What separates them?  Is it their work ethic?  Their drive to succeed?  Or is it just random?  A war of attrition?  If we ran a computer simulation would different players stand out each time or would the same ones keep rising to the top?  If there has to be some method to the madness why can’t the answer be something as ridiculous as just picking people based on how their name sounds?  It would appear to be just as sane as picking someone based purely on what a radar gun says.

To examine this theory lets look at the 2006 MLB draft which was the first year that I started seriously looking at prospects for my fantasy leagues.  After reviewing the draft results I was immediately smitten by one player just by the way his name sounded.  That player has gone on to become a superstar while players picked ahead of him with boring names such as Brad Lincoln, Andrew Miller and Greg Reynolds have become busts.  The player in question that I was so taken with:  Clayton Kershaw, current staff ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Theory validated.  Kershawshank redemption is mine.  

If you still don’t believe me just look at former Yankees and Dodgers relief pitcher Tanyon Sturtze.  With a name like that you are destined to become one of two things in life: a famous bank robber living out in the Wild Wild West or a fire balling relief pitcher.  That’s just the way it is.   Greatness isn’t earned.  It’s handed out in the hospital when you are born.  Guys named Tanyon kick ass and take names.  Guys named Milton check out library books.  

To lend some credibility to my theory I decided to find out if anybody could pick out a player based on their name or if I was the only one.  After all, if one person believes something it’s just crazy talk.  But if two people believe it you have yourself a credible theory.  Ladies and gentlemen I present to you my roommate Russell.

He is a huge basketball fan but admittedly knows next to nothing about baseball.  He is to baseball what George Bush is to running a country.  Which makes him the ideal test subject.  To test my theory I showed him a list of ten top baseball hitting prospects and asked him to pick the name that he thought sounded the best.  He picked Oscar Tavares, two time Minor League batting title winner and arguably one of the two best hitting prospects in the game.  An absolute man beast.  I then did the same thing with pitchers. The man he chose this time?  None other than Gerrit Cole who along with Dylan Bundy is wildly considered to be the best pitching prospect in the game.

How is that possible?  How is it that someone who has never heard of any of the twenty players listed could correctly pick out one of the two best hitting and one of the two best pitching prospects?  I’ll tell you why.  It’s because the name test never fails. Numbers can lie.  Your eyes can deceive you.  A strong name on the other hand. That’s foolproof.  That lasts forever.

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Once this theory catches on Kershawshank Redemption will be mine!

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I thought of a new idea today that I think could have a profound impact on the way we communicate with one another and navigate through the World.  This wouldn’t just be another social media site.  This would be so much more than that.  This would be a way of life.  A total game changer.  And there’s nothing I would love more than to share it with you.  But what’s the point?  The World’s going to end tomorrow anyway.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I love mythology and crazy theories as much as the next guy.  Probably even more so.  The only thing separating me from the crazy guy on the street corner ranting and raving that the rapture is coming is about twenty pounds, a few inches of hairline, and a drinking problem.  But don’t worry I’ll catch up soon enough.  And yet not even I have bought into this whole End of the World thing.

For starters how would it even happen?  Would it be instantaneous, like pulling the plug on your microwave, or would we suffer slowly, over a long period of time, as if we were watching a Katherine Heigl movie?  The scientist in me, and yes I fancy myself a scientist even though my only discernible scientific skill is my ability to use a scientific calculator, says that there must be a legitimate cause for any potential calamities.  Much to the chagrin of nut jobs everywhere there are no existing threats out there that could bring on our demise.  There’s no planetary alignment, no rogue planet heading towards us, no asteroid about to wipe us out.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  Just ask NASA as they have set up a site to debunk all of these doomsday scenarios:  http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html.  Apparently, with the space shuttle program shuttered they have a lot of free time on their hands.

What’s most concerning to me about all this hoopla is that there are people out there who actually believe that the tomorrow will in fact be Earth’s last day.  For the life of me I can’t figure out why this is.  I can’t believe that these people actually think the World is going to end just because a calendar is ending its cycle.  Don’t these people realize that our own calendar ends every year until it starts all over again?  Not to mention the fact that the Mayan couldn’t even foresee their own downfall so we really shouldn’t be putting too much stock into what they say anyway.

If anything is going to end tomorrow I sure hope it’s the media circus that springs up every time there’s a new apocalypse staring us down.  Surely, we can find something better to occupy our time.  Like, gee I don’t know, finding ways to make the time that we do have on Earth better.

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We could spend time reporting fake weather reports or we could focus on what really matters…

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I take a break from the Mags to Riches Series and from bringing you the Greatest Ideas Ever to bring you a commentary on the Worst Idea Ever.  I had long thought about creating a spin off blog to celebrate such ideas, you know the ones that make you scratch your head and say to yourself, “Really? Somebody thought that was a good idea?”  I even had a great name picked out:  the Sarah Palin Decision to Run for Vice-President Memorial Blog.

If this blog had existed last week I probably would have used it to rip the NFL for their rule that came to light during the Lions-Texans Thanksgiving day game that says when you a challenge a scoring play that would have otherwise been eligible for an automatic review it negates the review!  What’s the point of that!  Impose a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty if you want but to not get the call right is unacceptable.

But alas I digress for the subject of today’s rant isn’t a sporting event.  It’s something far more egregious albeit equally entertaining.  The kind of thing that one would expect to exist within the confines of a Bond movie where one is supposed to suspend reality.  The kind of thing that is so outrageous that you can’t help but do a double take and check the calendar to make sure it’s not April 1st.  The kind of thing that makes you wonder if you’re actually living within an episode of the Twilight Zone.

What is it you wonder that has me in such a tizzy?  What is it that could possibly be the Worst Idea Ever?  Worse than Ted Turner’s plan to allow poor people to sell their right to have children (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/lachlan-markay/2010/12/09/ted-turners-craziest-scheme-yet-cap-and-tradewith-children).  Even worse then the Ancient Romans’ idea that the future could be read by studying the shapes of animal entrails.

The idea if I can even call it that, as it’s more like a crack pot scheme, was hatched by the United States Government during the Cold War at the height of their tension with the Soviet Union.  In order to show off how powerful they were the United States was prepared to blow up the Moon by setting off a nuclear weapon on it!  (http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-us-planned-to-blow-up-the-moon-to-win-the-cold-war-2012-11)

According to the article, “At the height of the space race, the U.S. considered detonating an atom bomb on the moon as a display of America’s Cold War muscle.  The secret project, named ‘A Study of Lunar Research Flights’ and nicknamed ‘Project A119,’ however was never carried out.

America’s planning included calculations by astronomer Carl Sagan, then a young graduate student, of the behavior of dust and gas generated by the blast. According to the report, viewing the nuclear flash from Earth might have intimidated the Soviet Union and boosted U.S. confidence after the launch of Sputnik…”

Thankfully this plan was scrapped due to safety concerns as someone must have realized that without the moon there would be no life on Earth!!!!  Not to mention the fact that something could have gone wrong during the missile launch causing the payload to detonate over a major U.S. city or in another country causing a nuclear war that would have wiped out life on Earth!

I would have expected a plot like this to have involved the Soviet Union not the United States.  After all, there are conspiracy theorists out there who believe that the alleged crash landing of a UFO at Area 51 is really the work of the Russians who wanted to use the panic caused by an “alien invasion” to create mass hysteria.  The aliens in question were really just deformed children that the Russians had been experimenting on.  And yet it’s not the Russians who are behind this audacious plot but rather the Americans!

Hearing about this plan makes me rethink my recent desire to advocate the start of another Cold War, this time with China, assuming of course that one isn’t already going on.  My rationale for wanting to engage in such a conflict was that it would benefit space exploration.  Instead of racing to the Moon we’d be racing towards building a habitat on Mars or some other distant outpost.  But I take that back.  If Cold War hysteria is going to lead to a plot to blow up an object in our solar system we’d be better off without it.

Even Brian Williams agrees that this is the Worst Idea Ever.

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If there’s anything that I love doing more than coming up with ideas it’s coming up with crazy theories.  Not conspiracy theories mind you, although I do like those too, but rather scientific theories, albeit ones that may or may not have any credence to them, are usually impossibe to prove and for which no actual data exists.  For example, speculating that the Bermude Triangle is in fact a worm hole to another part of the Universe.  Sounds crazy and it probably is but it’s worth at least filing away in the “hey, you never know” category for future consideration on a rainy day. 

One of the other crazy theories that I’ve come up with that also resides in that category is the possiblity that lurking somewhere in the depths of the Ocean is an intelligent creature far smarter than humans.  Untouched by predators this species has evolved for millions of years developing unparalleled cognitive abilities.  But as fate would have it this poor creature is resigned to swimming around somewhat aimlessly in the abyss, limited by their lack of opposable thumbs and subsequent inability to build tools, construct structures, and develop a written language.  Unable to communicate with their land based counterparts they are powerless to prevent the planet wide destruction happening all around them and instead they are forced to watch from a distance as a less intelligent species ruins the planet. 

While that theory may sound far fetched and implausible it could very well be the exact scenario that’s playing out beneath the icy surface of Europa if in fact the oceans there are suitable for life to have developed.  And as it turns out it may also be the exact scenario playing out right here on Earth.  Except that instead of some unknown species from the bottom of the Ocean floor emerging to surprise us with their prowess it’s just your average, ordinary whale. 

Sounds crazy but this isn’t just a crackpot theory anymore.  This time it’s reality for there is now documented proof that a whale tried to communicate with a human:  http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/22/14599730-the-whale-that-talked-like-a-human?lite

As the article states, “The readings suggested that the whale varied the air pressure inside the nasal tract, expelling air through vibrating phonic lips to make the kinds of sounds that come from a human’s vocal cords. In short, the whale had figured out an alien way to talk like a human.”

That just blows my mind.  This isn’t just a simple case of an animal mimicking a sound that they heard.  This is a creature that had to think outside of the box to create a whole new way to communicate outside of their normal methods.  To me this implies that not only are whales capable of communicating with us but that they have a strong desire to.  Which leaves only one question.  What are they trying to tell us?

Are Whales smarter than humans?

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