Print Story The word for the day is "hypnotize"
By lm (Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:06:25 AM EST) (all tags)
You heard it here first.

Blather follows.

The other day I almost fell out of the bus. (For certain definitions of 'almost.') I generally cat nap during my morning commute. I prefer the seats that face the aisle of the bus (more legroom) but every now and then I end up in a forward facing seat. I settled in and about twenty minutes into the trip, I was awakened by a loud snapping sound, the emergency release on the window misfired and the entire window pane swung out while the bus was making a turn. With the window frame being about waist height, I found my torso also swinging out and myself looking down at the pavement whipping by below.

I tried to grab the window and force it shut to no avail. Fortunately, I was close to my stop. A couple more turns and we arrived and I went on my merry way, a bit shaken but not stirred.

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Some folks are claiming that rather than being near zero, US inflation is near double digits if an older measure is used. This would certainly make an interesting study, but my intuition is that it doesn't presently pan out. The prices on quite a bit of important items (e.g. housing and clothes) seems to be either stagnant or falling. I don't know that the commodities that are rising (e.g. power, food) are rising enough to add up to almost a 10% annual rate.

Newsflash: BMI isn't a perfect measure. The single most interesting factoid in the article is that BMI was designed to measure populations rather than individuals. I didn't know that. Bits on possible replacements are also interesting. For the most part, no alternative is as easy and inexpensive to calculate. This is why BMI will never die out. One, the body adiposity index, looks pretty interesting.

Taco Bell lawsuit withdrawn. Apparently their beef really was beef.

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

It's been about nine months since I've purchased my iPad. I've gotten mostly used to the way that it works and, knowing what I know now, I'd still buy it again if given a chance to have a do over. In some ways, it's been a bit of a disappointment. In other ways, however, it's been quite nice.

My chief complaint is that there is no good way to switch between applications. Double-tapping the home button brings up a bar with all recently used applications. This doesn't sound all that cumbersome but to get to the home button you have to take away your hands from what you're doing. The either on the screen or on the keyboard (I use a bluetooth keyboard with my iPad about 70% of the time I use my iPad) and moving to the home button is pants. I don't know why (a) there isn't a good gesture to switch apps and (b) the Expose button on the keyboard wasn't made to do something similar to what it does in OS X.

Another annoyance is that, once the keyboard is paired, there doesn't seem to be a way to use the on screen keyboard without turning bluetooth off. (There may be something I just don't know about.) If the keyboard is your only bluetooth device attached, this works fine. If you've also got bluetooth headphones, it's not so great.

Then there is the absence of Flash. I can honestly say that in the span of time that I've had it, there has only been once or twice where I've missed having Flash.

Lastly, document management is stuck in the late nineties. Transferring files for the most part is pretty awkward. Applications that use the cloud do fine. But if you've got "local" files, it's not so convenient. It reminds me of using my PalmPilot III back in 1999.

On the plus side, there seems to be an app for everything. There are a number of area restaurants (both locally owned and large franchises) with apps. I can put together my order and have it ready to be picked up (or even delivered) in moments. There is also an app for paying the county-run parking meters. It really is a paradigm shift.

Also, I finally got around to installing the Pandora app. It seems like they've massively increased their database since I last used it. The iPad version runs like a champ. It keeps surprising me with songs that I like that I've forgotten all about or songs that I didn't know that I liked.

I do fine at text processing, writing all my term papers in LaTeX, stored on Google Docs. True, I need a bit of time at a workstation with LaTeX installed to turn them into PDFs and print them. But, if I wanted, I could use one of the online LaTeX processing services.

And, it's small and light but still has a screen large enough to be useful.  Carrying it around is simply not a big deal. Even my old 12" G4 PowerMac used to weigh me down if I carried it long enough. This thing is a dream.

And the batteries last forever compared to a laptop. (To be fair, though, they burn through at lightning speed compared to the life that a PalmPilot III could milk out of a pair of AA's.)

:: :: :: :: :: :: ::

I can see how if one runs a restaurant and puts margarita mix into a container labelled Apple Juice that a toddler might end up getting served a margarita but for the life of me, I can't figure out why anyone in the restaurant biz would put margarita mix into a container labelled Apple Juice.

You gotta love a town where you can take This Way three blocks and make a left on That Way until you get to Any Way. Too bad that the tradition is getting muddled. The road to the airport is no longer Run Way and the road that passes by the bank is no longer Which Way.

I never realized that one could make a decent guess about how lucky you were going to get on a date on the basis of the musical tastes of whom you're taking out. But, it turns out that Nirvana fans are most likely to put out; Coldplay fans are least likely.

:: :: :: :: :: ::

I kept to my running regimen surprisingly well through the winter. Even when on holiday, I managed to run three times per week or more and quite frequently hit the gyms in various places. Then we spring and the weather turned very nice. And then the weather turned quite nasty and for a few weeks the IDONTWANNAs  overwhelmed me. Instead of running, I just used the weight machines in the gym.

So when the weather turned and I was once again motivated run in the morning, I found my stamina far lower than it was previously. Last week week, I had one 5 mile day, two 4 mile days, two 3 mile days and one day where I decided to go back to bed and sleep instead.

One thing I had noticed about my running is that my times had been decreasing slowly. Looking back, I tried to assess what might be a likely cause. I settled on dropping the lower body exercises from my weight machine routine. So I decided to add them back. Time being a constraint, I added them back every other day. Instead of doing a full circuit, I now alternate upper body and lower body routines in the gym. Crunches, however, I do everyday that I go to the gym.

Weight wise, I've pretty much given up weighing myself regularly. The primary purpose of weighing myself was to see where I fell on the BMI charts. I think (I hope) that I've gotten to the point where those charts aren't very helpful. But that may just be wishful thinking.

I've also had the experience of out-growing a few pairs of pants. I can fit into some styles of 34" but 36" are far more comfy.

:: :: :: :: ::

An argument that mixed martial arts is safer than boxing I'm not entirely convinced (the stats in the article are misleading, comparing numbers of deaths rather than numbers of deaths per 1000 participants). But it's the intuitive conclusion. Nice thick boxing gloves mean that boxers can take many more blows to the head without falling over until the match concludes.I suspect that there are more "hidden" injuries in boxing than MMA.

NY Times spotlights atheist student clubs in high schools. The times have changed.I remember when a couple of guys tried to start a freethinker's group back when I was in high school. They got shot down by the administration. They were also stereotypical Nietschean "will to power" sorts. I suspect that may have played a a role in the decision.

Mike Huckabee has an interesting view of education, "all Americans would be forced -- forced at gunpoint no less -- to listen to every David Barton message"

:: :: :: ::

My eldest daughter has finally made up her mind where she's going to attend college, St. John's University. This past weekend, she took a train to the Big Apple to attend an honors' banquet and take a tour of the campus. She really dug the banquet. The campus tour, she had problems with. She overslept, not waking up until the point in time in which she was supposed to have been on campus. And she failed to check the bus schedules to see if the busses slated to get her from where she spent the night to the campus were running when she needed them to run.

Nonetheless, she's pretty jonesed about heading there. This is good, she was pretty disappointed by St. Mary's College. She knew it was a small school and that it was out in the middle of nowhere but she didn't fully realize just how out in the middle of nowhere it was or just how small of a school it was. She came back pretty deflated about it.

Good thing she likes St. John's.

:: :: ::

American influence on Arab spring overstated. Some good points, but I think it misses the elephant in the room. It seems to me that the necessary condition for kicking off these revolts was the Wikileaks provided information that the US would not intervene to prop up its allies in various Arab states if the people rebelled.

Glenn Beck victim of improving economy. It would seem that people with hope don't pay as much attention to his rabid asshattery. Either that or the boycott of Beck's sponsors, not mentioned in the linked article, has done its job.

US Army is updating its physical fitness test. I'm able to pass the old one, for a soldier 20 years younger than I. It'll be interesting to see what the cutoffs for the new one are.

:: ::

I finally made time to make a proper dinner and invite some friends over. The menu consisted of freshly made bread, stuffed roles of fish, orange broccoli, tossed salad and brownies made from scratch topped with ice cream. The fish recipe is one of my favorites, the stuffing is made from bread crumbs and pine nuts. It's supposed to be made from sole, but when I went to the fish market, they had no sole. That made me sad because I felt silly singing the Dead Milkmen while preparing fillets of St. Peter's fish.
It still tasted nice. And the company was good, friends from across the river that we haven't seen in far too long. They brought the wine.


When the Byzantine army is amassed before your town, even the lepers go to war. Necessity, however, is only one possible explanation. Perhaps not all medieval societies shunned lepers. Leprosy aside, I found the most interesting part of the article to be he details of the wounds and their treatment that these warriors survived before dying. Eighth century brain surgery impresses me.

I must just be too old fashioned. I was surprised that 3 in 5 women consume Internet portporn and 1 in 6 claims to be addicted. Perhaps, women are just less open about consuming porn then men. The female contingent of HuSi aside, most women I know get defensive and irritated talking about porn while most men I know are likely to offer an assessment of how good (or poor) the porn is.

A friend of mine is a history professor that specializes in ancient Cortinth. The notification he set up on Google to alert him to new developments sometimes brings back surprising results.

< floggers and twizzlers and wands | There's almost certainly a word in German for it >
The word for the day is "hypnotize" | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
BMI sucks by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:33:15 AM EST
It is excellent for the purpose for which it was intended, but for measuring individuals, it fails...which is why it saddens me so to see it used this way, and angers me when it's applied to me.
if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
(Comment Deleted) by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:07:03 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by wumpus

[ Parent ]
BMI fails math. Wumpus fails posting. by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:11:42 PM EST
BMI scales O(height**2) Mass scales O(height**3) I suspect that in these parts this is pretty obvious, but the errors created should cancel just fine when using large populations (possibly with a small correction factor for height). An individual is better off jumping into a pool and seeing what amount of weight (if any) is needed to cause sinking. Wumpus

[ Parent ]
I suspect mass scales slightly slower than that. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:43:29 PM EST
because breadth and depth probably don't scale uniformly with height. But as a general rule, it seems reasonable.

The buoyancy thing sounds sensible. As does a simple wobble test on the gut.

[ Parent ]
Bouyancy by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:47:31 PM EST
In theory good, but it requires empty lungs, which can be hard.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
DXA is the gold standard by lm (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 05:47:49 AM EST
Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry can tell you exatly what you're made out of.

But that is far more expensive and far less convenient than stepping on a scale and comparing the results to a chart. The chief reason for BMI being so popular is its ease and thatit works well enough for most people. But it doesn't work for everyone.

Body Apidosity Index looks like it might be a good replacement for BMI. All you need is a tape measure.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Korinth: A Tale of Zombies in the Old West by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:39:21 AM EST
The future looked as bright and shiny as a gold nugget until Edna McCauley, a woman with a singing voice so dreadful it was rumored that President Lincoln had wanted to unleash her on the Confederacy if Robert E. Lee refused to surrender, is murdered at a church social.
Pity it's only available as a Kindle book.

I remember hearing on MarketWatch that the US had experienced something like 10% deflation in the crash since mortgages had become part of the money supply and when they went bad that reduced the money supply.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

and cue the Scritti Politti earworm. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:53:02 AM EST
Good on her for choosing DMC's alma mater. Also, I can vouch for that Coldplay statistic. Frustrating, that was.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Eff BMI by riceowlguy (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:58:35 AM EST
According to BMI I am still very obese with a very high health risk.  Meanwhile everybody I see tells me how skinny I look.  I know that that's probably because they are comparing how I look now to their memories of me, but still, when I look in the mirror, while I don't see someone with Adonis DNA staring back at me, neither do I see a fat guy anymore.  I see a pretty typical early-middle-aged American desk worker.

I have been thinking about buying a new scale that does bioelectrical impedance measurement of body fat percentage, but the reviews for even the fanciest models suggest that these can be wildly inaccurate, particular for athletic people with a lot of muscle mass.  Which makes them seem pretty useless because who other than athletes need to focus on body fat percentage?

I may try and figure out if I can just buy a DEXA scan from some place for a reasonable amount of money.  Probably not though.

who? by garlic (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:44:06 AM EST
people who think bmi sucks.

body fat percentage is a good measure to use to check for obesity, if you think bmi is wrong, and you aren't actually atheletic, than you should have it checked. Most gyms can check it for you.

[ Parent ]
Fat percentage scales by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:35:16 PM EST
I got one, and it was utterly useless.  I didn't mind the fact that it gave me numbers I didn't want to here.  I did mind that it would say my body fat was different by as much as 5% between two weighings separated by a day.

Since I weigh myself under basically the same conditions every day, I saw no way to control for it.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Inflation and Internet Port by riceowlguy (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:09:46 AM EST
I find inflation to be an interesting sub-topic of economics, which I find interesting in general.  I've always felt like the whole core vs. headline inflation thing just doesn't pass the bullshit test for me.  Yes, I know that oil prices and food prices have violent swings that don't necessarily have anything to do with fundamental supply vs. demand issues.  I also feel like energy and food are the two things with the most inelastic demand so they will be the first to show any inflation caused by monetary policy in a recession.  If you're flooding the economy with money in hard times, food and gas are people's top priorities.

I ordered some internet port (a nice 50-year-old tawny from Australia) for my then-so for Christmas, and she loved it. I thought we were special though.  3 out of 5, damn.

see ucb's and wiredog's comments by lm (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:18:10 PM EST
I hear what you're saying about the bull dookey test. Yet, I think the distinction between core inflation and regular inflation is kind of important. Food and energy costs are only inelastic within certain income bands. Below a certain threshold, food stamps and government heating programs kick in. Above a certain threshold, heating and food costs are really only a minor expense. It's the folks in the middle that can't afford to trade in  the 20 year old station wagon for an eco-box that get pinched.

Add add to that that in most of the country, housing costs have plummetted. But, again, the people in the middle get pinched because they bought their homes and can't afford to sell them for a loss. Meanwhile, the people on the low end get less expensive rent and the people on the high end just shrug their shoulders and either decide to structure a strategic default and walk away or wait for their next divident check.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Food and energy costs by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #25 Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 11:01:55 AM EST
Here's the deal.  Long term set-in increases in energy and food costs will migrate into the costs for finished goods and labor.  Short term won't.  You exclude the food and energy and focus on the finished products and services.  The assumption is that part of the inflation in services and products is composed of long term inflation in energy and food.  Today's prices on goods and services includes the growth in energy costs from 1980 to 2000. 

What I find the most interesting component in inflation is labor cost.  Labor costs are relatively stagnant and have been for a long time mainly through increased competition in the supply side (offshoring, imigration, women in the work force).  There isn't going to be much inflation on the labor side for a while.  Too much supply.

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
wage inflation by lm (2.00 / 0) #26 Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 01:59:27 PM EST
The other day on Morning Joe, they were bantering about the numbers and one thing they kept circling back to is that there has been no meaningful wage inflation in the US in decades.

As for inflation in energy and food migrating into inflation of other products, yeah, it does that. But that's not the only complaint that people have about the present measures of inflation. That an iPad costs the same as it did last year but now it comes with a faster processor and more memory is calculated as deflationary. There is one level in which that is true. But there is another level in which it isn't. It's not like there are many people besides folks like the Woz that might have bought two iPads from the first generation to work around its limitations.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Boxing by Herring (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:27:13 AM EST
A Stephen Fry/QI "fact" was that bare knuckle boxing is safer than regular boxing because you wont hit someone's head so hard with an unprotected fist.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

Stephen Fry by dmg (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:24:44 PM EST
Can we trust anything this guy says? 
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
That's certainly part of it by lm (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:56:08 PM EST
(Although MMA still uses taped hands/padded gloves, just padded gloves with less padding.)

The "intuitive" bit, I think, is that one of the most damaging aspects of head injury comes about when the brain sloshes around in the skull and smacks itself back and forth. If you build a glove and devise a set of rules to maximize the number of blows to the head that can be taken before a bout is over, that sort of thing will happen that much more often.

Not to mention that gloves add weight and the heavier the object striking the skull, the greater ths sloshing about of the brain against the inside of the skull.

And, as you bring up, cushioning the fist means a willingness to throw higher velocity punches which also means more sloshing about of the brain against the inside of the skull.

Add to this that, from what I've seen, most MMA refs will call a TKO far earlier than most boxing refs, I think the potential for serious, long term injury is far less.

OTOH, it's still a primitive and brutal sport.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
gloves by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:54:34 PM EST
Even though heavier, they do reduce the impact because they reduce the speed of the shock.  That is, there is some period where the soft glove is deforming.  That's basically determines the strength of the impact.  You take the time from the first touch of the object to the time when the total of the impact has been imparted and divide that into the speed*mass of the object.  The software the object, the longer period over which the impact occurs, and thus the lower the damage.

And you are indeed entirely correct about the main injury being the brain sloshing in the skull.

(The above brought to you by sitting for three weeks sitting on a jury in a head injury personal injury trial.)

It is definitely the case that repeated impacts cause greater damage.  Not only this, but it is a lifetime effect.  If you get a single concussion, you are more susceptible to brain injuries for the rest of your life.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Not so good an argument by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 11:37:58 AM EST
Karate types seem willing enough to hit boards hard with a bare fist. They don't always break... From what I've heard of ye olden days of bare knuckle boxing, the knuckles would swell up enough to cushion the receiver of the blow (I suspect it hurt even more to throw the punch).

Some other notes on MMA safety:
Much of the safety depends on the referee declaring the match "decisive". This makes matches short and is hated by a significant percentage of fans. The free market demands bloody gladiators.
Boxing (and to a lesser extent, US football) focus safety entirely on the head. On the other hand, there was a recent media circus involving a sudden peak of pro "wrestler" deaths. It seems that widespread trauma resulting in subsequent pain killer addiction is not a healthy thing. While "non-head" hidden injuries tend to heal, this would be where I would look for real dangers.


[ Parent ]
The statist nanny state is okay by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:38:50 AM EST
if it mandates Fundamentalist Christianity.

Thanks Huck!

The last time around, I wanted to like Huckabee by lm (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:03:08 PM EST
I failed. Just too many weird things coming out like the data destruction surrounding the ethics charges.

And, while I suspect he was just being flip, I think that's a real problem with the religious right. So long as it supports the "right" moral code, the Nanny State is not only A-OK, but mandated by Heaven.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I liked nuch what he said in Do The Right Thing by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:58:39 PM EST
I can understand his populist message, but his social conservativeness is just too much,

[ Parent ]
I can't support him by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #22 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:55:31 PM EST
...because he deliberately cuts out people of my religion, or at least lack of one.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by duxup (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 10:44:33 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by duxup

[ Parent ]
Screw that by duxup (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 10:45:53 AM EST
The religious right doesn't just think the nanny state is OK, it is outright a part of their agenda even if not outright stated.   
[ Parent ]
Typo by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:27:48 PM EST
I was very confused for a bit, wondering at there being roves of women getting wine on the Internet, and port in particular!?

I've complained on the Internet about the BMI for many years, but people who do tend to get accused to be in denial about their fatness.  Ironically, a BMI of 25 is about my goal weight.

Keyword matching recommendations are amusing.  Just yesterday, Facebook claimed that iGrrrl's mention of opening her windows for spring was related to my comment about "Windows Genuine Advantage".

The margarita mix thing is almost certainly a design issue.  (Someone needs to contact Donald Norman.  My guess is that they use a bunch of containers for drinks, all identical looking but for the labels.  This makes it easy for a distracted person to grab the wrong one.  Instead, they should make the containers obviously different.  (Different size, shape and color.)  This never happens at a place that mixes drinks to order for this very reason.  (And should alert customers that what they get at these sorts of places is generally a reconstituted powder mixed at the start of business.)

Inflation rate is often an impossible to measure because as you note, commodities don't rise in lock-step.  Clearly a poor person who spends 40% of their income on food is going to feel things differently than home owner making a reasonable income.  At best, it's a broad measure that just gives a rough idea.  (Kinda like the BMI.)  Unfortunately, humans fixate on numbers, so a deeper analysis will often get lost in the obsession over a number reached using relatively arbitrary methods.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

I was trying to figure out riceownguy's comment by lm (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:07:31 PM EST
And, indeed, we have a Type-O. I should fix that.

The body apidosity index looks like a good alternative. It looks like it may be almost as flawed as BMI in some ways, but it only requires a tape measure: BAI = (hip/height x square root of height) - 18.

Your explanation of the margarita/apple juice snafu makes sense. My first guess was some employee mixing up the labels intentionally so as to not raise eyebrows while drinking "apple juice" during his or her shift.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
The word for the day is "hypnotize" | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback