Saturday, May 30, 2015

Good News And Bad News

Good News and Bad News

All this: "An Interesting Observation About Conservatism In America" is 'spot-on' (Give it a read before proceeding).  This post came out of my reaction to the article and could have been given the title:  "An Explanation of the Conservative Train-Wreck".  And to be fair the below content is not reserved for just conservative thought, progressives can also fall prey to the same problem.

This following quote in particular has what I think are many key phrases:

"... The publication, as a publication, creates this nation-wide imagined community that cuts across denominational lines ..."

The keywords are 'publication', 'nationwide', 'community', 'cuts across'.

It is my thesis that human intelligence is tightly coupled to our ability to communicate with each other.  Out of this process comes the ability to exchange thoughts, to bounce them back and forth between individuals.  What results is something that defines our abilities as what we consider 'intelligent beings'.  

There is very good news about this and very bad news about this.

The very good news is that when done properly the exchange of mental models of reality by humans when mediated by something called "The Scientific Method" results in an almost unbelievable explosion of knowledge about ourselves, our immediate biosphere (our blue marble) and the cosmos in general.  This explosion has given rise to what we call "Modern Civilization".  Of course we have not actually created a Utopia and have many challenges ahead of us that were actually created by the same explosion of knowledge.

The very bad news is that when NOT done properly the exchange of mental models of reality by humans when NOT mediated by "The Scientific Method" results in fantastic, bogus, idiotic models of almost everything; including moral and philosophical codes of conduct that translate into the sickening frameworks that are held up as 'The Right Way To Go' by groups as diverse as terrorist and conservative political and religious leaders of all ilks.  Additionally we even see folks who are responsible for making our economy run falling into many of the same quicksand pits that our minds are capable of constructing.  

The emergence of "The Scientific Method" is a tribute to a basic built in behavior that our species evolved.  Our minds are designed by Natural Selection to make 'Snap Judgments on Poor Data' and our minds will always 'Resolve Paradox'.  And further "The Scientific Method" is not something that comes built in.  This method is contemplative, to use it takes time for reflection, testing, modeling and constant tweaking.  We are NOT designed to do this.  We are designed to make quick decisions and stick by those decisions.  One attribute of this is called "Confirmation Bias" which can even infect folks who are trying to follow "The Scientific Method" and most certainly folks who pay it no attention whatsoever.

We naturally form communities.  We exchange our mental models of reality with our communities.  When such an exchange of ideas is mediated by "The Scientific Method" things for the most part work just fine.  When such an exchange of ideas is mediated by some other 'authority' who has spent many years (centuries) thinking and reformulating, testing, discarding it can also work out.  When such an exchange is insular and NOT based on either of these two authoritative methods you get what I like to call "A Train Wreck".  Modern conservative thought about such items as: Religion, Moral Codes, Economic Policy, Multinational Policy, Global Warming are for the most part sterling examples of just such a "Train Wreck".

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

First Greenway Ride Of The Year

First Ride Of The Year
2015 MS150 Rider #334
Busts A 68km Bike Ride

In retrospect using my perfect 20/20 hindsight I probably should have not gone this far today, but ... I did it anyhow and it was the first ride of the year for me.

What with one thing and another, we moved and taking care of my sister and everything I just have not had time to go on bike rides.  I have kept up my exercises and swimming three days a week I have swum over 50 miles so far in 2015 and I attend a 'spin-class' every Tuesday and Thursday, for about a 50 minute workout.

One of the things we do in spin class is to simulate hill climbs and standing up on the pedals.  I can now report that this exercise in spin class does indeed transfer over to riding on the road.  

There is the one hill that I have to climb because the greenway stops winding beside the creek and you have to take to the streets.  It is very short but very steep and I am sure the 'Max-HR' below of 143 bpm was due to that hill.  I took the hill in a completely different manner today than I have in the past.  

I usually just go to the lowest possible gear and grind/creep up the hill.  This time I stood up on the pedals and cranked up the hill.  And at the top of the hill I thought, "Dang!  I better get back on the saddle!"  

I did not have the HR monitor tied directly to my iPod-Touch so I could not get 'instant' feedback but at the time I definitely felt that I hit my max.  Also on the other side of that hill is a steep short downhill and I am sure the 56.0 kph max speed was on that downhill.

I below among the pictures from this ride is one of the HR monitor data screen for today's ride.

Cycle Computer ..... Numbers
Time On The Bike ... 03:36:46 hh:mm:ss
Distance ........... 67.82 kilometers
Average Speed ...... 18.70 kilometers per hour
Maximum Speed ...... 56.00 kilometers per hour

Tickr X Cycling .... Numbers
Total Time ......... 04:34:26 hr:mm:ss - Getting Ready To Ride Also
Average Heart Rate . 116 beats per minute
Maximum Heart Rate . 143 beats per minute
Calories Burned .... 3,193

The route for today's ride is a new one, since we have moved I thought about how to go about making a nice loop from our house and I do believe I have it now (with a tweak).

I left Swan Neck Lane and took Old Lead Mine Road down to Lead Mine Road and turned south (left).  At the first traffic light I turned left on Sawmill Road and rode to the greenway (actually walking trail) entrance that is right beside Lead Mine Creek.  Here is where the tweak comes in:  Next time I will NOT get on the walking trail because on a number of occasions I had to dismount and carry my bike.  Next time I'll just crank up the hill and take Longstreet to the paved greenway entrance.

Once on the greenway I took it under Lynn Road, then through the tunnel under North Hills Drive and around the east side of Shelly Lake.

I took the greenway south from Shelly Lake along Lead Mine Creek down to where it joins with Crabtree Creek.  I then stayed on the greenway till I left it at Alleghany Street and then rode down Alleghany to Transylvania where I took a left then an almost immediate right on to Orange street.  

This street climbs straight up to the top of the hill where you ride along beside the Carolina Country Club golf course to Rutherford Drive which turns into Scotland St.  This is the monster downhill.  

At the bottom of the hill where Scotland Street crosses St Marys St/ Lassister Mill Rd and turns into White Oak I turned left onto Lassiter Mill and pedaled across Crabtree Creek and got back on the greenway and followed it all the way to the end.  

The end of the Crabtree Creek greenway is now a Anderson Point Park which is near where Crabtree Creek joins the Neuse River.  Anderson Point Park is a good rest stop (the distance was 28km).

Once I finished my banana and switched my water bottles I headed north along the Neuse River Trail toward Falls of the Neuse Dam.  

I've ridden the Neuse River Trail many times now but this is the first time I've had the opportunity to travel on the new part (the missing link) between Horseshoe Park / US401 and the WRAL Soccer Center.  That bit is a lot nicer than having to leave the trail, wind through a shopping center to Perry Creek Road then go through the Soccer Center to the very back and ride on slippery slidey gravel to get back on the trail.

I took the trail all the way to the Falls of the Neuse Dam.  I even walked my bike up to the top of the dam itself and took some pictures.  The road that runs along the dam goes on out to Falls of the Neuse Road and is much nicer than riding from the dam all the way up Falls of the Neuse Road.

Once on Falls of the Neuse I rode to Strickland Road and then on to Six Forks Road and Forum Drive and Old Lead Mine Road and back to Swan Neck Lane.

Here is a link to some pictures of this ride. And here is a 'Map-My-Ride' route map.