Improve your Baseball Swing
Greg Bothun is a northwesterner, educated in Washington State, briefly a professor at the University of Michigan, and now a long-time professor of astronomy at the University of Oregon. Greg, nicknamed ''Dr. Dark Matter'' by his friends, is interested (when not raising his two sons, hiking, playing softball, or golfing) in galaxy evolution and studies of large-scale structure in the Universe. In what follows Greg takes us on a very special journey that he traveled, to find the dim, lurking giants of galactica, the so-called low surface brightness galaxies.
Oviraptor was a small, toothless dinosaur first discovered in the 1920s by the Roy Chapman Andrews expeditions at the famous Gobi Desert sites in Mongolia. It had a crested head and its skull was about the size of a baseball. The first skeletons were found surrounded by broken dinosaur eggs, and the assumption was that these dinosaurs had probably stolen the eggs to eat them, hence the name Oviraptor (egg stealer). When the American Museum of Natural History expeditions led by Mark Norrell went back to Mongolia in the 1990s, they found more skeletons of Oviraptor associated with complete, undamaged eggs. It was then discovered that the dinosaurs were brooding over their own nests. These finds gave us one of the most remarkable insights into dinosaur behaviour.
I remember going to the old Denver Bears Stadium in the 1950s when Bill and the other boys were bat and ball boys. I regretted not being able to be a bat boy in the same way I regretted not being able to be a Jesuit, so I heard my dolls' confessions in my closet with the sliding doors and said Mass for them on my dresser. I have changed since then from a junior Catholic theologian to a much less innocent feminist scribbler, from a parochial school basketball forward, to a writer of her own game stories. You gave me the same skills you gave my brothers, Bill and Rick. You taught us all to score about the same time we learned to read.1 That night in 1958 when you and the Rocky Mountain News scribe Chet Nelson asked me how I had scored a contested baseball play on which you couldn't agree, and then used my scoring, you gave me something precious you recognized me in your work. You gave me your regard. Mine is a looping set of stories of the generations my story is about inheriting the...
And so in the chapters to follow, readers will meet cloned dogs, databased tigers, a baseball writer on crutches, a health and genetics activist in Fresno, wolves and dogs in Syria and the French Alps, Chicken Little and Bush legs in Moldavia, tsetse flies and guinea pigs in a Zimbabwean lab in a young adult novel, feral cats, whales wearing cameras, felons and pooches in training in prison, and a talented dog and middle-aged woman playing a sport together in California. All of these are figures, and all are mundanely here, on this earth, now, asking who we will become when species meet.
Within species, brain sizes vary and the correlation between brain size and intelligence does not hold. A person with a brain size on the lower end of the spectrum of variation is not necessarily any less intelligent than a person with the largest brain in the world. Measuring intelligence is also problematic. For example, intelligence quotient (IQ) tests applied to humans can only measure specific aspects of higher brain function, not the whole phenomenon. Physical intelligence, like the massive and complex neural coordination it takes to throw a baseball at 96 miles per hour into a catcher's mitt, is completely ignored by standard tests of intelligence.
By the mid-1990s Stelzer and his colleagues were using the method to create a new type of microscope. They could trap a tiny plastic bead in a laser and hold it still, then watch as nearby molecules affected its behavior. By coating the bead with antibodies, they could attach it to other proteins and watch how it moved. The bead's motion could be recorded very precisely, and this could be used to reconstruct the motions of proteins and the forces that acted upon them. An analogy is to think of a baseball pitcher throwing a glowing ball in the dark. With a film that tracked the path of the ball through the windup and pitch and a knowledge of human anatomy, a scientist could reconstruct the motion of the pitcher's arm.
During the mission, Leslie had ample opportunity to work with the GFFC, which consisted of two 'hemispheres' - a baseball-sized one, made from stainless steel, mounted inside a larger, transparent one of sapphire - both of which were affixed to a turntable. A thin layer of silicone oil filled the gap between the hemispheres. During operations, the temperatures of both hemispheres, together with the rotation speed of the turntable, were minutely adjusted by the experiment's computer, which also introduced thermally driven motions into the oil. This allowed physicists to simulate and model fluid flows in the atmospheres of rotating stars and planets.
Meanwhile, Columbia herself was performing near-flawlessly on her 18th journey into space. On 23 October, Bowersox told Capcom Tom Jones and Flight Director Rob Kelso that he was impressed by her rock-steady nature. A couple of days later, the crew took time out to tape the ceremonial first pitch for Game Five of the baseball World Series. Uniquely, it marked the first time that the thrower -Bowersox in this case - was not actually in the ballpark for the pitch. The video from Columbia was replayed on the enormous Jacobs Field Jumbotron screen in Cleveland before the game. Before throwing the slow-spinning pitch, Bowersox wished both the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians good luck the entire crew later signed their onboard baseballs and gave them to Major League Baseball to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
I was only 11 when the Sputnik went up. Americans were already afraid of the Russians, and now we were desperately afraid. We had air raid drills in school, and were taught how to put our heads down under our desks. My father got a Geiger counter to find out if things were radioactive, and was part of the Civil Defense system. Suddenly it was good to be good at science and math. I got books every two weeks from the Bookmobile, which the county library sent around to farms. Even the library itself was brand new. We had a science fair, and I saved up my allowance, a quarter a week for a long time, to buy a Heathkit shortwave radio with five vacuum tubes. I put it together myself, but it didn't work because my soldering iron was meant for roofing, and had melted some parts. A few months later I found out how to get some new parts, and suddenly there were voices from far away. I studied the parts catalog from Allied Radio the way other kids memorized baseball statistics. I built a...
The repeated launch delays did not appear to have diminished the enthusiasm of Bowersox and his six crewmates - Pilot Kent Rominger, Payload Commander Kathy Thornton, Mission Specialists Cady Coleman and Spanish-born Mike Lopez-Alegria and Payload Specialists Fred Leslie and Al Sacco - as they left the Operations and Checkout Building that morning, wearing back-to-front baseball
SRBs ignite, I describe it as somebody taking a baseball bat and swinging it pretty smartly and hitting the back of your seat, because it's a real 'bam'. The vibration and noise is pretty impressive The acceleration level is not that high at that point, but there is that tremendous jolt and you're off ''
Some students of human evolution believe that part of the selection pressure behind this enormous burst in brain evolution was in the motor cortex and not at first in the neocortical regions responsible for cognitive processes. They stress the remarkable abilities of human beings to throw projectiles accurately, to move gracefully, and-as Louis Leakey enjoyed illustrating by direct demonstration-naked, to outrun and immobilize game animals. Such sports as baseball, football, wrestling, track and field events, chess and warfare may owe their appeal-as well as their largely male following-to these prewired hunting skills, which served us so well for millions of
Baseball For Boys
Since World War II, there has been a tremendous change in the makeup and direction of kid baseball, as it is called. Adults, showing an unprecedented interest in the activity, have initiated and developed programs in thousands of towns across the United States programs that providebr wholesome recreation for millions of youngsters and are often a source of pride and joy to the community in which they exist.