Breakfast of Champions: 2/19


Everyday life has turned into a health risk. This story reminds me of the old Tom Lehrer tune "Pollution," which is worth checking out if you haven't heard it.

When I dream of costing a newspaper millions of dollars, it generally involves huge checks with my name on them. Par Ridder took a different tack.

To get the President to piss off and stop undermining his campaign, the Republican frontrunner had to take strong steps. We have the exclusive Dear John letter from John McCain to George Bush.

Three new posts on Balls! Jonathan Kaminsky explains why Gerald Green is the NBA's rightful slam dunk champion. Demko returns to the Champions League. And Benjamin Polk softens just a tad on John Calipari. Coincidentally, "Soft on John Calipari" will be one of the charges levied at the Democratic nominee this fall.


I pity fans too young to remember the halcyon days of Harry Caray (no, not the drug Halcyon, although sounded like he was on it fairly often). In no other field but baseball broadcasting can a man become a besotted old careless jester and not only keep his job, but charm a goodly portion of the populace.

Harry's been gone 10 years, so this site remembers some of his greatest hits with sound files. I especially recommend Tom Arnold's divorce, Manny "Danny" Alexander, and Booze in the Ice Cream. It's all gold, though, and this might as well be my epitaph.

From 10 years ago to more than two millennia past, we pick up the story of the Antikythera Mechanism. Recovered from a Roman shipwreck a little over 100 years ago, the device has been called the world's earliest computer.

We know it was used to calculate astronomical positions, but until recently didn't know exactly how. Cardiff University researchers, using "modern computer x-ray tomography and high resolution surface scanning," think they've got it figured now.

Turns out the scans show it used a differential gear, something scientists didn't think was invented until the 16th century. Nothing even remotely as complex (historical thought currently holds) was built for another 1,000 years.

Where did the technology go in the meantime? How precisely was this knowledge lost? Why didn't any other civilization that we know if invent it? Given these questions, there are some mysteries to unravel yet.

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