Saturday, January 26, 2013

Land Grabbers Move Into Poor Countries

Brad Plumer:
So how much land and water is actually being grabbed? Quite a lot, according to a big new study published in the “Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences” this week. The authors find that somewhere between 0.7 percent and 1.75 percent of the world’s agricultural land is being transferred to foreign investors from local landholders. That’s an area bigger than France and Germany combined.
Big purchasers of foreign farmland include Britain, the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, South Africa, Israel, India and Egypt. They’re mostly seeking out land in Africa and Asia, particularly in countries such as Congo, Sudan, Indonesia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia and even Australia.
Here’s a map from the PNAS study showing who’s grabbing what from where. Red triangles indicate investors, green dots indicate land that’s being snatched up. Note that some countries, like Russia and Brazil, are on both ends of the farmland trade:
 The study found that foreign investors frequently buy tracts of land that have plenty of freshwater, either from local rainfall or underground aquifers. That’s the key commodity here. “This is often good agricultural land that isn’t yet fully utilized,” says Paolo D’Odorico, one of the study’s co-authors. “It was being used by local farmers without modern technology, without irrigation, without fertilizer.”After the land is bought up, large commercial farms will move in and boost production to grow their own crops. One 2010 study from the World Bank found that about 37 percent of this “grabbed” land is used to grow food crops, 21 percent to grow cash crops and 21 percent to grow biofuels. (For instance, some 27,400 square miles of land land have been snatched up in Indonesia, largely to grow palm oil, which can be turned into biodiesel.)
Speculation in food production may make sociopaths rich, but it is a terrible idea.  However, if the investment in technology actually went to benefit the locals, that would be a net positive.  For some reason, I don't trust Goldman, Chinese companies and emirs to do the right thing.

A Bubble In The Tundra?

Matthew O'Brien looks at the housing bubble in America, Jr.:

Canada is quietly trying to deflate its bubble without any eye-catching headlines. And that means keeping interest rates low while making mortgages harder to get. Now, raising rates to pop a bubble sounds like the kind of hard-hearted long view central bankers pride themselves on, but it's more hard-headed. Higher rates don't just make housing (or any other asset bought with borrowed money) less affordable for new buyers; they make them less affordable for old buyers with adjustable-rate loans too. That sends prices spiraling down and savings racing up, as heavily indebted households, which Canada has no shortage of, try to rebuild their net worths. Higher desired savings outpaces desired investment -- in other words, the economy collapses -- and subsequently cutting rates, even to zero, won't do much to reverse this, as houses and businesses are mostly indifferent to lower borrowing costs while they focus on paying down existing debts. It's what economist Richard Koo calls a "balance sheet recession," and it's a good description of how an economy can get stuck in a liquidity trap. 

But by keeping rates where they are and slowly tightening mortgage requirements, Canada hopes to engineer a more gradual price decline that won't set off a vicious circle. In the best case, prices wouldn't fall, except below the rate of inflation, so that real prices decline without hitting household net worths. This strategy is hardly unique -- China has done the same the past few years -- but it has the very Canadian name of "macroprudential regulation".
Reportedly, Vancouver's market is really out of whack because of Chinese investors buying there.

You Learn Something New Every Day

I answered a call at work from a construction contractor wondering how much static pressure one of our company's fans that he had was designed to generate.  The fan was a direct drive fan with a double shaft motor and a prop mounted at each end.  He explained that they were installing a storage tank, and they would lift the lid in place with a fan like this.  I tracked down the information, then asked one of our senior engineers about the process.  He told me that, yes, they construct the lid on forms inside the tank, install a seal around the edge of the lid, then turn on a fan which would build up pressure on the bottom of the lid and raise it into place.  Then, they would drive in pins to hold it in place.  I had never heard of that before, so I went and found a video.  Pretty cool:

I would think that would be one of the more stressful parts of the job. You've got a lot of money riding on that cushion of air.

Great Lakes Stress Map

Circle of Blue:

A first-of-its-kind map that pulls together numerical data on nearly three dozen factors that affect the Great Lakes ecosystem shows that the lakes with the most urban and agricultural development in their watersheds are also those with the greatest environmental stress.
Lakes Erie and Ontario, the easternmost lakes, are challenged by high coastal population densities, an industrial legacy and phosphorous pollution from agricultural runoff. They are also downstream from wind currents that drop nitrogen generated by industries and power plants into their waters.
But the map’s patches of high-stress red and yellow should not be misinterpreted. The color scale is a relative measure that compares the combined stress of the 34 environmental indicators in a particular area to the stress level of the lake system as a whole.
“Red does not mean the sky is falling,” explained Peter McIntyre, a project co-leader and an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin who studies aquatic biodiversity. It means that conditions are worse there than other areas.
It isn't a real surprise that Erie and Ontario face the greatest stress since they have the most people impacting them, they are the smallest and shallowest lakes and they are downstream of the rest.  It is a really interesting map.  There are also have maps of the individual stressors which added into the combined map.  Here's the phosphorus map (note the inset on the Western Basin of Lake Erie):

The whole thing is worth checking out.  The Maumee River basin (NW Ohio and NE Indiana) looks to be contributing significantly.

Happy Australia Day

From Wikipedia:
Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the date commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, New South Wales in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia (then known as New Holland).
Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia and is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.
Don't storm your local Outback to celebrate.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Revelation, a Visual Poem

Revelation, a Visual Poem. from sebastien montaz-rosset on Vimeo.

Why White Ain't Right

Michael Tomasky points and laughs at Republican efforts to make inroads with non-whites:
All that is a bunch of rot, I’m afraid, and the rank and file’s racism is just a plain fact. Ever read some of those Fox News website comment threads on race stories, like this rather fascinating thread when Whitney Houston died, or certain Obama articles? It’s like reading Bull Connor’s diary. No, this doesn’t mean every conservative is a racist. But it does mean that if you find yourself at a table with five conservatives and try to break the ice with a watermelon joke, you’re very likely to get somewhere between two and three laughs.
A party with that kind of base is not going to be changing positions on affirmative action anytime in the next, oh, millennium. No—I really can’t predict a meeting of the minds here in any remotely foreseeable future. Remember, the conservative, Republican-appointed Supreme Court is (presumably) about to undo affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act. It’ll be another decade fighting to win those back at least.
The GOP base doesn’t appear to boil with the same depth of contempt for Latinos. To Republicans, Latinos are the people who at least, you know, mow people’s lawns and such. But I think conservatives misunderstand Latinos. It’s true that they are a quite heterogeneous admixture of people from a broad range of cultures and historical traditions. But to the extent that they can be lumped together, as we do for electoral-demographic purposes, we find that they are alas a pretty liberal outfit.
Conservatives always say, “Latinos are conservative; they are our natural allies!” It’s not really true. Exit polls last year found Latinos supporting abortion rights in quite large numbers, and ditto same-sex marriage (to a lesser degree, but still a healthy majority). The conservative misunderstanding, of course, is in assuming that personal conservatism equates with political conservatism. Sometimes it does, but a lot of the time it does not.
The watermelon joke example is a good point.  Around here, you will probably get four laughs.  It is nearly impossible for anyone to miss the hostility in the Republican base toward minorities.  They start with the assumption that all blacks and Hispanics are on welfare, and get more offensive from there.  It is a sad state of affairs, but watching these assholes waste time lying about how they will convince these folks they don't hate them should be at least mildly entertaining.

What's Ken Blackwell Doing Now?

Trying to steal elections:
Republican legislators in several states have begun pushing to apportion electoral-college votes by congressional district, a move that has Democrats up in arms. Had a similar scheme been in effect in 2012, nationally or in a handful of key states, Mitt Romney could have won the presidency despite losing the popular vote. (David Graham explains the idea, and why it's so controversial, here.)
Up to now, these efforts appear to have sprouted independently as the work of individual lawmakers in Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The Virginia plan has passed the state House of Delegates and could become law as soon as next week.
But now a Republican operative has a plan to take the idea national.
Jordan Gehrke, a D.C.-based strategist who's worked on presidential and Senate campaigns, is teaming up with Ken Blackwell, a former Ohio Republican secretary of state, to raise money for an effort to propose similar electoral reforms in states across the country, he told me this week.
Gehrke and Blackwell have been talking to major donors and plan to send a fundraising email to grassroots conservatives early next week. The money would go toward promoting similar plans to apportion electoral votes by congressional district in states across the country, potentially even hiring lobbyists in state capitals.
When Blackwell was Ohio Secretary of State, and Democrats were accusing him of stealing the 2004 election for Bush, I believed he was just a corrupt, incompetent, partisan boob.  But geez, he's actually out working to find a gerrymandered path that might have elected Mitt Romney as president in spite of losing the popular vote by 4%.  What a useless, grifting asshole.

Chart of the Day

From Doug Short:

Without blowing another bubble, I would be surprised if we see much more run in the market.

Taking Down The Flimflam Man

John Stewart dismantles Paul Ryan:

Working To Be A Failed State

This month, the largest tax cut in Kansas history took effect, and most of its Medicaid system was handed over to private insurers. The bill introduced this week would pare taxes further, with the goal of eventually eliminating the state’s individual income tax. Mr. Brownback has already slashed the state’s welfare roll and its work force. He has merged government agencies and is proposing further consolidation. He is pushing for pension changes, to change the way judges are selected and for altering education financing formulas.
“I think it is the leading edge of the conservative economic and political movement,” said State Representative Tom Sloan, a Republican representing the area around Lawrence. “As such, it is the example that other state leaders will look to to determine whether the political philosophy can mesh with the expectations of the public.”
This would pummel the budgets of rural communities and schools.  Meanwhile, the state would extend a sales tax increase that was due to expire.  There was an excellent quote in the article where a legislator makes the case that her constituents have moved to Nevada (maybe five years ago) and Florida, and maybe they'll move back if Kansas gets rid of the income tax like those states.  I personally wouldn't wager on that.  Seriously, how many people with functioning brains are going to look around and say, man, neither Florida nor Kansas has an income tax, so there really isn't any reason to move to Florida as opposed to Kansas?  Personally, if the state wasn't run by morons (which  in no way separates it from Florida), I'd much rather live in Kansas than Florida.  Then again, I'd rather live in Ohio (with its supposedly soul crushing income tax) than either place (and I'll never live in Indiana again.  Hoosiers are idiots).

Back on taxes, I've got another beef.  John Kasich is riling up energy companies by saying he wants to increase severance taxes on oil and gas producers.  Ok, I agree with that.  But considering how deeply school and local government budgets have been slashed, does it make any sense whatsoever that he plans to offset that increased revenue with an individual income tax cut?  This is on top of pushing through a previously planned 4% tax cut that had been postponed by Governor Strickland to try to cushion the budget cuts during the recession.  Seriously, Republicans look at Mississippi and Alabama and see model governments, not disaster areas.  I don't want to turn Ohio into Mississippi.  Luckily, Mississippi is there to hold down 50th place in most categories, and keep us looking good.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Weaponizing Animals Is An Old Idea

Alexis Madrigal:
Think you're the first person to consider the offensive capabilities of cats and birds in a hypothetical war against zombies space invaders enemies of the Holy Roman Empire? Think again!

The Germans beat you to it by about 425 years, as proven by this painting, which BibliOdyssey found and The Appendix Journal posted to its Tumblr. The manuscript from which it was drawn was called "Feuer Buech," which I'm guessing translates from the old German to English as "Fire Book." It's a "treatise on munitions and explosive devices, with many illustrations of the various devices and their uses."

The University of Pennsylvania, which digitized this manuscript, describes this image as, "Illustration, cat and bird with rocket packs."
Apparently, the idea was to pretty much strap a molotov cocktail type weapon to the cats and birds and send them into walled cities under siege.  I highly recommend clicking through to see the comments.  They are enlightening AND entertaining.  Also, the front page of The Atlantic had the best headline I've seen in awhile:  Do Not Strap a Jet Pack to Your Cat.

When Republicans Opposed Tax Cuts

Bruce Bartlett:
Fifty years ago this week, on Jan. 24, 1963, John F. Kennedy sent a special message to Congress on tax reduction and tax reform. Enacted the following year by Lyndon B. Johnson, the legislation cut the top federal income tax rate to 70 percent from 91 percent and the bottom rate to 14 percent from 20 percent. Ironically, it later became the template for Republican tax policy.
Those who don’t know the history probably assume that the tax cut was a slam-dunk for Kennedy, something that was overwhelmingly popular. In fact, a big tax cut was highly controversial because at that time Republicans actually cared about the deficit and recognized that tax cuts would increase it. This view was shared by the large bloc of conservative Southern Democrats then in Congress and the general public as well.
For example, on Dec. 14, 1960, before Kennedy was inaugurated, Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr., Democrat of Virginia and chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, warned Kennedy against even thinking about a big tax cut, given the deficit situation. According to an Associated Press report published in The New York Times, Senator Byrd told Kennedy that a tax cut “would be the worst thing we could do.”
A July 1962 Gallup poll asked the American people, “Would you favor or oppose a cut in federal income taxes at this time, if a cut meant that the government would go further in debt?” Only 19 percent of people supported a tax cut, even though the high World War II-era tax rates were still in place; 72 percent were opposed.
It is hard to imagine that Republicans were actually against tax cuts at one time, especially when the top rate was 91%.  God bless Ike.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Is Phil Mickelson Going Galt?

This past weekend, wealthy golfer Phil Mickelson took some time during a press conference to express his displeasure with the current federal and state tax codes. Like Gerard Depardieu, Mickelson finds the burden of being a multi-multimillionaire in a confiscatory socialist political system too much to bear. Here's the relevant portion of the transcript:
Q: When you're asked about Stricker's semi-retirement, with the political situation the last couple months ... what did you mean by that? Do you find it an unsettling time in a way?
Phil Mickelson: Well, it's been an interesting offseason. And I'm going to have to make some drastic changes. I'm not going to jump the gun and do it right away, but I will be making some drastic changes.
Q: Meaning leaving from California?
Mickelson: I'm not sure.
Q: Moving to Canada?
Mickelson: I'm not sure what exactly, you know, I'm going to do yet. I'll probably talk about it more in depth next week. I'm not going to jump the gun, but there are going to be some. There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state and, you know, it doesn't work for me right now. So I'm going to have to make some changes.
As the article goes on to say, Mickelson made $48 million LAST YEAR PLAYING GOLF.  Sorry if I don't get too worried about the future of this titan of industry.  If Mickelson isn't making that money, is the world a lesser place?  And Gerard Depardieu is just the person I would want to be compared to.

Political Movement As Shakedown

Alex Pareene, via Ritholtz:
The conservative media movement exists primarily as a moneymaking venture. As Rick Perlstein explained in the Baffler, some of the largest conservative media organs are essentially massive email lists of suckers rented to snake oil salesmen. The con isn’t limited to a couple of newsletters and websites: The most prominent conservative organizations in the nation are primarily dedicated to separating conservatives from their money.
FreedomWorks, which is funded primarily by very rich people, solicits donations from non-rich conservative people. More than 80,000 people donated money to FreedomWorks in 2012, and it seems likely that only a small minority of those people were hedge fund millionaires. And what are people who donate to this grass-roots conservative organization funded mostly by a few very rich people getting for their hard-earned money? In addition to paying Dick Armey $400,000 a year for 20 years to stay away, FreedomWorks also apparently spent more than a million dollars paying Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to say nice things about FreedomWorks, in order to convince listeners to send FreedomWorks money that FreedomWorks would then give to Limbaugh and Beck. It’s a pretty simple con. Beck, meanwhile, also has a subscriber-based media operation, in which people pay his company money for access to programs where Beck expresses opinions that he was paid to hold. He also spent years telling everyone to buy gold from a company that pays him and defrauds consumers.
Just because somebody has a bunch of money, it doesn't indicate that they are immune to ripoff schemes.  On the contrary, they can be very inviting targets, because:

1. They have a bunch of money, and
2. They are used to people telling them what they want to hear.

This leads them to believe the snake oil salesmen like Dick Armey who convince them that they can buy themselves elections, but don't point out how high much the Armeys of the movement are taking from the till.  I love that little detail of paying Armey $8,000,000 to go away.  How do I get a gig like that?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Obama The Pusher

Wade Goodwyn finds some folks in Texas who just aren't happy with the President who was reelected by 4,500,000 votes:
GOODWYN: It is almost impossible for rank and file Republicans to think about Obama's second inauguration and not have it turned into a conversation about how the GOP does better next time. Debora Georgatos is a conservative activist who is trying to attract women back to the Republican Party. She's written a book to that end entitled "Ladies, Can We Talk?"
DEBORA GEORGATOS: In this election cycle, my sense was that it was the president's - in my view it's pandering. But through their HHS mandate that free birth control had to be provided to women, I thought it was like a lure to become dependent on government. To me that was a complete U-turn from what feminists used to always stand for.
GOODWYN: The theory that President Obama won the election by promising federal goodies is widespread through the GOP, as Obama acknowledged in his speech. So beginning on day one after the inauguration, the task for Republicans like Georgatos becomes weaning enough voters off the mind-altering federal largess so they can again see the world clearly enough to vote Republican.
GEORGATOS: Recipients of government assistance need to be looked at as victims who've been entrapped by policies the Democrats have created over the last 40 or 50 years, and it has robbed them of the opportunity to be participants in this fabulous American dream.
Republicans only try to buy the votes of the one percent.  Trying to interact with folks who aren't in right-wing crazyland may help them, also.  Unfortunately, it seems that Mr. Goodwyn was just touring crazyland for this story.

The Olden Days Are Gone

In a story about U.S. Military spending, Jill Lepore remembers the days when the Midwest was home to isolationist Republicans:
Not until the Second World War did the United States establish what would become a standing army. And even that didn’t happen without dissent. In May of 1941, Robert Taft, a Republican senator from Ohio, warned that America’s entry into the Second World War would mean, ultimately, that the United States “will have to maintain a police force perpetually in Germany and throughout Europe.” Taft, like Nye, was an ardent isolationist. “Frankly, the American people don’t want to rule the world, and we are not equipped to do it. Such imperialism is wholly foreign to our ideals of democracy and freedom,” he said. “It is not our manifest destiny or our national destiny.” In 1944, when Nye ran for reĆ«lection, he was defeated. Taft three times failed to win the Republican Presidential nomination. The Second World War demonstrated the folly of their vantage on foreign policy. It also made it more difficult to speak out against arms manufacturers and proponents of boundless military spending. A peace dividend expected after the Allied victory in 1945 never came. Instead, the fight against Communism arrived, as well as a new bureaucratic regime. In 1946, the standing committees on military and naval affairs combined to become the Armed Services Committee. Under amendments to the National Security Act of 1947, which created the position of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the War Department, now housed for the first time in a building of its own, became the Department of Defense.
Midwestern Senators like Taft went the way of the dinosaurs.  Now, politicians from the heartland pretty much never see a war they don't think needs fought.  It is amazing how much has changed in a three quarters of a century.

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's Mitt Doing?

Am I the only person wondering what Mitt Romney is doing today?

What Happened When I Was Four?

Katy Waldman looks at the distribution of our memories:
Autobiographical memories are not distributed equally across the lifespan. Instead, people tend to experience a period of childhood amnesia between birth and age 5, a reminiscence bump between age 10 and age 30 (with a particular concentration of memories in the early 20s), and at any age, a vivid period of recency from the present waning back to the end of the reminiscence bump.
At first, researchers proposed that the reminiscence bump coincided with a phase of developing mental firepower. Young adults encoded more information about the world because they were using state-of-the-art biological equipment, the theory went—relatively fresh and agile minds. As cognitive function declined with age, the flood of recorded memories would naturally slow to a trickle, though recent experiences would remain accessible.
Going deeper into the mechanisms of recall, scientists also noted that the brain transcribes novel experiences more readily than mundane ones. For instance, a 1988 study found that 93 percent of vivid life memories concern unique or first-time events. Might the reminiscence bump reflect the fact that late adolescence and early adulthood are suffused with “firsts” (first relationship, first time leaving home, first job, first marriage, first child)?
I guess that's why I remember almost every line from Billy Madison, but only two or three things before I am 5.  I've told parents before that it is great that their kids won't remember almost anything from their first five years, but the parents are usually still worried they'll scar their kids for life.  I don't think they will.

KITT Returns

I've never really understood the advertisements which seem to be targeting investors (or maybe politicians). It's not like somebody is sitting at home thinking, "Man, I need a new locomotive. Hey, wow, GE has a talking train in an ad with KITT. I'm getting one of those," or even, "man, if GE makes talking trains they must make a kickass dishwasher. I'll get that instead of that LG piece of shit." Maybe the premise of the ad is, "hey, look at this cool train, we should continue to not pay a dime in corporate tax."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chart of the Day

Via Ritholtz:

NASA Photo of the Day


The Antikythera Mechanism
Credit & License: Wikipedia
Explanation: What is it? It was found at the bottom of the sea aboard an ancient Greek ship. Its seeming complexity has prompted decades of study, although some of its functions remained unknown. X-ray images of the device have confirmed the nature of the Antikythera mechanism, and discovered several surprising functions. The Antikythera mechanism has been discovered to be a mechanical computer of an accuracy thought impossible in 80 BC, when the ship that carried it sank. Such sophisticated technology was not thought to be developed by humanity for another 1,000 years. Its wheels and gears create a portable orrery of the sky that predicted star and planet locations as well as lunar and solar eclipses. The Antikythera mechanism, shown above, is 33 centimeters high and therefore similar in size to a large book. 

It's not the typical picture of a celestial body, but I thought it was pretty cool.

Buffett on America

It would be nice to hear more ultra-wealthy folks sound like Buffett.
Warren Buffett and I have one thing in common. Neither of us has an iPad or iPhone. The similarities pretty much end there.

Responsible Gun Owners in the News

At least five people -- three in North Carolina, one in Indiana and one in Ohio -- were injured after weapons went off at gun shows Saturday, officials said, at a time when there's been renewed discussion about private gun sales at such shows.
The most casualties came at the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina, where attendees bolted -- with at least one woman wiping out in the frenetic scene -- when gunfire rang out around 1 p.m., as seen on video captured by CNN affiliate WRAL.
Police later explained that a a 36-year-old man from Wilmington, North Carolina, was unfastening the case of his 12-gauge shotgun on a table near the show entrance when it accidentally discharged. The man planned to sell the shotgun at the show.
The bird shot ended up injuring three people. One was a sheriff's deputy, who suffered a slight injury to his hand and was treated and released at a local hospital before returning immediately to work, said Joel Keith, chief of police of the North Carolina State Fair.
A 54-year-old woman from Benson, North Carolina, was being treated for a wound to her right torso at a local hospital, and a 50-year-old man from Durham, North Carolina, was treated for an injured left hand, Keith told reporters.
"I want to emphasize that this is an accident," Keith said.
Gun owners aren't winning the news right now. Maybe the gun control folks ought to collect all the stupid gun owner stories to compete with the NRA gun owners who defend themselves stories.  I think the gun control folks would have many more stories.  That may not be a good argument for strict gun control, but it would be a case for being safer if fewer people are carrying loaded guns around every day.

RIP Stan the Man and Earl

 Baseball legends Stan Musial and Earl Weaver died this weekend.  Musial is one of the most underrated players in baseball history:
Musial never struck out 50 times in a season. He led the NL in most every hitting category for at least one year, except homers. He hit a career-high 39 home runs in 1948, falling one short of winning the Triple Crown.
In all, Musial held 55 records when he retired in 1963. Fittingly, the accolades on his his bronze Hall plaque start off with this fact, rather than flowery prose: "Holds many National League records ..."
He played nearly until 43rd birthday, adding to his totals. He got a hit with his final swing, sending an RBI single past Cincinnati's rookie second baseman -- that was Pete Rose, who would break Musial's league hit record of 3,630 some 18 years later.
Of those hits, Musial got exactly 1,815 at home and exactly 1,815 on the road. He also finished with 1,951 RBIs and scored 1,949 runs.
All that balance despite a most unorthodox left-handed stance. Legs and knees close together, he would cock the bat near his ear and twist his body away from the pitcher. When the ball came, he uncoiled.
Unusual, that aspect of Musial.
Asked to describe the habits that kept him in baseball for so long, Musial once said: "Get eight hours of sleep regularly. Keep your weight down, run a mile a day. If you must smoke, try light cigars. They cut down on inhaling."
One last thing, he said: "Make it a point to bat .300."
I was surprised to find out Weaver only won one World Series. Unfortunately, that was against the Reds.