Not A Joke

Some commenters have wondered whether my departure from FtB is some kind of April fool joke. It’s not. I am moving on. Any readers who care to continue to follow my blogge should email me to find out my next destination.


Ed and PZ–the founders of FreeThoughtBlogges–have been receiving a ton of complaints about my blogge from from some of FtB’s most valued readers. They have convinced me that my persistent juvenilia is an embarrassment to the collective, and a hindrance to its serious work promoting reason and skepticism over blind faith and credulity. Accordingly, I have decided to voluntarily leave FtB, effective immediately.

Asparagus And Goat Cheese Risotto

one bunch asparagus
one cup vialone nano rice
three ounces goat cheese
half cup grated reggiano parmigiano
two thirds cup diced onions
fresh-ground black pepper
olive oil
chopped dill
four cups vegetable broth (or just water) salted
half cup dry white wine


Cut the asparagus spears into four pieces, and boil the bottom two pieces well in the broth to extract as much flavor as possible. Remove and discard (or eat them as a snack while you continue to cook).


Boil the top two pieces briefly until they are par-cooked.


Very nice asparagus.


Sautee the onions with black pepper until they are almost getting crispy.


Add the rice and continue to sautee until it is nice and toasty.


Deglaze with the white wine and reduce until it is gone.


Cook in the usual way, ladling in broth and stirring a bit at a time.


Nice goat cheese!


When the rice is almost done, throw in some dill.


When it is very molto al dente (still a little crunch in the middle), turn off the heat, add some more broth, and add the cheeses. Stir well to incorporate fully, and add some extra salt if necessary.


Throw in the asparagus.


Stir gently to mix. Depending on how brothy you like it, you can add more broth at this point. European style is substantially more brothy than what you will generally find in the US. We were in the mood for less brothy, so didn’t add any more broth.



Baseball Umpiring And Scientific Peer Review

This article describing a detailed statistical study of umpire reliability in calling balls and strikes is quite interesting. Some of the conclusions have implications by analogy for scientific peer review of grant applications and journal paper submissions:

Contrary to the expectation (or hope) that umpires would be more accurate in important situations, we found that they were, in fact, more likely to make mistakes when the game was on the line. For example, our analyses suggest that umpires were 13 percent more likely to miss an actual strike in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game than in the top of the first inning, on the first pitch.

The race of the pitcher, we found, also mattered, but not as much as other factors. Umpires were 10 percent less likely to expand the strike zone for African-American pitchers than for Caucasian pitchers, but race did not seem to influence whether an umpire called a pitch a ball when it was actually a strike.

One of the sources of bias we identified was that umpires tended to favor All-Star pitchers. An umpire was about 16 percent more likely to erroneously call a pitch outside the zone a strike for a five-time All-Star than for a pitcher who had never appeared in an All-Star Game. An umpire was about 9 percent less likely to mistakenly call a real strike a ball for a five-time All-Star. The strike zone did actually seem to get bigger for All-Star pitchers and it tended to shrink for non-All-Stars.

Provided By The Management For Your Protection

(1) What the fucken fucke is this stupid piece of tissue paper protecting your asse from? All the goddamn pathogenic bacteria are on the fucken door handle.

(2) Who fucken gives a goddamn flying fucke that “The Management” provided this farcical nonsense?

(3) The only legitimate use for these fucken pieces of tissue paper are to dry your goddamn hands in a hell spawn bathroom where “The Management” hasn’t provided any motherfucken paper towels.

(4) The manufacturers of these fucken wispy pieces of shitte purposely make them all thin and feeble so that if you try to dry your hands with a stack of them, they disintegrate and leave little specks of paper all over your hands.

Farfalle with Red Onion, Tomato, Cream Sauce


Sautee some fucken red onions in olive oil with dried thyme and crushed red pepper flakes.


Deglaze with about a third of a cup of dry white wine.


Reduce until the wine is pretty much gone.


Add one large can/box of crushed san marzanos, simmer for a while until the sauce is coming together, and then throw in some chopped tarragon.


Sauce is pretty much done.


Add a half cup of heavy cream.


Keep simmering for a few minutes to incorporate the cream.


Add some pasta water and the drained farfalle, and finish on medium-high for a minute or two.


Fucken delicious!