“You need to shut up and listen to me” rarely works…

I am frequently more critical of liberals because, well, that is who I tend to hang around. I am sure that there is a “shut up and listen to me”, “shut up and read the least the parts I want you to read” ethic among conservatives too but I am in a position in life where it is rarely directed toward me.

But you see it quite a bit in liberal circles: if we see someone as potentially marginalized and not listened to, be they a racial minority, female, gay, non-cis-gendered, and recently..a teenager, we are told to “check our privilege” (whatever that means) and listen to them..often in an uncritical way. And in certain circles (say, in certain circles on certain college campuses), people get used to that.

So when they go outside of their small circles and face, gasp, criticism and critique when they were expecting a captive audience, well, some feeeeeelings can get hurt!

Yes, one could always accomplish something and get to the point where people actually WANT to listen to what you have to say…but that requires hard work and patience and maybe a bit of talent.

2016 election and Hillary Clinton Yeah, I know the election is long over and Trump won because of the way the Electoral College is set up. And yeah, given the Democratic field and Trump, had I to do it over again, I *still* would have voted for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. I still think that she was vastly more qualified than either.

But, well, I kept much of this to myself for a long time, but her public persona is just not likable (I’ve heard that she is likable in person).

Yes, I find her intelligent and logical:

Note: this video was posted by right wing idiots who completely missed the point that she was making. Frankly, I found her argument to be correct and on point, but for the morons who made this clip, I suppose it was “TL;DR”. And millions and millions of such morons vote (on both sides). Someone like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton knows how to get at least a few of those votes.

And yes, there things I didn’t like her either. For one: unlike Bill and Barack, she did not get to her political position under her own steam; had she not been married to Bill, she would have certainly been a super successful professional but not a politician. IMHO, that just isn’t her; I could see her as a judge, professor, CEO, or perhaps a cabinet member (she did well as Secretary of State). But a “rallier of the masses” she isn’t.

And, for some reason, her public self critiques appear to be excuse making:

Robby Mook, the drained and deflated campaign manager, told his boss she was going to lose. She didn’t seem all that surprised.

“I knew it. I knew this would happen to me,” she said, now within a couple of inches of Mr. Mook’s ashen face. “They were never going to let me be president.”

Oh, for f**ks sake! Barack Obama won as a black man!!! “THEY”? “LET ME”??? I sure hope this is something that really wasn’t said..but I fear that it was.

And yes, yes, yes, Trump is a disaster…engages in self-pity far, far more, etc. I see no alternate universe in which I support Donald J. Trump.

But at times, HRC makes me want to bang my head against a wall.


April 21, 2018 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, political/social, social/political | Leave a comment

One attitude I cannot stand….

I was discussing something with a colleague. I recounted a conversation I had with an engineer; in the past he had written a letter to the editor “correcting” a science article for, well, citing an adaptive change as an example of evolution. He was under the mistaken impression that evolution was speciation.

Yes, evolution is a change in the frequency distribution of alleles in a population over time. But did he bother to check with an expert (e. g., his biology colleagues) before writing a letter to the editor? Of course not.

I let my disgust show, and my colleague replied “hey he KNOWS that “god is on his side” no need to check.

And THAT is an example of an attitude that I have the highest amount of contempt for. Religious nutters have it. And so do the more extreme social justice warriors.

If you KNOW that you have “RIGHT on your side”, then well, who has need for experts in biology, psychology, statistics, genetics, etc.?

I think that has lead to more “blocks” by me on social media than anything else; my record is 3 blocks off of one thread on my Facebook wall. Yes, they were all liberals.

April 21, 2018 Posted by | ranting, social/political | Leave a comment

Why I mostly just s**t post…

Ah, social media. Yes, I still use it and often, people will post interesting, longer articles.

But as far as discussion: sigh. Mostly it breaks down into either “yelling slogans”, typing “#checkyourprivilege ” hashtags, or virtue signaling. And many times, people who comment on what I say have not read what I actually said …rather they comment on what they think that they said or use my tweet/post as a launching pad to show how virtuous they are.

And let’s face it: when it comes to persuasion, the messenger matters. Example: one of my favorite twitter “follows” is a professor from Berkeley. She has done quite well for herself and sometimes takes long vacations in France. She was “calling for a general strike” if Mueller was fired…evidently unaware that 42 percent of Americans either don’t know who he is or no opinion of him and another 29 percent disapprove of him. She has no idea that many get their news in bits between work and, say, getting their kids and many are living paycheck to paycheck. Needless to say, she is not going to convince anyone outside of a very narrow circle.

And I’d guess that most of us are like that in one way or another.

So posting and commenting are often a waste of time.

Workout notes: weights, then a nice 2 mile walk outside. Weights: usual pt, pull ups (5 sets of 10: good), bench: 10 x 135, 7 x 170 (no pain), 10 x 135 incline: military: standing dumbbell 10 x 50, 15 x 45, 10 x 180 machine (90 each side), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 hammer (10 x 110 other machine too). usual abs; headstand was a bit easier, plank at 2:30 was a challenge. Weight: 197.6 after weights; I actually felt…good???

April 20, 2018 Posted by | politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

No mass uprising over Mueller being fired: exhausted, underpaid Americans

I find some of the dialogue on Twitter to be, well, rather uninformed. I am reading about marches, pitchforks and even a “general strike” if Trump attempts to fire Mueller (he would have to do so indirectly)

The reality:

“Just 29 percent of Americans had a favorable impression of Mueller, while another 29 percent had an unfavorable one, and 42 percent said they’re unsure or never heard of Mueller.”

Sure, a majority say that the investigation should continue, but this is not an issue on most people’s minds.

Think about it: the average American who even listens to the news probably gets a snippet here and there on the way between, say, their job and picking up their kids. Those most interested are those with the time to digest things, and even many of these are probably pro-Trump.

People really don’t have the time or energy to seriously challenge this.

Oh sure, the teacher’s strikes may have paid dividends, but people have kids in schools; this affects their lives HERE AND isn’t some abstract “principle of democracy” for them.

I suppose underpaying Americans and keeping (most) of them overworked has its virtues.

Another topic: guns in schools. Yes, there were student protests about gun violence in Miami. But these didn’t get covered that well: the victims and the protesters are non-affluent and black. Yes, I know: this is “ordinary” gun violence as opposed to the AR-15 mass shooting but such violence kills far more kids than the “assault weapons/mass shootings” do.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Why I think that we are stuck with Trump for at least his first term…if not….a second

Yes, I know that Trump is at about 41 percent approval (FiveThirtyEight), (Real Clear Politics)and at 79 percent among Republicans ( have to sift a bit).

These are not wonderful numbers. But when Nixon resigned, he was in the 60 percent range among Republicans…AND Democrats controlled both chambers AND Fox News didn’t exist. So even if the D’s take both chambers in 2018 (a long shot…taking the House might be realistic) I don’t see anywhere near 2/3 of the Senate voting to remove him.

Trump will have to really, really become toxic and I don’t mean “he triggered a bunch of liberal snowflakes by saying (insert “something offensive to liberals” here)” toxic. True, some (many?) around him may well end up in jail.

Frankly, I’ll be relieved if he doesn’t get reelected in 2020 (as he may well might). Yes, he is unpopular, but he can win by being “less evil” than whoever the Democrats run..and for the life of me, I don’t have a clue.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Believing the worst about those you hate..

First in the news: yes, the FBI raided the office of one of Trump’s lawyers. No: you do not have attorney-client privilege if you are trying to use a lawyer to commit a crime or cover it up.

This is old news, but I saw this on a friend’s Facebook wall:

There are a couple of things wrong here. One: not all of us would consider one unkind mocking a disqualifying event “on the spot”, though, IF true, it is a bad thing. This isn’t the same level, but remember Obama apologizing for making that “Special Olympics” remark (about how bad of bowler he is)?

But, more importantly, there is quite a bit of evidence that Trump uses this mannerism to mock *everyone* he wants to mock.

So, I really believe he was just mocking a reporter.

Now if you want to say that mocking people in this manner isn’t “presidential” behavior, well, I might agree with you.

I think the lesson here is that I (and many others) really want to believe the worst about those we dislike. Therefore, I must approach all “did you see what Trump just did” stories with a bit of skepticism.

Note: I really do not believe that Trump will be removed from office; I see that as a very remote possibility. And it probably isn’t helpful for Democrats to run “on impeachment”..especially those who are running in Republican held states and Congressional Districts.

But I do think things like this MIGHT help us beat him when he runs for reelection.

Personal and workout stuff (TMI)

For the past couple of days, I have not felt “Right”; lower GI while, not bad, I ache more than normal (joints, old injuries) and last night, after yoga, my right knee was somewhat unstable (too much kneeling in class?) The stomach stuff: probably our campus tragedy …that really, really bothered me. It still does..I just felt dejected .

Yesterday: weights and bike. Weights: usual PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (slow), military press: 10 x 50, 10 x 50, 15 x 45 (all standing), rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 200. bench press: dumbbell: 2 sets of 10 x 40 (full motion). incline press: Hammer: 10 x 90, 10 x 140 (45 + 25). full ab set (2:30 plank). Then 34:40 for 10 miles on the bike. Evening: yoga.

Today: swim: 250 (slow, off), 250 (better), 5 x 25 fist, 25 free, 5 x 25 drill, 25 free (fins), 3 x (100 free, 100 pull), 4 x 100 modified IM (free instead of fly), 100 pull, 50 free, 50 side.
run: 10 min: 5.1, 5.2, 5 min: 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6..up to 44:50 (4 miles), then 6.1-6.4 (every .25 miles) for 54:32

Note: this morning, my heel hurt a bit..was fine on the run for the first 30-35 minutes, then “there” for “faster” (less glacial) paced running.

April 10, 2018 Posted by | bicycling, running, social/political, swimming, weight training, yoga | , , , , | Leave a comment

April 1?

And yes, in the afternoon, several of the major bridges crossing the Illinois River were shut down due to accidents. Oh boy.

Still I got out for my walk before it all happened (10.1 miles in 2:50 or so; I slowed toward the end). Foot: some aching afterward…some whinyness around mile 7-8. But mostly, I am just out of walking shape. About 3.5 miles into it, I got passed by the University women’s track/XC team. They were very nice to me…as they always are.

Personal/Issues: I am writing up my talk, but I took time to watch the awesome Mississippi State vs. Notre Dame NCAA Women’s basketball championship game. It was one for the ages; ND rallied from 15 down to win with a buzzer beating 3 pointer with about 1 second to go.

I also thought about some of the infighting between the social justice warriors and the scientists. Many of the SJWs are upset with David Reich’s article about “how to talk about genes and race”. The fundamental issue: if you look at two clusters of humans that evolved separately for a long time (say, a few thousand years), you’ll see some difference in the frequency distribution of alleles between the groups, and it makes sense that there might be some statistical genetic differences between the groups.

The SJWs can’t stomach that..thinking that if this fact were accepted, well maybe some claims made by the racists are right (and no, they aren’t). Nevertheless, they want to be given some influence over the work of scientists:(via Jerry Coyne)

Their main beef seems to be that those like Reich who unravel the genetic patterns of our species need to constantly consult with people like cultural anthropologists and social scientists. I’m not sure this is good advice, since those people have, by and large, tried to foist ideological views onto research on human groups. The bit below, for example, smacks of an unwarranted hubris:

Precisely because the problems of race are complex, scientists need to engage these issues with greater care and sophistication. Geneticists should work in collaboration with their social science and humanities colleagues to make certain that their biomedical discoveries make a positive difference in health care, including the care of those studied.

Of course discoveries should be used constructively, but is that the responsibility of people like Reich, who simply look at the frequencies of disease genes in different groups and the pattern of genetic differentiation across the globe? I don’t think so. How to use the findings of geneticists in medicine is the purview of bioethicists and physicians, not paleoanthropologists.

This push-back against science sure seems to give right wing criticisms of academia some merit (yeah, I know,..some of those right wingers are those getting their feelings hurt because intelligent design and creationism are treated as crackpot ideas..which they are).

April 2, 2018 Posted by | basketball, social/political, walking | , , , | Leave a comment

When academia becomes advocacy …

Jon Haidt’s 1:06 long video is worth watching; here he is speaking at Duke University. Sorry to say, many who could benefit from it will say “oh yuck..Haidt again” and not watch.

The issue: What should higher education and research be for? Should it be a bold search for the truth (understanding that no one sees perfectly clearly; findings need to be verified, tested, cross checked, etc, and yes, there are “false positive” findings) or should there be some apriori goal in mind, such as “honoring one’s deity” (happens at some religious schools) or “promoting social justice” (yes, that is the states mission of some universities, and some have openly said that it *should* be the goal of others).

Of course, I rebel against that: in my courses, I aim to teach mathematics and in my research, I am to discover new mathematics.

My interest in social justice is manifested in the administrative side of things: are we seeking out underrepresented (but well qualified) faculty and students? Are various minority groups getting a fair shake? What large scale policies (say, financial aid) might make us more friendly? Do groups feel unwelcome, shut out or feel that they are “tolerated guests” rather than a full part of the university community?

But none of the above are really part of the courses I teach or my research.

So here it is, a full hour and 6 minutes.

I got this from Jerry Coyne’s website, where he adds commentary and there are some interesting comments.

March 31, 2018 Posted by | politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

My discomfort with the reaction to the kids marching

I want to make it clear that I like that the kids are getting involved and hope it extends to..well..actual voting.

But the reaction to it…ugh. On one hand, you are having people praising their eloquence in the in their public speech..and we are urged to take them seriously.

But when what they say is critiqued…”oh, they are just kids!”

Ahem: being taken seriously involves being critiqued, sometimes harshly.

On the other hand, you have those who dismiss them as “just kids..they eat Tide Pods”…but then ..go on to critique them harshly and issue vicious personal attacks.

If they are “just kids, not to be taken seriously”, then don’t attack. You can’t have it both ways!

And yes, I know, I am on their side, issue wise, while I am very aware that mass shooting is a very unlikely cause of death in that, or any age group (though regular non-mass homicide is now the second leading cause of death in that group) automobile accidents kill more than homicides) .

Workout notes swim, then treadmill for 2 mile run (23:00), 2 mile walk (27:12). The heel was ok; hurt just a bit during the “faster” walk phase.

swim: 500 free, 5 x 25 free, 25 back, 5 x 25 breast, 25 free, 200 side, 200 of drill/swim, 200 of fist/free, 200 pull, 100 swim, 100 pull, 100 swim, 100 pull. This was a “swimming so I can remember how to” workout.

Weight: 198.6 before swimming 196.8 afterward. Yeah, one sweats when one swims.

March 30, 2018 Posted by | political/social, running, social/political, swimming, walking | , | Leave a comment

Other professors are turning me into a Republican…

Ok, not quite. But one professor expressed dismay when the Austin Police said that the bombings didn’t fit the legal definition of “terrorism” (my understanding: the crime has to have a political goal) and I expressed an opinion that perhaps the professionals investigating the crime..the ones with the facts in hand as well as the understanding of the legal definitions were more likely to be right than a bunch of professors who aren’t specialists in that field…

and that opinion was..well..not well received. 🙂

Workout Notes

weights plus 2 miles on the treadmill

weights: usual pt, usual abs (2:30 on plank, headstand was ok), pull ups: 5 sets of 10, decline: 10 x 135, 10 x 170, incline: 1 x 160 (mistake), 6 x 150
hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200, military (standing dumbbell) 2 sets of 10 x 50, 10 x 45

run: 5.1 for 5 min, then acceleration to get to 1 mile in 11:18, then 8:39 for the second mile (19:57 for 2 miles). Foot was ok, didn’t ache afterward though.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | running, social/political, weight training | , , | Leave a comment