Thursday, December 22, 2005

Pig Be Gone

Last Monday, we commenced the third Pig Be Gone contest at the HP Richardson site. Each person signs up to lose either 10% of their weight or 25% of their body fat (for example, a person with 20% body fat at the start would need to finish with 15%). You have fifteen weeks to accomplish your goal, and then you have to keep it off for a follow-up weigh-in a month later.
Each person contributes $30, and everyone who makes their goal splits the pot evenly. We have 26 people participating for a total of $780 at stake. Although I haven't been here for the earlier contests, history shows that only 1 in 5 or 1 in 6 usually make it, meaning that winners stand a good chance of making $150. In addition to being thinner and healthier, of course! Even if you don't quite make your goal, paying $30 to lose some percentage of your weight is still not a bad deal. The only way you really lose is if you pay the money and then don't do anything, but whose fault is that?

Anyway, I thought I would track some of my numbers here so you can see my progress. If I get a body fat measurement done regularly, I might add that, but we'll see. I'm not tracking intake calories too incredibly closely, but I'm loosely following an old plan so I believe I'm eating 1500-1800 calories a day. I've had to work around a lot of travel recently (I need to post about going down to Corpus Christi for my cousin's graduation from pilot training), so I can't keep to anything too strict. Plus, my family came up to stay with us in Dallas after that. My sister and her family left yesterday, and my folks are still here. That also makes it hard to control calories, but my solution for that has been to stop eating while I'm still hungry. I pretty much am hungry all the time. I'm also trying to work out fairly regularly. I figure that I normally eat 3500-4000 calories a day (yeah, I love to eat), so between reducing that significantly and upping my activity, I'm shedding a ton of weight right now. The only problem is that I've switched completely to aerobic exercise, and with eating so much less, I'm probably losing some strength too. My bench has already been dropping over the past couple of years - I would guess I could do about 320 right now, vs my max of 365. That number better not go below 300; that would be a travesty. I really wanted to cross 400, but it is incredibly difficult to add strength at the same time you drop weight.

Date Workout Time Calories Burned Weight
12/12/2005 281
12/13/2005 Elliptical 40 800
12/14/2005 Elliptical (2) 65 1600
12/16/2005 Elliptical 20 400
12/19/2005 Elliptical 33 750 274.5
12/20/2005 Stair/Ellip 30 600
12/21/2005 Elliptical 35 800
12/22/2005 271

Bias Follow-up

Well, the study referred to in the previous post has been attacked as being .... biased? I think some of the criticisms were pointed out in the study itself in explaining how the Drudge Report or the WSJ might be considered liberal. I don't think counting references to conservative vs. liberal sources is a foolproof way of determining bias, but it is an indicator. No method will be foolproof or have zero anomalies.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Pope still Catholic, ice still cold

Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist... 12/14/2005

So many great quotes from this article. I'm almost tempted to just cut/paste the whole thing here.
...Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

These are just a few of the surprising findings from a UCLA-led study, which is believed to be the first successful attempt at objectively quantifying bias in a range of media outlets and ranking them accordingly.

Surprising wouldn't be the word I would use for that one. Maybe a word more like blatantlyobvious or surprisingifyouareilliterate. There were some other surprising findings, though with understandable explanations. For example:

Another finding that contradicted conventional wisdom was that the Drudge Report was slightly left of center.

"One thing people should keep in mind is that our data for the Drudge Report was based almost entirely on the articles that the Drudge Report lists on other Web sites," said Groseclose. "Very little was based on the stories that Matt Drudge himself wrote. The fact that the Drudge Report appears left of center is merely a reflection of the overall bias of the media."

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times....Since Groseclose and Milyo were more concerned with bias in news reporting than opinion pieces, which are designed to stake a political position, they omitted editorials and Op‑Eds from their tallies. This is one reason their study finds The Wall Street Journal more liberal than conventional wisdom asserts.
They used an interesting methodology in their findings. Read the article to see how the study mapped news stories to the Americans for Democratic Action congressional scorecard. I also liked how dedicated the study's authors were to objectivity: refusing funding, ensuring the research associates were relatively balanced politically, etc.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Be cheap - it's good for America.

Ever wondered how you could reduce our dependence on foreign oil, be a friend to the environment, lower your utility bill, AND get a tax break? Wonder no more!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Peanut Butter

I have been unable to eat peanut butter since getting married, due to the fact that my wife is allergic to peanuts and I don't want to kill her. This is a problem. Is there a solution on the way? Please God, let it be so!

Friday, December 02, 2005


I've recently noticed that I am not as funny as I used to be. I've tracked my made-up funniness levels using a value of 100 for my peak funny in the 2002/2003 timeframe. You can see that I was on a steadily increasing funny track all through high school and college, with a slight downturn when I first moved to California. However, I quickly recovered and reached new heights shortly thereafter. I think this is a reflection of having fun and funny friends who appreciate your sense of humor. Since moving to Texas, the funny has taken a steep downturn. Where will I be in 2006?