Understanding Global Warming

Last week (1/21/14), NASA and NOAA released their analysis of the overall global temperatures for the year 2013. It was one of the ten hottest years on record. But as we sit here in the middle of another Polar Vortex “event”, there are still people who refuse to accept that the earth is getting warmer. I can understand this – a little bit. It’s not easy to spot gradual, long-term trends in the face of localized, short-term “noise”.

Perhaps I can give an analogy.

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Driving in Snow

Right now, where I live is being covered with snow. Forecasts are calling for around ten inches. As it started coming down around eleven o’clock, we were allowed to leave work early. One of my co-workers was mentally already on her way home. She’s one of those people who panic with the first snowflake. “Ack! There’s a quarter inch of snow on the ground! I’m not going to be able to make it home!” We tease her about it (and how she’s always checking the various weather services to get the absolute latest in forecasts), but nonetheless she is usually the first one out the door when bad weather hits, and the person most likely to not make it in when there’s any amount of snow or ice around.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with driving in snow. As long as the roads are reasonably clear and visibility is decent, I can make it out. Even with my small car.

It’s just a matter of following a few easy rules.

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Snubbed by the Oscars

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and presumably there was an almost immediate discussion of who got snubbed by the Academy in the nomination process. No doubt over the next few days we will see the usual discussion of the “all-time” Oscar snubs. Yes, we all know how William Randolph Hearst kept Citizen Kane from winning anything other than “Best Original Screenplay” out if its nine nominations. That’s too easy. The real snubs come from things so deeper ingrained that we don’t even realize that a “snub” exists….

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Book Review: “Through the Perilous Fight” by Steve Vogel

The War of 1812 gets little respect. It didn’t produce a clear victor, and there weren’t any of the great battles of the sort that armchair historians and military buffs love to study. That isn’t fair, according to author Steve Vogel. As his subtitle “Six Weeks that Saved the Nation” suggests, the war pretty much ensured the future of the United States.

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Thoughts on this year’s Hall of Fame election

Now that the announcement has been made, there is still a lot of criticism about the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and how they choose people for the Hall of Fame (HoF). Most of the comments are on the order of “Any writer who voted differently than I would have should be stripped of their credentials and then taken out back and shot”. Even some of the BBWAA members themselves are sounding like this, calling fellow members who didn’t vote for a particular player “idiots”. This shows an utter lack of understanding of the process, which really seems designed to create a general consensus about a player. And it actually does a good job. Continue reading

The Baseball Hall of Fame – Class of 2014

Well, the votes have been counted, and this year the Baseball Writers Association of America has come to the consensus that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are worthy of being members of the Hall of Fame.

I’m not going to discuss the whole voting process here; that will be for a later post.

What I’d like to discuss here is something completely different.

What will their plaques look like?

No one but the artisans crafting them knows before they are unveiled at the induction ceremony. The player’s likeness is based on photographs of the player at the peak of their career, and the logo on the hat is usually that of the team they are most associated with. Only if it isn’t clear which team should be represented do they consult with the player.

The text is a brief summary of the player’s career, highlighting why they are in the Hall of Fame. Only once have they changed a plaque – that was for Jackie Robinson, at the request of his widow Rachel who wanted it his role in integrating the major leagues noted.

If you look over the plaques in the Hall, you’ll note that there’s no mention of any of the advanced stats like OPS or WAR. Keep in mind that they are intended to awe the average fan, and not satisfy the sabermetricians. The Little League teams who visit the Hall most likely wouldn’t know what they mean, anyway.

With all that in mind, here’s my guess as to the text for this year’s honorees:

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My “Final” Post

I know what you’re thinking. “This guy’s just started his blog, how can he be ending it right away?” Allow me to explain. With many of these personal blogs and websites, people often begin them with energy and confidence, never realizing that all things must come to an eventual end. Typically, posts will start to come less and less frequently, then ceasing without notice. The few followers who truly care are left wondering what happened to the person behind the website. At least for a while – then they move on to other things. Since I have absolutely no idea when or how this blog will come to an end, I thought I’d take the opportunity now to write my final post. Now when it comes to pass that I leave this blog for other things, you can just go back to this post for my “farewell address”.

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Welcome

It is probably a standard for the writer to start off his or her blog by introducing themselves with a brief biography.

However, I am not going to do that.

I would like to keep my personal information out of general distribution as much as possible. I have online connections in a number of widely diverse areas, and I would like to keep them separate. There is no reason that people whom I share one area of interest with need to know about my other interests – unless I tell them myself.

As to the purpose of this blog, it is almost entirely to satisfy my own ego. I love seeing my words in print, and this is an easy way to do it. And maybe others will read them too, and comment on my pearls of wisdom and literary gems.

I’m not sure how often I will post, or how long it will last. To those who are bothering to read this, thank you for doing so. Let’s see where we go.