Egypt, Iraq, what difference is there?

Evidently none, if you are Fox News. 🙂

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Fox News Lies Again, moron, morons | Leave a comment

Climate Change and Denialism

I found this cool 6 part BBC series about science and the attack on it by the public; I’ll put the whole 6 part series below. But if these get nuked by youtube, you can watch the 3’rd part (of 6) which explains the so-called “climategate” e-mail fiasco here.
Part I

Part II

Part III (climategate)

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

January 30, 2011 Posted by | science, superstition | Leave a comment

30 January 2011

Workout notes I walked outside with Lynn along the Peoria riverfront (about 4.38 miles); it was slick in spots. But then I went to the Bradley gym and walked 6 more miles (about 1:20, or 13:20 mpm) around the track and then did 4 sets of squats on the Smith machine: 10 x 45, 135, 155, 135, some stretching and that was it. I am in rotten shape, but I enjoyed the spandex eye buffet. 🙂

Fox News: get a load of the people who make comments there:

Such is the riff-raff that the Republicans will be trying to appeal to as they vie for the 2012 presidential nomination.

Weather: says that we have more crap headed our way by mid week. One more month of this BS; I hope it isn’t more than that.

January 30, 2011 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, training, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Egypt: what is going on?

AlJazeera’s report…

January 29, 2011 Posted by | world events | Leave a comment

Paul Ryan: social security leads to dependence?

Really Mr. Ryan?

3. Ryan’s father died when Paul was only 16. Using the Social Security survivors benefits he received until his 18th birthday, he paid for his education at Miami University in Ohio, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science in 1992.



This is protesting that Arizona sheriff who dared to ask for more civil rhetoric.

Anyhow, I wonder if this is one reason some Fox News people feel the need to act dumb and ignorant

Just for the heck of it
Thumbnails from Girls in Yoga Pants…click on the thumbnail to see the post at GIYP

Note: this young woman is in bad need of a computer upgrade:

Really, I was noticing the old monitor in the background….really. 🙂

January 29, 2011 Posted by | big butts, economics, economy, moron, morons, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, spandex | Leave a comment

29 January 2011 noonish

Workout notes I was stiffer than yesterday morning; evidently doing rotator cuff stuff with a calculus book doesn’t work.

I stretched, did 100 sit ups (20-20-25-25-5-5) and went to the treadmill:
mile 1 run: started at 10;50 mpm and made mile one by 10:40 or so; I went up to elevation .5
Then I walked about .125, ran 1.125 at 9:40, walked .125, ran 1 in 9:40, walked .125 and then finished the remaining 1.75 miles with 2 more .125 walking breaks (9:40 running pace) to get to 5 in 52:00 or so. Then I walked 1.25 in 17 minutes to finish 10K (plus)
I got off and my back was stiff, so more stretching.
Then rotator cuff, weights:
incline press: 10 x 115, 10 x 115, 5 x 135
curls 20 lb. sets of 15, 15, 11
rows: 10 x 180 lb., 10 x 180 lb., 8 x 200 lb.
That about did me in.

The university was having its indoor triathlon; I wanted to be able to do it but I wasn’t ready for the swim. Maybe next year.

January 29, 2011 Posted by | injury, running, training, walking | Leave a comment

29 January 2011

Ok, more of the Rah-Rah, Winning the Future (I know…WTF) but hey it is ok.

Stupidity: Recursivity points us to this article:

Mathematics tends to be both misunderstood and credited with magic powers, especially by those who are intelligent but not mathematically inclined. Arising from this, there is a perennial temptation for mathematicians to play to the gallery and to assume the role of magicians and, even more temptingly, high priests.

The late Bernard Scott, founding professor of mathematics at the University of Sussex, wrote a paper in the 1960s deploring the tendency in some schools to treat mathematics as juju. This, if left unchecked, leads to people acquiring a blind faith in mathematics and mathematical formulae, a faith that bears little relation to their true logical powers.

We know that a major cause of the financial crash of 2008 was the blind faith invested in certain mathematical risk models by managers in the financial institutions. They thought they had covered the risks, but the mathematics and financial reality were, it turned out, miles apart. The problem was exacerbated by the fact that few senior managers in the banks understood the mathematics.

Scott warned against the dangers of letting mathematical educators adopt attitudes that tacitly encouraged their pupils to interpret mathematics the “blind faith” way. It is a warning we need to heed now more than ever.

Groan. The problem is that the models didn’t apply and NOT that the mathematics was bad. Example: ordinary differential equations with constant coefficients do a good job at modeling some classical mechanics problems (harmonic motion) but don’t deal with, say, quantum behavior.

But there is even more crackpot stuff here:

We have seen blind faith in mathematics in action recently. In addition to the contribution of mathematical models to the great credit crunch of 2008, take physicist Stephen Hawking’s claim that philosophy is dead. The reason he gave was that philosophers have stopped bothering trying to understand modern mathematical cosmology. This cosmology is based on current mathematical physics, most of which has been in place for less than 100 years. It is an impressive edifice of concepts and mathematical models, but one that has not yet built up a track record for reliability over a thousand years, let alone a million years.

Well, duh: really understanding cosmology requires a background in things like differential geometry and few have the combination of the ability and the time to learn it on that level.

Let’s skip to mathematics

So how has it happened that for a hundred years, the mathematical establishment has swallowed the idea of transfinite sets? Georg Cantor produced an argument that seemed to point to transfinite immensities, but that was before we realised that mathematics was incompletable. In effect Cantor’s argument showed that the set of real numbers was incompletable. It did not (could not) show that there were more mathematical objects than an ordinary infinity.

No: he showed that there were more than a countable number of real numbers. This clown is confusing the incompleteness theorem with uncountable cardinals. The incompleteness theorem shows that any system will have logically true statements that will remain unprovable within that system; the uncountability of the real numbers is a different matter entirely.

Why the mainstream press publishes the writings of cranks is beyond me.

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Barack Obama, mathematics, political/social, politics, politics/social | 1 Comment

FAILS for the week…

epic fail photos - Texting and Driving FAIL
see more funny videos

Someone needs to lose their license.

epic fail photos - Probably Bad News: Putting Out Your House Fire FAIL
see more funny videos

This has to be the Knoxville’s version of The Onion.

Professor FAIL
A professor was grading papers and astonished to find that the stack wasn’t shrinking. It turns out he was putting the graded ones at the back of the stack.

Then he noticed that one student was doing very well….then finally noticed that he had made up a key earlier in the day and had put it in the stack.

I won’t tell you who he is. 🙂

January 29, 2011 Posted by | education, humor, moron, morons, Transportation | Leave a comment

28 January 2011 PM


The entire 2012 GOP field (well, what I anticipate to be the field anyway) reminds me a bit of this song:

And we have Mr. Pawlenty going off like this:

In an interview released in Christianity Today Thursday, Tim Pawlenty asserted that the United States was “founded under God” and that the founding fathers put that into the nation’s founding documents. In the wide-ranging interview, Pawlenty talked about his faith, his reversal on cap and trade, and the possibility of running against Rep. Michele Bachmann for the 2012 Republican nomination for president.

“If I make a faith-related comment, I usually quote from the Bible, often from the Old Testament,” Pawlenty told Christianity Today. “I remind people that our country is founded under God, and the founders thought that was an important perspective. I watch my tone so I don’t get judgmental or angry about issues. I try to express myself in ways that are measured and appropriate and hopefully civil and positive. Lastly, I try not to say that God is on my side, but I strive to be on God’s side.”

Christianity Today’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey asked him, “Your book encourages Christians to be involved in public issues. At what point might Christians rely too much on political solutions to current problems?”

Pawlenty responded, “I started with the perspective of someone who says that faith is separate from public law and public service; it really isn’t. We have, as a country, a founding perspective that we’re founded under God; our founding documents reference and acknowledge God, and acknowledge that our rights and privileges come from our Creator.”

Despite that claim, the United States Constitution makes no reference to a creator or God. The Declaration of Independence merely refers to a creator and to “Nature’s God.”

In the interview, the magazine also asked about Bachmann and Sarah Palin. “You seem to get comparisons to Palin and Rep. Michelle Bachmann,” the interviewer stated.

“[A comparison to] Sarah Palin, of course, is a compliment,” Pawlenty responded. “She’s a force of nature, she’s kind of in a league of her own when it comes to attention and the media’s focus on her so far. I don’t know if she’s going to run or not, but I think she’s a remarkable leader. I know Congresswoman Bachmann, I campaigned for her, I consider her a friend and I have a positive and good relationship with her as well. Voters will have to choose the style of who they want representing the party as a nominee.”

Oh dear. Is total ignorance of US history a prerequisite to getting the GOP nomination? 🙂

But he has plenty of company:

Remember, people like Mr. Pawlenty are trying to get Fox News viewers to vote for him. 🙂

January 29, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, atheism, moron, morons, political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republican party, republicans | Leave a comment

28 January 2011

Workout notes
A little bit of stretching, then 4 miles of walking: 13:28, 12:43, 12:50, 12:42 for 51:45, some more stretching. Not fast, not a stroll.

Injury note: I might be turning the corner: when I woke up this morning, NOTHING hurt. Sure, I had some back tightness after the walk and a piriformis twinge of two during class, but as I sit here and type this: NOTHING hurts, and I have been off of NSAIDS and Tylenol for over a week now. I couldn’t say this since, say, fall of 2009.

Who knows; maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to start real training by the summer?

Yesterday, I joked about this and sent this article to our department:

A California university professor has been charged with peeing on a colleague’s campus office door.

Prosecutors charged 43-year-old Tihomir Petrov, a math professor at California State University, Northridge, with two misdemeanor counts of urinating in a public place. Arraignment is scheduled Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando.

Investigators say a dispute between Petrov and another math professor was the motive.

The Los Angeles Times says Petrov was captured on videotape urinating on the door of another professor’s office on the San Fernando Valley campus. School officials had rigged the camera after discovering puddles of what they thought was urine at the professor’s door.

Today, after class, I came in and there was a small puddle of liquid outside my door, with a sign pointing to it saying “watch your step”. 🙂
Who said that math nerds don’t have a sense of humor?

Jerry Coyne’s article will be of interest to those who love science and evolution. The topic is “what is a species” and the article answers some questions that I had; namely, two different species can produce fertile offspring, but the relevant questions are:
1. Do the two groups mate easily
2. Do the offspring have an easy time mating….the question isn’t “is it possible for them to mate in the right conditions but rather DO they mate regularly?”

I’ll present two interesting quotes:

Mating between different groups is not enough to deem them conspecific: those matings have to produce viable and fertile hybrids. And “viable and fertile” means not only that the hybrids can have offspring, but that they do have offspring in the wild. Some interspecific hybrids in birds, for example, are viable and fertile, but are not recognized as proper mates by members of either parental species because those hybrids look weird or have strange mating behaviors. That is a form of reproductive isolation, too: it’s analogous to sterility, but sterility on the grounds of not being attractive as a mate.

That is what I just mentioned. And there is this:

Finally, if we assume that 110 mammal species produce fertile and viable hybrids that interbreed with the parents in nature (that’s a generous estimate), that constitutes only 2.4% of all mammal species (there are about 4500). It’s misleading to claim that the biological species concept “doesn’t hold up” because it’s ambiguous at best 2.4% of the time. Think of all the other 97.6% of species where it’s not ambiguous. That’s the problem with using rare exceptions to invalidate a concept that works nearly all the time. Beware of these “anecdotal horror stories” as one biologist called them.

This is one of the reasons mathematics is such an unusual discipline. For example, when a mathematician says that, say, “every group of prime order is Abelian” we mean that is true 100 percent of the time. And when we talk about the concept of the “order of a group”, it is a concept that applies to 100 percent of groups, even if the order might be difficult (impossible at times?) to calculate.

We must come across as pedantic to some (most?) 🙂

January 28, 2011 Posted by | biology, evolution, humor, injury, mathematics, science, shoulder rehabilitation, training, walking | Leave a comment