It’s funny how loss lands in different ways even within the same lifetime. I bought my first DSLR camera less than a month after my brother’s death. Maybe I felt like I had to make records of the uncomfortably ephemeral. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like documentation after my father’s illness and death eight months ago, and I’ve only posted on this blog a couple of times since then. Stresses have strange ways of adding and multiplying, and, for a while, the stress of committing to posting (even for this humblest of blogs) was something I didn’t need. I might be ready to re-commit to this little journal of my wonders. We’ll see!
I’m back with Inktober 2018. Every day is a new prompt for a new drawing. My personal goals are to learn to use Adobe’s iPad apps better and to share some silly drawings of probably mostly cats with my friends. Happy drawing!
I am a verified stat head. I keep a spreadsheet of my swimming yardage. I love to swim on intervals and work against the clock. I always missed that feedback playing water polo.
I recently got an Apple Watch. I intended it mostly for swimming, but I wore it for a few water polo scrimmages, out of curiosity. I’d never had any statistical insight into those workouts.
Below are examples of heart rates for a swim set and a water polo scrimmage.
4000 yard swim set
water polo scrimmage
The swim set is so orderly. The first plateau is my 500 yard warm-up. I go really hard to see how I’m feeling that day. Then a gap, then kicking. Then I take a break before the main swimming set. While I’m swimming, the trace is pretty constant (sometimes even more than this one), and when I take breaks, the trace drops. The fluctuations at the end are 6 x 50s, alternating between sprint and recovery.
The water polo trace is so noisy. They all look this way. You can see my warm-up and some inactivity before the play starts, but after that it gets fuzzy. The whole last 3/4 looks like the sprint/recovery set from swimming. The average BPM are nearly the same.
I love water polo and swimming, but these traces lent insight into why some people like one and not the other. I hadn’t realized just how different they were as workouts.
It’s been a challenging week, but tea has been my companion. At the beginning of the month, I wondered if I would be able to stay interested for 31 days. The more I learn, the more curious I am. This little challenge will stick with me for a long time.
Little tea factoid of the week
Tea is like wine: there are many different cultivars (cultivated varieties) and teas taste different when grown in different soils and in different weather. Like wine, teas that grow in challenging environments gain interesting flavors; many famous growing regions in China, India, and Taiwan are over a mile in elevation.
Unlike wine, tea can be picked multiple times per year. Darjeeling autumn crescendo is the fourth and final picking of the year. For various teas, there are spring pickings, summer pickings, monsoon pickings, and winter pickings. Some teas are made only from specific leaves; Pai Mu Tan white tea is made with the bud and the first two leaves. Some premium teas are even more selective.
With all these variables, there are many ways to make a tea. 31 days starts to seem like not so many days to fill.
The Missouri History Museum in St. Louis has a new exhibit: #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis. I grew up in St. Louis and the title sounded ridiculous. #1? Every school in the state of Missouri requires students to learn about Missouri history in 4th grade. We learned about Daniel Boone and the Pony Express and the Dred Scott case. We didn’t learn about protests or sit-ins or bus boycotts. My school district was desegregated with busing in 1983. The events in Ferguson in 2014 don’t exactly suggest a racially-progressive St. Louis.
So how could the History Museum argue that St. Louis was #1 in civil rights?
It’s a quote. For the 1964 bicentennial of St. Louis, Nathan B. Young wrote an article calling St. Louis the #1 city in civil rights. He was the editor of the St. Louis American, a black newspaper. He argued that the civil rights Supreme Court cases that originated from the city and the civil rights actions in the city made St. Louis a prominent city in the movement. The argument is summarized in the 8 minute video from the History Museum below.
The history of civil rights in St. Louis
The exhibit covers all kinds of history I never learned. Missouri was a slave state. But there were protests seeking its admission as a free state in 1819.
1968 Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., which said that sellers aren’t allowed to have discriminatory racial covenants either. In this case, the seller secretly helped the mixed-race couple buying the home, funding their lawsuit.
I feel cheated that we learned so little of this rich history in school. Fortunately, that deficit is being recognized today.
If you have a chance to visit the exhibit, I highly recommend it. There are several actors playing period activists (ACTivists, get it?), and the woman who played Margaret Bush Wilson was amazing. Stylized portraits of the subjects were commissioned for the exhibit, which was really cool, and necessary in the case of some of the 19th century people with limited period imagery.
The exhibit is really upbeat and focuses on the fight for equality in St. Louis. The negative parts of history–the white flight and the reactionary racism–that’s not a part of this exhibit. It’s part of the story too, but they chose to portray a history that the city can rally around. So little of this history was in my curriculum; I hope that this exhibit and the work supporting it improves that deficit.
My posting has been a bit thin! Between a lingering cold, a new student, and a big conference, my time has been divided. Tomorrow I’ll be posting about Turing Patterns. Alan Turing’s been dead for 63 years, but his name is still alive in the halls of patterns and bifurcations.