Arctic Air Mass day

Workout notes: both of my gyms were closed so I did a 5 mile walk in 1:04:20 on my home treadmill; not the fastest walk but good enough to get sweaty. And it wasn’t that bad for being the day after a blood donation; I wasn’t intense enough for there to be a big difference.

It was -9 F (-23 C) for my walk (it was -22 F (-30 C)) but it was so short, it was no big deal.

There were many slick surfaces though..that is the rub. That is why I am about to leave for home. I spent my time preparing a lesson on linear regression; in particular, driving home to the students the difference between the residuals and the inherent error in the model. The discussion is technical but I created some canned examples to help demonstrate the basics…I hope that they work.

January 30, 2019 Posted by | statistics, walking | , | Leave a comment

An honest conversation about bigotry? Sure…

I am paying attention to Kamala Harris as I am interested in her candidacy. I still want to see what Corey Booker and Amy Klobuchar do too…though even if all three end up running, I might well still support Harris. Immediate appeal to me: she appears to be an intellectual, “personal responsibility” Democrat.

So I am paying attention to what she says, and this tweet caught my eye:

Ah, speak “that truth”. But what exactly is “truth”? Sometimes the mere mention of accurate statistics leads to cries of “racism.” This is what can go wrong:

People need some space to express honestly held beliefs even if said beliefs are inaccurate. And I believe this:

1.People are hard wired to reason inductively (go by what they see)
2. Our country is very diverse with many different types of settings (southern, northern, eastern, rural, urban, suburban, small town) and our experiences might be mostly in one type of community
3. “Common sense” is often woefully inadequate to give a proper assessment; it is limited to the experiences of the individual and to the mental/intellectual/knowledge of the individual.
4. People, at least some, CAN change their mind if they are open to it and are given a logical argument and facts. But finger wagging (“if you believe this you are a horrible bigot” or “if you believe this you are delusional”) does not change anyone’s mind. Too often people appear to try to “shame” the other person into going along with what they THINK is right.
5. Humans are highly imperfect beings and any group, if it is large enough, will have their share of bores, idiots, slackers and criminals. ANY sufficiently large group. And if you have some bias against said group, it is all so tempting to draw inferences that back up what you already “feel.”

January 30, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

My tardy airing of grievances

And no, I am not the victim of anything …really…though there are things I do not like.

Winter: sucks. I don’t like the cold and the wind, but I dislike the slippery footing even less. And winter just takes more..time and extra work. Time: got to clean the car, shovel the driveway, etc. Clothes: bundle, peel off, bundle, peel off…boots..leave dry..take ’em off when you enter.

And the joy of stepping on a salt particle in the lockerroom in your bare feet..and your locker is cramped with the hundred pounds of stuff you have to put on just to keep from freezing to death.

Blood donation: sucks. I had just started to feel good and my running times were starting to drop..and I went and gave blood during our blood drive. I know..perfect time..I should be recovered in time for March races and the next few days will be blah treadmill workouts anyway. I also dislike how a blood donation all but gives the Red Cross license to stalk you.

Shame works..I don’t want conservatives to outdo me.

Still…I think about making myself feel like crap to help out…ok, ok, I don’t know who I am helping out, and well, it really doesn’t matter, does it?

Workout notes 6 mile treadmill run; started at 5.3 and worked up; final mile was sub 9. 11:20, 21:57, 32:16, 41:40, 50:21, then walk/jog to 1:04:48 (6). I did sub 10 from 40 minutes onward. After yoga with Ms. V.

January 30, 2019 Posted by | running | , , , | Leave a comment

Aptitude and cold weather

This post will be all over the place.

Right now, journalists are being laid off and there is some sort of “twitter campaign” to tweet #learntocode at them.

Don’t get me wrong; I think that learning to code is a good thing. But to get good enough to earn a living…well…

You know..not only do you have to study and work at it, you also, well, need some aptitude as well. It is a bit like saying: “well, if you want to get rich, take up basketball and make an NBA team.” Yeah, I know; becoming an NBA player requires far more “outlier” level talent that becoming a run of the mill computer programmer, but you get my drift. Not everyone has the aptitude for it.

And that leads me to a comment I read; a well known blogger said that he is “walking away from tenure” at a university in a location that he doesn’t like ..but then had trouble finding another academic job; he remarked

despite what the job market in this profession thinks I’m actually a really fuckin’ good teacher.

Well, guess what: evidently other professors in your profession also think very highly of themselves; you are far from unique in that regard. The competition for such positions is brutal.

I remember entering the job market in 1991, right as the old Soviet Union was breaking up and first rate mathematical talent from those universities flooded the market. That knocked everyone down a few notches; the “would be R-1 tenure track” talent got knocked down to the non-R1, would be post-docs got knocked down.

So, though it was 7 F (February, 1991) when I interviewed at my current job and I knew that this university was located in a decaying rust-belt town…I took was the best offer I had (other places in more pleasant locations were not as nice of a place to teach and research).

So, here I am..and once again, we are getting creamed by the weather. Yes, climate change is real. Much of the globe is burning up.

But guess where that purple splotch is? Yep…and yes, it is colder here (Peoria, IL) than it is in Anchorage Alaska, or even Fairbanks Alaska. Isn’t that something>

Yes, that sinusoidal jet stream pattern, caused by a weak polar vortex…caused by lessening polar ice…is what is allowing that still very cold arctic air to cream us. And so we will get some bitterly cold weather ..reminiscent of my winter in the Dakotas in 1969-1970.

Oh baby it is cold outside…and she is underdressed.

Workout notes: weights and a 6.3 mile bikeride on a “fun” program. Weight: 193
pull ups, rotator cuff, bench 10 x 135, 2 x 185, incline: 10 x 140, decline: 8 x 165 military: 10 x 50 stand, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 45, rows 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm, planks, etc.

Then the bike ride.

January 29, 2019 Posted by | Peoria, social/political, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

Targeted ads: on the way out? And no, my wife doesn’t want leggings designed for a 25 year old..

Because I am on Facebook and Instagram and I do some online buying, I do get quite a few targeted ads. A few *might* make sense (e. g. “we say you looking for Colts vs. Texans tickets; the prices have dropped!”), and a few are dumb (notifying me of good prices on hotel rooms in Cleveland, OH, and Muskogee, OK..when in fact, I only stop there at specific times of the year on my way to a specific event). And a few are amusing I will gleefully post here: “buy your girlfriend these leggings; her butt will look AWESOME! ” and the model is around 1/3 of my age! But..should I be looking at these ads at all? What would Gillette think?

Yes, on the whole, target ads do increase sales, but not enough to justify the extra expense. Many times, it makes more sense to spend that advertising money placing no targeted ads in other media.

Workout notes Markin center: 5 mile run (51:50; 22:20 for first 2) walk to 5.86, then 2 mile hill walk on another treadmill: 1-2-3-4-5, 10 minutes at 5, 4 the rest of the way (34 minutes for 2.15) So 1:39 for 8 miles total. 192.1 before.

Did some light shoveling last night.

The ads (39 of them; one is a Target ad, a few are “do these exercises” or “do this exercise routine” ads, one is “empower yourself, young woman” ad., one was a “word game” ad, .most of the rest are “your lady will look AWESOME in these leggings ad. Note that ALL of these ads targeted me on Facebook or Instagram; I did NOT go looking for them. All came from different ads targeted at me.

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January 27, 2019 Posted by | big butts, running, social/political, walking | , , , , | Leave a comment

When America was Great…and my “good old days”…

Ok, when exactly WAS America at her greatest? Well, one might say “it depends on who you ask” and there is statistical evidence for that:

What if people look most warmly on the years when they came of age? For many, the decade in which they spent their late teens and twenties is backlit with a soft glow of optimism and discovery, which tends to fade with the onset of children and male-pattern baldness. Republicans are older on average than Democrats. Could the partisan split the Times found simply reflect the demographics of each party?

In aggregate, Morning Consult’s data supports this trend. According to its survey, the plurality of people born in the 1930s and 1940s thought the 1950s were America’s best years; people born in the 1960s and the 1970s had a similar affinity for the 1980s.

But it’s worth a closer look. Using a slice of the raw survey data, I ran a multiple linear regression analysis, which attempts to calculate how much a collection of independent factors influences an outcome. In this case, the outcome was an individual’s pick for America’s Greatest Year; the factors were their age, their race, their education level, their gender, and their political party. (I threw out any response that named a date before 1930 as America’s best; very few people, save historians, are truly nostalgic for the 19th century, and these outliers skewed the sample.)

The result? It seems age does play a role in determining when a person thinks America peaked. For every 10 years a respondent’s age increased, their average America-Was-Greatest date dropped by three years. But race and party matter, too. Being a Democrat gave respondents an average bump of five years in their favorite dates, compared to Republicans; being black raised the average by more than eight years.

That said, the correlation is weak. Only 15 percent of the variability among the 2,000-odd favorite-year responses can be explained by these five demographic factors, which is laughably low by statistical standards.

You can find a table at the source. Note: 15 percent is not THAT bad when it comes to human factors.

And there is a tendency to romanticize the past and forget the bad stuff.

Yes, the body worked better and, well, this was more the norm:

What I forgot was: well, lack of money, worries about promotion, in fact, worry that I’d finish my tough the Navy was (the nuclear navy, in my case), the super long hours, etc.

Almost none of these factors had much to do with how the country itself was.

Yes, there are lots of aspects of current life that I don’t like.

Examples (many of them trivial)
Noise: leaf blowers..treadmills that “bong” every time you change a setting (WHY? I don’t need to know that those next to me are doing a run/walk), people with microphones that yell at you during every time out during a game (or between innings), and noisy public spaces.

About the leaf blowers: once, at a conference, I noticed that there was a nice looking rooftop area overlooking a I decided to take my lunch up there to eat. It wasn’t crowded…which seemed strange give than the day was nice. But sure enough, 2-3 minutes after I got there..the tale tell, ear splitting RRRRRRRR …some worker came through with a leaf blower…must have been a stray leaf somewhere. I left and now understood why the place was both pristine and empty. I suppose there is so much emphasis on making the place *look* nice that it was also made, well, unusable.

And, of course, cell phones…it seems that whenever you find a quite public space to take a break, some moron who is yelling on their cell phone will find you (easier for them to hear in a quiet spot, you see)

That seems to have gotten just a bit better with the advent of texting…

Well, to be fair, there is a lot that is better right now (e. g. I enjoy the internet..and yes, even social media) so..

January 27, 2019 Posted by | big butts, Navel Staring, social/political | Leave a comment

My “Covington in DC” post

Yes, I too was fooled by the still photo and short video clip; at first I was under the impression that those kids surrounded that elderly Native American. I even remarked that had I acted that way at that age, my parents, teachers or even coaches would have punished me.

And yes, I saw the longer clip and yes, my reaction is now a bit different; it is more of an eyeroll…not optimal but mostly, a “nothing to see here.”

But I did think about the incident and reactions to it. And I have two basic thoughts:

1. Humans tend to grade “our side” on a curve. Yes, liberals..even those who watched the longer clip..were still outraged..and I haven’t seen many outraged at the Black Hebrew Israelites, the kooks who yelled vulgar, racist and homophobic stuff at the kids. Conservatives tended to rally toward the kids (some were wearing MAGA hats and chanting stuff like “build the wall”…some were apparently mocking the Native American with tomahawk chops..others appeared to enjoy dancing to the beat..and I admit, I find such beats very appealing…it make ME want to dance a bit.

But imagine had those 4 kooks been white KKK members and the kids be black kids with, say, “Obama” hats. My guess is that the battle lines would be flipped; liberals would be praising the restraint of the kids and goodness knows what conservatives would be calling them (my guess “thugs”, “ghetto”, etc.)

2. I think that humans project their own experiences onto situations. I think about my own life: the kooks who yelled stuff at the kids…they remind me a bit of the kooks that you sometimes find in the city..they yell stuff and..if you are NOT feeling threatened, you just ignore and walk past. It is unpleasant but short lived and not much a part of my life.

But the smirking kid: could be the entitled college student who the university took because the family cut a fat check, or perhaps the bosses nephew who, though minimally qualified, was given the position over you…or perhaps the kid who tries to skate past their course project with lots of power point slides and pie charts, none of which make any sense, but “wow” their parents and uninformed.

Of course, I do not know these kids and this description might not apply to them at all. But I am talking about some reactions being projections of our own lives into this situation.

The Native American (who is not a Vietnam veteran but did serve in the Marines..and honorable thing to do): he is an experienced activist..not his first rodeo.

Workout notes: 10 miles at the Riverplex. 6.5 run (slight walking thrown in) 54:50 for 5, 1:07 for 6, 6.5 in 1:15 (some walking) then 3.5 miles in 56 minutes (ok, 28 laps of lane 1-2) in the Riverplex…tons of spandex but I stayed focused. Weight: 191.4 before 186 after but that was mostly dehydration.

January 27, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking | 1 Comment

Finger wagging doesn’t work unless…

Ok, here are some thoughts on a very cold day (and yes, it is snowing …AGAIN)

so this lovely loose, cold snow will cover are already slick, icy residential roads:

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Solid ice.

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This winter has gone from reasonable to brutal very quickly. And our city never handles things well; we are on a downward spiral (much of the tax base has fled..and this is but one consequence)


And there is a bit of good news; evidently the government shutdown is over for now, and maybe the Republicans will get some sanity with regards to the wall.

But the people leaving the city reminds us of a fact: in the vast majority of the cases, you can’t force someone to do something that they don’t want to do unless you have some influence on them. You can’t make people want to live in this frigid, icy, stupidly run (IMHO) wasteland.

I am here because of..well, paychecks. There is something I want. And I stay in the city because I can walk to work (most of the time, without a severe risk of slipping and breaking my neck).

And I think the same thing applies to attitudes. All too often, it appears to me that some attempt to change attitudes by some version of “if you don’t see it this way, you are a horrible person” or “if you don’t see it this way or that way, I won’t like you.”

You sometimes see that attitude in mandated “anti-evil-thing” training that you find in the workplace, and sometimes it backfires!

If you are an employer you can force an employee to take training, but you can’t force them to take it seriously or to internalize it.

And you can hate Trump but you cannot stop others from voting for him (how did 2016 work out?)

In my opinion, IF you have some standing with the person, they might *choose* to listen to you or, if you make a good case, you might be able to *persuade* by logic, reason, etc.

And if you have nothing to offer and nothing that the other person wants, you had better be good at persuasion…”just do it or I think you are: a jerk, a ***ist, etc.” doesn’t change anything.

Workout notes though this horrible winter weather (constant snow, ice, frigid temperatures) put me in a bad mood, my workout went fine? (weight 193)
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong), bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 7 x 170, decline: 10 x 165, military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 40 standing, 3 sets of 10 one armed rows with 50, planks, etc.

Then 10K on the bike (used “Camel Country” course..set for 10 miles but it was taking longer than I wanted..stopped at 30 minutes).

Fun: I changed my @mathguy19 Twitter cover photo and profile photo:

The cover photo: everything is something I either taught or studied in my own research.

January 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change, mathematics, politics, politics/social, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

Bradley beats Illinois State: comeback game

First of all, catch up on workouts:
Wednesday: weights plus 2 mile hill walk (28:20) with 1 extra mile (2 miles at 5), rotator cuff, pull ups 5 sets of 10 (strong), 10 x 135, 5 x 150 incline, 8 x 165 decline, military: 10 x 50 stand, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell. then the walk.

Thursday: yoga with Ms. V, then 6.21 miles in 1:26:20; 5.78 miles in 1:20 (1:09:50 for 5) on the treamdill.

Basketball Great team win. Bradley fell behind 9-2 but then rallied impressively 16:12 with 11 minutes to go then 43-26 at the half. ISU cut it to 66-62 (after Bradley lead 53-31 3 minutes into the second half) but a couple of 3’s got BU up 72-62..and BU went on to win impressively 85-68.

BU shot 55 percent from the field in the first half AND 55 percent from 3 point range in the first half.

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Go Braves!

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Crowd for Bradley vs. Illinois State.

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Bradley Dance team

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BU 85-68 over ISU.

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(the best photo in the final spread is the second one which shows the crowd on its feet as BU ran out the clock)

January 24, 2019 Posted by | basketball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

A few political thoughts

Democrats 2020: large field at the moment (potentially large)

We shall see.

DC MAGA boy incident. This is a reasonable take. Entitled brats? Maybe ..depends on your point of view. Monsters: no. Frankly, there are better things to worry about, though the right wingers may have found their “young activist.”

Now about speech: it is so free that it is often difficult to distinguish fake news from fantasy. Social media isn’t helping. And when one goes against one’s tribe..well, there is some internal pressure to just go along.

Note: Trump’s approval ratings have dropped a little; he appears to be hurt by the shutdown and some are waking up to the fact that he conned them. But if the Democrats appear to be *too* petty in their investigations, it could backfire. This is why loose cannons scare me.

Yes, Ronald Reagan had low numbers at this point in his presidency, but he had an economy that could recover; for Trump, the economy can only go..down.

January 23, 2019 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment