Workout notes: it was 75 F and yes, 100 percent humidity again. THAT, plus my 3 in a row this past weekend (15 mile run Saturday, 13 mile walk Sunday, 4 mile race on Monday) left me tired. So I did a slow, untimed 6.3 (10K) run/walk. Today, it was enough.
Ok, the youngest woman in the photo (calves!) is in her late 50’s. The one with the blonde ponytail is in her early 60’s; the other two are over 70. Yes, all frequently win awards at running races.
So the question: do these ladies get their legs from all of that running, or were these ladies attracted to running because they had the genetic potential to have good legs for running? The answer isn’t that clear, is it.
Yes, I’ll put this as a bonus question on an exam at the appropriate time.
Speaking of statistics: Nate Silver gives a run down of the current state of the election. Clinton is about a 70 percent favorite in many models (including the betting lines) and about 90 percent in the Princeton model (see the NYT model and other models here). If you look at what we are seeing in the polls right now (Trump with a narrow lead in a few of them; the rest showing Clinton with up to a 6-7 point lead), we see that 3-4 point Clinton lead best explains what we are seeing.
Presidential elections in “no incumbent” running years tend to be close (3 times in my lifetime, the popular vote spread was less than 1 point: Kennedy-Nixon, Nixon-Humphrey, Gore-Bush, twice it was 7-8 points: Obama-McCain, Dukakis-Bush).
And this leads me to another topic: conditional probability. This shows up in the famous Montey Hall problem.
Imagine a game: you are shown 3 doors; the prize is behind one door and the other two doors have nothing. Here is the rule: you pick one door. Then the person running the contest *always* shows you a door that does NOT have the prize. Always…and you know that the person running the show WILL do that.
So, should you switch to the door that you did not pick that remained unopened?
Answer: YES. And pigeons are actually better able to figure it out than humans!
Here is the math behind this:
You pick one door: 1/3 is your probability of success. Then you are given the option to choose from the two doors that you did NOT pick…that means if you switch, your probability of success climbs up to 2/3. Remember you only fail if you were right the first time.
Think of it this way: imagine there were 100 doors. You pick. Then you are shown 98 doors where the prize is NOT. Would you switch? Remember your probability of being right on the first choice was 1/100.
Here is where “conditional” comes in: label the doors I, II, III. You pick I. You are shown that it is NOT II.
Workout notes: 10 K “run” on the track: 9:59, 9:44, 9:33, 9:32, 9:27. 9:44 then 3:10 walk/jog inner lane 2 laps (58:03 at 6, 1:01:13 for 10K). It was mostly an empty track.
Gads. Though this was not a race effort by any means, IT WAS WORK. Sigh…
Posts: It is the start of Thanksgiving break and so I played hooky and went to a daytime game (no classes). The Bradley women got creamed 72-59 by Western Michigan; WMU lead by 16 before freely substituting.
But hey, it was a game to watch.🙂
Statistics Yes, I know the technical definition of p-value and what “it means”. But attempts to “make it intelligible” to non-experts often fail:
What I learned by asking all these very smart people to explain p-values is that I was on a fool’s errand. Try to distill the p-value down to an intuitive concept and it loses all its nuances and complexity, said science journalist Regina Nuzzo, a statistics professor at Gallaudet University. “Then people get it wrong, and this is why statisticians are upset and scientists are confused.” You can get it right, or you can make it intuitive, but it’s all but impossible to do both.
No fly zones: Turkey shot down a Russian fighter. Ugh. Last I heard, Turkey claimed that the fighter was over Russian airspace and Russia denies that.
Free speech A survey came out about whether it is a good thing to censor speech that “is offensive to minorities”. Not surprisingly, Democrats were more approving of censorship than Republicans (though NOT the majority of Democrats) and the youngest generation (millennials) were strongest in favor of censorship. The good news is that the more educated the person, the less likely that they would approve of censorship. That is good news, given some of the nonsense one hears coming from college campuses these-a-days.
Republicans and Donald Trump
Sure it is still early and most people haven’t started to pay attention to the election. Nevertheless, Donald Trump really is doing well and it should not be that surprising:
Indeed. You have a party whose domestic policy agenda consists of shouting “death panels!”, whose foreign policy agenda consists of shouting “Benghazi!”, and which now expects its base to realize that Trump isn’t serious. Or to put it a bit differently, the definition of a GOP establishment candidate these days is someone who is in on the con, and knows that his colleagues have been talking nonsense. Primary voters are expected to respect that?
And it isn’t a surprise that the terror attacks in Paris helped him:
Conventional wisdom on the politics of terror seems to be faring just as badly as conventional wisdom on the politics of everything. Donald Trump went up, not down, in the polls after Paris — Republican voters somehow didn’t decide to rally around “serious” candidates. And as Greg Sargent notes, polls suggest that the public trusts Hillary Clinton as much if not more than Republicans to fight terror.
May I suggest that these are related?
After all, where did the notion that Republicans are effective on terror come from? Mainly from a rally-around-the-flag effect after 9/11. But if you think about it, Bush became America’s champion against terror because, um, the nation suffered from a big terrorist attack on his watch. It never made much sense.
What Bush did do was talk tough, boasting that he would get Osama bin Laden dead or alive. But, you know, he didn’t. And guess who did?
So people who trust Republicans on terror — which presumably includes the GOP base — are going to be the kind of people who value big talk and bluster over actual evidence of effectiveness. Why on earth would you expect such people to turn against Trump after an attack?
Hey, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh created Donald Trump’s candidacy.
Today’s cartoons were unusually good: we have masters degrees that don’t help one’s employment prospects, science, a true fact about the memory-less-ness of the Bernoulli trial and the lack of effort on the part of students.
Then we have troll pages. One of the best troll pages is the Your Tattoos Make You a Horrible Mother Facebook page. People have fallen for it so hard that they become enraged and try to get it shut down; for those of us who like to laugh at clueless outrage, it is an almost endless source of amusement. Yes, I know; I should have better things to do with my time; but this is a bit like a train wreck. I don’t want to look..but I can’t help myself.🙂
The page attracts outraged people who, well, aren’t the most educated and who don’t write all that well. The usual response is:
1. “I’ve got tattoos and I am a GREAT (or AWESOME) mom and my kids are all geniuses” or “having a tattoo doesn’t make you a bad mom”
2. “YOU SUCK” or some version of “Your (sic) and idiot”, often followed by obscenities, most of which are spelled correctly and
3. Some wish that those who run the page and like the page have a violent demise.
All of this is written at about a 3’rd to 6’th grade level, with a few exceptions.
The idea that the page isn’t advocating that someone do something illegal doesn’t phase the visitors; all they know is that they are offended and therefore want the page shut down.
Workout notes: though it has been a while, (it started with a scratchy throat on 18 February and peaked Sunday, 22 February; first workout back was 27 February) I am STILL not back near 100 percent. Yesterday’s “almost 5K (2.9 miles)” at a 8:35 pace left me sore. So I did work out, but I have an ever-present “mild fatigue” that hindered my performance:
Weights: pull ups, 4 sets of 10, 7, 1, 5. I couldn’t get that 5’th set of 10. Rest: rotator cuff and back exercises.
bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 180 (not really strong), 4 x 170 (and THAT was hard),
incline: 135: 1 set of 3 (weights slid off; forgot to set one of the clips) and then a set of 5.
circuit: 3 sets of 10 on machines: rows (110), pull downs (130), military (90 each arm).
I was feeling a bit run down so I walked indoors though it was a pretty day: 4 miles in 50:09 (middle lane): 13:13, 12:36, 12:33, 11:46. It wasn’t a bad walk, but it wasn’t exactly blazing fast either.
Hope and outliers
Yesterday’s 5K run chopped off part of the usual course; this was apparent when I got to what should have been mile 2 (14:30…ok, 10 years ago…maybe?) and finished in 24:42; this was my best time last year (certified course). I came in tired and had heavy legs during the warm up; this was about 2.87-2.9 miles and equates to a 26:30-26:40 on a true 5K course, and THAT reflects where I was yesterday.
But I wanted to believe that this was a full 5K. It wasn’t.
That got me to thinking a bit more about denial. Early this season, our Division I basketball team lost to a Division III team 58-56. Now of course, many fans didn’t want to admit the obvious: our team was a very bad basketball team. Some fans went back to memory lane and remembered famous upsets like this one. And it is true: you can comb the annals of basketball history to see some legitimately good teams suffering embarrassing losses in the preseason or early in the season.
But those are the exception: the vast majority of a time, a D-1 team loses to a D-3 team because they aren’t any good. And yes, we finished 9-24 overall and 3-15 in conference play, though we did beat a 9-22, 6-12 team in the conference tournament…only to lose by 25 the next game.
And yes, you see this with regards to test scores; witness the satirical treatment of this rather dumb facebook meme:
Yes, on rare occasion, someone with a math ACT of 19 makes it past calculus 3; there is a CEO of a company who did poorly on a standardized test, and I know of one language professor whose GRE scores were a disaster…and her logical abilities were limited..but she was/is a genius with languages. No, those tests didn’t pick that up.
But those are outliers. Most of the time, the tests reflect reasonably well what the student knows and what their academic abilities.
It works the other way too. I remember watching the Boston Marathon in 2001 and seeing Lee Bong Ju win. During the race, the announcer said that, while he was in high school, he had set national records in Korea. At first I thought “wow”…then “DUH….what kind of person leads (and wins) the Boston Marathon?” That he had run some fast times while as a youngster is the least surprising thing in the world.
Yes, one Boston Marathon winner had started his running career as a recreational runner to lose weight! But that is the rare exception.
But dreams die hard. Think about lottery mania. I tried to tell my dad that he was wasting his time and money by buying a ticket. His response: “someone wins”. Well, “someone dies on their way to buy their ticket too” and, as we can see, the odds of dying while picking up a ticket are greater than buying the winning ticket!
So there you go.
First my workout: This was my first weight workout in about 2 weeks and I felt it.
Pull ups: 4 sets of 10, 2 sets of 5. Quality: ok, not stellar. Rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 180, 5 x 160 (pathetic) (rotator cuff)
incline press: 7 x 135 (bad)
standing military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbells (weak)
It was a start, but it was rather bad.
Running went marginally better: treadmill, 0.5 incline, started at 5.3 mph and increased by 0.1 every 1/4 mile
2 miles in 21:18, 3 in 30:55, 4 in 39:47 (last 5 minutes at 7 mph)
Yes, I coughed afterward, but this time only for 2-3 minutes or so, instead of 10. It IS getting better, albeit more slowly than I’d like.
After the workout weight (dr. scale): 176.0
Basically, I was weaker with the weights than with the run. The swim is going to be UGLY tomorrow.
There is some chatter among professors about the appropriateness of calling out certain types of student behavior. The old model is that this is somewhat untoward as “professors had more power than the students”. But things have changed; often the professors are adjunct professors with little real power and these-a-days there is a tendency for administration to use student evaluations to evaluate the professors (at least at the more teaching oriented places).
I see something else going on here:
The above refers to grade school. But in the college setting, replace the parents with deans, administrators or even professors from departments that are desperate to retain their students.
There is where the tension comes from. Most professors expect 18-20 year old students to…well, behave like 18-20 year old students. Getting undermined from other parts of the same campus is very irritating and it happens too many times (though not all of the time..at least right now).
You may have read things like “most of the newly reported science results are wrong” and this is because, well, one is more likely to report a positive finding, and many positive findings are honestly done false positives. So, one psychology journal has decided to prohibit the reporting of p-values in its articles. That makes no sense to me, and evidently it makes no sense to some scientists and statisticians either.
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