Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for January 5th, 2011

The Joy of Statistics

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Again drawing on Dan Colman’s Open Culture:

Last month, we posted a dazzling clip – Hans Rosling tracing health trends within 200 countries over 200 years, using 120,000 data points, all in 4 minutes. Pretty quickly you saw why Rosling has earned a reputation for presenting data in extremely imaginative ways. The video was an outtake from a BBC documentary called “The Joy of Stats,” which is now fully available online. It runs 59 minutes and takes you on a “rollercoaster ride through the wonderful world of statistics.” When it’s all over, you’ll never doubt that stats can change how you understand our world.

Note: If this whets your appetite to learn statistics, then check out the free courses in the Math Section of our Free Online Course collection. Also find stats textbooks in our Free Textbooks collection.

Written by Leisureguy

5 January 2011 at 1:53 pm

Birth to age 10, one photo a day

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Via Dan Colman’s Open Culture.

Written by Leisureguy

5 January 2011 at 1:50 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

Vintage travelogues

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I thought The Younger Daughter would enjoy the Greek travelogue:

Written by Leisureguy

5 January 2011 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Daily life, Video

Terrific Pilates session

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This month will be private lessons so we can really focus on improving my technique. Today was amazing. My general current posture profile has me throwing out my chest, with everything then pulled out of alignment. My instructor had me stand sideways in front of a mirror, my back to an upright pole. When I looked, my head was tilted forward at an angle and my posture was sort of slumped.

We then went to a table, and worked on enabling me to lie properly, and finally moved to just get me to breathe properly: not using my head and neck and shoulders, as I seem to (those muscles are tensed), but rather my diaphragm and lower chest, my back flat on the table, with fuller breaths. It’s quite hard for me to describe, because I don’t understand it and generally I can’t even feel small differences in muscle tension and alignment that are obvious to my instructor. But we continued to work on the breathing, and I did make progress, beginning to breathe more fully with greater relaxation of irrelevant muscles.

After about 40 minutes of that we returned to the mirror. I was truly startled by the difference: my head was upright instead of tilted forward and my overall posture greatly improved.

I suddenly realized why my height has mysteriously shrunk from 6’1″ to 6’0″: it was my poor posture (and weakened muscles that determine posture).

This is important: I can reach the same BMI at 180 lbs when 6’1″ as at 175 lbs when I’m 6’0″. If I can improve my posture, that’s 5 lbs I don’t have to lose. Smile

I highly recommend Pilates with the caveat that you need a good instructor and, at the beginning, either private or 2-person classes or a mix.

Written by Leisureguy

5 January 2011 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Daily life, Fitness, Pilates

Progress and plans

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The Wife left early this morning to spend 30 days in Paris, for her the sine qua non of cities. I will be taking care of Miss Molly.

An easy 27 minutes on the Nordic—working up to it gradually really does make it go easier—and I’m really enjoying the Edith Grossman translation of Don Quixote: extremely good.

My success with the Healthy-Way-monitored weight loss and the instructor-run Pilates effort indicates to me that I do well with hired coaches/teachers/monitors. It may be a crutch, but OTOH it’s a crutch with a venerable history: it seems that we have always valued the guidance of teachers, coaches, and other such mentors and it is only recently (I think) that seeking help began to be perceived as a flaw or character defect.

For example, last year I really wanted to learn Spanish. I set everything up for self-directed study, and it just fizzled. Indeed, my self-directed exercise program also fizzled until the Healthy Way counselor told me I would have to start exercising again, and that carried me through.

With those successes in mind, I decided to get a teacher and a formal structure and tackle Spanish again. Crutch or not, once I learn it, I know it, and that seems worthwhile. So I’ve completed the on-line application to Monterey Peninsula Community College. And it occurs to me that they probably have drawing classes as well, that being another skill I have failed to master on my own.

Spring semester starts 31 Jan. This should be an interesting spring.

I had forgotten that California doesn’t charge tuition for higher education for state residents (though there are some fees). It looks right now as though this will be a relatively inexpensive venture.

Written by Leisureguy

5 January 2011 at 10:28 am

Penhaligon Blenheim Bouquet

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Terrific lather from Blenheim Bouquet thanks in no small part to the TOBS artificial badger brush. I think artificial badger is simply excellent. I do note that those who speak against these brushes do not seem to have actually tried them: they seem to object to the idea of the brush: using a synthetic in place of a natural fiber. For this use, it seems to me, this substitution works  extremely well.

Three smooth passes with the Feather razor holding a Feather blade, then a splash of Klassik.

Written by Leisureguy

5 January 2011 at 10:19 am

Posted in Shaving

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