Mass shootings: not much will change

Yes, I agree with what President Obama said:

But alas, nothing will change and the right wing politicians know this.

The embarrassing truth is that the rural right wing is over represented in Congress, be it from gerrymandering the House districts or from other causes (e. g. simple geography). And it is even worse in the Senate with every state getting two Senators, no matter how small the population.

So yes, Mr. President, I AM numbed to it, because nothing is going to raise our nation’s IQ. As far as the other advanced countries: remember that they are smaller than we are; their populations are more homogeneous. So, it is probably easier to get into this “we are all in this together” mode.

We, as a country, have problems, as do the other “large population” countries.

October 3, 2015 Posted by | politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Felt good today?

Weird …but when I feel good during a workout, I start to wonder: “what is wrong”? :-)

Swim: 500 warm up, 500 of drill/swim (drill were kicks with fins)
7 x 100 on the 2:05: 1:45, 1:45, 1:45, 1:47, 1:46 1:44, 1:45. 100 cool down (back stroke, with fins).
That was my best set of 100’s in a long, long time, though it isn’t what anyone would call good.

Weights: rotator cuff,
pull ups (strong), 5 sets of 10
incline presses: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 6 x 150
military presses: 3 sets of 10 x 40 standing (dumbbell)
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbells (each arm), 10 x 110 machine.

I felt good walking away.

There is running Twitter joke about #collegekickers with the idea that they are bad. Well, I don’t think that they are bad; they are actually reasonably good. It is just that we’ve gotten used to NFL kickers, and given their longevity (they can last longer than other NFL players), well, only the very best from the very best make it to the NFL. They are extreme outliers.

Smart idiots Yes, I sometimes get tired of discussing things on social media where many are completely unaware of their intellectual limitations, which includes not only being badly misinformed (or underinformed) but also not realizing their own intellectual limitations, especially when the issue at hand involves something technical.

But there are “smart idiots” too: these are people who are smart, have credentials in a given field but think that they know far more about another field..when they don’t:

It’s really quite sad. Kinsley is a very smart guy, who also happens to have given me my big break into journalism by hiring me to write for Slate. But now he’s a prisoner of derp.

I’ve seen this a number of times, mainly in economics, although it happens in other fields (especially climate science) too. Somebody with a reputation for cleverness looks at, say, macroeconomics, and imagines himself smart enough to weigh in — not realizing that there is a technical discipline here, and that he, well, has no idea what he’s talking about.

They are sometimes worse than the ordinary idiots.

You see this during arguments about economics and arguments about science issues:



My scourge every fall:

At times it sure feels this way

This was put out by an actual author


Sure, the social and historical setting of a story matters, and sometimes a story really does have a point. But sometimes it appears to me that people get a bit carried away. But I am not a specialist in this area..but again, it was an author who put this out.

October 2, 2015 Posted by | economics, politics, science, social/political, swimming, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Intellectual and Emotional Potpourri

Workout notes
First weights (7:10 am):

pull ups: 10, 10, 15, 10, 10 (the set of 15 was tough)
rotator cuff exercises
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170 (good set)
incline press: 10 x 135 (easy at the start, challenging at the end)
military press: 2 of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing, 10 x 100 (each arm) machine
rows: 2 of 10 x 60 single arm dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

That took about 45 minutes. Then running:
11:06 treadmill mile
track: 17:09 2 mile (lane 2: 8:41/8:28) Not all out, but it wasn’t easy either. Was it really 14 years ago this was my marathon pace?

stationary cycle: 16 minutes (4 miles) to help the knees.

I left the workout feeling pretty good. This took me to 8:45

Other topics
Jerry Coyne: is retiring. I found this post interesting as it describes the life of a research professor. He also gives advice to the next generation of research scientists.

He also has some things to say about the attitude of always trying to keep the students comfortable; evidently the current generation of students are more easily traumatized.

I can say this: yes, when I was their age, we whined about similar things. The difference is that administration (and professors) merely told us to “grow up and quit whining”. I admit that, at times, it is easy to take the “easy way out” and not challenge the students to find the best in themselves.

Capitalism and morality Jonathan Haidt suggests that capitalism has contributed positively to our morality in that we now have the luxury of considering certain moral issues. I think that this fits in well with some of the stuff that Jared Diamond wrote about (society reaching a stage where people have time to think)

But yes, capitalism (especially, lightly regulated capitalism) has its dark side too.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Here are some interesting tidbits about that show. Note: one episode helped someone (correctly) beat an unjust murder charge!

Hillary Clinton when a politician has had a long career, they will make mistakes and change their mind on some issues. Now the Iraq war: I wanted my Senator to vote no, and Senator Durbin did.

But on gay marriage: many of us changed our minds; remember in 2004, both President Bush and Senator Kerry were for civil unions. I came to marriage equality long before then, but there was a time in my early adulthood where I was “anti-gay” just, well, that is what “good people were.” But as I grew up and learned more..I found that my heart was never in it. This became clear to me when I saw some gay men kissing and sitting on each other’s lap; I just couldn’t get upset about it though I felt I was “supposed to”. In fact, I thought “well, they won’t compete for my female date” and that was that. So the gay rights thing switched for me in my early 20’s (1980’s).

Keystone pipeline: I was ambivalent at first; after all, oil has to be transported somehow, and the potential for accidents was always there. Reading the science and engineering articles on it turned me against it, but I needed to see the evidence.

Anyway, Hillary Clinton, while a better politician than Bernie Sanders, isn’t the politician that Bill Clinton was or that Barack Obama is. But she is thoughtful and that sometimes confuses people.

Here is a video of her discussing the problems with a program that gives public money vouchers for private religious schools. Of course, her points flew right over the heads of the dimwitted wingnuts who posted the video, but excellent points they remain.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

John Boehner…resigning and I don’t like it

Yes, John Boehner is resigning. Needless to say I didn’t agree with him on many things.

But I saw him as someone that was interested in governing. I am not sure that many of the other Republicans are.

September 25, 2015 Posted by | politics, republicans | | Leave a comment


Well, I had a bad experience in class last night; I got stuck and was too stubborn to move on. Never again.
There was something simple that I did not see. And yes, this material is new to me, though it isn’t mathematically sophisticated.

On the good side: as I walked back from the gym this morning, I saw the most darling baby bunny hiding under one of the plants. It was adorable. But of course, it was hiding as the predators (hawks, foxes) would find it delicious.

Workout notes
swim first: 500 easy, 5 x 50 drill (fins), 50 free (no fins), 6 x 100 on 2:10 (1:48-1:50 each), 100 fly drill, 100 IM. 1800 yards total, or 1 mile
weights: rotator cuff, 5 x 10 pull ups (hard), 10 x 135, 7 x 170 bench, 6 x 150, 10 x 135 incline press, 3 sets of 10 x 40 standing military, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer machine rows.
Then some yoga; got headstand but wasn’t quite as steady as I’d like.


John Boehner is stepping down?

Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, will resign one of the most powerful positions in government and give up his House seat at the end of October, throwing Congress into chaos as it tries to avert a government shutdown.

Mr. Boehner, who was first elected to Congress in 1990, made the announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning.

The Ohio representative struggled from almost the moment he took the speaker’s gavel in 2011 to manage the challenges of divided government and to hold together his fractious and increasingly conservative Republican members.

Evidently, the imbeciles were too much for him to manage.

And front running Donald Trump is boycotting Fox News.

Wow. It seems that our conservatives are in disarray, to say the least. Perhaps the union between the wealthy and the rabid populists is finally starting to end.

And yes, this means that we’ll have another government shutdown.

September 25, 2015 Posted by | political/social, politics, swimming, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

And I agree with Dr. Ben Carson (sort of)

Dr. Carson said:

That’s a significant shift from Sunday when, during an appearance on “Meet the Press,” NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Carson, “Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”

“No, I do not,” Carson responded. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

He later clarified:

“I don’t care what a person’s religion beliefs are or religious heritage is,” he said at a news conference in Sharonville, Ohio. “If they embrace our Constitution and are willing to place that above their religious beliefs, I have no problem with that.”

Now it is true that our Constitution says that there can be no religious test for office. But voters are free to use any criteria that they want. So, if a candidate:

1. Believed in “end times” and governed that way or
2. Believed that supernatural forces governed our universe and that appealing to these via prayer, magic, etc. could affect the outcome of events or
3. Believed that “religious crimes” should be punished by the state or that a religious group would have state backing

then I would oppose that candidate, be they a Muslim, Mormon, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Satanist, Neo-Pagan, etc.

On the other hand, if a candidate from one of these faiths have a platform that I liked, had the political skill to carry out at least part of the platform and showed good moral character, and understood that our government is secular, I’d vote for that candidate.

September 24, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

A fun “promise” to myself and the state of the race

Workout notes: Conrnstalk 8.1 walk; I didn’t time the first half but did the second in 51:25 (11:27 final 1.03). I told myself that I needed to do some indoor track work, but the day was so pretty I made the bargain: do the final 4.05 in under 52 and we can do it all outside. It was a very pretty day.

Then 10 minutes on the bike, and yoga. I did plow for the first time in a while..and failed at headstand once (too far over) but got up and got it right back.

No damage at all.

State of the race: I don’t know what to make of Trump Walker dropping out has no effect. Sam Wang thinks that he might be fading. Others feel that this was merely a lark by Trump and he is surprised that he has a bonafide shot.

The betting odds:


Democratic nomination: Clinton 4/9, Sanders 11/2
Republican nomination: Bush 2, Trump 9/2, Rubio 6
Election: D 5/6, R 5/4 Clinton 6/4, Bush 9/2, Trump 10, Biden 12, Sanders 12.

What this means: x/y means that if you bet y dollars and you win, you get your y dollars back plus x more. “1” means “even money”. The smaller the ratio the more likely the outcome. Example: if you bet on Sanders to be President, IF he wins, you get 12 dollars to every 1 dollar you bet.

September 22, 2015 Posted by | politics, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Rages, surges, water, clocks and wasps..

Workout notes: swim, then weights.

Swim: 500 easy (Jason sort of raced me), 5 x (50 drill/free (fins for drill, no fins for free), 5 x 100 on the 2:10 (two in 1:50; rest 1:47-1:49), 2 x 100 IM, side/free

1800 (1 mile) total.

Weights: pull ups (did ok), incline press: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 3 x 150
rotator cuff
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell
bench press: 10 x 70 dumbbell

yoga: 10 minutes worth; did some headstand.

It was ok, given that I was fatigued from yesterday.

The Fed and interest rates: a certain collection of bankers benefit when the rates are raised.

Science: wasps can indirectly alter caterpillar DNA. The interaction is complicated and there are still open questions.

Election 2016: If there is a “Sanders surge”, polls aren’t picking it up. I believe that sometimes people confuse intensity of support for breadth.

Clocks, etc.
In the clock case: no, the kid shouldn’t have been arrested nor suspended. In fact, we should not have ever known about it. But as far as the clock itself: probably not much profound there, other than a kid’s curiosity.

Note: I did similar stuff at that age; I remember disassembling a small radio to try to use its parts in other ways. What I ended up doing is using the earphone jack to power an external speaker…not exactly a huge feat of electrical engineering. :-)

September 21, 2015 Posted by | economics, economy, evolution, political/social, politics, science, social/political, swimming, weight training | | Leave a comment

Clinton ad on the debate

Defund Planned Parenthood, repeal Obamacare, send the military to fight more wars. Oh, cut the taxes for rich people. That’ll do it. :-)

September 17, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics | | Leave a comment

GOP Debate two: reminding me why I am not a Republican

I understand why they had so many candidates but; well, when there are too many, you don’t learn much.

The best overall analysis that I’ve read is here..

On style: Fiorina won and Rubio did well. But Fiorina didn’t get much right (as in factually correct). But like the good “leader”, she seemed to know what she was talking about (speaking specifically and decisively) even if she really didn’t.

But, as Bill Clinton pointed out, “being strong but wrong” is ok in these settings.

Trump: he didn’t exactly jump at the chance to weigh in with specifics. But I doubt if he lost supporters; he probably didn’t gain any either.

The JV debate: Jindal looked desperate and Graham: did you know that he has been to the Middle East 35 times? If you want more war, vote for Sen. Graham…who is on the JV for a reason.

Personally: Paul is broke and polling at tiny levels. So the next debate: Carson, Fiorina, Trump, Bush, Rubio. I’d do away with the rest of them.

In terms of who I liked: Gov. Kasich is the only one I’d be comfortable with as President (though I’d vote for any current Democrat over him) and that probably means that Kasich is dead in the water to Republicans. Gov. Pataki was also sort of reasonable, which means that he is toast.

I talked about the debate on Facebook; I probably got unfriended multiple times. I did warn people though.

Personal analysis
I admit that I get very irritated by many liberals. To me, liberals are weak on personal responsibility; too many enable and excuse underachievement. It is almost as if they see no correlation between what one does and where one ends up. (and yes, we don’t have enough economic mobility…that is true).

They also seem to delight in being offended and seem to have some list that dictates the amount of outrage one should feel over certain types of social missteps. It is as if they have never heard of “proportional responses”.

But then I watch one of these debates…and there is NOTHING for me here.

When a conservative tries to make a point, they do so by arguing in cliches and slogans. Liberals rely more on facts. They might not interpret the data correctly; they might not know what an outlier is, or what a rare event is, or what a confidence interval is, or they might extrapolate from a local happening or they might get data from a bad place (e. g. Natural News). But at least they try.

With conservatives, it is all slogans and cliches, all the time. And they are still of the “supply side economics, more war” mindset; they expect the rest of the world to tremble at the sight of the US of A, THE GREATEST COUNTRY THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN…..TURN BACK TO GOD…RONALD REAGAN…..BLAH BLAH BLAH…

Hey conservative: if this country DOES rank well in SOME categories (and it does), it sure as hell isn’t because of YOU: often it is IN SPITE OF YOU.

Many of them (not all) make me sick.

September 17, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 683 other followers