Sunday, March 14, 2010

LGF and AGW, Once Again

Here we have Charles at LGF, again, not understanding what the "science" supposedly says about global warming. I'm also curious why the Canadian climate scientists mentioned in the story are so "appalled" at the warmest Canadian winter on record. Scientists are normally "fascinated" or possibly "interested" in such events. "Appalled" implies an emotion a scientist might feel toward bad science, or meddling administrators, or a surprisingly poor public education system.

Back to Charles being ignorant. Here's a graph of the temperature record for North America dating back to 1750:

And here's what the article in question mentions:
Environment Canada scientists report that winter 2009/10 was 4 C above normal, making it the warmest since nationwide records were first kept in 1948.


“It’s beyond shocking,” David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told Canwest News Tuesday. Records have been shattered from “coast to coast to coast.”
The problem with this report is easily seen in the graph above. The average temperature of North America has, since 1750, warmed approximately 1 degree Celsius. So we're to believe that global warming caused the 2009/2010 Canadian winter to be 4 C above normal? How does that fit on the chart? Here's a pic of where a 4 C over normal temperature would fit on the graph above:

Alert Hockey Canada... I think I just found Crosby's Olympic stick!

I know the response to my complaint, that Canada is not all of North America, but it is a significant chunk. So what, did the rest of North America cool so that the average temperature remained on track in the graph? I don't think so. I think this shockingly warm winter was an anomaly having nearly nothing to do with anthropogenic global warming. If you read the article they come up with all sorts of conjectures that could explain why AGW might have something to do with the warm winter, but no hard science.

So what is the point of this article on the warm Canadian winter? Seems to me its only purpose is to try to get regular folks stirred up about AGW, to somehow get them to think that we're about to be cast in a Hollywood disaster flick, and that we'd better accept the massive economic boondoggle they want to engineer in order to stop the melting.

So bite me. And Charles... sit on it, Malph.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Gym Tips and Etiquette

As a 20+ year veteran of the weight room and former competitive powerlifter, I learned a lot about lifting techniques and how to be a good gym rat. Not everybody follows good technique, however, or understands the written and unwritten rules of the weight room. If you've ever wondered what these are, read on.


Set goals and keep a record of your progress.

Use good form. The best way to hurt yourself or make minimal gains is to use bad form. Execute the proper range of motion for each lift with no contorting, heaving, or jerking. For instance, if you're doing pulldowns, let the bar go all the way up until your arms are straight before you pull it back down again. If you can't lift with good form, then you're using too much weight -- and you're impressing nobody.

If you want to get big and strong, gradually work into lower reps and higher weight. (Don't do this if you're just starting out -- your body needs to adjust.) Bodybuilders bulk up in the off-season with powerlifting. If you want to shape and tone, use higher reps and lower weights, which is how bodybuilders prepare for competition.

Work your lower-body, too. A big upper-body is great, but you'll look weird if you don't balance it with muscular legs.

Unless you're worried about your baby-soft hands, you don't need gloves. I developed a fine set of callouses on my hands and I was proud of them. Use chalk and Stickum if you're worried about grip.

Wrist wraps and knee wraps, properly applied, offer much-needed support once you get into some serious weights.

Have a spotter for the lifts for which you can't easily dump the weight if you get into trouble, e.g. bench press. A spotter is also helpful for the hand-off and racking the weight.


Don't drop or slam your weights down when you're done. Serious powerlifters use a feather touch when replacing weights. Dropping your weights makes you look like you have no control, and it's annoying to other lifters.

Don't try to carry on conversations with people while they're lifting.

Don't get too close to people when they're lifting (unless you're spotting).

Don't be the jerk who lifts right in front of the dumbbell rack so that no one has access.

Rack your weights. Nothing says "asshole" like leaving weights on the bar when you're done.

Refrain from loud conversations, especially on your cell phone.

Don't yell or swear while you're lifting. Yelling and swearing doesn't make you badass, it makes you obnoxious. (Loud grunting is fine.)

If you're serious about getting fit and strong, then don't talk, watch TV, or play with your iPod while you're doing reps. Save it for between sets and concentrate on what you're doing.

Trade secret: Powerlifters do their main lifts facing away from the mirror. It helps you develop stability and forces you to feel what you're doing.