Back in the Saddle, Houston’s Two Number Ones, It’s Hot, Captcha This

Hello again, friends. After an eight-day hiatus from posting here on It’s All Relative, I’m glad to be back in the driver’s seat. Excellent work by John Nolan filling in while the team was on the road. For that, he will be rewarded with three apple won-tons from The Apple Cart here at Parkview Field. And perhaps an ice-cream-filled helmet. But no peanuts, because tonight is Peanut-Free Day at Parkview Field. (Read more about that by clicking here.)

The TinCaps, a hopefully well-rested bunch after a day off yesterday, are back to Parkview Field for the first time since July 8th, as the open a six-game homestand with the first of three against the Quad Cities River Bandits, the Midwest League affiliate of the Houston Astros. Around this time when these two teams met last year, Quad Cities was a Cardinals affiliate. Such is the nature of off-season affiliation changes, of which the Midwest League had quite a few.

Of note with the River Bandits is that they have one of the most talked about players in Minor League Baseball, Mark Appel:

“After just two starts in the short-season New York-Penn League, the Astros have promoted Appel, the polished right-hander out of Stanford and the top overall pick of the June draft, to Low-A Quad Cities of the Midwest League.

In those two starts for Tri-City, Appel logged an ERA of 3.60 and a WHIP of 1.20 while striking out six and walking two. Appel was unimpressive in his first start as a pro, but bear in mind that he was pitching after a layoff measured in weeks. In his second start, he looked much stronger (box score via MiLB.com).

In Quad Cities, Appel will join shortstop Carlos Correa, the first overall pick of the 2012 MLB draft.”

Appel is scheduled to start Friday. He was selected last year in he first round by the Pirates, but chose not to sign and returned for his senior season at Stanford, earning his degree, and ultimately ended up earning more money because of it. After being selected first overall this year, he signed for $6.35 million. Correa, who was taken a year ahead of him, signed for $4.8 million.

TINCAPS REPORT PODCAST

Hear John Nolan’s Monday pre-game chat with Joe Ross, who recently picked up his first win in nearly three months:

IT’S HOT

This just in from the National Weather Service:

THE COMBINATION OF HIGH TEMPERATURES IN THE LOWER 90S AND HIGH HUMIDITY WILL RESULT IN PEAK AFTERNOON HEAT INDICES FROM THE UPPER 90S TO AROUND 100 THROUGH FRIDAY. THERE WILL BE MINIMAL RELIEF FROM THE HUMID CONDITIONS EACH NIGHT AS OVERNIGHT LOWS ONLY FALL INTO THE LOW TO MID 70S.

THOSE WITH OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK ARE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS AND DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS.

So for those of you planning on coming to Parkview Field in the next few days, please be aware of this and make sure to stay hydrated. There will be a rare rule exception at the ballpark the next few days to try and help fans cool off. Normally, fans are not allowed to bring any type of beverages into Parkview Field, but for the next three days, water will be allowed to be carried into the ballpark. It can be taken in whether carried in a bottle, thermos, etc., but only water is allowed in. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

WHO KNEW? 

While spending a few hours of the off day yesterday at the auto mechanic, I was listening to some podcasts, and in one of them, the TED Radio Hour,  I learned about CAPTCHA, that annoying box with scrambled text you have to fill out at the bottom of an online submission form.

The worst.

The worst.

Half the time you can’t even read the thing, and then you’re sitting at your computer, yelling at a screen that can’t hear you, and saying, “JUST LET ME GO TO THE NEXT SCREEN!”

What’s that?

I’m the only one who does that?

Moving on…

It turns out, there’s a purpose to that box other than to make sure you’re not a computer trying to fill out the form:

About 200 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that’s not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into “reading” books.

To archive human knowledge and to make information more accessible to the world, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age. The book pages are being photographically scanned, and then transformed into text using “Optical Character Recognition” (OCR). The transformation into text is useful because scanning a book produces images, which are difficult to store on small devices, expensive to download, and cannot be searched. The problem is that OCR is not perfect.

Example of OCR errorsreCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

Pretty cool, huh? Now about that three-hour oil change…

MUSICAL GUEST

Ellie Goulding…take it away!

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter @MikeCouzens.

MCsig

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