Workout notes: though the weather was great, I went inside for my “faster” running segment:
treadmill: 5 min at 5.2, 5 at 5.3, 10 min at 6.7, 6.8 to 2 miles (28:xx), 6.9 to 35 minutes, and 7.0 3.75 and 7.1 for the final .25 (37:35 for 4), then 15 minutes at 15 mpm to get to 5 miles in 52:35.
Then 1 more mile of walking outside.
Weight: 191 on the gym scale prior to running. I don’t think that my weight training is helping my marathon prospects.🙂
Science: Three physics Nobel Prizes were awarded, and these physicists used topology to help them understand what they were studying:
David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for discoveries in condensed-matter physics that have transformed the understanding of matter that assumes strange shapes. All three were born in Britain but work in the United States.
Using advanced mathematical models, the three scientists studied unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. Their findings have relevance for materials science and electronics.
Dr. Thouless of the University of Washington, Dr. Haldane of Princeton University and Dr. Kosterlitz of Brown University were honored by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm for “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.”
Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties that change only in increments. In the early 1970s, Dr. Kosterlitz and Dr. Thouless “demonstrated that superconductivity could occur at low temperatures and also explained the mechanism, phase transition, that makes superconductivity disappear at higher temperatures,” the academy found.
In the 1980s, Dr. Thouless showed that the integers by which the conductivity of electricity could be measured were topological in their nature. Around that time, Dr. Haldane discovered how topological concepts could be used to understand the properties of chains of small magnets found in some materials.
“We now know of many topological phases, not only in thin layers and threads, but also in ordinary three-dimensional materials,” the academy said. “Over the last decade, this area has boosted front-line research in condensed matter physics, not least because of the hope that topological materials could be used in new generations of electronics and superconductors, or in future quantum computers.”
I think that “Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties that change only in increments.” refers to “continuous functions”. Of course, analysis and geometry uses continuity also, therefore I find this statement puzzling.
But to the reader who might wonder “what doesn’t change in increments”, consider electron orbitals (you studied these in chemistry). The electron energy levels are in discrete units and change in a quantum manner (“jump between discrete levels”).
Many of the traits of our body are there because they were useful to our distant ancestors:
There are other traits that wouldn’t make sense if we were intentionally designed; the Vagus nerve is one of them.
I can recommend Neil Shubin’s book Your Inner Fish.
I recently joked about new discoveries on humans mating with other homo species. There is more detail here, including how scientists figure this stuff out. Of interest is that we had mating with other homos both in the “failed migration” out of Africa, and again in the successful one (65 K years ago), and these conclusions are possible because of modern genome sequencing techniques.
On a more mundane (but still fun) level, here is a little video describing an evolutionary trajectory that lead to modern humans.
Science humor: a joke about curved spacetime:
Hey, you think that you’ve pushed the envelope in seeking romance? Both of us are downright shy compared to what our ancient ancestors did:
The discovery of yet another period of interbreeding between early humans and Neanderthals is adding to the growing sense that sexual encounters among different ancient human species were commonplace throughout their history.
“As more early modern humans and archaic humans are found and sequenced, we’re going to see many more instances of interbreeding,” says Sergi Castellano, a population geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. His team discovered the latest example, which they believe occurred around 100,000 years ago, by analysing traces of Homo sapiens DNA in a Neanderthal genome extracted from a toe bone found in a cave in Siberia.
“There is this joke in the population genetics community — there’s always one more interbreeding event,” Castellano says. So before researchers discover the next one, here’s a rundown of the interbreeding episodes that they have already deduced from studies of ancient DNA.
5 different episodes of inbreeding are discussed, with two different species of homo (based on DNA analysis) Surf to the article to read the rest. The conclusion:
We’re looking at a Lord of the Rings-type world — that there were many hominid populations,” one evolutionary geneticist told Nature when the findings were presented at a conference in 2013.
Kink is nothing new for us; in fact we are tamer than we used to be.
I’ll start with what I think is the underlying principle.
Here are a couple hypothetical questions:
1. You and someone else apply for a job opening. You are told that there is one opening. What stings worse:
a. The other person gets the job and you are just told “no”.
b. The other person gets the job. Then you are told: “we are sorry..but we do have this lesser position that we’d like to offer you.”
Now I know that when money is tight and one really needs a job, one might see option “b” as preferable. But what “stings” your ego more?
2. You are single (unattached) and have a romantic interest in someone..or at least are attracted to them. There is an outing/event that you are interested in. What stings worse:
a. You ask them out and they say “no”.
b. You ask them out and they say “yes, but only as “friends””, making it clear that they have no romantic interest in you.
c. They ask YOU to the event, but only as a “safe friend” because they don’t have to worry about romantic feelings getting in the way (or for some other reason, say, their first choice turned them down).
At least for me, it is pretty clear which stings less (“a”). (Remember, I am talking as a single person; as a married person I have female friends whose company I look forward to and enjoy at things like hikes, yoga classes, runs, sporting events, etc.)
Now this is illogical, in a sense. Isn’t “we want you for this” better than “we don’t want you at all”? Isn’t companionship with someone you like better than none at all?
And, in this case of a monkey, isn’t a piece of less tasty food better than no food at all?
Evidently not, at least to this monkey.
What brought on this train of thought: the joke
From time to time, I post a photo of a handsome guy for my lady friends. And once in a while, just for fun, I’ll open myself up to be “roasted” (I call it a “goat roast”, because my online persona is a ornery, dimwitted, smelly goat).
I got a few “politically correct” “awww, I’d hug you instead of the hunk” responses, which was fine. I got one “I’d hug you because you probably smarter than that moron” type of response (from a scientist)..ok, I liked that one. I admit that I’d rather hug a plainer looking but smarter, accomplished woman over someone who merely looks “hot”. But that is me, at my current age.
But ONE response …actually angered me even though it was intended to be part of the joke (I think): it was “oh, I’ll hug the guy on the right but I’d give the one on the left so much more..”
My immediate response wasn’t like it was with the others “sorry buddy, but he is hotter than you” responses. I’m too polite to reproduce some of the thoughts that I had…and that was over a frigging joke!
But I think that I had nightmares of the old “dating/friend zone” stuff all over again, so many years …wait, make that decades ago (early 80’s?)
Anyway, my reaction surprised me..and then I remembered the monkey inequality experiment.
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