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Courtesy of Midjourney

Why don’t we want more “accuracy” at the ballpark – or in the courtroom?

It’s baseball season again, and that means it’s time again to embrace the chronic self-harm of being a Mets fan (already off to a stellar 1-6 start), but also, this year especially, to ponder the ways in which technology risks making some things worse by making other things better.

That’s because this season was originally supposed to be the one where Major League Baseball began introducing robot umpires to call balls and strikes. The idea was to use new technology to make an old game more perfect, less arbitrary, more objective.

But after a few seasons of trials in the minor leagues, the robots’ march to the Majors slowed. It turns out, players and managers weren’t as thrilled about putting about Hal 9000 behind the plate as MLB thought.

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Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers and his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara watch Major League Baseball's season-opening game against the San Diego Padres at Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome on March 20, 2024

REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Curveball drama, Development & the deep blue sea, Turkey hikes rates, Somali pirates plot comeback

4.5 million: At least $4.5 million in wire transfers sent from the bank account of American baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani has reportedly ended up with a California bookmaker now under federal investigation. Ippei Mizuhara, Ohtani’s longtime friend and interpreter, says the ballplayer was generously paying off Mizuhara’s gambling debt. A day later, Ohtani’s lawyer claimed Mizuhara had robbed his client. Stay tuned.

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Fmr. U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the day of his court appearance in New York after being indicted by a Manhattan grand jury. Photo taken in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 4, 2023.

REUTERS/Marco Bello

Hard Numbers: Trump leads early, NPR & PBS quit Twitter, stopgap for Darien, global warming juices baseballs

49.3: FiveThirtyEight launched its national polling averages for the 2024 Republican presidential race this week, and Donald Trump leads the pack with 49.3% support. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trails well behind with 26.2%, while fmr. VP Mike Pence and fmr. UN ambassador Nikki Haley are at 5.8% and 4.3%, respectively. Research finds that national polls done a year ahead of the election can reasonably predict the nominee.

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Uncertainties of COVID vaccine rollout timing; US-Russia under Biden
Uncertainties of COVID Vaccine Rollout Timing | US-Russia Under Biden | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Uncertainties of COVID vaccine rollout timing; US-Russia under Biden

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

Number one, what will COVID vaccine distribution look like in the United States and elsewhere?

Very politicized, right? I mean, the fact is that there's an effort to have a distribution to medium and low-income countries. $38 billion requested, one fourth funded at this point. It is so obvious we desperately need it. The money is not yet there. It's clear that the emerging markets are going to take a lot longer and the poorest countries are going to take a lot longer to get vaccines. Now, at least that's less of a disaster in some countries with very, very young people because it's all asymptomatic spread, very few people are actually dying or getting sick from coronavirus if you're in, let's say, a Sub-Saharan African country where the average age is 17 or 18.

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What We're Watching: Brazilian ultras reject Bolsonaro, Syrian election "shocker", US baseball is back

The torcidasturn on Bolsonaro: Brazil's football fans, particularly the organized ultras popularly known as the torcidas, are famous around the world for the passion, intensity, insanity, and joy with which they celebrate their country's brand of the beautiful game. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, is widely known for the aggressive patriotism, hyper-masculinity, and man-of-the-people image he works to project. That's why some outside Brazil might assume that Brazil's hardcore football fans are major supporters of Bolsonaro, but that assumption ignores the fault lines particular to Brazil's political and sporting culture. In fact, ultras from some rival teams have joined forces in recent days to denounce Bolsonaro's approach to both crime (too heavy) and COVID-19 (too light). In part, this is because many Brazilian ultras are working-class supporters of the leftist Workers Party, the party that Bolsonaro bitterly opposed and then defeated in the last election. Many more low-income ultras live in favelas in Brazil's major cities, which have been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus.

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The Natural: Trump Takes the Field
Puppet Regime Baseball

The Natural: Trump Takes the Field

President Trump renames the World Series to reflect a more #MAGA perspective, and then takes the field to face off against his own worst enemy. #mlb #Baseball #worldseries #immigration #kaepernick #trump

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