I decided to skip my morning walk and do it over lunch instead; it is sunny and in the 50’s.

Swim: 500 of 25 fist, 25 free (slowish), 500 of 25 side, 25 free, then 10 x 100 on 2, 200 cool down (150 back, 50 fly).

100’s: 1:44, 43, 43, 44, 44, 42, 42, 43, 41, 41. (1:42.7 average). Ok; I was a bit disappointed given that I was fresh (though I had a lot of (TMI) gas in my belly; I probably need to change what I eat.

I want to say some things about the public statements made about higher education but will do that tonight.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, rick santorum, swimming, time trial/ race | Leave a comment

I don’t understand “liberal” Christians…not logically anyway

This article generated some discussion on facebook:

My friend Barbara, the daughter of the deceased woman, was denied communion at her mother’s funeral. She was the first in line and Fr. Guarnizo covered the bowl containing the host and said to her, “I cannot give you communion because you live with a woman and that is a sin according to the church.” To add insult to injury, Fr. Guarnizo left the altar when she delivered her eulogy to her mother. When the funeral was finished he informed the funeral director that he could not go to the gravesite to deliver the final blessing because he was sick.

The author of the article goes on to say what a great person Barbara is, etc.

The author goes on to say:

And now she will never set foot in a Catholic church again and who can blame her?

Blame her? My question is: why belong to such a church to begin with…or why did she wait until now to leave?

It is time for Christians of all stripes to stop and think about the teachings of the Jesus they proclaim to love so deeply and revere so much. I spent twelve years in Catholic school and the Jesus I was told about would never have turned away anyone for any reason and certainly not on the occasion of burying a parent. Fr. Guarnizo has a lot to learn about Christianity and the Catholic Church has a lot to learn about the teachings of Jesus if behavior of this sort is tolerated.

Actually, the author of this article has much to learn about Christianity….or rather….to quit being in denial about.

Fact: the Bible condemns homosexuality both in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and in the New Testament (letters of Paul, which are EARLIER than the Gospels.

Fact: Even Jesus was reported as telling his followers to both rebuke people and shun them if they didn’t repent:

15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Note: the NRSV says “sins against you”; this is the NIV translation.

However it appears that religious liberals cherry pick the “feel good, love-forgiveness” texts and rationalize away the not-so-pleasant ones (e. g., one Bishop said that the anti-homosexual verses stemmed from the people of the time thinking that homosexuality was a choice)

And there is the Jesus Seminar who would tell you that “Jesus didn’t say that” (remember: the term “church” in the time of Jesus?)

Still, this is NOT a “judge not” type of thing.

My point: how can one call themselves a Christian and go on ignoring basic teachings and texts? Remember that this religion started about 50 CE and reflects the morality of the time…and Jesus was a 1’st Century Jew, NOT some new-age nice guy.

But when I bring this up, I get the “how dare you say who is a Christian and who is not”. I find such a response puzzling; after all I am not a Republican, a Japanese, a biologist, a boxer, a painter, and especially NOT a Christian (or member of any religion) etc. If there is no criteria to taxonomy then there is no taxonomy.

Don’t get me wrong: I think that the proper thing to do with any book is to analyze what is there and pick out the good and discard the bad. But when you do that, you are following YOUR own reasoning (and perhaps that of other human beings) and NOT accepting the dictates of some deity…and you are certainly not giving “the word of God” status to that text.

So, back to the original article: the Priest stayed true to his religion, and Barbara found out (as I did long ago) that she didn’t belong in that religion. So, though the experience was painful, some good came out of it.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | religion, social/political | 1 Comment

Some Politics: not the Michigan Primary

Senator Olympia Snowe is retiring:

Snowe continued, “As I have long said, what motivates me is producing results for those who have entrusted me to be their voice and their champion, and I am filled with that same sense of responsibility today as I was on my first day in the Maine House of Representatives.” She added, “I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.”

I am not sure how this will go. Barack Obama won Maine in 2008 and might well win it again in 2012; that might provide hope for a Democrat. On the other hand, this could be a tea party pick up.

Speaking of moderate Republicans: David Brooks has a few things to say:

Republicans on the extreme ferociously attack their fellow party members. Those in the middle backpedal to avoid conflict. Republicans on the extreme are willing to lose elections in order to promote their principles. Those in the mainstream are quick to fudge their principles if it will help them get a short-term win.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the fight was between conservatives and moderates. Conservatives trounced the moderates and have driven them from the party. These days the fight is between the protesters and the professionals. The grass-roots protesters in the Tea Party and elsewhere have certain policy ideas, but they are not that different from the Republicans in the “establishment.”

The big difference is that the protesters don’t believe in governance. They have zero tolerance for the compromises needed to get legislation passed. They don’t believe in trimming and coalition building. For them, politics is more about earning respect and making a statement than it is about enacting legislation. It’s grievance politics, identity politics.

Of course, the professional politicians don’t want to get in the way of this torrent of passion and resentment. In private, they bemoan where the party is headed; in public they do nothing.

All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum.

(emphasis mine)

Actually, their chances of beating President Obama are better because an ideologically rigid Republican caucus made it all but impossible for him to govern; a more moderate caucus would have lead to more political success for the President…and in my opinion, a stronger recovery. So I can’t say that being too ideological hurt them in this area; it gave them an opening but, on the other hand, made it harder to take advantage of it.

February 29, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Democrats, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics | Leave a comment

Romney looks to be a winner in Michigan

Intrade had Romney down at 48-49 percent this morning (to win Michigan). Now he is creeping up to 70 percent and Santorum is dropping like a rock. This was made at 4:07 pm, Central time.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, politics, republicans politics, rick santorum | Leave a comment

I don’t believe this for one second…

From the New York Times:

But this is hardly the first time that yoga’s enlightened facade has been cracked by sexual scandal. Why does yoga produce so many philanderers? And why do the resulting uproars leave so many people shocked and distraught?

One factor is ignorance. Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult — an omission that leaves many practitioners open to libidinal surprise.

Hatha yoga — the parent of the styles now practiced around the globe — began as a branch of Tantra. In medieval India, Tantra devotees sought to fuse the male and female aspects of the cosmos into a blissful state of consciousness.

The rites of Tantric cults, while often steeped in symbolism, could also include group and individual sex. One text advised devotees to revere the female sex organ and enjoy vigorous intercourse. Candidates for worship included actresses and prostitutes, as well as the sisters of practitioners.

Hatha originated as a way to speed the Tantric agenda. It used poses, deep breathing and stimulating acts — including intercourse — to hasten rapturous bliss. In time, Tantra and Hatha developed bad reputations. The main charge was that practitioners indulged in sexual debauchery under the pretext of spirituality.

Early in the 20th century, the founders of modern yoga worked hard to remove the Tantric stain. They devised a sanitized discipline that played down the old eroticism for a new emphasis on health and fitness. […]

At Rutgers University, scientists are investigating how yoga and related practices can foster autoerotic bliss. It turns out that some individuals can think themselves into states of sexual ecstasy — a phenomenon known clinically as spontaneous orgasm and popularly as “thinking off.”

The Rutgers scientists use brain scanners to measure the levels of excitement in women and compare their responses with readings from manual stimulation of the genitals. The results demonstrate that both practices light up the brain in characteristic ways and produce significant rises in blood pressure, heart rate and tolerance for pain — what turns out to be a signature of orgasm.

Since the baby boomers discovered yoga, the arousal, sweating, heavy breathing and states of undress that characterize yoga classes have led to predictable results.

Really? You mean seeing women bent over in half might, well, arouse a healthy male?


February 28, 2012 Posted by | big butts, spandex, yoga | 3 Comments

Come on Mr. Romney….

Workout notes
Yoga, then weights (went ok), then run (awful at first then ok)
Circuit 1: dumbbell rotator cuff (3 sets), pull ups (10, 10, 10, 6), curls (10 x 30 lb. dumbbells), rows (55 lb. dumbbell each arm)
Circuit 2: bench press, rotator cuff (4 sets) pulley: 10 x 135, 4 x 175, 4 x 175, 9 x 160
Circuit 3: sit ups (4 sets of 30, 3 at the high incline), 6 x 135, 7 x 135 incline press
Circuit 4: pull downs (3 sets of 7 x 162.5, 2 sets of 15 x 45 lb. dumbbell press (seated))

Note: great spandex asses in the gym; woman working the rehab, the trainer and then this woman with a mesh jog bra and large tattoo.

Running outside: to the goose loop, once around, dam; saw big bald eagles, egrets and, of course, LOTS of geese up close and personal.

Coming back I got discouraged and walked a couple of times; though my legs didn’t feel dead I felt energy-less and got discouraged. Some young man ran away from me as if I were running in place. I did do a 1.65 out and back segment (to the Marina again) and THAT felt much better.

But I have that “gummed up inside” feeling again.

Come on, Mr. Romney:

Note: a Michigan friend reports getting calls from BOTH the Romney and Santorum campaign saying that they can vote against a Republican now and still vote for Obama in the fall.

I spoke about a book about race. Here Jerry Coyne weighs in and makes a lot of sense to me.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, biology, evolution, Mitt Romney, politics, republicans, rick santorum, running, science, weight training | Leave a comment

Who I like to hang around

The Christopher Mooney article about Republicans getting entrenched in their ideas even as they got educated has struck a nerve with me (and evidently, with others).

To sum up: I see this as a problem that doesn’t fall within party lines; I wrote about this in an earlier post.

But this also got me to thinking: why is it that I’d rather talk to some conservatives than to some who vote the same way that I do?

I think I found the answer: the people I most enjoy talking to (or reading) are those who have owned up to mistakes, said that a finding surprised them or have changed their minds about certain things…or even have said “I think this, but that might be true” or “it is probably this but I could see how it could be that.”

I think that I seek a combination of openmindedness (open minded to EVIDENCE based conjectures) and intellectual humility and an awareness of one’s own ignorance.

Of course, many smart, accomplished people have these traits, and I hope that I do too. 🙂

This leads me to something else that has crossed my mind: Cross Fit (no pun intended). I’ve heard 4 different people talk about doing Cross Fit; I don’t know the athletic background of one of these people. As far as the others:

1. Finished many (dozens) of 100 mile runs…and a 150 and a 200.
2. Finished many 100’s and actually won one of these.
3. Finished a couple of 100’s and has a marathon PR of under 3 hours.

So…that might say something about who Cross Fit attracts. But there is one thing I find a bit off-putting, but probably shouldn’t:

Well, I like this spandex butt, but for a change, that isn’t the issue. Look at the shirt. Yep: “Your Workout Is Our Warm Up.”


Really, if you are a (sort of) bad ass, you’ll show up on the awards podium of a sport where everyone can see you. If you are really a bad ass, you’ll make your living off of your sport. If you need to wear a t-shirt to strut, then you are pretty much a loser.

However…I admit that I have seen “I do 26.2”, “I do 13.1” (really???? bragging about finishing a frigging HALF MARATHON???), or I have done (total for an Olympic distance tri or whatever)

Now I want to make something clear: wearing a plain old race t-shirt can be a conversation starter, just as wearing a math t-shirt. But I wonder how people would react if I wore a t-shirt that says:

I know what
-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \frac{d^2}{dx^2} \eta_k + V(x) \eta_k = e_k \eta_k

-\frac{\hbar^2}{2m} \frac{\partial^2}{\partial x^2} \phi + V(x) \phi = i\hbar \frac{\partial}{\partial t}\phi

Means and you probably don’t.”

That would be pretty stupid, huh? (yes, it would be; a physics undergraduate would know what these equations are; DISCOVERING them was a big deal; knowing them really isn’t unless you understand them at a deeper level…and no I don’t. 🙂 )

Oh well; at times I think that we are a nation of megalomaniacs with inferiority complexes.

February 28, 2012 Posted by | big butts, Friends, Personal Issues, ranting, social/political, spandex | Leave a comment

Beating Romney won’t be that hard in the general election

Workout notes
Lower body weights (abduction adduction, push backs, hip hikes, lunges, sit ups)
Then 2200 yards of swimming: 10 x (25 fist, 25 free), 10 x (25 side, 75 free), 5 x (25 fly, 75 free), 200 back.
Routine, but I am getting faster…well, less slow. 🙂

From the New York Times we hear about Mr. Romney’s visit to a NASCAR race:

“But the crowd initially booed Mr. Romney, who occasionally struck a discordant note, as when he approached a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos. “I like those fancy raincoats you bought,” he said. “Really sprung for the big bucks.” And when asked if he was a fan of the sport, he mentioned that “I have some great friends who are Nascar team owners.” “

“No big deal”, you say? You don’t know people. 🙂

Sure, my friends and I tease each other this way…but we know each other. Remember that we live in a society where if a quantum physics professor at MIT said that he/she was smarter than the average person, they’d be a huge public outcry about elitism, etc. 🙂

My guess that “well, I am successful, more so than you” track won’t work with the general public, though oddly enough, it has some appeal to me.

The “shut up, I know more about this than you do” might be an accurate phrase, but it isn’t a politically popular one.

February 27, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, politics, politics/social, republicans, swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

Mr. Romney, GIVE IT UP already….

Mr. Willard “Mitt” Romney is trying too hard to come across as a “regular guy”. He went to a NASCAR race…and

ust two days out from the all-critical Michigan primary, Mitt Romney headed to Florida Sunday to make a pre-race appearance at the Daytona 500. But for Romney, the trip wasn’t just an obligatory pilgrimage to woo the conservative fans who booed Michele Obama and Jill Biden at another event last year. More importantly, Romney was trying to send a double message back to voters in his home state that he’s just “a guy from Detroit” who “loves cars.” Unfortunately, by declaring “I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners,” would-be common man Mitt once again crashed and burned. […]

Sunday in Daytona, he took his message of “Everyman Mitt from Michigan” and turned it upside-down:

Asked if taking time to appear at Daytona was an indication of his level of confidence going into Tuesday’s primary in Michigan, Romney said it wasn’t.

“No, it’s a sign of a guy who loves cars,” Romney said. “And this has always been a place where American cars have shined. And a long history from Daytona being connected with Detroit, with Detroit cars, and with the spirit of America.”

Romney was at Daytona last year and said he also has been to the track in New Hampshire. Does he follow the sport?

“Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans,” he said. “But I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners.”

Snicker. Sure, I’ve often said that I do NOT want a “regular guy”/”common man” to be President; the job is far too demanding for that. But for crying out loud, his attempts to pander are becoming ridiculous.

February 27, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Mitt Romney, political/social, Republican | Leave a comment

Race, Milky Way and Coyote Killing….

Workout notes Right around 13 miles (probably a tenth or two less) for my walk; the course was fine (East Peoria, River Trail, Springdale Cemetery and Glen Oak Park) but I started too late. It was just below freezing, but very, very windy. I was warm with my high tech jacket.

I had a high variation in pace, depending on whether I had a side wind, tail wind or head wind.

Note: I had some piriformis issues at mile 5, but after hip hikes and stretching, they went away.

Here is a link to some excellent photos of the Milky Way from a rural location. There is no telescope, but there was some time exposure.

This is just one of them; check out the others.

Human Race and Race
I’ve always wondered about this; I’ve heard that race is somewhat artificial. That is, no matter what sort of skin and facial features you have, genetically speaking there are people who don’t look like you who are similar to you; there are others who look like you who aren’t genetically similar to you. I found that out when I found out my haplogroups (paternal, maternal).

But on the other hand, some genetic traits do cluster (e. g., Swedes don’t get sickle cell anemia).

Evidently, the issue is probably genetic ancestry rather than the traits that society calls “race”. So, it looks as if I have another book to tackle. 🙂

Wind energy
How does one store wind energy; obviously the wind blows at inopportune times (e. g. when excess electricity is not needed). There is a good Scientific American article on this (this month); Ehow has a summary. Here are some of the ways: massive batteries, compressed air (compress air with the wind turbine now; release this energy to turn turbines when the electricity is needed) and…yes, using the energy to pump water to a higher elevation (conversion to potential energy) then use this potential energy to turn turbines when it is needed!

Coyote Killing: a sign of our cultural divide
If you are a member of facebook, go here:
(yes, this is from the page called “Stop the Grizzly Killing” which is run by someone opposing grizzly bear hunting…and this photo is merely something related that they posted:

Now this photo has produced lots of comments. Some were from the “this is horrible” crowd, many who really don’t understand animal and ecosystem conservation and don’t understand that these were indeed coyotes and not wolves.

Others who do understand such things (at least at a local level) made their points in a highly inarticulate manner; others threw out “latte-feel gooder” taunts only to receive “illiterate smoker” taunts in return.

What I found disturbing is that these “homo sapiens” seem so proud of what they did; it sure appears that they took joy and pride in their actions. Let me point out that there are those in Mexican drug cartels that do the same…with human being corpses…so this is not the worst that humanity has to offer.

But just look at the cultural divide here. Would you want to spend any time with people in this photo? I wouldn’t and I assure you that the reverse is true.

Anyway, take a look at the conversation on the facebook thread.

(I do wonder how Sarah Palin missed this photo op…)

February 27, 2012 Posted by | astronomy, injury, nature, racewalking, racism, science, social/political, walking | 20 Comments