blueollie

Goat Rant 4: how to get me to skip your post/article part 2

Ok, I posted a part I of this. Here is part II:

first, let me make this clear: there is nothing wrong with writing for a specific audience. I do this when I write mathematical articles. So having me scroll past or otherwise ignore what you write might not be a bad thing.

So, I’ll merely give my algorithm for deciding “probably nothing to see here”: I listed titles that turn me off. Now I’ll focus on buzz words.

If an article starts off with buzz words like “misogyny”, “racism”, “patriarchy”, “deep state”, “God”, “Bible”, “family values” “Islamophobia”, etc. I tend to just scroll past.

Reason: these buzz words appear to be associated with religions of a sort, and I am not interested in dogma.

Now I am interested in justice issues. And if you want to make the case that, say, African Americans are treated unfairly in a job applications process, then I am willing to give your evidence a hard look. If you want to make the case that women aren’t given a fair shake in a give profession, then make your argument and provide your evidence. I’ll seriously consider it. And for the record, I HAVE been convinced of these things, many times. But statements such as “it is about the misogyny” might draw applause in some quarters, but little more than a “scroll past” reaction from me.

But I respond to arguments, logic, data and facts, not to bumper stickers.

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September 13, 2017 Posted by | ranting, social/political | Leave a comment

Goat Rant Two: how to get me to ignore your article, post, etc.

Ok, I know, I know, Mat, Mike, Tom, Carmen, Lynnor, Theresa, Lynn, Jennifer and others are saying “ok, how do you get him to ignore me?” 🙂

Ok, here is how you do it.

Issues posts: when you post that article, be sure to say:

1. “shut up and listen”. Uh, no. I won’t do either. Yes, I know what you mean; there are some experiences that I am not qualified to judge (say, being a black person in the USA, being a woman in a mostly male environment; yes, I get that). But IF you want me to read your stuff, do not start with “shut up…”

2. “you have to stop doing this right now…” Uh, no. I don’t have to do anything you say. Now IF I respect your opinion to give it some thought, I’ll entertain the thought. But you are not qualified to tell me what to do. IF you want for me to change, you need to convince me. And saying “as a member of protected class X, I don’t like that” is not convincing.

3. “this is not ok”. Uh, no. Yes, maybe it isn’t ok, but I am not going to take your word for it, no more that I’ll take, say, the Bible’s word or some preacher’s word for it. If you want me to change and you have no direct power over me, you need to convince me.

Seriously, you are not entitled to my attention and you are not entitled to be taken seriously by me. And, if your message is counterintuitive, I am going to blow you off unless you’ve build up credibility with me, and that means having a record of being right much of the time. Your self assessment of your own wisdom and intelligence is NOT a credential.

Personal posts

Let me make this clear: I do think that having some trusted friends to talk things over with is a wonderful thing; I can’t value a “trusted ear that doesn’t judge you” enough. I think that there is a place to exorcise our inner demons. And there is nothing wrong with discussing your problems and challenges of the day.

But there is more…

I read a post that said something about “why do we have to justify our suffering to others..” that I wanted to respond to. I didn’t as I don’t know that individual very well. But I’ll give a generic response

1. There seems to be a “normal” response to various bad things that happen, and by “normal” I mean a “normal range” of responses that vary from person to person. So, if we see a friend or loved one who *appears* to be well outside of the “normal range” of response, they may well be a candidate for professional help…and such help may well make them feel better, which is the goal.

2. Relationships, as far as I am concerned, are a two way street. That doesn’t mean that they are symmetric; in fact they rarely are. Example: there are some friends where I am usually the one making the invitation; there are others where it might be more appropriate for them to do the inviting (or at least to solicit an invitation from me). There are some where I do most (all?) of the physical helping…etc.

But both people have to get something out of it. And if someone is always reacting to events “in crisis mode” or if they are always the one suffering and expect to receive support that they rarely, if ever, offer..well, again, in a friendship, both people have needs that should be met. This isn’t to say that some go through some very rough things (say, death of a family member, severe sickness, job loss, divorce, etc.) where they will be taking more than giving..FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. But overall, it has to be a two way street.

3. As far as two way streets go: of course one should be polite to friends. But if I find myself constantly having to walk on egg shells…forget it. That is more stress than the friendship is worth…that is a time where I say “I’ll leave their company for others to enjoy”. And if someone makes a habit of flaking out of invitations due to “social anxiety” or whatever, well, that is a “time to leave their company for others to enjoy”. An occasional broken date happens…it is unavoidable. But when I have to wonder if they will show…time to move on and spend time with those who are more reliable. Again, friendship is a two way street and if I can’t (within reason) count on them to show, they aren’t meeting MY needs.

September 3, 2017 Posted by | Friends, social/political | 1 Comment

Awkward around parents…

I am well connected on social media. Often I see parents who are very proud of their kid’s accomplishments (say, making it through a service academy, getting a good grade in a math course, getting an advanced degree…or even finishing a marathon in time X).

I usually give the obligatory “like” and “I’ll bet you are proud”…but that is hard for me to do…when the accomplishment that they are bragging about is something I’ve done or exceeded. Reason: well, deep down, I feel like a chronic underachiever and if *I* have done it..it must not be that difficult to do. Yes, that is how I feel, evidence be damned. 🙂

Workout notes: PT stuff, (hip hikes, toe raises, rotator cuff), pull ups (5-5-5, 5-5-5, 10, 10) second 5-5-5 set was challenging, bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135
military (dumbbells), 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 (standing), rows: Hammer Machine: 3 sets of 10 x 200
abs: moving bridge (10), yoga leg lifts (10), twist crunch (12) 2 sets each
rope skips: 10, 1, 60, 60 (60 is exhausting for me right now)
goblet squats: 2 sets of 10 x 50 (window sill), 2 sets of 6 x 70 to 20 inches
2 mile walk outside to cool down. Weather was too pretty to not walk.

September 1, 2017 Posted by | social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Political Correctness, pushback and Trump.

Ok, here is another “why are so many white men” angry article. This one starts off with the usual….”you are upset because you are used to having all of the advantages…” but it does get better and is ultimately worth reading.

I’ll add a couple of things: first, change, no matter what kind, can be poorly executed. Sometimes a well intended program just ends up making extra work for everyone and ends up either detracting or adding no value. Sometimes a well intended program is wrong headed. So, I can see “diversity” programs being resented, at least at first. And second, sometimes the change is sold with a great deal of sanctimonious finger wagging …with no opportunity for dialog. It is “as a member of class X, I am offended and you must be quiet and listen..” I don’t think that finger wagging changes anyone’s mind.

College campuses are a frequent target of the right wing and some of the fire...SOME is justified. In general, people aren’t happy when their ideas get challenged.

Here is an example of that: take “race”. You hear about “race being an artificial construct” when, in fact, it makes scientific sense (in terms of clustering of certain alleles. And yes, evolutionary psychology is an honest science (even if it is abused too often). Too often, people dismiss findings that they do not like, regardless of the evidence and the quality of the study and the number of studies that confirm a result.

But on the flip side: much of political correctness is of the right wing variety (e. g. creationism..which has no validity at all). And the conservatives are gravitating toward their own identity politics, with Trump leading the way.

Workout notes 1 mile to the W. Peoria Track, 47:52 (24:46/23:06) for 10 laps (about 4.2 miles); Larry was with me for part of a lap and for the final 3 laps, I chased a cute bespandexed runner..she would not let me catch her (broke my heart…not).

While this is not the best I have done it was respectable for this workout…best in a very long time (10 years or so).

August 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

And I am pessimistic for the country…

Take a look at this image, which I presume to be meant NON IRONICALLY (I sure hope that it is satire but doubt it..).

Realize that to 35-40 percent of the population of the United States, THIS IS A POSITIVE IMAGE.

So yes, every large country has its share of stupid, utterly ignorant people who think of themselves as “heroes for good”. But our country’s set up gives disproportionate power to the rural areas; every state (not matter how tiny) gets 2 Senators and at least one House Representative, and a combination of gerrymandering and population dispersion is often reflected in statistics like this one:

Republican candidates received 49.13% of total votes cast in 2016 and won 55.4% of U.S. House seats. Comparatively, Democratic candidates received 48.03% of votes and won 44.6% of races. Third-party and write-in candidates received 2.56% of votes.

And don’t even get me started on this:

According to vote tallies from The Associated Press, Clinton amassed 65,844,610 votes across all 50 states and Washington D.C., 48.2 percent of all votes cast. Trump received 62,979,636 votes, 46.1 percent of all votes cast.

The Associated Press announced today that all votes had officially been certified.

Clinton had 2,864,974 votes more than Trump, the largest popular vote margin of any losing presidential candidate in U.S. history, according to the AP.

The early forecast for 2018 has the Democrats picking up House seats, but not regaining power …while winning the aggregate popular vote.

Bottom line: I have no problem with a rural person’s vote counting the same as mine, and I understand that perfect equity is impossible. But what we have now is outrageous.

I think that our country is ungovernable. I believe that it is time for us to split into two countries.

But HOW? There is the rub: our divide is more “urban vs. rural” rather than state vs. state. Having an old Confederate vs. Union split might not solve anything; after all I live in Peoria, IL but have more in common with someone in Austin, TX than I do with the rural people in this state.

But I suppose if we had a Union vs. Confederate split, we could rewrite our Constitution to reflect our current reality instead of being hidebound by the way our country was in 1776.

But…I really don’t see a way to make it work….sad to say, I have gripes but no viable solutions.

My ideal solution (which would NEVER happen) would be to go to a single chamber system with more representatives…non-gerrymandered districts and the winner of that election chooses a Prime Minister. No majority = coalition government.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | laughing at myself, political/social, social/political | 1 Comment

They aren’t going to change their minds…..

From time to time, I read articles about how Trump doesn’t know what he is talking about (example). But you know what? That will not matter to Trump supporters.

They voted for Trump as a big “fuck you” to their perceived enemies; what Trump does makes little difference:

The Rust Belt and Midwest more broadly speaking have experienced so much hardship and for so long that residents no longer care what policy prescriptions candidates promise; they firmly believe that nothing will work anyway. These voters are unlikely to care that Trump often flip-flops on issues, does things for which he vocally criticized Barack Obama, and fails to deliver on promises made during the campaign.

Similarly, pointing out that he has nothing but bile-laced Tweets to show for his first half-year in the White House is not persuasive. So long as he continues to give them a vicarious outlet for their anger toward convenient targets that are often blamed for the Rust Belt’s problems – urban elites, immigrants, gays and lesbians, the media, ivory tower academics, the Clintons, and so on – he serves a vital purpose for them.

It is not easy to watch one’s community slowly fall apart over decades due largely to forces beyond one’s control, nor is it easy to look to the future and see only the same downward trajectory regardless of endless (and ultimately fruitless) plans to “revitalize” the Huntingtons and Youngstowns of the United States. After five decades of bad news, Trump feels like a breath of fresh air. Rather than offering them economic or social policy proposals they have heard before and in which they have no more strength to believe, he offers them an opportunity to extend a middle finger to the established institutions of society and government. That is invaluable to people who have received nothing of value in exchange for their votes since the strong economic years of the post-War era.

So, we will never “win” among them; perhaps we can lessen the margin of loss a bit and get our own people to show up. But mass conversion: never.

So, when one attempts to engage, I try to make my point but when they reject my sources (say, a NYT article or some statistics), I just smile and wish them a good day..and move on.

The 2018 forecast: grim. We might well lose Senate seats and pick up a few House seats, but not enough of them to retake that chamber.

Workout notes: weights and rope skips only. Usual PT (hip hikes, rotator cuff, toe raises), pull ups 5 sets of 10 (grip problems on set 4), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170. incline: 10 x 135. military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 90 machine. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer. Rope skips: two sets of 50; grabbed one young guy’s personal rope by mistake; I was embarrassed and apologized profusely but he was cool with it.

August 25, 2017 Posted by | politics/social, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Statistical inference and the morning weight room

I know that this is far from perfect. But for a couple of years, the university had some smaller than average classes. And yes, the gym was more empty at 6 am.
Today: there were more people than usual in the gym at 6 am (start of classes). But that isn’t the only factor: our university is also tearing down buildings and replacing them with updated ones (yes, badly needed upgrades). That reduces the number of available classrooms, hence we have more afternoon/late afternoon classes than before.

So more students plus “being in class in the afternoon” means “more people in they gym” in the morning. Nevertheless, I got through the routine (weights only) in 42 minutes; then added 20 minutes of skips and legs then walked 4 outside.

Social media: it is interesting. In one case, somebody thought he was “calling me out” when, in fact, I was arguing about langue and not the concept. In another case, a Trump supporter refused to read anything from the mainstream media because…well, the election projections were wrong.

Note: the polls did pretty well with the national popular vote; even the state polls in the battle ground states were not that far off..it is just that several were off by a little bit IN THE SAME DIRECTION (which Nate Silver said was a real possibility). The polls weren’t bad, but some (not all) of the inferences from the polls were. But try explaining that to someone whose mind is already made up.

I’ve learned to say “ok, I’ll leave your company for others to enjoy”.

And yes, I’ve had to do that with people who vote the same way that I do. Statements like “no, Bernie Sanders would not have won” or “Hillary Clinton really isn’t that good of a campaigner; Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were a lot better” or “yes, the Russians did spread disinformation but there is no evidence that they hacked the voting machines themselves” have earned me both ire and blocks on Twitter.

No big loss though.

Workout notes:
hip hikes, toe raises, rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10: ok.
incline: 10 x 135, 8 x 150, 4 x 160 (decent hip placement)
military: (standing, with dumbbells) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40
rows (Hammer) 3 sets of 10 x 200

The above took 42 minutes.

rope skips: 34, 50, 50 (last two sets: ended at 50 voluntarily). I am getting better.
goblet squats: 5 x 50 (window sill), 10 x 50, 10 x 53 (kettle), 5 x 70 (20 inch box)
4 mile walk in Bradley Park; kind of sluggish. Very good weather though; nice and cool.

August 23, 2017 Posted by | 2016, social/political, statistics, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

wow…

I cannot keep up with the administration without a scorecard; evidently Bannon is now out.

Who knows what else is in store.

I was going to write about white supremacy and how white supremacy is a superset of bigotry; it is really more or less a base assumption that what the average white person experiences in life is more or less what everyone experiences (i. e., if you see law enforcement as a friendly presence, then everyone who isn’t a criminal ought to see them that way as well, ergo, BLM must be bad), and that assumption is unwarranted and has immoral consequences.

But…wow…things are moving so fast.

And the semester looms…

Workout notes: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, less rest than normal), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, standing military (dumbbells), 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40. dumbbell rows: 3 sets of 10 x 65. abs: 2 sets of moving bridge, twist crunch, yoga leg lifts. Headstand (better), rope skips: 33, 47, 26, 35, goblet squats: 10 x 50 (20 inches), 10 x 40, 10 x 50 window sill (lower)

August 18, 2017 Posted by | social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

Corporate America: more responsive than Congress?

Interesting:

Now think about it: the Louie Gohmert’s and Joe Shimkus’ of the Congress really don’t care about what I think; they reflect their own constituencies. But a corporation very much cares about sales; it really doesn’t matter if they sell the item in Oklahoma or California. The profit is roughly the same. So here, the number of people who have money to spend matters, hence the opinion of such people matters. There is no gerrymandering to skew things, at least for national brands.

I know that this is not perfect, but wow…

Workout notes: weights then running on the treadmill:
weights; usual PT stuff (shoulder, hip, feet), pull ups (5 sets of 10; less rest…very tiring), incline presses: 10 x 135, 5 x 160, 10 x 140, dumbbell military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40 standing, Hammer machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

Then treadmill run: 4 miles in 45:09. I did 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 (increase every 10 min to 3 miles) then increase every 0.25 miles. That was my first “run” in a long time; I thought that I had lost the ability to run.

Weight: more or less the same; ok, down slightly.

August 16, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, running, social/political, weight training | 3 Comments

And THIS is why I am cautious about “Crying Wolf”

So Trump took up for the neo-Nazis and other white supremacists by saying “there was guilt on both sides” because, well, some of the counter protesters didn’t act optimally at all times.

“You had people in that group who were protesting the taking down of what to them is a very, very important statue,” Trump said, before suggesting that Lee and other Confederate-era generals, including Stonewall Jackson, are the victims of historical revisionism attempting to delegitimize their roles.

Speaking rhetorically, Trump asked reporters whether George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both slave owners, should suffer the same fate and have their statues removed. “You’re changing history; you’re changing culture,” he said.

Trump reiterated his condemnation of neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. But he also made clear that he believed that some of the counterprotesters were armed and took aggressive actions that helped spark the violence.

Hmmm, so Confederate leaders are on the level of our founding fathers? Yes, you sometimes heard such nonsense in southern circles.

Well…back to the point in my post:

I’ve heard all sorts of things called “bigotry”; they range from being skeptical of using pronouns, wondering if transwomen with male genitals should use women’s “gang showers”, pointing out that the ACT and SAT really do have predictive power (with regards to future success in STEM fields) or for pointing out that, statistically speaking, there is more social pathology in the lower economic classes (though research suggests that poverty is the cause, not the effect), my contempt for the cries of “cultural appropriation”, etc.

I am loath to scream “bigotry” because, well, when one over uses the word, it loses its power for when it truly applies.

And I have a hard time distinguishing unusual amounts of anger for the usual, run of the world noise I hear from my fellow lefties. If the background is full of constant static, it is tough to distinguish a real signal.

And so..to see how Americans are reacting to Trump…I am turning to…the feed of “mainstream Republicans” more so than the feed of my fellow Democrats.

August 15, 2017 Posted by | racism, social/political | | Leave a comment