Snow, Go Away! (15 December 2007)

Workout notes 4 mile walk in 45:56 (12:20, 11:42, 10:36, 11:17) inside, on the 200 meter track. Then three miles on the treadmill (running). The first mile was kind of rough; I couldn’t handle the treadmill cross country program! I then ran a more conventional program.

Afterward, I took a 1 hour yoga class and went out for a soda “with the girls”, so to speak. Barbara (my wife) joined us at the cafe.

While waiting for the class, some of the runners (who did 7-10 miles) laughed at me for staying inside.

Speaking of yoga class, let’s talk about an “important” yoga issue: (from a list of yoga related questions at

3. Every yoga class I attend seems to be a big thong show. Why is the thong the undergarment of choice for yoginis?

My reply: this is a problem? 🙂 Hmmm, I wonder where that studio is….

Ps: don’t ask how I got to that site.

Local: Our community is having a problem with crime. So what solution did our elected leaders come up with? 40 days of prayer. You read correctly. Not everyone is happy with this “solution”:

[…]I could think of so many other things that could be done over 40 days that would be more effective than “40 days of prayer”. But that wouldn’t get me reelected, now, would it?

My take: yes, prayer can bring people together, and prayer can benefit the person doing the praying (the C. S. Lewis character in Shadowlands said about prayer: “It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”). (I didn’t find a sources that finds the real C. S. Lewis saying that, however)

And yes, these folks are not out there clubbing baby seals nor are they stealing money from their respective treasuries. But there are those who really believe that praying to a deity will cause that deity to actually intervene! 🙂

In that regard, prayer is as effective as voodoo, tarot cards, healing crystals, golden tablets, chanting, drumming, etc. That adults can be so superstitious just astounds me.

But what is really astounding is how upset some get when such antics (praying that a deity will supernaturally intervene) are actually called “superstition”!!!

How is such superstition harmful? A public tolerance of superstition can lead to things like this: a creationist group in Texas is trying to get a graduate program in creationism accredited as a graduate program in science! Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub has the details, along with reporting on the fight by biology instructors to keep creationism out of Texas science classrooms. The letter from the scientists to the board members can be found here.

Hey, we all have our quirks; e. g., we might wear our “lucky shirt” to a race, yell at the television set to help our team during a game, talk to stuffed animals, etc. But some things are best practiced in private or with our friends and left there. 🙂

Politics We are having more dust ups at the Daily Kos, mostly Clinton supporters against everyone else. Here are a couple of examples: here and here. Some of the debate is legitimate.

For example, health care is kicked around, and some in the Edwards and Clinton campaign have decried that Obama’s health plan doesn’t have enough mandates.

For a good discussion of the mandate issue, go here.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards would introduce mandates that force everyone to buy health insurance, in the same way you have to buy car insurance. Mandates are a centerpiece of the new health-care laws in Massachusetts, and they have some rare bipartisan support in the Senate, too. Barack Obama, on the other hand, would introduce a mandate only for children. Beyond that, he favors trying to reduce the cost of insurance first, and then, if the uninsured still refuse to buy in, he would consider further mandates. Mr. Obama thinks that most young people would voluntarily buy insurance if they have ample subsidies. Perhaps more important, on a personal level, Mr. Obama just seems to resist the idea that government should run out and force people to buy something before even trying to make the market more efficient.

For this, Mr. Obama has been relentlessly pounded by those who say that that calling his plan “universal” is misleading and a window into his thoroughly deficient character. The sniping has gone on for weeks. Never mind that all three proposals share the same basic DNA, or that no one really knows for sure which theory is right or whether any of these plans can be legislated, anyway. This whole overblown debate is rather like watching a couple of homeless guys argue over which Ferrari they intend to buy. I mean, any of them would be pretty good. We don’t really need to know if it’s an automatic or a four-on-the-floor.

So why all the posturing? For Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards, this is sheer strategy; they want you to think that poor Mr. Obama is in over his head and can’t really grasp all the intricacies of policy. It’s part of the whole “young and inexperienced” narrative. For Mr. Obama’s critics on the left, though, something else is going on, and it has more to do with pure partisan rage.

There is currently a way of thinking in some quarters of the Democratic world that says “framing” is everything in politics. That is, conservatives have controlled our national debate by hammering home a number of insidious themes (big government is bad, liberals are elitists, entitlements are too expensive, etc.), and they have triumphed because of timid Democrats who refused to challenge these assertions, preferring instead to accept these premises and adapt to them. By this thinking, when Mr. Obama suggests that maybe it’s not the best idea for government to hand down new edicts — or when he asserts, as he also has, that Social Security may not be viable without significant fixes —he is reading from “Republican talking points” and giving rhetorical comfort to the enemy. In other words, Mr. Obama’s crime wasn’t really coming up with the wrong health-care solution. His crime was in saying what he actually believed.

The shame of all this is that there are larger, more profound questions to explore about these health-care plans[…]

But I digressed. Back to the dust-ups: some of it has turned ugly; some Clinton supporters (NOT campaign staffers) have taken to trying to make the following kind of argument: “ok, we know that this isn’t fair, but Obama is black and the U. S. isn’t going to elect a black person, so we shouldn’t nominate him.”

Ok, I am not going to deny that we are too racist as a country. But this “risk” is one that I am more than willing to take.
Don’t get me wrong: if you think that John Edwards or Hillary Clinton is a better candidate (or Bill Richardson, Chris Dodd or Joe Biden), then by all means vote for them! But please, if you want to vote for Barack Obama, go ahead and pull that leaver. There are many of us out there who will be right with you.

Just a sample from other blogs that I read regularly: a racewalking blog, a science blog. Note: I didn’t start reading these blogs for political content! So this isn’t an issue of my just deliberately hanging around like-minded people.

And if you are a Republican: (yeah, I actually like some Republicans that I know, even if they are confused when it comes to politics) please vote John McCain, in the event that you win the general election; that man has character and will ask the country to make the necessary sacrifices. Rudy Giuliani: kind of crude and rough around the edges, but at least he is smart.

Mitt Romney: ok. A bit plastic, utterly without conviction, but at least he is a good manager.

Of course my personal choices are (in order): Obama (strong preference), Edwards (in other years, he’d be my strong preference), Clinton (I like the way she is when she is being a Senator; I’d wish I’d see more of that on the campaign trail), Bill Richardson (good resume, too many public gaffes), Joe Biden (intellectual; I always learn something from his debates), Chris Dodd (solid), John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney.

All of these folks would be an improvement over what we have right now.

Dennis Kucinich: I love his positions, but then again, I in 100% agreement with my own positions, but only a moron would vote for me! 🙂 I doubt that he has the political savvy to get action on any of them.

Mike Huckabee: woo. I have no desire to return to the 14’th century. Yes, the story I liked to said “19’th”; that is being too generous.

Ron Paul: right about Iraq and the Patriot act, wrong about everything else. I am very uncomfortable with his views on race. He has way too much support from racist groups. (Hat tip to Nikki’s Nest)

More on Huckabee: (hat tip to the Tennessee Guerilla Women for calling our attention to this video)

Nichole Nichols had things to say about Huckabee as well during her show Cold Shot (she went right to them; the whole show is about 1 hour long).


There a couple of interesting articles out there. One talks about how solar power is being used in a new way to generate electricity (not the old photovoltic cells that you’ve seen)

Another talks about human evolution, and how it was possible that modern apes may have had a human ancestor!

[…]So – if the chimp-human split did take place 6 million years ago (as the molecular data suggests), then what do we do with Sahelanthropus which many believe was a full time upright biped but which lived 7 million years ago?

If you want a slow gradual evolution of bipedalism, you need to push the chimp human split back to say 8 million years. However, there is an alternative explanation. Upright bipedalism was already the primary means of locomotion in the common ancestor of chimps and humans – Sahelanthropus is ancestral to both lines.

What defines a “human?” I have taken the position that it is a body plan (bauplan). Most of us have accepted that early Australopithecines whose brains and skulls were chimp-like, should be considered human and not ape. When you find a fossil such as Sahelanthropus that has a “chimp-like” skull from the point of view of its face and brain, but has the skull base of a human (and presumably upright bipedal post-cranial anatomy) – how can you tell from the fossil if it’s an ape or a human?

The Hennigian cladistic approach lets us say that the isolation point between the chimp and human lineages – where hybridization became impossible – is the origin point of humans. However this means that the definition is arbitrary since ape and human would pretty much look identical at that time.

Another alternative is to stick with our current definition – a hominoid whose anatomy reveals that it is primarily an upright biped is a human. I have proposed the term “hominiform” to refer to a clade of hominoids that share the Morotopithecus spinal transformation (septo-neural transposition – in which the dorso-ventral plane of the body flips from ventral to the spinal canal to a new position dorsal to the spinal canal) and the styloid process is converted into a neomorphic hominiform lumbar transverse process. The synapomorphies would include innate bipedal walking in the infants.

Among hominiforms we have primitive “eubipedal” types (most Miocene and Pliocene fossil hominiforms, the hylobatids and the hominines) and derived “metabipedal” types (lineages of chimps, gorillas and orangutans) that have abandoned bipedalism as their primary locomotor pattern on the ground.

Sahelanthropus appears to be a human species that is representative of species in the line of ancestry to both the chimpanzees and hominines.

December 15, 2007 - Posted by | bill richardson, creationism, edwards, hillary clinton, obama, Peoria/local, politics/social, religion, running, science, walking, yoga

1 Comment »

  1. […] Original post by : the blog […]

    Pingback by Snow, Go Away! (15 December 2007) · Treadmill Reviews and Information | December 16, 2007 | Reply

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