Baseball and Not Baseball

What I Learned This Week

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Letters to Stabenow and Peters

Note: I emailed these because these are allies and I wanted to make it easier on their staff than on Trump’s or Trott’s. (Although I expect Trump may not even have his staff read these).

Dear Senator Stabenow:

I would like to thank you for your support of progressive issues over the year. I know with the current make up of the Congress, and the current occupant of the White House you will have to work very hard to preserve that progress.

I write about a more fundamental issue. In a letter to Mr. Trump I spelled out a few things that have me concerned about the health of our governing system. I indicated that:

  • A president must report truthfully to the press. A president must not attack the press for doing their essential job. Tyrants and autocrats casually lie to the press. People hiding their true intentions lie to the press.
  • A president must respect the first amendment. A president must not single out people, or groups of people based on their ethnicity, or religion. A president must respect the rights of people to peaceably assemble.
  • A president president must release tax returns and other documents so that the people can be reassured that the president’s decisions are based on his opinion of what is best for the people and not on what is best for the president.

I’m sure my list of bullets could be extended. I further indicated to Mr. Trump that if he continues to attack the press, to call for registries of citizens based on their religion, to call for further restriction on voting, to try to roll back civil rights, or to try to restrict access to health care, then he will surely hear from me and see me.

I vote, I write letters, I mobilize others, I support financially candidates who share my views, and I will join protests to preserve the Republic and to ensure equal opportunity for its citizens. I hope and expect I can count on the support of my senators in this endeavor.

Yours truly,

Jeff Morford

Polleverywhere Revisited


I tried Polleverywhere again after a couple years away from it. Polleverywhere is a system that allows you to poll students using texts, Twitter, web browsers, an app or a combination of these. It has made some big improvements for math. One big limitation, unfortunately is compatibility with so I cannot show you live examples of the polls I made. I’ll try to describe them.

Open Ended Poll

Open Ended Poll

One big plus is that you can put images in answer choices now. So, math expressions and equations can go in multiple choice answers. You cannot put them in the questions so that is only sometimes helpful. You can also just put an image up as the question and have regions of the image defined for the answers. The drawback to this is that students then must have a smartphone to vote using the browser or an app. You have a lot of control over the voting. For instance I plan to use this for a coin tossing experiment to generate a histogram. I’ll allow each group to send in exactly 5 responses to how many heads did you get when you tossed 10 coins.

Image Poll

Image Poll

There are a couple of serious limitations. I used to get around the lack of images in questions by posting both the question and the poll to Power Point. The questions could just refer to the image. This now requires a plug-in. Our College maintains a policy of protecting the equipment over using the equipment for education so we cannot install software ourselves. To use this I’d have to have IT staff install the plug-in on my PC and all the classroom PC’s I use. Alternately I could use a laptop and plug into the data projector (even though I think we are also not supposed to mess with those wires either.)

The other is the ad stating that this is a free account.  I certainly don’t object to any business model that Polleverywhere wants to use. The small ad that shows in Chrome is certainly reasonable. However, in Internet Explorer the free account announcement is huge and in the center of the screen. It makes the free product unusable in the classroom if you only have access to that browser.

Experimenting with Using a Background Image

Experimenting with Using a Background Image

Instructors may pay $349 for a semester of polleverywhere to get extra features and the ad removed, or may pass the cost on to students at $14 each. Both of these are a great alternative to forcing students to buy clickers. Both are great improvements over their pricing a few years ago. However, alternate methods of informal assessment are (essentially) free. Unless I decide to build my class around this kind of assessment I think I will stick with the free version and other methods of informal assessment. If I still taught sections of 200 like I did early in my career I might make a different choice.

June 30 Pitcher Result Chart


I just want to upload the image full-size to link to Twitter. Click to enlarge.

June 30

June 30

Results by pitcher through 50 games

Smyly starts 2-5; Porcello starts 8-2; JV starts 7-4; Max starts 8-3; Sanchez starts 4-4; Ray starts 1-2.

The Tigers are 10-6 in one run games.

Results by Pitcher

Results by Pitcher (Click to Enlarge) and WebAssign #amatyc


We (HFCC) really need to look at Openstax. Over the next two years we can save all students $100+ dollars as books are developed. This is a huge takeaway from the conference.

You can still have online homework through WebAssign.

Friday at AMATYC


I’ll probably post session summaries into Notability files and put their links here today. This will allow me to take better notes. Also, since I don’t have Wifi in the conference areas anymore I can’t easily live update.

Here is what I plan to attend:

Mirtova will speak about Financial Literacy Projects for Financial Mathematics. I hope this is relevant to our new Math 131 course.

Mellon will speak about using mathematics to teach financial Literacy. This could be relevant in Math 081 (pending approval) or Math 131.

The Midwest Regional Luncheon is today. This is a session dedicated to networking and finding volunteers for the positions needed to run the organization. I’m unlikely to take notes about that session.

I will attend a corporate session about one of the books we may use for Math 081 (pending approval). I hope to learn how others use the book and any criticisms or suggestions that they have.

(I will attend a session by Clark and Anfinson about activities they use in algebra courses. This isn’t a ‘big picture’ session. I hope to hear about a few things I haven’t tried yet.) Oops- the McGraw-Hill Session ran long.


3 Free Mud Hens Tickets for August 11 (Details In Blog Post)


This is an off target use of the blog to avoid Twitter’s 140 character limit.

We are taking a group to Toledo for my daughter’s birthday and three people backed out. We already have tickets to the other Mud hens games we can attend so we are not going to exchange them. If you are interested in 2 or 3 free tickets to the game on Saturday please DM me (@highops).

The tickets are Section 104 Row D Seat 7 and 104 Row E Seats 17 and 18. We would work with you to make sure your actual seats were contiguous that day though.

And don’t worry about the celebration. We would just be glad to see the tickets used.

I would need an email to start an electronic transfer. I’m not sure what it entails on your end to receive the tickets. Probably you would need to set up an account with Minor League Baseball.

Updating Spreadsheets . . .


I know most people think it is too early for the chase posts so I won’t cross post anywhere.  This does not include the Tigers result from today as that game will be played starting at 8 PM.

June 10 5:30 EDT

June 10 5:30 EDT

The Tigers also got a win in the Fister/Wilk/Crosby slot this week.

June 9 Results by Starting Pitcher

June 9 Results by Starting Pitcher (Click to Enlarge)

Can the Tigers Win 60% of Their Remaining Games?


It is too early for the standing and chase posts.  I’m going to post one anyway.



The unbelievable late May run by the White Sox has them on pace to win 85-90 games even if they play just over 0.500 baseball the rest of the year.  Since many of their hitters are doing better than expected I think the White Sox can do that.  Obviously Konerko can’t keep up the pace he is on, but he looks like he will have a good year if healthy.  Dunn is making it impossible to make Done jokes this year.  Pierczynski is hitting well.  Beckham has even shown signs he has figured it out at times.

At any rate it looks like the Tigers need to win around 60% of their remaining games to be in the same neighborhood in late September.  Some of their under performing hitters need to do better.  This may happen.  But, the injuries to Jackson and Dirks have deprived them of two of the guys who were actually hitting.  They have been replaced by Quintin Berry and Matt Young.  Both players needed to be added to the 40-man roster because they were not really considered prospects.  The Tigers are also using their third string catcher due to hamstring injuries to the first two catchers.  So, the run may not start anytime soon.

Combine this with a June that features only 9 more home games and the Tigers may need quite a run in July and August to get back in the Central Division Race.

There are still lots of head-to-head games with Chicago.  The injury bug may move on from Detroit and head to Chicago.  Lots can change.  I don’t believe in a “panic button.”  But, my “lever of resignation” is pulled 2/3 the way for the 2012 Tigers.