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



corin-riggs-3 (1)

I got to get back to doing it. (via: GIYP)

August 28, 2013 Posted by | yoga | Leave a comment

Some Science for the end of April 2013

Woo and yoga
Someone asked me how I could like yoga and be down on “alternative (quack) medicine”. Well, there have been some rigorous studies done on yoga and it CAN be recommended for physical therapy purposes (e. g. back aches). Via our National Institute of Health.

This Tiger Frog from Ghana is a cutie:


Movies: I want to see this one:

Note: my beef with religion, at least as practiced in the west, is that too many of them require people to accept “miracles” (resurrections, parting seas, virgin births, etc.) on “faith” (sans evidence). So once you “accept” that the laws of science (naturalism) can be suspended at set times, then, well, why trust science with anything? Seriously: if there is, say, water on your basement floor and a pipe joint above that with green on the joint…well…if you didn’t SEE it drip, then maybe the water and the green just appeared because of the work of some devil or pixie? Why not…if suspensions of naturalism are allowed?

My beef is NOT with religions that don’t require acceptance of miracles.
It is my opinion that a deity/spirit/whatever that is interested in humans and human affairs makes no sense, but that is the realm of opinion.


How about a storm that has an eye 1250 miles wide and winds of 330 miles per hour?

The eye of a super-hurricane at Saturn’s north pole looks like a peaceful red rose in a fresh bouquet of pictures from NASA’s Cassini orbiter. But don’t be fooled: That rosy appearance is merely due to the false colors ascribed to infrared wavelengths.
This storm’s eye measures 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) in diameter, about 20 times wider than the average hurricane’s eye on Earth. The outer clouds at the hurricane’s edge are traveling at 330 mph (530 kilometers per hour), which would be off the scale on our planet. The vortex whirls inside Saturn’s mysterious hexagonal cloud pattern, and it’s not going anywhere.


How do you like this image of the moon taking from space near the earth?


Here is a picture of a solar eclipse via Scientific American:

Miloslav Druckmüller, a mathematician at the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic, and his colleagues were on Enewetak as the eclipse’s shadow raced toward them from the northwest at more than twice the speed of sound. This composite of 31 images from the eclipse shows the solar corona, the wispy “atmosphere” of the sun peeking out from behind the moon as well as the cratered, rayed surface of the moon itself.

Back on Earth Again
This species of fish, commonly found in China, Russia and Korea, has been found in New York. It is an invasive species.


Even more interestingly, it can actually breathe outside of water for a short period of time (days) and even hunt.

April 30, 2013 Posted by | astronomy, atheism, biology, frogs, nature, physics, religion, science, space, yoga | , , , , | Leave a comment

Stretching and Grumpy Cat

Did I tell you that I LOVE Grumpy Cat!




Probably the main reason I gave up 6 am yoga is that my runs right after class were usually horrible. Perhaps this is why:

Now, two new studies are giving us additional reasons not to stretch.

One, a study being published this month in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout. Those findings join those of another new study from Croatia, a bogglingly comprehensive re-analysis of data from earlier experiments that was published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. Together, the studies augment a growing scientific consensus that pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive.

Many issues related to exercise and stretching have remained unresolved. In particular, it is unclear to what extent, precisely, subsequent workouts are changed when you stretch beforehand, as well as whether all types of physical activity are similarly affected.

For the more wide-ranging of the new studies, and to partially fill that knowledge gap, researchers at the University of Zagreb began combing through hundreds of earlier experiments in which volunteers stretched and then jumped, dunked, sprinted, lifted or otherwise had their muscular strength and power tested. For their purposes, the Croatian researchers wanted studies that used only static stretching as an exclusive warm-up; they excluded past experiments in which people stretched but also jogged or otherwise actively warmed up before their exercise session.

The scientists wound up with 104 past studies that met their criteria. Then they amalgamated those studies’ results and, using sophisticated statistical calculations, determined just how much stretching impeded subsequent performance.

The numbers, especially for competitive athletes, are sobering. According to their calculations, static stretching reduces strength in the stretched muscles by almost 5.5 percent, with the impact increasing in people who hold individual stretches for 90 seconds or more. While the effect is reduced somewhat when people’s stretches last less than 45 seconds, stretched muscles are, in general, substantially less strong.

They also are less powerful, with power being a measure of the muscle’s ability to produce force during contractions, according to Goran Markovic, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Zagreb and the study’s senior author. In Dr. Markovic and his colleagues’ re-analysis of past data, they determined that muscle power generally falls by about 2 percent after stretching.

In short, the lengthened, relaxed muscles stored less energy.

But on the other hand, the benefits from a stronger core were also gone. Hence I might return to yoga, but take the evening class the way that I used to. It does make my back and hamstrings feel better and I am not disciplined enough to do full routines AFTER running or lifting (I do a few poses…sometimes).

April 5, 2013 Posted by | humor, yoga | | Leave a comment

FAILS and flexibility…and a WIN

Workout notes 6.4 mile course

It was 25 F (-4 C), sunny, with a light breeze. Time was 1:01:08 (9:33) for the hilly course (417 feet of climb); one of my better efforts since 2009. (9:34 at 1.03 (flat), 35 at the bottom of the hill, 12:37 for the 1.3 lap (hilly), 4:21 up the hill, 9:09 home (48:30 for the 5.1 course; also one of my better times). I was a bit inspired by my bad training day on Saturday, rested, and encouraged by seeing the university distance runners out training (both men and women). Yeah, the women mostly run between 17:30-19:00 5Ks and the men 14-15:30, I gave ZERO thought to trying to chase them. But it touched me that they yelled encouragement as I waddled up the hill; they were doing hill repeats.

I thought about this photo from 1981 (NCAA championships at Baton Rouge; this was the 10K final):

Screen shot 2013-03-30 at 6.53.18 AM

In the lead was Suleiman Nyambui (Silver Medal in the 1980 Olympic 5K) from UTEP who won 28:34.23. Mike Musyoki finished second (second in this photo; he was to win a bronze in the 1984 Olympic 10K) and Alberto Salazar finished 4’th; he was to run 2:08 in the New York Marathon later in the year (and go on to win 3 NYC marathons in a row; the first being in the fall of 1980). I’d say that is a pretty fair trio of distance runners.


OMG. I like this for several reasons. No, I can’t do this. :-)

A new step was taken on discovering how human DNA replicates itself: in the copy process there is a clamping molecule! (that was known). But now the process has been observed:

Part of the DNA replication process — in humans and in other life forms — involves loading of molecular structures called sliding clamps onto DNA. This crucial step in DNA replication had remained somewhat mysterious and had not been well studied in human DNA replication. Mark Hedglin, a post-doctoral researcher in Penn State’s Department of Chemistry and a member of Benkovic’s team, explained that the sliding clamp is a ring-shaped protein that acts to encircle the DNA strand, latching around it like a watch band. The sliding clamp then serves to anchor special enzymes called polymerases to the DNA, ensuring efficient copying of the genetic material. “Without a sliding clamp, polymerases can copy very few bases — the molecular ‘letters’ that make up the code of DNA — at a time. But the clamp helps the polymerase to stay in place, allowing it to copy thousands of bases before being removed from the strand of DNA,” Hedglin said.
Hedglin explained that, due to the closed circular structure of sliding clamps, another necessary step in DNA replication is the presence of a “clamp loader,” which acts to latch and unlatch the sliding clamps at key stages during the process. “The big unknown has always been how the sliding clamp and the clamp loader interact and the timing of latching and unlatching of the clamp from the DNA,” said Hedglin. “We know that polymerases and clamp loaders can’t bind the sliding clamp at the same time, so the hypothesis was that clamp loaders latched sliding clamps onto DNA, then left for some time during DNA replication, returning only to unlatch the clamps after the polymerase left so they could be recycled for further use.”

Surf to the article to see how the hypothesis was tested.

David Brooks on why gay marriage is really “brining gays into the mainstream”:

Marriage is one of those institutions — along with religion and military service — that restricts freedom. Marriage is about making a commitment that binds you for decades to come. It narrows your options on how you will spend your time, money and attention.

Whether they understood it or not, the gays and lesbians represented at the court committed themselves to a certain agenda. They committed themselves to an institution that involves surrendering autonomy. They committed themselves to the idea that these self-restrictions should be reinforced by the state. They committed themselves to the idea that lifestyle choices are not just private affairs but work better when they are embedded in law.

And far from being baffled by this attempt to use state power to restrict individual choice, most Americans seem to be applauding it. Once, gay culture was erroneously associated with bathhouses and nightclubs. Now, the gay and lesbian rights movement is associated with marriage and military service. Once the movement was associated with self-sacrifice, it was bound to become popular.

This may have been intended to be ironic, but it does make a point.

A snowflake (not an April Fool’s joke) laments not getting into colleges…and lets them KNOW it.

Like me, millions of high-school seniors with sour grapes are asking themselves this week how they failed to get into the colleges of their dreams. It’s simple: For years, they—we—were lied to.

Colleges tell you, “Just be yourself.” That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.

What could I have done differently over the past years?

For starters, had I known two years ago what I know now, I would have gladly worn a headdress to school. Show me to any closet, and I would’ve happily come out of it. “Diversity!” I offer about as much diversity as a saltine cracker. If it were up to me, I would’ve been any of the diversities: Navajo, Pacific Islander, anything. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, I salute you and your 1/32 Cherokee heritage. […]

The rest is the same. Uh, snowflake? Guess what: “being yourself” doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the results you want. See those fellows in the running photo? I can be myself all I want, and I’ll never be able to run with them…or the people that they lapped once, two or three times. In fact, at my best, they would have lapped me 7-8 times (based on my running a 26 minute 4 mile run).

Anyway, I hope that my university is one that rejected her, if she applied. :-)

(sadly: probably not. In fact, she probably got a letter from my university asking her to apply here. :-( )

History FAIL


April 2, 2013 Posted by | biology, education, politics/social, running, science, social/political, yoga | , , | Leave a comment

Oh noes! Transparent Yoga Pants!!!!


Yes, sometimes yoga pants are see through although it can be fun even when they aren’t:


Evidently, the sheerness is a “problem”; one which the manufacturer is going to get to the “bottom” of.

But solutions to this “problem” (this is a problem?) abound.

One is to wear thicker yoga pants:


Or one can wear conservative underpants:


Or, just don’t wear yoga pants at all; wear a bikini instead:

Screen shot 2013-03-19 at 2.12.08 PM
(click to see the 3:40 video)..

So you see: problem solved. :-)

March 19, 2013 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, spandex, yoga | | 1 Comment

Good Yoga Video

Screen shot 2013-03-17 at 4.19.25 PM

Click on the photo to see the video. She calls it “yoga for relaxation”. :-)

March 17, 2013 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, yoga | Leave a comment

Richard Dawkins, Admirals, Climate Change, and Krugman’s LOLZ…

Hot Yoga At Home has posted another video (after a hiatus)

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 9.35.50 AM

Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 9.36.38 AM

Click on either screenshot to see the 2:45 video. It lifted my spirits.

Science When Admiral Locklear was asked about the “top threat” in the Pacific, he said(Will Rogers in National Security Blog):

Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe reported the statements on Saturday. Here is an excerpt from his article:

Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, in an interview at a Cambridge hotel Friday after he met with scholars at Harvard and Tufts universities, said significant upheaval related to the warming planet “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’

“People are surprised sometimes,” he added, describing the reaction to his assessment. “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.”

Locklear said his Hawaii-based headquarters — which is assigned more than 400,00 military and civilian personnel and is responsible for operations from California to India, is working with Asian nations to stockpile supplies in strategic locations and planning a major exercise for May with nearly two dozen countries to practice the “what-ifs.”

[W]hen it comes to pragmatic military planning, Locklear said he is increasingly focused on another highly destabilizing force.

“The ice is melting and sea is getting higher,” Locklear said, noting that 80 percent of the world’s population lives within 200 miles of the coast. “I’m into the consequence management side of it. I’m not a scientist, but the island of Tarawa in Kiribati, they’re contemplating moving their entire population to another country because [it] is not going to exist anymore.”

Then there is this from NASA (via Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub)

WASHINGTON — Vegetation growth at Earth’s northern latitudes increasingly resembles lusher latitudes to the south, according to a NASA-funded study based on a 30-year record of land surface and newly improved satellite data sets.

An international team of university and NASA scientists examined the relationship between changes in surface temperature and vegetation growth from 45 degrees north latitude to the Arctic Ocean. Results show temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982.

“Higher northern latitudes are getting warmer, Arctic sea ice and the duration of snow cover are diminishing, the growing season is getting longer and plants are growing more,” said Ranga Myneni of Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment. “In the north’s Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems.”

The study was published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The weather here: wetter than normal, and warmer than normal. We had snow toward the end of February but not much during January. We have fewer snowstorms, but heavier ones along with more total moisture (due to rain).

Education Michelle Rhee goes on and on about the need for “great teachers”. I’ll have to read her book to see if she provides any actual evidence. The review that I linked to doesn’t say whether it does or whether it doesn’t; it does say that she neglects the argument about poverty and early childhood intervention in programs such as Head Start.

I can say this: there is such a thing as talent. For example: the best track coach in the world would have never been able to make a runner out of me; I just don’t have the ability. And I wonder: if kids show up to school after being neglected (in terms of nutrition, parental attention, being read to, etc.), are they all but doomed? I don’t know; I haven’t read the evidence. I have read studies that show things like Head Start make a difference in poor areas. There is more here.

Richard Dawkins: gets a shout out on The Simpsons as a “Devil” character in Ned Flanders’ nightmare (via Friendly Atheist):
Screen shot 2013-03-11 at 9.49.53 AM

Paul Krugman: LOLZ
This is too good to be true. The Dailycurrant published a satire story about Paul Krugman filing for personal bankruptcy: the idea was that he tried to “spend his way out of personal debt”. Most of us know that Dailycurrant is satire (e. g., it had Sarah Palin being appointed to the faculty at Harvard University). But evidently, some right wing outlets DON’T know that it is satire and ran with the story. Paul Krugman stayed silent until one of these “media” outlets bit…and then had LOLZ.

March 11, 2013 Posted by | atheism, big butts, bikinis, education, environment, politics, politics/social, republicans, science, social/political, spandex, yoga | , , , | Leave a comment

If this were heaven I’d be religious

(click for larger)

Ok, these down dogs aren’t the best…but….I really don’t care about that. :-)

January 20, 2013 Posted by | big butts, spandex, yoga | Leave a comment


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