Two weekends ago, my Nationals lost a tough series to the New York Mets, largely due to clutch late-game hitting from the Mets and some poor relief pitching by the Nationals. What they did do right, however, was grind out tough at-bats against both Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom, two of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball. They gave DeGrom a hard time in particular, forcing him to throw 101 pitches over just 5 innings in a game the Nationals ended up winning 7-4.
I’ve spent the weekend, and past day in particular, reflecting on the tragic shootings that have happened over the past week and a half in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. My heart goes out to the families and friends who lost loved ones in these horrific acts of violence. For those who are leaving us, robbed of their chance to live, laugh, and love, my heart breaks at the injustice of your situation.
While trawling through HackerNews on a recent afternoon, I stumbled upon an interesting dataset. Published by FirmAI on Kaggle, the data contained information on over five hundred startup founders, with nicely tagged and cleaned data detailing their past work and educational experiences. With the recent rise in “unicorn” startups elevating many of their founders and chief executives to near-mythic levels in the startup/venture capital world, I thought it might be fun to use this data to de-mystify who these founders really are!
With the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 trip to the Moon in the books last week, I thought it might be fun to turn a bit of attention to NASA’s current affairs. If you haven’t heard, the President and Vice President have given the Agency a five year deadline to land a successful manned mission on the Moon - hoping to do so by the end of 2024 - coincident, I’m sure, with the end of a second Trump term in office.
The Cryptocurrency Market has Grown Significantly in 2019 The market capitalization of the top-15 cryptocurrencies has grown significantly over the start of 2019, peaking at over $325 Billion and dipping to roughly $260 Billion in late July - still more than double January’s $120 Billion cap. Trading volume has also grown tremendously thus far in 2019, and is sitting right around $60 Billion per day. This concurrent increase in asset values and trading volume implies elevated interest in the variety of coins which make up the most popular cryptocurrencies, as well as increased liquidity in the trading markets for buyers and sellers of currencies.
Background A few days ago at work, I had a fun conversation with a coworker discussing the price of cocktails in LA and how the “standard price” of a cocktail varies from city to city. It’s been my belief for a long time that New York will always set the upper limit on how much people are prepared to spend on their drinks, and over time, that price point slowly trickles down to other markets.
More than any other post I’ve written in recent memory, this post was inspired directly by a moment in today’s Nationals - Braves game (crushing, by the way). In the telecast, one of the commentators mentioned that batters are hitting fewer singles today than ever before. “Is that really true?” I wondered to myself on the couch… Luckily for me, baseball being baseball, there’s almost always an easy way to answer these kinds of questions, and next thing I knew, I was down a Baseball Reference rabbithole of historical hitting data.
One of my favorite aspects of baseball has always been its grounding in statistical reality - while every player has their own style, everybody is shooting for the same things: Hits, Runs, and RBIs. What I find particularly interesting is that there can be an enormous difference in what kinds of players achieve the same statistical milestones. Sure, Giancarlo Stanton hit 39 home runs last season - he’s a beast. But did you know that all 190 pounds of Francisco Lindor managed the same feat?
Despite losing Bryce Harper to the Phillies in Free Agency, expectations were high for the Washington Nationals opening the 2019 season. With two twenty-something phenoms starting in the outfield (Soto, Robles), one of the best players in baseball at the hot corner (Rendon), an offensively dynamic shortstop (Turner), a revamped catching corps (Gomes, Suzuki), a third ace (Corbin), and the reigning best pitcher in baseball (Scherzer) still taking the mound on Opening Day, the Nats projected to be the most talented team in perhaps the toughest division in baseball.
Earlier this month, the City of Chicago became the first major American city to make rideshare data public. Following a number of recent controversies over user anonymity and privacy in publicly-released location data, the City performed an extensive amount of data de-identification before making the datasets public. With datasets for trips, drivers, and vehicles all available, I thought it would be fun to play around and see what we might be able to find in the data!