How science could help workplace and social relations…

One of my favorite twitter people is Prof Helen. She is an expert on health care policy and a professor at Cal-Berkeley, one of the finest R-1 universities in the world. So when she says something, I take it very seriously.

The subject of “me too” (sexual harassment and sexual assault) has been in the news lately and Prof Helen said this:

This reminded me of this blog post by Marta Iglesias:

It is my goal to explain why the causes of male and female difference are not merely cultural or the product of patriarchal indoctrination. Separate athletic competitions and distinct medical disciplines of gynaecology and urology testify to the most obvious biological differences between men and women. But the scientific method − a co-operative, critical, and self-correcting process which has midwifed huge technological and medical advances − can also help us to understand more subtle differences between the sexes in interests and aspirations. And it is understanding what we really are that will make us free.

Now this is NOT a “well, boys will be boys ergo we should just accept certain behavior”. It is more like this: statistically speaking, male brains are wired a different way. We are hard wired to view women, at least in part, sexually. Here is a joke meme along those lines (involving yoga class)

But FEELING does not excuse actions; we are men, not rabbits. Sexual harassment is unacceptable, period. It is up to men to adjust and to treat women fairly.

And yes, I know, there are some women who flirt and some who intentionally dress to provoke sexual arousal. But many times, the arousal is internal to the male…in short, it is OUR problem and it is up to adjust to it. We are to keep our hands and words to ourselves.

Feelings and urges do not have to be acted on.

And, it isn’t all about sex.

For example, my wife has a Facebook account and, from time to time, she will start a social/political discussion that gets very emotional. She flat told me to resist the urge to “ride in to save the day” when it appears that someone making a comment is being disrespectful. She is an accomplished professional; she does NOT need my help.

Workout notes:
Weights, 3 mile walk; yoga. Usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10; last one was 8-2 (narrow to wide grip), incline presses: 10 x 135, 6 x 155, 10 x 140, military: 15 x 55 seated, supported (dumbbell), 10 x 45 standing (dumbbell), 10 x machine (90). rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

Walk: West Peoria.


November 1, 2017 Posted by | human sexuality, social/political, walking, yoga | Leave a comment

Not me. Ever.

I’ve been following the “Me too” thing and, well, I wonder exactly what that means. Of course, being pressured for sex from a boss certainly counts, or being assaulted.

I know that when I was a young teen, we sometimes slapped girls on the butt (sometimes they got us back) but that eventually ended as we matured. I don’t know if that counts.

So, as an adult I had to say “Not me.” But…
I do remember a time when a gym worker that I had made small talk with swatted my butt unexpectedly. But I didn’t see that as a big deal; I never felt threatened or even annoyed; in fact, I think we saw a movie together (at a later time). I saw that as a clumsy attempt at the romance game.

But were it a guy just smacking a woman’s ass …would that have counted as “me too”?

Note: in my case, there was NO “power difference”; I was perfectly capable of saying “don’t do that again, else I will report you..”, etc. Then again, I was physically stronger than she was; in fact, much more so. I was not afraid of her by any means.

And yes, I know that there are guys who have been abused in this manner including some physically intimidating guys (example, example) It can happen to anyone, though statistically speaking, it happens to women more often.

Workout notes: Monday, weights. Crowded; physical therapy, pull ups (5 sets of 10: good), incline press: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 8 x 150, military press: standing: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, machine: 10 x 90 (each arm), machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. then light yoga, including headstand.

Tuesday: easy 10K plus in Bradley Park; saw a couple of deer on the hill near Cornstalk. Fall weather!

October 17, 2017 Posted by | social/political, walking, weight training, yoga | | Leave a comment

keep on keeping on..

Well, I haven’t given up on long distance walking…yet, but I have revised what is realistic for me to achieve. I have an idea about my next attempt..or two attempts.

Quad Cities Marathon – Photo by Erling Larson

From the A set of photos by Howell Photographic Arts of the Quad Cities Marathon.

Today: easy 5.2 mile walk in the drizzle. I did yoga last night.

October 12, 2017 Posted by | marathons, walking, yoga | Leave a comment

Yoga and weights: getting the mix right…

I think that my walking took a beating as I lost leg strength. Goblet squats are helping. But I’ve stopped doing yoga (save a few back/ab exercises) and now I am stiff. I’ll add yoga after weights.

Workout notes: weights then a little bit of yoga (sun salutes, abs, headstand, very stiff. Held plank for 2 minutes…not that hard)

weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (2 sets of 5-5-5, 2 sets of 10…went ok)
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 190, 5 x 185
incline press: 10 x 140
military: 15 x 55 dumbbell (seated, supported), 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 40 standing
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 60

Did goblet squats yesterday.

Walking: 5 miles last night; Barbara conked out at 3.6 miles. Too hot for her.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | walking, weight training, yoga | Leave a comment

Hey, my eyes are down here!

Workout notes: treadmill 4 mile run; tried to warm up a little bit quicker but my first attempts at 6.7 mph (1:30, 2, then 5 minutes) were a bit ragged. I was at mile 2 in 21:06 or so; I finally got to 6.7 again at 24 minutes into it and was able to throw in 6.8, 6.9 and 7 at the end. Total time: 38:36 for 4 miles…then some free squats.

Run notes: I have a feisty friend who (teasingly?) admonishes me to not check out her butt; when she passes me she turns and says “eyes up…my eyes are up here”. So seeing this yoga photo made me chuckle..and I made this meme:


October 26, 2016 Posted by | big butts, Friends, running, spandex, yoga | Leave a comment

You won’t keep that New Year’s Resolution to workout unless…

I saw this on a friend’s wall and it made me laugh:


And yes, many of my sports and fitness minded friends have laughed about seeing the gym crowded early in the year only to become empty later.

Jan1st Gym

There is some research that talks about this. It appears that some of us are programmed to like working out and others are not.

And, let’s face it: all of us HAVE to do stuff we don’t want to do.

So, what about those who don’t have the desire to exercise built into their nature?

One approach that works for some is to make exercise a social thing. One can do this with a spouse or good friend (some have used me for this purpose) and one can either join an exercise class or develop a “community feeling” for a set workout period. I see many in the Riverplex who do this, even with me (e. g. someone noticed that I had a hair cut and a shave).

It is also my personal opinion that one should find an activity that they either enjoy or at least are more tolerant of.
I am lucky in there is a lot that I like to do (though I am not good at it) but even I need people; that is probably why I do more of those 5K races than I should.

If someone knows that they are goal oriented, one can make it a goal to, say, finish the local major race (e. g. the Steamboat 4 mile in Peoria) and join a group that is designed to get people to do that (like, say, the Illinois Valley Striders Building Steam program).

All of the well-intended resolutions in the world have a low probability of success if there is no concession made to a person’s nature.

I note that several of my friends who are very, very fit (finished marathons or beyond, lead several exercise classes, etc.) workout mostly in groups or with a friend.

This is why I am not a big fan of home exercise equipment. It can help…those who are genetically programed to do it anyway. And I do use our home treadmill when I am pressed for time OR when it is snowy/icy outside. But I am one of those who will “do it anyway.”

December 28, 2015 Posted by | workouts, yoga | , , | Leave a comment

Still a bit sore

Workout notes: 3 mile walk after weights (Bradley Park). Note: there is now a police car which hangs out on Parkside; that keeps the driving speed down. 🙂

Weights: rotator cuff
pull ups (5 sets of 10..better)
incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 165, 7 x 150 (dug deep on these)
military/Hammer Machine rows/pull down superset: 3 sets of 10 each exercise:
40 lb. dumbbell for the military, 200 for the row, 160 for the pull down.

I did some headstand too.

September 16, 2015 Posted by | weight training, yoga | 2 Comments

oh my back!

Workout notes: swimming; I did see Ms. Vickie at the Riverplex.

500 warm up, 5 x 50 fly/free, 5 x 50 back/free
12 x 50 fist/free on the 1:05
alternate 100: pull, free (5 of these)
75 side, 25 free.

I went to the office to work. That chair just kills my back; so I invested in a better chair. Well, see how it goes; it sure felt comfortable at the store and more comfortable than the best chair we have in our house.

Last night: the pain referred to my right hip; stretching the back made it feel better. I need to be serious about my daily back PT and perhaps 10-15 minutes of yoga a day.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | swimming, yoga | | Leave a comment

Bias of many types…and a walk

Today’s workout: end of “leisure” workout. I did my 8.1 cornstalk course in 2 hours (some rain…I didn’t get that wet) and then 2 more miles on the treadmill: 12:00/11:20 to get 23:20. I wanted to do at least a little faster than marathon pace.

RIP: BKS Lyengar, famous yogi and author of Light on Yoga.

Here he is in 1977 when he was in his late 50’s. What flexibility, strength, and body control!

Survivorship bias: this is the annoying tendency to see, say, a dozen successful companies, see what they have in common, and then conclude that what they have in common is what made them successful. Nope; you have to see how many companies did those same things and WERE NOT successful, among other things. From the article:

This is what Pomona College economist Gary Smith calls the “survivor bias,” which he highlights as one of many statistically related cognitive biases in his deeply insightful book Standard Deviations (Overlook, 2014). Smith illustrates the effect with a playing card hand of three of clubs, eight of clubs, eight of diamonds, queen of hearts and ace of spades. The odds of that particular configuration are about three million to one, but Smith says, “After I look at the cards, the probability of having these five cards is 1, not 1 in 3 million.” […]

Smith found a similar problem with the 1982 book In Search of Excellence (more than three million copies sold), in which Tom Peters and Robert Waterman identified eight common attributes of 43 “excellent” companies. Since then, Smith points out, of the 35 companies with publicly traded stocks, 20 have done worse than the market average.

Depression I talked about depression in an earlier post. Here is some of what science knows about it right now:


See the subtle racism here? The idea is that this black Attorney General who has spoken out about race relations is somehow too “emotionally invested” or biased to be even handed. Why would a black Attorney General be any less evenhanded than a white one? And shouldn’t we be far more concerned with an Attorney General who did NOT see race relations as a problem?

Here: Kansas City police officer posts a snarky post about Michael Brown’s character (the dead teenager in Ferguson) and shows a photo of a young black man with a gun and money in his mouth. But this black man is some guy in Oregon…not Michael Brown. It is amusing that police officers everywhere are telling us to not to rush to judgement but… 🙂

I suppose that given that we have 300+ million people in this country and a lot of police officers, a few are bound to be crackpots.

Racism in sports
Sadly, some African American athletes have racist stuff directed at them. Here is an example (Eddie Chambers, an elite boxer)

August 20, 2014 Posted by | boxing, racism, science, social/political, statistics, walking, yoga | , | Leave a comment


The windows are rattling from the thunderstorms. But I got my run in ahead of time.
I woke up sore and stiff. So I backed off of the idea of an interval workout:

4.2 mile Cornstalk classic (outside)
5K on the track (middle lane): 8:51, 8:51, 8:39 (26:41), 27:37 total (slow last lap).
Then 18 minutes on the bike (5 miles); this hurt at first.

I do have to watch my back on the bike.

I’ve returned to doing back stretches (McKenzie, down dog, up dog, Camel, Standing Back Bends) , but nothing quite this extreme:

August 19, 2014 Posted by | running, spandex, yoga | | Leave a comment