Is there racial bias on who the police shoot? Data is…inconclusive….

Seriously. There isn’t much data out there and what little actual data there is:

Whether or not racial bias is a significant factor in police homicides is very much an open question.

Studies have long concluded that police killings are more common in cities with more violent crime and larger minority populations, yet some researchers have found no positive association between race and killings. Others, however, have concluded that fewer black suspects were killed in cities with black mayors, and, in one city, that blacks made up a greater share of police homicide victims than of arrests overall.

But all those studies used the government’s imperfect data and measured only homicides, excluding the greater number of shootings in which suspects survived. A more comprehensive analysis exists: Dr. Klinger and Dr. Rosenfeld, among others, examined all 230 instances over 10 years in which officers of the St. Louis police fired their weapons (the city’s police, in contrast to the police in Ferguson involved in Mr. Brown’s shooting).

Their conclusions, presented last November at the American Society of Criminology’s annual meeting, were striking. Officers hit their targets in about half of the 230 incidents; in about one-sixth, suspects died. Of the 360 suspects whose race could be identified — some fled before being seen clearly — more than 90 percent were African-American.

But most interesting, perhaps, was the race of the officers who fired their weapons. About two-thirds were white, and one-third black — effectively identical to the racial composition of the St. Louis Police Department as a whole. In this study, at least, firing at a black suspect was an equal-opportunity decision.

In laboratory experiments, meanwhile, subjects who see pictures or videos of threatening activity, and then punch “shoot” or “don’t shoot” buttons befitting their evaluations of the threat, consistently “shoot” black suspects more often than white ones.

But a different experiment last year at Washington State University in Spokane suggested that the opposite might be true: In realistic simulations of confrontations, subjects armed with laser-firing pistols acted in ways that left black suspects less likely to be shot at — not more.

The experiment’s 102 subjects, a mixture of police officers, combat veterans and civilians, were run through a random sample of 60 scenarios drawn from actual police encounters. The scenarios, using white, black and Hispanic actors, were projected in life-size high-definition video on laboratory screens.

I hasten to point out that this talks about SHOOTING and NOT arresting, profiling, searching etc. On those issues, we do have some data.

August 31, 2014 Posted by | racism, social/political | | Leave a comment

Golden Rule, Statistics, etc.

The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule states: “do onto others as you would have done onto you” or something like that.

But that sometimes fails. Here is a quick example:

When I go out and run or walk, I like to “get away from it all”; I usually go alone and just get it in. I might take in sights of various kinds. But for me, it is “just go”.

Personally, I prefer what happens on popular running paths in Chicago or Austin: no one greets you. You just go. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t interaction; on occasion I’ve gotten in an impromptu race with someone who wouldn’t let me pass. That is fine.

But in small towns, people like to greet. If someone greets me, I wave and that is about it. Those who can give a prolonged Good Moooorning! aren’t working hard enough, IMHO. Some want to stop and chat.

So, what would I like to be “done onto me”???? I want to be left alone. But around here, most don’t want that.

In football, most of the time (with the exception of a North Dakota State here or there), FCS teams lose to FBS teams, and non-BCS teams lose to BCS teams. The main reason is that the bigger time programs, well, recruit better players. Now they don’t get them all; on occasion a gem gets passed over only to eventually end up on an NFL team. It does happen. But, statistically speaking, the better players end up in the “power programs”, and the win-loss records demonstrate this. Statistically speaking, the scouts usually get it right, though there are always exceptions.

The same holds true in academics. For example, here and there you might see a person with a 24 ACT do well in mathematics or engineering. But the vast majority of the time, they do not. In the long run, the tests do a decent job of predicting, though they do miss a few people.

August 31, 2014 Posted by | social/political, statistics | , , , | Leave a comment

Longish walk…

I had planned to do this on the treadmill to protect my sore right heel, but I needed the heat conditioning. So, I decided to use heel pads (and I really beat them up) and I chose a course that minimized downhill walking:

1.03 miles to the top of Bradley park, .38 miles to the bottom (21:10), 10 x 1.24 mile lower loop, (18:08, 18:06, 17:45, 17:38, 17:54, 17:49, 17:52, 18:02 (oops!), 17:47, 17:58) (3:20:14), 7:42 uphill to Heading (.5 miles), 58:41 for just over 4 (4:26:38), 32:42 for 2.3 (Bradley Perimeter via Moss) for 4:59:20 for 20.6 miles. Note: each lower loop has a small hill on it (50 feet?); there is a larger hill to get from the bottom of the park to the top.



Weather: 72 F, 91 percent humidity at the start (almost foggy); 77 F, 82 percent at the end. I went through one bottle of water; it wasn’t quite as suffocating as last week. I walked better too.

The foot: ok for the most part, though downhill stretches bothered it a little. Note: no NSAIDS for the walk; I wanted to be able to quit if point soreness returned. And at no point was I more than a mile or so away from the house.

Afterward: we drove to the Indian restaurant and my wife talked to me….as we drove, I saw a young woman running on the sidewalk along University; small jog bra and cropped spandex shorts. Good thing my wife was driving ….”oh dear, could you remind me of what you just said…?” Hopefully my wife didn’t notice, but…she probably did.

No matter though; the lady was probably at least 30 years younger than I; realistically 35 years younger?

Social note
Lots of people walk in Bradley Park; a few run. Many of the walkers are NOT that intense (a few are); many like to stop and chat. There is this old guy that always stops when he sees me; I wave but don’t stop. Today he told me that I had an “angry stride”. I said “I am trying to just get through it” and…well…today WAS one of my more determined walks; in yoga they say “tapas”.

And to be honest, I felt reasonably good upon finishing. Yes, I only averaged 14:33 mpm, but that is fine for a warm weather training walk. I also saw my department chair out there; he is gearing up to run the Chicago Marathon in October (his first). He’ll do well, but I wonder if he knows what he is up against. That last 10K can really, really humble you.

August 31, 2014 Posted by | injury, marathons, walking | , | Leave a comment

Illinois escapes Youngstown State 28-17; special teams important

Workout note: protected my sore right heel (feels good right now) by doing 30 minutes on the bike.

Barbara went with me to the game.

The arrow points to our seats; we may well have been there when this was taken:



Last year, Illinois had a ragged opening game against a FCS team; that was a 42-34 shootout win against a Southern Illinois team that rallied from 39-17 down to make it close at the end.

This year, it ended 28-17, but it was very competitive until 2:40 was left in the game; Illinois scored off of a perfectly executed play action pass on 3’rd and 8 at the YSU 29 yard line. Had YSU held, it would have likely been 24-17 when YSU got the ball back.

The game started with the teams exchanging punts twice. Then after the third Illinois punt, YSU started a drive which was extended by a roughing the passer call. That lead to a field goal and a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But at the start of the second quarter, Illinois returned the kick 67 yards to set up a short field and a touchdown drive.


Illinois held, and started to move the ball again and hit a 42 yard pass. But on the next play Illinois fumbled the ball away.

The defenses took over for the next couple of possessions and then YSU hit a 50 yard pass where the receiver was run down by an Illini defensive back. Now at the Illini 17 it appeared that YSU got a touchdown pass but YSU was flagged for ineligible man downfield (the quarterback had to scramble so a lineman probably thought it had become a run). So, they get a field goal and it is 7-6 at the half.

Second half: YSU had some success running (197 total rushing yards for the game) especially on the option play. But once again, they couldn’t finish a drive but managed a field goal to make it 9-7 going into the 4’th quarter.

After a later exchange of punts, YSU got the ball and ended up with 4’th and 1 near midfield. Instead of doing a regular punt, they tried a “rugby punt” play (with the wind) with presumably an option to run for the first down. This was a turning point:


This backfired; Illinois got the ball at the 35 and, early in the 4’th quarter, took it in for a 14-9 lead.

But the lead didn’t last long. YSU drove it 75 yards (hitting a 61 yard pass, set up by running) to get the ball to the Illinois 5; they took it in (run) and hit the 2 point conversion (quarterback run) to take the lead at 17-14 with 11:40 to go.

But the Illinois passing game came alive and got a 79 yard touchdown drive to take a 21-17 lead with just under 9 minutes to go. The defense held and was able to put the game away by mixing running and passing; the key play being the play action pass I described at the outset.


YSU tried valiantly but just doesn’t have the deep throwing “quick comeback” offense.

I know that this was the first game of the season but the offense, on the whole, didn’t look as sharp as last year’s offense. The defense didn’t look quite as porous as last year, but YSU is a running team. Western Kentucky’s passing attack (600 + yards and 59 points against Bowling Green) will be a different challenge next week.

I know, this is only one game and the offense DID look good…for ONE quarter (the last one).

At least the game itself was entertaining.

Update: here are some Illinois highlights:

In other action: Navy simply doesn’t have the athletic ability that Ohio State has: (34-17 Ohio State)

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 6.27.41 PM

And Notre Dame vs. Rice was, well, Notre Dame vs. Rice. (48-17 ND)

Screen shot 2014-08-30 at 7.09.02 PM

Illinois photos from yahoo; last two photos from ESPN.

Update: Texas is playing North Texas; they had a few more people there than we had here.


August 31, 2014 Posted by | college football, football | | 2 Comments

First week…Fall 2014

You’d never know that we had enrollment problems from the pool this morning.

1000 free, 5 x 100 on 2 (alt 25 fist, 25 free)
6 x 100 (alt pull, free)
4 x 25 fly.

It was a decent swim; the heel (right heel) still burns a bit; this doesn’t appear to be what happened in 2013 to the other foot.

I think it is a bruised heel; it doesn’t hurt the first thing in the morning, and going up on my toes doesn’t hurt at all.

August 29, 2014 Posted by | swimming | | Leave a comment

And I approve of a Tea Party action. Really.


Good is good, no matter who does it.

August 28, 2014 Posted by | social/political | , | Leave a comment

Heel Pain: right foot, this time

I developed some heel pain in my right foot (it was in my left food in March, 2013). It seemed to come on…after running on the indoor track. That might be a message to me.

So, it will be heel pads and treadmills; it isn’t PF as my natural instinct is to come up on my toe to keep the heel off of the ground. Also: heavier shoes for my long walk; maybe do it on dirt (Rock Island trail)

Today: 5.1 hilly run (no pain during the run) on my Cornstalk course, followed by a quick weight workout:

pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong)
hip hikes, Achilles
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 180, 9 x 160 (rotator cuff)
incline: 9 x 135 (weak)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
pull downs: 3 sets of (7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low)

No rows today.

August 28, 2014 Posted by | injury, running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Best unfriending I ever had (Facebook)

Someone (male) posted this meme:


I remember seeing this (or something similar to it) on the wall of some very vocal feminist; she had friended me for goodness-knows-what reason. She also taught grade school math and had asked me math questions from time to time, but she also posted “I don’t like men” stuff too.

Well, she posted the above and my response was “Oh, so you are smarter than I am? LOL!” THAT lead to getting blocked….and I never enjoyed being blocked more than that time. 🙂

Now, someone else (female) posted this:


Posted this…on a computer ….and had the image go through the internet.

Indeed, the idea that “we are a country of smart phones and stupid people” contains quite a bit of truth. 🙂

August 28, 2014 Posted by | morons, social/political | | Leave a comment

Frogs, GMOs and Mother Jones becoming Salon?

Frogs: some new species were discovered in Peru. And these frogs have transparent skin! (yes, you can see the organs) I wonder: is there a purpose to this, or is it just the effects of genetic drift?

GMOs: this is a every even handed, level headed post via “I F****ng love science. And, surprisingly, The Nation also had a decent article as well. I share the pleasant shock and surprise of doomvox at Daily Kos:

I feel like the millennium is at hand: The Nation is taking on the anti-GMO activists, with an article by Madeline Ostrander that asks the question Can GMOs Help Feed a Hot and Hungry World?, with the answer provided in the subtitle: “Not if activists succeed in making the genetic modification of food politically unsustainable”. This is a blow for rationality I would not at all have expected from The Nation (their idea of balanced coverage of the nuclear issue, for example, is a debate between an anti-nuclear person and a fanatically anti-nuclear one). Maybe the left really is on it’s way to being “the reality based community”…

You know it is a sad day when I am pleasantly surprised by a competent article coming from The Nation.

Of course, Mother Jones did this: it hammered Scott Brown for posting….triathlon photos?

The Massachusetts transplant is gearing up for his campaign against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) this fall by literally running for office. He’s also biking. And swimming. And hiking. And taking jump shots. If it’s a weekend, you can expect to find the Republican candidate tweeting a photo of his latest feat of strength. Things might not work out for Brown in November, but Brown will almost certainly work out.

Uh, workout/sports photos are bad because….???? Seriously: are photos for some politician holding yet another baby, hunting, or eating another hotdog at a county fair supposed to be better?

At least this article didn’t accuse him of “fat shaming”, but hey, I haven’t read the comments. 🙂

PS: politically speaking, I am not a fan of his and I hope that his opponent wins this election. But really???

August 27, 2014 Posted by | frogs, politics, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Jon Stewart on Ferguson….and Fox’s response

You are tired of hearing about “racism”? Well, some of us are tried of the racism to begin with.

This is one of his best episodes, ever.

Yes, she shooting victim was not a virtuous citizen. But there is enough to suggest that she was shot while he wasn’t a threat and there is overwhelming evidence that black males are not treated fairly by law enforcement (on the whole).

August 27, 2014 Posted by | racism, ranting, social/political | , , | Leave a comment