End of the Semester Swim

Morning swim: I woke up and while I felt good, my legs were still “warm”. So I just took it nice and easy in the pool; no kicking.
2500 yards (2400 meters) in 47:07 (19:20, 18:21, 9:25) and I chased “Ms. Purple Suit” a bit. I then did 125 back, 25 fly to finish up.

Prior to the swim, I teased with a religious studies professor. I wanted to know if he could find a “god of the butt muscle” to heal my wonky piriformis…perhaps this is karma from my paying too much attention to women’s butts and not enough to my own? 🙂

There is some truth to this; I’ve started to do more piriformis exercises (abductors, hip hikes) and it DOES feel better. I think that I have “lazy butt”; I have to remind myself to put my gluteals into my running and walking and to BEND MY KNEES when I drive my leg forward. For too long I’ve been keeping my leg too straight in the “recovery phase” (driving the leg forward).

This semester: well, I’ll write about it some. All I can say is that student motivation makes a BIG difference; it won’t turn a C student into graduate school material but it can make the difference between a C+ and a B-, or, in some cases, an F and a B!!!

April 30, 2012 Posted by | education, injury, running, swimming, walking | Leave a comment

Restaurants: High End and Heavy End

This surprises me: but some high end restaurants suffer from petty theft by their customers! You might surf to Mano Singham’s blog to read the comments; some are funny.

There are also what I call “heavy end” restaurants: they serve highly outrageously “bad for you” food with consequences:

No one can accuse The Heart Attack Grill of false advertising.

A woman collapsed into unconsciousness at the Las Vegas restaurant while eating a “double bypass burger,” drinking a margarita and smoking a cigarette.

The unnamed customer was the second in just over two months to collapse at the restaurant while eating one of the famed burgers named after various forms of cardiac arrest. Back in February, another customer was caught on video being carted out by paramedics after suffering a heart attack while eating a “quadruple bypass” burger.[…]

The Heart Attack Grill offers free meals to any customer who weighs over 350 pounds and features a butterfat milkshake, nonfiltered cigarettes, “flatliner” fries and four burgers, each rated on an ascending scale of “a single bypass” to the “quadruple bypass.”

There’s a tongue-in-cheek warning sign at the restaurant’s door stating that the offered dining fare is a health risk. Waitresses in the restaurant even wear nurses’ uniforms.

Last year, the company’s 600-pound spokes-model died when he was only 29-years-old.

Illinois has a clean air law (yes!) but as far as the food: they should open up a franchise in Peoria. Heck they might even open up one in the public gym, if one goes by the bodies that one often sees…and the exercise “regimen” that one sees there:

April 30, 2012 Posted by | health, health care, Peoria, Peoria/local, social/political | Leave a comment

Economics and Republican distance from the truth..

At this point in our history, it seems that the Republicans have gone from being people who compromise to those who have dug their heels in, often in unreasonable positions.

That is why it is nice that people like Paul Krugman have called them out in public even if the experience wasn’t pleasant for him. Here: he was attacking the notion that the United States has business killing “high” (effective, after loop holes) corporate tax rates.

Here, Krugman attacks the notion that we have some widespread “expansion of government”: we don’t. True, more people came on the rolls of existing safety net programs, but the programs themselves weren’t expanded (in terms of who qualifies).

This isn’t to say that liberals are always right. We aren’t. Here is one such example: Rachel Maddow was talking about the widespread notion that women earn “77 cents on the dollar” to what men earn. Of course, there are many reasons for SOME (not all) of this, and note that the Republican who pushed back against her claim wasn’t exactly completely truthful either.

From the first article in the paragraph:

Experts have long debated the root causes of the national wage gap, which has narrowed considerably since 1970 but stagnated in recent years. Some argue that the gap is about women’s life choices, including the choice to go into fields that generally receive less pay or work part-time in order to spend time at home to raise children. Certain industries have a larger wage gap than others — on Wall Street women only earn 55 to 62 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers do. However, a 2007 AAUW report showed that even after controlling for college major, occupation, industry, sector, hours, work experience, education, GPA, age, race/ethnicity, religion, marital status and number of children a 5 percent gap between male and female earnings existed one year out of college. Ten years out of college, a 12 percent “unexplained difference” was found.

That isn’t the 30 percent gap that was touted, but it is still a big gap.

(AAUW report here)

Note: I didn’t care for the tone used by the Republican against Dr. Maddow; a better way would have been straight forward and honest about the statistics.

April 30, 2012 Posted by | economics, economy, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political | Leave a comment

Some physics and philosophy

First, a new result was announced. A new subatomic particle has been discovered by a team working at the super-collider. Particles of this type had been discovered, but in ground states. This was the first discovery of this type of particle at an excited state.

The “something rather than nothing controversy: one question we have is this: why do we have something (our universe) rather than nothing? The debate has some smart people talking past each other: one group says “quantum mechanics allows for this possibility” whereas the other group says “hey, why do the laws of quantum mechanics even work to begin with?” They are really two different questions. Sean Carrol talks about this here; this is what I like:

Quantum mechanics, in particular, is a specific yet very versatile implementation of this scheme. (And quantum field theory is just a particular example of quantum mechanics, not an entirely new way of thinking.) The states are “wave functions,” and the collection of every possible wave function for some given system is “Hilbert space.” The nice thing about Hilbert space is that it’s a very restrictive set of possibilities (because it’s a vector space, for you experts); once you tell me how big it is (how many dimensions), you’ve specified your Hilbert space completely. This is in stark contrast with classical mechanics, where the space of states can get extraordinarily complicated. And then there is a little machine — “the Hamiltonian” — that tells you how to evolve from one state to another as time passes. Again, there aren’t really that many kinds of Hamiltonians you can have; once you write down a certain list of numbers (the energy eigenvalues, for you pesky experts) you are completely done.

We should be open-minded about what form the ultimate laws of physics will take, but almost all modern attempts to get at them take quantum mechanics for granted. That’s true for string theory and other approaches to quantum gravity — they might take very different views of what constitutes “spacetime” or “matter,” but very rarely do they muck about with the essentials of quantum mechanics. It’s certainly the case for all of the scenarios Lawrence considers in his book. Within this framework, specifying “the laws of physics” is just a matter of picking a Hilbert space (which is just a matter of specifying how big it is) and picking a Hamiltonian. One of the great things about quantum mechanics is how extremely restrictive it is; we don’t have a lot of room for creativity in choosing what kinds of laws of physics might exist. It seems like there’s a lot of creativity, because Hilbert space can be extremely big and the underlying simplicity of the Hamiltonian can be obscured by our (as subsets of the universe) complicated interactions with the rest of the world, but it’s always the same basic recipe.

So within that framework, what does it mean to talk about “a universe from nothing”? We still have to distinguish between two possibilities, but at least this two-element list exhausts all of them.

He then goes on to talk about how the two different questions are about different thing: a non-zero Hamiltonian operator (one that really does evolve the states) and the possibility of one that is zero…that just admits many “non-zero” cross sections.

But read the above to see linear algebra concepts being used all over the place. Here is a one-dimensional explanation of what is going on: A Hilbert space is really a normed vector space (the vectors are functions whose SQUARE have a convergent improper integral on (-\infty, \infty) and whose vector space addition and inner product is consistent with infinite sums. Allowable observable values are the eigenvalues associated with the eigenvectors associated with linear operators (linear transformations that respect the infinite sum process) and the probability of making one of these observations is related to the expected value (expectation) of the eigenvectors (normed to 1); this is exactly the expected value of a density function that you saw in your probability and statistics class.

Here is a series of notes I wrote for those who have had calculus, linear algebra and probability/statistics but if you want a readable source, I can recommend the out-of-print book by Gillespie called A quantum mechanics primer.

April 30, 2012 Posted by | cosmology, mathematics, physics, statistics | Leave a comment

Sexy Yoga and Yoginis with a sense of humor

I stumbled on to this series of yoga videos; I talked about these in an earlier post. The “screen name” is HotYogaAtHome (on youtube) and you can find all of her youtube videos here. Though the yoga shown is fine, the videos, in terms of poses, are all pretty similar: there is one featured thing (say, a warrior series, or a wheel/back bend) and a lot of “child” and “child pose with the ass high in the air”.

Note: she does not have a model’s body; in fact it appears as if she wears no make up. This is really “the woman next door” type of thing.

I’d embed these videos here but will instead link to them; she deserves the “on site” hits. 🙂 In each case, click on the thumbnail to get to the associated video:

Sexy but not pornographic:

Yoga is normally associated in our culture with “peace and love”; in fact, there are poses named “warrior”. In other cultures, military people do yoga too. So, she calls one of her “guns and yoga” videos “yin and yang”; this is the second one in the series:

She has a sense of humor too; note how she ends a couple of her videos:

These are just four of many; guys can be entertained for some time here. And yeah, her yoga isn’t that bad either; she seems to do the backbend (baby wheel) reasonably well.

April 29, 2012 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, spandex, yoga | Leave a comment

Longish walk and crazy geese…

Today’s walk: 20 miles: 2.5 down to the river (34:02), three out and backs from Hooters to the dam with one goose loop lap each time (5 each; 1:08:01, 1:08:44, 1:08:42), 2.5 uphill (about a 150 foot climb) back (34:55): 4:34:55 total.

This was one of my flattest routes; the day was chilly (40’s-50’s F with a wind) and the paths were all but empty; there were a few people with dogs off of the leash (no dog bothered me), rabbits, a duck family (male, female, lots of little ducklings) and geese. On my third trip down the dam, the geese let me get to the end of the dam and then attempted to attack me. I yelled and picked up a rock; they moved aside and honked their heads off. They must have fledglings nearby. Though I yelled at them…well, it was kind of funny and I thought so at the time.

For a 20 mile walk: I felt reasonably good the entire time. The only thing: my kidneys really hassled me; I had to “go” 3 times in the first 3 hours and I had yet to drink anything! It is often like this during chilly temperatures.

I saw a couple of triathletes and about a half-dozen runners including Larry McMasters.

I feel good about the walk…BUT…this was about as easy of a course as one could walk around here.

April 29, 2012 Posted by | geese, nature, racewalking, walking, workouts | 2 Comments

Boxing: the only safe lead is a win.

Ismayl Sillakh had won the first 7 rounds convincingly (of a 10 round fight) and appeared to be having his way up to midway through the 8’th round…..then…Denis Grachev kept coming:

April 28, 2012 Posted by | boxing | Leave a comment

Consistency…sort of…Bradley U 5K run.

Workout notes I decided to run the local campus 5K (put on entirely by students) and…being a student oriented run….started at 10 am. 🙂 Hence I did my lifting before the run (7:15 to 8:15 am) at the Riverplex (public gym that I belong to). I did only upper body; no legs, no sit ups.

Bench: 10 x 135, 9 x 165, 3 x 175, 4 x 175
rotator cuff: pulley (3 sets), dumbbells (3 sets)
rows (dumbbell): 3 sets of 10 with each arm (55 lbs.)
incline press: 2 sets of 6 x 135
curls (3 sets of 10 on the machine, 1 set of 6 with 30 lb. dumbbells)
pull downs: 7 x 162.5, 10 x 150, then 4-4-4 (162.5, 150, 137.5) with no rest
pull ups: 3 sets of 10, 2 sets of 5 (the shoulder friendly grips here are a tiny bit lose; makes it tough to hold on to)
military press: 2 sets of 15 x 45 lb. dumbbell (supported, seated)

It was enough to make me sweaty. I saw Peggy there, working as a trainer.

Then I drove hope, walked to the university gym, picked up my number, went upstairs and ran 2 miles in 21 minutes on the track to warm up. I was stiff when I started and the knees ached slightly (weather? mostly my LEFT knee)

I felt ok prior to the start of the race though I started with Mat before he took off. He was to finish in 24:07; he gradually pulled away from me. I passed people throughout; the day was cool (high 40’s), overcast and breezy.

Finally on what I thought was “mile 3”, I gained on three students (guy, two women) and passed the women. They sped up a bit to stay within striking distance and with the finish line in sight, I could hear them moving up behind me. I could not hold them off.

My final time: 25:41. Yes, the last mile hurt; it was an effort.

Then I remembered 1998; I ran the Eureka race in 25:41. The difference? The 1998 race was a 4 mile (6.4 km) and not 5K (3.1 miles). The time was the same, the effort felt the same but the speed was very different.

Mat: 24:07 for 13 out of 41. Me: 25:41 for 19 out of 41. Oh well. 🙂

Total miles for the day: 5 +; I did walk about a half mile to cool down, and then did abductor, push backs and leg raises (vertical; 2 sets each). I felt a bit too queasy to do sit ups.

April 28, 2012 Posted by | Friends, knee rehabilitation, running, time trial/ race, training, weight training | 16 Comments

Hard core porn usually leaves me cold…

On occasion I talk about human sexuality; if that bothers you, don’t read.

It is no secret that I love seeing women in swim suits, blue jeans, skirts and in athletic/workout gear. Of course Lycra is my favorite but plain old running shorts are good too. 🙂

But I really don’t enjoy hard core pornography. No, I don’t see it as “filth”; I don’t find it disgusting (at least the stuff in which living things are not harmed; things where living creatures are harmed for amusement DO disgust me) and as to some stuff; well I just find it ridiculous (e. g., google “two girls, one cup”).

But the close up shots of a woman’s vagina/anus: to be honest, when I see such things there is a switch in my brain that makes me go cold and clinical rather than “sexy”. If are wondering “how” I know this: on a photo account, I sometimes post “spandex” shots and others send me links to their photos. Some are enjoyable; others are “hard core”.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a nude shot of this type ( 1:45 into this clip of Life of Brian…the “Welsh Tart”)

(the video clip shows the full range shot, which includes the pelvic region)

But this isn’t the type of nudity that looks, well, like a medical text book.

One note: sometimes porn CAN be funny. I follow one Phoenix Marie (a porn star) on twitter and one of her porn shots (NOT SAFE FOR WORK) did make me laugh out loud.

(here: again not safe for work; it is pornographic).

April 28, 2012 Posted by | human sexuality, social/political | Leave a comment

Swing States and Veteran’s Education

The President talks about an executive order which puts in safeguards against unscrupulous people who try to cheat veterans who are trying to go to college (e. g. signing veterans with brain injuries who really shouldn’t be signing documents).

2012 Election
It is true that President Obama is running well in Arizona (a state he lost in 2008) and could win the state. But that doesn’t make Arizona a “swing state”. Why? Nate Silver explains here. The upshot: if President Obama wins Arizona, then he is probably doing very well nationally and hence wouldn’t have “needed” the state to push him “over the top”. Example: in 2008, if one lined up the states in order of Obama’s margin of victory, one can see it was Iowa and Colorado that put him to 269 and then to 278 electoral votes. Those were the “swing states”; he won other states of course, but he really didn’t need them. Swing states are close only when the general election is close (say 2000, 2004).

Social: are things like this making us any safer? Fortunately, I can usually avoid flying.

But it stuff like this that drives anger such as this.

April 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, civil liberties, politics, social/political | Leave a comment