Thursday, June 22, 2017

"You want to do what??" A commencement address for the I-school at the University of Maryland (2017)

It's graduation season. 

Last month (May, 2017) I was fortunate to be asked to give the commencement address at the University of Maryland's Information School.  As you might know, I hang out there from time to time talking about information-y things, and it was a real honor to be asked to impart some wisdom to the graduating class as they head out the door to the start of their post-graduate life.  

This is what I said to those students.  I thought you, my fellow SRSers, might enjoy reading this.  

May 22, 2017 * U. Maryland, I-school Commencement Address  

"You want to do what?"  

I've been thinking a great deal about the genre of commencement speeches over the past month.  And I did what anyone from Google would do… I went to YouTube and did a search for: 

     [great commencement speeches] 

over the past couple of years. 

I then sat down to watch about 50 or so.  

I recommend you never do this.   And I mean it: Do NOT do this.  

Basically, they’re an unending series of platitudes and tropes that are either blindingly obvious, or something your parents have already told you.  You’re heard them before.  

They say things like:  

   Don’t give up.  
   You become strong through adversity.  
   Be the best you that you can be.  
   Follow your dreams. 
   Listen to your inner voice. 
   Be true to yourself. 
   Your future is limitless.

Those are all fine things to say, but they’re all very yadda yadda yadda...

And by the tenth video, you’re thinking that these people have to find something new to say.  I got it already. I suspect that these kinds of maxims just wash over the new graduates leaving few dents in their nearly graduated skulls.  

Of course, commencement speeches are like toasts at weddings—you never hear them back-to-back.  They’re occasional speeches never intended to be heard in a row.   

However, I DID learn something. I found a pattern to all of these speeches.  Here it is.  Each speech has 5 movements:  

1. Give thanks to the wonderful people who brought you here. 

2. Tell a touching personal story about how you rose from adversity to be the kind of person who gives commencement speeches. 

3. Mention the name of the university sports mascot and gain instant acclaim.  

4. Draw a high moral lesson from your experience that you really never thought about… until you had to give a commencement speech. 

5. Close with stirring words intended to bring a tear to the eye and elicit a standing ovation.  

Got it?  That’s the pattern.  You may now sleep through the next 100 commencement addresses. 

Except for this one. 

Because I was thinking… What value can *I* bring to you based on my background? 

Let me follow the pattern and first tell you MY touching personal story….

I grew up as the son of a poor family in Southern California.  That meant many meals of white bread and catsup sandwiches because you could feed a family of four for a dollar.  

It was a family that had no academic background at all. I was the first to go to university from my family, and the first to get a graduate degree and a PhD.  

Words like “matriculation” and “registrar” meant a trip to the dictionary.  My parents were curious people with a desire to know more.  They passed that gift to me… along with a used dictionary from a second-hand bookstore. Did you know that previously used, out-of-date edition dictionaries are quite inexpensive?  They’re awfully handy when  you want to figure out what “matriculation” really means.  

But I was also lucky enough to grow up in Los Angeles where your parents could take you to the free museum of science and technology,  and you could boost an old radio or TV from the trash (for a little disassembly and practical electronics).  With the help of some fantastically inspired schoolteachers, a poor kid could pick up enough background knowledge about science and tech to get into the University of California.

So when I graduated with my degree in Information and Computer Science, I had to explain what that was.  Back then I spent all my time talking about computer science because that was the easy to understand part of my degree.  

Only years later, I realized that the information part was the important bit.  Sure the computer science-y algorithmic thinking is important, but that class on archaic Token Ring networking protocols…   not so much.   

What WAS important was learning how to learn—be it word definitions or how to reconstruct a radio from junked parts.  

Mulling over my story made me realize the moral lessons that hadn’t occurred to me…  until I had the chance to give a commencement speech.  

Here are a few insights about the world just ahead of you.  

1.  The world you’re graduating into is different than what’s gone before.  

Yeah, students have always said this  “You just don’t understand… the world is different now.”  Well, you’re right.  In one sense, that’s trivial..  things change.  But I mean it seriously. 

Roughly half of all the jobs you students will have in 10 years are not yet defined.  Another big fraction of the jobs you think you’re aiming for just won’t be there in any recognizable form.  

You’re going to have to be flexible because single-track lifelong employment is rapidly going the way of the Hollerith punch card.  

When I was a lad I dreamed of running a punch card sorter.  The moment I learned how was the moment that they became obsolete.  Punch card machine operator:  Talk about a useless skill for today… Moral:  Stay flexible.  

2.  Your future will be determined not by what you know, but what you can learn between now and then.  

Your ability to LEARN – to be an autodidact (go ahead.. whip out your phone and look it up) will be a major, major key to your success in the future.  

We all know what the information explosion of the past few years has meant.  Yeah, there’s a lot out there—but you need to not just throw up your hands and complain about information overload.  Look, we’ve ALWAYS had information overload.  People have been complaining about this since the dawn of writing.  A big part of what makes you special is that you’ve got some understanding about how the information world is put together, and what to do with all that knowledge.  In other words, 

3.  The I-school has uniquely prepared you to fit into this strange new information world.  

You are an INFORM-ATARION.  Your I-schooling has given you the concepts and tools to understand how information is organized, how it works, who owns it, and how to find the information you need to be a better employee, a better person, a better citizen.  

You’ve learned what a database schema is, and you can use one in hand-to-hand combat.  You know to avoid clickbait and how to critically read through fake news.  

But to the outsiders—the NON-INFORMATION-ATARIANS… The term “information science / management or technology” can be a bit squishy and fuzzy around the edges.  

Yet we know that I-technologies-and-sciences are at the heart of the revolution that is powering many of the economic and social changes worldwide.  

So what does it mean to get a degree in “information science” and why do you want one?  

As my parents asked me:  You want to do WHAT? 

You’ve chosen to be an INFORMATION-ATARIAN… At the very core, that means that you understand what information is, how it’s created, interpreted, transformed, used, and lost or damaged.  

However, it also means you understand not just the scientific and technological basis, but also deeply understand the humans at the center of it all.   

It turns out that this squishy stuff—INFORMATION—is what drives companies like Amazon, Facebook, Lyft, Disney, NASA, the CDC, and Google.  It’s what drives social networks to have billions of active daily users—it’s what allows YouTube to serve over 1 billion hours of video each day.  Sure some of it is funny cat videos, but a LOT of that traffic is educational content that’s bringing knowledge to the world.  

And for someone with your degree, you have the kind of knowledge of how information works… and just as importantly, how HUMANS understand, use, abuse, and misunderstand information.  

Following my commencement talk pattern, I’m going to close with two pieces of advice.  One practical, and one intended to bring a tear to your eye.  

FIRST comes the emotionally important part… this is the eye tearing, emotionally connecting part… 

Let me ask this question again—You want to do what??  This isn’t just about what’s next for your job… but what are you going to do with your life? 

I know, I know… I sound like your parents… and like all of those other commencement addresses.  

But seriously-- what is worth your time and attention?  I mean this broadly. 

4.  THIS is that big moral teaching that is part 4 of the commencement speech pattern.  

Later today, when you find yourself staring into the bottom of a red plastic Solo cup, puzzling out the next steps in your life, think about this:  YOU have the remarkable power to design your life… with all of your individual choices about what to focus on and what to ignore.  And you have to do this every hour, week, year, for the next several decades.  How will you choose to spend your time?  How will you choose to spend your precious attention?  

In a world of even more information, and ever more ways to distract you, the only really limited resource is your personal, human attention.  

In those choices you make about what to attend … you are designing the landscape of your life.  

     And you have to be careful 
     about what you do 
     with the best parts of each day… 

I want you to think about where you put the Heart of Your Day.  

There are only so many hours in each day when you can be fully present, fully engaged, fully woke. 

If you’re working in a full-time job … it’s really only about 4 hours.  Where do you want to place your bets with your time? 

Probably not on clickbait and fake news or all of the attractive widgets that intend to steal your attention.  

Think of it this way:  What are the clickbaits in your life?  Is it college basketball?  Celebrity news?  Fashion?  Twitch gaming?  

Here’s an important Life Hack I’m going to hand down to you:  

Every so often (say, every week or so) you want to interrupt yourself from the terribly important things you’re doing—washing the dishes, playing your two-thousandth game of Angry Birds, League of Legends, or Candy Crush.  Stop and ask yourself—Is this the best way to be spending my time?  Is this where I want my attention to go?   Reflect on each week with care.  It’s the only week you’ve got—live it with attention.  

My advice:  Design your life as though it was your greatest piece of art.   Because it is.  Be conscious of how you spend your attention and where your heart goes… because that’s going to determine what the art of your life actually becomes.   

BUT SECOND comes an important big of incredibly pragmatic advice.  Here it is.  

Nothing makes you lose status in the information world—among your fellow INFORM-ATARIANS  like having a massive loss of personal data.  It tells us that you learned nothing in the I-school.  

So make me proud, make your I-school faculty proud, … and let me give you perhaps the most important piece of advice you might ever get from the I-school: 

Don’t suffer a data loss.   

Back up your files.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

SearchResearch Challenge (6/21/17): Seeing things?

Seeing is complicated and subtle.  

Of course, it works really well most of the time.  We see colors, textures, print, cats, people, silver moonlight on the river, smiles, and that expression from your beloved.  

But sometimes vision gets more complicated than we'd like.  This is our topic for this week--When you see things, what's going on (and how concerned should you be)?  

These three Challenges really happened to me, so I am, naturally, very curious about what you'll discover!  

1.  When I went for a run a while ago, I scampered around a blind corner and smashed my forehead into a stop sign.  The impact didn't hurt much, but it dropped me flat on my back onto the sidewalk.  I got up quickly and resumed running.  Nothing was hurt, BUT this is what my visual field looked like: 

There was a relatively large C-shaped fuzzy spot just to the left of my visual center.  I fell on my back, so my eyes were untouched by the accident.  The good news is that this fuzziness went away on its own after about 1 hour.  Challenge:  WHAT is this visual disruption called?  Should I worry about it? 

2.  Unrelated to Challenge #1, I noticed recently that whenever I look up into a clear blue sky (or at a blank white wall) I see lots of small circles and a few "threads" kind of wandering around.  They're not big enough to obscure anything, and I don't notice them during the ordinary course of the date... but they're kind of odd.  Again, WHAT are these things called?  Should I worry about them?  

3.  Unrelated to #1 or #2:  Even though I have lots of experience seeing the world, I also noticed that when I close my eyes for a second and then look downward rapidly without opening my eyes, I see a fairly large circle appear and then disappear in a couple of seconds.  I'm surprised I've never noticed this before, but I have no idea what this visual effect is called or what causes it!  Can you tell me?  (And let us know if you see this circle appearing when you look down with closed eyes.)  

Let us know what you figure out... let's SEE if you can answer my Challenges! 

As always, let us know what you discover--and just as importantly, HOW you found out what you did.  

Search on! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Two upcoming talks I'm giving this weekend (ALA and IRE)

A Public Service Announcement for librarians, reporters, and editors...  

I'm giving two different talks this weekend.  If you find yourself at either event, please come up and say hi!  (It's great to meet SRS readers in the real world.)  


Saturday, June 24, 2017
American Library Association (ALA)  

where:  Chicago Convention Center, McCormick Place, W180

time:  1PM – 2:30PM 

title:  “What do you need to know? Learning and Knowing in the Age of the Internet
abstract: What does it mean to be literate at a time when you can search billions of texts in less than half a second? Although you might think that "literacy" is one of the great constants that transcends the ages, the skills of a literate person have changed substantially over time as texts and technology allow for new kinds of reading and understanding. Knowing how to read is just the beginning of it -- knowing how to frame a question, pose a query, how to interpret the texts you find, how to organize and use the information you discover, how to understand your metacognition -- these are all critical parts of being literate as well. In this talk I’ll review what literacy is in the age of Google, and show how some very surprising and unexpected skills will turn out to be critical in the years ahead. 


Sunday, June 25, 2017

where:  JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.  Grand Canyon 11-13 (conference room)
time:  9 - 10AM

abstract:  It's happened to you--you need to do a story on a topic that's completely outside of your experience.  Surely there's someone more qualified?  The answer is usually NO.  Now what?  Now you have to come up to speed on that topic ASAP.  In this mini-course I'll show you the strategies and tactics I use to learn a domain as rapidly as possible.  You won't be an expert, but you'll have a bunch of tips and methods to get to competence quickly.  I can't make you pass the PhD exam in quantum physics, but a little knowledge about learning and Google search strategies can get to through that story.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Answer: What's difficult for YOU to find?

As you might have expected, there are many answers.   

I'm not surprised, but the variety of answers (and questions) DID surprise me!  

SRS readers have a wide variety of interests!

 This week's Challenge is about what kinds of SearchResearch questions come up for YOU in your average week.  To restate it: 

1.  What kinds of things do you find tough to research?  In an average week (however you define that),  what topics and questions do you find yourself trying to research?  

Here's what I found (from the 67 different replies I got--not just from the blog, but from other surveys as well).  

I broke the replies down into two groups.  Well, here's my summary of each category.  

A.  Easy searches.  Things we search for all the time (but aren't especially difficult to find).  This is mostly just plain old finding stuff.  Samples include:

   - word definitions
   - how to something (often looking for a YouTube video) 
   - validating interesting things we've heard 
   - simple programming questions
   - recipes
   - street addresses
   - business hours... 

Of course, sometimes these searches turn out to be harder than we expect, and they move into the difficult category.  (Keep reading...)  

B.  Difficult searches.  Things we search for, but ARE difficult to find.  These often take multiple searches, drawing on many information resources at the same time.  Some examples are: 

    - medical procedures
   - vacation information 
   - chemical structures 
   - competing interpretations of events 
   - search for quantitative information 
   - finding information about companies... 

What makes these tasks more difficult?  

There's no simple answer (of course), but based on what I see when I help people solve these kinds of search tasks, there are 4 sources of difficulty.   

1.  The search task goal is unclear and requires that you learn something before you can solve it.  

This is often the case with medical search tasks.  I see people starting their search task with a statement like "I want to learn everything about mesothelioma..."  (Substitute your own medical condition in place of mesothelioma.)  But that's a huge task that's made more difficult by having a great deal of complex medical language standing in the way.  

2.  The good information isn't easily found with Google.  

Yes, I said it... For some topics you really need to go use specialized databases.  This is usually because the specific information you need is owned by a specific data provider or is aggregated by a data provider with particular interest in that topic.  This is usually the case with business data, genealogical, or chemical information.  (That's not to say you can't find some information that's open access on these topics, but sometimes you really have to pay for the good stuff.)  

3.  There's no one-stop shop for your information need--you have to pull from multiple sources. 

This is often the case for complex tasks like "searching for vacation information."  It's not a simple, easily solved query.  Even "one-stop shops" for travel information often don't have the depth of information (or a different point of view) that you might like for your search task.   This is true when you're buying something big for your home (such as "buying a refrigerator"), planning a family trip, or trying to understand how to use the Angular 2 Javascript framework in your programming.  

4.  The information you seek doesn't have an easy-to-search-for name.   

Search terms are important, especially when they're hard to give.  For instance, when you're looking for "quantitative data" about a subject (say, the negotiated sales price of a company), or something that you can recognize but find difficult to name (such as "competing perspective on a hot political topic"), the you've got a tough search time on your hands.  It's not you--really--it's the internet that's not helping you out.  It would be nice if everything was metadata tagged appropriately and correctly, but that's not likely to happen anytime soon.

So.. what can we do about these difficult search tasks?  

I don't have enough space in this blogpost to give you the answer (nor enough time this week).  

But I CAN promise to write SRS Challenges (and corresponding answers) in the weeks ahead.  In particular, I'll write up Challenges and some great methods to handle these sources of difficult in the weeks ahead.   

In particular I'll write up the following ideas: 

* how to find free business data resources (and what tradeoffs you make when you go free, rather than using subscription databases),

* how to do complex "multi-source" research tasks (I'll tell you the methods I use to pull together info from many sources and then organize it to make sense),

* how to articulate your search goal(s) so that you'll have a better chance of finding what you want and minimizing wasted time trying to figure this stuff out, 

* how to articulate the kinds of information you're searching for that's otherwise difficult to name.  

Stay tuned. 

And thanks for all the great ideas!  Your replies (and survey results) were great!  

Search on. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Search results sorted by date?

I wanted to highlight an interesting discussion that's been happening in the comments of last week's Challenge.  

Regular Reader Diane asked a great question: 

"... [is] there is a way to order Google search results by date?I did a search on ["search lessons" ] to get a list of the search lessons you provide in the various challenges. I'd like to be able to order my search results by date, with the most recent one first. Is there a way to do that?"
After she asked that question, Regular Readers Ramón and Remmij pointed out that Diane has two options. 

First, if it's just the blog posts that Diane wants to see in chronological order, the simplest way is to look at the "Blog Archive" on the right hand side.  You can scroll down now to see them.  It looks like this:

As you can see, the entire history of SearchResearch is there, all the way back to 2010.  

(Has it really been 7 years of blogging?? My how the time flies.)  

You can also search for specific topic within all of the blog posts by clicking on the search box in the upper left: 

.. which you can then sort by date.  

HOWEVER... oddly enough, this search tool only shows you the top 6 hits.  If you do a site: search like this, you'll find many more!  

Here, I'm searching for every blog post where I use the word "polymath."  There are 22 results over the past 7 years.  

But perhaps more to the point, you can date restrict any search results by using the time filter tool.  

To do that, click on the "Tools" item (circled in the above image), then select which option you want to restrict by.  

This isn't quite showing the results sorted by time, but you can get pretty close.  Here's my search limited to just 2015.  First you specify the date range for acceptable results by entering just the dates for 2015.  

Then, when you click on "Go" you'll find that you get just the results from the blog that were published in 2015.  

This isn't quite what Diane asked for, but it's pretty useful! 

Search on! 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SearchResearch Challenge (6/14/17): What's difficult for YOU to find?

By now you know... 

... what kinds of research questions that come up for me.  In the past couple of months we've done research on: 

     - finding shadows in ball parks 
     - what kind of mirages cause ships to apparently float in mid-air 
     - how to find tweets from a particular place 
     - finding cartoons from a not-quite-correct description 
     - how to build an interactive widget for the island-viewing problem
     - exploding seeds 

So you know that I'm interested in the kinds of questions prompted by photos like this:  

Major General George A. Custer, officer of the Federal Army. (circa April 15, 1865)
Brady National Photographic Art Gallery (Washington, D.C.).
Did George Custer have freckles?  

(Or is it an imperfect in the photographic process?  Or is it some other skin condition?)  

Where did that crazy uniform design come from?  Was that standard Federal Army issue?  

But that's not the question for today.  Today's Challenge is about what kinds of SearchResearch questions come up for YOU in your average week.  Here's your Challenge for this week: 

1.  What kinds of things do you find tough to research?  In an average week (however you define that),  what topics and questions do you find yourself trying to research?  

I'm asking this question broadly (in my Facebook posting, on Twitter, G+, through surveys, and other venues).  

Next week I'll pull together the answers that have come my way, and I'll try to identify themes and topics.  (And, in the process, try to come up with some future SRS Challenges that will be based on what I hear from you.)  

Search on!  (And tell me what kinds of things you do research for, and what makes it difficult!)  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Answer: Finding shadows in ball parks?

There's simple.. and then there's simple...  

The FIRST version of this week's SRS Challenge was a bit too simple.  Finding shade at Yankee Stadium (along with several other stadiums) is pretty easy:  lots of fans have written up guides to sun and shade.  That's a handy thing to remember.  

So a query like: 

     [ sun shade yankee stadium ] 

will find notes from all of the fans, documenting where to sit to be in the shade.  
Too easy.  

So let me rewrote the Challenge just a bit to make it more general... 

1.  My brother has changed his mind, and now he's going to see a baseball game at the Red Wings baseball stadium in Rochester, New York on June 11th.  The game starts at 1PM.  Where can I get a seat that will be both near the field and in the shade for the whole game?

Here's  Frontier Field, located in downtown Rochester. Founded in 1899, the Red Wings are the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North America below the major league level. Located at 43.1551745,-77.6196905 (lat, long). 

More to the point, I would like a method that lets me figure out the shadows for anyplace--be it Frontier Field in Rochester, or a lesser-known place like Kezar Stadium in San Francisco that doesn't have a stable fan base to write out such notes!  

As we've discussed before, the ideal solution would be to find a tool that let's you figure out the sun and shade for any place.  (And an even BETTER solution would let you create a 3D model of the stadium)  

So my goal is to find such a tool.  My first query was: 

     [ finding shadows tool ] 

which led me to -- a web tool designed exactly for such a thing!  

So let's go back to Yankee Stadium and figure out where the shadows will be for the game.  (You can do this same process for Frontier Field...) 

When you go to the site, you can selection the location (see the lat / long box in the upper left), select the date (calendar).  The sun position chart shows sunrise (the green arrow on the right, showing it rising in the east) and sunset (the red arrow on the left).  

Note that you can also set the Timezone (which for this time of year is EDT -- or UTC-5 (which is the same as "5 hours before GMT").  

Once you've got these location and time set up, you can bring in an aerial image (of Yankee Stadium), and THEN you can draw in the relevant walls of the stadium. 

You click on "Background Image: (choose file)" to upload the image of the stadium. 

Then you can move the brown boxes to approximate the edges of stadium.  (Drag the corners to move them side-to-side, and click on the green center dot to rotate the rectangle.) 

Note that I filled in the height parameter (bottom line of the interface--it's 123 feet high--I looked it up), so the gray shadows show the actual shadows at that time (1PM) in this stadium (the model of Yankee stadium). 

With this tool, you can model shadows for anyplace you might like, such as Estadio Azteca (located at 19.303204,-99.1516849), Kezar Stadium, or Frontier Field in Rochester!  

Estadio Azteca, with a difficult shadow line.  Be sure you sit in the shade! 

Of course, if you want, you can grab a seating chart image, then rotate, scale it, and make it transparent to see which seats you might like to have.  Here's a closeup of me doing that.  I find where the shadow is, then pull up the translucency so I can find out what section and seats are there. 

When you play around with this (as I did), you can see that most of the seats along the first base side of the field (lower left) are in the shade starting at 1PM.  But advancing the clock to 3PM, you'll find that some of the seats near home plate start to get some sun!  

In any event, now you know how to figure out the sun orientation (and shade patterns) for basically any place in the world.  You can now go to that sports event confident that you'll be in the shade the entire time.  (Or not, as you wish.)  

In the process of playing around with, I also ran across a really interesting article on the physics and factors involved--"Lost in the park: The physics of ballpark orientation," which is a fascinating read.  

Search Lessons 

There really is only one giant take-away from this week's Challenge, but it's an important one: 

1.  ALWAYS look for a tool when you're trying to do tool-like searches.  A good query is to search for the basics (e.g., [ sun shade .. ] and add in tool  Yes, there are fan tables of sunshine and shade, but many of them are for specific days in the year and for a specific location. is purpose-built for this kind of thing.  It's almost certainly better than any table you're going to find.  (Although it is a bit more complicated to use!)  

That was fun.  Up next--even more fun in searching out the unusual and obscure.  

Search on!  

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Finding shadows in ball parks? An update. Version 2.

When I said it was going to be simple,
I didn't mean THAT simple!  

As Regular Readers quickly found out, Yankee Stadium (along with several other stadiums) offers online guides to sun and shade.  That's a handy thing to remember.  

But I want to up the ante just a little bit, and propose that we try to find a more general solution than that.  

So let me rewrite the Challenge just a bit: 

1.  My brother has changed his mind, and now he's going to see a baseball game at the Red Wings baseball stadium in Rochester, New York on June 11th.  The game starts at 1PM.  Where can I get a seat that will be both near the field and in the shade for the whole game?

Here's the picture of the stadium where the  Rochester Red Wings play.  They're a minor league baseball team based in Rochester, New York. They play in the International League farm team for the Minnesota Twins. They  play in Frontier Field, located in downtown Rochester. Founded in 1899, the Red Wings are the oldest continuously operating sports franchise in North America below the major league level.

To help you out, the field looks like this (see below), and is located at 43.1551745,-77.6196905 (lat, long). 

(I did a quick search and didn't find an online guide to sun / shade and seats at this particular place.)  

So can you help me figure this out?  The ideal solution could take any stadium and predict where the sun and shadows will be at 1PM on June 11.  

Search on! 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

SearchResearch Challenge (6/7/17): Finding shadows in ball parks?

Take me out to the ball game... 

Outdoor sports stadiums sometimes have a little trouble with the sun.  

Yes, it's great to be outdoors watching the players doing their thing, but it's also sometimes a hassle, especially if you're watching a long baseball game in the hot sun, or a player trying to track a ball on a long throw as it passes from full-sun into full-shadow.

Stadiums outdoors have issues with sunlight and shadows.

My brother asked me a version of this Challenge earlier this week.  Much to my surprise, it was easier than I thought it would be.  Here's my version of what he asked me: 

1.  I'm going to see a baseball game at the New York Yankees baseball stadium on June 11th.  The game starts at 1PM.  Where can I get a seat that will be both near the field and in the shade for the whole game?

As I said, I was surprised at how simple this was to solve.  Can you find the answer that I did? 

The Search Game is on!  (But put on sun screen.)