blueollie

Those who need to try harder…

Workout notes: first, I weighed 190.0 prior to swimming (a LOT of coffee beforehand) and 187.5 afterward. Yes, I ate too much meat last night.
Swim: I had slightly sore shoulders last night. But 3100 yards was no problem:
500 easy, then: 5 x 100 alt fist/free on 2:10 (1:48-1:52), 5 x 100 25 catch up, 75 free on 2:10 (1:50ish), 5 x 100 alt. drill, free (front, 3g), 5 x 100 (25 fly, 75 free) on 2:10 (1:55 each).
Then 200 back, 100 side, then 100 pull, 100 free, 100 pull.

Run: riverplex track, 32 laps of the outer lane in 39:52 (10:49, 10:09, 10:02, 8:51). At the advertised 7 1/3 laps to the mile, this was 9:14 pace with miles being 9:55, 9:18, 9:12, 8:12.
There was an older guy in lane 3 who wouldn’t let me pass him; he picked it up every time and mostly stayed just a step ahead of me. I think it was fun for both of us; I gave him a “I’ve got 1 lap to go” warning at the end.

Issues
Jerry Coyne weighs in on why the study of literature appears to be waning. This sort of dovetails into Steven Pinker’s claim that literature may have helped make society less violent by allowing us to empathize with others.

US Sailors: caught and released by Iran. Yes, I like a President who bends over backwards to avoid a violent response.

Trying harder I’ve kept up with the St. Louis losing the Rams back to Los Angeles story. There was some anger and self pity as well as sober self-reflection.

One view I am reading is “wow, ST. Louis went out of its way to try to keep the Rams; Oakland and San Diego did nothing and yet they still have their teams. That doesn’t make sense”.

Well, it might. San Diego and Oakland are probably better markets; Oakland for being in the Bay Area and Sand Diego is a more prosperous region. True, the Rams sold out when they were good, and the crowds grew sparse as the team got worse. But compare this to, say, the almost always mediocre Bears. Their tickets were always more in demand, even when the team stunk. It is a much bigger market.

Of course, there is the caveat that there was a reason the Rams left Los Angeles to begin with. I remember making a game in 1984; the Rams were a playoff team that featured 2000+ yard running back Erick Dickerson. And yet tickets were plentiful and I had a whole row of seats to myself; the announced attendance was 47,800. A losing Rams team got more than that in St. Louis.

But evidently they see potential.

January 13, 2016 Posted by | Barack Obama, education, NFL, politics, politics/social, running, swimming | Leave a comment

Between classes

I’ve got incentive: IF I get done with grading I’ll get to watch the clowns the Republican debate…and maybe, just maybe, catch the Rams last game in St. Louis on Thursday night. Yes, Donald Trump fascinates me, and yes, his ideas are really mainstream Republican ideas. What the Republican elites object to is his tone and manner of presenting such ideas directly.

I’m done with scoring the final exams for one class and about to start another batch.

Workout notes: 10K shuffle (aka run) in Bradley Park; I was a wee bit faster today than I had been recently. Great weather for December in Illinois (slightly chilly; leggings under shorts was overkill). I didn’t have the “fire in the belly” to push the pace though.

Quick posts

A friend sent me this. There is some truth in this, even for math research talks. Here is what often happens to me: I’ll go to a research talk in an area that is “sort of close” to mine. Now keep in mind that while I’ve been modestly active, because I am a small college professor, my research has been rather narrowly focused.

So the talk might start with some concept that I’ve seen before, perhaps 20-30 years ago. My mind will try to recall that concept and make sense of it….and by the time I return the speaker has moved on and I am hopelessly lost. The good news is that if the topic isn’t too far away, I can often find the speaker’s notes and study them later.

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Science and Spandex

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But, but…I was just studying the Periodic Table!

Affirmative Action Yes, I am in favor of affirmative action…done correctly. Many opponents of affirmative action don’t have their facts straight. But some who support affirmative action don’t have their facts straight either.

I am no fan of Justice Scalia but, in my opinion, he had a valid point when he said that some students would actually be harmed by being put into academic programs that they weren’t ready for. Yes, that applies to white students too (some elite universities have “regional affirmative action” which I’ve seen applied to not only racial minorities but to, say, white students from underserved rural areas).

The Naval Academy (and the other service academies) have prep schools to get promising recruits up to speed academically prior to entering and, for the most part, it does little good to throw underprepared students to the wolves before they are ready.

December 15, 2015 Posted by | education, mathematics, republicans, republicans politics, running, science, social/political, spandex | , , , | Leave a comment

Frogs and some college issues…

Frogs There is an African frog, known as the rubber frog, which evidently found a way to mimic the chemical signature of a particularly vicious type of ant. The ants don’t recognize this frog as something to attack and eat. This is called “chemical camouflage”.

Colleges and universities There have been a few articles in the news about student unrest in universities; for example. Now I linked to an article from The Nation (written by a professor) which, of course, enables this sort of behavior (e. g. students issuing “demands” to college presidents and the like).

What is going on? Jerry Coyne directs us to this Jonathan Haidt article: he claims that certain groups are conferred “victim status” even while in high school and everyone else is told to “shut up and listen” (so to speak). He comments that this happens in high school:

And Centerville High is not alone. Last summer I had a conversation with some boys who attend one of the nation’s top prep schools, in New England. They reported the same thing: as white males, they are constantly on eggshells, afraid to speak up on any remotely controversial topic lest they be sent to the “equality police” (that was their term for the multicultural center). I probed to see if their fear extended beyond the classroom. I asked them what they would do if there was a new student at their school, from, say Yemen. Would they feel free to ask the student questions about his or her country? No, they said, it’s too risky, a question could be perceived as offensive.
You might think that this is some sort of justice — white males have enjoyed positions of privilege for centuries, and now they are getting a taste of their own medicine. But these are children. And remember that most students who are in a victim group for one topic are in the “oppressor” group for another. So everyone is on eggshells sometimes; all students at Centerville High learn to engage with books, ideas, and people using the twin habits of defensive self-censorship and vindictive protectiveness.
And then… they go off to college and learn new ways to gain status by expressing collective anger at those who disagree. They curse professors and spit on visiting speakers at Yale. They shut down newspapers at Wesleyan. They torment a dean who was trying to help them at Claremont McKenna. They threaten and torment fellow students at Dartmouth. And in all cases, they demand that adults in power DO SOMETHING to punish those whose words and views offend them. Their high schools have thoroughly socialized them into what sociologists call victimhood culture, which weakens students by turning them into “moral dependents” who cannot deal with problems on their own. They must get adult authorities to validate their victim status.
So they issue ultimatums to college presidents, and, as we saw at Yale, the college presidents meet their deadlines, give them much of what they demanded, commit their schools to an ever tighter embrace of victimhood culture, and say nothing to criticize the bullying, threats, and intimidation tactics that have created a culture of intense fear for anyone who might even consider questioning the prevailing moral matrix. What do you suppose a conversation about race or gender will look like in any Yale classroom ten years from now? Who will dare to challenge the orthodox narrative imposed by victimhood culture? The “Next Yale” that activists are demanding will make today’s Centerville High look like Plato’s Academy by comparison.

There are some tough issues that deserve a fearless and complete intellectual investigation (e. g. is affirmative action a good idea?) and shouting down different points of view…well…that does no good at all. After all, are people spending lots of time, effort and money to find ways to be offended?

And speaking of higher education, I wish that columnists who write “colleges and universities should do this” actually knew what they were talking about. This person does not. Example: when he talks about faculty and summer, he should have researched the topic; he would have found out that many of us (tenured professors) have 9-10 month contracts. As far as costs: the new technology (computers, internet) is a huge cost driver. A professor writes a nice response.

December 3, 2015 Posted by | education, frogs, science | , , , | Leave a comment

Student unrest at college campuses: speaking up vs. making policy

I think that I’ve figured out how I feel about these various issues (Missouri, Yale, etc.)

Students can (and should) speak up about the problems that they encounter (e. g. racism, intimidation, etc.)

However, they are NOT qualified to prescribe policy. Note: I am NOT saying that they shouldn’t voice their ideas. I am saying that those who know better (or should know better) shouldn’t let them dictate policy.

November 13, 2015 Posted by | education, social/political | , | 1 Comment

College sports: Bradley Basketball and Missouri Football

Workout notes: swim only (then some yoga); hips and calves are still a bit tired and sore.
500 easy, 5 x 100 (alternate side, free), 5 x (50 drill, fins, 50 free), 6 x 100 (alternate free, pull), 100 with fins (back, free)
Then more yoga.

College Sports Yes, the President of the University of Missouri is stepping down; it appears as if the publicity generated by the football player protest hastened it a bit. I’ve seen a video of this president in action: it appears as if he didn’t have the PR skills or savvy to be a big time college president in this day and age.

I watched Bradley Basketball tonight: they beat St. Joe’s (Indiana, D-2) 84-65. BU was up 83-51 with 5 minutes to go. Yes, St. Joe’s had lost to Butler 106-66 so Bradley’s result wasn’t that surprising.

BU could at least make layups; something they didn’t do well last year. But this roster has 10 freshman, 1 sophomore and 1 junior and 1 senior (the other senior can’t play this season due to a bad back). They will suffer against D-1 competition and especially in Missouri Valley play. But they’ll grow and I am confident that they’ll be pretty good a season and a half from now.

November 10, 2015 Posted by | education, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Starting to turn around a bit?

Intellectually, well, I have two very intense courses to prepare for. Numerical analysis: the material is just tough as it is. Life contingencies: well, the stuff is new to me. Calculus 2: we are in the sequence/series section and I know this stuff pretty well.

I have more to say about academia later…let’s just say that a student e-mail got me to thinking about the message our universities (and society, in general) is sending to our students.

Yes, it is only one message. (and no, it was neither rude nor nasty)

Workout notes 10K run, 2 mile walk. But what a workout it was:

Run: 10K on the treadmill (0.5 incline) in 59:58. I started at 5.3 mph and upped the speed by 0.1 mph every 2 minutes until I got to 40 minutes. Note: I got to 3.5 miles in 35 minutes.

Then I lowered the speed to 6.0 mph (10 mpm pace) and upped it every 2 minutes again, until 53:30 or so, at which point I was a 5.5 miles. Then I upped it to 6.7 (8:57 pace) to 6 miles (58:10) then 6.8 the rest of the way.

Then 1 mile walking on the track (4 minutes for the first 1/4 mile; 14:21 for the mile).

Then back to the treadmill where I walked at a 15:xx pace (3.8 mph) and went from 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 on the incline (up 1 every minute); I was feeling it at 10 minutes. And no, I did not use the bars to hold on. Then back down to 2-3-4-5 and increased the speed to finish in 15:20.

I felt challenged but felt really good when I finished.

October 29, 2015 Posted by | education, running, walking | Leave a comment

This was going to happen sooner or later…

Workout notes: swimming and weights.

Swimming: best in a while; 2000 yards. 500 warm up, 5 x 50 drill (fins), 50 free. 8 x 100 on the 2:10: 1:44, 1:46, 1:44; the rest were 1:42-43. Then 100 back, 50 side, 50 fly (fins)

Weights: 4 sets of 10 pull ups, rotator cuff, incline press (10 x 135, 8 x 150, 10 x 140), 10 more pull ups, military: 5 x 95 (barbell), 1 x 95, 8 x 85, 10 x 40 (dumbbell), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110.

Body weight (before: 188, home scale)

Swim note: Jason, who ran a 3:09 marathon, finally has caught up to me in swimming, and in today’s “first 500”, he passed me for the first time. A year ago I lapped him. Then it became “1 length”, then “1/2 length”, then “even”, now he is ahead. I knew that this was coming sooner or later. But that is more about his improving and my, well, hitting a local plateau. And 5 years from now, I’ll be wishing I could swim at my current pace, providing I am fortunate to have a healthy 5 years (I feel good right now, but life offers no guarantees).

Articles

Fun: enjoy this “leggings aren’t pants” rant!

Why is academic writing so complex? I got into a discussion about this topic; at times, it is because the subject itself is complex.

Speaking of academia: though this is an Onion article, there is a lot of truth here. Where does appropriate encouragement end “giving false hope” begin?

Iowa Republicans: Jerry Coyne is having fun with this survey on what Iowa Republicans like about Dr. Ben Carson.

I got a taste of them when I attended a McCain rally in October, 2008. In the early part of the rally (before Sen. McCain made his entrance), this went on:

I bit my tongue hard; I wanted to avoid laughing out loud. It was difficult.

October 26, 2015 Posted by | education, politics, swimming, Uncategorized, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

Photos from the marathon

Workout notes: No lifeguard at the pool, so I did a “cornstalk classic” 4.2 mile walk in just over 1 hour. I didn’t push at all. Yoga (including crow, backbend and headstand) afterward.

Issues Well, I am seeing articles about colleges and universities not dealing with “non-pc” stuff very well (with regards to invited speakers and editorials in student newspapers).

I’ll have more to say on this later; this sure looks like the “coddling” that even President Obama warned about.

Now I understand that some ideas have no merit at all; only crackpots believe them and those in the profession have examined them and found them to be without merit.

But there are areas that have not been completely worked out and places where alternate points of view could be at least entertained. For example, I learned by entertaining (and then rejecting) the thesis of the book The Bell Curve. Examining that book at its ideas left me knowing more than I did before.

It is sort of depressing to find that, at times, people who hold different opinions often give better arguments than many who support your point of view. But that has happened to me time and time again…of course there are also smart people who share my point of view. :-)

Marathon walk
At the end, my feet hurt and I was just holding on. This was a tough effort for me.

My time (5:49): on one hand, it wasn’t one of my better walking marathons, though it was my best “100 percent walk” since 2009. But when one corrects for age it was right in line with *most* of my walking marathons/50K from 2002 to 2009; it was right in the middle of the other performances that I was ok with.

I didn’t realize it at the time that I finished the race though. I just know that I was tired and that my time was slower than it was 6 years ago.

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October 23, 2015 Posted by | education, marathons, walking | , , | Leave a comment

The Genius of Donald Trump, a Sanders score and teachers…

Workout notes: 3 mile walk (to lower Bradley Park and back) followed by weights:

5 sets of 10 pull ups
rotator cuff
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185 (bodyweight: 187, home)
incline: 10 x 135
military: 2 sets of 10 x 85 barbell, 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 each arm, 10 x 110 machine
pull downs: 2 sets of 10 x 160, 10 x 150 alternate machine
yoga with head stand.

Gym: pretty empty.

Teachers: there is now a teacher shortage; frankly few want these jobs anymore. My prediction is that the same will happen for higher education, at least at the non-elite, non-Research I institutions.

Election 2016: this is hilarious; the liberal social justice warriors can’t seem to figure out why everyone else isn’t outraged that Donald Trump isn’t following their approved scripts.

And, of course, why is Mr. Trump getting away with it when others can’t? There is a method to his madness, as Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) points out. I disagree on one point though: if nominated, Trump will lose and lose big no matter who he selects as VP.

Bernie Sanders: calls out CEOs who call for austerity. Sen. Sanders is correct here.

1. While these CEOs are business geniuses, running a national economy is different than running a business. Example: government spending can percolate up and have a multiplier effect.

2. A CEO can be indifferent to the fate of laid off workers. A government shouldn’t be.

Good for Sen. Sanders for calling out these people.

August 28, 2015 Posted by | education, politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sorting it out

My summer is at a cross roads; I am not sure as to what to spend my time on. I’ve gotten stuff done though.

Workout notes: easy 6 mile run (6.4-6.5 really) that I didn’t time; I didn’t want to know. I just beat the rain storm (barely).

I watched the Chiefs game last night; they won 1-0; the starter pitched 6 innings and allowed 1 hit, 0 runs and struck out 8; the relievers struck out 4 more. The visiting team: they only gave up 4 hits and struck out 8. So this was a defense dominated game which featured good pitching, great fielding and terrible base running.

Posts
President Obama: visited Oklahoma City and Durant. Some people were flying “Confederate flags”. What I remember is that there is a rest stop with a “Confederate Memorial Museum” off of highway 75/69 near Durant. I visited there and was pleasantly surprised at the display they had on evolution and geology; it was genuine science and worth seeing. The other stuff was mostly historical; I suppose it could be renamed “local history museum” but would then draw fewer visitors.

Iran nuclear deal: this was just about the bomb; many nuclear scientists see this as exactly what is needed to keep them from getting one.

Politics: from the Hillary Clinton campaign: you can see who they think are the best people to fundraise against. I don’t see Sen. Cruz as a threat; I do see the other 3 as serious contenders. Notice which Republican is NOT there.

hrccampaign

This latest poll shows that people would consider voting for a “qualified” gay person at about the same rate as a “qualified” evangelical Christian (73-74 percent). Atheists and Muslims are rated closely as well (58-60 percent) with socialists rated last (47 percent).

Elections do have consequences: Gov. Walker has made changes to the University of Wisconsin university system..and these are changes that many see as bad.

July 16, 2015 Posted by | education, hillary clinton, Political Ad, political/social, politics, politics/social, running | , , | Leave a comment

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