March 9

Skywatch at Seacoast Science Center

SkywatchThe New Hampshire Astronomical Society will conduct a Skywatch March 20 from 7:30 to 9:30 pm, at the Seacoast Science Center.

In the full size image of the publicity flier, notice the tag that says, “Check out our telescope on your library card!”

posted @ 08:59 AM EST

March 13

Borrow an eBook from the Library

NH Downloadable Book Consortium

Let’s say that you have an iPad, the Kindle app, an Amazon.com account, and a card from a library that is a member of the New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium. You can borrow an eBook that gets loaded directly onto your iPad. Though you can borrow eBooks in ways, with different devices and apps, other than what is described here, to give a sense of how easy it can be in a particular case, this will outline only what you do to get a Kindle book on your iPad via WiFi. The consortium’s site has instructions for alternatives, but is, at first, daunting in its volume of detail.

First, in the Safari web browser on your iPad, go to the New Hampshire Downloadable Books Consortium website and sign in by selecting your library and entering your library card number. Then browse for an eBook that is available as a Kindle Book (not one for USB only) and add it to your cart. When you checkout, a Get for Kindle button will take you to the Amazon.com page for the book where you select your iPad from the list of your devices and click the Get library book button. Finally, open the Kindle app on your iPad and the book will show up when the app synchronizes with Amazon. When you’re done with the book you can return it before its due date on the Manage Your Kindle web page.

posted @ 10:06 AM EDT

March 19




posted @ 08:42 AM EDT

March 24


I probably never would have read Moneyball if it hadn’t been made into a movie; a movie that, by the way, I really liked. But what you only get as an impression from the movie is uncovered by Michael Lewis’s excellent writing in great examples of the clash between the old guard, defending its turf in vain, and the new rationality of playing the advantages available in a consequently inefficient market. Anyone who knows of my distaste for Joe Morgan’s nonsense will appreciate my choice of the following excerpt, from the last chapter of the book, to illustrate my point.

The moment the play-offs began, you could feel the world of baseball insiders rising up to swat down the possibility that the Oakland A’s front office actually might be onto something. The man who spoke for all insiders was Joe Morgan, the Hall of Fame second baseman, who was in the broadcast booth for the entire five-game series between the A’s and the Twins. At some point during each game Morgan explained to the audience the flaw in the A’s thinking—not that he had any deep understanding of what that thinking entailed. But he was absolutely certain that their strategy made no sense. When the A’s lost the first game, 7-5, it gave Morgan his opening to explain, in the first inning of the second game, why the Oakland A’s were in trouble. “You have to be able to manufacture runs in the postseason,” he said, meaning bunt and steal and in general treat outs as something other than a scarce resource. Incredibly, he then went on to explain that “manufacturing runs” was how the New York Yankees had beaten the Anaheim Angels the night before.

I had seen that game. Down 5-4 in the eighth inning, Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano had gotten himself on base and stolen second. Derek Jeter then walked, and Jason Giambi singled in Soriano. Bernie Williams then hit a three-run homer. A reasonable person, examining that sequence of events, says, “Whew, thank God Soriano didn’t get caught stealing; it was, in retrospect, a stupid risk that could have killed the whole rally.” Joe Morgan looked at it and announced that Soriano stealing second, the only bit of “manufacturing” in the production line, was the cause. Amazingly, Morgan concluded that day’s lesson about baseball strategy by saying, “You sit and wait for a three-run homer, you’re still going to be sitting there.”

But the wonderful thing about this little lecture was what happened right under Joe Morgan’s nose, as he was giving it. Ray Durham led off the game for Oakland with a walk. He didn’t attempt to steal, as Morgan would have him do. Scott Hatteberg followed Durham and he didn’t bunt, as Morgan would have him do. He smashed a double. A few moments later, Eric Chavez hit a three-run homer. And Joe Morgan’s lecture on the need to avoid playing for the three-run homer just rolled right along, as if the play on the field had not dramatically contradicted every word that had just come out of his mouth. That day the A’s walked and swatted their way to nine runs, and a win—in which Chad Bradford, returned to form, pitched two scoreless innings. Two days later in Minnesota, before the third game, Joe Morgan made the same speech all over again.

posted @ 11:21 AM EDT