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“The negative spaces that exist in baseball—the time that exists between pitches or between moments of action on the field—are features, not bugs, of baseball. The silences are, in fact, part of the beauty of the game, part of what gives space for viewers to enter into the leisure necessary for contemplation. But over the past forty years, these negative spaces took over.”

This piece waxes a bit mystical about baseball, but there is something undeniably fascinating about its power in terms of luck, individual talent, team dynamics, etc. It is a truism that the hardest thing to do in professional sports is hit a major league fastball, while also team dynamics can sink pretty much any contender despite individual talent (looking at you, redundantly named SoCal baseball team).

“If you don’t need to know the syntax for Pandas to move your data analysis from Excel to something better, and if you don’t need to remember the name of some obscure feature you use every few months, do you need to remember… anything?


True – we can’t neglect the physiology of the brain and its peculiar power of associative context and common sense filters. As noted later in the piece, memorization is key no matter what, as knowing which pathway and tools to take is the only way to actually capitalize on the power of our tools.

“The team found that within the structure of the interlocked molecules, the OR51E2 had trapped propionate within a small pocket. When they enlarged the pocket, the receptor lost much of its sensitivity to propionate and to another small molecule that normally activates it. The tweaked receptor preferred larger odor molecules, which confirmed that the size and chemistry of the binding pocket tunes the receptor to detect only a narrow set of molecules.”

It’s fascinating how much physical structure and motion play into sense perception; it’s an oft-neglected aspect of biological systems that everything is in motion and constantly contorting, which lends orders of magnitudes of complexity.

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