Is Karl Rove a Con Man? (and other topics)

Why is Obama the favorite? Here is what Nate Silver says.

Here is how the book makers are showing it (note the change over one day)
Odds Checker
Morning Odds

Evening Odds

But Dan McLaughlin at Red State says “wait just a minute” (hat tip to Dr. Andy). He gives the very real caution that a model is no better than the data that is fed into it and that the polls (in the days of caller ID) may be skewed. Sure….just like Democrats claim that polls that underpoll (or leave out all together) cell phones are skewed and that the “likely voter” numbers skew Republican.

My take: sure, that is possible. But if the polls really are bogus, are the pollsters idiots for putting so much time and money into them…and are the campaigns also being run by idiots? And the conclusion of this diary is curious:

I do, however, think that – for whatever reasons – Nate has painted himself into a corner from which there is no easy escape. If I’m right about the electorate and the polls are right about the internals, Romney wins – and if Romney wins, the 538 model will require some serious rethinking. [….]

We can’t know until Election Day who is right.

Uh, this one election can neither confirm nor blow up a model. Why? Well, think of it this way. Suppose that Obama being an 80 percent favorite is correct. Then he loses. Guess what: 80 percent free throw shooters sometimes miss free throws. Or, if Silver’s model IS wrong and say President Obama is really only a 30 percent favorite…well, sometimes a 70 percent free throw shooter misses a free throw.

The only way to know is to run 1000 different elections with roughly the same “entry data”. Of course, one can look at this election, look at the very close states and see how robust the model was to these states changing (say, they way they might change due to weather, etc.).

Again, we will see; this Red State article strikes me as “wishful thinking” and I don’t know if this person has a history of accurate forecasts. I do know that Electoral Vote was pretty good in 2004 and 2008 (in terms of who won and by how much) and so was Iowa Electronic.

I’ll think that I’ll take some shots at Republicans, just for the heck of it.

Did you know that 68 percent of Republicans believe in demonic possession?

Less than one week away from the election, a terrifying new poll reveals that more than two-thirds of registered Republican voters believe that people can be possessed by demons.

A staggering 68 percent of registered Republican voters stated that they believe demonic possession is real. Meanwhile, only 48 percent of self-identified Republicans believe in another equally if not more scary natural phenomenon: climate change.

The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling, touted by NPR as “one of the most prolific polling outfits in the country.”

The survey was filled with enlightening gems about how the supernatural world may affect the upcoming presidential race. Women were slightly more likely than men to believe in demonic possession, although this gender gap is not nearly as wide as that of women’s preference for Obama.

In a classic example of cognitive dissonance, only 37 percent of registered voters–both Democrat and Republican–believe in ghosts, although 57 percent believe in demonic possession.

On a more serious note:

I like this and most of the Democrats that I talked to like this too:

But all too many Republicans don’t like this; here is an example (Rush Limbaugh):

So today, Rush Limbaugh has decreed that Chris Christie is “fat” and a “fool” for daring to look after his state instead of Mitt Romney’s presidential ambitions. Doesn’t Chris Christie know that it’s Mitt’s Time??

With Sandy still too raw for anyone to start make political points, there has been no backlash from Republicans about his alliance with Obama only six days from election day. Christie has said politics do not matter to him at the moment. But on Monday, even before Christie lavishly praised the president’s handling of the storm as “outstanding”, the right-wing talk-show host Rush Limbaugh called the governor “fat” and “a fool”.

Christie was a keynote speaker for Romney at the Republican convention in Tampa this summer and has been out on the campaign trail regularly on his behalf. And yet he not only praised Obama but, unlike mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York, also agreed to host the president on a tour of the stricken parts of his state.

I can’t find this particular poll, but there was one that showed that more Democrats said that their House members should work together with Republicans whereas most Republicans put a higher premium on opposing the Democrats. Hence we get what we see in the House: John Boehner (who I do have some respect for, albeit grudging) has a lot of trouble getting his caucus to cut a deal.

Speaking of Republicans: Paul Krugman has an interesting conjecture about Karl Rove: Mr. Rove really isn’t that interested in a Republican victory as much as he is interested in the consulting fees:

Well, what if we’ve been misunderstanding Rove? We’ve been seeing him as a man dedicated to helping angry right-wing billionaires take over America. But maybe he’s best thought of instead as an entrepreneur in the business of selling his services to angry right-wing billionaires, who believe that he can help them take over America. It’s not the same thing.

And while Rove the crusader is looking — provisionally, of course, until the votes are in — like a failure, Rove the businessman has just had an amazing, banner year.

Krugman gets his ideas from here: this is a Rick Perlstein article which talks about what happens when you get on a NewsMax/Dick Morris type e-mail list. You get ads for all sorts of snake-oil caliber products including investment scams and quack medical products.

My guess is that the Wall Street Journal/National Review crowd would be turned off by this.

Oh yes, the jobs graph:

Note: this is barely above break even (enough to account for the increasing size of the work force) but way better than losing.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, economy, political/social, politics, republicans, Rush Limbaugh, statistics | 1 Comment

Froggy Jocks and Genomes…

Workout notes Zero. I should make up for that tomorrow. 🙂

Political Humor

One characteristic of frogs that can move longer and faster than other frogs: they have a faster changing genome:

Stretches of DNA accumulate changes over time, but the rate at which those changes build up varies considerably between species, said author Juan C. Santos of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina.

In the past, biologists trying to explain why some species have faster-changing genomes than others have focused on features such as body size, generation time, fecundity and lifespan. According to one theory, first proposed in the 1990s, species with higher resting metabolic rates are likely to accumulate DNA changes at a faster rate, especially among cold-blooded animals such as frogs, snakes, lizards and fishes. But subsequent studies failed to find support for the idea.

The problem with previous tests is that they based their measurements of metabolism on animals at rest, rather than during normal physical activity, Santos said.

“Animals rarely just sit there,” Santos said. “If you go to the wild, you’ll see animals hunting, reproducing, and running to avoid being eaten. The energetic cost of these activities is far beyond the minimum amount of energy an animal needs to function.”

To test the idea, Santos scoured forests in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Panama in search of poison frogs, subjecting nearly 500 frogs — representing more than 50 species — to a frog fitness test.

He had the frogs run in a rotating plastic tube resembling a hamster wheel, and measured their oxygen uptake after four minutes of exercise.

The friskiest frogs had aerobic capacities that were five times higher than the most sluggish species, and were able to run longer before they got tired.

Now why might that be? Part of the reason might be that exercise produces free radicals which can harm DNA and actually change the DNA that is passed to offspring (see the article for details for this conjecture); note this affects cold blooded animals more severely than warm blooded ones.

Rush Limbaugh
He called Obama supporters: Angry,” “Hostile,” “No Manners,” “Reprobates,” “Rude,” “Crude,” “Thoughtless,” “Selfish,” “Mean”.


What was the deal here?
Here is what sparked a flap:

The strangest, and most disheartening thing about the Twitter firestorm that erupted this week after Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen pointedly questioned Ann Romney’s fitness to serve as her husband’s ambassador on women’s economic issues was the speed with which her own party rushed to denounce her. Noting to CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Romney — a daughter of privilege who became wealthier still while married to Mitt — had “never worked a day in her life,” Rosen voiced the suggestion that she was, perhaps, less than ideally suited for relaying the financial worries and stresses of most American women to her husband’s presidential campaign. “She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing, in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future,” Rosen said.

Yes, the Democrats rushed to denounce this “offensive comment” (see the above article, or read this one) but I doubt this will amount to anything. Ms. Rosen really isn’t a DNC or an Obama campaign official, and well, let’s just say that Ms. Romney has options available to her that aren’t open to those who don’t have a multimillionaire spouse; that is hardly news.

Good try Republicans.

Besides: it appears to me that what many “moms” actually do is spend time on social media bragging about how much they do.

April 13, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, biology, evolution, frogs, Mitt Romney, political humor, politics, politics/social, Rush Limbaugh, science | Leave a comment

March 15, 2012 – Pt. 2 – The Colbert Report – 2012-15-03 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

The Army is pulling out of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show due to Rush’s sexist comments — but they are staying in Afghanistan.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

March 15, 2012 – Pt. 2 – The Colbert Report – 2…, posted with vodpod

March 19, 2012 Posted by | humor, political humor, Rush Limbaugh, social/political | Leave a comment

“Teh” Stupid: from my own side….

Here is a political fact: if your side only attracts smart people, your side will lose and lose big.

But it is painful to watch sometimes.

I read this Think Progress post about an economics professor who posted an article “defending” Rush Limbaugh on his blog.

I’ll get into the professor’s argument in a moment. But the Think Progress article said this:

The post prompted a statement of condemnation from University President Joel Seligman, who said, “I am outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion. To openly ridicule, mock, or jeer a student in this way is about the most offensive thing a professor can do. We are here to educate, to nurture, to inspire, not to engage in character assassination.”

At the beginning Landsburg’s class Wednesday afternoon, the students, formed a line between him and the class as he continued the lecture.

Huh???? She testified and the professor gave his opinion on the testimony. It wasn’t flattering, but so what? I made a comment and that got some responses, most were rather “unlettered”. Scroll down on my wall to see them.

Some of them implied it was NOT ok to attack her testimony. What???? If testimony isn’t to be scrutinized, then why have it?

Oh well. Now what did the professor actually say? I linked to his blog post and will give my opinion on it:

But while Ms. Fluke herself deserves the same basic respect we owe to any human being, her position — which is what’s at issue here — deserves none whatseover. It deserves only to be ridiculed, mocked and jeered. To treat it with respect would be a travesty. I expect there are respectable arguments for subsidizing contraception (though I am skeptical that there are arguments sufficiently respectable to win me over), but Ms. Fluke made no such argument. All she said, in effect, was that she and others want contraception and they don’t want to pay for it.

(emphasis mine)

Ok, yes, some ideas deserve ridicule; for example if someone suggested changing the geology curriculum to conform to Biblical creation myths, that idea would deserve ridicule. To treat such an idea with respect WOULD be a travesty…just like treating the idea that “tax cuts for the wealthy enhances revenue” as a serious idea would also be a travesty.

But I think the professor errs here: I don’t think that she was called on as an expert on policy witness; she was more of a “putting a human face to the statistics” witness.

But whether or not he chose the right word, what I just don’t get is why the pro-respect crowd is aiming all its fire at Rush. Which is more disrespectful — his harsh language or Sandra Fluke’s attempt to pick your pocket?

What is disrespectful is that the professor wants his idea treated seriously. Look: human sexuality is an important part of emotional and mental health; we are hard wired to enjoy a sex life. But advances in human medicine has made infant and child survival rates skyrocket but our libidos were primed for a time when infant/childhood survival was much lower. Also, pregnancy would be dangerous for some and bad (on many levels) for many. Hence, in this sense, birth control can be thought of a component for emotional and mental health.

Picking pockets? Hmmm, I’d imagine that pregnancy and subsequent baby causes would exceed those of the pills, no? I would think that birth control would make sense on economic grounds.

Besides, look at what health insurance covers: it covers stuff that is mostly quality of life related. Example: over the past two years I had a meniscus tear cut off (right knee). I could still walk a little and do my job; I just had pain. The surgery really helped. I also had physical therapy for my shoulder (ok, 30 dollar copay per session). But that took the night aches away; but I WAS getting along without it.

“Picking the pocket?”

Really; we spend money on dumber stuff than this all of the time.

March 10, 2012 Posted by | free speech, politics, politics/social, Rush Limbaugh, social/political | 4 Comments

The Funny and the Absurd…


Yes, this is outrageous. Now if only we had the same outrage when the wealthy raid the US Treasury.
(hat tip: Randazza)

Note: to those concerned about his “free speech”: of course he has free speech rights. This is why I don’t sign “get the FCC to take him off of the air petitions.” But I will make choices of which businesses I patronize.

Yes, I know; there is a “slippery slope” there. I am not going to stop patronizing a business because the owner votes Republican, gives money to Willard “Mitt” Romney or say, advertises in National Review. But I would stop using them if they sponsored Stormfront.

A joke

(yeah, yeah, I know…sexual promiscuity doesn’t have to be immoral (e. g., you aren’t violating someone else’s trust and you are being responsible in terms of health…this is just a light-hearted way to make fun of our society’s double standard).

March 7, 2012 Posted by | economy, human sexuality, humor, political humor, politics, politics/social, Rush Limbaugh, social/political | Leave a comment

Bubbles, teaching and Super Tuesday

Personal: too much decaf coffee last night? I’ll have to avoid it tonight and see if it makes a difference.

Good luck with this Randazza
Once again, Randazza (an accomplished First Amendment Lawyer) makes the case that Sandra Fluke does NOT have a valid defamation case against Rush Limbaugh. I have no legal training, but his argument makes sense to me. But nature of the “Republican War on Women” crowd, I doubt that his arguments will make any difference; for many of these “Rush Limbaugh is a nasty man who made anti-women comments” is it, period.

I wrote a piece about Sarah Palin getting “outraged” over Bill Maher’s comments (he called her a *unt) while she gleefully accepted a VP slot from someone (Senator John McCain) who had used the same word….and I got a few “don’t defend Maher”, “two wrongs don’t make a right” comments. These people didn’t seem to understand that I was pointing out that Ms. Palin’s “outrage” was, well, selective.

In a perfect world, I’d set something up so that someone would have to pass a logic and reading comprehension test prior to commenting on something that I wrote.

Speaking of testing
My views on grade school teaching is mixed. Though we send some smart, motivated people to be teachers, many are not our strongest college students. On the other hand, I can’t believe some of the BS that some teachers are put through. So much of what the teacher is evaluated on is beyond their control.

Super Tuesday
Willard “Mitt” Romney won 6 states and hung on for a 1 point victory in Ohio…against a broke lunatic. “Crazy” Rick Santorum won Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota by impressive margins and “Nasty” Newt Gingrich easily won Georgia (no surprise).

But that wasn’t all. On the Democratic side, Dennis Kucinich lost his bid for reelection (he was put into a new district which also had a sitting Democrat). This leads me to a point: a Representative which might be popular with progressives on a nationwide basis might not be so popular locally. I think that we sometimes overreact to strong floor speeches which really “stick it to the Republicans” while the day to day, far less visible hard work of governing goes unnoticed…except perhaps at the local level.

And yes, Republican “Mean” Jean Schmidt lost her bid for reelection; she was “primaried from the right”. Ms. Schmidt is known for her marathon running; she ran a 3:19 in 1993 and can still turn over pretty good times, even in her 60’s. I don’t agree with her politics, but that is some good running.

March 7, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, education, marathons, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, politics, politics/social, republicans, rick santorum, Rush Limbaugh, social/political | Leave a comment

Rush Limbaugh Apologizes to Sandra Fluke – The Colbert Report – 2012-05-03 – Video Clip | Comedy Central

The lamestream media jumps down Rush Limbaugh’s throat for calling one woman he never met a “slut” and a “prostitute,” and 12 advertisers pull support from his show.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Rush Limbaugh Apologizes to Sandra Fluke – The …, posted with vodpod

March 6, 2012 Posted by | humor, political humor, political/social, Rush Limbaugh | 2 Comments

Sluts, Sluts and More Sluts!

For those who might be perplexed by the title:

And for the record, it wasn’t “just the left” that “went nuts”.

Mr. Limbaugh lost sponsors because of this.

But never mind this. What I want to know is……..

Where in the heck were all of these “sluts” when I was single???? 🙂

I know; I don’t have a ton of money and no one would mistake me for an Olympic swimmer or a famous actor…but come on, man! 🙂

My take: deep down, the “mainstream” (e. g., “big money”) Republicans are probably delighted at the prospect of not having this weight around their necks and would like nothing better to see him fade away.

March 4, 2012 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, republicans, Rush Limbaugh | Leave a comment

Krugman’s Army and Republican non-candidates (the stupid and the obese)

Workout notes
Racewalking (sort of) and Swimming:

Walking: university track (200 meter): 13:45 warm up mile; I finished the whole thing (4 miles) in 47:13:
11:14-11:20-10:52. How I did it: after the warm up, I did 2-1-2-1-2 (2 laps hard, 1 easy) for mile 1, then 1-2-1-3-1 for mile 2 (hence the slower time) then 3-1-3-1 to finish it off. There were some slower runners on the track by my last mile hence the faster time.

Then swimming: my first 5 x 100 free was SLOW (couldn’t even go sub 2!). Then 10 x (25 kick, 25 free with fins); again, SLOW. The the next 10 x (25 fist, 25 free) was much better and I finished it with 5 x 100 pull with a 10-count rest between each one (9:2x). 200 of free/back was the cool down.

Oddly enough, though the walk fatigued me a bit, it did NOT warm me up for swimming.

Social Media
Some time ago, a facebook person called “Ginger Snaps” “friended” me. She was an atheist and a liberal, and a pretty, young woman. Last weekend she died in an automobile wreck; you can draw your own conclusions. I don’t know the full story, but this might be a nice reminder: DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!


NPR: has a great story on how researchers used the theory of how people remember things to locate a shipwreck. Setting: Australian military officials questioned the German sailors as to where their ship was when it was sunk in battle. Most of the Germans got the location wrong…but the stories had a certain consistency that comes with honest forgetting and filling in the “memory holes” with “what makes sense in the narrative”.

Paul Krugman’s Army!

Paul Krugman finally has his army:

The Wall Street protests seem to be gathering strength and expanding beyond the geographic limits of downtown Manhattan. The media, too, is finally amplifying the story. Whether they will grow larger and sustain themselves beyond these initial street actions will depend upon four things: the work of skilled organizers; the success of those organizers in getting people, once these events end, to meet over and over and over again; whether or not the movement can promote public policy solutions that are organically linked to the quotidian lives of its supporters; and the ability of liberalism’s infrastructure of intellectuals, writers, artists and professionals to expend an enormous amount of their cultural capital in support of the movement.

Americans–infatuated with the next new thing, and proud to believe they are outside the constraints and burdens of history–love neophytes, gifted amateurs. We’re action-oriented and suspicious of elitist expertise, and we thrill to the idea that anybody with moxie can jump in and deliver a baby or land a 737. Right now, it appears that anti-hierarchical, relatively inexperienced people are “running” the Wall Street protest. And they are doing big demonstrations really well. So far, so good. Anger can beget action. And action itself can be a battering ram that knocks down the doors of history.

But anger alone can’t sustain action. And action alone can’t sustain political militancy. […]

The left does have something important however: a coterie of several thousand intellectuals, academics, writers, and engaged professionals who articulate liberal public policy, generate empirical and analytical expertise through the Internet, the media, and universities, and staff the offices of advocacy groups and progressive politicians on the local and national level.

This is, as I said, important, but, up to now, some people have imagined that the byplay between smart bloggers and tweeters, or even the charged pen of brilliantly argumentative and intellectually courageous Nobel Prize winners, in economics actually represent a vast swell of citizens demanding substantive change. But to paraphrase a guy who understood real political power: How many troops does Paul Krugman have?

But when a movement does arise, it needs an articulate exposition, and the brainy liberal left infrastructure’s time has come. Edmund Wilson put down his Proust long enough to report from the bloody coal mines of Eastern Kentucky. College professors all over the country held public “teach-ins” to educate their students and others about the history of the Vietnam War and American interventionism.

So there’s a big job out to do explaining and defending the Wall Street demonstrators to curious Americans. Krugman’s Army may be on its way.

(note: it was Stalin who asked “how many divisions does the Pope have?”)

My take on the demonstrations: I have no idea on what to think. I believe that the current gap between the ultra wealthy and the rest of us is unsustainable, especially given that the top seems to have purchased the government. My hope is that the conservatives will grow to understand that a reasonably well off middle class is good for the country and, in the long run, good for them too. I don’t think that the public, on the whole, will tolerate a new Gilded Age. We’ll see.

Republican non-candidates: the Fat and the Stupid
Sarah Palin isn’t running. That is a pity because we do have something of representative democracy and her simplistic ignorance fits right in with a large block of the Republican party (the NewsMax crowd).

The fat governor isn’t running either. Yes, I know that some thought that his obesity would have hurt him but I don’t; after all most Republicans ARE fat. Then again, so are most Democrats, most Libertarians, etc…
What would have hurt him, at least in the primary, is things like this:

Yes, I like what he said here, but I doubt that many in the Tea Party would tolerate it. Mr. Christie does not suffer fools well, and, well, part of being a national candidate involves putting up with very loud, ignorant voters, almost all who are unaware of their ignorance. He wouldn’t have lasted the campaign.

But back to obesity: Mr. Rush Limbaugh used some of the slurs directed at Mr. Christie to slur many “female politicians” as “lard asses”. This isn’t the first time he attacked public women for their weight:

You might ask how someone as obese as Mr. Limbaugh gets away with it. Simple: remember that a large segment of the Republican voting block consists of sociopaths; they have no accountability for themselves but are happy to attempt to hold others accountable. They reject evidence in favor of “what seems right to them.”

Religious Topics
The “New Atheists” (often called “gnu-atheists”; hence the red A with horns on my sidebar) are often accused of attacking simplistic, fundamentalist versions of religion and ignoring the arguments of the “sophisticated” believers.
Here is what such attacks miss: most of us are interested in the possible existence of deities that actively interfere in the events of the universe. IF such as deity exists, show the evidence (saying “I just know it” is not evidence). Mano Singham really states this well here.

Yes, it is great that you accept at least a version of evolution and that you reject many of the supernatural claims of the Bible. But many of the “sophisticated” believers don’t reject ALL of the supernatural claims as Jerry Coyne points out. There is no more reason to believe these than the ones that the “sophisticated” reject.

Yes, there are some “believers” who reject ALL the supernatural claims. I call such believers “agnostics” or “atheists” who happen to like religion or miss going to church. 🙂 Yes, THEY don’t call themselves that and I suppose one can parse the definitions finely enough to say that they aren’t that. But I return to the “the only gods I am interested in are the ones who perform supernatural acts”. If someone embraces naturalism, then (e. g., no direction from some deity), well, who really cares? I have no interest on attacking them on intellectual grounds.

The good that religion does
There seems to be some research that says that religious people are happier than non-religious ones. But then, on the average (when one looks at world wide statistics), societies tend to become less religious when they become more prosperous and when times are good, church attendance goes down. The article I linked to argues that religion makes some types of people happier in certain circumstances.

The harm that religion does
Yes, there are some countries where people kill others for “insulting their religion” and are lauded for it, at least among the public at large!
Note: living in such a society causes some resonant feedback in “religious zeal”:

So he’s going to swing – perhaps. On Saturday a Pakistani judge sentenced Mumtaz Qadri, the police bodyguard who assassinated the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, to death by hanging. The young policeman smiled and thanked God. “My dream has come true,” he reportedly said.

It was a predictably theatrical turn from Qadri, a former nobody who murdered Taseer in cowardly fashion – shooting the governor 27 times in the back – and who has since revelled in the notoriety of his blood-stained celebrity. Equally predictable, alas, was the reaction on the streets outside.[…]

What accounts for such madness? In some parts Taseer’s death has inspired a McCarthyite atmosphere in which nobody wants to seen to be soft on blasphemy. But there is also a more profound reason. Devotion to the prophet Muhammad is central to the faith of the Barelvi Sunnis, who make up the majority of Pakistani Muslims. Even a whiff of insult to the prophet can whip up feverish anger.

You know, if these Islamic whack-jobs were to embrace trickle-down economics (say, were they to be taught that to reject trickle down economics is to “insult the prophet”), they’d make great Tea-Party Republicans!

October 6, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, atheism, mind, political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, Republican, republican party, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, Rush Limbaugh, sarah palin, science, social/political, swimming, training, walking, world events | 1 Comment

28 September 2011 issues

Workout notes
First, walking on the university indoor track: I had a 13:46 first mile and then did: 2-1-2-1-4-1-2-1-10 where the 1’s represent recovery 200 meter laps. My miles: 13:36, 11:44, 11:29, 10:25 for 47:25 for 4.

I then swam 2200 yards; the guard didn’t open the pool until 7:15 so I had only 45 minutes. So I did 2000 yards straight in 38:00 (very slow for me) then 200 front/back pull.

College Football
So the Aggies (Texas A&M) is headed to the SEC. Good riddance. They’ll fit right in; at halftime they can start with a prayer-revival service and end with a public execution, no doubt to a loudly cheering crowd. But there are past games that I remember fondly and this is one:

Well, they held the Longhorns to only 49 points, so what the heck. 🙂

As for what Rice University thinks of the Aggies:

Non-football posts

Remember when Rush Limbaugh did this?

Well, I wondered what English speakers sound like to non-English speakers.
This outstanding web page has a collection of videos of non-English speakers imitating English. What I noticed: how they imitate English depends on, surprise, their own native language.

Here is one of the better ones (short)

and here is the best one (much longer)

Science and Health

3-quarks daily pointed us toward this post which reminds us that sometimes the solution to health problems are, well, simple.

Take what must be the greatest cheap medical fix in all of history: the bar of soap. Soap never stops proving itself. As recently as 2005, a study from the slums of Karachi, Pakistan, showed that free bars of soap (and lessons in how to use them) cut rates of childhood killers like diarrhea and pneumonia by half.

But you don’t find soap in American hospitals anymore, at least not in its classic solid rectangular form. A variety of expensive improvements have replaced it, all created in response to the various ways in which modern doctors and patients reflexively undermine good, inexpensive tools.

First, we automatically capture these things for our own personal use: Bars of soap left in any public place are likely to disappear in short order. (That is why toilet paper rolls are generally locked into their little metal houses.)

Second, we find fault with them. People will actually use the observation that bar soap is “dirty” as an excuse not to wash their hands. (Studies have shown that you will not pick up somebody else’s germs from a piece of soap, however dingy it may look.)

Finally, we ignore them. Who notices a bar of soap? It does nothing for you unless you notice it — but it is so humble and boring; and sudsing, rinsing and wiping are so pedestrian. Also, if you are in a hurry, they seem prohibitively time-consuming. Studies continually show low hand-washing rates among rushed hospital personnel. Hence the large-scale adoption of more convenient liquid products, and the slow segue into alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which obviate the rinsing and wiping.

There is more there.

I remember reading in Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel that, right now, humans have a much lower probability of dying a violent death than at any time in human history. Now there is a book which explores (and proves) this claim, and more.


Will Governor Christie run and if he does, will it matter? Frankly, I think that Nate Silver greatly overstates Mr. Christie’s talent. Sure, he sometimes says good stuff (here and here) but on the whole, he is too thin skinned and high tempered; the national media would have field day with him. Yes, he is obese and that would have been a negative a long time ago, but not in today’s America and certainly not with today’s Republicans. 🙂

Besides, if *I* find stuff to like about him, he probably won’t play well with the Republican base.

September 29, 2011 Posted by | 2012 election, college football, football, political/social, politics, politics/social, Republican, republican party, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, rick perry, Rush Limbaugh, science, swimming, training, walking | Leave a comment