# blueollie

## End of a football weekend

Workout notes I have a scratchy throat and am feeling a bit less than 100 percent. So I didn’t run the race today but instead walked a gentle 8 miles.

Sports
Illinois Football: the big news is that they are retaining their interim coach for 2 more years. We shall see; remember that he was fired from Western Michigan after the 2012 season; that year his team lost to Illinois 24-7, one of 2 wins for the Illini that year.

Illinois promptly went on to lose to Northwestern 24-14 in Chicago, playing a “home game” in Soldier Field.

Now you see why Illinois was offering half price tickets over the past 2 weeks.

Yes, the last NW game in Champaign was played in a sparsely populated stadium but not quite this bad:

Of course the team was 4-7 going into the 2013 game and 5-6 into this year’s game.

So, I am not sure that anything was gained by moving the game. This year, the Illini finish 5-7 overall and 2-6 in Big Ten play.

Illinois had a touchdown in the first quarter and a pick-6 in the 4’th quarter.

The men played hard against Mississippi but lost 67-54; the Braves came out with high energy but eventually the inexperience showed.
The women came out flat and were barely ahead of Division III Eureka 38-34 at the half. I don’t know what the coach told the team at the half, but it ended 87-47.

Update I just watched Stanford rally from 36-35 down with 30 seconds to go to beat Notre Dame 38-36 with a last second field goal. That was one heck of a good game. ND finishes 10-2 with 2 very narrow losses to excellent teams.

So the score for me (football): 0-4 (my teams)

Texas Tech 48 Texas 45 (got it right, win and spread)
Houston 52 Navy 31 (missed this pick)
Northwestern 24 Illinois 14 (got it right, win and spread)
Stanford 38 Notre Dame 36 (got it right, Stanford won but ND covered)

November 29, 2015

## Planet Fitness in the news….

Workout notes: first swim after a 2 week lay off. UGLY.

500 (drowning in place)
10 x 100 on the 2:10 (1:50/51/52/53/50/49/48/49/47/46) I realized after the first 4 that I wasn’t putting any effort into it.
200 of drills with fins
2 x 25 count (21 strokes per length)
50: tried to stay with another swimmer. couldn’t.

Saturday: I had mentioned that I did an “almost 5K” (2.9 miles in 24:42; 8:31 mpm pace). I finished 39 out of 81, which is one of my worst overall placings in a public 5K, ever. Yes, part of it was that I wasn’t 100 percent, but even if I were, I would have, at best, placed 6-10 places higher. That’s it. The real reason is that this was a “mostly student” crowd; perhaps there were a half dozen people over 22 there and the public races are, statistically speaking, a much older crowd.

I really don’t want to face that reality, but..I have no choice. BUT, I can make it a goal to run this time on a legitimate 5K course sometime this year.

Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is in the news again; a woman complained about a transgender woman (man? not sure of the actual status) using the women’s locker room and was subsequently kicked out of the club. I do find it curious: on one hand “activists” argue that sexual identity “what “gender” someone identifies with” is independent of biological sex and that not everyone is either “male or female”. Ok…then if there are other classifications than “male/female”…why does someone get to be “female” because they say that they are?

I can understand the discomfort that a woman might feel.

Personally: well, the situation isn’t symmetric; I wouldn’t care if some “male with 2 x chromosomes” wanted to use the male locker room, but that is me. I am not a female and my life experiences are different (and feminists are constantly reinforcing that point, aren’t they).

But Planet Fitness is known for other things:

They found a woman’s bare midriff to be too threatening and, well, they don’t actually seem to support people seeking to be the best that they can be.

Now if you follow my blog you might well say “hey, you aren’t strong enough to run afoul of PF’s rules”, which, well, is true. Sadly.

But I still enjoy the gym because, in part, I am around others pushing themselves and that helps me deal with the emotional pain of getting weaker with time. It is just like my attempting (and failing) to stay with the students this past Saturday. 😉

March 9, 2015

## Clinging to outliers: hope springs eternal

Workout notes: though it has been a while, (it started with a scratchy throat on 18 February and peaked Sunday, 22 February; first workout back was 27 February) I am STILL not back near 100 percent. Yesterday’s “almost 5K (2.9 miles)” at a 8:35 pace left me sore. So I did work out, but I have an ever-present “mild fatigue” that hindered my performance:

Weights: pull ups, 4 sets of 10, 7, 1, 5. I couldn’t get that 5’th set of 10. Rest: rotator cuff and back exercises.
bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 180 (not really strong), 4 x 170 (and THAT was hard),
incline: 135: 1 set of 3 (weights slid off; forgot to set one of the clips) and then a set of 5.
circuit: 3 sets of 10 on machines: rows (110), pull downs (130), military (90 each arm).

I was feeling a bit run down so I walked indoors though it was a pretty day: 4 miles in 50:09 (middle lane): 13:13, 12:36, 12:33, 11:46. It wasn’t a bad walk, but it wasn’t exactly blazing fast either.

Hope and outliers
Yesterday’s 5K run chopped off part of the usual course; this was apparent when I got to what should have been mile 2 (14:30…ok, 10 years ago…maybe?) and finished in 24:42; this was my best time last year (certified course). I came in tired and had heavy legs during the warm up; this was about 2.87-2.9 miles and equates to a 26:30-26:40 on a true 5K course, and THAT reflects where I was yesterday.

But I wanted to believe that this was a full 5K. It wasn’t.

That got me to thinking a bit more about denial. Early this season, our Division I basketball team lost to a Division III team 58-56. Now of course, many fans didn’t want to admit the obvious: our team was a very bad basketball team. Some fans went back to memory lane and remembered famous upsets like this one. And it is true: you can comb the annals of basketball history to see some legitimately good teams suffering embarrassing losses in the preseason or early in the season.

But those are the exception: the vast majority of a time, a D-1 team loses to a D-3 team because they aren’t any good. And yes, we finished 9-24 overall and 3-15 in conference play, though we did beat a 9-22, 6-12 team in the conference tournament…only to lose by 25 the next game.

And yes, you see this with regards to test scores; witness the satirical treatment of this rather dumb facebook meme:

Yes, on rare occasion, someone with a math ACT of 19 makes it past calculus 3; there is a CEO of a company who did poorly on a standardized test, and I know of one language professor whose GRE scores were a disaster…and her logical abilities were limited..but she was/is a genius with languages. No, those tests didn’t pick that up.

But those are outliers. Most of the time, the tests reflect reasonably well what the student knows and what their academic abilities.

It works the other way too. I remember watching the Boston Marathon in 2001 and seeing Lee Bong Ju win. During the race, the announcer said that, while he was in high school, he had set national records in Korea. At first I thought “wow”…then “DUH….what kind of person leads (and wins) the Boston Marathon?” That he had run some fast times while as a youngster is the least surprising thing in the world.

Yes, one Boston Marathon winner had started his running career as a recreational runner to lose weight! But that is the rare exception.

But dreams die hard. Think about lottery mania. I tried to tell my dad that he was wasting his time and money by buying a ticket. His response: “someone wins”. Well, “someone dies on their way to buy their ticket too” and, as we can see, the odds of dying while picking up a ticket are greater than buying the winning ticket!

The odds of dying by a car accident are $1.58 \times 10^{-8}$ per mile traveled. The odds of winning a lottery jackpot are about $5.7 \times 10^{-9}$

So there you go.

March 8, 2015

## Losing a week…

My goodness, I am still trying to catch up. And yes, one exam this week, two the next.

I am not 100 percent yet, but I did an easy 4 miles on the home treadmill (43:20); terrible but 1 minute faster than yesterday with less effort. Who knows, at this rate of improvement I should be at my 1998 level in under 3 week’s time? 😉

Yes, that is a joke, but given how bad science writing is in the media, you can’t really be sure!

Note: my wife is having a horrible time with her chronic coughing; on her previous trip sitting behind a cat in an airplane made her ill for a month; this time she got her cough reactivated by bad air in a city that they visited.

So…I will NOT let her take a trip to tour coal mines or, say, to China.

Now to head home; the weather is supposed to be downright dreadful this week (ice storm tonight; down to 2 F by midweek) but well…maybe by June the snow will finally be gone? 😉

March 2, 2015

## Women’s Basketball: Southern Illinois 72 Bradley 66: turnovers and perimeter defense

Good news: I walked TWO MILES on the treadmill this morning. I didn’t die; maybe a bit more tomorrow morning.

27:54; I did enough to get warm.

Though Bradley stated out well, BU allowed SIU to hit 7 of 14 from 3 point land; two SIU guards just killed us: no. 10 with 25 points (8-15, 2/5 from 3) and no. 13 had 21 (6-13, 4/6 from 3). We also gave up 20 turn overs; rebounding (BU 33-30) kept us in it.

It was mostly back and forth with SIU not starting to get away for good until about 2 minutes were left; they stretched it to 7, though BU cut it to 3 a few times in the very long last minute.

Note: I blistered my mouth with too many cough drops; Barbara got me some ointment that really helps.

February 28, 2015

## Feeling strong enough to complain

Ok, no 100 percent; I still have some illness “afterglow”. I’ll put this on my virus post.

But I didn’t cough much when I shoveled snow (about 3 inches of easy, fluffy stuff) in very cold (14 F) weather. I cursed the idiot plow drivers as they buried our walks instead of putting the snow on the useless median and did the walks…again.

Peoria is simply a horrible place to live; Canadian winters (last 2 anyway), incompetent city government and idiotic people.

But when I finished shoveling (AGAIN), walking to school and climbing the stairs I was soaking with sweat…and did not cough…once. I can’t tell you what a huge improvement that is. I’ll probably walk on the treadmill tomorrow.

But my wife is home, taking up space and coughing away…no rest of the wicked, I suppose.

No relief from the brutality of this winter either; yes, THIS YEAR, and LAST YEAR have made the “top 10 coldest Februaries on record:

February 2015 is on track to being one of the coldest February’s on record for Illinois. Data through February 24 puts the statewide average at 19.4° F. This is 11.5°F below average and slightly colder than last February’s 19.4°F. Before February, this was shaping up to be a mild winter with near to above-average temperatures (see graph to the left, click to enlarge).

At this point, February 2015 is ranked as the 8th coldest on record, edging out 2014 (see table below). The NWS forecasts show that temperatures for the rest of February will be 15 to 20 degrees below average. Therefore it is possible that it could move up the ranks. I will post more on this at the end of the month.

Yes, it will get colder:

And yep, we will get slammed with more snow again.

We have the worst of both worlds: Canadian winters and US conservatives in the same place.

Work

When I started as an assistant professor, our Provost insisted that to be tenured, all tenure-track faculty had to have scores on their anonymous student evaluations that were above their department’s averages. I tried to explain to him that if this were sustained over time, the result would be that all tenure-track faculty would be required to have perfect scores. After that happened, no one would get tenure, since it would no longer be possible to score higher than average. He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look.

(by department average, they mean vs. all tenure track and tenured; this is the “everyone should be above average idiocy”)

And yes, they expect you to view whatever “research” they did on a level with yours.

February 27, 2015

## Missouri State catches, outlasts Bradley 80-77 in triple overtime.

Grumble…crummy weather; still not well…minor exertion makes me cough and my lower abs are killing me from coughing. I do feel better though…a lot better. Tomorrow: I’ll clear the walk for my workout; it is cold, fluffy stuff and shouldn’t be too taxing though it will make me cough, and my wife is worthless when it comes to helping out.

I’m still glad she is home though. Still, it has gotten to the point whenever I am injured or sick, we have two weak people, not just one. And, she is coughing worse than I am due to the lung irritation she got while on her trip.

I wish that stupid jet stream would do its job. Gads, this is ANOTHER “winter that will never end”. Most of the planet is roasting, and we have that arctic air mass parked right over us.

Before the game, I posted this on the fan board:

Betting line: Missouri State favored by 3.

Sagarin ratings suggest a 5 point Mo. State win.

Jones expected to start in place of Grier.

MSU got hammered 78-43 by Drake; it was 35-14 at the half. Drake blew open an 11-11 game with 61.9 percent 3 point shooting.

Mo. State beat ISU blue in their last home game.

Prediction: Mo. State 50, BU 48

Yeah, it went 3 overtimes and I watched all of it on the TV.
Mo. State shot 50 percent from the field to take a 32-23 lead at the half; BU’s shooting percentage was abysmal (34.5 percent)

Still; Missouri State, mostly on strong put backs under the basket, did get out to a 20-6 lead and so at 32-23, BU had some momentum going into the half.

In the second half, BU challenged MSU’s guards away from the basket and forced the Bears to take some really awful shots. They weren’t going inside as they did before.

So Bradley crawled back into it and even built a 4 point lead with 5 minutes to go. MSU came back to regain the lead but never lead by more than 2, and a jump shot with 20 seconds tied the game.

So, it ended 50-50; BU had fought all the way back.

First overtime: back and forth; BU’s rebounding kept them in it (star freshman forward had 21 rebounds to go with his 15 points); neither team could lead by more than 3 and it ended tied at 58.

THEN came the second overtime. Bradley OWNED the first 2:26 of the second overtime and took a 65-58 lead; I even said “I think BU is going to win this one.”

I spoke too soon; a 3 point shot (by someone who was struggling to hit them) pull them to within 4. A stop, they get it and score 2 and now it is 65-63. Foul, one of BU’s stronger shooters split the pair to make it 66-63.

They FINALLY nail another 3 (late in the game, MSU shot better) and it is 66-66. But BU draws a foul and goes to the line: 1 of 2 again and now BU leads 67-66 with 57 seconds to go.

Then comes the final sequence of events. MSU with the ball. BRADLEY steal and a foul! BU hits both and now it is 69-66 with 18 seconds to go. Missed 3, rebound BU and a foul! Two shots!!! And….

Two misses.

Still, 14 seconds are left in the game and…they….NAIL a 3. 6 seconds are left and that is how that ends.

Third overtime:

The go out to a 3 point lead on a 3; BU gets fouled on a 3 and makes 2 of 3. So it is 72-71 Bears. Still BU claws back to take their last lead of the night with 2:28 to go on two free throws at 73-72.

it goes back and forth …and at 73-73

Then starts the turn of events; BU guard gets his pocket picked; lay up plus a foul. Now it is 76-73 with 1:53, and BU starts missing shots.

Rebounding (that Bradley freshman forward again) gets a put back and it is 76-75 with 23 seconds.

BU tries to trap; fouls their best free throw shooter who puts it to 78-75…and ANOTHER down the stretch turn over. It is now 80-75 with 15 seconds to go…a miss, rebound and now there is only 1 second left. Mo. State fouls a desperation 3 point attempt and the BU shooter hits 2 and tries to miss the third as there is no time to do anything else…but the miss doesn’t draw iron.

So it ends 80-77, the 3 point spread that the gamblers predicted.

Well, on one hand, I am proud that the team didn’t quit. On the other hand…second overtime…it was BU’s for the taking.

Oh well…that kind of winter around here…

and the white BS continues to come down from the sky.

February 26, 2015

## Onward and bracing for the return of my wife.

Well, I got a call from my wife; she is “tired” from flying and will probably make Chicago O’Hare tonight. She has been on the road since February 1…actually in Southeast Asia.

So…yep…she’ll be back with expectations and demands (albeit minimal ones).

But as for me: I have the doubly whammy of a very cold winter (the sinusoidal jet stream is south of us and that frigid arctic air mass is parked right on top of us) and having one of those “please shoot me now” caliber viruses. Hey, I suppose it would have been worse; I was pretty much bedridden (not quite) on Sunday and was able to stumble through class yesterday. So classes and search committee stuff will take up time and energy tomorrow, but it won’t leave much for “Oh Sweetie, let me do X, Y, Z” for you.

So, in the long run, I’ll be glad that she is back, let’s just say that the reception I give her will be as dead as Sarah Palin’s presidential chances.

Virus log: somewhat better; the bottled stuff kept the coughing way down, but I had periods of chills and getting unreasonably hot. I still feel rundown and whipped; just not quite as awful as yesterday and nowhere near as bad as on Sunday.

February 25, 2015 Posted by | illness | , | Leave a comment

## People yelling at the camera

TMI: draining. No meds so far this morning. So I am going to take a brief walk outside (sunny but very cold), do my back physical therapy exercises, then get on my duties. I’ll pace myself in 3-4 hour increments.

Now, I’ve noticed something: sometimes, people who look into the camera and yell forcefully sound as if they know what they are talking about, even if they make no sense at all:

What I think is going on: it is an affinity reaction. Anyone attracted to genuine science would roll their eyes at the first video, and as far as the second: if you want to cut social services and lower taxes on the wealthy, then the guy in the second video is your man, even though his predictions have been 100 percent….WRONG.

That is the affinity for one’s tribe going on; you see this in sports.

Yes, your team is getting more fouls called on them than the other team…but it might be that the other team uses their feet better on defense. Yes, your team got holding penalties called on them (football), but it might be because the other team’s defensive line is too quick for your team.

Sure, the great players sometimes get the benefit of the doubt…but on replay, I wasn’t so sure that this was a push off; the defender actually slipped.

But sometimes the great players get more benefit of the doubt from officials than lesser players. Maybe…not sure about that.

February 24, 2015

I won’t lie: I wondered how teaching would go.

It turns out that I was able to climb the 4 flights of stairs with no difficulty. So I am feeling better (cold log is here) but I do have a cough which is (TMI) very productive at the moment. I’ll have to take something for it prior to going to bed, else I won’t be able to sleep.

There were two positives to come from this cold:

1. This past weekend, I saw 4 of the 5 Missouri Valley basketball games. Of course, 3 of the 4 games I watched were blowouts; the Illinois State vs. Loyola was reasonably competitive (67-60 ISU). But Bradley lost to Northern Iowa by 17, Drake crushed Missouri State 78-43 behind 62 percent 3-point shooting (it was 35-14 at the half!) and WSU cruised past Evansville 62-43; Ironically the Bradley loss was by a lesser margin than the other games. And at least BU was still in the game at the half (down 27-23); WSU lead Evansville 30-14 at the half.

So, had I planned things better, I could have caught the SIU vs. ISU blue and had my own “Arch madness” on the TV. Still, 4 out 5 games isn’t too bad.

I wonder if TV game viewership goes up during cold/flu season.

2. I learned something about teaching from today: today I taught:

Lagrange Multipliers (brief calculus II)
Limits and evaluation of limits along different paths for functions of 2 variables (calculus III)
The separation axioms ($T_1, T_2$ ), closure and interior in topology.

I didn’t really use notes as I was dead to the world this weekend. But it looks as if I did a competent job even though I was part of the walking dead during the classes.

Reason: I know this stuff. THAT is the take away to teachers: if you want to be able to teach something effectively, you need to know it well beyond the level you are teaching it.

I’ll put it another way: if you need a “teacher’s edition” with the answers in it, you suck and you shouldn’t be teaching the stuff. I’m not opposed to having a solution key to give to the grader or, on occasion, to see what unwarranted assumption the book made (and yes, they sometimes make them…much to my disgust).

February 24, 2015