Being “in shape”

Yeah, I slept in; spent last night trolling and didn’t get to bed in time. But I did lift after my 9-10 numerical methods class; I’ll talk about some interesting issues in that class on my math blog.

The workout: weights only; did all of my rotator cuff, McKenzie, planks, Achilles, hip hikes and finished with abs (3 sets of 10: crunch, vertical crunch, twist, sit back)
pull ups: 2 sets of 15, 2 sets of 10
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 180, 7 x 170
dumbbell superset: 3 sets of 12 x 50 seated military, 3 sets of 10 x 25 upright row, 3 sets of 10 x 65 bent over row
curls (pulley), pull down superset: curls: 10 x 50, 10 x 52.5, 10 x 55, pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

The whole thing took right around 1 hour.

On Being In Shape
I was struck by this story:

Not a snowstorm, a traffic jam or a daunting six-mile walk through fresh powder could stop an Alabama neurosurgeon from getting to the hospital where he was needed for emergency surgery.
Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw had to travel from Birmingham’s Brookwood Medical Center to Trinity Medical Center to perform the operation Tuesday, but a sudden snowstorm had snarled all traffic, with thousands of drivers getting stranded for hours.
Authorities in Alabama had declared a state of emergency only for the southern half of the state, leaving out hard-hit Birmingham and sending available equipment the other way.
Getting to the hospital by car would’ve been nearly impossible.

Instead, the neurosurgeon decided to make the trek by foot.
“It really wasn’t that big of a deal,” Hrynkiw said Thursday. “I walk a lot, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.” […]

The emergency surgery was for a traumatic brain injury and Hrynkiw is Trinity’s only brain surgeon, according to The Associated Press.
“He had a 90 percent chance of death,” Hrynkiw said. “If he didn’t have surgery, he’d be dead. It’s not going to happen on my shift,” he added.
“Without the surgery, the patient would have most likely died,” Steve Davis, charge nurse in the neuro-intensive care unit at Trinity, told the AP. “But he is doing well.”
Google Maps estimates the distance Hrynkiw walked at around six miles.

Thank goodness he is in shape; many people his age could NOT have made the trip.
Yes, I could have too (easily) but ….well, I couldn’t of been of much help once I got there. 🙂

That got me to thinking about what it means to be “in shape”. For even a recreational athlete (such as me), being “in shape” means being able to perform to within shouting distance of one’s potential at a given event (say, a 5K run, marathon walk, whatever). But being able to complete the distance AT ALL might mean that one is “in shape” relative to the general population, especially when compared to others in one’s age bracket.

That got me to thinking about swimming (I’ve GOT to find a way to get back in the water!)
If you asked me in 2009: “are you a good swimmer” I would have said HELL NO, I suck. Why? Well I did the Big Shoulders 5K open water swim and finished in the bottom 1/3 of the field and of my age group.

But…compared to most people my age (49 at the time), I would be considered a “good swimmer” since I swam 3.1 miles (5000 meters) in the open water without assistance of any kind. That would be too dangerous for most people to attempt.

The phrase “in shape” must be understood within a context.

January 31, 2014 Posted by | social/political, swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

David Remnick’s New Yorker article on Barack Obama

This is very well worth reading…and it was sent to me by a Republican no less!

It appears to be balanced; it discusses his personality and how it both helps and hinders his effectiveness as President.

It is also clear why I like him so much and why he comes across as “arrogant” so some of his detractors.

Hat tip: Dr. Andy

January 31, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, social/political | Leave a comment

Too much trolling….and too much church

This is the first I’ve gotten to this blog all day….I’ve trolled a bit too much.

Workout: 65 minute 6 mile on my home treadmill (a manual metal monster) followed by a 2 mile walk outside. We have somewhat clear roads now, but more snow is on the way; perhaps 3-6 inches by the end of the week.

On the treadmill: the effort to go harder just wasn’t there. But 8 total miles is better than 0.

Snow in Atlanta
Evidently truck accidents due to untreated roads turned Atlanta into a mess. The notherners are laughing.



But seriously: this demonstrates the value of good government. We usually don’t have such problems where I live because we pay taxes for snow plows and salt trucks. This is NOT a slam at Georgia and Atlanta; this event is a rare one for them, much like a 18-24 inch snowfall for us. The latter shut us down for a couple of days but would have been easily handled by communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin: those sort of events are frequent enough for them to plan ahead and have the necessary resources.

Speaking of trolling: Evidently I am going to have to up my game to meet the real extremist Republicans:

For some Michigan Republicans, their biggest enemies are members of their own party.

In a Facebook post Sunday, the Delta County Republican Party published a list condemning “the Republicans Who Have Blatantly Surrendered to the Homosexual and Stealth Jihad Agenda.” The 18 listed individuals include Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak, the state attorney general, several U.S. Reps., the state Senate majority leader, party officials, Republican candidates and even one gay Democrat mayor.

The last one might have been a mistake, but all won their spots for perceived condemnation of Dave Agema, the Michigan Republican National Committee member who has received continued criticism for his anti-gay comments, but is apparently still supported by the Delta County Republican Party.

“If you continue to stand behind those who are not committed to your platform and values,” the Facebook post said, “you enable the false notion that they have, which is that the constituency of the GOP will follow them no matter what they do or don’t do.”

The Michigan Republican Party did not immediately return a request for comment.

No, these aren’t exactly high officials, but might be somewhat reasonable proxies for what many committed Republicans are. THIS is why compromise is so tough; the Republicans in Congress represent people like these.

Screen shot 2013-10-12 at 3.37.51 PM

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have our zealots too; here is an example:

In the summer of 2012, twenty-one feminist bloggers and online activists gathered at Barnard College for a meeting that would soon become infamous. Convened by activists Courtney Martin and Vanessa Valenti, the women came together to talk about ways to leverage institutional and philanthropic support for online feminism. Afterward, Martin and Valenti used the discussion as the basis for a report, “#Femfuture: Online Revolution,” which called on funders to support the largely unpaid work that feminists do on the Internet. “An unfunded online feminist movement isn’t merely a threat to the livelihood of these hard-working activists, but a threat to the larger feminist movement itself,” they wrote.

#Femfuture was earnest and studiously politically correct. An important reason to put resources into online feminism, Martin and Valenti wrote, was to bolster the voices of writers from marginalized communities. “Women of color and other groups are already overlooked for adequate media attention and already struggle disproportionately in this culture of scarcity,” they noted. The pair discussed the way online activism has highlighted the particular injustices suffered by transgender women of color and celebrated the ability of the Internet to hold white feminists accountable for their unwitting displays of racial privilege. “A lot of feminist dialogue online has focused on recognizing the complex ways that privilege shapes our approach to work and community,” they wrote.

The women involved with #Femfuture knew that many would contest at least some of their conclusions. They weren’t prepared, though, for the wave of coruscating anger and contempt that greeted their work. Online, the Barnard group—nine of whom were women of color—was savaged as a cabal of white opportunists. People were upset that the meeting had excluded those who don’t live in New York (Martin and Valenti had no travel budget). There was fury expressed on behalf of everyone—indigenous women, feminist mothers, veterans—whose concerns were not explicitly addressed. Some were outraged that tweets were quoted without the explicit permission of the tweeters. Others were incensed that a report about online feminism left out women who aren’t online. “Where is the space in all of these #femfuture movements for people who don’t have internet access?” tweeted Mikki Kendall, a feminist writer who, months later, would come up with the influential hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen.

Martin was floored. She’s long believed that it’s incumbent on feminists to be open to critique—but the response was so vitriolic, so full of bad faith and stubborn misinformation, that it felt like some sort of Maoist hazing.[..]

Liberals are perfectly capable of being as unreasonable and as dogmatic as any foaming at the mouth right winger, and when it comes to their core beliefs, no amount of evidence will change their minds; in fact read what a couple of these types said to me (we were discussing the “rape culture” of football…and I had claimed that I’d seen no evidence of this, though I was aware of some of the major stories and scandals:

Me: ” never asserted that it was more prevalant among football players, ”

Ok. Then where does the football being linked with “rape culture” come from? The onus is on the person making the claim.
Yesterday at 10:45am · Like

Guest 1 It’s not my onus or problem if you don’t understand my repeated assertions of why the two cultures are linked.

later: Guest 2: “Be honest, most women you know know what I am talking about.”

I had provided an articled that showed that NFL players had committed FEWER crimes and sexual crimes (per capita) than males of their age and race; hence no evidence of “rape culture” associated with football.

Their response: “I said this a lot!” and “I think that women just KNOW”….and that was supposed to be convincing.

That leads me to my final point. I posted about revisiting a church that I was once a member of.

Here I am with Barbara, giving a very goofy look.


Yes, many in this church are socially liberal and vote the same way that I do. Many have personal ministries that put my meager volunteer efforts to shame (same can be said for Christian church congregations). And yes, this church has no theological dogma to adhere to. BUT: here the dogma comes in the form of what people in an “oppressed class” say; THAT is what becomes “Gospel” for them.

Note: I am NOT talking about listening to a racial minority or a female describing what life is like for them; I get the “walk a mile in their shoes” bit. I know that I have blind spots. But that doesn’t give someone a pass to have assertions taken seriously when there is scant (or no) evidence to back them up.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen people get such passes in a church, of any stripe. Remember: in a church, belief without evidence (“faith”) is a GOOD thing, and it appears to spill over into their thinking.

For me: The Church. Not. Even. Once. 🙂

January 31, 2014 Posted by | republicans, running, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Whatever and hos

Workout notes I was a little sleepy but blasted myself out of bed.
Weight workout: the usual; what was different:
pull ups: 5 sets of 10; not that bad.
incline: 10 x 140, 6 x 150, 6 x 150
pull downs; on a different machine (3 sets of 10 with 150; did this with the abs)
dumbbell super set: 3 sets of 10 of: seated military (sets of 12 with 50’s), curls (30’s), bent over rows (65’s), standing rows (25’s)

This took about an hour; then I did the “gluteal 1” program for 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. It made my legs slightly heavy.

Some regions in the southern US got snow; they have neither snowplows, salt for the roads…and the drivers don’t have experience. This is the result.

State of the Union
Paul Krugman had the best take: it was a “whatever” speech. President Obama knows that the Republicans won’t work with him. Krugman also notes that the conservatives are…what else…blaming government workers for inequality. Seriously:

Let’s start by looking at the real winners in soaring inequality — the people who not only make incredible amounts of money, but get to pay very low taxes (and if you suggest closing their loopholes, you’re just like Hitler.) According to Forbes, in 2012 the top 40 hedge fund managers and traders took home a combined $16.7 trillion billion.

Now look at those supposedly overpaid government employees. According to the BLS, the median high school teacher earns $55,050 per year.

So, those 40 hedge fund guys made as much as 300,000, that’s three hundred thousand, school teachers — almost a third of all high school teachers in America.

OK, teachers get benefits, so their total compensation cost is higher than their wage, so maybe it’s only 200,000.

But you should keep numbers like these in mind whenever anyone tries to shift attention from the one percent (and the .001 percent) to Americans who aren’t even upper-middle class.


You see, I’d be more focused if only those women would quit dressing in a way that shows their bodies. 🙂

Note: if you think about it, the main difference between the beliefs of some of the religious fundamentalists here and in the Muslim world is the flavor of the preferred superstition. If the radical Muslims would embrace trickle down economics, they’d make great conservatives!

January 29, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics/social, religion, Republican, weight training | 4 Comments

Cold, NFL and science

Jerry Coyne has an interesting post about how he sees science being “dissed”. I’ve been over much of this; one reason is that sometimes non-replicated studies are loudly presented as break throughs when, in fact, they are merely false positives.

That jet stream appears to be stuck, thereby subjecting us to repeated blasts of cold air and others to severe drought. View the maps presented here.

Many schools were cancelled yesterday; the University of Illinois was not. That we were: kind of silly; it was actually COLDER today. But some of the Illinois snowflakes were less than pleased that they had class and vented on the internet.

Again, big school; small sample size.

It is interesting how the players are decried as “thugs” by many; some say that football promotes a “rape culture”. So I went online to look for statistics; in fact, even when one considers ALL violent crimes, there is zero evidence that NFL players commit them at a higher rate than other males their own age and race. In fact the evidence suggests that they commit such crimes at a LOWER rate. Here is the non-technical study from Duke University; “arrests, charges and conviction” data is presented and discussed.

January 29, 2014 Posted by | education, NFL, science | , | Leave a comment

Jacob’s Ladder Machine




This Monday (snow day) I tried this for 2 minutes and then again for 10. You go faster when you go higher (speed is determined by the tension on the waist tether). This reminded me of going up the steeper hills at McNaughton Park (e. g. Golf Hill)

I might use this machine from time to time, especially between treadmill sessions.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | big butts, hiking, running, spandex | , , | Leave a comment

Stop Obama’s War on the Heart Surgery Industry!

Just say “no” to healthy eating!

January 28, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Sensationalistic titles of science announcements

Workout notes -3 F outside but sunny; still I ran inside.
First I went on treadmill 1: ran at mostly 0.5 incline and changed speed every 5 minutes. Then at 10:10 mpm I did 10 x (2 minutes 0 elevation, 2 minutes at elevation) going 1-2-3-3-3-3-3-3-3-3 and then 2 minutes to get to 1:01:55 (6 miles).

Switched treadmills then varied the speed to make 2 more miles (21:22).

the plan was to really gun the last 2 miles (at a tempo pace) but the hill repetitions took more out of me than I had anticipated. The intensity: what I call “projected marathon pace”: no I couldn’t actually run a marathon at 10:10 minutes per mile, but this is still a useful training intensity for me, especially for hill repetitions.

Note: I still have to focus; I almost stepped off of the treadmill surface when a nearby woman went into “child” pose (facing away from me, of course).

Stephen Hawking has some questions about black holes, with regards to the “event horizon”. Of course, it was known long ago that one could have some “Hawking radiation” from these; basically particles can materialize from the quantum vacuum (pair production) and then one of the newly created particles could get sucked into the black hole, leaving the other suddenly unpaired particle as radiation. (yes, this is grossly oversimplified)

But there are unsolved problems, and so Hawking’s new paper deals with these.

But the headlines read: “Hawking says that black holes don’t exist”. Uh…no. He didn’t say that.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | cosmology, physics, running, science | Leave a comment

Cats and calf raises …..


Cats are good for something, after all.

Yes, this is a legitimate exercise called the Donkey Calf Raise; the really intense guys used to sit on each other for resistance:


January 28, 2014 Posted by | big butts, spandex | , , | Leave a comment

unexpected “snow” day

We had the day off due to weather; I suppose the university felt pressure to make a “night before” decision and there *might have* been white out conditions the next day.

Still, from my point of view it was sort of comical; I live only a walk away, there was hardly any snow and I ended up going to the public gym (which WAS open) and lifting (as usual) and walking 5K OUTSIDE. Yes, it WAS cold (close to 0 F) but not that bad if you were dressed for it.

What made this weather interesting is that there was a 40 degree drop (F, about 22 degree drop in C) over an 8 hour period. Now something like this has happened in 1836 in Illinois, back before we had forewarning of such events. I can recommend climatologist Jim Angel’s report on this; it is very interesting.

Other posts
Bruce Schneier has an interesting post on how income inequality can be seen as a security threat of sorts (think: a more equitable society might need fewer resources devoted to security). Paul Krugman points out how unhinged some of the super wealthy have become; some are equating having to pay more tax with…the start of the Nazi lead holocaust?

Why might they become unhinged? Well, when you are that rich, who are going to tell you that your idea is nuts? There is some value to not living in a bubble of “yes people”.

Larry Moran directs us to an excellent post called “Seven things about evolution“. It is a non-technical post; a non-scientist should be able to understand all of it.

Then some scientists describe their trip to the Creation Museum. There is some laughter but some sadness. My wife had no desire to go; she didn’t want to give them money.

I admit that I mostly laugh at them…but then I had to remember that *I* started early life believing that BS. How many will start with that and NOT break away?

So I suppose I ought not laugh too hard even if I am tempted to dismiss most of the visitors as “the hopeless who’ll never amount to anything.” They might be ruining some potentially fine minds.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | economics, economy, evolution, Illinois, science, social/political | , | Leave a comment