Tuesday, March 22, 2011

22 March 2011

Last night, I woke up at about 11:30 pm; I was sweating heavily, dizzy (lying down dizzy) and nauseated. I spent much of the night throwing up and dealing with dizziness; my guess is that I got food poisoning; probably from drinking out of a jug that had some old milk in it.

I feel much better today though I haven't eaten much; fortunately I was able to "work from home" today. Tomorrow, I hope to do a gentle 2-3 mile walk.

I do have some posts

From here

see more funny videos, and check out our Forever Alone lols!


Remember that evolution shaped us; reproductive success was what evolution maximized...and it did that thousands of years ago. Hence, we have some not-so-refined instincts. Read about that here.

No, creationism shouldn't be taught in science class and those who do are committing malpractice.

But at least we don't get threats for teaching evolution.

World Events
Japan really took it on the chin.


GOP 2012
Here is a run down to what they are up to. Here is a list of "liabilities" that might hurt them in the 2012 primary.

Mr. Pawlenty has formed an exploratory committee; this means that he is probably running. I have no clue as to who will rise to the top; I see Pawlenty and Romney has having the best chance in the general election, though I wouldn't say that either has a good chance.

Common ground

I actually agree with many conservatives here.

But of course, I still have many issues with them; here is a long, but fair (and documented) list.

And for the time being, Republicans are holding up nominations for no good reason; as a basis they use some out of context statements. Paul Krugman argues that this will lead to mediocre people being appointed to such posts.

If our current economic state is a correction and reflects people training for the wrong jobs, what are the correct jobs? Which areas are "hot"?

No, we don't have to study deep theology to oppose religion or to argue that it is incompatible with science.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

14 June 2010: NBA thoughts and College Student Evaluations

NBA thoughts So the Celtics have a 3-2 lead going into Los Angeles for one or two games.

Frankly: the Lakers are good enough to pull it out, period. Nevertheless, I'd say that the Celtics, for now, have a slight edge.

I have two comments:

Phil Jackson made some interesting remarks in the huddle toward the end of the game. The Celtics had a 12 point lead with 2:55 left in the game and the Lakers had cut it to 5:

""This team has lost more games in the fourth quarter than anybody in the NBA. They know how to lose in the fourth quarter, all right? They're just showing us that right now."

You can see the video here (before youtube nukes it...)

Yes, the Celtics hung on to win.

Now, of course, coach Jackson was technically right...in the regular season that was true. But why?
With a month left in the regular season, Doc Rivers gathered Paul Pierce(notes), Kevin Garnett(notes) and Ray Allen(notes) in his office to tell them how they would be champions again. They were so far away, so uncertain the possibility remained plausible. The longer the season had gone with worn legs, beat-up bodies and bad losses, the clearer the truth had become for Rivers. They would stop angling for playoff seeding and home court, stop treating the regular season with urgency.

Doc Rivers has guided the Celtics to the NBA Finals in two of the past three seasons.
(NBAE/ Getty Images)

“Listen, we’re going to practice harder, you’re going to play less and there’s going to be a minute restriction,” Rivers told them. Garnett’s and Pierce’s faces grew long, and Rivers punctuated his declaration with the obvious: “And I know you’re not going to like this, but the only way you’re going to win is healthy.”
“I thought it was the right plan, but it didn’t look right because we were losing,” Rivers said. “But guys were resting and conditioning, and I thought that was the only chance we had.”

So, Rivers would watch Garnett seethe on the bench and wonder whether they would ever get through this and into the clear. “Kevin doesn’t have a shut-down button,” Rivers said. They took him out of games, lost leads and Garnett would deliver that icy glare that demanded Rivers return him to the floor. It felt like the season was slipping away in March and April, but it turned out that it was just getting started.

As Garnett and Pierce glared into space, Rivers would hear his assistant Tom Thibodeau and trainer Ed Lacerte bark out the minutes they had played, and Rivers refused to let his thirtysomething stars exhaust their prescribed limits. As a former player with a winning pedigree, Rivers combines the best of X’s-and-O’s acumen with a true understanding of the player’s plight. He’s publicly supportive and privately harsh. He never gets personal with his criticism and never embarrasses them. He treats them with respect, but never reverence.

Bottom line: Coach Doc Rivers kept the long term goal in mind. I remember the days (Bird-Mchale-Parish-D. Johnson-Ainge) in which the Celtics would play their starters hard during the regular season, get homecourt advantage and then run out of gas (1987: Lakers, 1988: lost to the Pistons).

That didn't happen this time, though, again, I am NOT conceding the title to the Celtics. Mr. Bryant, Mr. Gasol and Mr. Fisher have a good deal to say about that.

But in any event, Doc Rivers has done an outstanding coaching job.

My guess: 7 games, with game 7 being a toss-up.


Here is an interesting article about student teaching evaluations (college level; hat tip: Edge of the American West):
College administrators tend to rely on student evaluations. If students say a professor is doing a good job, perhaps that's enough.

Or maybe not. A new study reaches the opposite conclusion: professors who rate highly among students tend to teach students less. Professors who teach students more tend to get bad ratings from their students -- who, presumably, would just as soon get high grades for minimal effort.

The study finds that professor rank, experience and stature are far more predictive of how much their students will learn. But those professors generally get bad ratings from students, who are effectively punishing their professors for attempting to push them toward deeper learning.

The study is called "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors." It was written by Scott E. Carrell of the University of California, Davis and National Bureau of Economic Research; and James E. West of the U.S. Air Force Academy

It uses as a laboratory the Air Force Academy, where students are randomly assigned to courses such as Calculus, each taught using an identical syllabus. All students are required to take specific follow-up courses. So, the researchers were able to study how each professor fared in producing results for his or her students, and how the same students did the next semester, and so on.

The findings are, to say the least, counterintuitive. Professors rated highly by their students tended to yield better results for students in their own classes, but the same students did worse in subsequent classes. The implication: highly rated professors actually taught students less, on average, than less popular profs.

Meanwhile, professors with higher academic rank, teaching experience and educational experience -- what you might call "input measures" for performance -- showed the reverse trend. Their students tended to do worse in that professor's course, but better in subsequent courses. Presumably, they were learning more.

That conclusion invites another: students are, in essence, rewarding professors who award higher grades by giving them high ratings, and punishing professors who attempt to teach material in more depth by rating them poorly.

Of course, two caveats: this study does have a randomized feature and the entrance requirements for a service academy are stringent.

At other types of universities there is a bigger spread in the quality of student; at such places the popular professors often attract weaker students and of course, these students don't do well in subsequent courses.

But yes, this reveals the flaws of using student evaluations; not that this will matter to the administration.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Celtics vs. Lakers Game 4

The Celtic shots are rimming out over and over again; Ray Allen is still missing his outside shots. The Lakers are making theirs and lead 12-11 with 4:35 left in the first quarter. Paul Pierce has been aggressive, though he has also missed two free shots (unusual for him)

10 points for Pierce and it is 14-14. The Celtics are still shooting poorly.

The Celtics are shooting 33 percent from the field; the Lakers 47 percent. Ray Allen is 1-5.

Not a lot of points so far.

Wallace just jumped and landed right on Pau Gasol. This is a good old fashioned NBA playoff foul.

Now Gasol flops and gets a foul call. That call was a Laker gift.

Still it is 19-16 Celtics after one quarter; the C's are shooting 36 percent, Lakers 35. For the Lakers, Artest is 1-4, for the Celtics Allen is 1-5, Rondo 1-4.
Gasol has 8, Pierce has 10.

Second quarter

Celtics are still shooting poorly. Ok, Robinson has his second 3.

At least the Celtics are attacking the rim. Garnett and Rondo are getting a nice rest.

27-26 Celtics with 8:10 left in the half. The Celtics' bench has 11 points in just a few minutes.

Allen in, Pierce out. Still the Celtics are hustling. 29-28 Celtics with 5:45 to go.

Man, is Gasol the referee's baby; you just breathe on him and you get a foul!

Rondo drives, gets fouled, but he sucks from the line (he is great at everything else!) He reminds me of Wilt Chamberlain in that aspect.

Bryant a 3 point shot. Pierce a nice hook off of the glass. Bryant another 3. Damn.
Rondo 2; 35-33 Lakers.

Bryant another jump shot. Oh good lord...this is getting away from the Celtics.
It started with 3 straight Bryant jump shots...
39-33 Lakers. 39-35...offensive rebound.

Lakers are shooting 50 percent; Celtics 38.5 percent. That won't get it done.

I am wondering: cold streak, good Laker defense or...old Celtic legs. Often a tired team misses lots of open shots.

Good lord..another horrible call against the Celtics.

Garnett hits the turn-around jumper to make it 45-42 Lakers at the half.

Photos by yahoo.

At the half it looks like this: Bryant 12, Gasol 13, Artest 6. Pierce 12, Davis and Garnett have 7, Rondo and Robinson have 6. Percentages: Lakers 48.6, Celtics 40.9. Rebounds are close; 21 for the Celtics, 20 for the Lakers.

The ABC announcers: Jon Barry called the Celtic offense "pathetic". Another announcer pointed out that the Lakers have the best court player (Bryant) and the best "big" player (Gasol). In short, the Celtics are lucky that this isn't a blow out. Old legs...it has been a good run.

Third Quarter
The Celtics pick it up; two missed shots in a row.
Make that 3 missed shots in a row. But two free throws; 45-44.
Gasol fouled hard this time.

49-44 Lakers; Celtics offense is still offensive. Two bad passes by Pierce; another missed fast break.
Fisher...wild shot and it went in...horrible 3 second call. Just awful; there were 20 seconds left on the shot clock!

Still the Celtics miss shot after shot; horrible. Another missed shot. 48 percent for the Lakers, 38 for the Celtics. But the Celtics are playing hard on defense.

4 fouls on Derek Fisher. That is good news.

Boston up 54-53 with 5:00 to go in the 3'rd.
Bryant ANOTHER 3; taunts the crowd.
Allen hits a shot.
Tie game (56-56) with 4 minutes to go in the 3'rd.

The Celtics continue to miss open shots. 39 percent shooting.
Pierce needs to demand the ball.

Another 3 by Bryant. Another foul on the Celtics.
Another 3 by Bryant. This one is over.

62-60 at the end of 3; Bryant is 5-7 from 3 point land.
Lakers are shooting 45 percent; Celtics 39.
The Celtics are very balanced: Pierce 12, Garnett 11, Davis 9, Rondo 8, Allen 8.
Lakers: Bryant 21, Gasol 17, Artest 6.

4'th quarter; 62-62. Gasol walks all over the place; no call; 64-62.
Big steal by Robinson who has given the Celtics good minutes off of the bench.
The bench getting 17 points and playing good defense is keeping the Celtics in the game.

Davis another shot; the bench is keeping them in the game.

Big stop; I am surprised the Gasol's wild 3 (with the shot clock running to zero) didn't go in.

Ray Allen a shot...another shot by Davis and a foul. 70-64 Celtics with 8:22; both teams shooting 42.9 percent.

But Byrant is shooting well.

The Celtic bench continues to step up; Davis on the boards and put backs.
74-66 with 7:43.
Wallace fouled and ran away. Still, got a technical; Bryant missed the free shot.
Big plays for the Celtics bench. Davis 16, Robinson 12.
Wallace buries a 3. Stupid technical on Robinson; he lost his cool.

79-72 with 5:39 left. Lakers shooting the technical. Fisher actually misses the free throw.

81-72. 5:30 to go.

Odom is playing well for the Lakers. 81-74. The backups are still in the game. Pierce is going to come in as is Garnett. Robinson the big drive!

The backups are still in the game, getting it done. 85-74 Celtics.
Wallace's back went on him. 85-77 Celtics.

2:51, 85-77; does Doc Rivers put Garnett and Pierce and Rondo back in? That isn't an easy call.

Bryant is shooting free throws; money in the bank for the Lakers. 85-79.
Pierce hits a key basket, 87-79.
Bryant another key basket. 87-81.
Pierce big drive; basket plus the foul! 90-81
(ok, bad call but that just made up another call)
But Bryant gets fouled while shooting a 3.

1:08 to go.

Bryant isn't going to miss these.

90-84 with 1:04 to go.
Rondo with a big steal and a lay-up. 92-84..makes that 92-86 with 22.2 seconds left. I hate Derek Fisher.
Boston ball though; the Lakers will foul. Don't give Rondo the ball. They foul Garnett; Garnett is a good free throw shooter.

94-86 Celtics with 17.7 seconds left; this one still isn't over given that Bryant can hit three 3 point shots in this amount of time.

Bryant his ANOTHER 3 94-89. But Pierce is on the line.
96-89 with 9.5 seconds to go; that is how it ends. Celtics win!

Keys to the game

Lakers: Bryant 33, Gasol 21, Odom 10. BUT, Bynum went out early with his knee; that hurt them inside. Fisher got had 4 fouls.
Celtics: 41-34 rebound advantage, Davis had 18 points, Robinson 12, and among the starters: Pierce 19, Garnett 13, Ray Allen 12, Rondo 10. Rebounds were shared.

But mostly it was the play of the bench that made the big difference.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

For my Facebook Friends

Note: This is not my "regular blog" any longer; I put stuff here that I think my be a distraction from my usual "political issues, philosophical rantings and athletic reports" blog.

My regular blog can be found here.

Facebook information:
I am putting in an "outline" biography so that my facebook friends from bygone eras (up to 1985) can find photos and stories about that time.

I'll put headers of places and dates in bold so you can easily scroll to what you want to see.

For those who are interested in my endurance sports record, go here.

Tachikawa Middle School and Yokota High School, 1973-1975

8'th grade: played football, basketball and baseball. I sucked at basketball and baseball. I also took algebra and did well (Mr. Christ) and though our science course sucked (I remember the teacher's name and still think that she is an idiot)

Other memories: I often got matched up with Greg Benton and got my ass kicked; Doug Anderson broke my ankle when he rejected a basketball shot (clean block) and then gave me a ride home on his bike. There were lots of girls that made my heart go pitter patter: The Kyle sisters (Cindy is the one I remember), Braunner sisters (Patricia and Kathleen), Angie Bennett, Barbara Ault, Cathie Shuck, Petra, etc.

Mostly I was clumsy, uncoordinated and socially awkward.

9'th grade: Football (JV), Wrestling and Track. I got picked on and didn't get my revenge until months later. I liked science (Mr. Schwalder) and thought that my English teacher meant well but didn't get it. Carlos McDade, Michelle Wardlay, and Lynn Sugiama were some friends that year.

10'th grade: this went better; I played on the varsity football team; the coach rode me the whole year through I started every game. Wrestling went ok too (12-3 record) before I had to leave.
Grades: I was indifferent during this time; I didn't care about academics at all and made bad grades.

I grew a bit more comfortable with girls at this time.

Tachikawa and Yokota Photos (click to see)

Travis High School: 1975-1977
Starting out at a new school was tough; I struggled on the football team though I started on the JV team as a junior and mostly rode the bench as a senior.

Academics: I kind of came alive at this time and did ok. I liked my math teachers (Halliburton, Musgraves and Sylliman (sp)) and my chemistry teacher (Ms. Mack) and coach Rhorer.

The Spanish teacher (Ms. McDow) also treated me well.

I was socially inept for this period; a highlight was going on a Citizenship Seminar week with Paul Gonzales, Joe Galvan and Tito Menchaca (my cousin). I met some friends there that I would end up corresponding with for several years.

Travis Photos.

US Naval Academy, 1977-1981

I got my BS in mathematics and a changing event for me was my first analysis class that was taught by Professor Rich Davis. Also of note: Professor Betz (complex analysis), Professor Strohl (real analysis, topology), Professor Wardlaw (algebra) and Professor Abbot. (algebra) I'll always remember them.

My Plebe (Freshman) year was a nightmare, on military grounds. I sucked; an "absent minded professor/nerd personality" just isn't a good fit with the Navy. My grades suffered as well, though I made it up somewhat to finish 269/969 in terms of grades.

I grew to love running, weight lifting and swimming.

I participated in judo and in intramural wrestling and weight lifting.

I visited Hood College a few times.

But for the most part, my memories of the Academy were not good; the place itself IS a good place but I didn't belong there.

Oh yes, I had two knee operations (1977, 1978).

Roommates included: Ron Sandoval (3 years), Dave Kroupa, John Barnhill, Jeb Hall and Brad Belletto.

Naval Academy Photos

Navy: 1981-1985

Recruiting Duty, San Antonio, fall 1981. Bill Cone, James Daniels, Ron Sandoval and later Mike Becknell (via OCS) were my compatriots. Later I was to be a housemate with Mike; I attended JD and Bill's wedding.

I mostly ran and goofed off during this time.

Pensacola, 1982 (spring)
I got NPQ'ed. I stayed in a house with 3 guys; Mike was one heck of a nice guy and had success in NFO training. He was also quite the ladies man; he sure could hook 'em any time he wanted to. His roommate was also successful with the ladies, though he was a KKK sympathizing racist. I wonder how he feels about President Obama? :-)

I did my best running during this period, hitting these times over a 6 week period: 32:06 for 5 miles, 1:09:55 for 10.2 miles, 39:50 for 10K.

I also met Mary on the way to the pool. We dated some. She loved the Washington Redskins as was a Republican.

Orlando, 1982
I got NPQ'ed (not physically qualified) for flight (bad knees, see the Naval Academy)

So, I was sent to nuclear power school. I survived; that was about it. Interestingly enough, I fit in better here than I did at the Academy, though I didn't fit in that well.

Oh yes, my classmates were very bright people; some were brilliant.

Nuclear Navy: 1983-1985

Prototype 1983: BARELY made it; I can't think on my feet very well. I loved the machinery though.

Sub school and USS Trepang: Here is where my absent mindedness really killed me; I really couldn't keep two thoughts in my head at the same time. But on the other hand I developed an awe for those who were successful; these men could balance 100 different things in their heads at the same time; even after meeting some of the smartest people in the world I remain impressed by them.

And yes, the enlisted men were pretty good too.

But my knees just killed me; I was to get taken off of the Submarine, operated on two more times and then booted from the Navy.

Nuclear Navy photos

USS Trepang photos

Women I've dated from 1977-1985. (photos)


Modern Era: people who met me from 1985 on already know what I am like, though those who knew me between 1985-1992 might be shocked that I am no longer obese.

Then I ended up in Grad School in Austin, Texas (University of Texas, 1985-1991)

Personality wise I actually fit in; I was just in the lower 5'th in terms of intelligence. Still I made it when 70 percent did not; I got the Ph. D.

Other stuff: watched lots of football and basketball, met a woman and married her; she was to become the mother of my daughter. Oh yes, I ballooned up to 300 pounds.

Peoria: Bradley University (1991-present)

Highlights: established a modest publication record, got tenure, had my daughter and then got divorced, remarried, lost weight, restarted running and other endurance sports.

I also got political (worked for Senator Kerry and Obama during their Presidential campaigns) and worked for other candidates. I was president of the local ACLU for one year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holidays 2008-2009

Here is the mistletoe!!!


Hey, Happy Holidays! To my Jewish friends: Happy Chanukah. To my neo-Pagan friends: Happy Yuletide. To my Christian friends: Merry Christmas. To my Pastafarian friends: Merry Chrifsmas. To my friends of other religions: stay warm and enjoy the Holiday Season. To my atheist/agnostic friends: happy solstice, stay warm and enjoy the holidays!

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