From Around the Blogosphere

Workout notes I am taking yoga teacher training (YogaFit level 1) this weekend and so won’t be doing much physically. I took advantage of my last day off to sleep in and then get to the pool late; still I ended up with 5000 yards via 5 x 100 fist, 5 x 100 (alt fist/free), 10 x 100 on the 2 (1:34, 35, 35, 33, 33, 33, 32, 32, 33, 31), 5 x 100 (100 back, 100 side, back, side, back), 10 x (25 drill, 75 free) “almost” on the 2, 10 x (25 fly, 25 free) on 1 (fins), 500 pull (8:23), 10 x 50 on the 1 (strokes: 41-44, times 48-49, last one 50).

Overall, I was ok with it, and was surprised at how good I felt on the last set of 50s.

Two days ago I went to Lakeview Museum to see the 3-d painting collection. The images are regular paintings, but the look 3-dimensional. The best one was the painting of a saltine cracker in a zip-loc plastic bag; you wanted to touch it to see if it was real! (of course I didn’t)

The above is not a photo; it is a 2 dimensional painting.

As impressive as those paintings were, I was even more impressed with Austine Wood Comarow’s work. Here art pieces change colors and imaged when you look at them through polarized lenses; they are called polages. I highly recommend going to her site and checking out her brief videos; you can see her working on her projects and how these works of art appear to change when you see them through a rotating polarized lens. Here is a video of her explaining how it all works.

Stuff from other blogs

Submarine accident
Dus 7 has an interesting article about a recent submarine accident which killed two U. K. sailors. The submarine was involved in a training exercise with a United States submarine when the accident happened (onboard explosion). This demonstrates that military exercises are hazardous affairs, even during peacetime (peactime for the submarine navy, at least).

Barack Obama
Barack Obama’s pastor at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago was interviewed for over two hours by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright was disgusted by what he saw in print from the interview:

Dear Jodi:

Thank you for engaging in one of the biggest misrepresentations of the truth I have ever seen in sixty-five years. You sat and shared with me for two hours. You told me you were doing a “Spiritual Biography” of Senator Barack Obama. For two hours, I shared with you how I thought he was the most principled individual in public service that I have ever met.

For two hours, I talked with you about how idealistic he was. For two hours I shared with you what a genuine human being he was. I told you how incredible he was as a man who was an African American in public service, and as a man who refused to announce his candidacy for President until Carol Moseley Braun indicated one way or the other whether or not she was going to run.

I told you what a dreamer he was. I told you how idealistic he was. We talked about how refreshing it would be for someone who knew about Islam to be in the Oval Office. Your own question to me was, Didn’t I think it would be incredible to have somebody in the Oval Office who not only knew about Muslims, but had living and breathing Muslims in his own family? I told you how important it would be to have a man who not only knew the difference between Shiites and Sunnis prior to 9/11/01 in the Oval Office, but also how important it would be to have a man who knew what Sufism was; a man who understood that there were different branches of Judaism; a man who knew the difference between Hasidic Jews, Orthodox Jews, Conservative Jews and Reformed Jews; and a man who was a devout Christian, but who did not prejudge others because they believed something other than what he believed. […]

As I was just starting to say a moment ago, Jodi, out of two hours of conversation I spent approximately five to seven minutes on Barack’s taking advice from one of his trusted campaign people and deeming it unwise to make me the media spotlight on the day of his announcing his candidacy for the Presidency and what do you print? You and your editor proceeded to present to the general public a snippet, a printed “sound byte” and a titillating and tantalizing article about his disinviting me to the Invocation on the day of his announcing his candidacy.

I have never been exposed to that kind of duplicitous behavior before, and I want to write you publicly to let you know that I do not approve of it and will not be party to any further smearing of the name, the reputation, the integrity or the character of perhaps this nation’s first (and maybe even only) honest candidate offering himself for public service as the person to occupy the Oval Office.

Hat tip to Skepticalbrotha for printing this. And reporters wonder why they are not trusted?

Success and Attitude: seeing success as the consequence of both effort and ability

You know that a blog post is good when it makes me want to go and read a book. Such is the one from thesituationist. There is a good post about Carol Dweck’s research on the pyschology of success; in other words, why do two different people of the same abilities often attain very different levels of success?

Some snippets:

Attribution theory, concerned with people’s judgments about the causes of events and behavior, already was an active area of psychological research. But the focus at the time was on how we make attributions, explains Stanford psychology professor Lee Ross, who coined the term “fundamental attribution error” for our tendency to explain other people’s actions by their character traits, overlooking the power of circumstances. Dweck, he says, helped “shift the emphasis from attributional errors and biases to the consequences of attributions—why it matters what attributions people make.” Dweck had put attribution theory to practical use.

She continued to do so as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, collaborating with then-graduate student Carol Diener to have children “think out loud” as they faced problem-solving tasks, some too difficult for them. The big surprise: some of the children who put forth lots of effort didn’t make attributions at all. These children didn’t think they were failing. Diener puts it this way: “Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, I’m a problem solver, and I’ll try something else.’” During one unforgettable moment, one boy—something of a poster child for the mastery-oriented type—faced his first stumper by pulling up his chair, rubbing his hands together, smacking his lips and announcing, “I love a challenge.”

Such zest for challenge helped explain why other capable students thought they lacked ability just because they’d hit a setback. Common sense suggests that ability inspires self-confidence. And it does for a while—so long as the going is easy. But setbacks change everything. Dweck realized—and, with colleague Elaine Elliott soon demonstrated—that the difference lay in the kids’ goals. “The mastery-oriented children are really hell-bent on learning something,” Dweck says, and “learning goals” inspire a different chain of thoughts and behaviors than “performance goals.”

Students for whom performance is paramount want to look smart even if it means not learning a thing in the process. For them, each task is a challenge to their self-image, and each setback becomes a personal threat. So they pursue only activities at which they’re sure to shine—and avoid the sorts of experiences necessary to grow and flourish in any endeavor. Students with learning goals, on the other hand, take necessary risks and don’t worry about failure because each mistake becomes a chance to learn. Dweck’s insight launched a new field of educational psychology—achievement goal theory.

Emphasis mine. I’ve seen this time and time again when it comes to teaching.


But aren’t there plenty of people who believe in innate ability and in the notion that nothing comes without effort? Logically, the two ideas are compatible. But psychologically, explains Dweck, many people who believe in fixed intelligence also think you shouldn’t need hard work to do well. This belief isn’t entirely irrational, she says. A student who finishes a problem set in 10 minutes is indeed better at math than someone who takes four hours to solve the problems. And a soccer player who scores effortlessly probably is more talented than someone who’s always practicing. “The fallacy comes when people generalize it to the belief that effort on any task, even very hard ones, implies low ability,” Dweck says.

Oh my is this true in my experience. I remember busting my gut on a problem which I hoped to solve for my thesis; I ended up giving up and using other stuff. I thought that I was an idiot. Ok, I am. 🙂 But the problem that I worked on remains unsolved, 16 year later, and some top mathematicians have taken cracks at it! It was hard for me because it was hard!

This applies in athletics as well. I remember whining to myself during the dark hours of my best 24 hour race; I was wondering “why is this so hard for me?” Then something in my mind clicked in: “it is hard for you because it is hard! You’ve gone 78 mile a$$hole! What did you expect? For it to be easy?” I went on to get 101 miles in the 24 hour walk.

Barack Obama again

Some wonder about how consistent Barack Obama’s position on the Iraq war is. Judge for yourself:

Hillary Clinton

This is the famous Hillary Clinton 1984 youtube commercial. No big deal, that I can see. In fact, it is rather lame.

Easter is coming up…

And Redstate Update talks about global warming

March 23, 2007 - Posted by | edwards, Friends, hillary clinton, obama, politics/social, swimming, ultra, yoga

1 Comment »

  1. Cool Site! kabababrubarta

    Comment by kabababrubarta | March 27, 2007 | Reply

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