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Tuesday 141028

Workout
BSquat
5RM
-5% of the 5RM for 5
-10% of the 5RM for 5

MetCon
10 minute test

4-Minutes of Rowing (for calories)
Rest 60 seconds

3-Minutes of Kettlebell Swings
(Men: Adv=24 kg, Int=16 kg; Women: Adv=16 kg, Int=12 kg)
Rest 60 seconds

2-Minutes of Back Squat
(Men: Adv=Bodyweight, Int=3/4 BW; Women: Adv=3/4 BW, Int=1/2 BW)
Rest 60 seconds

1-Minute of Shoulder to Overhead (Push Press/Jerk)
(Men: Adv=95 lbs, Int=75 lbs; Women: Adv=65 lbs, Int=55 lbs)

The Cold Logic of Drunk People

At a bar in France, researchers made people answer questions about philosophy. The more intoxicated the subject, the more utilitarian he or she was likely to be.

Laboratory assistants have to do all sorts of terrible, embarrassing things, but surely this is among the silliest: Enter a bar in Grenoble, France. Identify people who look moderately drunk. Walk up to them, tap them on the shoulder, and say something along the lines of, “Uh, hey, this is awkward, but, would you be interested in answering some questions about philosophy?”

Such was the fate of some poor, unnamed graduate student who did “most of the recruitment” for a recent study about the relationship between alcohol consumption and ethical decision-making. In two separate experiments, researchers presented bar-goers with a questionnaire about philosophy and their state of mind; a total of 102 men and women took part. (“One participant was excluded from the study because he did not follow the instructions properly,” the researchers note—a remarkably low number, considering that all their subjects were drunk.) After the participants filled out the survey, they took a Blood Alcohol Content test so that researchers could measure how intoxicated they were.

The researchers asked participants to give their opinion on two of philosophers’ favorite quandaries: the so-called trolley problem and its cousin, the footbridge problem. In the first, people must choose whether they would flip a switch to divert a runaway trolley, killing one person but sparing five others; the second asks about pushing someone off a bridge for the same purpose. “A drawing accompanied the text of each vignette in order to facilitate understanding of the story,” perhaps in case the subjects were too drunk to read.

“The idea was to look more at the more moral and ethical implications of how alcohol might affect decision-making,” said Aaron Duke, one of the researchers.* His team found a correlation between each subject’s level of intoxication and his or her willingness to flip the switch or push the person—the drunker the subject, the more willing he or she was to kill one hypothetical person for the sake of the hypothetical many. This choice follows the logic of utilitarianism: More good is done by saving five people than harm is done by killing one.

This “really undermines the notion that utilitarian preferences are merely the result of more deliberation,” said Duke, who also co-authored a paper on the study, charmingly titled, “The drunk utilitarian: Blood alcohol concentration predicts utilitarian responses in moral dilemmas.”

There’s a fabulous irony in the idea that drunk people are emotionally steeled rationalists who are willing to do whatever it takes to save lives. But Duke and his research partner, Laurent Bègue, aren’t necessarily arguing that drunk people are ace philosophers and logicians; it’s more that their findings challenge common assumptions about how people make decisions.

“There’s this argument that utilitarian ethics are correct; they’re associated with people who are less emotional. Our finding was that this may not necessarily be the case,” Duke said.

One explanation he offered is that drunk people might be less sensitive to what happens to the guy who’s on the wrong side of the hypothetical tracks or bridge—”it seems like a reasonable explanation that the effects of alcohol would decrease emotional sensitivity toward someone else’s pain.” In general, he said, the study reinforces the complexity of figuring out why people make the choices they do. “Ethical decision-making is influenced by things like substances—it shifts the ethical frame by which we view the world.”

Duke also recognized that the implications of the study are limited, especially because the sample size is so small. Plus, the questions themselves have flaws.

“To be honest, with the trolley problem in general, there is going to be a range of seriousness with which people view it, because it’s kind of a ridiculous premise,” said Duke. “I don’t know that inebriated people would take it any less seriously. But alcohol can make it almost more simplistic—they may be less likely to question some of the assumptions upon which the task is based.”

In other words, drunk people are more willing to “just go with it” when a random graduate student asks them to participate in a thought experiment about killing people. Utilitarian or no, the inebriated may be the philosophy researcher’s dream.

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Monday 141027

We were to squat today.  It is too nice not to run.  so…

Run 400 meters
50 pull-ups

Run 400 meters
50 push-ups

Run 400 meters
50 sit-ups

Run 400 meters
50 squats

From The Atlantic

Teaching Math to People Who Think They Hate It

A popular Cornell professor tries to help language-arts types learn how to “make math” instead of just studying it.

The author’s son and husband take the scalene triangle challenge. (Jessica Lahey )

Math has never been my strong suit. I opted out of it at every turn, particularly in college, where I enrolled in linguistics to fulfill my quantitative reasoning requirement. I even tried to overcome my aversion by taking a second whack at Algebra in my forties, but sadly, I still hand restaurant bills to my husband when it’s time to calculate the tip, and have long since given up on helping my teenage son with his Algebra II homework. Despite my negative feelings about math, I am a huge fan of Steven Strogatz, author, columnist, and Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University.

I follow Steve Strogatz on Twitter, and while I don’t always understand his tweets (“Would you like Bayesian or frequentist statistics with that?”), I do find them fascinating. When Steve tweeted that he’d be teaching an introductory math course for non-math majors at Cornell University (#old_dog#new_tricks#excited), I emailed and asked him to tell me more. Why would a veteran professor of higher math choose to spend a semester in the company of undergraduates, many of whom would rather visit the dentist than spend two hours a week exploring mathematical concepts?

The short answer is that Strogatz has discovered a certain thrill in rectifying the crimes and misdemeanors of math education. Strogatz asks his students, more than half of them seniors, to provide a “mathematical biography.” Their stories reveal unpleasant experiences with math along the way. Rather than question the quality of the teaching they received, they blamed math itself—or worse, their own intelligence or lack of innate talent. Strogatz loves the challenge, “There’s something remarkable about working with a group of students who think they hate math or find it boring, and then turning them around, even just a little bit.”

Strogatz believes the key to this turnaround lies not in the material, or the inherent talent of the student, but in changing the way math is taught to liberal arts majors. The curriculum he teaches is called Discovering the Art of Mathematics: Mathematical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts (DAoM); it was developed at Westfield State University byJulian Fleron and three colleagues and funded by a grant by the National Science Foundation. The DAoM approach, which is publicly available through a free collection of books and workshops, is rooted in inquiry-based learning: It focuses on student-led investigations into problems, experiments, and prompts. The typical mathematics for liberal arts class on the other hand, is typically presented in lecture format, usually by non-tenure track instructors, and only serves to further disenfranchise students, Fleron claims.

Twelve years of compulsory education in mathematics leaves us with a populace that is proud to announce they cannot balance their checkbook, when they would never share that they were illiterate. What we are doing—and the way we are doing it—results in an enormous

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Friday 141024

Pumpkin carving and Chili Cook-off!

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Thursday 141023

Workout

Box Squats

Find a 3RM – 4 inches above parallel

take 85% of that number and perform 3 sets of 3 at parallel

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Wednesday 141022

Warm-up

Row 15x – 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest.
Goals – M 150m / F 125m

Strength
Press – Use 90% of your 1RM for your math
70% x3
80% x3
90% x3
80% x3
70% xAMRAP
rest 20 seconds
70% xAMRAP
rest 20 seconds
70% xAMRAP

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Tuesday 141021

Workout

For time:
30 box jumps, 30-inch box
30 chest-to-bar pull-ups
30 kettlebell swings, 2 pood
30 walking lunges with 95-lb. barbell
30 knees-to-elbows
30 push presses, 95 lb.
30 hip extensions, holding a 25-lb. plate
30 wall ball shots, 20-lb. ball to 11-foot target
30 burpees
30 triple-unders

From Design Taxi

Google Releases 750 Cool Icons That You Can Use For Free

Good news designers, Google has released 750 different icons for free which you can use for building websites and apps.These icons were created as part of its Material Design visual language project—you can get them here.

[via Gizmodo, images via GitHub]

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Monday 141020

Workout
FSquat – 1RM with 5/12 pause

Then
83% of that 1RM for 3 sets of 3 reps

MetCon
21/15/9
Push Press (95/65)
Burpees over the bar

From The New York Times

physed_age-tmagArticle

You already know your chronological age, but do you know your fitness age?

A new study of fitness and lifespan suggests that a person’s so-called fitness age – determined primarily by a measure of cardiovascular endurance – is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age. The good news is that unlike your actual age, your fitness age can decrease.

The concept of fitness age has been developed by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, who have studied fitness and how it relates to wellness for years.

Fitness age is determined primarily by your VO2max, which is a measure of your body’s ability to take in and utilize oxygen. VO2max indicates your current cardiovascular endurance.

It also can be used to compare your fitness with that of other people of the same age, providing you, in the process, with a personal fitness age. If your VO2max is below average for your age group, then your fitness age is older than your actual age. But if you compare well, you can actually turn back the clock to a younger fitness age. That means a 50-year-old man conceivably could have a fitness age between 30 and 75, depending on his VO2max.

Knowing your fitness age could be instructive and perhaps sobering, but it also necessitates knowing your VO2max first, which few of us do. Precise measurement of aerobic capacity requires high-tech treadmill testing.

To work around that problem, the Norwegian scientists decided several years ago to develop an easy method for estimating VO2max. They recruited almost 5,000 Norwegians between the ages of 20 and 90, measured their aerobic capacity with treadmill testing and also checked a variety of health parameters, including waist circumference, heart rate and exercise habits.

They then determined that those parameters could, if plugged into an algorithm, provide a very close approximation of someone’s VO2max.

But while fitness age may give you bragging rights about your youthful vigor, the real question is whether it is a meaningful measurement in terms of longevity. Will having a younger fitness age add years to your life? Does an advanced fitness age mean you will die sooner?

The original Norwegian data did not show any direct correlation between fitness age and a longer life.

But in a new study, which was published in June in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the scientists turned to a large trove of data about more than 55,000 Norwegian adults who had completed extensive health questionnaires beginning in the 1980s. The scientists used the volunteers’ answers to estimate each person’s VO2max and fitness age.

Then they checked death records.

It turned out that people whose calculated VO2max was 85 percent or more below the average for their age — meaning that their fitness age was significantly above their chronological years — had an 82 percent higher risk of dying prematurely than those whose fitness age was the same as or more youthful than their actual age. According to the study’s authors, the results suggest that fitness age may predict a person’s risk of early death better than some traditional risk factors like being overweight, having high cholesterol levels or blood pressure, and smoking.

Of perhaps even greater immediate interest, the scientists used the data from this new study to refine and expand an online calculator for determining fitness age. An updated version went live this month. it asks only a few simple questions, including your age, gender, waist size and exercise routine, before providing you with your current fitness age. (I discovered my own fitness age is 15 years younger than my chronological age — a good number but still not as low as I could wish.)

Thankfully, fitness age can be altered, said Ulrik Wisloff, professor at the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who led the study. His advice if your fitness age exceeds your chronological years or is not as low as you would like? “Just exercise.”

Dr. Wisloff and his colleagues offer free exercise suggestions on their website. But he said almost any type and amount of exercise should help to increase your VO2max and lower your fitness age, potentially increasing your lifespan.

In upcoming studies, he added, he and his colleagues will directly compare how well fitness age stacks up against other, more established measures of mortality risk, like the Framingham Risk Calculator (which does not include exercise habits among its variables). They also hope to expand their studies to include more types of participants, since adult Norwegians may not be representative of all of the world’s population.

But even in advance of this additional data, there is no harm in learning and lowering your fitness age, Dr. Wisloff advised. “There is a huge benefit,” he said, “larger than any known medical treatment, in improving your fitness level to what is expected for your age group or, even better, to above it.”

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Friday 141017

Workout

Dead Lift
70% x3
80% x3
90% x3
70% x3+

MetCon

4x
200m Sled Push + 20 KB Swings

From Box Life

How-do-you-compare3-2-774x1024

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Thursday 141016

Workout
Bsquat
5RM
-5% for 5 reps
-an addtional 5% for 5 reps

MetCon
5x
1:40 row with :20 rest
Goal – M/410m – W/350m

From The Art Of Manliness

7 Simple Exercises That Undo the Damage of Sitting

You’ve probably experienced those moments when you get up from a sitting position and your butt feels numb and your hips feel so tight that you have to lean forward at the waist just to walk. Excessive sitting leaves your hips and legs tight and your glutes inactive. Even after you stand up, the ill effects of sitting stay with you and may prevent your butt muscles from firing at an optimal level when you really need them – like when you suddenly need to chase down a purse snatcher!

Some fitness experts argue that sitting causes muscles in the hip area to physically shorten (and stay shorter), even after you stand up. While there are no scientific studies to back that claim, from my own personal experience, sitting for lengthy periods of time definitely makes everything feel tight in the groin/butt area.

If you’re an athlete (or fancy yourself one), tight hips and inactive glutes can hamper physical performance in a variety of activities, such as sprinting, squatting, and — my favorite — deadlifting. If you want to perform at your best, you need to make sure that your hips stay limber and that your butt muscles are firing on all cylinders. Even if you’re not interested in deadlifting 600 lbs. (though I hope to change your mind on that someday), keeping your hip flexors loose and glutes active can improve your life on other fronts.

First, having limber hips just feels good, plain and simple. Second, having a healthy range of motion in your hips can help prevent injury when you pursue more recreational physical activities and do household chores. For example, loose hips keep your IT band loose as well, which can ward off knee pain. Finally, taking care of your hips may help improve your posture, which can in turn alleviate back or neck pain. (Not to mention the role of limber hips in doing a mean mambo.)

Below, we provide some simple stretches and exercises that will undo the damage to your hips and butt caused by sitting.

Prevention Is the Best Remedy: Sit Less and Move More

As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The best thing you can do for your hip mobility and glute activation is to simply sit less and move more during the day.

If your employer will allow it, try using a standing desk, which keeps your muscles activated at the office. Keep in mind that, just as with sitting, standing should be done in moderation (doing it for an extended period of time isn’t that great for you, either).

If a standing desk isn’t an option, take five-minute breaks from sitting every 30 to 45 minutes. Stand up and walk around a bit. Maybe even perform a few of the exercises below. Even if you have a standing desk, you should still take breaks every now and then for some movement.

Stretch Out Those Hips

These dynamic stretches and exercises are designed for loosening tight hips that come from sitting too much. I try to incorporate a few of them in my daily workout warm-ups or even sneak some in when I’m hanging out with the kids (who think their dad is pretty odd). Every now and then I also dedicate an hour on Saturdays to just hip and glute work, along with some intense foam rolling.

If you’re really tight, take it nice and easy. As physical therapist Kelly Starrett says, “Don’t go into the pain cave. Your animal totem won’t be there to help you.”

Leg Swings

Leg Swings 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great dynamic stretch that I do before every workout. It loosens up the hips, hamstrings, and glutes.

Begin with forward leg swings. Find something to hold for balance. Start off swinging your right leg backwards and forwards as high and as far back as you comfortably can. Do 20 swings and then switch legs.

Next are side-to-side swings. Again, find something to hold for balance. Swing your right leg out to the side as high as possible and then in front of you towards your left as far as you can go. Perform 20 swings and then switch legs. Depending on how tight you feel, you may need another set.

Grok Squat

Grok 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grok Squat is very similar to a catcher’s stance in baseball. Simply squat down until your butt touches your ankles. Keep your heels firmly on the ground and your back straight. Hold that position for 30-60 seconds. You should feel your hamstrings, quads, Achilles tendons, lower back, and groin gently stretching. If you’re super stiff, it may take a few days of practice to sink into a full squat. Keep at it. Your back and hips will thank you.

Intersperse a few short squatting sessions into your daily routine.

Table Pigeon Pose

Table 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve done yoga, you’re probably familiar with the pigeon pose. This stretch is the same thing, except you use a table, which makes it a bit easier to perform and allows you to stretch out your muscles from different angles. Start by placing your leg on a tabletop (you could also use your bed) with the knee bent at 90 degrees. Place one hand on the table and one hand on your foot for support. Lean forward and hold for 60-90 seconds. Then lean left to the 10 o’clock position and hold for 60-90 seconds. Lean right to the 2 o’clock position and hold for 60-90 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

If you have knee problems, rotate your body so that your ankle hangs off the table and place a pillow underneath your knee. Aim to do two pigeon poses a day (I personally do one during my workout and another at a random time).

Couch Stretch

Couch 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This stretch is a killer. I didn’t realize how unlimber I was until I tried doing the couch stretch. It’s basically a quad stretch ratcheted up a few notches. Starrett argues that this will undo years of sitting.

You actually don’t need a couch for this stretch, it just makes it a bit more comfortable (if that’s even possible). You can also do it on the floor by putting your knee against a wall.

For the “easy” version, place the knee of the leg you’re stretching against the back of your sofa. Place the foot of your other leg on the floor. Slowly raise your torso to a neutral spine position (i.e. standing straight and tall). As you raise your torso, squeeze your butt and abs. Hold the position for up to four minutes. Switch and repeat on the other leg. You should feel things really stretch in your hip flexor area — just don’t push yourself too hard.

To up the ante, bring your non-stretching leg up onto the seat of the couch. Keeping a straight, neutral spine, squeeze the butt and abs and work your way up to holding the position for four minutes. Keep in mind that it may be awhile before you can get your torso to a straight position. When I first started doing this stretch the “hard way,” I could only raise my torso to a 45-degree angle and I’d have to support myself with my hand on the floor. I was eventually able to move to a straight position after two weeks of dedicated stretching. The difference in the mobility of my hips was (and continues to be) significant.

This stretch is so good that I try to do it every day, sometimes before a workout, sometimes when I’m just hanging out while Gus watches Paw Patrol.

Activate Those Glutes

Barbell Bridges

Glute 1

 

 

 

 

 

This is another exercise that makes you look goofy but does wonders for your glutes and hips. It has been a great support exercise for the deadlift.

Lay on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Put a padded barbell across your hips and grab it with an overhand grip about shoulder-width apart. Raise your waist off the ground while squeezing your glutes until your hips are aligned with your body. Return to the starting position, and complete three sets of 10 reps.

Aim to do this exercise one to two times a week. You can add weight as you get stronger. If you can’t do it with the weight of the barbell, try un-weighted bridges.

Clamshells

Fair warning: You’re going to feel a bit ridiculous doing this exercise. But it’s one of the best for activating your glutes. If you’re self-conscious, do this at home before you go to the gym so no one sees you.

clambeginning

 

clamend

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Wednesday 141015

Workout
Clean – Heavy Single

Then take 65% of that heavy single and perform:
21/15/9 of
Cleans
Ring Push-ups

From The Federalist

expert-998x699

The Death Of Expertise

I am (or at least think I am) an expert. Not on everything, but in a particular area of human knowledge, specifically social science and public policy. When I say something on those subjects, I expect that my opinion holds more weight than that of most other people.

I never thought those were particularly controversial statements. As it turns out, they’re plenty controversial. Today, any assertion of expertise produces an explosion of anger from certain quarters of the American public, who immediately complain that such claims are nothing more than fallacious “appeals to authority,” sure signs of dreadful “elitism,” and an obvious effort to use credentials to stifle the dialogue required by a “real” democracy.
But democracy, as I wrote in an essay about C.S. Lewis and the Snowden affair, denotes a system of government, not an actual state of equality. It means that we enjoy equal rights versus the government, and in relation to each other. Having equal rights does not mean having equal talents, equal abilities, or equal knowledge. It assuredly does not mean that “everyone’s opinion about anything is as good as anyone else’s.” And yet, this is now enshrined as the credo of a fair number of people despite being obvious nonsense.

What’s going on here?
I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all. By this, I do not mean the death of actual expertise, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. There will always be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other specialists in various fields. Rather, what I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or

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