Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BASEBALL: World Series, Game 1

6-1 Phillies! Robin Roberts, thou art avenged!

The Phillies made more runs in this game than they did against the Yankees in the whole four-game series in 1950. No game in that series was this kind of blowout -- all but one were decided by a single run. And although the Yankees swept that Series, it was, in the words of one Yankee, "closer than it looked." The games were tough, tense pitching duels.

A few of the Whiz Kids are still alive. Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts is taking part in the festivities. Curt Simmons, who wasn't permitted to play in the 1950 Series, having been taken by the military, is also still around.

I'm glad some of the Whiz Kids survived to see this. It is very, very sweet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Science Fun, California Style

You can't accuse California scientists of making their work mysterious and inaccessible. They're much more likely to throw open the doors for a science party. Last week we had Impact Night, an all-night bash at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View to watch the LCROSS satellite smash into the moon. This cross between a slumber party and the iPhone's midnight product release allowed as many as a thousand curious people to watch the impact on a vast outdoor screen. They also watched movies and listened to guest speakers.

Today at 10:15AM, science will strike again when millions of Californians participate in the Great California ShakeOut, the largest earthquake drill in history. (I'll be at the DMV. I wonder if I'll need to drop, cover, and hold on.) Many schools and museums will have special activities as well as participating in the drill.

On Saturday, October 17, we're celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Loma Prieta, the earthquake that struck during the World Series.San Francisco will hold "Where Were You in 89?" neighborhood block parties as well as resource fairs for disaster preparedness. You can also play Beat the Quake online.

All this frivolity over a serious subject—is it appropriate? People have died in quakes—at least 3000 in the great 1906 earthquake, 62 in Loma Prieta. We're all at risk. Yet in my opinion, staying aware without staying terrified is the best way to handle living in a seismically active zone. (Or anywhere else, really.) And the games, fairs, parties, and drills allow people to learn and stay aware while having some fun.

California. We dance on the edge of destruction.