April 27, 2007

A-muse(ing) someone

Hopefully this will make someone, somewhere laugh. After 31 days of pool running, 24 of them hard days, it's time to take a recovery week ... from my aqua-jogging routine. That's the part you're supposed to laugh at.

The cutback will coincide with the last week of dissertation writing before I hand it off to my committee, and wait for their permission to defend it, so the extra time will be valuable too. Even with the joys of Zotero and EndNote the final footnotes take longer to format than you think (even when you adjust for them taking longer than you think ... )

What with it being apparently spring weather outside (I wouldn't know, I go to the pool, I go to my desk, and when I look at the weather forecast page in my browser I often discover I haven't reloaded it for two days) the muse (Clio, maybe) from running outside would be a good thing. After a month in the pool, I've found my muse in there more than I thought I would. When you're running by yourself if you have a thought you can verbalize it (=talk to yourself). In the pool with the lifeguard sitting relatively close I can't do that ...

Now, back to that little essay I have to write.

Posted by eroberts at 1:59 PM

April 25, 2007

Important sporting news

hat tip to Cathy for seeing this important news ...

Posted by eroberts at 6:33 AM

April 23, 2007

Seeing double

from letsrun's London marathon photos on Monday, 23 April, about 5pm CDT

Posted by eroberts at 5:04 PM

April 20, 2007

Game, interrupted

I heard the following on Marketplace from a guy called Ed Derse who's supposedly a sports business analyst:

[Hockey is] a little bit too stop-start. If they make it more fluid, I think it will be better.

in the context of discussing why [ice]-hockey is losing out to other sports.

Now, maybe hockey's slowed down since the olden days, but has Ed Derse seen the other sports that appear on American TV? Football is the world's slowest sport. Basketball goes quickly until you get to the final 10 minutes and then it's like football. All breaks, all the time. They don't dawdle around in baseball, but it ain't continuous. I can't buy the argument that people don't watch hockey because it's stop-start when Americans have a demonstrable appetite for sports that are even more interrupted.

Posted by eroberts at 10:11 AM

April 18, 2007

Hapless cricket teams

Sports that do poorly in cricket are often called "hapless." My hypothesis was that this would be mostly associated with the English cricket team. In the interests of the social studies of sport I did a Google search of +"hapless <country>" +cricket today and these were the results. I think they speak for themselves ... or they speak for themselves, if you follow international cricket ... Crucial qualification. Might I remind my American readers, cricket's about as popular as baseball worldwide, and they both look funny and have funny rules.

No doubt more sophisticated "analyses" could be done, perhaps adjusting for the population speaking English in each country. Now while it's a little surprising to see Bangladesh and Zimbabwe getting more "hapless" mentions than England, those countries have better excuses than England for not fielding a good cricket team. I threw Canada--yes, they were playing in the World Cup--into the mix as a "control" group.

Posted by eroberts at 2:45 PM

April 13, 2007

Watch your denominators!

Interracial marriage is apparently on the rise—they're surging according to the New York Times, which makes me wonder how soon if ever it will be until the word "surge" gains an unfortunate connotation from the success or otherwise of the "surge" in Iraq, but I digress—.

My one quibble, and multiple questions, about this new trend relate to the near complete absence (at least in the article) of any context for some of the numbers. We learn, for example, that in 1970 there were 65,000 inter-racial marriages and 422,000 in 2005. That's all very well, but how many marriages were there in total? A quick trip over to the National Center for Health Statistics (who actually keep the data) shows there were 2,230,000 marriages in 2005. That's a pretty impressive flow of inter-racial marriages into the stock of marriages, on the order of about 1 in 4. Certainly it captures the trend better than the 7% of existing marriages being inter-racial.

Perhaps this is all covered in the book, but rates of inter-marriage are in part artifacts of the proportion of the population that are different races. Say you have 90% of the population white and 10% black (this is a reasonable approximation of the American population from 1870 to 1990), even if you assume marriage is totally random with respect to race, you're not going to get a very high rate of inter-racial marriage. Change the way you enumerate race in 2000 and you'll get a rapid increase in the number of non-white people, and a significantly greater chance that white people will end up married to non-white people (simply because white people are 75% of the population, a random inter-racial marriage will more often be a white person married to a non-white person than two different non-white races).

In other words, some of the increase in inter-racial marriage is probably algebraic rather than attitudinal.

Posted by eroberts at 2:12 PM

April 12, 2007

Nappy-headed means different things to different people

Where I come from (and in some other countries) "nappy" means diaper. So this week's news coverage of "nappy headed hos" leaves me with quite a different mental image of the Rutgers basketball team than most people get from that phrase. I'm slow on the uptake, have only seen one photo of the team, and until now I'd never heard this alternative American use of the word "nappy." So it's surprisingly hard to displace the mental image of women playing basketball with diapers on their heads every time I hear about Don Imus.

(I should hardly need to add the disclaimer that this is not some contorted defense of Don Imus, but the sensitivity of the topic etc ... compel me to state the obvious)

Posted by eroberts at 1:19 PM

April 6, 2007

Dispatches from the pool

Everyone, I am sure, is anxiously awaiting news of just how exciting pool running really is. The good news is that I've done 10 days in the pool. The [expected] "bad" news is that I can still feel the toe so I'll be in the pool a while longer. No miraculous cure, even at Easter time.

Given the length of my sentence I decided to invest in this classy product. It doesn't look stylish, but remember I am wearing a blue aqua-running belt and a becoming black heart rate monitor. I already look like a doofus. And besides, I don't ever see anyone I know at the pool. Not that I care, really ... The marginal cost in style of adding the yellow, red and blue H2o Man waterproof MP3 player is much outweighed by the marginal benefit of being able to do 90 minutes of aqua running without getting bored. There's been some slightly reduced concentration on keeping the heart rate up with podcasts, but the bottom line is I'd be more likely to be on the couch eating caramel eggs and getting fat if I didn't have the stylin' H2o Man. One anticipated side-effect of the H2o Man was that it interferes with the heart rate monitor. My heart rate recovered to 37 at one point in today's "run." I'd be glad to have that as a resting heart rate, meaningless as it is to performance. I'm doing well in the pool if I get the heart rate above 140 with the H2o Man attached to the belt.

Running in the pool is quite the scenic letdown after the great outdoors, but I'm lucky enough at the U of M rec center to be able to choose between two pools depending on my time of day. For the first week, sans H2o Man, this gave me some limited variety in scenery. Unfortunately I'd sometimes pick a time of day to get this variety when there were—can you believe it—swimmers with the temerity to want to use the same lane as me (I jest). I'm sure they're all great people, but most of the recreational swimmers I've been sharing lanes with, splash a lot. I've never swallowed so much chlorinated water in my life! There are signs up at the pool about how you're not meant to spit into the water, or slurp in water and slurp it out again, but when someone swims past and washes a pint of chlorinated water down your gullet ... you break the rules.

Posted by eroberts at 7:59 PM

April 4, 2007

Running links o' the day

Great article from the IAAF about Norwegian runner Susanne Wigene. Miles make the champion.

Should you run in a graveyard? I say yes.

Posted by eroberts at 4:35 PM