# blueollie

## TMI….

This is only for my records: last night saw me getting up a LOT and a LOT of pink bismuth. Otherwise, I don’t feel that bad; I was told by my spouse (who lovingly gave me this bug ) that this should “pass” in a couple of more days.

I might walk again today and try something approaching a full workout tomorrow.

So, just a bit of humor:

## Stretching and Grumpy Cat

Did I tell you that I LOVE Grumpy Cat!

Stretching
Probably the main reason I gave up 6 am yoga is that my runs right after class were usually horrible. Perhaps this is why:

Now, two new studies are giving us additional reasons not to stretch.

One, a study being published this month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout. Those findings join those of another new study from Croatia, a bogglingly comprehensive re-analysis of data from earlier experiments that was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Together, the studies augment a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.

Many issues related to exercise and stretching have remained unresolved. In particular, it is unclear to what extent, precisely, subsequent workouts are changed when you stretch beforehand, as well as whether all types of physical activity are similarly affected.

For the more wide-ranging of the new studies, and to partially fill that knowledge gap, researchers at the University of Zagreb began combing through hundreds of earlier experiments in which volunteers stretched and then jumped, dunked, sprinted, lifted or otherwise had their muscular strength and power tested. For their purposes, the Croatian researchers wanted studies that used only static stretching as an exclusive warm-up; they excluded past experiments in which people stretched but also jogged or otherwise actively warmed up before their exercise session.

The scientists wound up with 104 past studies that met their criteria. Then they amalgamated those studies’ results and, using sophisticated statistical calculations, determined just how much stretching impeded subsequent performance.

The numbers, especially for competitive athletes, are sobering. According to their calculations, static stretching reduces strength in the stretched muscles by almost 5.5 percent, with the impact increasing in people who hold individual stretches for 90 seconds or more. While the effect is reduced somewhat when people’s stretches last less than 45 seconds, stretched muscles are, in general, substantially less strong.

They also are less powerful, with power being a measure of the muscle’s ability to produce force during contractions, according to Goran Markovic, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Zagreb and the study’s senior author. In Dr. Markovic and his colleagues’ re-analysis of past data, they determined that muscle power generally falls by about 2 percent after stretching.

In short, the lengthened, relaxed muscles stored less energy.

But on the other hand, the benefits from a stronger core were also gone. Hence I might return to yoga, but take the evening class the way that I used to. It does make my back and hamstrings feel better and I am not disciplined enough to do full routines AFTER running or lifting (I do a few poses…sometimes).

## Hiking, Science, Math and funny videos…

Workout notes Slow, easy hike (1:09 outer loop, 54 minute out and back for 2:03 for 10K) at the hilly Forest Park Nature Center. There were several other hikers out there. One middle aged lady was struggling with a hill; she said that she “bit off more than she could chew” with her first hike of the season. We agreed that if there is a time to get stiff and sore, it is now.

It was a very pretty day; the best we’ve had in a while.

Observations: the vast majority of hikers are slender; today I saw a couple of exceptions.
The parking lot: what struck me is that there were several hybrid cars and no large trucks; there were a couple of smaller SUVs. This is very different that what you see in the parking lot of the all-you-can-eat restaurants.

Humor and working out:

Video
Why would ANYONE think of me when they saw this on Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Science
Here is an article about these “caveman diets” and the fallacy of “if it is natural it must be better” medicine/diet. Note: I know that some people simply can’t eat certain foods (e. g. my wife has celiac disease, which was diagnosed by a blood test given by a doctor.)

Mathematics

Now I think that I know what is meant by this: if someone says “x is obvious and therefore does not require proof” they are on dangerous ground. Though there are a few all-time-great mathematicians that can make correct conjectures that aren’t proven until much later, the vast majority of us had better be able to prove what we claim; our intuitions, while necessary and valuable, can lead us astray.

For example, I once spent 2 years trying to prove something but couldn’t; the reason: it was false! Happily I eventually sought out and found a counterexample and published that.

You see some “obvious facts” (which are false) repeated over and over again!
For example, in some quantum mechanics text books and notes, you see the claim: if $\int^{\infty}_{-\infty} \psi^2(x) dx$ is finite and exists then $lim_{x \rightarrow \infty} \psi(x) = 0$ which is FALSE, even if $\psi$ is smooth.

Note: if you don’t know this, and want some hints:
1. Think: convergent infinite series
2. Think: a sequence of tall, thin rectangles that get taller and thinner; each area is the value of the term of your favorite convergent infinite series.
3. Smooth with a bump function.

Of course, the uninitiated are sometimes confused by this saying and said this (on someone else’s wall):

“Yeah, cause we wouldn’t want any part of mathematics to be intuitive or anything human-like.”

I don’t know the spirit with which this was said. But this LOOKS (to me; but I could be wrong) like “if it is too opaque for me to understand it must be bad”. You do see attitudes like this a LOT.

But the blunt truth: mathematics, science and engineering are hard, and progress at both the theoretical and practical levels is difficult. Smart people have to work hard and put forth a great deal of intellectual effort. But the results: well, efficient engines, medicines, modern electronics, this computer, etc. “Common sense” is woefully insufficient at the research levels, even if it is necessary to be successful in one’s day to day life and one suffers if one lacks it.

March 31, 2013

## Memes, photos and some Colbert

Football season: kickoff for Illinois football is only 5 short months away.

I don’t recall football players looking this attractive.

Click to see the actual Colbert clip, which is about gay marriage. It is pretty good. But you KNOW that I liked the photo.

Yes, success, at least what modest success I’ve had, has NEVER been of the “straight line” variety. There are ALWAYS detours, false starts, and setbacks along the way. ALWAYS.

Hey, you had better register that MATLAB program (I know: “matrix laboratory” not “mathematics laboratory”). Or…Spell-check strikes again!

Remember those B-rated “horror” movies from 20-30 years ago (or make that 40-50 years ago)? I think that the creator of this poster for a Facebook page did a good job of capturing that feel:

Yes, “lesbain” is intentional.

March 28, 2013

## Ok, the Creationists have checkmated me

To get the joke, you have to know about the Creation Museum.

Yes, they have one of these as a display:

(image from here)

March 19, 2013

March 10, 2013

## Riddle Me This…(poll included)

I was going past a university area and I saw a young (20′s? woman). She made my heart go “pitter-pat”; I was almost in “love at first sight”.

When I saw her, what was she doing that made me so love struck?

(ok, back to work; I am avoiding coordinating references for my paper. )

## Meowhammed Ali

(title was shamelessly stolen from a comment made by Redscout3 at youtube)

Note: my back is a bit more sore than normal. I have to stretch it really well; perhaps do some yoga and a light jog.

## Whines and War….potential

Workout notes 5K walk (38:10, via 12:23/12:15/12:00/1:30) on the track after weights and PT
rotator cuff
pull ups (4 sets of 10, 1 broken set of 10)
incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 155, 4 x 150, 6 x 145
dumbbell rows/dumbbell bench presses: 3 sets of 10 with 65 lb. dumbbells.
military presses (dumbbell) 2 sets of 15 x 45, 1 set of 10 x 50
curls: 2 sets of 10 x 25, 1 set of 7 x 30, 5 x 25.
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160 (one with rotated grip)
Also did 2 sets of leg sets (adduction, abduction, push backs) and abs (crunches, twists, vertical crunches, sit backs)
Lots of PT and stretching.

Running: when do you replace shoes? Upshot: there isn’t much data on what “works”.

Over-controlling parents may cause depression and other negative psychological effects in college students, according to a recent study. Boston University faculty said this trend of “hovering parents” and its repercussions could be tied to the cost of college.
“On a societal level, it could be partly the rising costs of college education,” said Julian Go, a BU sociology professor. “Parents are rightfully thinking of education as an investment. It pushes parents to be more concerned, or intrusive, in their investment.”
Researchers studied about 300 college students between the ages of 18 and 23 at a public liberal arts college and found those with overactive parents reported significantly greater depression and a lesser sense of fulfillment, according to a study released in the February 2013 issue of the Journal of Child and Family studies.
“Our data suggest that an inappropriate level of parental behavioral control is associated with negative child outcomes,” the study stated. “Specifically, we found that helicopter parenting behaviors were related to higher levels of depression and decreased satisfaction with life.”

Tidbits Guys, if you donate sperm, make sure you do it through official channels and anonymously. Otherwise: you could be liable for child support.

Grumpy Cat doesn’t like this movie!

Language I’ve known for some time it is “toe the line” and “cut the muster” (“pass muster”) and, yes, “champing at the bit” and “nip it in the bud”. But I didn’t know where “baited breath” came from (it is “‘bated breath” as in: “abated breath”) and one other. Not in this article, but it is “hare brained” not “hair brained”.

Politics

Some conservatives like to bellow about “personal responsibility” and to noisily decry “victim mentality” until….they don’t get their way in an election. They whine about losing an election. They whine about a policy getting “more votes” than their preferred policy. They whine about science ridiculing their ideas. They whine about their religion not being put “front and center” in the public arena. In fact, modern conservatives, with exceptions, constitute the biggest bunch of crybabies and whiners that I’ve ever seen.

World Events
As I stated before, there is tension between Japan and China. As for the cause of tension: old rivalries and natural resources…what else?

It still amazes me how much media interest there currently is in the various maritime disputes of Asia. Five years ago, to find information on these then-obscure disagreements over tiny pieces of land required diligence and patience. Now, and in particular since the much-vaunted U.S. pivot to Asia, every week seems to bring new stories about these islands.
It is therefore worth our taking a step back and asking how we got here. What have been the drivers for the maritime disputes over the past five years, do they share any similarities, and why, when these disputes have existed for decades, have they become so tense now?
First, a reminder of the context. The islands in dispute are the Kurils (claimed by Japan and Russia); the Dokdo/Takeshima islands (South Korea and Japan); the Senkaku/Diaoyu/Tiaoyu islands (China, Taiwan and Japan); and the four major island groups of the South China Sea (in whole or in part by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam). Other island disputes exist in East Asia (such as the Northern Limit Line between the Korea), but these four comprise the most contested and contentious.
These disputes are usually viewed in isolation, but there are similarities that they all share. Although claims of occupation and administration stretch back centuries, all of the disputes exist, to some extent, as legacies of imperial Japan’s expansion through East Asia in the first half of the 20th century, and its immediate withdrawal following its defeat in World War II. Before this period, most of the states in East Asia were too militarily weak to effectively enforce their claims; some were entirely occupied by imperial powers, and the modern international legal concepts of territorial sovereignty were arguably still alien to the region.[...]

Obviously, war between China and Japan would prove to be horrific. Perhaps there are steps that can be taken to prevent such a catastrophe:

What is needed are some guidelines or an agreed declaration of expected behavior in disputed areas that could avert such confrontations. More specifically, China and Japan need to forge at least a rudimentary “incidents at sea agreement” – and fast!
So what is an incidents at sea agreement (INCSEA) and why would it work? In the late 1960s, there were several incidents between the U.S. and Soviet navies, including planes of the two nations passing particularly close to one another or ships and aircraft making threatening movements – very similar to what has been happening in the East China Sea between China and Japan.
But in March 1968, the United States proposed talks on how to prevent such incidents from becoming more serious or even leading to an outright military clash. According to the State Department, the military-to-military agreement provided for:
– Steps to avoid ship collisions
– Non-interference in the “formations” of the other party;
– Avoiding maneuvers in areas of heavy sea traffic;
– Requiring surveillance ships to maintain a safe distance from the object of investigation so as to avoid “embarrassing or endangering the ships under surveillance”;
– Using accepted international signals when ships maneuver near one another;
– Not simulating attacks at, launching objects toward, or illuminating the bridges of the other party’s ships;
–Informing vessels when submarines are exercising near them; and
– Requiring aircraft commanders to use the greatest caution and prudence in approaching aircraft and ships of the other party and refraining from simulated attacks against aircraft or ships, performing aerobatics over ships, or dropping hazardous objects near them.
The agreement appears to have helped the two sides’ militaries avoid clashes. In subsequent years, such agreements were reached between Russia and South Korea and Russia and Japan, and there is a maritime consultative agreement between the United States and China that they have now agreed to reactivate.

IMHO, war is NOT an option for these two countries, for a number of reasons.

February 20, 2013