Real Men WALK!!!!

Workout notes rotator cuff, squats with toe raises (2 sets), abs, 20 sit ups on the incline, weight machine (lower body), then 80 minutes of walking; much of it on the Bradley Park Hills (about 5 miles)

Ok, I’d like to get a couple of things straight at the start:

1. I like running and have run for pleasure and run in several road races (marathons, 10K, 5K, 1 mile, etc.).
2. I know that many women love to walk, and I like that.

But, well, I remember one time I was walking past some people and a little kid said “hey dad, there is a man who is walking like a woman!” The dad looked nervous and gave a quiet “we don’t say things like that” lesson to the kid. 🙂

But the truth is that, while men are out there, lots of people see exercise walking as a women’s activity. So, I’ll make this post about men…REAL men. 🙂

So, I am going to exclude racewalkers for now. Yes, I respect race walking, and yes I’ve walked an finished judged racewalks from 1500 meters (just shy of a mile) up to 20K (12.4 miles) and I managed to make it 36.7 km into a 50K race (22 miles) prior to getting disqualified for bent knee violations. I’ve also done “soft knee ok” walks of half marathon distance and up to 24 hours (88 miles) and 101 miles unofficially.

I know something about distance walking, even if I am not good at it.

But I am going to focus on “macho” men; those guys that other guys might envy. 🙂
Ok, this list will include someone who walks in long distance races, but he is far more famous for his non-athletic accomplishments than his athletic ones.

Real Men Who Walk…

Presidents of the United States

Harry Truman

President Truman was famous for his daily strenuous walks:

Truman usually awoke at 5:00 in the morning, dressed, and took a vigorous one or two-mile walk (at the Army’s 120-steps-per-minute pace) around the White House grounds and neighborhood – wearing a business suit and tie! After an assassination attempt in 1950, the Secret Service took the President to various undisclosed locations for his daily walk. He then had a rubdown, a shot of bourbon, and a light breakfast.

He continued this when he retired and was known for it:


He died recently, but John Wooden’s UCLA teams were outrageously successful.

He walked 5 miles almost every day:

John Wooden began his 66th year as he had begun every day since his heart attack three years ago—with a five-mile constitutional. His walks are usually uninterrupted

Joe Paterno
Coach Paterno has coached Penn State to multiple undefeated seasons and national championships.

He is also an avid walker:

Joe Paterno would like to walk again—the 25 or so weekly miles he was accustomed to before leg and hip injuries slowed him the past few years.

Jimmy Johnson
Coach Johnson won an NCAA national championship with the Miami Hurricanes and two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.

From his book Turning The Thing Around, (1993, First Edition) page 39:

I am not a fanatic runner, but I am a faithful jogger. Two or three miles a day, followed by a walk back of equal or greater distance.

During training camp, he’d go on the Austin Hike and Bike trail.

Some professional football players include fast walking in their training. One of them was Nate Newton, the huge offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys:

Tuesday is usually the players’ day off. Nate Newton always showed up on Tuesday afternoons at Valley Ranch to burn some calories and work on his stamina; maybe thirty minutes on the Stair Master and thirty more fast-walking on the treadmill.

(page 193 of Skip Bayless’ book: The Boys, 1993)

Boxers sometimes have used walking for conditioning purposes; for example Rocky Marciano (Heavyweight champ, 49-0 record) used to walk in the evenings:

marciano would run 5-6 every day without missing a day and walk up to 10 miles in the evening in the run up to a fight he would run 10 miles a day and in the last few weeks he would run 12-15 miles.
he would do loads of body weight exersizes and hit a 150 kg(300 pound) heavy bag for 1/2 an hour to 1 hour with out a break.
he had a ball on string above his bed and he would hit it to help his co ordanation he also used speed bags and other old training methods.

(The source is a deleted geocities webpage on endurance)

Retired athletes
Muhammad Ali:
From Muhammad Ali, His Life and Times by Thomas Hauser (page 452): Ali was gaining weight and getting teased about it. So he started walking 2 hours a day and trimmed down.

(note: this is an underwater shot; Ali joked that he trained by punching underwater)

George Martin, the fearsome defensive end of the New York Giants

went on a cross country walk for charity and finished.

Famous Authors
Lawrence Block is a best selling author. He is also an avid sports walker, walking marathons and ultra marathons, and has gone over 70 miles at one time:

(in this walk, Block got over 70 miles).

You can read about his walking in this book.

Scientists Michael Green is the Lucasian chair of mathematics at Cambridge; the position that Newton and Hawking held. He goes for long walks and hikes:

They began spending summers together at the Aspen Centre for Physics in Colorado, sharing a flat, going to movies, on long hikes – “lots of people in the subject walk,” says Green – and talking all the while.

So, guys, what are you waiting for? Get out there and walk; you’ll have good company.

June 30, 2010 Posted by | books, science, ultra, Uncategorized, walking | 1 Comment

This one needs its own post

President Obama hosts the MATHCOUNTS winners!

Question: If you start with $1 and, with each move, you can either double your money or add another $1, what is the smallest number of moves you have to make to get to exactly $200?

Mark Sellke, an 8th grader at Klondike Middle School in West Lafayette, Indiana, correctly answered this question in less than 45 seconds this past May to become the 2010 MATHCOUNTS individual champion.

Yesterday, President Obama met with Mark, the winning MATHCOUNTS team from California, and the individual runner-up of the competition. During their visit to the White House, these elated “mathletes” talked to the President about their aspirations—including working for NASA and becoming a math professor. The President congratulated the students on their accomplishments and emphasized the importance of science and math to the Nation’s economy, security, and competiveness. He also confessed to a more parochial pleasure in getting to know them, declaring that he would be calling upon them next time Sasha or Malia stumped him with a math homework question. […]

That’s one reason why the President launched the “Educate to Innovate” campaign to motivate and inspire students to excel in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). That campaign has already helped to raise more than $500 million from the private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors for the creation of innovative public-private partnerships to attract, develop, reward, and retain outstanding educators in STEM subjects.

Note: to answer the question, write 200 in binary and count the number of 2’s:

200 = 128 + 64 + 8 = 2^7 + 2^6 + 2^3 = 2^3(2^4+2^3 + 1)= 2^3(2^3(2+1)+1)
So, in all, this is
double, then add 1, then double thrice, add 1, double thrice which is 9 moves.

Easy, huh? 🙂

June 30, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, education, mathematics | Leave a comment

Olbermann: Palin went to three colleges but still ‘is an idiot’ | Raw Story

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Olbermann: Palin went to three colleges but sti…, posted with vodpod

June 29, 2010 Posted by | Illinois, Peoria/local, political humor, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans politics, sarah palin | Leave a comment

28 June 2010: pm

Workout notes yoga, rotator cuff exercises, 6 mile Hike at FPNC (1:07 outer loop, 55:50 out and back). I really took the out easy (30).

Shoulder: ached at first last night then got better. Feels good now..the rest and walking with “arms down” appears to be helping.

I like this granny!

This traffic system: hard to believe that this wasn’t taken in Peoria, IL. 🙂

Political Humor

News of the easily perplexed: Chuck Norris has a hard time thinking. He doesn’t quite get why the President received the, gasp, SECULAR STUDENT ALLIANCE but appears to disapprove of an organization that discriminates against gays:

Well, it seems that Norris is convinced that the mean nasty liberal White House is out to get the ever-so-honorable and upstanding Boy Scouts, and sees the SSA’s visit to the White House as further evidence of this liberal conspiracy of DOOM:

Hasn’t America reached a particular low in its history when the White House distances itself from the Boy Scouts of America but invites groups like the Secular Student Alliance to participate in its faith and college missions?

I’ll make this easy: if the SSA decided to discriminate against gays or lesbians, then I’d petition the President to NOT receive them. 🙂
(Thanks Miranda!)

Other posts It is clear that scientists are less religious than the public at large, at least in the United States. This is especially true if you talk about research scientists (those with Ph. D’s who publish original research in peer reviewed journals). Of course, some will bend over backwards to either disguise that fact or at least to mislead the public on that fact. Jerry Coyne writes:

At EvolutionBlog, Jason Rosenhouse has summarized Ecklund’s results, which include these statistics:

* 34% of scientists say that they have no belief in God, while another 30% agree with this statement: “I do not know if there is a God, and there is no way to find out.” That makes 64% of them who are in the atheist camp (or atheist/agnostic camp, depending how you define “agnostic”). Only 6% of the American public falls into these two groups.
* An additional 8% of scientists agree with the statement, “I believe in a higher power, but it is not God.” Total: 72% of scientists are non-theists. The figure for Americans as a whole: 16%.
* Only 9% of scientists say this: “I have no doubts about God’s existence”. Compare this to the 63% of Americans who are dead certain.
* 54% of scientists claim no religious affiliation, compared with only 16% of the general public.
* Only 2% of scientists say they are evangelical Protestants, while 28% of all Americans claim this label.

Ecklund did her study at “elite” universities, but if you look at “elite scientists,” i.e., those who have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the degree of disbelief is even higher: 72% are flat-out atheists and another 21% are doubters or agnostics, with only 7% accepting a personal god. (The NAS data are from an independent study.)

If you want to see framing at its nauseating best, or worst, observe how Ecklund downplays the irreligiosity of scientists in favor of showing how “spiritual” they are, how few of them actually spend their time trying to destroy religion, and how “nearly one in five is actively involved in a house of worship, attending services more than once a month.”

Science and the public

The mass media and the public will quickly “misunderstand” a result, especially if there is money to be made:

In the spring of 1993 a psychologist named Francis Rauscher played 10 minutes of a Mozart Piano Sonata to 36 college students, and after the excerpt, gave the students a test of spatial reasoning. Rauscher also asked the students to take a spatial reasoning test after listening to 10 minutes of silence, and, after listening to 10 minutes of a person with a monotone speaking voice.

And Rauscher says, the results of this experiment seemed pretty clear. “What we found was that the students who had listened to the Mozart Sonata scored significantly higher on the spatial temporal task.”

Now Rauscher is quick to emphasize that the test she gave measured only a certain kind of spatial intelligence. “It’s very important to note that we did not find effects for general intelligence,” Rauscher says, “just for this one aspect of intelligence. It’s a small gain and it doesn’t last very long.”

In fact the cognitive gains produced by the so-called “Mozart Effect” lasted only about 10 to 15 minutes.

And this is what Rauscher wrote in the single page paper she subsequently published in the journal Nature. She reported that listening to Mozart’s music improved spatial reasoning for about 10 minutes.

And though Rauscher personally thought the finding was neat, she never really expected other people to be interested.

Then, came the call.

A Molehill Becomes A Mountain

The first call came from Associated Press before Rauscher had even realized that her paper was due to be published. Once the Associated Press printed its story the Mozart Effect was everywhere.

Lest you misunderstand: I am NOT complaining about music education. LEARNING music might well have some mental benefits. I am talking about the idea that somehow passive listening will make one smart.

Religion and Politics
Where oh where is this in our politics? Leave it to Australia:

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd was a regular at Canberra church services and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is known as a devout Catholic.

In contrast, Ms Gillard says that while she greatly respects other people’s religious views, she does not believe in God.

Ms Gillard has been quizzed on personal topics including her attitude to religion and her relationship with her partner during interviews this morning.

She says does not go through religious rituals for the sake of appearance.

“I am not going to pretend a faith I don’t feel,” she said.

“I am what I am and people will judge that.

“For people of faith, I think the greatest compliment I could pay to them is to respect their genuinely held beliefs and not to engage in some pretence about mine.”

“I grew up in the Christian church, a Christian background. I won prizes for catechism, for being able to remember Bible verses. I am steeped in that tradition, but I’ve made decisions in my adult life about my own views.

“I’m worried about the national interest. About doing the right thing by Australians. And I’ll allow people to form their own views about whatever is going to drive their views.

“What I can say to Australians broadly of course is I believe you can be a person of strong principle and values from a variety of perspectives.”

The economic mess: remember who made it:

Over at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Kathy Ruffing and James R. Horney are reminding us – in case we’ve forgotten the way so much of the media have – that the deficits we’re facing in the next decade are due to the economic downturn, financial rescues, and Cheney-Bush policies, including the tax cuts they crafted for their wealthy cronies.

Some critics continue to assert that President George W. Bush’s policies bear little responsibility for the deficits the nation faces over the coming decade — that, instead, the new policies of President Barack Obama and the 111th Congress are to blame. Most recently, a Heritage Foundation paper downplayed the role of Bush-era policies. … Nevertheless, the fact remains: Together with the economic downturn, the Bush tax cuts and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq explain virtually the entire deficit over the next ten years.

The deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.4 trillion and, at nearly 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was the largest deficit relative to the size of the economy since the end of World War II. If current policies are continued without changes, deficits will likely approach those figures in 2010 and remain near $1 trillion a year for the next decade.

The events and policies that have pushed deficits to these high levels in the near term, however, were largely outside the new Administration’s control. If not for the tax cuts enacted during the presidency of George W. Bush that Congress did not pay for, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that were initiated during that period, and the effects of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression (including the cost of steps necessary to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term.

Ultimately, of course, it will be up to women and men of good sense to deal with the accumulated indebtedness caused by the Great Recession, the trillions spent on war and the Cheney-Bush welfare for their pals. But, whatever one’s point of view about how the current administration has handled the economic mess we’re in or how much Democrats prior to 2001 contributed to laying the foundation for that mess, nobody can deny with a straight face that the mess was inherited.

Yes, the President should be judged on how well he does his job of cleaning up. But to think that he is going to somehow undo this mess quickly is absurd. I see it this way: his administration started with the country in a deep hole. So it isn’t his fault that we started there. It will be his fault if he starts digging or if he doesn’t do a good job of leading us out. And yes, I agree with those who think that the debts/deficit isn’t the major problem to confront right now; the problem is that too many don’t have any money to spend.

June 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 election, Barack Obama, economy, education, humor, injury, Peoria, Peoria/local, political humor, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republicans, republicans politics, science, social/political, walking | 2 Comments

28 June 2010

Workout notes hiking style 4 mile walk (hills of Bradley Park) to take the pressure off of my sore rotator cuff. No, walking didn’t cause the injury but it is inflamed. Then rotator cuff exercises; I included the “push up position on a ball” hold and ab exercises.

Injury: slightly less shoulder pain last night (slept well) but it isn’t well. Time to admit it and to go on a shoulder rehab program. But if I play my cards right and don’t come back too quickly, I should be good to go by the start of August.


Frogs Surf here to see some photos of adorable baby tree frogs. Unfortunately they were looking for leopard frogs, which appear to have vanished from that location.

Humor Ok, I can chuckle since her discomfort will be temporary. But there are some unusual ways in which one can inflict damage on themselves…such as blowing a horn during a soccer match?

Ok, I’ve heard that this can “make you go blind”, or “put hair on your palms” or even send you “to hell for eternity”. It might even get you killed by a deity. Yes, it CAN irritate a sore rotator cuff. But now there is gum which will help you stop (or so says the package). 🙂

Local: should we allow for concealed carry of firearms? I admit that I don’t have the understanding of Constitutional Law to know whether concealed carry can be prohibited or not. But I can say that I would feel less safe if these laws passed; the last thing I want is some well intentioned mediocrity trying to play Dirty Harry when some lady’s purse gets snatched; my guess is that we are going to get some innocent bystanders getting shot.

Mano Singham has a nice essay on reporters and those who print what they see at the risk of “losing access”. He also includes a funny Jon Stewart video (on the McChrystal incident) and yes, he included the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine that carried the story.

Economics Paul Krugman warns of depression number three due to an unwillingness of governments to spend:

Neither the Long Depression of the 19th century nor the Great Depression of the 20th was an era of nonstop decline — on the contrary, both included periods when the economy grew. But these episodes of improvement were never enough to undo the damage from the initial slump, and were followed by relapses.

We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression. It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost — to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs — will nonetheless be immense.

And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world — most recently at last weekend’s deeply discouraging G-20 meeting — governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.

In 2008 and 2009, it seemed as if we might have learned from history. Unlike their predecessors, who raised interest rates in the face of financial crisis, the current leaders of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank slashed rates and moved to support credit markets. Unlike governments of the past, which tried to balance budgets in the face of a plunging economy, today’s governments allowed deficits to rise. And better policies helped the world avoid complete collapse: the recession brought on by the financial crisis arguably ended last summer.

But future historians will tell us that this wasn’t the end of the third depression, just as the business upturn that began in 1933 wasn’t the end of the Great Depression. After all, unemployment — especially long-term unemployment — remains at levels that would have been considered catastrophic not long ago, and shows no sign of coming down rapidly. And both the United States and Europe are well on their way toward Japan-style deflationary traps. […]

As far as rhetoric is concerned, the revival of the old-time religion is most evident in Europe, where officials seem to be getting their talking points from the collected speeches of Herbert Hoover, up to and including the claim that raising taxes and cutting spending will actually expand the economy, by improving business confidence. As a practical matter, however, America isn’t doing much better. The Fed seems aware of the deflationary risks — but what it proposes to do about these risks is, well, nothing. The Obama administration understands the dangers of premature fiscal austerity — but because Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress won’t authorize additional aid to state governments, that austerity is coming anyway, in the form of budget cuts at the state and local levels.

Why the wrong turn in policy? The hard-liners often invoke the troubles facing Greece and other nations around the edges of Europe to justify their actions. And it’s true that bond investors have turned on governments with intractable deficits. But there is no evidence that short-run fiscal austerity in the face of a depressed economy reassures investors. On the contrary: Greece has agreed to harsh austerity, only to find its risk spreads growing ever wider; Ireland has imposed savage cuts in public spending, only to be treated by the markets as a worse risk than Spain, which has been far more reluctant to take the hard-liners’ medicine.

It’s almost as if the financial markets understand what policy makers seemingly don’t: that while long-term fiscal responsibility is important, slashing spending in the midst of a depression, which deepens that depression and paves the way for deflation, is actually self-defeating.

War: Douthat wonders if the General Petraeus policy of a stronger counterinsurgency will be the one to lead us out of Afghanistan:

Not the way we’re there today, with 90,000 American troops in-theater and an assortment of NATO allies fighting alongside. But if the current counterinsurgency campaign collapses, it almost guarantees that some kind of American military presence will be propping up some sort of Afghan state in 2020 and beyond. Failure promises to trap us; success is our only ticket out.

Why? Because of three considerations. First, the memory of 9/11, which ensures that any American president will be loath to preside over the Taliban’s return to power in Kabul. Second, the continued presence of Al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan’s northwest frontier, which makes it difficult for any American president to contemplate giving up the base for counterterrorism operations that Afghanistan affords. Third, the larger region’s volatility: it’s the part of the world where the nightmare of nuclear-armed terrorists is most likely to become a reality, so no American president can afford to upset the balance of power by pulling out and leaving a security vacuum behind.

This explains why the Obama administration, throughout all its internal debates and strategic reviews, hasn’t been choosing between remaining in Afghanistan and withdrawing from the fight. It’s been choosing between two ways of staying.

The first is what we’re doing now: the counterinsurgency campaign that Gen. David Petraeus championed (and now has been charged with seeing through), which seeks to lay the foundations for an Afghan state that’s stable enough to survive without our support.

The second way is the “counterterrorism-plus” strategy that Vice President Joe Biden, among other officials, proposed last fall as a lower-cost alternative. […]

The bleakness of this Plan B is the best argument for giving our military the time it needs to try to make a counterinsurgency succeed. We can’t hold the current course indefinitely, and we won’t: President Obama’s decision to set a public deadline was a mistake, but everyone knows there are limits to how long the surge of forces can go on. But of the options this White House seems willing to consider, it’s the one that holds out hope of enabling a real withdrawal from Afghanistan.

So this is what General Petraeus will be fighting for, across the next year and more — not to keep us in forever, but to seize what may be our last chance at getting out.

Leonard Pitts: talks about a book which claims that the “new segregation” is being lead by justice system inequities:

The result is a compelling new book. Others have written of the racial bias of the criminal injustice system. In The New Jim Crow, Alexander goes a provocative step further. She contends that the mass incarceration of black men for nonviolent drug offenses, combined with sentencing disparities and laws making it legal to discriminate against felons in housing, employment, education and voting, constitute nothing less than a new racial caste system. A new segregation.

She has a point. Yes, the War on Drugs is officially race-neutral. So were the grandfather clause and other Jim Crow laws whose intention and effect was nevertheless to restrict black freedom.

The War on Drugs is a war on African-American people and we countenance it because we implicitly accept certain assumptions sold to us by news and entertainment media, chief among them that drug use is rampant in the black community. But. The. Assumption. Is. Wrong.

According to federal figures, blacks and whites use drugs at a roughly equal rate in percentage terms. In terms of raw numbers, whites are far and away the biggest users — and dealers — of illegal drugs.

So why aren’t cops kicking their doors in? Why aren’t their sons pulled over a dozen times in nine months? Why are black men 12 times likelier to be jailed for drugs than white ones? Why aren’t white communities robbed of their fathers, brothers, sons?

With inexorable logic, the New Jim Crow propounds an answer many will resist and most have not even considered. It is a troubling and profoundly necessary book.

Science and popular understanding
Anyone who has gotten outside of their bubble will notice that some of the biggest skeptics of scientific findings are themselves “educated” people. For example, I’ve heard the “female in their 40’s mammogram findings” attacked by liberal arts professors and other non-scientists (the message is that certain types of tests done on people who don’t have an unusual risk factor end up, on a statistical level, causing as much damage as they would be expected to prevent. That is, they might prevent X in 100000 cancer deaths but CAUSE Y deaths due to additional worry, radiation exposure, etc, where Y is greater than or equal to X)

Of course, you see this in climate change denial and yes, in the public acceptance of evolution.

So, Chris Mooney wrote a piece about that; he basically says that scientists should team up with social scientists to get at WHY the public might be skeptical to a scientific conclusion (almost always something in the conclusion threatens them).

PZ Myers agrees with part of the conclusion but then says that part of the problem is :

Go talk to the social scientists? Now the social sciences are wonderful tools, and I agree that we need to get their insights, but Mooney has already given us the perspective of social science research: that bad ideas aren’t simply the product of bad education, but of bad ideological priors. Fine. Let’s move on. Now how can we weaken the influence of the know-nothing wing of the Republican party and religion? Once upon a time, Mooney was one of the better artists of confrontation, who did an excellent job of tearing up Republican policies and making positive suggestions for strengthening the influence of science. Since he started listening to certain ‘specialists in public opinion’, he has lost his fire and turned into a passive follower who seems to do nothing but advocate deference to the very ideologies that are elevating anti-science into the public discourse.

We don’t need any more acquiescence to the status quo. That’s how we got here in the first place.

What we need from social scientists is better strategies for dismantling the influence of religion and demagoguery on American politics, and that requires clearly identifying and targeting those bad beliefs as the enemy of good science and good education. I already know that Mooney will run away from that kind of forthrightness.

Let’s also not forget that the one group that is growing fast and challenging the hegemony of Christian politics in this country is the aggressive, assertive, affirmative, activist atheist advocates (that A stands for more than one thing, you know) — and that Mooney detests them. We are going right to one of the roots of the problem, we aren’t assuming that simply educating everyone about science will make creationism and global warming denial and anti-vax lunacy go away — we’re promoting more science education and criticism of superstition. We seem to be putting into practice what Mooney only mumbles ineffectually and non-specifically about.

June 28, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, bikinis, economy, education, environment, evolution, frogs, Illinois, nature, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, racism, science, walking | Leave a comment


I’ve posted some of these before but some are new to me:

Frogs sometimes fail

Sometimes they don’t

And sometimes they just…well, just aren’t that bright:

June 28, 2010 Posted by | frogs, humor, nature | Leave a comment

27 June 2010 (am)

Posts for the day
Science: rats can now use lungs that were grown in the laboratory!

Religion/Atheism issues
I’ll probably want to see this:

Skeptical Societies There is a difference between an atheist society and a society for skeptics. Basically, a skeptics society should be one in which extraordinary claims are challenged on the basis of evidence (e. g., run an experiment to see if dowsing works). So, should a religious person ever be a part of a skeptics society? After all, many religions depend on the acceptance of highly improbable events “on faith” and people have every right to express skepticism on that. After all, I see no proof that anyone was “raised from the dead”, was “born of a virgin”, was given instructions by gold tablets from an angel, etc.

On the other hand, claims like “my life goes better when I do religious practice X, Y, or Z (e. g., praying, coming together to be challenged to live a better life, meditating, etc.) are fine.

And, of course, if evidence for a deity does occur (e. g., Holy Text says that Mt. Fuji blows up on July 22, 2010 AND IT DOES), we should accept it as we would any other piece of evidence.

So, this issue is discussed in more detail here.

Acceptance of evolution and religion It is no secret that some proponents of science think that outspoken atheists might drive people away from accepting science if they point out that there is no evidence for certain religious beliefs. This issue is discussed here:

Much of the talk was about distancing support of evolution with atheistic views – that we need to stress that religion and science is compatible so people in the “middle” can still accept theistic evolution. That people are more willing to accept evolution if they hear it from their pastor. He lauded Francis Collins and the BioLogos foundation for being pro-evolution…even though BioLogos just had a piece trying to reconcile Biblical Adam and Eve with evolution.

That’s why there’s a problem with accommodationism. It’s more about winning numbers for your cause than truly communicating and educating people about evolution. Are people truly supporters of evolution if they’re not accepting it as a natural process? Do people really understand natural selection if they think God is zapping in mutations or had a plan for humans to eventually evolve? Why is it that our tactic involves people preserving their religious beliefs (which are based on faith), but molding science (which is based on facts) to fit their world view? If anything, it should be the other way around. Religion should have to accommodate science.

The reason why people feel compelled to do this is because religion holds a special status in our society where it can’t be criticized, even when it’s blatantly wrong. This really came out in the second part of the symposium, which was by a woman from AAAS (I unfortunately missed her name). She said there’s no use in including creationists or atheists in the discussion because we’re extremists who won’t change our minds.

Being an atheist is not an extremist position; in fact, it is a position that says “I’ll accept this extraordinary claim only when I see evidence for it” rather than just assuming that this extraordinary claim is true or saying “ok, this is a rather large claim, but since it has the tag of “religion” on it, I’ll just suspend judgment”. Example: “fairies infected my hard drive”. “No, that is absurd.” “uh, my religion says that fairies exist and that they do mischief”. “Oh…ok…maybe you are right”.

On the other hand, I suppose that religion isn’t that different than certain other areas; after all EVERYONE’s kids are smart and cute, and every guy has a “lovely” wife. Of course, these are opinions subject to taste, and some religions make factual claims.

Atheist signs: they continue to go up, get criticism and get vandalized. Those who whine that religion is under unfair attack don’t know what they are talking about.

Ranting Pat Condell is a pro; my guess is that he too, is an ex Catholic. 🙂

June 27, 2010 Posted by | atheism, evolution, nature, ranting, religion, science | Leave a comment

Walking…27 June 2010

I am going on for a “pain allows” 2 hour walk. I might get rained on. 🙂

Update Looking at the map I estimated “2 hours”. Actual time: 1:59:55. 🙂

Note: I had some climb, as you can tell. Now I am icing the knee and rotator cuff; the walk itself was pleasant, though I got rained on a little bit. I saw lots of old fat golfers huddling in their golfing carts, and in the West Peoria Cemetery I saw two fawns (lots of white spots) up close.

Last night my rotator cuff killed me; probably the combination of weights, sawing (the downed tree) and swimming and, yes, “fast” walking was too much. So, I’ll probably have to write off Big Shoulders in September and spend most of July healing up everything. My comeback will have to be “a little bit of everything” (cycling, walking, jogging, swimming…drills only at first, and moderate lifting and yoga) for quite a while.

Speaking of walking, Justin Kuo posted some photos of the US 10K racewalk nationals.

For the uninitiated: see how straight up and down his support leg is? That is what I have trouble with on my “soon to be operated on” knee.

Both of these walkers have an oh-so-slight flight phase; but they are moving at about 7 minutes per mile. A flight phase that is this low will probably be undetectable to the human eye.

Oh, I don’t have to worry about this. 🙂

Women: the one in the yellow: hard to tell. She is probably ok.

See how the lead woman has her butt tucked under her body? I have a hard time doing that as well.

More photos here.



1 Trevor Barron NYAC 42:58.62$
2 Tyler Sorensen unattached 43:53.39$
3 Matthew Forgues Maine Racewalkers 47:45.51
4 Joshua Haertel unattached 47:47.42
5 Alejandro Chavez South Texas 48:14.66
6 Evan Vincent Maine Racewalkers 50:24.59
7 John Randall Miami Valley TC 52:38.65
8 Mitchell Brickson Miami Valley TC 53:21.31


1 Nicolette Sorensen unattached 56:25.49
2 Abby Dunn Maine Racewalkers 56:58.16
3 Rachel Zoyhofski unattached 57:46.85
4 Maite Moscoso Lake Brantley HS 57:52.81
5 Rachael Phillips unattached 57:53.41
6 Reini Brickson Miami Valley TC 58:13.24
7 Jennifer Thuotte Maine Racewalkers 58:17.27
8 Erika Shaver Miami Valley TC 59:45.40
9 Molly Josephs Walk USA 59:54.32
10 Courtney Williams Maine Racewalkers 1:00:15.14
11 Nicole Court-Menendez Maine Racewalkers 1:01:42.56
12 Diana Quinde unattached 1:03:07.55

I have a friend who has started the 20K but has injuries from a bike fall. We’ll see how he does.

June 27, 2010 Posted by | injury, racewalking, sports, time trial/ race, training | 1 Comment

Steamboat Classic 2010 part 5

Steamboat Classic 2010

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Steamboat Classic 2010 part 5, posted with vodpod

Toward the end of this clip, they show a smaller event starting. I am walking next to Barbara here. Yes, my knees are very bent. 🙂

June 27, 2010 Posted by | family, Peoria, Peoria/local, running, time trial/ race, walking | Leave a comment

26 June 2010

Workout notes It got a bit warm and sticky here (75 at the start, 87 when I finished and 46 percent humidity). I decided to walk on the East Peoria trail at a “natural” pace; I started my stopwatch, clicked it to “regular time” and went back to stop watch at the turn around: 1:14:39 at just past 5, 1:09:53 for the return leg for 2:24:32 total. I stayed “natural” and didn’t push though slight pain did make me slow just a tiny bit. The pain was very slight and not nearly enough to detract from the pleasure.

No excuses

Yes, I’ve been making all sorts of “I’m old” excuses lately.

Here is Larry Holmes boxing…at 52 years old:

Ok, he looks different than when he was at his absolute peak, but he was still pretty good at 52!

Here is racewalker Ray Sharp; at 50+ years old he walked a sub 5 hour 50K at high altitude.

Here is a fellow 1981 classmate (David Ricks) pulling big weights…at 50 years old.

It looks as if “I’m old” won’t cut it, will it? 🙂 Sure, my days of a 300+ bench press and a sub 40 10K run are long over, but hey, there is no reason I can’t do stuff (like, say, start training to walk another sub 5 hour marathon), once I’ve recovered from my upcoming knee surgery.


Make no mistake about it; President Obama HAS accomplished a lot, even of some of it is the unseen “keeping the economy from going “great depression” on us.

Here is more for those who like the President.

Nevertheless….getting credit will be tough. And yes, the label “liberal” remains one that much of the public backs away from. The label “conservative” remains “positive” with many, though I see it as a word that connotes backwardness and adherence to superstition and unfounded prejudices. Ok, sure, in some contexts, “conservative” can mean “skeptical” (e. g., needs a lot of evidence to be convinced of something new) but I prefer the latter term.

Speaking of conservatives: evidently some reporters used Sarah Palin for a pinata (can’t make the “tilde n”) and it was caught on camera:

A Fox affiliate television station is refusing to apologize for accidentally broadcasting a room full of reporters offering very frank assessments of a speech by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

The slip-up happened Friday night as Fox40 in Sacramento was broadcasting live from California State University, Stanislaus. After the speech concluded, journalists and crew members behind the scenes offered some off-the-cuff assessment of her remarks, with one man saying he felt like he’d just stepped off a roller coaster.

Another said he could understand why “the dumbness doesn’t come through in sound-bytes.” Yet another argued that she’d not used a complete sentence or even “made a statement.”

Education Grade inflation: did you know that some universities consider “85” to be the typical “class average”? That is not at all true in mathematics!

Mind: The secret of bliss: it is sometimes more complicated than one might think:

Bloom, a professor of psychology at Yale, has written a book that is different from the slew already out there on the general subject of happiness. No advice here about how to become happier by organizing your closets; Bloom is after something deeper than the mere stuff of feeling good. He analyzes how our minds have evolved certain cognitive tricks that help us negotiate the physical and social world — and how those tricks lead us to derive pleasure in some rather unexpected places.

“Many significant human pleasures are universal,” Bloom writes. “But they are not biological adaptations. They are byproducts of mental systems that have evolved for other purposes.” Evolutionary psychologists like Bloom are fond of explaining perplexing psychological attributes this way. These traits emerged, the argument goes, as accidental accompaniments to other traits that help us survive and reproduce.

Our most puzzling sources of pleasure, according to this view, are side effects of our inborn “essentialism,” the idea that “things have an underlying reality or true nature . . . and it is this hidden nature that really matters.” It was to our ancestors’ advantage to be essentialists, so they could categorize the plants and animals in their environment into “dangerous” and “harmless” and thereby know which ones to avoid. Today, our ability to recognize the essence of things explains, for instance, why someone would be willing to pay $48,875 for a tape measure once owned by John F. Kennedy.

Pornography is another example of pleasure via essentialism. Why do some men spend more time looking at Internet porn than interacting with flesh-and-blood lovers? There may be “no reproductive advantage” to liking pornography, Bloom writes, but there is an advantage to its source: an urge to look at real-world “attractive naked people,” which makes us want sex, which in turn is good for continuation of the species. Pornography uses the same pleasure mechanism as actual sex, which is handy since “there aren’t always attractive naked people around when you need them.”

Then there are the (sometimes) more G-rated pleasures of the imagination: the joys of fiction, movies, television, daydreaming. “Surely we would be better off pursuing more adaptive activities — eating and drinking and fornicating, establishing relationships, building shelter and teaching our children,” Bloom writes. But when we retreat into an imagined world, it’s almost like experiencing the pleasure for real. Bloom calls it “Reality Lite — a useful substitute when the real pleasure is inaccessible, too risky or too much work.”

Bloom’s ideas go against the traditional view of pleasure as purely sensory: that is, that we get pleasure from food because of how it tastes, from music because of how it sounds, from art because of how it looks. The sensory explanation is only partially true, he writes.

Emphasis mine. Sometimes, the pleasure from a good race or a published paper comes from my looking back and saying: “oh yes, I did that!” And the memory of some races are more pleasurable than the races themselves; here is one example of a race that I considered a “failure” just after doing it but then a success 1-2 years later. I was disappointed with my finish time but now I remember all that I overcame (e. g., I got huge blisters from having forgotten my trail gaiters; I got a ton of rocks in my shoes; that easily cost me 1 hour).

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Barack Obama, books, boxing, brain, economy, education, injury, mind, obama, politics, politics/social, racewalking, Republican, republicans, republicans politics, sarah palin, science, social/political, sports, time trial/ race, training, ultra, walking, weight training | Leave a comment