Note: “TL;DR” means “too long; didn’t read”.
11. I was born in Fukuoka, Japan (Island of Kyushu) on Itazuke Air Force Base.
My father was in the Air Force and I lived all over the place. As far as my birthplace: Itazuke AFB stuff can be found here.
10. In grades 1-12 I went to 10 different schools (3 different states, 2 different countries) and have taken classes at 5 different universities.
Narimasu Elementary, Mather (AFB) Elementary (outside of Sacramento, CA), Becker elementary (Austin, TX), Zilker Elementary (Austin, TX), Douglas Elementary (Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota), Green Park Elementary, Kanto Mura Middle, Tachikawa Middle, Yokota High (Japan), Travis HS (Austin, TX). Colleges: US Naval Academy (BS Math), Texas-San Antonio (one class), University of New Haven (3 classes), University of Texas, Austin (Ph. D. Math), Bradley University (33 hours, Industrial Engineering).
9. First NFL game seen: 1962 49′ers vs. Browns (Jim Brown played). First college game: Texas vs. Rice in 1969 (UT won the national championship that year.
I remember very little about the 1962 NFL game. I remember some of the Rice vs. Texas game. I’ve seen several bowl games (8 Cotton Bowls), several seasons of Navy, Texas (9 home seasons), Illinois (3 so far), as well as Cowboys, Rams, Buccaneers, Patriots, Colts and Bears home games. NBA: I saw a few Spurs home games and a Rockets home game; I saw one NBA playoff game (NBA champion Lakers in 1988). Yes, I got to see Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Akeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abadul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley play.
8. I’ve played 10 different sports (or events) at some organized level. I sucked at ALL of them.
Football (little league through high school), baseball (little league, pony league), basketball (junior high), track and field (shot put), judo (college club sport), crew (rowing): Freshman scrub team in college, distance running (public meets and races), swimming (swim meet, open water swim), triathlon (one short one), race walking, distance walking. I had dreams of being a professional athlete, but I have zero athletic ability.
7. I backed Anita Bryant’s anti-gay rights crusade in the 1970′s and was anti-gay rights until 1982. Then in the late 1990′s, I was the President of the Peoria Chapter of the ACLU for a couple of years.
I lost most of my anti-gay prejudice when I met some gay men at a party. They kissed each other; I expected to be disgusted and grossed out. Instead it was “oh…that’s it?” I just didn’t care afterward; I saw my beliefs were irrational. It was the easiest “major” change of view I’ve ever had.
6. I was raised Roman Catholic and seriously considered becoming a priest in 1985. My issues with religions are mostly intellectual ones (I reject the supernatural stuff).
My beef: I accept naturalism (things happen for natural causes) and I see nothing “special” about the earth or our tiny place in the universe. I think that it is highly unlikely that a bunch of sheep herders got it right several thousand years ago and much more likely that they were just making stuff up. I am open to evidence of a non-human centered “creative force/whatever” but not so open to ancient human religions.
5. My favorite non-technical college class was Chinese Politics taught by Professor Rao.
I enjoyed Professor Farley’s Spanish classes too, though I was a poor language student (no ear for the language; reading was ok)
4. I’ve actually had a poem accepted for publication (in some fly-by-night outfit called “Graffiti on the Asylum Walls”; it was about the consequences of seeing VPLs on a woman working out in the gym.
This poem was inspired by my seeing a woman in shiny pink spandex shorts with striped panties in the weight room.
3. Most of my published work appears in The College Mathematics Journal or in The Journal of Knot Theory and its Ramifications. Areas: knot theory (geometric toplogy) and real analysis.
My first was in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society. I’ve also had things in the American Mathematical Monthly , Journal of the Mexican Mathematical Society and the Houston Journal of Mathematics, Missouri Journal of the Mathematical Sciences and in refereed conference proceedings.
2. My love of frogs came from my dad; we used to play with a pair of stuffed frogs that my mom made from scratch. Dad’s frog was called “yellow eyes” (eyes were made from yellow buttons); my frog was called “silver eyes”.
Also, I’d capture large American toads and keep them in a box overnight and let them go the next morning.
1. My first car was a Datsun 210; my first house (owned) was in Ledyard, CT. (near Groton/New London).
This frog is going to lose its Frog Card.
How much human variation is there? Check this out:
Melissa Wilson Sayres blogs at mathbionerd and Panda’s Thumb. A recent post on Panda’s Thumb address a tweet from Daniel Wegmann where he said “Every non-lethal genome position is variable in the human population.”
She asks “Is this true?” and proceeds to show that it is [How many mutations?]. She assumes that the human mutation rate is 1.2 × 10-8 per sit per generation. Multiply this by 7.16 billion people on the planet and you get an average of 86 mutations at every single base pair in the human genome.1
Many of these mutations will be deleterious and they will be quickly eliminated from the population if they are lethal or cause severe problems. Some moderately and slightly deleterious mutations will be present in the population because they haven’t yet been eliminated by negative selection. (Some will have no effect if they are present in only one copy of your diploid genome.)
To a first approximation, the statement is pretty accurate.
Surf to read the discussion. Basically, for every gene that does something, there are a LOT of alleles, at least world wide.
I’ve seen this in my life. I’ve had some of the best outcomes when doctors told me: “we need to treat the symptom; the cause will take care of itself” or “testing you for this will yield no useful information” and “you don’t need antibiotics; you just need to rest and drink lots of water”. In the later case I thought the doctor was a quack, but when I did what she told me to do, I got well!
Bubonic plague: it is still with us (in mutated form?); some squirrels have it.
Freezing light by taking advantage of quantum mechanics
You can read about it here; basically one group of scientists used a laser to make a crystal transparent at a narrow frequency of light, shot a beam of light through it and used another beam to shut off the “make it transparent” laser to “freeze” the light. When they transparency was turned back on, the signal was still there.
74 F, 79 percent humidity. But there were others out there, albeit on their way back.
This 8.0x mile course features a nice, cool, 1 mile segment through a “canopy” of trees and offered shade much of the way. Still, I was dying:
1:25 for 8.0x miles; 43:20 out, 41:40 back, which included a very brief walk break at 4.2 miles. I am glad that I didn’t give up on it. A younger couple passed me (female in black spandex shorts) on the way back; on the way out I saw a large group of lady runners and a few cyclists.
I wanted to chase the couple but thought better of it; it was a good thing too because I wasn’t in the best of shape at the finish. Whew! Mind you, I wasn’t running that hard.
Low hemoglobin + warm temperatures = tough day for even a medium length “run”.
There is a Chinese toad that actually grows spikes on its upper lip for a brief period during mating season; it also exhibits some unusual behavior.
Surf to the link at Jerry Coyne’s website to read more.
My social struggles
Remember those old friction exercisers?
I didn’t use this model; I used one that was marketed by Bart Starr (it had green canister) but it worked the same way.
You could use it for curls, rows, and then anchor it with a door to do lat type exercises, among other things. Some might even still use it:
I used mine fairly regularly, especially during football season when we didn’t lift weights. I also did a LOT of pushups.
I remember Sundays: I’d have my black and white television on in my room and the NFL game would be on; I’d watch the game while using this thing. I just KNEW what I was seeing my future.
Well, here is what happens with most young people: toward the end of high school, they get a grip, and start looking at realistic options for the futre. Me: I still had the dream of being a big time football player; I couldn’t let it go until…well..the realization came that it wouldn’t happen.
Plebe summer at Annapolis was a real eye opening experience; we were all together and I soon saw the enormous gap between me and those who were recruited for the various sports teams. It became apparent how un-athletic I was; it was humiliating. I had trouble passing the obstacle course (good athletes saw it as a bit of a joke).
It wasn’t all bad though; later I found out that I did reasonably well in certain other areas but that isn’t the point in the post.
My point: it seems that, when one changes a situation (gets older, goes to a new school, gets a new job, moves to a different social setting), there are a blizzard of “unspoken rules” or “unspoken points of etiquette” that other people pick up on, without having to be told. I was TERRIBLE at that; I still am. In fact, I’ve learned to make it a point to learn these unspoken rules and to quietly ask others if I am confused.
This is one of the reasons I didn’t do well as a Naval officer, though I started to catch on toward the end. I do eventually catch on and end up extracting my head from my butt, but sometimes it is not until I wore some people’s nerves raw.
So, back to the exer-genie example: most people do NOT need to be told when they need to grow up and let go of childhood fantasies. I was NOT one of those people; I needed cold, hard reality to kick me in the teeth.
Yes, some females of some frog species choose the males that either croak the loudest or that have the right “pitch” of croak.
This type of poison dart frog: well, she just choses the closest male.
Here a Frog fights off a grass snake:
In this longer video, it appears as if the frog is a goner (at 4-4:30 into it). The frog keeps fighting, gets in the water and works its way almost out; then at 8:30 another frog appears (slow it down) and appears to attack the snake; a biologist told me that the second frog was probably either attacking the first frog or trying to mate with it. In either event, the snake gets chased off and swims away, still hungry and completely humiliated.
Woo and yoga
Someone asked me how I could like yoga and be down on “alternative (quack) medicine”. Well, there have been some rigorous studies done on yoga and it CAN be recommended for physical therapy purposes (e. g. back aches). Via our National Institute of Health.
This Tiger Frog from Ghana is a cutie:
Movies: I want to see this one:
Note: my beef with religion, at least as practiced in the west, is that too many of them require people to accept “miracles” (resurrections, parting seas, virgin births, etc.) on “faith” (sans evidence). So once you “accept” that the laws of science (naturalism) can be suspended at set times, then, well, why trust science with anything? Seriously: if there is, say, water on your basement floor and a pipe joint above that with green on the joint…well…if you didn’t SEE it drip, then maybe the water and the green just appeared because of the work of some devil or pixie? Why not…if suspensions of naturalism are allowed?
My beef is NOT with religions that don’t require acceptance of miracles.
It is my opinion that a deity/spirit/whatever that is interested in humans and human affairs makes no sense, but that is the realm of opinion.
The eye of a super-hurricane at Saturn’s north pole looks like a peaceful red rose in a fresh bouquet of pictures from NASA’s Cassini orbiter. But don’t be fooled: That rosy appearance is merely due to the false colors ascribed to infrared wavelengths.
This storm’s eye measures 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) in diameter, about 20 times wider than the average hurricane’s eye on Earth. The outer clouds at the hurricane’s edge are traveling at 330 mph (530 kilometers per hour), which would be off the scale on our planet. The vortex whirls inside Saturn’s mysterious hexagonal cloud pattern, and it’s not going anywhere.
How do you like this image of the moon taking from space near the earth?
Here is a picture of a solar eclipse via Scientific American:
Miloslav Druckmüller, a mathematician at the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, and his colleagues were on Enewetak as the eclipse’s shadow raced toward them from the northwest at more than twice the speed of sound. This composite of 31 images from the eclipse shows the solar corona, the wispy “atmosphere” of the sun peeking out from behind the moon as well as the cratered, rayed surface of the moon itself.
Back on Earth Again
This species of fish, commonly found in China, Russia and Korea, has been found in New York. It is an invasive species.
Even more interestingly, it can actually breathe outside of water for a short period of time (days) and even hunt.
Workout notes 10K walk in 1:27:50; it was dark and took me a while to get going. 1:12:18 for the first 5.1 or so (Cornstalk).
Personal: first day of class. First lesson in the books.
Movies On Hulu: the “horror” film Frogs.
Ok, ok, the “frogs” are really Cane toads (Bufo Marinus) and their “ribbits” are taking from Pacific tree frogs (Pseudacris regilla) but the story line is awesome: the “frogs” are mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore!!! So, the frogs direct an army of: insects, snakes, alligators, iguanas, snapping turtles and birds to do in those pesky humans. And the “frogs” win, big time! Best part: the very end when the frogs do in the main villain by….well…basically “ribbiting” him to death. Really.
Note: you can watch the film free of charge at the above link on Hulu.
Awesome movie…..must see!
(those toads are just adorable!!!)
Must. See. It.
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