Science, Statistics, Politics, Current Events, Photos and Life.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

lying in politics and the press

I had the idea that once upon a time, some people in public life had actual respect for the truth. Politicians these days seem to think that creating their own reality is perfectly fine. Bush has been the master at this, or rather Rove and the other puppeteers behind him. They have been successful at this for 6 years until this last election. The only people they are sure to fool are other neo-cons.

Once upon a time, at least some of the press could be expected to, in between scoops regarding Brit's u-pants habits, to determine if one side or the other in an argument was actually lying. Or at least wrong.

Bush saying we're winning in Iraq could get a cold and negative analysis in the press in multiple papers. But not any more. Once, the great unwashed denying the holocaust, WWII in general, evolution, global warming, that 2+2=4, and so on, might get quoted, but their quotes would get refuted over most of the news article. No more. Any one with any point of view deserves 50% of any newspaper article about them. And 100% if it happens to agree with Fox's editorial bias.

I've got news for you: Evolution lives! Just like Elvis. Ok, not like Elvis. Elvis lives on in our collective conscious. All that activity couldn't be the responsibility of our collective unconscious, let me tell you. But evolution ranks up there with Newton's laws, electomagnetism, atomic theory, relativity and quantum mechanics for its impact on science and the world. Evolution ranks ahead of tarot cards, crystal balls, the bible, the torah and the koran in its ability to explain the world around us.

FBI attacks, book burnings, earthquakes and asteroid strikes, drama queens and snake handlers can not refute evolution.

Consider the following hypothetical thought experiment.

(1) Suppose that every last book, scientific and popular press article and human memory about evolution were somehow wiped off the face of this earth. No Darwin, no nobel prizes, no Stephan J. Gould, no nothing remained of evolution. What would happen?

(2) Suppose that the bible disappeared, and every last book, scientific and popular press article and human memory about the bible and all branches of christianity disappeared. What would happen?

In case (1), human beings would reinvent evolution and would work out the same theory about how it works that we have now. In case (2), no one would reinvent christianity, though, I dare say someone would invent a mono-theistic religion. One god, under contract, indivisible, to be all things to all people. But JC and angels and the devil would not get reinvented. Noah would not exist, but most good religions have a big flood in them. So the great flood would continue to exist. Jonah might get left out, poor guy.

Pool 'o' Mine

The wind has been blowing ferociously for two days, dumping dirt and leaves into the pool. The cleaner has been on the semi-fritz, not doing its job, and now the job has umpteen-tupled. Dropped the cleaner head off at the repair place. We'll see what the problem is.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sicker than a human

Today I have a sore throat. No doubt will get worse shortly, runny nose, aches and pains, cough, and a second sore throat from post-nasal drip.

I'd say I was sicker than a dog, but the dog was way sicker than I am. Poor guy was losing it rapidly from both ends. Need I say more? This is a family rated blog. After a few days of illness, the emissions turned red. Very scary for the whole family; we thought we were going to lose doggie. Everyone was crying. Doggie could barely walk outside to do his duty. Climbing stairs was a major chore. One step at a time was all he could manage.

Five days after T-day, he is noticably thinner than he was then. Maybe he ate something bad, or he caught stomach flu from another dog: we had three visiting.

He is noticeably peppier today. He barked in the morning to warn the wife I was coming down the stairs. He had only done a similar thing maybe once since last Friday. Now he is begging food from everyone. But he is being held to a strict diet until he shows he can keep it all down and digest the food normally. But the water is going through his system now in a good way.

Hopefully we'll still have doggie for a few more years.

Monday, November 27, 2006

working for a living

Why does Biostatprof do what biostatprof does? Because:

  1. I need to eat
    1. My family needs to eat
    2. The dog needs to eat
    3. The bird could get along without me
  2. Its fun.
    1. Really.
  3. I'm interested in what I do.
    1. Usually
  4. I'm good at it.
    1. When I do it
  5. People tell me I'm great.
    1. Not really, I made that up.
  6. I like working with students, i.e. mentoring
    1. I've been mentored so much in my life, its time to give some back.
    2. Besides, working with students is fun.
    3. Even when it hurts.
  7. I like teaching.
    1. At least the courses I'm good at.
    2. And teaching the material I know something about.
    3. The ones I've taught a long time, I actually get a good overview of what the material is, and I can recast it in a coherent framework.
      1. You read that entire bullet point?
    4. I wish students would rate me higher at the end.
  8. There is bureaucratic stuff to deal with as well.
    1. That isn't as fun.
    2. Committees.
    3. Faculty meetings.
    4. Committee meetings.
      1. In my committees, we never meet.
      2. What for?
      3. We can do it quicker if we don't meet, and we don't discuss it.
      4. And occasionally I can do it by myself.
      5. Though I'd rather have someone else do it.
      6. Natch.
  9. The U publishes over a dozen glossy and newsprint magazines and papers for me to read.
    1. I counted once.
    2. Between my school, the university, the fundraising, the advertising, the boasting, the news reporting, and the worrying, there is a lot to read.
    3. I toss as much as possible.
    4. I could waste days each month reading everything they publish.
    5. And then my alma mater sends me stuff too.
  10. Having good colleagues helps a lot.
    1. Good colleagues are where you find them.
    2. With email, you are not restricted to your local neighborhood colleague.
    3. Though its easier if they are not more than a few time zones away.
  11. Having a pleasing physical work environment really helps.
    1. I wish.
    2. Tear this building down, Mr. Gorbachev.
    3. And build me a new one.
    4. Current building is really ugly. Especially on the inside.
    5. Why can't academia buildings look nice?
    6. Are we required to be ascetic, just because we're academia?
  12. About research:
    1. Its gotten easier over time.
    2. Dealing with paper and grant referees is still hard.
    3. And painful.
    4. I have a plan.
      1. Seems to work for most any problem.
      2. I teach it to my students.
      3. They have a plan, too.
    5. Research should have gone much higher up than here
    6. At the bottom.
    7. but I forgot.
  13. Niiiccceeee!

500 million can buy a lot

George Bush wants to raise 500 million for his presidential library. Woah! For that sort of money, he could buy Ecuador, allowing his girls to stay the full expected term of their vacation.

Friday, November 24, 2006

On Aging and Food Intake

It is a source of wonderment to me how the human body's nutrient needs change over time. I don't really know about nutrients per se, but certainly sheer needed or potential bulk of intake changes with age.

During the childhood years, we grow fast. Teenage years, as I recall, I could eat tons of food and not get larger. Then the early twenties hit, and a small downsizing of needed food intake takes place. For most of us, the downsizing of need occurs first, then the downsizing of actual consumption eventually follows, but not without us first gaining weight at that time.

Roughly at every ten year periods, more or less, my body has started requiring less and less food. My appetite is still there. The ability to insert the same old massive amount of food into my body is still there. But instead of all those calories going into energy expenditure, roughly at age 30, then age 40, and again in the late 40's, my weight goes up.

Right now, if I eat as much as I wish, then my belly fills up, and it gets very uncomfortable. It can even hurt. This wasn't a problem when I was younger. It may be all that adipose tissue is getting in the way (weigh?) and interfering with my natural consumption. But probably I'm merely over eating. But with an amount of food that would not have hurt or been otherwise injurious when I was younger.

Three good meals used to be entirely possible. Now-a-days, one good meal, and a snack to tide me over is about all I can handle.

Having to learn to downsize portions is hard on a body. Desire to finish the last of the pie, all the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and especially the gravy burns strong within.


I gotta go eat now.


The purpose of this blog is to comment on
  1. Politics
  2. News
  3. Popular events
  4. Statistics
  5. Daily events
From a scientific/rationale/statistical perspective.

-- BSP

Thanksgiving: the Aftermath

The day after Thanksgiving:
  • Head: No hangover
  • Tummy: ache gone
  • Ready: to eat all the food I didn't get enough of yesterday
  • Daughter: Practicing her violin
  • Email: None!
  • Weather: Cool and bright
  • Family: Slept over last night
  • Horoscope: Good day to start a blog
Ready for a new day. Time to conquer new fields (like a blog).