Workout notes this morning, 4 mile run, 4 walk. Part of the Hike and Bike is underwater due to flooding; though there wasn’t much rain here there was part of the trail that was submerged.
Yesterday: 3.2 super easy hiking miles in Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. This park (plus Little Rock, Arkansas) is a nice overnight “get-away” from where I live. The park itself features some exhibits and some old Native American mounds. The Park’s photo tour is here. More information is available here and here.
This site dates from 600-1050 C. E. (A. D.) 18 mounds were constucted during that time; only a few remain. One is a burial mound; many were “trash” (compost?) type mounds.
Some of the mounds were built “outward” (newer layers on the “outside”); some were built upward (newer layers on top).
The mounds were constructed in a complex with a canal dug around it; the mounds were arranged in a way so that the sun would rise over prescribed “sight-lines” at prescribed times of the year. The tribe that settled the region was agricultural and therefore needed detailed information on nature’s cycles (rain, flood, dry periods, etc.)
The park offers a free guide pamphlet. What we know is that this park is part of the Plumb Bayou and is very, very fertile farmland.
Examination of the “trash” in some of the mounds indicates that the tribes that lived here traded with nearby tribes; snail shells of non indigenous species were uncovered; these snails are native to the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas and Missouri.
Dates at the site were determined by radiocarbon dating.
Some photos from the trip: (click for a photo album with larger versions)
Dang it, I just got in to see what is left of the debate. The governor of Massachussets (sp) is speaking. From seeing the discussion on the Kos, I’ve seen that I’ve missed something; perhaps I am seeing a replay and I’ll get to see it all (albeit delayed?)
Note: Mike Gravel got the loudest cheer.
About being tagged by On Evolution:
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
Ok, I’ll follow rule 2, 3, but I really don’t have 8 people to tag. I will list some of the blogs that I read.
Eight random facts/habits about myself: I’ll try to list facts that aren’t blindingly obvious from my blog (e. g., people know that I am a liberal Democrat, like endurace sports, football, etc.)
- 1. I was born on Fukeoka, Japan, on Itazukie Air Force Base. My Dad served in the USAF for 23 years, including 13 months (in two deployments) in Vietnam. Because of my Dad moving around, I went to 10 different schools while growing up.
- 2. In grade school, I spent many hours in the library, reading about planets. I loved astronomy. I made all sorts of charts of facts about planets.
- 3. Once, when I was 4 years old, my mom told me to stay away from the ant bed because they would bite me (these were the old large red ants). So, I went and stood right on that pile because I wasn’t going to be pushed around by those ants! Of course, I got bit from head to toe, but to this day, I’ve been very resistant to ant bites.
- 4. My favorite bands and music: Fleetwood Mac (1975 line up), Beatles, Melanie (Safka), Mozart (symphony 39, 41 (Jupiter)).
- 5. At least once a week, I eat Indian food with my wife. My stomach suffers, but I still like it.
- 6. TV night for me is usually Friday: Washington Week, NOW, Bill Moyer Journal, and yes, Friday Night Fights (boxing). I also like football (college, pro) and Law and Order (the first version)
- 7. Fiction: I don’t read much fiction (other than political campaign ads), but I enjoyed the Ox Bow Incident, An American Tragedy and Jude the Obscure.
- 8. Bad habit: when I get up from the table, I almost never remember to push the chair all the way back under the table. I leave drawers 90% closed instead of closing them the whole way. I have never been able to break myself of this bad habit.
Whom do I tag? Well, based on my usual number of hits, I read the work of more bloggers than the number of bloggers who read me. I subscribe to 48 blogs (though a few of these are not really personal), and also check out the yoga.com boards, Daily Kos and RichardDawkins.com regularly. Topics include science, politics, social issues, sports and endurance sports. Probably the blog with the most variety of topics is Dus7’s. Sandwalk is the most intellectually demanding blog. Liberalsmustdie is the funniest, and Dependable Renegade delivers the sharpest snark.
There is another blog to which I’ll never admit to reading, but, and I am ashamed to say this, when I read it I almost always roll on the floor in laughter.
Back to the Debate
Well, Gravel is going crazy. Why? Well, someone who has nothing to lose can just speak his mind; there are no lobbiests to pay off. He is getting huge applause.
Workout notes easy 3 mile run prior to yoga class, then 1 mile of walking with my teacher.
Here is a link to one of the blogs that I enjoy reading. Yes, the name of the blog is provocative, and I’ll just say that I have theist friends whose company I enjoy. I believe the way that I do becasue that is where my search for the truth lead me; that is what the facts tell me. But I am not going to lampoon others who have taken another path….unless they start trying to ram their ideas down the throats of others, or to use their beliefs to ruin things like science education.
And frankly, I don’t hang around people who do that! 😉
Still the blog is lots of fun, and I’ll send a hat tip for alerting us to this video:
Another blog, On Evolution, tagged me. I’ll play, but that will have to wait until later this evening or tomorrow morning.
Workout notes it figures that I skipped swimming on a day when the pool was virtually empty (grumble). But I had a nice 4 mile run on the ‘mill, yoga class, and then a 6 mile walk afterwards. Lovely, but humid day; I saw a cool groundhog (woodchuck) near the river.
I won’t be saying much today as I am hot on a math article; we’ll see if something comes out of it.
Professor Moran at sandwalk has a nice post about the issues involving evolution research. The questions being debated involve the following issues: how big of a role does natural selction play? How about mutation; obviously some mutation is necessary, but it is really as straight forward as a rare beneficial mutation being propogated by natural selection? Also what about genetic drift? (e. g., two similar species becoming seperated by some geological event, and then gradually “growing apart” on genetic terms until the resulting groups are far enough apart that they can’t even mate.)
Anyway, go to that article and read what the experts have to say.
Justice Department: Civil Rights Divison.
Humor: background to this strip: Frazz is a triathlete who has been arm-twisted into coaching a little league team. The problem is that the league’s play-offs are the same weekend as his goal triathlon.
So, well, those of you who played little league baseball under and “old-school” coach will appreciate this. 😉
Not so Funny:
Bile from Ann Coulter
Why any mainstream paper continues to carry her is amazing.
But the Edwards campaign is handling it well; they are using this for a fundraising opportunity. Good job, Ms. Coulter. Now do us all a favor and attack Obama too; every little bit of money helps!
UPDATE Ask and you shall recieve:
On the June 25 edition of Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes, discussing Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) June 23 speech at a church in Hartford, Connecticut, co-host Alan Colmes asked right-wing pundit Ann Coulter if “[o]nly Republicans can talk in churches.” Coulter responded: “No, but I do think anyone named B. Hussein Obama should avoid using ‘hijack’ and ‘religion’ in the same sentence.” Colmes replied: “I see. So, in other words, you want to paint him as a terrorist by continuing to highlight that his middle name is Hussein?” Coulter stated: “Just avoid those two together. … Avoid ‘hijack and ‘religion.’ “
The site has a video.
Thanks Ms. Coulter! 😉 (come on Senator Obama, get that fundraising page up! 😉 )
Workout Notes 3100 yard swim; 10 x 50 fist, 10 x 50 on the 1 (47-50), 10 x 50 (drill/swim) (fins), 10 x (25 fly, 25 free) on the 1, 5 x (100 free, 100 pull), 100 back cool-down.
I shared a lane with a delightful lady; we got a chance to discuss swimming, drills, equipment, etc.
Later I took the truck to the lube place. There was this old guy who was upset that prices had gone up and that he had to wait too long (my wait was reasonable). Then, another delightful lady struck up a conversation with me; she is an artist from Davenport who is thinking of taking a job offer in Peoria.
Those meetings really revived my spirits! 😉
I did notice a couple of interesting blog posts:
This “teach both sides” cartoon is a riot! (blog name: “liberalsmustdie”)
As part of its cover story on “what you need to know now,” Newsweek conducted a broad poll on a variety of political and cultural affairs. There were plenty of interesting results, but one section was particularly noteworthy.
Even today, more than four years into the war in Iraq, as many as four in ten Americans (41 percent) still believe Saddam Hussein’s regime was directly involved in financing, planning or carrying out the terrorist attacks on 9/11, even though no evidence has surfaced to support a connection. A majority of Americans were similarly unable to pick Saudi Arabia in a multiple-choice question about the country where most of the 9/11 hijackers were born. Just 43 percent got it right — and a full 20 percent thought most came from Iraq.
My take: face it, most folks just don’t pay attention; to them, one middle eastern country that isn’t Israel is mostly the same as another (I would say “Arab” country, but Iran is not an Arab country, and my guess is that most Americans don’t know that).
I am just about to go to the pool to get my laps.
In today’s paper, I read the following letter to the editor:
Some scientific discoveries and mathematical probabilities have proven that Darwinian evolution cannot be right and doesn’t even qualify as wrong.
Order cannot come from disorder any more than living things can come from dead things.
An explosion in a junk yard can’t produce anything but smaller pieces of junk, no matter how big the bang.
Hmmm, you mean that those very scientists that come up with cures for disease believe in a foolish, false theory? Well no; this author makes a common mistake.
Here it is: many people think that evolution is a blind chance operation; that one minute you have disorganized junk, and the next step, a complex animal that just got there by chance. No evolutionist believes that!
Think of it this way: evoulution works, in part, because of genetic mutation. Genes copy themselves perfectly, most of the time. But from time to time, they make a mistake. This mistake in copying is called mutation.
Most of the time, the mutation is a “bad one”, so the genes with this mutation don’t survive very long. But on rare occasion, the mutation is a good one, and these genes go on as the organisims that have these do better. That is natural selection.
Now how does one comprehend the probabilities involved? It is best to consider the probability of a beneficial mutation as a roll of a die; suppose that rolling a 6 is good, and nothing else represents an improvement.
Then suppose that, say, evolving from total blindness to having an eye represents, say, 50 mutations, which must happen in a sequence (from blindness to a cell which can detect some light, to a more sensitive cell and so on).
By this model, to get from blindness to an eye in one step would involve an event which has the probability of (1/6)^50 of happening, which would be expected to take (6^50) rolls of the dice, which is simply too large of a time span to have happened in the history of the earth. So evolution is disproved, right? Wrong.
In fact, evolution happens sequentially, which means that the first beneficial mutation happens, is preserved, then the second, which is preserved, and so on.
So the expected amount of rolls necessary is more like:
(1/1/6) + (1/1/6)….+(1/1/6) = 50*6 = 300 rolls, which is much, much, much less than 6^50.
(in math terms, we are using random varibles Yi, i between 1 and 50, where the Yi are independent random variables with a geometric distribution with p = 1/6 )
Or, as Dawkins explains in a video
Previously posted here.
Redstate update is on fire today. They have tons of new videos; most are pretty good. Here are two of the best ones:
redstate update immigration
redstate update iraq
Video: why buy food from local sources?
This video takes a bit too long to make simple points, but the point is worth making. Basically, it says to shop at farmer’s markets (and from other local sources) because less energy is used to produce such food (energy for shipping, storage, etc), the food is fresher, and cutting out the middleman puts more money in the farmer’s pocket.
Still, I like the message; the video takes about 3.5 minutes.
A Dissenting Opinion
I’ve made it clear that I don’t believe in supernatural stuff. But, I am not anti-church, at least in some cases. Why? Well, regardless of what myths people believe or don’t believe, it appears to me that many churches take social action in ways that other groups cannot.
Here is an example:
PEORIA – A recently formed association of churches will lead a march against violence through the heart of the city on Saturday.
“We’re coming together to show a unified front against the crime, to show a unified front against the violence,” said the Rev. Harvey Burnett, pastor of New Bethel Church of God in Christ. “I think that’s the best example that our children can see is that we have crossed every barrier to rescue them.”
Peoria has seen 12 homicides so far this year, the last three within a week of each other.
The march will start at City Hall at 9 a.m. and proceed to Morton Square Park at the corner of Northeast Monroe and Evans streets. A tent rally will be held there, Burnett said.
Invitations to take part are going out to more than 100 churches and pastors. Invitations won’t be going to government officials, he said, but they’re more than welcome to take part.
“We don’t feel that our answer lies within politicians or elected officials,” Burnett said. “This is one reason that we’re marching from City Hall. We’re not petitioning City Hall for anything, but we want them to know that we are here and that we’re seeking the help or inspiration of the Lord.”
The Peoria Association of Pastors for Community and Spiritual Renewal comprises 12 churches, Burnett said, including COGIC, Apostolic, nondenominational and Church of the Living God congregations. He said the group was formed in May as a way for churches to combine resources across racial and denominational lines to face the growing incidence of violence in Peoria neighborhoods.
“What we’re seeking to do is really harvest or allow many of the white churches that may not be situated within the South Peoria neighborhood or community, to let them know that this is their community also, and we want to hear their voice.” […]
A very snarky Professor of Geology (Plimer) in a “debate” with a well known creationist:
Ps: just click on the video again to be directed to youtube. Or click on this link to watch.
The debate is discussed here.
Ok, this was very snarky, but hey, sometimes ya gots ta let your hair down a bit.
Euler gets some recognition (hat tip to SCThornley at Yoga.com)
If one is not a mathematician (and except for a few of you out there, who is?), it’s going to be impossible to actually understand why Euler was such a great man. Other people will have to tell us, and we should probably believe them.
In 1988, the journal Mathematical Intelligencer asked its readers to list the most beautiful equations in mathematics. Of the top five, Euler, who was born in Basel, Switzerland, 300 years ago next Sunday, discovered three of them, including No. 1:
ei(pi) + 1 = 0.
(The other two were from Euclid, who worked in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.)
In 2004, Physics World put the same question to its readers. Of the top 20 equations, Euler had two. The one listed above, known as “Euler’s equation,” was second only to James Clerk Maxwell’s equations describing electromagnetism, which were counted as one entry.
Some have called Euler the “Mozart of Mathematics,” not only because of his genius but because of his prodigious output.
Before his death at 76, he had written more than 800 papers and books on pure and applied mathematics. In 1775, he composed about one paper a week, ranging in length from 10 to 50 pages. (Twenty papers is considered a good lifetime output for modern mathematicians.) His collected works fill 25,000 pages in 79 volumes, including five of correspondence to the leading thinkers of his day.
Amazingly, that’s not all of it.
More letters and a dozen notebooks will be published over the next decade. If the past is a guide, they are likely to contain work that in some sense is original even today.
Because I am a topoligist, I best know him for solving the Bridges of Konigsberg problem:
n Konigsberg, Germany, a river ran through the city such that in its center was an island, and after passing the island, the river broke into two parts. Seven bridges were built so that the people of the city could get from one part to another. A crude map of the center of Konigsberg might look like this:
The people wondered whether or not one could walk around the city in a way that would involve crossing each bridge exactly once.
Euler proved that the answer was no, using a mathematical technique that is now a part of what is called graph theory.
Barack Obama says that “faith” has been hijacked by conservatives. I have to admit that I don’t have a dog in this hunt, so to speak, but also that faith is important to many potential Democratic voters. This was a wise political move on his part:
Sen. Barack Obama told a church convention Saturday that some right-wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division.
“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in a 30-minute speech before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ.
“Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us,” the Illinois senator said.
“At every opportunity, they’ve told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design,” according to an advance copy of his speech.
“There was even a time when the Christian Coalition determined that its number one legislative priority was tax cuts for the rich,” Obama said. “I don’t know what Bible they’re reading, but it doesn’t jibe with my version.”
Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, a church of about 1.2 million members that is considered one the most liberal of the mainline Protestant groups.
My note: The “UCC” church is sometimes jokingly refered to as “Unitarians Considering Christianity”. 😉
- 2008 Election
- 2010 election
- 2012 election
- 2014 midterm
- Aaron Schock
- affirmative action
- Agricultural Commisioner
- alternative energy
- April 1
- Barack Obama
- barback obama
- Barbara Boxer
- big butts
- bill maher on mosque
- bill richardson
- blog humor
- blood donation
- Bobby Jindal
- business & economy
- Cheri Bustos
- civil liberties
- Claire McCaskill
- climate change
- college football
- d k hirner
- dark energy
- dave koehler
- Dick Durbin
- Dick Morris
- dk hirner
- draw Mohammad day
- draw Muhammad day
- Fox News Lies Again
- free speech
- glenn beck
- glenn hubbard
- green news
- ground zero mosque
- gwen ifill
- haunting songs
- health care
- Herman Cain
- High Speed Rail
- hillary clinton
- human sexuality
- if rich people have to pay taxes
- immigration. racial profiling
- internet issues
- interstate highways
- Intrade Prediction
- jan brewer
- jim lehrer
- Joe Biden
- John McCain
- jon stewart
- Judicial nominations
- knee rehabilitation
- laughing at myself
- michelle bachmann
- Mid Life Crisis
- Middle East
- Mike Huckabee
- mike's blog round up
- Mitt Romney
- national disgrace
- Navel Staring
- Newt Gingrich
- north america
- north carolina
- NSFW humor
- Olympic Spandex
- Personal Issues
- Political Ad
- political humor
- public policy and discussion from NPR public radio program Science Friday with host Ira Flatow. Science Videos
- rebulican party
- republican party
- republican senate minority leader
- republicans political/social
- republicans politics
- rick perry
- rick santorum
- Rush Limbaugh
- sarah palin
- Science Friday teachers
- Science Friday teens.
- shoulder rehabilitation
- Spineless Democrats
- stem cells
- stephen colbert
- tax cuts
- the colbert report
- Tim Pawlenty
- time trial/ race
- war on drugs
- weight training
- wise cracks
- world events