blueollie

No, I am not like this….

I suppose that I am neither a jogger or a runner; when I stand at a stoplight, I am usually grateful to have the guilt free rest. 🙂

Not me. After a tough workout my feelings are usually:

1. Good lord I am tired.
2. Thank (deity of choice) that THAT is finally over with!
3. I made it!
4. Will this ever get any easier?
5. Why do I keep doing this to myself?
6. Dang, why aren’t I faster/stronger/better by now?
7. Thank goodness I have X (weeks or month) prior to my upcoming marathon/ultra/whatever…I’ll need that time!

🙂

Just being honest….

January 24, 2013

Quantum Mechanics, Religion, filibusters and growth rates

Math and Science

The upshot: many quantum theories help us calculate and make predictions; none really explain the “why”. Upshot: reality doesn’t conform to our notion of “common sense”.

Growth Rate
Paul Krugman talks about the growth rate in federal spending. Why “growth rate”? Our country is getting larger all the time (think: Peoria, as a city, will always spend less than Chicago; hence we have to talk about some sort of population correction or “over time” correction).

Note this:

Meanwhile, via Mark Thoma I see that Robert Waldmann and Karl Smith have also gotten into the “what spending surge?” debate. Actually, here’s what may be the simplest way to see things. Here is total government spending (federal, state, and local) since 2000 on a log scale, so that a constant slope means a constant rate of growth. See the spending surge under Obama? Well, actually the reverse.

Yes, you can argue that spending was growing too fast under Bush, although it’s funny how few deficit scolds saw fit to mention that at the time. Or you can say that you just want less spending, although as always people who say this tend to be short on specifics. But the narrative that says that spending has surged under Obama is just wrong – what we’ve actually seen is a slowdown at exactly the time when, for macroeconomic reasons, we should have been spending more.

Emphasis mine. Here is the graph:

Ok, what is this “log scale stuff” and “constant slope” means a “constant rate of growth”?

Well, imagine $ln(y) = mx + b$. Now take the exponential of both sides: $y = exp(mx + b) = exp(mx)exp(b) = ke^{mx}$ where $k = exp(b)$. As far as the “constant growth rate”, use the derivative: $y = ke^{mx}$ then $\frac{dy}{dx} = mke^{mx}$ hence $\frac{\frac{dy}{dx}}{y} = \frac{mke^{mx}}{ke^{mx}} = m$ That is, the growth rate as in “percent per year” is constant.

Religion
“If you don’t “believe in god”, where do you get your morals from?” Guess what: in reality, everyone gets their morals from the same place: other people. Or, perhaps we can put it this way:

(via: The Atheist Pig via Jerry Coyne)

Note the title of Coyne’s article: he must be a Monty Python fan.

Politics
We are probably going to get a modest filibuster reform measure. The idea: the Republicans won’t be able to filibuster until the bill has come to the floor for debate; in return the Democrats will allow for amendments to be presented. I was hoping for another compromise that had been floated: it would take 41 votes to keep the filibuster alive rather than 60 to break it. That would make filibustering painful, as it should be.

Frankly, it burns me a bit that the Republicans are overrepresented in Congress. For one: this “two Senators per state, no matter how small of a state” gives disproportionate power to rural, thinly populated states to begin with. Then in the House, you have a combination of gerrymandering plus, again, disproportional representation of rural areas giving Republicans disproportional power. Remember in 2012, Democrats, collectively, got more House votes than the Republicans did. Though gerrymandering is part of the problem (and yes, both parties do it), the other part of the problem is that Democrats tend to live in urban clusters. Republicans tend to be more spread out. So, if you take a state like, say, Texas, the amount of people in some north/west Texas region plus the number of people living in a rural east Texas region might not add up to, say, the number of people living in a Houston district. But those people in the west Texas region might not have much in common with those living in east rural Texas; hence it is appropriate that these (possibly) smaller (in population) regions would have different representatives. So part of it is just the nature of the beast.

January 24, 2013

There are a lot of dumb Democrats, and that is a good thing

I thought about the movie Game Change and part of me got angry that someone as ignorant as Sarah Palin was seen as acceptable to so many. But then I remembered something: while Barack Obama is much smarter than she is, that isn’t why he won.

Then I thought of the bell curve; yes, the vast majority of people are within a standard deviation of the mean. So, if there was a political party that only consisted of the brightest among us, it would never, ever come close to having political power. Remember: by definition, 50 percent of people are going to be below average and without a healthy number of them, you lose.

“Appealing to the dummies” is a necessary political skill; hopefully one possessed by a smart person.

January 24, 2013

cold running and today’s trophies…

Ok, it has warmed up to 7 F for today’s 6.4 mile (10.2 km) run; it was dark when I started and my time for the Cornstalk 5.1 + 1.3 was 1:05:07; 51:37 for the 5.1 section. My glasses fogged up all over the place but, with the exception of one late twinge in my right knee, I felt pretty good.

Hey many running races (of shorter and shorter distances) give finisher’s awards. So I should probably buy a stash of small medals and give myself one after every training run. 🙂

January 24, 2013 Posted by | humor, running | | Leave a comment

Game Change: the film

Ok, I read, er, listened to (while driving) the book Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

I just got through watching the HBO movie by the same name; the movie focused on Sarah Palin.

Wow. Yes, this stuff was in the book, but seeing it come alive on the screen gave it a whole different feel.

Some stuff struck me, and it wasn’t merely her absolutely appalling ignorance. It was also that she was not only unaware of her ignorance but that “I know what I know what I know” attitude. If she had a way of seeing something that made sense to her, why…then it must be true.

I admit that I am ignorant of many things; heck I am ignorant of most of mathematics and I know that better than I know anything. I am also aware of the trap of “if it makes sense to me then it must be true”; I’ve had to change my mind about stuff that I was “pretty sure” of. This was true professionally (at times): for example I was so certain of a mathematical fact that I spent two years trying to prove it..and couldn’t. Then I realized: “maybe it is false”..and then I came up with the counterexample (and published that).

January 24, 2013