Ok, the Creationists have checkmated me


To get the joke, you have to know about the Creation Museum.

Yes, they have one of these as a display:


(image from here)

March 19, 2013 Posted by | creationism, humor, religion, social/political | | Leave a comment

Feminists and Social Conservatives: strange bedfellows (of a sort) in the Steubenville Rape Case reaction

I was thinking a bit more about reactions to the Steubenville rape case. Yes, this was high school and I was a bit more interested in sexual violence on college campuses, especially those committed by athletes. And yes, data shows that, at least in some high profile sports, it is a problem (3 percent of the male population committing 19 percent of the sexual assaults, whether measured by student judicial reports OR self reporting). And sure, that is a problem (at least on some campuses, according to the data).

But as to the actual cause: the feminists go on about “rape culture”, “male privilege”, “patriarchy”, etc. Social conservatives: well, “taking god out of the classroom”, not praying to Jesus or going to church, etc.

In short one sees many “conclusions” as to the cause…and these are “common sense” conclusions, at least in the minds of those who make them.

But are they really valid conclusions?

I haven’t seen data which corrects for things like IQ (yes, the athletes (of this type) tend to score lower on entrance tests than the student population as a whole), socio economic background, natural testosterone (yes, this is an indicator for propensity for violence). It is my OPINION (not substantiated by data, as yet) that it might be the population itself that is the problem, rather than some culture.

Though I watch college football, my opinion is actually more pessimistic than those of the feminists and social conservatives. They seem to think that culture changes might help; I think it might be genetic. My solution: don’t recruit players that do these things and penalize those schools that do with Penn State like penalties.

One side note
I’ve read about some “blaming the victim” stuff; you see this when colleges issues safety suggestions to women. This is stupid. Think of it this way:

When I kept a bicycle on my porch: it got stolen. Sure, the person who did that did commit a crime and yes, we “teach people not to steal”. But they do anyway; hence we follow some security suggestions.

Same thing with sexual assault: it is a crime that should be prosecuted and punished. But “teaching men not to rape” won’t eliminate rape(*). So safety suggestions (ones that have been verified through data, not through adherence to an orthodoxy) are appropriate.

Yes, a female should be able to go where she wants, any time she wants, wearing a thong and pasties if she desires, and not get assaulted. But, unfortunately, some behaviors are risky, and it is all but impossible to eliminate criminal behavior. In my opinion, it would be irresponsible for the campus people to withhold safety data from the students.

(*) Some data shows a correlation between the sexual assault awareness programs and the reduction of sexual assaults).

March 19, 2013 Posted by | education, social/political | , | Leave a comment

So, it is just a bunch of whale bones…

Yes, some whale skeletons were found at the bottom of the ocean near Antarctica. So, no biggie right? Every animal dies. But….there is more. Evidently such whale graveyards are part of an ecosystem that hosts unusual creatures:

The Antarctic whale fall, thought to have been on the seafloor for several decades, was surveyed using high-definition cameras, and samples were collected to be studied back on land. The team encountered several new species of sea snails and worms that were living off the bones. They found a new species of isopod crustacean, similar to woodlice, crawling over the skeleton, according to a statement from the U.K. National Oceanography Centre. The researchers also found an undescribed species of zombie worms (Osedax), which could help scientists study how the mysterious species has managed to become surprisingly diverse and widespread. (They’ve been found in whale falls in the eastern and western Pacific as well as the North Atlantic.)
“One of the great remaining mysteries of deep ocean biology is how these tiny invertebrates can spread between the isolated habitats these whale carcasses provide on the seafloor,” Adrian Glover, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, said in a statement.
A recent study suggested that the sex strategy of zombie worms is the key to their success. Females of the species Osedax japonica quickly mature and then constantly produce eggs that harems of dwarf males fertilize, scientists found. What’s more, zombie worm larvae can swim actively for at least 10 days before settling on bones on the ocean floor, according to the new research, detailed last month in the journal Naturwissenschaften.

So, once again, a discovery yields a ton of new, interesting questions.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | biology, science | | Leave a comment

Oh noes! Transparent Yoga Pants!!!!


Yes, sometimes yoga pants are see through although it can be fun even when they aren’t:


Evidently, the sheerness is a “problem”; one which the manufacturer is going to get to the “bottom” of.

But solutions to this “problem” (this is a problem?) abound.

One is to wear thicker yoga pants:


Or one can wear conservative underpants:


Or, just don’t wear yoga pants at all; wear a bikini instead:

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(click to see the 3:40 video)..

So you see: problem solved. 🙂

March 19, 2013 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, spandex, yoga | | 3 Comments

Whew! Builds Character, Puts Hair on Your Chest….

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This was the course; usually the return leg is much faster than the out leg. But here is the weather:

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Temperature: varied from 22 to 28 F (-5.5 to -2 C) but with winds steady from 13 mph (20.5 km/hr) to 22 mph (35 km/h), gusting to 30 mph (48 km/hr). And yes, the wind was in my face for much of the return leg:

43:00/10:58 (53:58)/10:58 (1:04:57) 42:03 (1:47:01) (1:25:03) (53:58/53:01).

53:58 to get to the turn around, 53:01 back, but I averaged 11 minutes a mile for the first 3 miles into the wind; 10 minutes per mile for the last 2. I thought that I had over dressed:
bottom: underwear, padded bike shorts, thick tights, shorts over those
top: nylon short sleeve, nylon long sleeve, high tech “sweat jacket”, Gortex jacket over that
heavy mittens, stocking cap.

Against the wind: I was STILL cold! I saw a couple of walkers and one commuter cyclist; otherwise I had it all to myself.

Still, the only parts that were really bad were the exposed parts (4 to 6); at times I felt as if I were running in place.

Good stuff: sunny, pretty day (visually) and the heel pads I bought at Running Central knocked the heel pain (minor) right out. But I did get some “drop foot” in my right leg; probably that is a residual knee issue.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | injury, running | , | Leave a comment

Bad Arguments Don’t Imply False Conclusions

I admit that I haven’t followed the Steubenville rape case closely. I know that some of the people have posted angry rants about some of the media pointing out that the rapists ruined their own lives (they did) and about “rape culture” (huh)? And much of the reporting from the left wing media has been poor. Here is an example. Most of it is a “jocks are an entitled bunch who feel that they can do whatever they want and coaches should be..uh….

In thinking about Steubenville, thinking about my own experiences playing sports, thinking about athletes I’ve interviewed and know, I believe that a locker room left to its own devices will drift toward becoming a breeding ground for rape culture. You don’t need a Coach Reno or a Bob Knight to make that happen. You just need good people to say or do nothing. As such, a coach or a player willing to stand up, risk ridicule and actually teach young men not to rape, can make all the difference in the world. We need interventionist, transformative coaches in men’s sports that talk openly about these issues. We need an economic setup in amateur sports that does away with their gutter economy. But most of all, we need people who recognize the existence of rape culture, both on and off teams, to no longer be silent.

As for Steubenville, Coach Reno needs to be shown the door, never to be allowed to mold young minds again. Football revenue should go toward creating a district-wide curriculum about rape and stopping violence against women. And “Jane Doe,” the young woman at the heart of this case, should be given whatever resources she and her family needs to move if they choose, pay for college or just have access to whatever mental health services she and her family require. After the trial, testimony and verdict, they deserve nothing less.

“Teach young men not to rape?” Uh, well, our society teaches people not to steal, yet some do. We teach people not to murder, yet some do.
We teach people not to drive while intoxicated, yet some do.

While the campus sexual assault prevention programs HAVE been correlated with reductions in sexual assault rates (I learned this from Steven Pinker’s book Better Angels) and they should be continued, people are foolish if they think that rapes will be eliminated and that an example of an incident can be extrapolated to a whole so-called culture. That is not sound reasoning.

Now, at the college level, we do have some data:

Male athletes in big-time college programs are responsible for a significantly higher percentage of reported sexual assaults than other students, according to the first national study on the subject.

While athletes constitute 3.3 percent of the total male student population, they were involved in 19 percent of the sexual assaults reported to judicial-affairs offices at colleges, according to a Massachusetts-based study released yesterday at a sports-sociology conference in Georgia.

Sex crimes involving athletes are less often reported to campus police, suggesting that women are particularly reluctant to accuse athletes of wrongdoing unless they can do it quietly and efficiently, as the more private, campus judicial-affairs system allows.

The authors of the study are Todd Crosset and Mark McDonald, professors in sports management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Jeffrey Benedict, a graduate student at Northeastern University.

Without getting into the causes behind the relationship between athletes and sexual assault, the report provides evidence of a problem consistently discounted by coaches and administrators.

“Obviously what it warrants is the question: Is sports contributing to the incidence of rapes and sexual assaults?” Benedict said. “In some cases it’s probably coincidence. But in many cases it may be that being a player in a big-time program makes it more difficult to determine what’s criminal and what isn’t.”

The authors leave to future researchers the question of whether the culture of contact sports creates attitudes that foster sexual crimes against women.

However, what I haven’t seen (and need to see) is correction factors: is there a correction factor for, say the athlete’s IQ versus the IQ of the general student population (low IQ correlates with increased violent crime). Is there a correction factor for socio-economic background? In other words, does belonging to a sports team increase the chances that an individual will commit sexual violence? Or, is there a correlation between the person who is good at sports (especially the violent ones) and the ones who are prone to commit sexual violence?

Remember it has been shown that there are genetic factors to behavior.

Also from the above study:

But, the authors warn, “even here, reports were not uniform from school to school – suggesting that the social environment of programs may vary significantly and have a substantial impact on the rate of sexual assault.” Rates often jumped after coaching changes, indicating that coaches may have a strong influence on player attitudes, the authors wrote.

Although campus police records also showed that athletes were involved in sexual assaults at a higher rate than other male students, the authors concluded that the difference was not “statistically significant” on that basis.

Police records, however, are the least accurate gauge of sexual assault on campuses, Benedict said. As in any criminal matter, victims must file formal charges against the accused perpetrator and submit to a public, sometimes lengthy legal process.

Victims showed a preference for going through the campus judicial-affairs office, which cannot impose jail time but can offer relief to the victim by such measures as removing the alleged perpetrator from the same class or residence hall. The office also handles matters behind closed doors.

Now some might say: “athletes have a high profile and are therefore more likely to be charged falsely”. But another report talks about this:

Athletes, and some of their supporters, have also contended that because of their notoriety, athletes are more likely to be scrutinized or falsely accused than nonathietes and that no real differences exist in their behaviors. The findings here do not support this contention since the athletes in this sample self-reported higher levels of physical and sexual abuse yet none of the athletes in the sample had been publicly accused of abuse. Further, the victims of sexual abuse in this sample reported higher rates of victimization than perpetrators admitted to, implying that perpetrators do not always acknowledge the sexual abuse they commit.

So the study (the one with the data) is an example of a reasonably good article; Dave Zirin’s The Nation article is pretty much junk (one reason I quit subscribing to that rag; I mostly agree with their conclusions but their arguments tend to be terrible; it is “Newsmax for left wingers” caliber stuff).

I also looked at the Boston University hockey case and read an article about a “task force” recommendation. I found the following to be interesting:

A six-month assessment by a special task force appointed to examine the culture and climate of the BU men’s ice hockey team has found significant deficiencies in the structures and processes that are designed to provide oversight of the program. These weaknesses, in turn, resulted in the supervision of student-athletes’ conduct falling disproportionately and inappropriately to the coaching staff, whose oversight was also lacking. The task force also found that a culture of sexual entitlement exists among some players, and that this, combined with the absence of sexual assault prevention training and education, led to risky behaviors.

Hmmm, ok…but…

The report concludes that the hockey team’s disciplinary history does not show a pattern that is significantly different from the undergraduate population as a whole,

Emphasis mine. Of course, in this case, “n” might be too small to make a conclusion.

Anyway: there is SOMETHING going on here even if it isn’t the “cultures” that some are talking about. I have to remember that many “know” things because they construct a model that “makes sense to them”, which, of course, is NOT evidence. This may be a result of their thinking or the data that they have access to, or their own life experiences.

I know that I am sometimes guilty of this: I’ve played sports in high school (and, ok, I sucked) and didn’t find any “rape culture” in the locker rooms. I know some elite athletes…who are….well, let’s just say that racewalkers aren’t a representative sample of athletes. 🙂

So, I haven’t been in these locker rooms; then again, neither have the ranters who think that they “know” so much.

My conclusion I am not sure as to what is going on; there is a problem but I am unconvinced that it is a “culture” problem.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | ranting, social/political, sports | , | 1 Comment

No more whining from me…(ok, for the next few minutes)

This guy has terminal brain cancer. So he ran a marathon while pushing his daughter and…ran a 3:07. Incredibly, that was good enough for the win (winning times at marathons, even local ones, tend to be in the 2:30-2:40 range).

Screen shot 2013-03-19 at 7.17.09 AM

Talk about living life to the fullest…

March 19, 2013 Posted by | marathons, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Hey Winter….

GO AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!

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Right now the wind is just howling.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local | Leave a comment