No gargling in my class, please.

The irrepressible Kim Swygert has coined the ultimate phrase to describe college undergraduates: "while some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others merely gargle."  Follow the link, too; Moebius Stripper always has something interesting to say.

These questions seem like they should have been in the lesson, not the homework. It seems like they’re trying to teach me something new.

Get used to it, Twinkie. Homework is supposed to teach you something.


Today’s word is M-NESS

This article in the Times Online started off so promising:

wise up, because apparently it’s time to say enough is enough; the
ridicule of men must stop. The pendulum of power has swung too far into
the female corner and you must stand up and assert your right to

But then it veers off into goofiness

is the “dawning of the Age of M-ness”….M-ness (also known as my-ness)
is defined thus: a masculinity that defines the best of traditional
manliness (strength, honour, character) with positive traits
traditionally associated with females (nurturance, communicativeness,
co-operation). A lifestyle that emphasises higher-quality emotional and
physical pleasures, male pleasures, that come from knowing oneself and
one’s potential.

and makes the astonishing claim that

will never return to 1950s patriarchy — the genie cannot be put back in
the bottle, thank God — men must redefine masculinity to accommodate
who they are today.

Somebody reassure the coeds in Baghdad about this.

Fortunately, the article contains it’s best one-line review on the first page: “What a load of bollocks”.

Tip from the InstaPundit.

Update (17 August):  There definitely is something going onTip from the effervescent Kim Swygert.

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

So far, this is the smartest thing I’ve read on the whole debate

can’t think of a worse way to make science more attractive than by a
stepped-up attack on God, ghosts and the Loch Ness monster. People
perceive (correctly) that "skeptic" types (a group which, in my
experience, has minimal overlap with real scientists) use science as a
club to attack the sensibilities of others and aggrandize themselves. I
want people to think of science as something that makes the world
richer and fuller, not thinner and bleaker.

I would really like all the creationists and big-E evolutionists to just STFU.  Good advice for some of those wacky supersymmetry theorists, too.

Tips from the InstaPundit and the ever-surprising One Hand Clapping.

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Perhaps we need to reconsider our use of the words minority and majority.


On the other hand, perhaps I can become a Poor Oppressed
Minority Group Member and start a movement for gringo rights. (First
campaign:  Loudly protest the institution of vegetarian chili*
as antithetical to North American–gringo and Tejano–cultural
heritage.  Get away from my supper, you po-mo multi-culti tranzi

*Actually, the recipes sound pretty good, but that spicy vegetable soup ain’t chili.

Tip from the snazzy new Power Line Blog News — a great new alternative to that schlockmeister Matt Drudge!

90% of success is just showing up.

My wife and I like to stay active, so one of our hobbies is amateur
cross-country running.  We’re not very good, but we do like to run
in weekend charity races.  We decided several years ago to favor
small-town races over downtown ones, and smaller races over larger
ones.  We’ve been pleased with these rules:  folks who put on
a race with only a hundred racers really appreciate your entry, and
will introduce themselves, and thank you for coming–and they really
mean it!  The small races are often better organized, too. 
The local Lions, Kiwanis, Red Cross, or Band Boosters want everything
to be perfect, so nobody goofs off.  But best of all, sometimes
small races happen on the same day as big races.  That means all
the superfast runners are off somewhere glitzy, and we trudgers have a
chance at 15 seconds of glory in the winners circle.

Saturday was just such a race.  While about 1000 big deal runners were racing at the SBC Center with the San Antonio Silver Stars, 200 of us ran the Live Oak Lions 5K.  It was hot and hilly, and timewise, neither my wife or I covered ourselves with glory.  But as our friend  Jose Iniquez
says, "You only need to run fast enough to win" and that’s what we
did:  we both placed first in our respective age groups!

Two Firsts!

Afterwards, it occured to me that this situation was a wonderful setting for a probability puzzle:

weekends I like to run in amateur 5K cross-country races.  I’m not
that good, so I seldom place in any of the big races, even in my age
group.  In fact, of the 13 guys in my age group, I’m right in the
middle, usually ranked seventh.  Lately I hit upon a strategy that
lets me place–in my age group–more often. Some weekends two different
races are scheduled simultaneously, and if I enter the smaller race
(the one with few runners), I have a better chance of placing. Assume
that the guys in my age group attend either of the two races with
probabilities proportional to the number of runners in each race. 
Also assume that previous ranks determine who will win.

  1. Two
    races will be held next Saturday, one with 200 runners and one with 400
    runners, and I will attend the smaller one.  What is the
    probability that I will be one of the top 3 finishers in my age group?
  2. If
    two races are held next month, one with 250 runners and one with 750
    runners, what is the probability that I will win my age group in the
    smaller race?