Woo and yoga
Someone asked me how I could like yoga and be down on “alternative (quack) medicine”. Well, there have been some rigorous studies done on yoga and it CAN be recommended for physical therapy purposes (e. g. back aches). Via our National Institute of Health.
This Tiger Frog from Ghana is a cutie:
Movies: I want to see this one:
Note: my beef with religion, at least as practiced in the west, is that too many of them require people to accept “miracles” (resurrections, parting seas, virgin births, etc.) on “faith” (sans evidence). So once you “accept” that the laws of science (naturalism) can be suspended at set times, then, well, why trust science with anything? Seriously: if there is, say, water on your basement floor and a pipe joint above that with green on the joint…well…if you didn’t SEE it drip, then maybe the water and the green just appeared because of the work of some devil or pixie? Why not…if suspensions of naturalism are allowed?
My beef is NOT with religions that don’t require acceptance of miracles.
It is my opinion that a deity/spirit/whatever that is interested in humans and human affairs makes no sense, but that is the realm of opinion.
The eye of a super-hurricane at Saturn’s north pole looks like a peaceful red rose in a fresh bouquet of pictures from NASA’s Cassini orbiter. But don’t be fooled: That rosy appearance is merely due to the false colors ascribed to infrared wavelengths.
This storm’s eye measures 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) in diameter, about 20 times wider than the average hurricane’s eye on Earth. The outer clouds at the hurricane’s edge are traveling at 330 mph (530 kilometers per hour), which would be off the scale on our planet. The vortex whirls inside Saturn’s mysterious hexagonal cloud pattern, and it’s not going anywhere.
How do you like this image of the moon taking from space near the earth?
Here is a picture of a solar eclipse via Scientific American:
Miloslav Druckmüller, a mathematician at the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, and his colleagues were on Enewetak as the eclipse’s shadow raced toward them from the northwest at more than twice the speed of sound. This composite of 31 images from the eclipse shows the solar corona, the wispy “atmosphere” of the sun peeking out from behind the moon as well as the cratered, rayed surface of the moon itself.
Back on Earth Again
This species of fish, commonly found in China, Russia and Korea, has been found in New York. It is an invasive species.
Even more interestingly, it can actually breathe outside of water for a short period of time (days) and even hunt.
My plan was to try to get 20 miles (or 3.5 hours) of run/walk. I ended up with 2:18 and 12 miles; I was feeling warm.
When I got back to the car, the thermometer read 81 F but the car was in a large parking lot. The actual air temperature was 75 or so, with 65 percent humidity (or so)
So it had warmed by 10 degrees and I was feeling it. So I bailed; this will enable me to run hard this Saturday and maybe get a 3 hour run/walk on Sunday (where it is supposed to be cooler). I really didn’t want to trash myself today.
Weights only: I slept late (until 6:20!) and got to the weight room late.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10, with hip hikes and Achilles and rotator cuff as rest
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185, 7 x 170 (tired on the last set); ab routine
(sit backs, twist, crunch, vertical crunch; 3 sets each) as rest.
incline press: 10 x 140, 6 x 140 (very tired on the last set)
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50 lb.
rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 210
curls: 2 sets of 10 x 57.5 pulley, 1 set of 10 x 70 machine
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
Note: I super setted most of the stuff after the bench; I was tired during my last sets.
I felt strong on the bench but didn’t push for that extra last rep.
Degradation with age
In the locker room, I talked to a former university basketball player; he is now in his early 80’s.
I asked him when he started to notice the decline in his physical abilities: he replied “mid 30’s”.
My guess: those who know how to push themselves notice the decline earlier than those who are merely active but don’t test limits often.
Here is how it worked for me:
30’s: I noticed my mile time getting slower; that 5:30 became a 5:40. 5K, and even the weights were roughly the same.
40’s: early 40’s, my mile took a big hit (breaking 6 became VERY difficult, then impossible) and the 5K started to slow: the half marathon and marathon stayed ok until 2001 (early 40’s).
Now: everything is slower and weaker (in my early to mid 50’s). Master’s athletes told me to expect it; in fact the former basketball player that I talked to, who still looks good and still works out, told me that now that he is in his 80’s, getting out of a chair is harder than it once was.
Someone who was (is) fit told me that when he got into his 70’s, he had to quit taking the 4 flights of stairs as it took too much out of him (to be able to teach).
Degradation of others
A friend (who racewalks) was on a plane to a race where she encountered someone else going to the race. She was asked “are you going to run half-marathon X”? He reply: no, I am racewalking it with someone.
Travelling on a plane of race people can be either great or suck. A gal just said “oh you running Nike?” Me: “Race walking.” “Oh” she said with a snotty tone. “You slow walkers better stay out of my way! I run!” Her anticipated time – 3:15:00. And yes I do have her face memorized. I promise to smile when I walk damned strong & proud past. Don’t mess with Shep!
No, that is NOT 3:15 for a full marathon….”I run????” OMG.
Yes, my walking friend passed her easily and had a friendly reminder for her.
But seriously folks: unless this 3:15 “runner” was making a joke ….goodness. What is wrong with people?
Yes, I’d say something about “hey you walker, I hope you don’t slow me down” but I’d be sure and say it to my friends who can WALK a half marathon at 7:45 minutes per mile and a marathon at 8-8:30; I’d say it to people who I knew were way faster than I. (note: an Olympic medal contender racewalker could do 6:20-6:30 for the half and 6:50-7:00 for the marathon).
For the record: since 2010, my walking half marathons have ranged between 2:22 and 2:40; my single half marathon run was 2:01. (power walking; I can no longer legally racewalk as my right knee does not straighten 100 percent of the way)
I didn’t sleep well (Mexican meal too heavy last night?)
I got up early and walked 4.47 miles in 1:06 (14:52 pace) doing roughly the same course I did yesterday, minus a .7 mile out and back and a .3 out and back near the soccer fields.
It was in the 40’s and crisp; I got to see the sun rise.
Talks: the morning talks were good but tough; still I managed to pick up techniques at every one of them.
Several people said that they would have to leave prior to my talk; I expected that (4 pm slot). Some might still be there and I owe them a professional effort; I practiced my talk twice.
Campus: very pretty
I am in the background, near the rear of the room (white beard).
This is a small group, but the speaker and many that you can see are among the world’s best topologists.
It was a different story at my hotel room:
5.7 mile run over lunch; 57 minutes.
Going to research meetings is always eye-opening. On one hand, I often learn something and pick up techniques and ideas that I can use.
On the other hand: I am seeing people who, for the most part, research and direct graduate students for a living. This is very different from what I am used to (teaching moderately talented undergraduates relatively elementary things).
The blunt fact is that the researchers are not only the best that graduate school graduating classes have to offer (I wasn’t) but they are also people who do it full time; if you teach a 11-12 hour load (with administrative duties to boot) you are NOT going to research at that level. But it is easy to forget that if you don’t take in one of these from time to time. Those who don’t: often lose perspective.
Yes, this is a Salon article and the title is misleading. But it does raise a point:
The heads and hearts of atheists may not be on precisely the same page. That’s the implication of recently published research from Finland, which finds avowed non-believers become emotionally aroused when daring God to do terrible things.
“The results imply that atheists’ attitudes toward God are ambivalent, in that their explicit beliefs conflict with their affective response,” concludes a research team led by University of Helsinki psychologist Marjaana Lindeman. Its study is published in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion.
Lindeman and her colleagues describe two small-scale experiments. The first featured 17 Finns, recruited online, who expressed high levels of belief, or disbelief, in God. They read out loud a series of statements while skin conductance data was collected via electrodes placed on two of their fingers.
Some of the statements were direct dares to a deity (“I dare God to make my parents drown”). Others were similarly disturbing, but did not reference God (“It’s OK to kick a puppy in the face”). Still others were bland and neutral (“I hope it’s not raining today”).
The arousal levels of the believers and non-believers followed precisely the same pattern: Higher for both the God dares and otherwise unpleasant statements, and lower for the neutral ones.
Compared to the atheists, the believers reported feeling more uncomfortable reciting the God dares. But skin conductance data revealed the underlying emotional reactions of the two groups were essentially the same. This suggests that taunting God made the atheists more upset than they were letting on (even to themselves).[…]
The second experiment was designed to test that hypothesis. It featured 19 Finnish atheists, who participated in an expanded version of the first experiment. It included 10 additional statements—variations on the God dares which excluded any mention of supernatural forces. For example, in addition to “I dare God to turn all my friends against me,” they read out loud the statement: “I wish all of my friends would turn against me.”
The results: The atheists showed greater emotional arousal when reading the God-related statements than while reading the otherwise nearly identical sentences that omitted the almighty. To the researchers, this indicates that “even atheists have difficulty daring God to harm themselves and their loved ones.”
Note: the “n” is rather low.
The article goes on to make conjectures as to why this might be so. I’ll make mine:
my position of atheism is NOT so much an emotional one as an intellectual one. I see no evidence of divine intervention in human affairs and the idea that there is a “interested in human events” deity in such a large universe with billions of galaxies and billions of stars per galaxy makes no sense to me. I just don’t believe it.
But I WAS raised Catholic; my dad wasn’t a religious man but believed in a deity of some sort; mom believed in “magic tricks” of a deity (one that intervened). So I was raised that way and I have the resulting emotions. I sometimes ask a non-existent deity to eternally condemn inanimate objects when they break or spill (or when I break them 🙂 ).
But emotions and emotional actions are hard to turn off.
I’ll give an example: I know that my stuffed frogs are inanimate objects. But I’d feel bad if, say, they burned in a fire and I’d get very angry if someone “mistreated” them. That is an emotional, irrational reaction. I’d have the same about religious stuff even though my mind knows better.
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