Workout notes 1 mile walk on the treadmill (13:30), 2 mile run (19 minutes; last .5 mile at 8:57), 1 mile walk (about 13:30), then a few minutes of yoga. Short, but I got nice and sweaty.
I usually stay at the Micro-Tel as they have a treadmill, bike and elliptical trainer, and free internet. 🙂
Their breakfast sucks (dried out old biscuits and old gravy; or some too-sweet-for-me cereal) but for 41 dollars, I can pack along my own apple and bagel.
Rant-humor-none of my business Do you ever entertain yourself by making internal rants or “observations” about stuff that are really none of your business but you do it anyway just to feel superior? 🙂
Here is mine for this morning: as I went up stairs after my workout, some younger woman (30’ish?) was going down the stairs talking on her cell phone (loudly, of course). She was whining to someone about how much it took to fill up the gas tank in what must be a large SUV (you’ll love that postsimian).
I smiled to myself at how my Prius got me from Peoria to Lebanon, MO (about 360 miles) on 7.1 gallons of gas.
I go upstairs, take a shower, pack most of my stuff (except for the computer of course) and go back to the car. She is in the lobby, still yelling on her cell phone. That’s ok as she had a huge creeper in her sweatpants. 🙂
Now she is eating while talking on the phone. That used to be bad manners, right?
She just reminds me of the pinheads that I attempt to teach for a living (college level). I suppose that they learn something in college, though I wonder if a correspondence course on how to use google and how to cut-and-paste text from a browser would teach them just as much. 🙂
Anyway, that is my old curmudgeon, “nobody asked you and there is a good reason no body asked you” rant for the day!
Now to spend the rest of the day driving and focusing on stuff that is my business.
Ok, I will post something that is part of my business: I decided to do one final check of my e-mail and what do I find in my inbox:
Dear Townhall Opinion Leader,
The National Association of Scholars (NAS) is looking for some help.
We are the group of scholars who got together in the 1980s to fight political correctness on America’s college campuses. Back then, we imagined that the grown-ups on campus only needed to be reminded of their responsibilities to put things right. After all, how could serious scholars permit higher education to descend into speech codes, racial quotas, and political indoctrination? Or preside over the trashing of the core curriculum, Western civilization, and the American founding?
Boy, were we naïve!
We fought and fought hard. But while thousands of professors joined us, and we surely slowed the tide, American higher education is more politicized and less intellectually cogent today than when we started. Then we faced Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States) and Jesse “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western civ has got to go” Jackson. Today we have Ward Churchill, Sami Al-Arian, the Duke 88, as well as entirely “postmodernized” academic programs and university requirements, devoted to ensuring that students, who may know little else, know loads about diversity, feminism, global warming, the failures of capitalism, and the hypocrisy of Thomas Jefferson.
An ideological monoculture reigns supreme. Outside the hard sciences, only a handful of institutions exist in which the full spectrum of ideas gets robustly debated. Notions elsewhere regarded as good common sense are routinely dismissed by academic putdowns implying ignorance and malice. Where else but on an American college campus would you find male-female attraction stigmatized as “heteronormativity?” A recent study showed that students at some elite universities, including Yale, know less about American history upon graduation than they did when they finished high school. In some ways, an American college education has become an act of cultural erasure, with “identity” and political commitment replacing genuine knowledge.
Undaunted, we continue to fight, but, now more than ever, your help is needed. We ask you to take our survey. We’ll make good use of your answers in any case, but we do have an ulterior motive. We also welcome your questions—you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephen H. Balch
President, National Association of Scholars
Townhall Opinion Leader? Hmmm, all I did was sign up for e-mail updates. Now note the “oh so scary people that they trotted out”: Ward Churchill? I believe that he was, uh, fired?
He was accused of plagiarism, inventing historical incidents and ghostwriting essays which he then cited in his footnotes in support of his own views.
Those allegations were the ones that brought dismissal today.
The Duke 88? Yeah, some people, gasp, signed a petition when they didn’t know all of the facts (the so-called Duke rape case, where the DA got fired (deservedly so). It isn’t as if they, say, voted to go to war over non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
I haven’t checked out what they think about the teaching of evolution, but at least they don’t seem to be condemning the hard sciences. That is a relief.
Workout notes Still sore from yesterday; so I swam 2200 yards at the Riverplex. This soreness is just a “you used muscles you aren’t used to using and you went hard” soreness; not an injury soreness.
I leave for Austin, Texas after lunch; I might get in a treadmill workout when I get to my motel this evening.
Here are a couple of me from yesterday’s trail race
Oh well. Improvement takes time.
Rant I got the dreaded “windows has installed updates” and “you need to do X, Y, and Z” to install them. This stuff always takes forever; one sort of “it will probably never happen” goal is to learn enough about computers to be able to do all of this myself and to tell microsoft to kiss my…
New blog: Called the Obama Letdown Watch; many are concerned that O is now going toward the center and turning “business as usual”. In fact, BHO never campaigned as a liberal; the difference between him and HRC was mainly one of
1. Running a better campaign.
2. Placing more emphasis on “bottom up change” than “top-down”
3. Not being quite as exploitative on people’s weaknesses as her campaign was.
Nevertheless, their world views aren’t all that different.
Personally, I’d love to see them work together; if only we could get WJC to grow up.
John McCain: whining again. So much for his “respectful campaign”.
The 5K: Barbara wanted to do a road race so we drove to Galesburg, IL for the 5K (they also offered a road mile and 10K).
I decided to walk hard. Sort of. My time was 32:13 by my watch. Mile splits: 10:34, 10:26, 11:12 (10:10 pace for the 1.1). Mostly I chased a pack of mostly women and caught them; one got me back in the final .1 miles (these people were running).
Barbara did ok; she ended up with 55:10 for her 5K. That got her 3’rd place her age group.
Before the race
From the side
The trophies are railroad spikes. I have a few of these from 1998 and 1999.
A close up of Barbara’s butt. 🙂
Ok, I’ll get to my performance: I sucked. It took me 1:12 to “run” 10K on muddy trails; ok, truth be told, I “ran” about 4.5-5 miles of it and walked; the only non uphill that I didn’t run was a longish “walkable” stretch across a field where I just wanted to stretch my legs.
But you know what? No injury pain, and I had a blast. There was a never ending hill, a log that you had to climb over, two significant stream crossings, mud puddles and shoe sucking mud.
It took about a mile or two to sort things out (where I said goodbye to a few runners) and ran off and on with 2-3 more the rest of the way.
Note: the winner ran about 35 minutes.
Injury: the leg/butt/piriformis/hip all feel a tiny bit sore but ok; I’ll see what I’ll do at Railroad Days (walk with Barbara? Walk the 10K hard? Run the 5K?.
Here are the photos from the Jubilee Run:
We ran together for much of the second half of the race.
Kevin Carrigan and Bill Holmes
The three of us ran much of the last 2 miles together; the lady on the right (JoAnn Grane) took her bike to the park and got in more mileage afterwards.
The Siltmans (Tonya and Mike). Mike was one of those who had signed up for Western States. He still has one of the Grand Slam 100 under his belt. It seems as if he runs a 100 mier every weekend! Tonya has finished 50 milers.
The lovely and talented Bev Enslow. In her earlier years, she was an elite runner, having won the Steamboat 4 miler. Currently, she is national class at off road triathlons.
A Real Athlete and Ollie. 🙂
Elaine Lagoda; she said goodbye to me at about mile two. I ran with the male (didn’t catch his name; Elaine’s husband) for much of the rest of the race.
Mike Rucker; runner, author, race director
Just for kicks, I took this quiz
Quiz: What kind of Christian are you?
You scored 164, on a scale of 0 to 400.
Here’s how to interpret your score:
0 – 59
You are a Jesse Ventura Christian (a.k.a. a “Secularist” or non-Christian).
60 – 149
You are a Bishop Spong Christian (a.k.a. “Biblical Revisionist”).
150 – 249
You are a Hillary Rodham Clinton Christian (a.k.a. “Left-Leaning Traditionalist”).
250 – 329
You are a George Bush Sr. Christian (a.k.a. “Right-Leaning Traditionalist”).
330 – 400
You are a Jerry Falwell Christian (a.k.a “Historicist”).
I answered the questions honestly; I denied every supernatural event or miracle.
The above is a nice response to a fundie who
1. Believes in the Bible literally and
2. Believes that their deity is a loving, personal deity that still does miracles.
It won’t have any effect on most intelligent and/or educated Christians.
This is how I would have answered this video:
1. God’s miracle is more that life got here at all; just think: our bodies not only reproduce themselves, but, within limits, can repair itself. What human engineered thing can do that? But no, God isn’t going to change physics and chemistry on my behalf.
2. Yes, those starving kids are a major tragedy. But this is what happens when we live our lives in a greedy manner and don’t plan ahead; God’s morality is for our own good. Think of what we do as parents: we don’t let our kids play in the street because it can cause harm, even if the kid doesn’t see this. And yes, though those kids are suffering and we should do what we can to help feed them, remember that all human suffering is temporal; we’ll all be happy in heaven (I was from the Universalist wing of the church).
3. About all of those things in the Bible: the horrific (see the book of Joshua where the Israelites ruthlessly murdered thousands), the comical (Jacob affecting the spots an stripes on sheep by exposing them to striped wood while they ate and mated; see Genesis Chapter 30, 33-43) and the bizarre (the fearsome sky god was able to slaughter whole populations but was unable to deal with iron chariots (Judges chapter1, verse 19); one wonders what this god would have done against Abrams tanks and B-1’s.
But as the priests taught me: these books were written by bronze age people who knew nothing about omnipotent deities or science; they were doing the best that they could. See that as a “sacred scrap book” of the thoughts at that time.
The same goes for those weird and often abusive laws.
Hence, such arguments (as in this video) would have little effect.
Here is my recommendation for those atheists who want to learn something about the Bible:
Get a good translation (New Revised Standard Edition, New American (Catholic), or for the Hebrew Bible (aka “Old Testament”) the TANAKH put out by the Jewish Publication Society. The New American has excellent footnotes which explains why some translations were made in the way that they were and they also point out factual errors.
Next get a good book on the Bible (Rogerson: Introduction to the Bible is inexpensive but very readable and scholarly)
One might also get a commentary such as the Interpreter’s Commentary and perhaps Rabbi Teluskin’s Biblical Literacy.
This might sound strange, but I find such exercises to be fun.
I am getting ready to go swim; I might not run or walk much today. If I do, it will be “5 mileish” (8 km).
Update: 2000 yard swim. What was amusing is that the gasket around my goggles became undone as I took them out; I cursed under my breath and spent about 10 minutes poolside repairing them. A swimmer saw me and invited me to share her lane; that was sweet! 🙂
She thought that I was waiting to have a lane to myself when in fact I was trying to put the gasket back on.
Afterwards I walked home (just over 3 miles) and barely beat the rain; then I did 2 more faster walking miles (12:20 mpm) on the treadmill and some piriformis stretches.
Mathematics: yes, Taylor Series can save lives!
A story about Igor Tamm, the father of tokamak method of controlled thermonuclear fusion:
During the Russian revolution, the mathematical physicist Igor Tamm was seized by anti-communist vigilantes at a village near Odessa where he had gone to barter for food. They suspected he was an anti-Ukranian communist agitator and dragged him off to their leader.
Asked what he did for a living he said that he was a mathematician. The sceptical gang-leader began to finger the bullets and grenades slung around his neck. “All right”, he said, “calculate the error when the Taylor series approximation of a function is truncated after n terms. Do this and you will go free; fail and you will be shot”. Tamm slowly calculated the answer in the dust with his quivering finger. When he had finished the bandit cast his eye over the answer and waved him on his way.
By the way, the answer is (if the series is expanded about 0)
where “c” is chosen so that the n+1’st derivative will be at a maximum absolute value in the interval connecting “x” to 0.
Note: you can prove this result by repeated integration by parts.
Note 2: a tokamak is a donut shaped thing that is designed to create a magnetic field to “bottle up” very hot plasma. The idea is that one needs extremely high temperatures for nuclear fusion to take place.
So why is the donut shape necessary?
The reason is that: of all possible surfaces that embed into three space, only the single holed donut shape (called a torus) can have what is called a “vector field which is not zero anywhere). The Klein Bottle has the vector field property, but doesn’t embed into 3-space without intersecting itself.
This is an example of a torus.
If you are curious about what a “vector field” is, I’ll give a quick and dirty oversimplification.
Imagine your surface having lots of lots of hair. Imagine each individual hair being exactly perpendicular to the surface (ok, to the tangent plane of the surface). Now if you shine a light straight over the hair, it casts no shadow at all. The “zero shadow” can be thought of as a “zero vector”. Now bend the hair a bit and shine the light. The shadow of the hair on the surface is called a vector; since there is a shadow we say that the vector is non-zero.
Now, the Gauss-Bonnet theorem says that only the torus (donut) and Klein Bottle have the property that every single hair can be combed so as to produce a shadow; it is impossible to do that on a sphere (called the “hairy ball theorem“).
Here is an attempt to produce a nowhere zero vector field on a sphere; this attempt fails at the poles.
This is an example of the torus with a nowhere zero vector field.
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