Thank you Wladimir Klitschko!


It was in response to this.

Thanks Champ! 🙂

Sadly, some of Wladimir Klitschko’s fans are racist (you see the n-word applied to some of the boxers that the Klitschko brothers beat) but he has made his point clear.
Note: he is wildly popular in Germany, which had a ugly history with racism, especially with regards to Russians and other Eastern Europeans.

Workout notes
am: swim. 500 warm up. 5 x 100 on the 2 (alt 25 fist, 25 free): worked from 1:50 to the high 1:40’s.
5 x 200 on the 4: 3:24, 3:17, 3:17, 3:17, 3:18. It is about time. 🙂
100 back (fins), 4 x 25 fly (fins)

later: leisurely weight workout: 5 x 10 pull ups (hard)
bench: 10 x 135, 2 x 180, 6 x 170, 8 x 160 (weak)
military: 12 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 10 x 40 (standing, full reps), barbell: 4 x 95, 8 x 85
abs: 3 sets of 10 of crunch, sit backs, twists
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
rows (Hammer) only 200: 3 sets of 10 (full reps)

Supplemental: hip hikes, Achilles, McKenzie, rotator cuff
I also did:
dips: 1 set of 10, 2 more to see my form in the mirror; I was already tired. I felt it at the tips of the shoulder.
medicine ball push ups: larger ball, I did a set of 10 easily. (feet elevated on a bench)

Note: I saw a young woman do a few pull ups (I counted a set of 5 then a set of 3). I made a point of telling her “good job”.

It *should* be no big deal. But for too long, woman got the message that it is ok to be weaker than they could be.
True: the outlier males will do more than the outlier females, and the average males will do more than the average females. But there is no reason for a woman not to work to her genetic potential.

Note: yesterday, I weighed 181 on the doctor’s scale before my 6 mile run, 4 mile walk. Afterward, I weighed 178. I am thinner. And yes, I’ve lost some strength on the bench press. But it should help my running.

April 30, 2014 Posted by | swimming, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Donald Sterling and being around black people

Mano Singham has an interesting take on Donald Sterling and his owning an NBA team:

On NPR this morning an analyst said that what was more interesting to explore than the racist comments was the contradiction between Sterling’s disdain for black people and the fact that his girlfriend is half black and half Mexican and that his players are majority black.

There is no contradiction. The idea that there is one stems from the misperception that racists avoid being near the people they dislike. To say that Sterling is a contradiction is say that the ante-bellum plantation owners who had racist views yet had black servants and slept with some of them were contradictions. In reality, it is perfectly consistent and all about demonstrating one’s power over people. What could be more satisfying to a racist than ‘owning’ someone, literally in the past and quasi-metaphorically now in the relationship between athletes and team owners in professional sports.

Racists have no problem with being in close proximity to those whom they think are inferior, as long as the latter know their proper place. In fact, you need them around in order to demonstrate your superiority. Sterling is in fact remarkably ordinary in this regard.

Now, I am not saying that they aren’t groups of people that I dislike; I certainly do. But I’d rather not associate with them…at all.
I suppose that I understand that I am not fundamentally “better” than those I dislike; I just don’t enjoy being around them.

April 30, 2014 Posted by | racism, social/political | | Leave a comment

I spend too much time on Facebook…


I belly laughed at lots of these.

I’d add:

“Liked” just to be polite. (e. g., a selfie that is less than flattering, or a running race time that is, uh….connotes dubious physical fitness…much less athletic competence)

“Uh we vote the same way, but your argument is bunk” button.

“Uh, (Paul Krugman, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins) is smarter than you” button.

“OMG, you believe THAT (nonsense/superstion/woo woo)” button.

“OMG, you are boasting about THAT?” Or “OMG, you think that YOU are awesome (or your kids) because of THAT?” button.

I want one of these buttons too (usually for photos where the woman is wearing running/workout/yoga spandex).

April 30, 2014 Posted by | social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Two points


Yep. The point, I think, is well made.

But there is more.

I remember a long time ago (1984?) I had a date. I was still Catholic at the time. We were at my date’s house (with her housemate) and we discussed what we did on that day, and I mentioned that I had gotten my throat blessed.


I described how it was done (via candles which had been put out) and Lisa just about died laughing. She started to cough and her roommate and I both got on her: “see, you should have had your throat blessed” …and we were laughing pretty hard.

She asked “do you REALLY believe in that?” and I said…”well…….let’s just say that I got my flu shot.” I admitted that it was more of a social ceremony than anything else; there was no “magic” to it.

But I wonder: if someone REALLY believes in a deity that performs magic tricks; well, would they not get the shot…or worse?

I think that it is always a good idea to attack superstition and the idea that a prayer can stop or cure a disease in someone else is superstition.

Prayer can calm and relax those doing the praying (and bring the associated benefits)…and “I am praying for you” can mean “I care” or “I am thinking about you” which does help.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | religion, science, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Penny Foolish and Pound Ridiculous

Yes, it is a good idea to fix our roads. And while there are liberal wackos, they don’t have the platform that the Republican wackos have, and most of ours are not in office.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Hey Fox News: Rambo was only a movie.

Fox News wants to know why President Obama hasn’t used military force more often.

I think it is great that we have a President that understands that other countries don’t put the United States first and that lets the other countries take the lead from time to time; I rather like diplomacy and nuance.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, political/social, politics, republicans | | Leave a comment

Human evolution: past and present

Evidently genes are still evolving (of course) and doing so quite rapidly. And sometimes, the genes are taking on new functions:

Over long periods of evolutionary time, some copied genes change drastically — so drastically, in fact, that they take on entirely new tasks.

Consider hemoglobin, which stores oxygen in red blood cells for delivery throughout the body. Scientists have found that it belongs to a family of genes that do many different things with oxygen and recent studies suggest that it evolved from proteins that grabbed extra oxygen molecules inside cells before they could do harm.

Now about Neanderthals: they were a type of human but very different from us. There is a new book which interests me: How to Think Like a Neanderthal.
I am sure much of it is speculation based on current data. Much of what is said doesn’t surprise me: the Neanderthals were stronger than we are, had to take more physical risks (e. g. used thrusting spears instead of throwing spears), suffered more injuries and cared for each other.

As far as the Neanderthal/human hybrids: realistically, this was NOT the result of consensual sex. I am loath to use the term “rape” as I see rape is a human on human crime, where “human” stands for “homo sapiens”.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | evolution, science | | Leave a comment

If you aren’t the best in YOUR field, why do you think that you know more than the best in other fields?

Yes, this is a topic I’ve discussed numerous times (here here here and here.

But it still…sort of…baffles me. Why would someone who isn’t even remotely national class in what they do best think that they can give advice to the best in another discipline?

But…I suppose this might be some version of “hope springs eternal”; say I’ve realized that what I am rather average at what do best (a type of mathematics called “geometric topology) but…hey…maybe it is because my field is much harder than these other fields?

Well, not all fields are equal; I’ll grant you that. But if one is talking about something like mathematics, science, engineering or economics: well the best in these fields not only have looked hard a long at the problems, but they are very smart as well. If I don’t have a new technique to offer (say, a new application of knot theory to DNA research)…well, these folks don’t make basic mistakes. OTHER EXPERTS might catch an error, but it is likely to be a technical, nuanced error.

Now there is always the smart but foolishly arrogant expert in one field who thinks that he/she is better suited to attack problems in a field that isn’t theirs than the elite in those fields, at least in a fundamental way.

Of course, they might be highly qualified to offer new techniques that might apply, but they aren’t going to make a fundamental change to a discipline.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | social/political | | Leave a comment

Still dead…sort of

I didn’t feel 100 percent.
I weighed: 181 on the doctor scale prior.
2 miles treadmill 20:06 (increased speed every minute)
2 miles track (a bit short?) 4:03, 3:56 (7:59), 3:49, 3:53 for 15:43 (7:59/7:44)
1 mile walk (track)
2 miles treadmill (20:46) rough first 2-3 minutes then I started to feel good.
3 mile walk outside (to Bradley Park, down the hill)

10 miles (6 run, 4 walk).

Weight: 178 after.

Not sure if the indoor track is short or if I just had a bad day last week. I was somewhat dead this week too but managed a tiny bit of quality.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Mooching, coloring and Paradigming….

Mathematics: this 3-quarks daily post is about a “simple to state but hard to solve” mathematics problem::

From this book I learned of an irresistible 60+ year old question called the Hadwiger-Nelson problem. It’s easy to state:

If you want to color the points of the Euclidean plane in such a way as to guarantee that there are never two points of the same color which are exactly one unit apart, how many colors do you need?

By the Euclidean plane we just mean the usual xy-plane you use in geometry when you draw circles, parabolas, etc. Since the plane goes off to infinity in every direction there are infinitely many points on the plane. A reasonable first guess is that you’ll need infinitely many colors [3].

With a little sideways thinking, it might occur to you to tile the plane with squares sized so that the distance from corner to corner is a little less than one unit. All of the points within that square are then less than one unit apart so can be colored a single color without causing us any trouble. We then can color the points on the plane by instead coloring each square a single color. This (in retrospect) easy observation quickly gives a striking breakthrough to what seemed previously to be an unsolvable problem.

For example here is a coloring of the squares using nine colors:


And of course, one can do better. But no one knows, as of this time, how much better. We need more than 3, but less than 8.

Note: this is NOT the famous (solved) 4-color problem for a map on a plane. Here, if you can construct ONE map in which every “country” had diameter less than one unit but no two countries of the same color were within one unit of each other, you’d solve the problem.

Now of course, professional mathematicians often deal with cranks who think that they’ve solved such a famous problem. Of course, they haven’t. But it appears to be a human tendency to think that YOU, a non-specialist, are smarter (or more insightful) than the established specialists of another area. You (probably) aren’t. If you can’t outdo the best in your own area, what makes you think that you will outdo the best in areas that aren’t your own?

Now that it appears that Obamacare won’t implode on its own, Republicans are scrambling. Why? Obamacare is designed the way that it is because it has to be that way. That is: there can be no coverage for preexisting conditions if there aren’t healthy people in the pool. Sure, many will complain that they can’t afford it….while risking ruinous debt if they get a major illness. We can’t afford that either.

Fact: the Republicans don’t have an alternative because this was the conservative option to begin with.

The alternative is: the liberal option (single payer) which is what I support.

Interestingly enough, Republicans seem to be making a habit of…supporting moochers?

t is, in a way, too bad that Cliven Bundy — the rancher who became a right-wing hero after refusing to pay fees for grazing his animals on federal land, and bringing in armed men to support his defiance — has turned out to be a crude racist. Why? Because his ranting has given conservatives an easy out, a way to dissociate themselves from his actions without facing up to the terrible wrong turn their movement has taken.

For at the heart of the standoff was a perversion of the concept of freedom, which for too much of the right has come to mean the freedom of the wealthy to do whatever they want, without regard to the consequences for others.

Start with the narrow issue of land use. For historical reasons, the federal government owns a lot of land in the West; some of that land is open to ranching, mining and so on. Like any landowner, the Bureau of Land Management charges fees for the use of its property. The only difference from private ownership is that by all accounts the government charges too little — that is, it doesn’t collect as much money as it could, and in many cases doesn’t even charge enough to cover the costs that these private activities impose. In effect, the government is using its ownership of land to subsidize ranchers and mining companies at taxpayers’ expense.

It’s true that some of the people profiting from implicit taxpayer subsidies manage, all the same, to convince themselves and others that they are rugged individualists. But they’re actually welfare queens of the purple sage.

Mr. Bundy is a moocher, period. I don’t think that the story is over.

April 29, 2014 Posted by | economics, economy, mathematics, social/political | Leave a comment