Yes, it is silly season

Workout notes
weights: rotator cuff,
pull ups (strong) 15-15-10-10
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170
incline: 10 x 135
dumbbell military: standing, 8 x 50 (good), supported, seated: 15 x 50, standing: 10 x 40
rows(dumbbell) 3 sets of 10 x 50
leg press: 10 x 205
lots of free/goblet squats
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving bridges
headstand (good today)

2 miles of deliberate walking.

I made the coffee too strong and was a bit sick during my workout.

Silly season: good scientists often don’t tolerate bad arguments. So, I’ve been amused to watch this scientist attack some bad arguments.

Now, I’ll say that I have a much higher opinion of Hillary Clinton than he does; I see her as smart, tough and someone who can think on her feet. Evidently people like Paul Krugman agree with me, and I take solace in that.

But I’ve think that we’ve reached a point where some of the criticisms are silly.

Yes, I agree with Mr. Trump that our infrastructure is antiquated and an embarrassment to our country.
And as far as Alicia Machado: yes, being Ms. Universe means that one is obligated to keep in shape (just like, say, a military officer, dancer or an athlete is). Yes, she has a very checkered past. Personally, I’d hope that Hillary Clinton would leave this one alone, though I wonder why Mr. Trump doesn’t have anything better to do than to fire off a bunch of late night tweets attacking her. And Mr. Trump publicly chiding people for being fat…well, isn’t exactly a winning strategy and isn’t presidential. And one might look at who is supporting Mr. Trump….





September 30, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , | 1 Comment

Changes, envy and the enemy of the good

No, I haven’t worked out as yet; it is 5:10 and the gym opens at 6 am. 🙂 I hope to lift and maybe walk a little today; run longer tomorrow morning and then NFL this Sunday! At least that is the plan.

Politics Of course, key states tend to get the most attention from candidates. But this year, Ohio just isn’t on the map of the Democrats. There are many reasons: one is that the Senate race is no longer competitive. The other is that there are now more important states to the Democratic map. Sure, Obama won Ohio twice and Clinton could win the state. But if she does, it will be because the rest of the race is very favorable to her. It is no longer a “must win”.

Envy vs. Jealousy One of my pet “it is really none of my business but it bothers me anyway” peeves is the use of “jealous” for “envious”. Yes, those words ARE different:

Traditional usage holds that we are jealous when we fear losing something that is important to us and envious when we desire that which someone else has. In this view, one might experience jealousy upon seeing one’s spouse flirt with another (because of the fear of losing the spouse), while one might experience envy upon seeing a friend with an attractive date (because of one’s desire to have an attractive date of one’s own). In common usage, this distinction is not always observed, and jealousy and jealous are often used in situations that involve envy. Our 2015 survey shows that the distinction is alive and well: large majorities of the Usage Panel approved the traditional uses of jealousy (She was jealous when she saw her husband having dinner with another woman) and envy (He was envious of the expensive sports car his neighbor bought), while only a minority accepted the switched uses: 29 percent accepted envious for the suspicious dinner, and 34 percent accepted jealous for the expensive sports car. The last figure does mean, though, that a third of the Panelists accept jealous meaning “envious,” and an even larger minority (43 percent) accept it when the entity being coveted is a person rather than an object, as in Never having been popular myself, I’m jealous of your many friends. It is evident from these results that many careful writers prefer to see the distinction between the two words maintained, with jealous being reserved for situations where one fears losing something and envious used for situations where one wants what one does not have.

Example: I might be envious of the intellectual ability of Steven Hawking. But if Barbara says “hey, I am going to an NFL game with male friend X” I might get jealous since *I* am always willing to go to these (if she wants to go to an opera or a play with a male friend: no problem.)

Millennials Evidently our blessed millennials don’t have much confidence in our institutions. I have a conjecture as to part of the reason: I well understand that our institutions are going to be flawed because, well, they are run by imperfect people like, well, me. I also expect progress to be hard, and well, at times, life will be hard. So if institution is imperfect but helps us make progress, well, that is good. But there will *always* be room for improvement and improvement comes at a high cost.

September 30, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Not so profound

Workout notes: I had bigger plans but my legs weren’t ready. So I did a 10K shuffle in 1:09:42 (the 5.1 mile course plus an out and back down the upper Bradley Park Hill).

Yes, the Marathon Route signs are up; Race day is the 16’th of October (Sunday)


Last week’s failure has me hungry for “a finish”; time goal just isn’t that important to me now. There was a time when I took a marathon finish for granted; that time was over a long time ago (2009?)

Personal: I thought that I had something profound to say about the moment generating function and the negative binomial distribution. I don’t. In any event, I can’t talk about it in class until I talk about joint density functions.

I was also pleased with myself when I worked about the old “every vector space has a basis” argument in my head (and mostly got it right) until I realized: “yes, you are SUPPOSED to know this stuff”. Oh well. (hint: Zorn’s Lemma)

Time to type a boring request.

September 29, 2016 Posted by | mathematics, running | Leave a comment

One key factor in the Presidential Election

Workout notes: 6+ mile walk in West Peoria. Lovely walking weather; nice and cool.



Presidential elections with no incumbent (my lifetime)

1960: Kennedy vs. Nixon: Kennedy won by less than 1 point; the parties switched.
1968: Humphrey vs. Nixon (and Wallace): Nixon won by less than 1 point; the parties switched.
1988: Bush vs. Dukakis: Bush won by just under 8 points; the party retained power
2000: Bush vs. Gore: Gore won the popular vote by less than 1 percent but Bush won the EC and the parties switched
2008: McCain vs. Obama: Obama won by about 7.5 points and the parties switched.

I can remember the 2000 election where the Gore campaign kept Clinton at arm’s length, and the 2008 where Bush all but disappeared; the R’s did not want him around.

From the Gallup Presidential Approval Center:


This really helps Hillary Clinton. I think that this will be one “ace in the hole”.

September 28, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, political/social, politics, politics/social, walking | | Leave a comment

One good thing about a marathon failure…

Two days later and I felt good enough to have a good workout. So I do have a few training days before starting taper no. 2.

Workout notes:

Weights: I got 200 lbs. in the bench press (bodyweight: 189 after the treadmill run). Yeah, my lifetime PB is 310 (at 230 lbs bodyweight).

rotator cuff
pull ups: 15-15-10-10 (strong)
free squats (good)
bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 1 x 195, 1 x 200, 7 x 170
incline press: 10 x 135
military press (dumbbells) 7 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 40 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell

treadmill run (felt good) 3.13 miles in 30 minutes; 5.2, 5.3 (5 minutes each), 10 minutes at 6.7, 5 at 6.8, 6.9, .25 at 7.0, .13 at 7.1 (11:06, 20:03, 28:48),
5K walk outside (easy)

That was a nice workout.

September 27, 2016 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Who thought that Trump won the first debate?





But they don’t make up that much of the United States anymore…thank goodness.

September 27, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social | , | 1 Comment

I could go on and on about the debate…

But I won’t. Basically, Hillary Clinton showed up prepared and kept her cool. Trump mostly hyperventilated, shouted and was incoherent. Those with money to bet must have agreed; Hillary Clinton’s odds improved and Trump’s fell.

Sure, our country was polarized coming in and still is, and what Sam Wang said before the debate still holds. Trump didn’t lose his hard core support. What I can see happening is that those with stocks who are in Gary Johnson’s camp probably won’t be inspired to move to Trump. Can you imagine your retirement portfolio going away with Trump running things?

Sure, Trump had similar performances in the GOP debates and his numbers, AMONG REPUBLICANS went up. But Paul Krugman noted this a long time ago:

Think about Trump’s obvious weaknesses, why Republicans couldn’t exploit them, but why Democrats can.

First, he’s running a campaign fundamentally based on racism. But Republicans couldn’t call him on that, because more or less veiled appeals to racial resentment have been key to their party’s success for decades. Clinton, on the other hand, won the nomination thanks to overwhelming nonwhite support, and will have no trouble hitting hard on this issue.

Second, Trump is proposing wildly irresponsible policies that benefit the rich. But so were all the other Republicans, so they couldn’t attack him for that. Clinton can.

Third, Trump’s personal record as a businessman is both antisocial and just plain dubious. Republicans, with their cult of the entrepreneur, couldn’t say anything about that. Again, Clinton can.

The G.O.P. paralysis on these issues explains why, again and again, Republicans turned to a proven line of attack — that is, proven not to work: insisting that Trump isn’t a true conservative, which matters to voters not at all. Obviously Democrats will be able to go after different and, I imagine, a lot more salient issues.

And there’s one last thing, which I suspect may make the biggest difference of all: Clinton’s campaign can go after Trump’s fundamental buffoonery.

I mean, he is a ludicrous figure, and everything we learn just makes him more ludicrous. So why couldn’t Republicans make that stick? I’d argue that it was because there was something fairly ludicrous about all his opponents, too.

Think about Marco Rubio: even before his famous brain glitch, it was just obvious that he was a prefab candidate, a nice-looking guy with no real convictions or experience reciting lines he was told to deliver. The infamous “We must dispel with …” wasn’t just vile and stupid (even the first time, let alone repeated); it was also, transparently, not something Rubio believed or even cared about except that his handlers told him to say it.

Or think about Ted Cruz, whose mean-spiritedness and self-centered nature evidently stand out even in today’s conservative movement, making him a hated figure even among those who should like his message.

Clinton, on the other hand, is not ludicrous. She can think on her feet; she’s tough as nails. Do you really think the person who stared down the Benghazi committee for 11 hours is going to wither under schoolboy taunts?

The news media will, I fear, try their best to pretend that the contrast isn’t what it is. We’ll hear endless explanations of why Trump’s vanity, ignorance, and lack of moral fiber somehow prove his “authenticity”, which Clinton somehow lacks. And maybe that will stick with voters. But I don’t think it will. In the end, it will be a race between a tough, smart lady and someone who is obviously a yuge, um, Antonin Scalia School of Law. And voters will notice.

September 27, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

How I know that Trump failed in the debate…

Look at the betting lines. Here are the “morning of the debate” numbers:


Now look at the numbers the morning AFTER the debate:


The colors show that Hillary’s odds are getting stronger; Trump’s weaker. (note: a small fraction means “heavier favorite”; 4/9 means you have to risk 9 dollars to win 4. Example: if you think Clinton will win, you bet 9. IF she wins, you get your 9 back plus 4 more. If you bet on Trump, you risk 4 to win that back, plus 7 more.

September 27, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | , | 1 Comment

Marathons: my margin of error is gone

Workout notes: 30 minutes on the elliptical. I still have a residual headache….slight.

Hot weather marathons: I’ve had some trouble in similar conditions before. In 1998 (runner), I hit mile 20 in 2:50 and took 1:05 to finish the final 6.2. In 2000, at Lake Okoboji, I hit mile 20 in 2:50 and took 1:35 to finish the final 6.2; in fact the final 3 miles took just over an hour.

In 2007, I DNF’ed Quad Cities at mile 23. In 2008, I took 6:16 to walk the Andy Payne Marathon (spent 1 hour at an aid station). In 2012, I walked a walker’s marathon in just under 7 hours, resting 1 hour at the mile 23 aid station.

And now I have another DNF (mile 20).

The difference: the walker’s marathon had a looooong time limit. The other cases: I was faster; I wasn’t out in the heat as long and I had more time to finish once I blew up.

And so it goes. I am no longer fast enough to finish a typical road marathon except under favorable circumstances (cool day). So I need to choose my races carefully (long time limits, 12 hour events, predictably cool weather events that offer a half marathon option, etc.)

September 26, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | Leave a comment

So, will the debate have much effect on the race?

My guess: no. Sam Wang explains why. Here is part of it:

Trump could take the lead, but it would go against what we know so far. I would characterize the race as being very close, but not as uncertain as you might think. Why? The unappreciated story of 2016 is the amazing stability of public opinion. As measured by national polls, 2016 marks the most stable Presidential race in >60 years of modern polling. At the level of state-poll-based analysis, the stability is even greater. This basic fact should inform all analysis.

Is this a stable race? Here is a chart of Upshot’s “likelihood of winning” metric:


And their links to other models:


How the bookies currently see it (Hillary Clinton slightly lower than a 2-1 favorite)


And the poll aggregator maps:


Election Projection


Electoral Vote

September 26, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment