Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘data’

Reality

“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. –Philip K. Dick

A fact-based reality should be the easiest one in which to live. Presented with data your only challenges should be to either explain it, seek to change the underlying causes of it, or make your peace and live with it. Now to be sure I am one who has opined that one’s perception of the facts becomes your own slice of reality, but PKD’s quote above is the ultimate response to one for whom the data becomes inconvenient.

Comparative data that shines light on differences between relatively identifiable groups seems to be particularly uncomfortable for large swaths of Americans at the moment. Well, not only at the moment I guess. Daniel Patrick Moynahan is still persona non grata to some people for pointing out facts about groups of Americans in the 70′s and 80′s I think it was. The CrossFit world is presently in the midst of an exercise designed to gather larges amounts of data about a subset of the planet’s population. Adding additional data such as diet and nutrition would undoubtedly yield a reality that some version of high-intensity interval training, becoming physically stronger through lifting heavy objects, and limiting the consumption of processed carbohydrates creates a healthier human.

Reality check for the pizza and beer on the couch set.

In the end I think my philosophy is becoming that I want to see the data. For me a data-driven reality may be unpleasant but it is at least one that gives me those 3 options above so that I feel a sense of control over my reaction to the reality, at least. Grade differences among groups at “elite” U.S. law schools? Let’s see them and figure out why they exist. Daughters in a particular group tend to remain at the same or higher socio-economic level as their parents but their brothers slide backward? Shine a light on that data so that a root-cause analysis can be done and change attempted.

Daniel Patrick Moynahan:  a person is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. The reality is that I am not as fit as I thought I was. I scaled CrossFit Open workout 18.5 and still only got 100 reps. It’s up to me to decide how I feel about that, and what I will do about it, but it won’t change the reality of 100 reps.

 

Sunday musings 11/9/14

Sunday musings…

1) Barbara. I have a love/hate relationship with “Fran”. I just hate “Barbara”.

2) WiFi. At this very moment I am hurtling along I-71, riding shotgun as Mrs. bingo drives us home after our visit with “The Heir” and his Princess. I’m musing.

This tech stuff is pretty cool, eh?

3) Big Data. Many years ago now a CrossFitter from VT sent me a note and asked me to look at a little project he was working on. Guy named Bill. That little project turned into what we all now know as “Beyond the Whiteboard.” They’ve just put out the first results of studying the data so many of us put in. Turns out that to achieve a particular degree of improvement in fitness you get there faster if you work out more frequently, though you do get there even with a program that includes fewer workouts each week (at least when evaluating As Rx’d results from CrossFit.com WODs).

It’s cool on its face that we learn a) this stuff works and b) if works faster if you do it a bit more frequently. No question. Looking at it from 30,000 feet rather than 300, this is the first real instance of formal data collection on a mass level that has looked at a measure of fitness with stated objective parameters and controls. This is cool. It is also an affirmation of the most basic premises put forth early on by Coach as he launched this phenomenon.

Good on ya, Bill.

4) Inconvenience. “Inconvenience is only adventure wrongly considered.” C.K. Chesterton (1908). Promised you I’d return to this.

This is all about attitude, and to some degree I guess it’s about expectations. You could just as easily substitute “boredom” for inconvenience; Mrs. bingo has oft said “boredom is a choice”, which I think fits here, too. There’s a tiny, or maybe not so tiny, aspect of entitlement in both inconvenience and boredom, don’t you think, if you are one to take a more critical view of these states of mind or being.

Chesterton is more than a bit more positive in his approach. Take for example the inconvenience of being forced to spend a night in your layover city because a flight has been canceled. Monkey wrench city, that one. Just happened to my brother-in-law, Pete. Not a one among us prepares for that, and I’d venture to say that an equal number of us views that scenario as something positive or something to look forward to. Pete was not amused.

My bet is that Chesterton would take a different tack in similar straights. Perhaps he would do what Mrs. bingo and I once did, staying in the airport and enjoying a 2 hour meal at a minor miracle of fine dining found in a corner of the terminal. All of a sudden you are presented with 8, 10, 24 hours of opportunity that you have no choice but to exploit. Inconvenient in this day of internet in an auto, schedules as tight as a post-dinner belt? You bet. But when would you have checked out the Liberty Bell in Philly, or the Museum of Natural History in NYC? Heck, if you brought your Nano’s you are probably only a short cab ride from visiting a Box.

You could even choose to luxuriate in being bored.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at November 9, 2014 8:05 AM