Forget Nations. How Do We Live as a Species?

We know who speaks for the nations. But who speaks for the human species? Who speaks for Earth?

–Carl Sagan, Cosmos, 1980

 

When democratic elections fail in other countries we often hear the quip that you cannot impose democracy in cultures that have no conception of liberty. That chaos and havoc are the natural result of such a clash of ideas. That it will “never work”. Continue reading Forget Nations. How Do We Live as a Species?

Reader Update #1

Can you “update” something for the very first time? Update from what? Let the semanticists argue over it, I could care less. It’s RichardWeir.net Reader Update #1 by golly, and that’s the way it’s gonna be.

I’d like to use these updates of staying in touch with you, if it suits you, Reader, on a somewhat weekly basis. In lieu of a richer, more content-filled post which will be right around the corner, I’ll give you a smattering of rapid-fire stuff. You’ve been generous enough to navigate your way here, so you deserve something for all your efforts. (Or maybe you were looking for richarddawkins.net and your cat walked over your keyboard. That’d be silly, though.) These updates could well morph into something else over time, but for starters:

RW’s Current Projects: including any brief comments or insights on the writing or publishing process that I’ve gained along the way. This may be of some interest to those of you going through the same tribulations of getting your stuff “out there” for the first time. For now, this includes a major (and God-willing, final) revision on the novel, which is coming along swimmingly and should be ready to go out the door in about two months. Then I’ll be keeping you posted on the gritty, rough and tumble reality of pitching a project to literary agents. It’s heart-rending, nail-biting, tear-jerking stuff, trust me.

  • Upcoming Posts: a tantalizing hint of what is to come. Some posts for example, some of which will be of interest to writers:
    • How to Finish Your Novel
    • How to Write So Bad You Make Your Readers Squirm with Embarassment
    • What is Science Fiction, Anyway?
    • How to Find Your Ideal Writing Time

Also, I confess to a special love of the unconventional, the weird, the fringe and the speculative. I believe the truth is almost always lurking somewhere outside the edges of conventional thinking and to that end expect some future posts about some of the wilder theories out there:

  • how to gain fat by avoiding fat and working out too much
  • how much of geology, paleontology and cosmology only make sense if you acknowlegde that the Earth (and every other celestial body) are growing
  • why every human alive in the last 10,000 years has believed they are living in End Times
  • why vaccines are the worst disease-fighting mechanism ever invented
  • why global cooling is a far greater threat to life on this planet than global warming
  • why Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry was probably the great foreign policy genius of our time
  • why the goal of any sensible economy should be full unemployment (and why we’ll never get there)
  • why agriculture creates more starving people than it feeds

Outrageous!! I know.

News/Current Events Commentary: Brief! Maybe a question or different perspective for the reader to consider that is not being discussed in the mainstream media. Some things to think about in preparation for an upcoming post, if there’s one in the works. Three hot topics right now are oil prices, health care, and illegal immigrants. What are your thoughts on these? I guarantee you a unique perspective in upcoming posts, which is not influenced by adhering to any ideology. (In fact, I have a post in the works about how ideological thinking is about the worst thing you can do with your brain short of smashing it open (and how even then, the effects are much the same.) More to come!)

Currently Reading/Watching and any insights or reccomendations, or dis-reccomendations… along the way. I recently finished four books (Cosmos, Ishmael, Way of the Peaceful Warrior and Illusions) which in some way altered my perception of the universe, some only minutely, some profoundly. This is what good books should do. Have you read them? I look forward to a discussion of the profound (and sometimes moronic – not Carl’s book, it’s wall-to-wall profundity) insights from each.

Responses to reader mail: That gushing-praise link again: richard@richardweir.net. I’ll do quick responses, but if your thoughts are intersting enough to inspire a new post, then I’ll tell you that, too. Oh, and I’ll keep it between you and me if you want, but let’s be honest, most people want a nice public pow-wow, don’t they? That’s what this whole hinternet thing is for, after all. And this, of course. Let’s see… so far, umm… nothing but bills from my hosting service. So, that’s it for responses this week.

Upcoming Events: You know, the big book-signing at Borders. The interview on Coast to Coast AM. The guest lecture at Yale. The Pullitzer award ceremony, that kind of thing. What? Getting ahead myself? Pshaw!

  • Weir’d Links: Stuff I’ve read on the hinternet that I think you’ll like. Because like me, you’re weir’d. (Richard, quit trying to be clever with your name. We get it. -Ed)

So be honest, what do you think of “Update” #1? I’m not afraid. Okay, I’m a little afraid. But that’s what makes it fun. Anything I mentioned that you are particularly looking forward to? Anything sound like a snooze fest? Anything else you would like to see in future updates? Hey, this is new territory for both of us. If you have an opinion, and share it, you could shape the future of the site!! (Prestigious, I know. I’ll ask my web guy if he’s got some code that’ll let me give you gold stars.)

RW

What Do You Think of the Environmental Movement?

Well, in short, it’s a mess. There is no such thing as a cohesive “movement”. What we have is a grab-bag of politicians, entertainers, corporations, and bought-science combined with a public that refuses to think for itself and seems willing to spout the platitudes of anyone who uses pleasing (or inflammatory) rhetoric.

The crucial question is the science. Are humans contributing to warming? That seems undeniable. Is it catastrophic? Well, that remains an open question.

We do know there have been great epochs of warming and cooling associated with thermal activity on the sun, geothermal activity here on Earth, and oscillations in the oceans. We also know that a cooling period is far more threatening, since, historically, life has tended to flourish in warming periods.

It does no good to deny these facts any more than it does to deny human involvement in warming. Would runaway warming would be catastrophic? Of course. Try settling on the surface of Venus if you don’t believe me. But are we in runaway, catastrophic warming right now, or are we in normal oscillation (to be followed by a devastating cooling)?

I say the answer is still open. I’m open to reason. Convince me.

But when you’re doing it, look at all the facts, not just the ones that support your ideological ends. Ideology is a decision to be blind to that which does not agree with your world view. Partial blindness is no path to the truth.

Having said that, I believe there are some closed questions regarding environment. Every sane person, regardless of ideology, should be in favor eliminating waste and pollution. Not because of any supposed connection with a global catastrophe, but because these measures make good, logical sense. Anything we can do to cut down on the toxins we are ingesting or breathing,  reducing landfills, conserving green space, cleaning the oceans, or exploring less wasteful forms of energy only serves to make us a healthier, happier species and increases the quality of life for all the flora and fauna that we live with and depend upon.

Environmentalism is good when it focuses on these kinds of measurables, not when it cherry-picks its science to support ideological ends.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on the current state of environmentalism?

8-WEEK PROGRAM FOR BEGINNING RUNNERS

 

*Note: If you are unable to complete a full session of MAP (Mostly Aerobic Pace) or MEP (Most Efficient Pace) on a particular day, you have reached your body’s threshold and should go back a step. This should not be construed as a failure, but as an achievement: you are training at exactly the right level to make gains!

Week 1

Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest. You will have two rest days per week. If you feel you need more rest days, take them. In these early stages you do not want to do more than your body is ready for.
Tuesday Walk for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. Since this is your first workout, take it nice and easy. Walk at a pace that gets your heart rate up and makes you breath heavier than normal, but you should no be out of breath 1 30 mins
Wednesday Walk/jog for 30 minutes at a comfortable pace 2 15 mins 1 min 14 mins
Thursday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. Run at a pace that is fairly comfortable. 3 14 mins 2 min 14 mins
Friday Rest. Let your body recover from running.  
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. Keep your pace comfortable. 4 14 mins 3 min 13 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 5 13 mins 4 mins 13 mins

Week 2

Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest. Every Monday is a rest day in this program
Tuesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. Keep the pace fairly comfortable. 6 13 mins 5 mins 12 mins
Wednesday  Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 7 12 mins 6 mins 12 mins
Thursday  Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 8 12 mins 7 mins 11 mins
Friday Rest or cross train. Either totally rest or engage in another activity such as biking or swimming.
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 9 11 mins 8 mins 11 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 10 11 mins 9 mins 10 mins

Week 3

Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest
Tuesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. Keep the pace nice and easy. 11 10 mins 10 mins 10 mins
Wednesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 12 10 mins 11 mins 9 mins
Thursday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 13 9 mins 12 mins 9 mins
Friday Rest. If you feel like cross training, go ahead. If you do cross train, keep the intensity level very easy. You want to let your body recover on these rest days.
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 14 9 mins 13 mins 8 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 15 8 mins 14 mins 8 mins

Week 4

Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest
Tuesday Walk/jog for 30 minutes. You are now jogging as much as you are walking. Remember to keep the pace fairly comfortable. 16 8 mins 15 mins 7 mins
Wednesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 17 7 mins 16 mins 7 mins
Thursday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 18 7 mins 17 mins 6 mins
Friday Rest or cross train.
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 19 6 mins 18 mins 6 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 20 6 mins 19 mins 5 mins

 

Week 5

 Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest
Tuesday Walk/jog for 30 minutes. 21 5 mins 20 mins 5 mins
Wednesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 22 5 mins 19 mins 1 min 5 mins
Thursday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 23 5 mins 18 mins 2 mins 5 mins
Friday Rest or cross train.
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 24 5 mins 17 mins 3 mins 5 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 25 5 mins 16 mins 4 mins 5 mins

Week 6

  Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest
Tuesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. If at any time you feel you are struggling, back off to the prior level or to a point at which you feel more comfortable. Remember, however, that you must push yourself a bit to make improvements. 26 5 mins 15 mins 5 mins 5 mins
Wednesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 27 5 mins 14 mins 6 mins 5 mins
Thursday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 28 5 mins 13 mins 7 mins 5 mins
Friday Rest or cross train.
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 29 5 mins 12 mins 8 mins 5 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 30 5 mins 11 mins 9 mins 5 mins

 

Week 7

  Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest
Tuesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 31 5 mins 10 mins 10 mins 5 mins
Wednesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 32 5 mins 9 mins 11 mins 5 mins
Thursday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 33 5 mins 8 mins 12 mins 5 mins
Friday Rest or cross train.
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 34 5 mins 7 mins 13 mins 5 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 35 5 mins 6 mins 14 mins 5 mins

Week 8

   Day Notes Level Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Monday Rest
Tuesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 36 5 mins 5 mins 15 mins 5 mins
Wednesday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 37 5 mins 4 mins 16 mins 5 mins
Thursday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 38 5 mins 3 mins 17 mins 5 mins
Friday Rest or cross train.
Saturday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 39 5 mins 2 mins 18 mins 5 mins
Sunday Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 40 5 mins 1 mins 19 mins 5 mins

From now on:

  Warmup (111-120) MAP (121-130) MEP (131-140) Cooldown (111-120)
Walk/Jog for 30 minutes. 5 mins 0 mins 20 mins 5 mins

You have done it! You should now be able to jog comfortably for 20 mins at your Most Efficient Pace (MEP). What you do now is up to you. You can just maintain your new level of fitness by continuing your daily workouts or you can move up to the next level and train to complete a 5K race.