there is no substitute for experience

Why the internet makes us think others are stupid or evil

Our main news source customizes what it tells us to confirm what we already believe. It hides conflicting information from us so that we are confident in thinking that others who believe differently than us are stupid or evil. Our main news source, of course, is computer algorithms that learn what we like and serve us more while hiding things we don’t like. Here is an explanation that appeared as the 18 December 2014 excerpt from delanceyplace.com. -Tom Denham

From The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser. Because of the personalization of the internet, an internet search of the same term by two different people will often bring very different results. We are each increasingly being served not only ads for what we are more likely to want, but also news and information that is familiar and confirms our beliefs. The issue is that we are increasingly unaware of what is being filtered out and why — leaving us each more and more in our own unique and self-reinforcing information bubble. Author Eli Pariser calls this ‘the filter bubble’ — and it is leaving less room for encounters with unexpected ideas:

“Most of us assume that when we ‘google’ a term, we all see the same results — the ones that the company’s famous Page Rank algorithm suggests are the most authoritative based on other pages’ links. But since December 2009, this is no longer true. Now you get the result that Google’s algorithm suggests is best for you in particular — and someone else may see something entirely different. In other words, there is no standard Google anymore.

“It’s not hard to see this difference in action. In the spring of 2010, while the remains of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, I asked two friends to search for the term ‘BP.’ They’re pretty similar — educated white left-leaning women who live in the Northeast. But the results they saw were quite different. One of my friends saw investment information about BP. The other saw news. For one, the first page of results contained links about the oil spill; for the other, there was nothing about it except for a promotional ad from BP.

“Even the number of results returned by Google differed — about 180 million results for one friend and 139 million for the other. If the results were that different for these two progressive East Coast women, imagine how different they would be for my friends and, say, an elderly Republican in Texas (or, for that matter, a businessman in Japan).

“With Google personalized for everyone, the query ‘stem cells’ might produce diametrically opposed results for scientists who support stem cell research and activists who oppose it. ‘Proof of climate change’ might turn up different results for an environmental activist and an oil company executive. In polls, a huge majority of us assume search engines are unbiased. But that may be just because they’re increasingly biased to share our own views. More and more, your computer monitor is a kind of one-way mirror, reflecting your own interests while algorithmic observers watch what you click. …

“For a time, it seemed that the Internet was going to entirely redemocratize society. Bloggers and citizen journalists would single-handedly rebuild the public media. Politicians would be able to run only with a broad base of support from small, everyday donors. Local governments would become more transparent and accountable to their citizens. And yet the era of civic connection I dreamed about hasn’t come. Democracy requires citizens to see things from one another’s point of view, but instead we’re more and more enclosed in our own bubbles. Democracy requires a reliance on shared facts; instead we’re being offered parallel but separate universes.

“My sense of unease crystallized when I noticed that my conservative friends had disappeared from my Facebook page. Politically, I lean to the left, but I like to hear what conservatives are thinking, and I’ve gone out of my way to befriend a few and add them as Facebook connections. I wanted to see what links they’d post, read their comments, and learn a bit from them.

“But their links never turned up in my Top News feed. Facebook was apparently doing the math and noticing that I was still clicking my progressive friends’ links more than my conservative friends’ — and links to the latest Lady Gaga videos more than either. So no conservative links for me.

“I started doing some research, trying to understand how Facebook was deciding what to show me and what to hide. As it turned out, Facebook wasn’t alone.

“With little notice or fanfare, the digital world is fundamentally changing. What was once an anonymous medium where anyone could be anyone — where, in the words of the famous New Yorker cartoon, nobody knows you’re a dog — is now a tool for soliciting and analyzing our personal data. According to one Wall Street Journal study, the top fifty Internet sites, from CNN to Yahoo to MSN, install an average of 64 data-laden cookies and personal tracking beacons each. Search for a word like ‘depression’ on Dictionary.com, and the site [automatically collects and stores information about your computer or mobile device and your activities] so that other Web sites can target you with antidepressants. Share an article about cooking on ABC News, and you may be chased around the Web by ads for Teflon-coated pots. Open — even for an instant — a page listing signs that your spouse may be cheating and prepare to be haunted with DNA paternity-test ads. The new Internet doesn’t just know you’re a dog; it knows your breed and wants to sell you a bowl of premium kibble.”

The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think
Author: Eli Pariser
Publisher: Penguin Books
Copyright 2011 by Eli Pariser
Pages 2-3, 5-7


Dead-lift developments

I took it easy today because I have been tired this week. I super-setted just 3 dead-hang pull-ups with sets of 10 one-handed swings. I could have completed a few sets of 5 or even 6 pull-ups, but didn’t want to spend the energy.

Today was the heavy day of the dead-lift cycle I have been following for the past 9 weeks. The plan was to complete 10 singles with 255 pounds – 20 pounds under my competition maximum. Instead I completed 6 singles and one set of 5.

I have been reading Deadlift Dynamite: How To Master The King of All Strength Exercises by Andy Bolton and Pavel Tsatsouline. Andy suggests that beginners in their first year of training focus on sets of 5 in the deadlift to build size and strength. I have been lifting erratically over the past 10 years, so probably still qualify as a beginning lifter.

I pulled 135 pounds for a set of 5 and then pulled 225 for a set of 5 to warm up. Then I pulled 255 once to see how the weight felt. After marching around a bit, I came back to the bar and pulled a set of 5 with 255 pounds. I think my maximum must be higher than 275 now because it was not seriously hard for me to get 5 reps. I didn’t want to depart entirely from my training plan, so rather than spending the energy to pull another set of 5, I performed five more singles with 255 and then did another set of 5 with 225 when I was unloading the bar.

Next time I am in the gym, I think I will start working with 3 x 5 @ 235 and see how long I can go adding 10 pounds per week. There are 18 weeks before the next Tactical Strength Challenge. That gives me roughly 16 weeks with one week of vacation and one week of rest before competition. I want to be ready to open at 350 and potentially pull 375 on April 11, 2015.

Today turned out pretty good for a “get it done” day.

Quick summary:

Prying goblet squats
20 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Goblet squat curls
20 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Halos: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

One-handed swings
24 kg kettlebell – 10 x 10 = 100 reps, 5300 pounds

Pull-ups – 10 x 3 = 30 reps
Body weight 190 x 30 = 5700 pounds

Dead-lifts
135 pounds, 1 x 5 = 5 reps, 675
225 pounds, 2 x 5 = 10 reps, 2250 pounds
255 pounds, 6 x 1 + 1 x 5 = 11 reps, 2805 pounds

Get-ups
20 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 440 pounds

Farmer carries
24 kg kettlebells – 3 x 100 steps = 300 steps = 318 pounds

About 15 minutes of baby crawling, leopard crawling, rocking, arm and leg rolls, and neck nods.

Total weight: 19,588 pounds


40 Dead-hang pull-ups

I ate ground beef chili with carrots and beet greens at 5:30 AM when I woke up before my alarm hungry today. I went back to bed and snoozed until 7 AM and began work at my desk 15 minutes later. It was a busy day and I did not stand up until 3 PM, so I never got to the gym and didn’t eat lunch. Rather than delay my home workout any longer, I drank a glass of water and went outside to train. The weather was mild enough that I was comfortable in a tee shirt and long pants.

I suffered pain in my arms/elbows when I was doing goblet squat curls yesterday. My wife brought her cold laser home from the animal clinic last night and I got 9 minutes of treatment on each arm. Today I had no pain when I completed my normal start-up routine of goblet squats, goblet curls, and halos. The cold laser is magical.

My plan with pull-ups was to complete 5 sets of 4 reps to start and then shift to 5 sets of 3. I followed each set of pull-ups with 10 one-handed swings with the 24-kg kettlebell. I struggled to get the third rep on the 7th set, so I shifted to sets of 2 and kept going until I completed 40 pull-ups. I have never counted my body weight in total weight before, but decided to start today. With my body weight of 190 pounds, 40 reps means I pulled 7600 pounds. I would not have started counting my body weight if I had made it to the gym and completed deadlifts today, but now that I see the weight involved, I will probably keep counting it.

40 dead-hang pull-ups in a day is a new personal record, beating my old record of 35 pull-ups that I achieved on 26 November in two ways. My earlier record was achieved across two workouts – 20 pull-ups during my mid-morning workout at home and 15 at my early afternoon workout at the gym. These 40 pull-ups were completed within one 30-35 minute period. And honestly, I think pull-ups are easier at the gym.

I began doing get-ups when I completed 100 one-handed swings. I completed 2 sets of 2 followed by 2 pull-ups and then finished with 1 set of 6 followed by 2 pull-ups. Then I fooled around with trying to bent press with an 18 pound kettlebell. I can press a 44 pound kettlebell with either hand, but get wobbly when I try to bent press. There is something about the position that makes me feel unstable. I gave up after about 6 tries, completed 2 more pull-ups and called it a day.

Between various sets, I spent about 10 minutes doing Original Strength resets – standing cross-crawls, rocking, and neck nods.

After my workout, I ate my second meal of the day – more ground beef chili with carrots, beet greens, and some sliced Yukon gold potatoes. Not exactly a low-fat post-workout meal, but it hit the spot.

Quick summary:

Prying goblet squats
20 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Goblet squat curls
20 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Halos: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

One-handed swings
24 kg kettlebell – 10 x 10 = 100 reps, 5300 pounds

Get-ups
20 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 440 pounds

Pull-ups – 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 = 40 reps
Body weight 190 x 40 = 7600 pounds

Total weight: 15,440 pounds


Double Clean, Press, and Squat

The StrongFirst Girya certification is based upon six exercises:

• Swing
• Squat
• Clean
• Press
• Snatch
• Turkish Getup

I am practicing swings and get-ups on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I am devoting Tuesdays to snatches. That leaves cleans, presses, and squats for Thursdays.

I will probably need to do more nuanced work eventually, but for now I am doing a combination clean, press, and squat in sets of 3. Today I got to my 14th set before I had trouble pressing the third rep (#42). I wanted to get to at least 48 reps, so I completed 3 more sets of 2 reps. When I am able to get to 16 sets of 3 (48 reps), I will start working on sets of 4 and see how long it takes me to get 48 reps done in 12 sets. After I can get all my reps in sets of 4, I will shift to sets of 5. When I can get 10 sets of 5 with the 16 kg bells, I will move to the 20 kg bells.

I need to get stronger before going up for StrongFirst certification. I may still be building up to the levels I need to achieve when I turn 58 in September 2015, but I should be ready before I am 59.

Quick summary:

Prying goblet squats
20 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Goblet squat curls
20 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Halos: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

Double Clean
16 kg kettlebells – 14 x 3 + 3 x 2 = 48 reps 3360 pounds
Double Press
16 kg kettlebells – 14 x 3 + 3 x 2 = 48 reps 3360 pounds
Double Squat
16 kg kettlebells – 14 x 3 + 3 x 2 = 48 reps 3360 pounds

Total weight: 12,180 pounds


Snatch Vo2 Training

To prepare for the Tactical Strength Challenge on 4 October I got into a routine of doing 40 kettlebell snatches with the 20 kg bell every day – 200 snatches per week. I was excited to get 82 snatches in 5 minutes in competition, but have not been working with the 20 kg bell since. I experimented with double snatches with 12 and 16 kg bells, but over the past two Tuesdays been working on what Mark Reifkind calls Snatch Vo2 training. Click here for a video of Mark at work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI_B4qC4p64#t=62

Using a 16 kg bell, I am snatching for 15 seconds with my left hand, resting 15 seconds, snatching 15 seconds with my right hand, resting 15 seconds… I am using a Gym Boss timer set to beep every 15 seconds to keep me on track. I am working in 10 minute sets and today completed 3 sets. Mark completes 6 or even 7 snatches in each 15 second period, but I am easing into this work and am doing 5 snatches in each work period. Today that meant 300 snatches.

I am snatching only on Tuesdays at this time. I considered repeating the workout on Thursdays, but am targeting a strength workout on Thursdays where I do double cleans, double squats, and double presses instead.

Quick summary:

Prying goblet squats
20 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Goblet squat curls
20 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Halos: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

Snatch Vo2 15:15
16 kg kettlebell – 60 x 5 = 300 reps, 10,500 pounds

Farmer carries
20 kg kettlebells – 3 x 2 minutes = 6 minutes = 264 pounds

Total weight: 12,864 pounds


The last day of a good basic week

I completed 8 workouts this week. Five at  my house and three at CrossFit North Fulton. I train Monday through Friday at my house and complete a second workout at the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This was a busy week and I was never at my best, but got the work done.

I am beginning to reach the level where an ordinary day involves moving 10,000 pounds. Always the analyst, I calculated that 10,000 pounds per day means I am moving 1 million pounds every 20 weeks, so roughly 2.5 million pounds per year. I think I can get that to 3 million per year pretty easy and maybe to 4 million as I continue to get stronger.

I am having more fun with Original Strength resets. I am adding marching, standing cross-crawls, crawling, rolling, neck nods, rocking, and what I call Indian get-ups between traditional strength sets. I probably need to spend more time crawling for time and distance, but I like how things have been going lately.

I am repeating the dead-lift cycle I completed last week this week with a few adjustments. The plan was 15 x 1 @ 190, 15 x 1 @ 205, 12 x 1 @ 215, 8 x 1 @230, 6 x 1 @ 245. I skipped 190. I completed 15 x 1 @ 205, 15 x 1 @ 225, and 10 x 1 @ 235. I will probably lift 10 x 1 @ 245 on Monday to complete the cycle. If I only do 6 x 1 @ 245, I will have fewer occasions to practice Original Strength resets, so I just have to do at least 10 reps. (smiley face)

Quick summary:

Prying goblet squats
20 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Goblet squat curls
20 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 660 pounds

Halos: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

One-handed swings
24 kg kettlebell – 7 x 10 = 70 reps, 3710 pounds

Two-handed swings
24 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 1590 pounds

Pull-ups – 4, 3, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2 = 28 reps

Dead-lifts
235 pounds, 10 x 1 = 10 reps, 2350 pounds

Get-ups
20 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 440 pounds

Farmer carries
24 kg kettlebells – 3 x 2 minutes = 6 minutes = 318 pounds

15 minutes or more of baby crawling, leopard crawling, rocking, standing cross crawling, arm and leg rolls, and neck nods.

Total weight: 10,508 pounds


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