Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Poor Cardinals

I think we need a calm quarterback.

Why There are No Trends in Normalized Hurricane Losses

The graph above shows data on normalized US hurricane losses 1900 to 2009 and was presented in a talk I gave today.  Why is there no trend in the data?  The two graphs below explain why.  You can do the math.

There are no trends in normalized damage since 1900 because there are no trends in either hurricane landfall frequency (data from NOAA) or intensity (data from Chris Landsea through 2006) over that same period (but rather, a very slight decline in both cases).  If our normalization were to show a trend then it would actually have some sort of bias in it.  It does not, thus we can have confidence that the societal factors are well accounted for in the normalization methodology.

What Our Hands Can Do

Looking over these photos from the Friday after Thanksgiving, I noticed something interesting: Almost everything pictured here is hand-made. The dress I am wearing was made by my mother. The hat and scarf were made by me. Even the bicycle was hand-made by an Italian frame builder for Bella Ciao. This combination was not intentional, but once I noticed it, I found it striking. 

My mother knitted this elaborate wool dress for herself in the early 1980s and wore it all through her 20s and 30s, after which point she gave it to me. The dress suited her much better, but that has not stopped me from wearing it since I were a teenager. It only occurred to me recently how remarkable it is for a dress like this to survive being worn for three decades by two different women - neither of whom are at all gentle with their clothing. And yet here it is, still looking fresh and current. The tailoring, the textural variation, and the attention to detail are incredible by today's standards - and my mother made tons of this stuff when I was a child, while being a busy career woman, too. (I remember seeing her knit while speaking on the phone and reading a book about mathematics at the same time... )

While my own attempts at knitting are fairly pedestrian compared to my mother's past projects, they do have one feature in common: longevity. I knitted this scarf back in grad school, and 8 years later it remains alive and well, while countless store-bought ones have since fallen apart. My friends, for whom I've made clothing as far back as high school, give me the same feedback - some of them still wear the things I made in the mid-'90s. Noticing this was a big reason why I started to knit and sew again this year: I am not that great at it, but the stuff I make lasts and fits me better than store-bought.

Over this past year I have done something a little nuts: I've sold or given away most of my clothing - stuff that I had collected and saved for more than 10 years. When I was younger, I was into edgy fashion and quirky designers, but lately that interest has all but faded - replaced by a curiosity regarding how far I can go making things on my own. Aside from knitting, I have been cutting up some of my remaining old clothing and handsewing "new" clothes out of it. Hopefully I will get a sewing machine for the holidays, which will allow me to take things further. In the past I have dabbled in making my own fountain pens as well. And eventually - maybe, just maybe, I would like to try my hand at building bicycle frames - or at least designing them à la Grant Petersen.

While my framebuilding days are not yet on the horizon, I do have enormous respect for bicycles hand-made by others, and an insatiable curiosity about the process. Whether independent framebuilders such as JP Weigle, Peter Mooney, Royal H. and ANT, or small manufacturers such as Mercian, Rivendell, Velo Orange and even Pashley and Bella Ciao - I am impressed by the sheer amount of work and consideration it takes to get the design, the construction, and the finishing just right. The more I learn about the process, the more overwhelming it seems. In a world of homogenous, mass-produced goods, it is amazing to witness what our minds and our hands are capable of creating.


Oa jerk 12,20kg: 5/5 each

Jerk 2x20kg: 10

Jerk 2x24kg: 5x 20reps (2 set 10rpm, 2set 8rpm, 1 set 6rpm)

Det var jobbigt, orkar jag inte göra på ett tag igen :-). Känns som att stöt-träningen med 28or har hjälpt med återhämtning och reps per minut.

A Life-Changing VICTORY in the midst of a "loss"

Below is the point of view from the team trainer on a difficult yet also inspiring night - the State Championship Semi-Final for Mt Angel Oregon Kennedy HS.

A Life-Changing VICTORY in the midst of a "loss".  This is the True Glory of sports.

With our virtue being thankfulness last week, I wanted to share a story that significantly impacted my life as an adoptive father of a mentally ill son who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  It was difficult for me to watch our team lose last night, but I was able to hold it together through the numerous injuries we experienced during the second half of the football game. However, it hit me really hard when I saw my son have a PTSD attack in the bleachers because his Trojans were losing the game.  I remember looking in the stands and seeing my son not only grieve the loss of the game but also re-live his past trauma, abuse and neglect.

I walked over to the bleachers to remind him that I loved him and will always love him forever and always.   Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to share that message entirely with him because I was called out on to the field for another injury.  Since I had to leave the field and help an athlete with his injury, I missed what happened in the last 30 seconds of the game.  Hunter Hill, who I had just set his dislocated shoulder in place several minutes beforehand, picked my son up over the handrail and took him out on to the field and together they gave each football player on the opposing team a high five and then he carried him over to the end zone to listen to Coach Traeger.

I later heard that Hunter and my son cried together in the end zone as they heard Coach Traeger address the team and then they walked together to the locker room, where I then met up with them.  As I left the locker room, Coach Traeger talked individually to my son and let him know that he didn’t need to be sad about the loss.  He reminded him that some of the older guys were sad that they had finished playing football, but that he had at least six years left of playing football.  He also told him that he was proud of his team for trying their best and how it is important to show honor in defeat.

The most remarkable aspect of this entire story is that my son never disassociated or “left” his pain.  Usually during his PTSD attacks, you can visibly see him check out as a coping mechanism so he can escape his pain.  However, with the loving care of those around him, especially Rodney Hill—Hunter’s dad, he remained emotionally present during the entire grieving process.

Some only see games from the win-loss perspective but as a father of an adopted and traumatized child, a selfless act by one of my athletes and my head coach had a significant impact in the life of my son that night.  He saw firsthand how to exhibit honor in defeat and process his grief in a healthy manner.

At that moment, I realized that sports was going to be the major mechanism that would help facilitate my son's recovery in dealing with his grief and PTSD. Despite all of the therapy, medications and behavior plans we have implemented in the past year, I could not underestimate  the power of an athlete and coach emulating a life of virtue in helping my son heal from his past scars and wounds.  I am blessed to work with an amazing group of coaches that have taught these young men to becoming winners in life—not just on the scoreboard, and my son was blessed by having these young men demonstrate what it means to them in living a life of virtue.

My wife and I have a very difficult road ahead of us with our son, but I also know that Hunter and Randy played a significant role in his recovery that night. Something special definitely occurred on the Tuesday afternoons during those virtue talks, and my family has been blessed because of it.

Coach Traeger, I am thankful for you, your coaching staff, and for the young men on your football team.  You all have been a huge blessing to my son and as well as I, as his father.

Thank you- 
Jeff C.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fabrications in Science

[UPDATE 12/6: Mickey Glantz has this to say on his Facebook page:
kevin trenberth MAY know science but to ask him to review this interdisciplinary assessment is a joke played on readers by Science's editors. scientists are angry because they are losing control of the climate issues to other disciplines and NGOs. I think i will write a review of the climate models and i wonder if Science will print it!]
You don't expect to pick up Science magazine and read an article that is chock full of fabrications and errors.  Yet, that is exactly what you'll find in Kevin Trenberth's review of The Climate Fix, which appears in this week's issue.

It is of course more than a little interesting that Science saw fit to ask one of my most vocal critics to review the book. Trenberth has been on the losing side of debates with me over hurricanes and disasters for many years.  But even so, I am quite used to the hardball nature of climate politics, and that reviewer choice by Science goes with the territory.  It says a lot about Science.  Trenberth's rambling and unhinged review is also not unexpected.  What is absolute unacceptable is that Trenberth makes a large number of factual mistakes in the piece, misrepresenting the book.

Science should publish a set of corrections.  Here is a list of Trenberth's many factual errors:

1. TRENBERTH: "An example that he might have mentioned, but does not, is President George W. Bush's 2001 rejection of the Kyoto Protocol on the grounds that it would hurt the economy. "
REALITY: Actually, Pielke discusses Bush's rejection of Kyoto on pp. 39 and 44
2. TRENBERTH: "Pielke treats economic and environmental gains as mutually exclusive"
REALITY: Not so.  From p. 50, "[A]ction to achieve environmental goals will have to be fully compatible with the desire of people around the world to meet economic goals.  There will be no other way."
3. TRENBERTH: "Pielke does not address the international lobbying for economic advantage inherent in the policy negotiations. "
REALITY: Wrong again.  The international economics of the climate debate are discussed on pp. 59, 65, 109, 219, 231, and 233 and are a theme throughout.
4. TRENBERTH: "He objects to Working Group III's favoring of mitigation (which is, after all, its mission) while ignoring Working Group II (whose mission is adaptation)."
REALITY: Again, not so. Chapter 5 is about the balance between  mitigation and adaptation in international policy and discusses both IPCC WG II and WG III (see pp. 153-155).  What Pielke objects to is defining adaptation as the consequences of failed mitigation.
5. TRENBERTH: "His claims that “the science of climate change becomes irrevocably politicized” because “[s]cience that suggested large climatic impacts on Russia was used to support arguments for Russia's participation in the [Kyoto] protocol”—as if there would be no such impacts and Russia would be a “winner”—look downright silly given the record-breaking drought, heat waves, and wildfires in Russia this past summer."
REALITY: Egregious misrepresentation.  Trenberth selectively uses half  of a quote to imply that Pielke was making a claim that he did not. The part left out by Trenberth (p. 156) was the counterpoint -- specifically that science that suggested few impacts on Russia was used in similar fashion by advocates to argue against the Kyoto Protocol.  Pielke concludes, "In this manner, the science of climate change becomes irreovocably politiciized , as partisans on either side of the debate selectively array bits of science that best support their position."
6. TRENBERTH: "Pielke stresses economic data and dismisses the importance of loss of life."
REALITY: Wrong again. Pielke discusses loss of life related to climate change on pp. 176-178
7. TRENBERTH: "Geoengineering is also dealt with by Pielke, but only briefly."
REALITY Not so. Pielke devotes an entire chapter to geoengineering (Chapter 5).
8. TRENBERTH: "[Pielke] does not address the practicality of storing all of the carbon dioxide."
REALITY: Again, wrong. Pielke addresses the practicality of carbon dioxide storage on pp. 133-134
And even with all these errors and false claims, Trenberth concludes that the book is on the right track:
"[P]rogressively decarbonizing the economy and adopting an approach of building more resiliency to climate events would be good steps in the right direction"
Anyone who has read The Climate Fix should also read Trenberth's review, as they will learn something about Science magazine and a part of climate science community.  As is said, politics ain't beanbag, and climate politics are no different.

New Peer-Reviewed Paper on Global Normalized Disaster Losses

The LSE Grantham Institute, funded by Munich Re (whose global loss data is shown above), has published a new peer-reviewed paper on normalized global disaster losses.
Eric Neumayer and Fabian Barthel, Normalizing economic loss from natural disasters: A global analysis, Global Environmental Change, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 18 November 2010, ISSN 0959-3780, DOI: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.10.004.
The paper finds no evidence of upward trends in the normalized data.  From the paper (emphasis added):
"Independently of the method used,we find no significant upward trend in normalized disaster loss.This holds true whether we include all disasters or take out the ones unlikely to be affected by a changing climate. It also holds true if we step away from a global analysis and look at specific regions or step away from pooling all disaster types and look at specific types of disasters instead or combine these two sets of dis-aggregated analysis. Much caution is required in correctly interpreting these findings. What the results tell us is that, based on historical data, there is no evidence so far that climate change has increased the normalized economic loss from natural disasters."
This result would seem to be fairly robust by now.

Yet claims that global warming has led to increased disaster losses are a siren song to the media and advocates alike, with the most tenuous of claims hyped and the peer reviewed literature completely ignored.  I don't expect that to change.

An Evaluation of the Targets and Timetables of Proposed Australian Emissions Reduction Policies

My paper on Australian emissions reduction proposals has now been published.  Thanks to all those who provided comments on earlier versions. Here are the details:
Pielke, Jr., R. A. (2010), An evaluation of the targets and timetables of proposed Australian emissions reduction policies. Environmental Science & Policy , doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2010.10.008 

 This paper evaluates Australia’s proposed emissions reduction policies in terms of the implied rates of decarbonization of the Australian economy for a range of proposed emissions reduction targets.The paper uses the Kaya Identity to structure the evaluation, employing both a bottom-up approach (based on projections of future Australian population, economic growth,and technology) as well as a top-down approach (deriving implied rates of decarbonization consistent with the targets and various rates of economic growth). Both approaches indicate that the Australian economy would have to achieve annual rates of decarbonization of 3.8–5.9% to meet a 2020 target of reducing emissions by 5%,15% or 25% below 2000 levels, and about 5% to meet a 2050 target of a 60% reduction below 2000 levels. The paper argues that proposed Australian carbon policy proposals present emission reduction targets that will be all but impossible to meet without creative approaches to accounting as they would require a level of effort equivalent to the deployment of dozens of new nuclear power plants or thousands of new solar thermal plants within the next decade.

Coming up on the Radio Cardiff Sports Show 30th November 2010

We look back on Wales’ autumn international rugby campaign which ended with Saturday’s defeat to New Zealand.

The 1st Ashes test ended in a draw after an incredible, record-breaking fight back from England’s batsmen. We’ll review the match and preview the Adelaide test which begins on Friday.

We’ll also be talking boxing and looking back at Carl Froch’s unanimous points victory over Arthur Abrahams which saw him regain his WBC super-middleweight title.

Football is also on the agenda; we’ll discuss Cardiff’s defeat to QPR and focus on the Premier League after 7:30.

Simon will also bring us his regular ice hockey update and there’s the all-important Fantasy League top 10 countdown.

Get involved with the show by sending us your thoughts about any sporting issue via text, email, Twitter or by phone.
Phone: 02920 235 664
Text: 07728 758 759
Email: sports@radiocardiff.org
Twitter: @RadCardiffSport

Tune in on 98.7FM in Cardiff or online www.radiocardiff.org.uk

OYB Pannier: a Modified Swiss Army Bag for Your Bike

The OYB Pannier is a small Swiss army surplus bag, modified via the addition of rack attachments and other features by Jeff Potter - the owner and author of the project Out Your Backdoor ("indie outdoor lore and more"). I purchased this bag as a smaller alternative to the enormous shopper pannier I normally use. My criteria were durability, classic aesthetics, a trustworthy attachment system, a reasonable price, and a size just large enough to snugly fit my medium format camera equipment or my (very small) laptop. While I am aware that these same bags (without the bike-ready modifications) can be purchased from several other sources, I opted for the OYB version because I wanted the modifications to be made by someone with experience and because I wanted to support the "Out Your Backdoor" project, which provides some great resources for its readers.

Compact and boxy, the pannier is a Swiss military bag made of a thick, stiff, olive-green waxed canvas with brown leather trim and steel rivets. The OYB leather patch is a lighter shade than the rest of the leather on the bag, but this can easily be changed with a modest application of neatsfoot oil or even Proofide. I am not sure whether this particular bag started out as new-old-stock, or whether it had been used in its previous life, but to me it looks more like the former. The condition is better than I had expected based on the pictures and product description on OYB.

The closure system is simple and secure: That very stiff leather cord pulls out of the metal loop, and the thick leather strap lifts up off the loop to open the bag. For those curious, the imprint on the leather reads "Fritz Gerber Sattlerei, Goldbach."

The attachment system is a combination of metal hooks and bungee cords, with which the pannier is secured to the rear rack. The rack I have on this bicycle is the Constructeur rack from Velo Orange, which is quite small. 

Here is a close-up of the metal hooks. They are riveted on to the bag.

And here is a close-up of the bungee attachment. Together, these two attachment points ensure that the pannier does not sway or bounce against the rack - a good feature when you are planning to carry camera equipment. When the bag is not being used as a pannier, the bungee hook attaches to that small leather strip you see on the back of the bag - so that it does not hang loose. [Edited to add: I am now told that the bungee cord is supposed to go through that leather loop before you hook it to the bottom of the rack - oops.]

In addition to the rack attachments, the OYB pannier can be ordered with a number of other optional features, including shoulder strap attachments with a removable shoulder strap. I asked for the strap, because I pan to carry the bag around when off the bike, and this set-up essentially this gives me a camera bag and pannier in one. Other options include lights mounts, and a variety of other attachments.

To give you a sense of scale, here is the pannier in relation to me and to the entire bike. It is a small bag. Dimensions are listed as: 8.5" tall, 4" deep, 11.25" wide (5.4 liters).  Inside, the length of the bag is listed at 10.75", but I was hoping against hope that it would fit my laptop. OYB gives instructions for stretching the bag out with magazines in order to make it fit items of that size, and I will give this a try. If I can get my laptop to fit, I will be thrilled - but I am not getting my hopes up and am prepared to content myself with this being a camera bag only.

If it were not for the laptop fit issue, this would pretty much be my dream pannier.  The mil-spec colour scheme is not for everyone, but I love it, and it suits almost all of my bikes nicely. The durability of military surplus items is superb, and I appreciated getting the bag customised by Jeff at OYB. This is a classic, versatile, and reliable little pannier refashioned by someone who loves bicycles.

edited to add: I have sold the pannier since the review, only because it was too small for me. I loved everything else about it.

Africa is Big

The Economist provides the maps above and a discussion of their origin from one Kai Krause, a graphics expert who is engaged in a battle against "immappancy."  It is a worthy battle.  In a standard Mercator projection, Africa is indeed deemphasized.  Even maps have politics.

Aynsley Kellow's Science and Public Policy Deeply Discounted

Aynsley Kellow has written to notify me that his excellent book, Science and Public Policy: The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science (2007, Edward Elgar), is on sale for $40, which is a full $70 off of its list price.

Here is a blurb from the book's website:
‘Crusading environmentalists won’t like this book. Nor will George W. Bush. Its potential market lies between these extremes. It explores the hijacking of science by people grinding axes on behalf of noble causes. “Noble cause corruption” is a term invented by the police to justify fitting up people they “know” to be guilty, but for whom they can’t muster forensic evidence that would satisfy a jury. Kellow demonstrates convincingly, and entertainingly, that this form of corruption can be found at the centre of most environmental debates. Highly recommended reading for everyone who doesn’t already know who is guilty.’

– John Adams, University College London, UK

Science and Public Policy
by Aynsley Kellow
Web link: http://www.e-elgar.com/Bookentry_Main.lasso?id=12839

Normally £59.95/$110.00  Special price $40/£25 + postage and packing

To order this book please email (with full credit card details and address):
sales@e-elgar.co.uk, or  on our website enter 'Kellowoffer' in the special
discount code box after entering your credit card details and the discount
will be taken off when the order is processed.

1. The Political Ecology of Pseudonovibos Spiralis and the Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Science
2. The Political Ecology of Conservation Biology
3. Climate Science as ‘Post-normal’ Science
4. Defending the Litany: The Attack on The Skeptical Environmentalist
5. Sound Science and Political Science
6. Science and its Social and Political Context

Quantitative Methods of Policy Analysis

In the upcoming Spring, 2011 term, I am teaching a graduate seminar titled "Quantitative Methods of Policy Analysis."  Here is a short course description:
ENVS 5120
Quantitative Methods of Policy Analysis

This course will survey a range of quantitative methodologies commonly used in applied policy analysis.  The course will cover the role of the analyst and analyses in policy making, formal models of the policy process, the role of quantification in problem definition, basic statistics and probability, data and its meaning (including uncertainties), projection and prediction, decision analysis and game theory, government budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, and graphical methods. The course will be organized around a textbook, individual semester-long projects and various problem sets. No prerequisites are necessary.
The course text will be Analyzing Public Policy: Concepts, Tools, and Techniques, 2nd Edition (2010), by Dipak K. Gupta.  The figure at the top of this post will be discussed on the first day of class.  There are seats available in the course, so if you are a CU student and interested in enrolling, please contact me.

Should Bud Selig be Fired? *(by Marquette Law School)*

At the Adjunct Professor Blog, Mitchell Rubenstein (St. John's) rebukes the Marquette School of Law for retaining MLB Commissioner Selig as an Adjunct Professor. The Marquette press release is here. Prof. Rubenstein writes:
I think this is a total disgrace to law professors and am disappointed in Marquette Law School. No doubt Mr. Selig is an accomplished professional and no doubt that he can be an asset to any school by an occasional lecture about some of his experiences. But it is quite another thing to teach a class to students learning to be lawyers and to evaluate students, i.e., grade them. Law school is not business school and I am sorry to say that this appears to be a publicity stunt by Marquette Law School.
The position of an adjunct professor is certainly the most precarious at most law schools (other than that of the dean), so some angst at this hire is understandable. Adjunct professors -- practicing lawyers, typically, who join the faculty to teach one class (or two) -- serve at the pleasure of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, without the security of tenure or a long-term contract. They are relatively poorly compensated (rarely, I would guess, earning their hourly billing rate for time spent), yet engage in heavy-lifting activities like writing exams and grading student papers. Yet because they also have full time jobs in practice, they miss out on many of the speakers, workshops, and other activities that add to the joy of law teaching. To the extent that Prof. Rubenstein's blog speaks for adjuncts, his chagrin at any reduction in the qualifications for such teachers is possible to understand.

Yet the degree of criticism here seems extreme. First, to the extent that the critique is based on Selig's lack of qualification to grade students, it seems that he will be co-teaching a class with full-time Professor Matt Mitten. My guess is that Prof. Mitten, certainly qualified to do so, will be doing most (if not all) of the actual grading in the course.

Prof. Rubenstein also objects to a non-lawyer teaching legal classes. My personal view on this is that diversity in instruction is beneficial to all kinds of students, including law students. While bar exam courses should probably be taught only by faculty with legal experience and education, upper level electives like Sports Law may give students a better educational experience if those with real industry experience are involved. Selig has supervised labor negotiations, imposed discipline under a CBA, and no doubt hired hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of legal services. Would there be any objection to an accountant teaching a class on accounting to JD students? Or an M.D. teaching a class on medicine for lawyers? In my view students can learn a lot from someone who has hired lawyers.


I have no clue where to begin today. Spontaneous writing sucks when you don't have anything to write about. I actually do have things to write about, but they are already on my list.

I recommend Skype for the home. I talk to my brother on it on a regular basis. It is free, and I don't have to worry about running out the charge on my cellphone.

I'm reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. It is the last book in the trilogy, and there won't be anymore though a rumored fourth volume exists. Larsson is dead. I find it ironic that his work has gained such fame and acclaim (and money) after the man's death. The appeal of the books comes down to main character Lisbeth Salander who people admire for her intelligence, her moral code in spite of it all, and her desire to be left the fuck alone. She also kicks ass. (I will write reviews of these books.)

This SOC is not flowing like the ones in the past. Choppy and disjointed.

In fiction writing news, I am going to do some first person shit. One is a rewrite of a promising but ultimately failed story I did twenty years ago called "The Angel of Death Comes to the Candy Kitchen." That will be on the Charles Noir blog. The other is a tale called "Confessions of a Serial Ass Beater." It is a story told by a guy who beats the living shit out of people who deserve it.

I often debate whether I should vary my style like that. My current style is something I call "movie style." Everything is written in the present tense and the third person. There is only dialogue and action. People who read these stories say it is like having a movie in their head.

So far, all the fiction I have ever written rates as "dogshit." This is understandable since 99% of fiction is shit anyway. I know Aristotle's Poetics, but in the end, I think people just want to be entertained. I don't know what is good when it comes to writing fiction. I know Cormac McCarthy is good. That man is insanely good. I think I would like to write on that level. But I don't know how.

That is a project I would like to return to. I'd like to be a great novelist writing important works. I just don't know how to do that. It is something I will have to ponder and consider.

Witnessing Greatness

I was blessed to witness an extraordinary event last night. The Lloyd Memorial Basketball team father/son jersey night. I have been to numerous events like this but each one is unique.

Last night I was able to watch a father tell his son that he loved him for the very first time. It was moving. The man could barely speak. He tried to express that he grew up in a family that "taught" him that men don't "say any of these things ... that emotion is weakness ... that you just go about your business"

At this point, I had never seen this before, his son began openly weeping. The father continued explaining but then could no longer go on ... he tried to compose himself but then just said it, "I love you Son."

His son immediately hugged him for what seemed like 5 minutes ... You could tell that the young man had been waiting and hoping to hear this from his Dad his whole life.

The next gentleman to go was standing in for a young man who does not have a father in his life. The player had called him and invited him to "represent" him. This man's words were extraordinary. To sum it up - "Coach Key, I thank God for you. I thank God for this event this evening. In my 25 years of being around the sport of basketball as a player, coach and ref ... this is by far the most important and the most special. I've never been a part of anything like this. Thank you for doing this for our boys. Basketball is much, much more than putting a round ball through a tiny hoop. Now tonight ... this is basketball."

Coaches, I know some of you have been nervous to do this event. It does not cost money and it gives a priceless memory your players will never forget.

I encourage you to give it a try. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

RIP Leslie Nielsen

Winter Hibernators

With temperatures now falling below 40˚F, there is no denying that winter will soon be here. As I rode through a stretch of frozen mud this morning, it finally began to seem real: The snow, the black ice, the heavily salted roads - it's all coming. And once it does, I will be putting most of my bicycles away, keeping around only those equipped to take on winter's fury.

The bicycles destined for "hibernation" are those that have derailleur gearing: my roadbikes, and, sadly my mixte. The ones staying are my 3-speed loop frames with internally geared hubs and chaincases. I will also tentatively keep my fixed gear bike.

Everybody has a different philosophy regarding what makes a bicycle suitable for winter. Having seen countless cyclists struggling with derailleur bikes last winter in Boston - as well as many bikes abandoned, their drivetrains iced over or rusted - I am pretty comfortable with my decision to only ride internally geared hub bicycles once the snow arrives. While I am sad to put away my beautiful mixte after only a few months together, I would be even more sad to ruin her with salt and crud while she is still so new and shiny.

What are your thoughts on "winter bikes" versus "hibernators"?  Do you put any of your bicycles away for the season, or ride them all?

Quotable Quotes

Men are made stronger on realization that the helping hand they need is at the end of their own arm.

When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.

Some people dream of success... while others wake up and work hard at it.

Plough deep while sluggards sleep.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Announcing Hat Recipient!

[original of altered image via Atlanta Street Fashion blog]

Thank you to everyone for taking part in the "Thanking Your Bicycle" give-away.  Your notes were so very nice; I found it extremely difficult to choose.

Riddled with indecision, I finally left it up to my bicycles - and, upon voting, they chose... Kyle. Here is an excerpt from Kyle's note to his bicycle Nimrod - which I think is worth a read:

Thank you, Nimrod, you mighty hunter, for never failing me.
When everything else fell apart -- losing my job, losing my wife, all in the same month -- someone moved to Romania and had to let you go. And we found each other. You are three years older than me but did you know we share a birthday? We will have cake in January!
You and I had a long, strange winter, exploring the silent city during seven months of unemployment and the depths of heartbreak. You never asked what was wrong, never pressured me to speak. You were just there. You listened. We watched the sunrise from the hilltop cemetery and I whispered my woes. We explored the abandoned prison farm and I talked through my grief. Your freewheel's whizzzz was the only comment offered. Thank you for listening.
We had those long hours to get to know each other. That is when I learned you liked fluted fenders. That you wanted a rear basket. Remember when I found your voice, when I brought home that brass bell? And when we removed the original, 34-year-old wrap on your handlebars? Now they are a brilliant hunter green. A mighty hunter, just like you, Nimrod. You fit my style perfectly, but I fit yours, too.
Those small things -- too, too little -- were my poor way of thanking you for being my constant companion. We are a badass duo, friend. We toured our first century, just us, into the Georgian countryside, and several after.
We planned and led an urban bike tour and a Labor Day seersucker social; though already noted in the bike community, you became my best accessory and with you, we became something of bike celebrities. Folks flung compliments like laurels as we whizzed by, bold with bow tie and brass bell. Remember when those racers tick-tacked over in their cleats to scope you out, envious? We even ended up on a bike blog. http://atlantastreetfashion.blogspot.com/2010/08/in-old-fourth-ward-new-friend.html
You were there when I met Laura. She said she was smitten with me but you sealed the deal. Thanks, wingman! Her lime green Schwinn looks awfully nice, huh? Huh? (I know you liked how I cozied you two up on the car rack: you're welcome.)
Without your steadfast support, Nimrod, I might still have come through this all. But not like this. Not whole. Back at scratch and my first fully car-free year, I needed you and you gave all you had. I owe you what I am now.
You were always there for me, Nimrod. Thank you. 

Kyle, please get in touch with me at filigreevelo{at}yahoo to discuss your hat - as I do not have your contact info. (And in the event that I do not hear from Kyle, my bikes did agree on several runners up.)

When I asked my bicycles what made them pick Kyle, some said it was the content of his story, others said it was his engaging narrative style, one said that the phrase "mighty hunter" reminded him of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, and yet another simply liked the name Nimrod. But it really was very close, and quite difficult to decide who the recipient should be. I think that next time, I will come up with something where there can be several recipients. Though the theme of this give-away was meant in good fun, I think that many of us - myself included - are sincerely grateful for the role bicycles play in our lives. Thank you again for taking part, and thank you for reading Lovely Bicycle!

More on Cameron Newton

Isaac Newton’s Law of Gravitation holds that every massive particle of the universe attracts every other massive particle. To state it another way, or according to Cam Newton (no relation), “When God be blessin’, the devil be messin’.”

For perhaps the most gifted quarterback to come out of the NFL farm system in a decade, both of these principles mean that success breeds a flurry of rumor mongerers, two-bit accusers looking for their five minutes of fame, and former coaches with axes to grind all intent on bringing down the latest star in the mythically pristine world of college athletics. And one other unlikely culprit: the vaunted New York Times.

It was the Times that first published the attack piece on Maurice Clarett in the off season after Clarett helped Ohio State win the National Championship. It was this article that snowballed into the NCAA investigation, culminating in Clarett’s suspension from Buckeyes football, his need to try to enter the NFL early, and his ultimate downfall. In that article, the Times was outraged that freshman Clarett was allowed to retake a midterm when his African American history professor insisted that he do more than skate through classes without learning the material.

Six months ago, the Times wrote no less than three major articles exploring whether Kentucky basketballer and first round draft pick Eric Bledsoe had really deserved a good grade in his Birmingham, Alabama high school Algebra II class. This article also prompted an NCAA investigation as well as one conducted and paid for by the Birmingham School Board, both of which cleared Bledsoe of any shenanigans.

Now the New York Times claims “credit,” along with ESPN, for “breaking” the Cam Newton story in which, so far, no one has proven anything resembling the alleged impropriety had actually happened. Indeed, the Times has already been taken to task for reporting that one of the key whistleblowers in the case had talked to one of the accused principals when at least one of the parties now denies that took place.

I don’t know what happened to cause Newton, Cam not Isaac, to attend Auburn as opposed to Mississippi State. I do know the story reported by the Times makes no logical sense though I recognize people sometimes act illogically against their best interests. Mainly, I am troubled by an institution like the New York Times spending its resources and energy in trying to out college athletes, kids really, toiling in a system we all know to be the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

A Good Square or Ring Weight-lift

From the The Text Book of Weightlifting  (1905) by Arthur Saxon. Available at sandowsplus.co.uk (LINK).

Pulls (and maybe leg press)

Snatch 12,20kg: 5/5 each
Snatch 24kg: 5/5, 30/30

Dead lift 70kg: 5
Dead lift: 110kg: 3, 5

Clean 2x20kg: 10

Clean 2x20kg with fleece gloves: 20

Snatch 12kg with fleece gloves & baby powder: 10 min (2/2/2/2/1/1)

Did some dead lift with bar. As the bar is quite short there's a bit of improvising to find room for the bells and to make them stay on the bar. I understand why the bar with exchangeable plates got popular some time ago. The 110kg felt like in control, but I did not want too many reps as I am not adapted to that lift nowadays.

Today's surprise was the cleans with gloves. That was hard.

By the way, a deadlift is not a pull
"By the way, a deadlift is not a pull; it's the same movement as a leg press except you're using your hands to hold the weight. So the deadlift is a press."
The quotation comes from a T-Nation article by Thibaudeau (LINK). The article was not written for me so I did not read it all. Nonetheless, I found the above citation good food-for-thought. I have always thought of dead lift as a pull. But, the authour is right in that there is a leg press element in the dead lift. Yet, he is wrong when he claims that it is "not a pull." There is a pull-element as well; think straight legged dead lift. A lesson to be teased out is that thinking in absolute dichotomies usually leads you astray: black or white, good or bad, correct or incorrect. Often "both-and"-explanations proves to be closer to the truth than "either-or"-explanations.

The Protestant Ethic

[In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism] Weber argued that the presumed anti-capitalist Puritanical rhetoric of eschewing earthly acquisitiveness was actually an impetus for that very acquisitiveness. The thesis was novel and well-known. Catholicism, Weber argues, was tolerant towards the acquisition of earthly gain and winked at lavish expenditure, an idea engendered by hierarchical structure of the Church (which required struggling and jockeying for "position") as well as its own tradition of lavish expenditure (the church) and its oft-used earthly powers of forgiveness for sin. This might make one conclude that the Catholic ethic was more predisposed towards capitalism than the Protestant (as others, before and since, have argued).

But no, replied Weber. It is true that the Protestant doctrines asked men to accept a humbler station and concentrate on mundane tasks and duties and, without a hierarchical church structure, there was no example of upward-mobility, acquisitiveness and expenditure. Yet it was precisely this that engendered the "work-and-save" ethic that gave rise to capitalism. Dedication to and pride in one's work, Weber claimed, is inevitably a highly productive attitude. The Calvinist ethic of "godliness" through the humble dedication to one's beruf (calling/duty/task), meant economic productivity was consequently higher in Protestant communities. In contrast, the upward-mobility that was possible in hierarchical Catholic society meant that a lot of people found themselves in jobs which they saw only as way-stations to higher and better positions - thereby dedicating only a minimal or nominal attention to the given task as finding it either beneath their dignity or certainly not worth resigning to as their end in life. Consequently, Weber concluded, Catholic communities tended to be less productive.

The higher productivity of Protestant communities was coupled with higher thriftiness. The sinfulness of expenditure and lavish display of earthly goods was a notable Protestant principle. So too was it Catholic, but the Catholic Church had been more prepared to forgive these (and other) sins. The Protestant church had no such power and thus the inducement to the faithful to stay modest in consumption was high. Yet the higher productivity of the Protestant essentially meant that they earned more than the Catholic, and yet because they saved more, they essentially accumulated; the Catholic was less productive but spent more.

Thus, Weber concluded, the idea of "capitalist accumulation" was born directly out of the Protestant ethic - not because the Protestant churches and doctrines condoned acquisitiveness as such (quite the contrary), but rather quite inadvertently through its claim to productive dedication to beruf and thriftiness in consumption. The subsequent ethical "legitimization" of capitalist acquisitiveness in later society under the rubric of "greed is good" was simply a distorted statement of what was already a fact. In no sense, claimed Weber, is the capitalist ethic of "greed" the creator of "capitalist society" (however much it might later be a propagator), but, rather, quite the opposite.


I was first introduced to Max Weber back in college, and his thesis made a profound impact on me. Scholars debate this thesis, but I can't understand why. If you produce more and consume less, you will accumulate more wealth. The fact that anyone would debate this shows they are lazy people thinking wealth comes from a series of "tricks."

We live in strange times. Today, people want a credential instead of learning. People want a job title but not a real job. They want to get rich by getting lucky and getting over but not by giving value for the dollar. They buy shit they can't afford on credit cards and think they are rich. It's all one big fake ass world of lazy fucks. It is precisely the sort of world that Weber describes that the Catholics created with their value system.

It all comes back to hard work and thrift. You don't build wealth with consumption. In order to have capitalism, you must have capital, and capital comes from productivity and thrift. It is paradoxical, but to be rich, live like a pauper and work like a fiend.

The problem with the Protestant ethic is obvious. It was fired by a religious impulse. As an atheist, I can tell you that no deity will be there to reward you. So, it makes sense to earn in order to consume. The problem is that this breaks down. As they say, you can't have your cake and eat it, too. The whole point of being rich is to not be poor.

You have to take money out of the picture. A purely material work ethic results in an unsustainable lifestyle. If you look at work as simply the means to provide for your needs, you will hate the work and do the least amount possible. For me, the answer is to find happiness in work. The money is merely a beneficial side effect. Of course, I'm not going to work for free for somebody else. I can always work for myself which has the same effect as getting paid to work for someone else. Cleaning my house is every bit as fun as getting paid to clean someone else's house.

I think we are the product of our values, and the reason this nation has declined so much is because of the wrong values. We need a new Protestant ethic for this age. People need to work and save. They should strive for authenticity and providing value. The bullshit needs to end. The party is over.

Random Thoughts on Various Subjects


There are fireworks on the Korean peninsula, and people are mystified by the latest North Korean insanity. But not me. I know better. By showing their ass, North Korea brings the USA to the negotiating table. The result will be some sort of new agreement and--wait for it--economic aid. Yep, that's right. North Korea wants your tax dollars to keep their broken government running, keep their people in subjugation, and build a few more atom bombs to use for further negotiations that will result in economic aid. And guess what. It works. North Korea will get that money. They are like the fucked up relative who shows up on your doorstep looking for cash to buy coke with, and you give him the money to make him go away. But he always comes back. . .


I always thought this would be a cool name for a band.


I was thinking more of a death metal band.


Since losing the House in the midterm elections, the leftards have a new meme. Without acknowledging their own idiocy or tomfuckery, they are promoting the idea that the GOP will fuck America for no other reason than to see Obama lose in 2012. I haven't seen such self-delusion since Anakin blamed Obi Wan for turning Padme against him. The reason the Democrats got bitch slapped in the midterms is because Obama is fucking America. The Republicans don't have their hand on their wheel, but they do have a foot on the brake. Even libertarians are being called Nazis and tyrants. Unfuckingbelievable.

There are really only two kinds of politically minded folks. The first type is like me which are the ones who care about principles and will bless or damn any and all politicians for their adherence or deviation from those principles. Then, there are the slimebags who simply twist facts and conjure up arguments to support their chosen party. These are the partisans. These are the people who can smear Bush for Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo while praising Obama for--wait for it--Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo. Amazing shit there.


The polarization never ends. Bristol does great on Dancing With The Stars as a critic on NPR slams her for absolutely sucking. Sarah does a reality show and gets slammed for being a celebrity trying to portray herself as blue collar. Blah blah blah. All the critics say the same thing. All of this is just a way to use popular media to advance politics. But they are wrong. Totally fucking wrong. They have it backwards. Palin used politics to go after a much bigger prize than political office. She used politics to become rich and famous. Palin doesn't want to be President. She wants to be Oprah. And it has worked. I hear she is raking in $10 million a year. Not bad.

Politics and entertainment have blurred. Palin represents this new paradigm. She is a game changer. Look at how much sway she has, yet she holds no office. The Left will decry this, but they've been doing it forever with Hollywood celebrities testifying on Capitol Hill and Bono doing his save-the-world-while-I-shelter-my-fortune hypocrisy. The fact is that celebrity is a form of power since all political power is popular power. Being famous is equated to being smart or just being right. And since most people are stupid, they believe famous people.

Palin is stupid but so are her critics. They will sneer to their demise.


The dominoes are starting to fall. First, it was Greece. Now, it is Ireland. Expect Portugal, Spain, and Italy to follow. And who pays? Germany. Germany will pull out of the EU. They are fools if they don't. GET THE FUCK OUT, YOU STUPID KRAUTS!! Why? Because the EU is a massive socialist welfare con, and Germany is the mark. Sharing is so wonderful when you get to share the pain. It is not so good if you have your shit together.


For a long time, my favorite villain has been Darth Sidious aka Chancellor Palpatine aka the Emperor from Star Wars. He was so totally evil. But I am also partial to General Zod from Superman II played by Terence Stamp. They are both really good bad guys. They both crave power and have no mercy. I wonder what would happen if the two of these ever met up. Fascinating.

Musings on MUSA Knickers

Musa is a Rivendell  house brand that stands for "made in USA." Under this label, Rivendell produces a line of clothing and accessories, including the knickers and pants that are designed specifically for cycling, but are described as being wearable "anywhere when formal wear isn't called for." The Co-Habitant ordered both the knickers and the long pants over the summer, because he was wearing out all his regular pants on long rides, and he thought these would be more durable. He immediately loved them and kept recommending them to me - until I finally bought a pair of knickers myself a couple of months later. Our impressions of this product are somewhat different, and put together they will hopefully be informative for both genders.

Made of lightweight, breathable, and durable nylon, the Musa knickers work well for cycling, because they feature a roomy gusset in the crotch area, adjustable-width cuffs with velcro straps, and reflective strips.

The adjustable waist closes via one of those nylon belts and plastic buckles you see on hiking pants.

The pockets are deep and cut in a way that stuff doesn't spill out of them while cycling - a useful feature for those who like to keep small items on their person while on the bike.

The Co-Habitant normally wears pants with a 34" waist, and the XL Musas fit him well. They are relaxed, but with a tailored look to them. The cut is flattering to the male body.

The pants and knickers are currently available in olive, gray, black and blue. The Co-Habitant has the olive knickers (pictured) and the gray long pants. The knickers he wore mostly over the Summer and early Fall; the pants he continues to wear now, including off the bike. His feedback is that his Musas are extremely comfortable and useful. Not only does the seamless gusset protect from chafing during long trips, but the pants regulate temperature well in both hot and cold weather, and are a lot more durable than the trousers he wears off the bike (one problem with cycling long distance in regular clothing, is that the clothing can get ruined from rubbing against the saddle and from sweat). For those men who do not want to wear tight, padded cycling shorts, but want something cycling-specific that looks decent off the bike, these are a good option. I do not quite agree with Rivendell's description of them looking like "normal" pants. They are definitely quirky. But I find this particular quirkiness attractive.

Moving on to my own experience with the Musa knickers (and in case you are wondering - no, we do not wear them at the same time!), my main reason for buying them was the gusset. I cannot ride a roadbike for more than 20 minutes while wearing anything with seams along the crotch, and finding pants without seams in that region is not easy. So seeing how happy the Co-Habitant was with his Musas, I finally ordered a pair for myself. Rivendell describes these knickers as unisex and has a size chart for women. Going by the waist measurements on the chart, I initially ordered an XS. However, I could not pull them on over my hips, so I exchanged them for a Small. The Small went on over my hips fine, but fit me overly loosely petty much everywhere else.

Sometimes a loose fit can be flattering, but with the Musa knickers luck was not on my side. The sagginess in the butt distorts the shape of my body in a way that just doesn't look good, and extra material bunches up around my inner thighs.

The knickers are also overly loose in the front. It is as if the fabric won't lie against my body right - bunching up in all the wrong places. This leads me to conclude that the pants were simply not tailored with a female waist-to-hip ratio in mind. While I am not the curviest woman in the world, I do have a narrow waist and comparatively wide hips - a combination that makes it difficult to get the sizing right.

But fit and sizing issues aside, the Musa knickers do have a number of features I find useful. The gusset is huge and there is not a single seam between me and any part of the saddle, which is excellent. The nylon material really is very light and breathable, as well as wind-resistant, mildly water resistant and fast-drying. The fabric does not pill or degrade after prolonged contact with the saddle  - and having worn through several pairs of leggings and shorts over the past year, such durability is welcome. The pockets are staggeringly deep - though the feature is wasted on me, as I prefer to cycle without too much stuff in my pockets. The expandable width cuffs with velcro closure are clever, if a bit finicky (I had to redo mine a few times to get them to feel right). As other owners of these have noted, the pants were shiny and slippery in the beginning, but this went away after a few long rides.

All in all, the Musa pants and knickers are excellent if you want to wear something comfortable and durable on a roadbike, and if you are male. If you are female, consider the issues with fit and compare how the pants look on a male vs a female body. For me, the gusset and other positive features are worth it - but only because I found no better alternatives. And I would never wear these knickers in a context other than on a roadbike, which does diminish the value of what was meant to be a "wear them anywhere" design.

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's a Rugby-Fest on Radio Cardiff Sport!

Join me this Saturday from 1:15pm for the Radio Cardiff Sport Rugby-Fest!

First up it's Cardiff Blues v Glasgow Warriors in the Magners League - LIVE and INTERACTIVE text commentary from the Cardiff City Stadium. (KO 1:30pm)

After that, from 4:45pm we switch to the Millennium Stadium for Wales v New Zealand  for more LIVE and INTERACTIVE text commentary. (KO 5:15pm)

Set your email reminder in the windows under our Ashes Ticker.

Sins Of The Father

The sports-law world may be about to undergo a debate of biblical proportions.

Auburn, the number two team in the land and, Cameron Newton, its Heisman leading quarterback are, as most of you know, the subjects of investigations both within and outside the NCAA. Cameron Newton’s father, a pastor at Newton, Georgia’s The Holy Zion Center of Deliverance, is accused of possibly conspiring with a former Mississippi State football player to solicit a $180,000 payoff in exchange for delivering his son unto the Mississippi State football program. Pastor Newton, whose congregation supposedly was in desperate need of funds to refurbish its time-worn church, denies the charges as does a former football player. No one suggests either Auburn or Cam Newton knew anything about these alleged acts, even if they prove to be true.

Current NCAA Commandments hold such conduct to be mortal sins justifying excommunication or worse for everyone involved.

The question is an old one: should the sins of the father be held against the son. The bible itself is split on the issue. Exodus 20:5 speaks of “a jealous God, punishing the children for sin of the fathers . . .” Three books later, at Deuteronomy 24:16, we learn: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children for their fathers.”

What shall it be then? Even if the allegations prove true, and those who know Pastor Newton say he is a good man who would never participate in such unholy activities, do we punish the gifted son, if he was indeed an innocent, for the acts of the wayward dad? I think not. We should listen to the Prophet Ezekiel at 18:20: “The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity.”

Push/stöt...2, 4, 6...

Oa jerk with 12,20,24,28: 5/5 each

Jerk 2x20kg: 5
Jerk 2x28kg: 4x  2,4,6 reps +  2,4 reps (sum 54 reps)
Jerk 2x24kg: 20reps 

5 st stegar med 2 4 6 sitter där inte än. Samtliga 4-set sitter ok. Det är 5-6 som ligger på gränsen de sista stegarna.
Avslutade med ett 24kg-set. Skillnaden mot 28or är mycket stor och det känns som om att man kommer åt de muskelfibrer och artärer som fått vila under de kortare stegarna.

Nästa utrikes tävling blir nog i lång cykel i Kilkenny (EGSA) i mars. Ska bli skoj att testa dessa stegar med lc när den träningen startar: stegarna kommer ju från Pavels RTK-bok och är där till för lc med 32or och uppåt...ungefär i alla fall :-).

Trevlig helg bröder och systrar!

Tom James' reaction to his Wales recall.

Cardiff Blues team to face Glasgow Warriors in the Magners League

Starting XV
15 Dan Fish 14 Richard Mustoe 13 Casey Laulala 12 Dafydd Hewitt 11 Chris Czekaj 10 Ceri Sweeney 9 Tom Slater
8 Xavier Rush 7 Maama Molitika 6 Andries Pretorius 5 Paul Tito (c) 4 Michael Paterson 3 Scott Andrews 2 T Rhys Thomas 1 Taufa’ao Filise
16 Gareth Williams 17 Tom Davies 18 Sam Hobbs 19 Bryn Griffiths 20 Ben White 21 Tom Rowlands 22 Owen Williams 23 Gavin Evans

Cookie Monster

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fade to Black

For as long as I can remember, the idea of Black Friday has sort of frightened me. The name sounds so dark and sinister - like a day of mourning rather than a day of shopping. And the reports in recent years of shoppers getting crushed to death in stampedes have only strengthened that association. The possibility of someone wanting to save money on something so badly, that they are willing to wake up at 4 am, stand in line waiting for a store's doors to open, and then... walk over bodies in a rush to get to it, is upsetting. What can inspire that kind of drive for acquisition? - a laptop? a beautiful dress? a bicycle? Or just the very notion that "stuff is on sale today" and that "the thing to do is to go out and get those deals"?  Year after year, I find myself recoiling from those messages - not so much in protest against consumerism, as in protest against being expected to blindly follow those crude marketing tactics.

[image via radlmax]

I want to be free to do as I like with my holiday weekend, and I don't want to be controlled by a vague, socially-induced fear of missing out on a bargain. I will buy the stuff I need when I need it. "Black Friday" can fade to black; I am off to enjoy my day!