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Howdy, pilgrim! No ads — you're in the ^zhurnal (that's Russian for "journal") — see ZhurnalyWiki for a Wiki edition of individual items; see Zhurnal and Zhurnaly for quick clues as to what this is all about; see Random for a random page. Briefly, this is the diary of ^z = Mark Zimmermann ... previous volume = 0.9933 ... complete list at bottom of page ... send comments & suggestions to "z (at) his (dot) com" ... click on a title link to go to that item in the ZhurnalyWiki where you can edit or comment on it ... thank you!

2018-09-02 - Gateless Gate

~12.1 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Who's blocking the Gateless Gate?" Roadkill stands athwart the entrance to the Japanese tea house in Brookside Gardens. Is this a Zen riddle? If there's no Self, then who's stopping whom?

"Let's visit the Butterflies!" Nowhere Man suggests. Alas, it's not open until later this morning, so we we walk around the outside of the conservatory and eye the exhibits there. On the way to the park we detour to get bottles of chilled PowerAde, thanks to kind Robin Z. Heat and humidity are oppressive. A deer steps aside for us to pass. We wonder how Slow Twitch and Court Jester can possibly survive The Ring, and learn later that they both somehow finished that 71 mile über-mountainous trail run. Awesome!


- Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at 04:46:36 (EDT)

Twilight Sparkle

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Indeed — starting with the My Little Pony universe's "Friendship is Magic" show. Who would have thought of a children's TV series featuring "Five Elements of Friendship" — honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, and loyalty — that combine into a sixth Element, "magic", each one personified by a pastel horse?

And the primary character, "Twilight Sparkle", here drawn featuring the "Yes, and... mantra?

Such a marvelous world we live in!

- Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 05:35:13 (EDT)

2018-09-01 - Turnabout

~16 mi @ ~13.8 min/mi

"Is my face red?!" Barry and Roadkill ask in embarrassment as they discover that they've gotten turned around on the one-dimensional Capital Crescent Trail and have gone half a mile in the wrong direction. Oops! Ken and Emaad finish the run and phone, concerned about the prodigal pair, to find out where we are. We speculate that the trail name "Nowhere Man" could fit Barry.

"Good morning, Mr Bun!" A rabbit scampers into the bushes as Roadkill does a solo preface trot to the group trek. Morning dawns warm and hyper-humid. On the way to Bethesda a florist's delivery van flashes lovely flowers on its flanks, and wooden bears guard a home on hilly Leland Street. Dear friends are in our thoughts as they run The Ring today, a 71-mile mountainous ultra on the Massanutten Trail.


- Monday, September 24, 2018 at 04:34:58 (EDT)

2018-08-31 - Memorial Mosaics

~5.2 mi @ ~13.1 min/mi

Falls Church McLean Childrens Center memorial mosaic"Chorus of crickets!" K-Rex comments, as Dawn Patrol surveys Pimmit Hills on a hyper-humid morning, serenaded by chirps. Headlamp comes out for the first time after a summer of early sunrises. At the Lemon Road Elementary School (Falls Church McLean Childrens Center) we pause at sad-beautiful memorial mosaics to a local child who lived only 2000-2009. A shadowy raccoon dashes across the street; a faster runner clears the cobwebs from the path ahead of us.
"I set that trap to capture your queen!" K-Rex reports on her son's metacognitive commentary during their recent chess games. Zombie-eyed kids shamble toward street corners to await their school buses.Falls Church McLean Childrens Center memorial mosaic


- Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 05:53:25 (EDT)

2018-08-29 - Leadership Training

~6.3 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"And she won her very first marathon!" Mandy tells of her awesome-strong triathlete sister-in-law who broke every rule and yet came out on top. We remind ourselves not to make comparisons with other people, or even with our past selves. Humidity hangs heavy as K-Rex leads the Dawn Patrol east through neighborhoods of hills, mansions, and friendly dog-walkers. We discuss Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership training and other courses aimed at making senior managers better. (Do they? Or do they just sharpen what was already there?) Fog hangs low over the elementary school playground, and dew-drenched grass wets our feet as we cut through to the condo complex. A deer nibbles honeysuckle blossoms at McLean High School.


- Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 04:31:32 (EDT)

Feynman by Ottaviani and Myrick

Graphic novel biography of Nobel-Prize-winning theoretical physicist: what could go wrong? Besides everything? Amazingly, (almost) nothing goes (seriously) wrong. Feynman, by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick, as a comic book flows fast and tells diverse stories about Richard P Feynman (1918-1988). No (significant) new scholarship, lots of diverse classic anecdotes of a fascinating, flawed person.

Freeman Dyson, friend of Feynman and fellow physicist, explains in his review:

... The genre of serious comic-book literature was highly developed in Japan long before it appeared in the West. The Ottaviani-Myrick book is the best example of this genre that I have yet seen with text in English. Some Western readers commonly use the Japanese word manga to mean serious comic-book literature. According to one of my Japanese friends, this usage is wrong. The word manga means "idle picture" and is used in Japan to describe collections of trivial comic-book stories. The correct word for serious comic-book literature is gekiga, meaning "dramatic picture." The Feynman picture-book is a fine example of gekiga for Western readers.

Dyson concludes his essay on a personal note:

... He hated all hierarchies, and wanted no badge of superior academic status to come between him and his younger friends. He considered science to be a collective enterprise in which educating the young was as important as making personal discoveries. He put as much effort into his teaching as into his thinking.

He never showed the slightest resentment when I published some of his ideas before he did. He told me that he avoided disputes about priority in science by following a simple rule: "Always give the bastards more credit than they deserve." I have followed this rule myself. I find it remarkably effective for avoiding quarrels and making friends. A generous sharing of credit is the quickest way to build a healthy scientific community. In the end, Feynman's greatest contribution to science was not any particular discovery. His contribution was the creation of a new way of thinking that enabled a great multitude of students and colleagues, including me, to make their own discoveries.

Feynman wasn't larger-than-life — he fully filled his space-time. R.I.P

(cf Late Physicists (2000-09-24), Fractal Feynman (2003-01-30), Essential Knowledge (2005-06-20), Feynman Lectures (2006-11-26), Feynman on Poetry and Science (2015-11-03), Symmetry in Physical Laws (2015-12-12), Alternative Paths (2017-01-15), Feynman on Good Stuff (2018-06-03), ...)

- Friday, September 21, 2018 at 05:12:32 (EDT)

2018-08-27 - Cobweb Help

~5.5 mi @ ~13.0 min/mi

"Thank you for clearing the spiderwebs for us!" Dawn Patrol salutes a handsome young gentleman who dashes ahead on the path by Georgetown Pike.

"You're welcome," he replies. "Actually I took care of them earlier, outbound." We start in gloom, running by cellphone glow in darker patches under trees.

"That could be a car advertisement!" K-Rex observes as a full moon sets, perfectly placed, above a mansion with a luxury auto parked in front. She and K2 spy three rabbits as we lope along neighborhood lanes.


- Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 05:36:49 (EDT)

Mantra - Gently, Gently, Gently


... and as Bhante Henepola Gunaratana says:

... Mindfulness is cultivated by a gentle effort, by effortless effort. You cultivate mindfulness by constantly reminding yourself in a gentle way to maintain your awareness of whatever is happening right now. Persistence and a light touch are the secrets. Mindfulness is cultivated by constantly pulling oneself back to a state of awareness, gently, gently, gently. ...

(cf Gently, Gently, Gently in Mindfulness in Plain English, Chapter 14 "Mindfulness versus Concentration", ...)

- Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 04:29:21 (EDT)

2018-08-26 - Scooby-Doo

~8.9 mi @ ~15.0 min/mi

"Ruh-Roh!" Barry translates Scooby-Doo dialect for clueless Roadkill. (Uh-Oh!) A speedy 3-year-old kid, chased by his hound, leads us along a narrow trail through the woods near Rock Creek. His father lags far behind shouting, "Romeo, Romeo!" as we add a bit of bonus mileage after a loop around Chevy Chase with Gayatri. On the way to rendezvous, pause for pics of Hello Kitty "Baby on Board" car decals. Give thanks for dawn, for friends, for beauty, for health.


- Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 05:31:15 (EDT)

2018-08-25 - Only Cups

~11.5 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"I'm hungry and they have no food in the house, only cups!" and "I do everything and you do nothing!" Cait and K2 recount complaints by exhausted little kids having meltdowns. Life is so tough sometimes! We join Santa, Ken, and Barry for part of a cool Saturday morning ramble. Plans take shape for the Disney Dopey Challenge race series in January. "What's your favorite Disney movie?" Roadkill names "Fight Club", and vows to be more adventurous, more open, more accepting. He dashes across a street to photograph wall art in downtown Bethesda.

"I started crying within the first 3 minutes and completely lost it by the end!" The new Mr Rogers movie, "Won't You Be My Neighbor", is reviewed and recommended. (Quick, buy stock in tissue companies!) At the opposite end of the nice-naughty spectrum, "DTF" is defined for the more innocent Dawn Patrol members in the context of OkCupid's recent ad campaign. (If you don't know, don't ask!)

"My neighbor's father was her Captain!" The USS Torsk is now a museum submarine in Baltimore's Inner Harbor; K2 saw it and, last weekend, so did Cait's family. Small world! Runkeeper's GPS glitches wildly during the journey through the Dalecarlia tunnel and awards us a bonus 2-minute mile.


- Monday, September 17, 2018 at 05:36:32 (EDT)

Causal Inference in Statistics

Heavy going, marred pedagogically by poor choice of notation, too many typographical errors, and overly-complex examples — yet nonetheless Causal Inference in Statistics: A Primer by Judea Pearl, Madelyn Glymour, and Nicholas Jewell offers an introductory glimpse of how to think about cause and not just correlation in collections of data. Bayesian graphs are Giant Step #1, and midway through the journey, a glimpse:

...There is a powerful symbolic machinery, called the do-calculus, that allows analysis of such intricate structures. In fact, the do-calculus uncovers all causal effects that can be identified from a given graph. Unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this book ...

Perhaps there's a gentler pre-primer introduction to this topic? Perhaps it is yet to be written? Or perhaps Robert Tucci's 2013 "Introduction to Judea Pearl's Do-Calculus" is one such gateway, as recommended by Ferenc Huszár's "ML beyond Curve Fitting: An Intro to Causal Inference and do-Calculus" earlier this year?

(cf Statistics - A Bayesian Perspective (2010-08-13), Introduction to Bayesian Statistics (2010-11-20), Doing Bayesian Data Analysis (2013-11-02), Probability Theory, the Logic of Science (2013-11-18), Statistical Hypothesis Inference Testing (2013-12-01), ...)

- Sunday, September 16, 2018 at 13:36:34 (EDT)

2018-08-24 - Cheetos, Chipwich, Sponge Bob

~5.4 mi @ ~14.2 min/mi

"No backsies!" calls K-Rex, when Roadkill tries to retract the word "walk" that, by Dawn Patrol Rule #7, mandates a walk-break. An amazingly cool August morning demands a long ramble. A beer truck makes a super-wide turn that rolls wheels all across the sidewalk.

"Cheetos, Chipwich, or Sponge Bob?" At a gas station convenience store we pause and, to the clerk's amusement, ponder the broad spectrum of salty, sugary, and icy snacks. A Marshall HS five-star logo calls for a selfie. Animal statues adorn a tiny fenced-in parking lot. Fragrant roses bloom. Drs K&K drop sad Roadkill off at a Metro station (alas, he has early meetings) and continue, GPS-less, for another dozen+ miles of adventure and fellowship.


- Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 04:35:47 (EDT)

2018-08-22 - Mudslide

~4.2 mi @ ~12.3 min/mi

"!!!!" Slip-skitter-slithering on a surprise layer of mud, in the dark, crossing under-construction Old Dominion Drive, startled Dawn Patrol members somehow manage not to fall, pause to catch breath, let pounding hearts recover. "Did you take ballet in your youth?" - "No, did you?" - "Maybe T'ai Chi helps balance?" - "Maybe we're just lucky!" We ramble to Starbucks for iced coffee. Trail talk suggests moving family time and self-care higher up on the list of priorities. There's great thankfulness for friendship, sharing-without-judging, and domestic peace as anniversaries loom. Sometimes it's vital just to say, "Yes, Dear!"

"Let's walk when we reach that ..." - "Too late, I heard the word 'walk' and I'm walking already!" Maybe alien-syntax verbs to the end of sentences moved should used be? K2 begins a psyop to get Roadkill to run the Disney Dopey Challenge in January 2019. Perhaps he should take his own advice and say "Yes, and...?"


- Friday, September 14, 2018 at 04:37:28 (EDT)

For back issues of the ^zhurnal see Volumes v.01 (April-May 1999), v.02 (May-July 1999), v.03 (July-September 1999), v.04 (September-November 1999), v.05 (November 1999 - January 2000), v.06 (January-March 2000), v.07 (March-May 2000), v.08 (May-June 2000), v.09 (June-July 2000), v.10 (August-October 2000), v.11 (October-December 2000), v.12 (December 2000 - February 2001), v.13 (February-April 2001), v.14 (April-June 2001), 0.15 (June-August 2001), 0.16 (August-September 2001), 0.17 (September-November 2001), 0.18 (November-December 2001), 0.19 (December 2001 - February 2002), 0.20 (February-April 2002), 0.21 (April-May 2002), 0.22 (May-July 2002), 0.23 (July-September 2002), 0.24 (September-October 2002), 0.25 (October-November 2002), 0.26 (November 2002 - January 2003), 0.27 (January-February 2003), 0.28 (February-April 2003), 0.29 (April-June 2003), 0.30 (June-July 2003), 0.31 (July-September 2003), 0.32 (September-October 2003), 0.33 (October-November 2003), 0.34 (November 2003 - January 2004), 0.35 (January-February 2004), 0.36 (February-March 2004), 0.37 (March-April 2004), 0.38 (April-June 2004), 0.39 (June-July 2004), 0.40 (July-August 2004), 0.41 (August-September 2004), 0.42 (September-November 2004), 0.43 (November-December 2004), 0.44 (December 2004 - February 2005), 0.45 (February-March 2005), 0.46 (March-May 2005), 0.47 (May-June 2005), 0.48 (June-August 2005), 0.49 (August-September 2005), 0.50 (September-November 2005), 0.51 (November 2005 - January 2006), 0.52 (January-February 2006), 0.53 (February-April 2006), 0.54 (April-June 2006), 0.55 (June-July 2006), 0.56 (July-September 2006), 0.57 (September-November 2006), 0.58 (November-December 2006), 0.59 (December 2006 - February 2007), 0.60 (February-May 2007), 0.61 (April-May 2007), 0.62 (May-July 2007), 0.63 (July-September 2007), 0.64 (September-November 2007), 0.65 (November 2007 - January 2008), 0.66 (January-March 2008), 0.67 (March-April 2008), 0.68 (April-June 2008), 0.69 (July-August 2008), 0.70 (August-September 2008), 0.71 (September-October 2008), 0.72 (October-November 2008), 0.73 (November 2008 - January 2009), 0.74 (January-February 2009), 0.75 (February-April 2009), 0.76 (April-June 2009), 0.77 (June-August 2009), 0.78 (August-September 2009), 0.79 (September-November 2009), 0.80 (November-December 2009), 0.81 (December 2009 - February 2010), 0.82 (February-April 2010), 0.83 (April-May 2010), 0.84 (May-July 2010), 0.85 (July-September 2010), 0.86 (September-October 2010), 0.87 (October-December 2010), 0.88 (December 2010 - February 2011), 0.89 (February-April 2011), 0.90 (April-June 2011), 0.91 (June-August 2011), 0.92 (August-October 2011), 0.93 (October-December 2011), 0.94 (December 2011-January 2012), 0.95 (January-March 2012), 0.96 (March-April 2012), 0.97 (April-June 2012), 0.98 (June-September 2012), 0.99 (September-November 2012), 0.9901 (November-December 2012), 0.9902 (December 2012-February 2013), 0.9903 (February-March 2013), 0.9904 (March-May 2013), 0.9905 (May-July 2013), 0.9906 (July-September 2013), 0.9907 (September-October 2013), 0.9908 (October-December 2013), 0.9909 (December 2013-February 2014), 0.9910 (February-May 2014), 0.9911 (May-July 2014), 0.9912 (July-August 2014), 0.9913 (August-October 2014), 0.9914 (November 2014-January 2015), 0.9915 (January-April 2015), 0.9916 (April-July 2015), 0.9917 (July-September 2015), 0.9918 (September-November 2015), 0.9919 (November 2015-January 2016), 0.9920 (January-April 2016), 0.9921 (April-June 2016), 0.9922 (June-July 2016), 0.9923 (July-September 2016), 0.9924 (October-December 2016), 0.9925 (January-February 2017), 0.9926 (March-April 2017), 0.9927 (May-June 2017), 0.9928 (June-October 2017), 0.9929 (October-December 2017), 0.9930 (December 2017-March 2018), 0.9931 (March-April 2018), 0.9932 (May-July 2018), 0.9933 (July-September 2018), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2018 by Mark Zimmermann.)

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