Dave Brain

Dave BrainWhile scanning for reference photos of brains, I found this baseball card for David Leonard Brain. He played for the Reds, the Giants, the White Sox, the Cardinals and the Boston Beaneaters. 🙂 You can get all his career details from baseball-reference.com, including the fact that he lead the league in 1907 with 10 homers.

Strangely enough, Dave Brain seems to be a really popular name.

Addendum: Dave Brain is the only NL player to have three triples in a game twice in one season. How is that for a bizarre record?

House passes flag protection amendment for 6th time

The House of Representatives has (again) passed a proposed amendment to the Constitution banning desecration of the flag, It reads (in full):

The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

It’s a piece of cloth. Like most symbols, it has no intrinsic value to itself. If it serves to inspire, it must do so because the nation for which it stands stands for something valuable. Something like Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Assembly. Freedom to Petition the Government.

Some people don’t get it.

Proponents, who say the amendment has overwhelming public support, say burning or otherwise defiling the flag goes beyond the bounds of free speech. “To burn a flag is to disrespect America and disrespect democracy,” said Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga. “Desecration of the American flag is not a form of free speech. It is a challenge to the institutions that defend liberty. Our flag deserves to be protected and respected.”

When someone burns a flag, it isn’t the flag they are protesting against. It is burned as a symbol of someone’s displeasure with the actions and policies of the government for which it stands. Stifling the expression of that displeasure is contrary to the First Amendment.

Someone who does get it:

“If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value it more as a symbol than for the freedom it represents,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.

Brain Science

The brain is a bizarre little meat computer. As proof witness this current article from nature.com:

Quian Quiroga also found that a lone neuron in one subject responded selectively to various pictures of the actress Halle Berry – as well as drawings of her and her name written down. Other cells were found to respond to images of characters in The Simpsons or members of The Beatles.

I’ve long complained that my aging 40+ year old brain has a signficant portion of its volume dedicated to remembering quotes from The Simpsons, to the detriment of other topics of greater significance and/or utility. Perhaps the situation isn’t as dire as I would have thought.

Link courtesy of Craig.

Cell Phone Warning

Cell Phone Warning

Originally uploaded by brainwagon.

Sometimes the inspiration to blog something strikes me at odd moments. As I was gassing up my SUV this morning, I noticed that all the pumps at my local Shell station bore the warning stickers that you see at the right. I’d never really noticed them before, so I took a picture. Just to tempt fate, I did it with my cell phone.

What’s really curious about these warning messages is that there is actually no confirmed cases of a cell phone causing a fire in this way. There have been cases of gasoline fires caused by static discharge, but we don’t see warning labels telling us to be careful with polyester shirts (like the one I’m wearing today, thrill seeker that I am) or nylons (which I am not wearing today). It’s just another example about how we never really take appropriate steps to manage risk.