The Sports Gene
by David Epstein, 2013
This book includes a very interesting discussion of nature vs. nurture with regard to high performance athletes. While there were certain chapters on specific gene mutations/disorders that led to certain abnormally good athletes, the main takeaway (to me) is that your genes will predispose you for certain sports. Tall -> basketball. Lots of fast-twitch muscles -> sprinter. Lots of slow-twitch muscles -> marathoner. Training (the 10,000 hour rule, which is really the 1,000 to 40,000 hour rule) will help and can sometimes overcome genetic deficiencies, but genes play a bigger role in athletics than most people realize.
We listened to this book on tape. While the material is good, the reading was done by the author and was particularly bad. Note to authors: Don’t do a recording of your own book in which you try to imitate other people’s voices if you can’t do accents. All attempts to do so here were grating to my ears.
I understand the business of sports, but I’d like to see the Reds not trade Mike Leake. They probably will tomorrow or the next day, but I’d like for them not to. He is our household’s favorite player. It’s rare nowadays you get to watch a player play his whole career with one team, and I’d like to see that here. Leake went straight to the majors after being drafted and has only spent one game in the minors in his career. He is a crafty pitcher and a good batter, and his last 4 games have been otherworldly (4-0, 0.60 ERA). The Reds have a chance to re-sign him in the offseason. Even if they don’t, they’ll get a compensatory pick (basically a pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds of the draft). I doubt the Reds would get much more than the equivalent of a first-round pick for Leake, so it doesn’t make sense to me to trade him. KEEP LEAKE!
I heard last week that I passed my qualifying exams! Overall grade of “high pass”. On to the next part of the doctoral journey…
Maria and I just returned from a long vacation. Here is a brief synopsis of our epic journey (6148 miles driven):
July 4: Hosted a 4th of July party at our place.
July 5: Drove to Chicago. Watched Women’s World Cup Final with Maria’s brother Raphael and his girlfriend Mikala. Stayed overnight with them.
July 6: Watched Raphael’s Mad Science show. Wanted to goto the Field of Dreams in Iowa, but thunderstorms diverted us. Traveled to Milwaukee to goto a Brewers game.
July 7: Drove to Minneapolis. Went to the Mall of America. Went to dinner and a Twins game with Mike Petro.
July 8: Went to Roger Maris Museum in a mall in Fargo. Went to National Buffalo Museum and Frontier Village in Jamestown, ND. Spent night in Bismarck, ND.
July 9: Went to North Dakota State Capitol Building. Went to North Dakota Heritage Center. Went to Beulah, ND and took a tour of the Dakota Gasification Company (the only U.S. location that turns coal into natural gas). Drove to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND Badlands) and camped in the South Unit of the park.
July 10: Drove through the North Unit of Theordore Roosevelt National Park. Went to Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site. Went to the Valley Pioneer Museum in Glasgow, MT. Spent the night in Havre, MT.
July 11: Maria went to the Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump and Archaeological Site and Havre Beneath the Streets while Eric did some reading. Went to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, Giant Springs State Park, and various waterfalls (Black Eagle, Rainbow, and Great Falls) in Great Falls, MT. Stayed the night in Missoula, MT (stumbling into the Missoula marathon and finding almost no hotel rooms available).
July 12: Went to Smokejumpers Museum in Missoula. Had brunch with Mike Druschel. Went to the Museum of the Americas in Polson, MT. Traveled to Lakeside, MT, where we were spending the week with Mike, Kalina, and Fiona (11 mo. old) Druschel. Drove up Black Tail Mountain in Lakeside. Visited Flathead Lake.
July 13: Went to Glacier National Park. Went to the Lake McDonald Lodge and hiked the Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake.
July 14: Went to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. Hiked Lower Bertha Falls. Saw a bear at the Price of Wales Hotel. Drove to Many Glacier in Glacier National Park and hiked the Apikuni Falls trail.
July 15: Got a campsite at Apgar campground in Glacier. Did the Johns Lake hike with Kalina and Fiona. Hiked to Hidden Lake Overlook. Watched the sunset at Lake McDonald. Camped.
July 16: Went on a photo hike and saw St. Mary, Virginia, and Bering Falls. Saw Sunrift Gorge. Drove to Two Medicine and hiked to Running Eagle/Trick Falls. Stopped at Marias Pass.
July 17: Hung around the Druschel’s apartment with Kalina. Played with Fiona. Walked to Flathead Lake.
July 18: Got a campsite at Two Medicine in Glacier, camping with the Druschels. Took boatride to Twin Falls and hiked to waterfall. Saw a moose. Cooked dinner at the campground. Watched the sunset at Two Medicine Lake. Camped.
July 19: Woke up and drove to Many Glacier in Glacier National Park. Hiked to Iceberg Lake (10 miles roundtrip) with the Druschels. Walked into a lake filled with icebergs (picture above; it was cold). Saw another moose. While driving back to the Druschels on Going to the Sun Road, drove in a big-horned sheep stampede.
July 20: Left the Druschels and Glacier (Right before a fire broke out in Glacier on July 21 and closed half of the Going to the Sun road. Crazy). Went to the American Computer Museum in Bozeman, MT. Went to Yellowstone National Park, going to Gibbon Falls and Artist Paintpots. Camped in West Yellowstone, outside Yellowstone National Park.
July 21: Spent the day in Yellowstone. Went on Firehole Lake Drive (saw Great Fountain Geyser and White Dome Geyser spewing). Saw Firehole Lake. Saw Steady Geyser spewing. Drove to Midway Geyser Basin. Saw Grand Prismatic Spring and hiked nearby hill off of Fairy Falls Trail to get overhead picture of the spring. Went to Biscuit Basin, saw Sapphire Pool and Jewel Geyser spewing. Saw Old Faithful and Lion Geyser spewing. Maria took a tour of Old Faithful Inn. Eric went to see Riverside Geyser spewing. Drove to Grand Teton National Park. Camped in the Gros Ventre campsite.
July 22: Drove through the Grand Tetons. Re-entered Yellowstone. Went to Mud Volcano area, saw a buffalo sitting right next to a hot spring. Saw the Dragon’s Mouth Spring. Drove to Artist Point in Canyon Village and saw overlook of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Lower Falls. Drove to Tower Falls. Saw the Upper Terraces in Mammoth Hot Springs. The town of Mammoth Hot Springs was overrun with mule deer. Drove to see Roosevelt Arch and waded into the Boiling River (big juxtaposition to Iceberg Lake). Exited Yellowstone via the Northeast Entrance after being stopped by a bison crossing. Drove along the Beartooth Highway and had phenomenal views. Stayed in Red Lodge, MT.
July 23: Drove to and saw Devil’s Tower National Monument. Got a flat tire and had to get a new one. Drove to Deadwood, SD and had dinner with Jessica Michak and friends. Went to Mt. Rushmore evening ceremony.
July 24: Went to the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site and saw the visitor center (getting tickets for tour of Delta-9 Launch Facility in the afternoon). Went to Wall, SD. Went to the Delta-1 missile silo and saw missile in ground and then did Delta-9 tour. Drove through Badlands National Park (and were going to camp, but it was like a desert: 90+ degrees with no shade). Drove to Mitchell, SD for the night.
July 25: Went to Corn Palace. Lunched in Omaha, NE. Went to Council Bluffs, IA. Were going to goto the Kansas City Royals game, but it looked like rain, so decided to drive back to Bloomington instead.
The Lost World, adapted for radio by BBC Audio
Arthur Conan Doyle
Listened to the radio version on tape. I’d suggest sticking to Sherlock Holmes if interested in reading Sir Arthur. Academics, journalists, women, and white males all come out looking bad in this book, and the action/adventure isn’t very good.
The Bud Selig Experience at Miller Park in Milwaukee is apparently a thing. A little partisan toward the home crowd, perhaps, but you’d expect that from a inside-the-ballpark exhibit.
The hologram will haunt my dreams.
What They Didn’t Teach You in Graduate School: 199 Helpful Hints for Success in Your Academic Career
by Paul Gray and David Drew, 2008
I know there’s a version 2.0 out nowadays, but the library had this version. This book took me about 2-3 hours to read. It is highly recommended for graduate students.
Rule 158: No matter how long you think it will take to (do anything in academia), it will always take longer.
Hopefully I passed. Fingers crossed.
Maria and I are going on vacation for most of July. Toward the end of summer, I want to re-design how I use this site.