# blueollie

## 31 December 2010 later

Football: right now I am watching ND whip Miami; it is 30-3 Notre Dame going into the 4’th quarter. Basically ND kept intercepting Miami passes. You kind of knew how it was going to go when you saw the ND players playing without sleeves and the Miami guys all bundled up. Hey…it is in the 30’s guys!

It is in the 4’th quarter and ND is up 30-3.

Update: note it is 30-17 with 4 minutes left in the game; Miami still has a chance, though it is a remote one. But an onside kick and another quick touchdown….who knows?

Update: ND kicked a field goal with 1:26 left to make it 33-17; I agree with this call. 16 points is a safer lead than 13, as it would require Miami to hit two 2-point conversions (in addition to 2 touchdowns…)

Pinstripe Bowl:
I talked about the controversial call; here it is:

That’s it. This lead to a 15 yard penalty which meant that they had 18 yards to go on their 2 point conversion.

This is what the officials said:

Todd Geerlings, the head official on the officiating crew from the Pinstripe Bowl earlier today, explained the reasoning for the call after the game in pool quotes provided to media members.

Kansas State lost 36-34 to Syracuse when officials flagged Wildcats receiver Adrian Hilburn for excessive celebration. Hilburn he saluted in the direction of the crowd after scoring on a 30-yard catch-and-run that gave Kansas State an opportunity to tie the game. But a 15-yard penalty was assessed on the two-point conversion try, which Kansas State failed to convert.

It was a Big Ten officiating crew.

Here’s the full text of Geerling’s explanation:

Excessive celebration is rule 9-2-1d, which states a penalty is called for:
“Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by which a player attempts to focus attention on himself (or themselves).”

What exactly caused the penalty?
“It was the salute, which was the judgment of the calling officials, which were the head linesman and the back judge. Two officials threw the flag, both judged it to be drawing attention to themselves, and that’s what the flag was for.”

Were you watching for any celebrations?
“These kinds of excessive celebrations have been a priority in the rulebook for the last several years. There’s a whole page in the rulebook pertaining to sportsmanship.”

That’s a pretty weak explanation.

Regardless of the wording of the rule, officials have to take into account context as well as timing. Plenty of players’ actions after scoring are far more animated and draw plenty more attention, but you don’t see those flagged.

U agree with the ESPN writer (David Ubben) here. That was a weak call and completely inappropriate.

Of course, had they kicked that field goal earlier in the game…

Other posts
Medicare: is in a situation where people are taking out much more than they are taking in:

The financial health of Social Security and Medicare, the government’s two biggest benefit programs, have worsened because of the severe recession, and Medicare is now paying out more than it receives.

Trustees of the programs said Tuesday that Social Security will start paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes in 2016, one year sooner than projected last year, and the giant trust fund will be depleted by 2037, four years sooner.

Medicare is in even worse shape. The trustees said the program for hospital expenses will pay out more in benefits than it collects this year and will be insolvent by 2017, two years earlier than the date projected in last year’s report.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the head of the trustees group, said the reports are a reminder that “the longer we wait to address the long-term solvency of Medicare and Social Security, the sooner those challenges will be upon us and the harder the options will be.”

Geithner said that President Obama is committed to working with Congress to find ways to control runaway growth in both public and private health care expenditures, noting the promise Monday by major health care providers to trim costs by \$2 trillion over the next decade.

Part of it is the rotten economy is suppressing wages; fewer people are paying into it. And of course, end of life expenses are going up.

President Obama’s critics on the left I won’t go nearly as far as Frank Schaeffer does here; I think that Paul Krugman is still calling it as he sees it. And Krugman wanted someone who “fought” where Obama always campaigned as a pragmatist who wanted to compromise and bring the other side on board.
Still, maybe Obama IS right and things will get better; I certainly hope so. Still, Krugman and Robert Reich fill an important need; we don’t need cheerleaders but rather realists.

As far as the right wing criticism: who cares. They have zero credibility.

Mind
This is cool:

December 31, 2010

## Final Run of 2010 is Memorable: Bald Eagles

Yes, I am planning on doing the midnight New Year’s Eve “Get Lit” run/walk with my daughter and friend. But my last run of 2010 was memorable.

I had gone to the Riverplex (I needed to go to the nearby post office) and did my rotator cuff exercises inside. I then walked to the lobby to get to the trail which runs between the building and the Illinois River.

It started to rain rather hard and I had second thoughts; after all there were a few treadmills open and there were dozens of very attractive women in their spandex (there was a good reason for that, as I’ll explain later). :)

But I made myself go out; it was a rare time to get out without snow and ice to slip on. Besides, there are many benefits to going outside.

The run itself was unremarkable; it was about 3.2 miles (just over 5K) at about a 10 minute per mile pace.
But when I got to the dam near the marina, I saw a young bald eagle; it was between fledgling and adult size, with the usual white top, black feather scheme. It was there on the way back too so I saw it twice. Hence I got soaked, but it was worth it. :) And hey, it was in the 50’s, a near record high for this time of year (all time record is 60 F and we are getting close)

This isn’t my video, but rather from upriver:

When I got home, we had a bat in the shower; I was able to expel it without hurting it via using a “soft” laundry basket.

Note: why so much good gym spandex today? I forgot; it was the 31’st of December, hence there were many women between 30 and 60 years old; I am used to seeing the very old (retired) there. One of the women working near where I was is a spin instructor.

December 31, 2010

## New Year’s Eve, 2010/2011

Workout notes I’ll update this. Probably something outside.

Shoulder some ache last night; it appears that I AM recovering from the last relapse. But boy, does it take time.

Tonight: I am planning on the Get Lit fun run at midnight; 2 miles through a holiday light display.
Peoria weather: screwy. When we got here, it was single digits (F) and snow covered everything. Today: 50 F (and will get warmer), rain, and 99 percent of the snow is gone (only the piled up mounds remain). This is the warmest New Year’s Eve that I remember around here.

Posts
Silly Political Stories for 2010: some civil libertarians will take issue with some of these. Yes, TSA, Sarah Palin and Cristine O’Donnell are mentioned, as is this:

The Obama comeback. I’m not saying it won’t happen; it well may. But can’t the pundits who wrote about the Dems’ shellacking a month ago at least wait until the next Congress convenes before they declare President Obama this year’s political winner? Can’t the chattering class wait until major polls show that Obama’s approval rating is above 50 percent? Are we boardwalk fortune-tellers, or can we wait for something to happen, or at least appear likely to happen?

You know the answer, and it’s not pretty.

Depression Here is a list of 10 jobs which are prone to be filled by people who get depressed. Of course, there are a ton of questions:
1. Are these jobs linked to depression because they attract personalities who are depression prone (artists)
2. Do some of these jobs induce depression due to low pay, harsh conditions, high pressure, long hours, time away from the family, etc.?
3. Do some of these jobs involve work that is inherently depressing? For example, a friend of mine quit a well paying job in nuclear medicine nursing because being around terminally ill people eventually got to her.
4. Do some of these jobs attract those who are desperate for work (e. g., poor and unemployed) to begin with?
5. What about male/female breakdowns: I’ve heard it said that men are more judged by the status of their jobs than women are. So do some jobs carry that dreaded “low status label”?

Atheism, Morality and the mind
Sam Harris is interesting; he is an atheist who sees value in things like meditation. I agree with him on this; religion AS A PRIVATE PRACTICE can provide some good things, so long as one isn’t shackled by superstitious beliefs and the conclusions that come from them. There are moral lessons too; for example I remember being moved by a minister saying “you know those extra shoes that lay there rotting and unused? Those don’t belong to you; they belong to those who don’t have any shoes”. That inspired me to clean my closet of extra clothes that I wasn’t wearing.

His latest kick is to say that science can lead us to morality. Though I think that this might be true in the LONG TERM, it isn’t close to being realized at this time

Note: why does he need security? That is what I try to tell people: the major religions are NOT “religions of peace”; not even close.
Do a thought experiment: park your car that has an atheist sticker on it. You can choose to park it on a college campus or somewhere in the rural south. Where would the car be safer?

Mind
Are our political views hardwired (e. g., liberal versus conservative)? Obviously, not completely since some people change their mind, but I am talking about tendencies.

Scientists have found that people with conservative views have brains with larger amygdalas, almond shaped areas in the centre of the brain often associated with anxiety and emotions.

On the otherhand, they have a smaller anterior cingulate, an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life.

The “exciting” correlation was found by scientists at University College London who scanned the brains of two members of parliament and a number of students.

They found that the size of the two areas of the brain directly related to the political views of the volunteers.

However as they were all adults it was hard to say whether their brains had been born that way or had developed through experience. […]

Yes, this looks suspicious given that “n” is probably small, but it is an interesting conjecture. There is also statistical evidence that cuts across lines of society too (video is 19 minutes long):

December 31, 2010

## 30 December 2010 pm

Football I only caught the tail end of the Pinstripe Bowl between Syracuse and Kansas State. K-State passed on a short field goal with a 4’th down fake and didn’t make it (they were down 33-28 in the 4’th) and Syracuse drove for a field goal with about 3 minutes to go.

But then with 1:15 left, K-State threw a short pass; there was a missed tackle; touchdown Wildcats! It was 36-34 Orangemen but then…K-State got a 15 yard penalty for “excessive celebration” when the receiver gave a very tame “salute” (two fingered…Cub Scout style!) to the crowd! I couldn’t believe it.
So they had to try from the 18 yard line instead of the 3…and they didn’t make it.

An onside kick failed.

It was a pity; the team fought their guts out only to have it decided on such a ticky-tacky matter.
(photos from yahoo)

Yesterday’s Texas Bowl:

Spandex Butts
(in each case, click for the large image)

Pretty cute, huh? (ok, I happen to like the big ones too, hence the last photo).
Now…you heterosexual guys……

One of these photos is of….a guy!!!!! Can you guess which one?
This reminds me of something that happened way back when I was at the Naval Academy (one of the most homophobic places in the US). We were watching TV and a blue jeans commercial came on. They showed tight blue jeans up close…right on the butt. The guys hooted and hollered….then the camera panned back. It was a guy….and the whole room went stone silent.

True, most of the time, guy’s butts are smaller and skinnier (that is why I didn’t find the Dell character played by Jaye Davidson that appealing; the hips were too narrow). But as you can see, not every guy has “guy” hips.

I think that I know what is going on: when a male is getting sexually aroused, it is to get ready to procreate; to get our genes to go on a bit longer. So, most of us are hardwired to respond to certain cues, namely “that person will do a good job with babies” cue; these cues include somewhat wider hips and breasts. Hence the attraction. But I can imagine the attraction being there for, say, a super sophisticated female “borg” so the cuing can “misfire” on a feminine looking male. This makes me want to read this book.

Posts
Did you know that non-historians can write history textbooks for schools? Yep…and guess what you get:

Oh those “sacred cows” of the left…like the Center for Disease Control?

Tea Party Nation: names their liberal “hate groups”. Really. :)

December 31, 2010

## 30 December 2010

Workout note
1 mile AMT, 3.12 mile run (10:22, 20:01, 28:39, 29:37) then .88 mile walk to make it 41:34.
Then I stretched my back; it was a bit tight.

Shoulder pain: some at night; moderate.

My Year in Endurance Sports

PB’s:

5500 yard (5K) swim: 1:34:29 in January,

4 mile (7050 yards) swim (2:02:32) in March.

Races: nothing serious; I did walk a 2:39 half marathon in September (way slow for me)

I (barely) finished a 30 mile trail walk on October 31; it was my only “marathon or beyond” finish of the year and walked a 2:37 trail 10 mile race…

Weights: I did bench press 210 in April (legal, hips down but UGLY). That is 100 pounds less than my lifetime best.

Injuries: I started the year off with knee pain; it never went away. In July, I was operated on for a torn meniscus.

I also developed rotator cuff problems (genetic problem plus poor swimming training) which dogged me; my last swim was on June 23.

Total miles (running, walking, machines): 1270 for the year. This included some zero mile months (March, April) then a very low month (July; the month of the operation).

I did work some races though, including the McNaughton 50-100 miler and I helped out at Building Steam (program for new runners) and I worked most of the Farmdale 30-50 mile race (after finishing the 10 mile walk).

Also I showed up at some running races and “won” an age group award because of a lack of participation in my age group.

The down side: two of my former running partners died of cancer; ages were 56 and 67.

Football

Illinois dominated the Texas Bowl; they raced to a 16-0 half time lead and cruised 38-14. Baylor did cut it to 24-14 but was basically unable to stop the Illini running attack. This was a butt kicking on both sides of the ball. Illinois gained 533 yards from scrimmage including 291 on the ground.

(photo from yahoo)

Economy for 2011: Robert Riech says not so good for those who work and don’t depend on the stock market. Companies are doing well, but that is because they are dong well overseas and hiring there:

Earlier in December, President Obama met with some of the country’s most high-powered CEOs, with the goal of convincing corporate America to use some of its \$2 trillion in cash reserves to hire more workers. But it turns out many U.S. companies are hiring. Overseas, that is.

The AP reports that corporations, buoyed by rising profits and stock prices, are hiring a substantial portion of new employees overseas–sometimes for sophisticated, high-tech jobs–as sales in international markets outpace sales in a U.S. market still reeling from the recession. The report cites an Economic Policy Institute finding that American companies have created 1.4 million jobs abroad this year, compared with less than 1 million at home. An economist at the institute estimates that the additional 1.4 million jobs would have reduced the U.S. unemployment rate from its present level at 9.8 percent to 8.9 percent.

What’s behind the trend, and how should government react?

Other stuff
My favorite drunken ladybug was in the news:

I love the cut of her dress (she is on the right); being a fundie doesn’t make you a prude!

More:

Religious kooks
I mentioned on facebook that I had watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with my teenage daughter. Yes, the show is graphic at times; it shows a rape, talks about a girl getting raped by her father and shows the aftermath of some brutal rape/murders. Well, of course, one of my “most of the time sane” friends, who had praised the film, went “OMG, you are letting your daughter see THAT” on me. Interestingly enough, this guy is a Roman Catholic who takes his family to a church that preaches the doctrine of Hell (eternal torment), tolerates pedophile priests and features a “holy text” that talks about the virtues of offering your daughters to be raped by a mob (Lot in Genesis) and taking virgins to rape yourselves (Joshua).

Hey, at least the film treats the rapes as evil acts done by evil people.

Speaking of religious kooks, here is a list of things believed by a large subset of religious people in the US.

December 30, 2010

## 29 December 2010 pm

I just got back from a fun early evening with my running buddy Tracy. I am enjoying the Baylor-Illinois football game; for now. Illinois is up 24-7 toward the end of the third quarter and the defense is playing well.

Posts
Science
Jerry Coyne talks about a new mathematical model for evolution. Roughly speaking: the new model talks about evolution occurring “in parallel” rather than sequentially:

If you want to change 20,000 genes, for example, with only 1/40 of all segregating mutational variants being advantageous, then it would take 1034,040 “trials” (roughly the time it takes for a new adaptive mutation to become fixed) to effect this change. This could never occur, since even with an organism having 100 generations per year and with a “trial” equivalent to one generation, this would take a number of years equal to 10 followed by 34,038 zeroes. (Since life began there’s only been about 3 followed by nine zeroes years.) That’s not long enough!

As you’ve probably already guessed, evolution doesn’t work this way. As evolutionary change is occurring at one gene, it’s simultaneously occurring at other genes, affecting other traits, if there are adaptive mutations in the populations for those traits too. A “trial” doesn’t involve producing variants at every gene, with evolution occurring only if all of the genes have adaptive variants. Rather, in each trial the new adaptive mutations arise and begin their march toward fixation in some genes, leaving the rest to change during subsequent trials. In other words, evolution occurs in parallel rather than in series.

I’ll borrow one of his analogies (used in the New Republic article The Great Mutator). The ID-Creationist scheme has it this way: suppose you need 20 genes to change to effect a beneficial mutation and that the probabilities are independent and are, say, 1/6 (like rolling a 1 on a die). The probability of getting this in one change would be $(1/6)^{20}$ and the expected time for this to happen would be $6^{20}$ generations. On the other hand, if we just need all 20 to eventually change and the changes can occur 1 gene at a time (e.g., one beneficial change in the first trial; maybe one in a subsequent trail) we then need the time for the 20’th change to occur. That is, you start, get a 1 in one slot; keep that, keep rolling, then perhaps get another 1/6, keep going until you have 20 slots with 1’s. The expected number of runs is $r(q/p)$ which is $20 (5/6)/(1/6)$ which is 100; far less than the previous example.

Biology Colds annoy us. Our bodies react to these viruses and cause us misery. But elimination of the cold viruses might well cause other problems.

Human evolution The Neanderthals ate cooked vegetables! Evidently they were more evolved than I am. (I know…that is a low bar).

Technology
A new record for a solar powered aircraft has been set.

Climate Change

Rep. Bachmann is either a liar or an idiot.

Atheism: some atheists try so hard to be liked; in fact they try so hard that they say stupid things. Evidently, this person doesn’t get it. It is more about “I reject this due to a lack of evidence” rather than “I know that no “whatever” of any kind exists.” PZ Myers has some fun with her.

December 30, 2010

## 29 December 2010 (am)

Workout notes
Nothing yet; in about an hour I’ll head to the gym for some weight work and light walking with maybe, 1-2 miles of running. The trick is shoes: unless I run on my home treadmill prior to heading to the gym, I’ll need to carry 2 pair of shoes in addition to the boots I’ll wear to walk to the gym.

Shoulder: some ache last night but much less than the night before. Long drives just tear it up. It is feeling pretty good right now.

Knee: not bad, but pressure on it doesn’t feel good. And I can’t do poses like this one:

(click on the thumbnail to go to the photo to see why it is called “hearts”.
More on this photo after the update:

Workout update
3 mile run on the treadmill (30 minutes…slightly less actually), 1 mile walk.
Squats: 2 sets of 10 x 135, 10 x 155
Leg press: 10 x 270, 10 x 360
arm curls: 20 x 15 lb., 20 x 20 lb., 20 x 20 lb. (dumbbells)
incline presses: 2 sets of 10 x 115
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 180 (90 each arm on the Hammer machine)
rotator cuff stuff plus very light overheads.
Sit ups: 4 sets of 25 at various inclines.

More from this photographer here: “she” really knows how to make fun but non-pornographic photos that have artistic merit. Note that some of the photos are listed under “cross dressing”; I wonder if this is a person that has an ambiguous sex classification. Only one of the photos looks “guy-like”. I can recommend Wild Celtic Rose’s photos, which include many scenic shots as well as shots like these:

I love it: a spandex butt shot with classical musical instruments in the back ground…is that Wild Celtic Rose or what? :) )

Legal snark: Randazza points us to this smackdown…it is quick and hilarious.

(click for a larger photo)

(via Jerry Coyne’s blog)

Health care Here is a nice article which summarizes the potential legal challenges to the health care insurance mandate:

The legal challenge to the Obama health care act has invigorated a dispute as old as the Constitution about the framers’ most nettlesome grant of power, which gives Congress treacherously broad authority to pass laws “necessary and proper” to carrying out its assigned responsibilities.

The cases, which are presumed to be headed to the Supreme Court, center on whether Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce is so expansive that it can require citizens to buy health insurance. But as the litigation advances, the “necessary and proper” clause is taking on greater prominence in briefs and oral arguments, with the Obama administration asserting that it shelters the insurance mandate and state officials arguing that it buries it.

Because the facts are novel — the courts have never addressed whether Americans can be penalized for not buying something — each side has managed to glean what it wants from the Supreme Court’s most recent guidance.

Surf to the article to read more. Note: the mandate is a REPUBLICAN idea; it came from Bob Dole’s attempted compromise in 1993.

On personal grounds, I am torn. I see why it is necessary (else healthy people won’t buy, which means that mostly sick people will buy it, which means that health insurance companies will certainly lose money), but then again, Obama’s initial proposal did NOT have mandate; Hillary Clinton’s did.

Economics No, the Republicans really aren’t worried about the national debt. They are more concerned with eliminating social programs. That includes even the “serious” Republicans:

2. Paul Ryan requires that his staffers read Atlas Shrugged. I mean, I was inspired by Isaac Asimov, but I don’t think I’m Hari Seldon — whereas Ryan, it seems, really does think he’s John Galt.Time to bring out the classic quote:

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Future historians will giggle at our expense.

I love it when Paul Krugman takes shots. :)

Robert Reich makes a prediction on what the Republican House will do; the first thing will be to make some rule changes. Of course obnoxious stuff will go nowhere in the Senate. We’ll see lots of “the other side is obstructing” in the near future.

December 29, 2010

## 28 December 2010

Workout notes
No easy way to say this: my shoulder simply killed me last night. When I drive, I pay a price that night. We’ll see if it calms down with less driving.
My workout went well; treadmill: 10 min walk, 20 min of 1 run, 1 walk, 30 minutes of run (got me to 5.5 miles); then 5:30 more of 1 walk, 2 run, 2.5 walk to finish 6 miles.
Then I did the Baptiste level II DVD (35 minutes of it).

What I can’t do: the negative push up (shoulder), crow (knee won’t let me squat, though I can get into it from a higher position), and too much stuff like camel pose (can’t take pressure on my right knee).
So in some ways, I am healthy; in others I am a mess.

Posts
Just one today. I’ve wondered about the hostility shown toward those who got laid off (NOT fired for cause; laid off due to position cuts). This article takes a swing. Basically it is the “just world” bullshit, along with fear (“yes, it can be you”). Fact: sometimes bad things happen, and yes, they might happen to YOU, no matter how highly you think of yourself. From the article:

First, there’s what psychologists call the Just-World Fallacy—the tendency to believe the world is inherently fair. This delusion is embedded in our pervasive up-by-the-bootstraps, everyone-can-be-a-millionaire catechism. The myth of the lazy unemployed can seem to make sense because it connects those ancient fables to current news, effectively alleging that today’s jobless deserve their plight.

Narcissism is also a factor. In a nation that typically dehumanizes the destitute Other with epithets like “welfare queen” and “white trash,” our self-centered culture leads the slightly less destitute to ascribe their own relative success exclusively to superhuman greatness. The myth of the lazy unemployed plays to that conceit, helping the still-employed experience potentially scary unemployment news as a booster shot of self-aggrandizement. You remain in a job, says the myth, because you are better than the jobless.

Finally, there’s raw fear—arguably more powerful than even arrogance. With the labor-market news downright frightening, the still-employed are understandably pining for a defense mechanism to cope with persistent layoff anxieties. The myth of the lazy unemployed provides exactly that—a calming sensation of control. If, as the myth suggests, the jobless are really out of work because they “are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities,” then it stands to reason that the employed can avoid catastrophe by simply choosing better behavior.

That is yet another reason I despise most (but not all) right wingers.

Note: to those who point out that Paul Krugman’s wife wrote a text book that noted a correlation between generous unemployment benefits and unemployment: yes, that can happen, SLIGHTLY, IN SITUATIONS WHEN JOBS are plentiful.

Of course understanding that this happens under different conditions than what we have now would require that someone be able to read and digest what they read, and evidently many of our conservatives lack that ability.

December 28, 2010

## 27 December 2010 (pm)

We are back in Peoria, Il. It is cold, the streets (side streets anyway) are mostly unplowed and sloppy; in winter time Peoria is a crap box.
But my daughter is here and I feel good about that.

No workout today; I’ll get back in the saddle tomorrow. The shoulder ached last night due to the long drive.

But when I get back to working out tomorrow, maybe this will happen?

Winning sure helps matters. The Rams are 7-8 this season and will host a playoff game if they win next Sunday. I saw a couple of people wearing Rams stuff when we stopped in St. Louis; you didn’t see that last year. :)

Americans

When you stop at a motel at see others in the lobby during breakfast, or stop at a rest area, you’ll see the truth in this:

The trip:
The trip wasn’t that bad, though there was a long snarl on I-55 just south of St. Louis. But we weren’t delayed that much as we took the following detour:

I took 40 past Troy and then 4 north to I-55; that saved us a ton of time! I recommend this bypass if there is a long line on I-55 going North (bridge work)

Posts

Today’s New York Times Book Review recommends Holy Ignorance by Olivier Roy, a French social scientist working in Italy. From the review by sociologist Alan Wolfe:

Over the past few years, a number of theories have been offered about the rise of fundamentalism. Roy proposes the most original — and the most persuasive. Fundamentalism, in his view, is a symptom of, rather than a reaction against, the increasing secularization of society. Whether it takes the form of the Christian right in the United States or Salafist purity in the Muslim world, fundamentalism is not about restoring a more authentic and deeply spiritual religious experience. It is instead a manifestation of holy ignorance, Roy’s biting term meant to characterize the worldview of those who, having lost both their theology and their roots, subscribe to ideas as incoherent as they are ultimately futile. The most important thing to know about those urging the restoration of a lost religious authenticity is that they are sustained by the very forces they denounce.

Roy’s thesis is that despite the secular props of fundamentalism, it, as well as religion in general, are on the way out.

Of course, we have heard THAT before, and Jerry Coyne points out that a similar prediction made by the author of this book has yet to pan out.
Then again, in terms of human history, 100 years isn’t a long time.

New Atheism”: what effect is it having? Josh Rosenau claims “not much”; Jerry Coyne calls “hogwash”.

December 28, 2010

## Lebanon, MO, December 2010

Once again the trip featured no long traffic jams, so far, though I-35 was packed between Waco and the split into I-35 W and I-35 E just south of Dallas-Fort Worth.

My 16 year old daughter was good company and helped out with about 80 miles out of the 620 miles or so.

I did a 3 mile walk plus some stretching prior to leaving; the shoulder is so-so.

Running This New York Times article seems to confirm what I’ve thought: when it comes to running shoes, go with what appears to work for you. This is the highlight of the article:

But as the military prepared to invest large sums in more arch-diagnosing light tables, someone thought to ask if the practice of assigning running shoes by foot shape actually worked. The approach was entrenched in the sports world and widely accepted. But did it actually reduce injuries? Military researchers checked the scientific literature and found that no studies had been completed that answered that question, so eventually they decided they would have to mount their own. They began fitting thousands of recruits in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps with either the “right” shoes for their feet or stability shoes.

Over the course of three large studies, the most recent of which was published last month in The American Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers found almost no correlation at all between wearing the proper running shoes and avoiding injury. Injury rates were high among all the runners, but they were highest among the soldiers who had received shoes designed specifically for their foot types. If anything, wearing the “right” shoes for their particular foot shape had increased trainees’ chances of being hurt.

Scientific rumblings about whether running shoes deliver on their promises have been growing louder in recent years. In 2008, an influential review article in The British Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that sports-medicine specialists should stop recommending running shoes based on a person’s foot posture. No scientific evidence supported the practice, the authors pointed out, concluding that “the true effects” of today’s running shoes “on the health and performance of distance runners remain unknown.”

Note: the shoes did, say, provide cushioning or prevent excessive pronation as advertised. BUT evidently these things didn’t really prevent injury.

December 27, 2010