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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 = 0.9937 ... 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!

2019-06-30 - Canal Towpath

~10.2 mi @ ~13.4 min/mi

"Like the double-T in 'kitten' versus 'butter' — a glottal stop, not an alveolar flap!" Keymaster attempts to teach consonantal articulation to Roadkill, whose head spins as he strives to sense subtle sounds. Butterflies and dragonflies flit through sunbeams as Dawn Patrol makes a morning metalinguistic meander along the C&O Canal towpath. Geese gather to dabble in the stagnant waters, then splash away. Packs of fleet-footed young runners zoom past. At Bear Island we divert to inspect the Great Falls of the Potomac; further upstream we cross the canal and climb through the woods along the Gold Mine Trail. Cobwebs span the path.

"Surprise!" Tassie and her friend Shannon greet us unexpectedly on Berma Road, where they're out for a Sunday hike. K2 pushes Roadkill along as his batteries run down during the final miles. Dehydration on a humid-warm summer morning?


- Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 05:41:31 (EDT)

Mundane Manifesto

From a long-abandoned blog, via a Wikipedia article "Mundane science fiction", rational commentary about the irrationality of much (most?) SF. "Warp drives, wormholes and other forms of faster-than-light magic are wish fulfillment fantasies ...", says The Manifesto. The conclusion — "... that the most likely future is one in which we only have ourselves and this planet ..." — seems highly likely.

And within the constraints of the real laws of Nature, as currently understood, there's such great goodness to explore! — including, as the Manifesto recommends:

... and so much more!

(for a copy of the Mundane Manifesto see Comments on Mundane Manifesto; cf Seriously Now (2001-03-21), Cross-time Travel (2004-04-09), Fictional Hurdles (2004-12-13), Science vs. Fantasy (2010-04-28), ...)

- Friday, July 19, 2019 at 06:13:53 (EDT)

2019-06-29 - MCRRC Little Bennett 10k XC

~6.4 mi @ ~10.1 min/mi

"Maybe you should hope they switched babies at the hospital?" Roadkill jokes with Sam Young, son of former-rival Tom Young. We visit pre-race, then exchange fist-bump greetings during out-and-back segments; the Youngs finish far ahead. Today's MCRRC "Little Bennett 10k" cross-country scamper goes well: not too many people fall down, the trails are lovely, and aid station ice water counters heat and high humidity. "Where's the Black and Tan?" - "Did you forget to bring the bottle opener again?" Course marshals and runners exchange banter.

"We Got the Beat!" by the Go-Go's plays on the oldies radio station en route to the race and in Roadkill's head throughout, with the mantra "Happiness Is". Post-race Don Libes introduces his NIST colleague, physicist Heather Chen-Mayer.

Result: 80th of 128 finishers, behind 64 men and 15 women, 3rd of 4 in the age/gender group, total time ~1:04 - faster than in 2017, but this year's course is easier, with more gravel road no stream crossings. Second-place in the 65-69 year male cohort is 8 seconds ahead. More hillwork needed, and more weght loss - STAT!


- Thursday, July 18, 2019 at 04:43:10 (EDT)

2019-06-28 - Paraprosdokian

~5.5 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"I was born ready — but that was a long time ago!" K2 quotes Roadkill, who disavows the saying. Dawn Patrol discusses paraprosdokians, surprising sentence-twists like those of Henny Youngman ("Take my wife — please!"), Aristotle ("On his feet, he wore — blisters."), and Will Rogers ("I don't belong to an organized political party — I'm a Democrat."). Keymaster recommends one-liners in the style of Mitch Hedberg ("I haven't slept for ten days — because that would be too long."). We speculate that Category Theory underpins all humor. Then again, Category Theory underpins everything, so why not?

"Pride Month!" celebrates the rock in front of McLean High School, where baseball fields bring back memories for K2 of her daughter's softball practices there — and the web of connections among the girls on the team, who now have gone their disparate ways to college and still keep in touch. Sweet!


- Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 06:01:20 (EDT)

Ham Slang

Morse — officially, the "International Radiotelegraph Code" — is a language of sounds. Once fluent in it people don't hear individual dots ("dit", or "di-" within a symbol) and dashes ("DAH") or separate letters — they hear syllables, whole words, even short phrases. On the way to mastery are some wonderfully apt aural tokens:

... and common abbreviations used by hams (aka radio amateurs):

Sonic symmetry is a big part of the Morse tongue!

(cf MolybdeNumbed (10 Jan 2001), Wouff Hong and Rettysnitch (19 Jul 2001), Hamming It Up (2003-01-10), ...)

- Tuesday, July 16, 2019 at 07:07:49 (EDT)

2019-06-26 - Nottoway Park

~6.7 mi @ ~11.2 min/mi

"I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too!" Keymaster quotes stand-up comic Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005), in the context of linguistic nuance, implication, and surprise.

"I used to run!" replies Roadkill, past-imperfect-tensely. Today's Dawn Patrol duo finds new cut-throughs and begins a survey of paths in and around Nottoway Park in Vienna VA, with meanders past shadows ("Is that an entrance to Plato's Cave?"), down dead-end streets, and beside community gardens. Hanging rings encourage feats of strength; we refrain from trying the climbing wall, since the sign says "ADULTS ONLY".

Neighborhood streets lead to wall art on the backside of Taco Bamba and eventually the W&OD Trail, where Keymaster dodges an oncoming train (mural). We detour to inspect the Caboose Brewing Company facility and close our loop via American Legion Post 180 where the rising sun glints off a decorative (or is it live?) surface-to-air missile. (cf prior Dawn Patrol visit 2018-06-01 - Steamy Week) Two big deer nibble as we pass by.


- Monday, July 15, 2019 at 17:08:43 (EDT)

2019-06-24 - Bayesian vs Frequentist

~5.3 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"No Free Lunch theorem" - "Pigeonhole principle" - "Shattered sets" - "Curry's paradoxical combinator" - The jargon is strong this morning, as Keymaster attempts to explain theoretical foundations of machine learning to Roadkill, who tries to map mind-altering new concepts to old. K2 simply smiles, an appropriate Zen commentary on the entire enterprise!

"That looks just like my grandmother's home - but many times larger!" Dawn Patrol explores the lovely-quiet neighborhood cuddled between Scotts Run Nature Preserve, the Capital Beltway, and the Potomac River, where sprawling mansions take dominion over slovenly wilderness. A new eagle statue spreads its wings above a courtyard.

"Eat our Bubbles!" reads graffiti on the local swim club driveway, beginning trash talk to visiting teams before they even get out of their cars. A rabbit freezes, then dashes away; a deer strides through the brush.

"Bad luck is followed by good!" K2 reports that her kids observe Regression Toward the Mean in their travel misadventures and recoveries therefrom. Roadkill explains why a Bayesian in trouble would pick a random person to beg help of, rather than accept aid from a self-selected Samaritan. Keymaster spies a fox, or thinks he does. When multiple cats are then seen in a nearby yard he concedes that some probabilities need adjustment. "So with what confidence level are you a Frequentist?" Hmmmm ...


- Sunday, July 14, 2019 at 14:31:29 (EDT)

Keene Murals

A June 2019 Mural Festival resulted in amazing wall art around downtown Keene New Hampshire. Some samples:

Barry Faulkner mural in Keene NH"Barry Faulkner, Keene's most acclaimed visual artist, created murals across the country, including several in Keene. His two most famous works, displayed in the National Archives in Washington DC, represent the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. During WWI, Faulkner trained artists as camouflage specialists, ..." - Keene Walldogs
"Named 'the place between' by the Penacook, the Ashuelot river boasts the site of the oldest known evidence of humans in New Hampshire. Spanning 64 miles, the river provided energy for a thriving mill industry. The Ashuelot offers recreational activities year round and habitat for an abundance of wildlife. ..." - Keene WalldogsAshuelot River mural in Keene NH
Catherine Fiske mural in Keene NH"Catherine Fiske inspired young women to question, to find answers, and to strive towards excellence. She interwove lessons in chemistry, taxonomy and linguistics into everyday work. Her legacy was her students, who went on to inspire others; and in the roots of high-quality education, firmly established in the heart of Keene. ..." - Keene Walldogs
"Jennie B. Powers, was 'a maker of humane history.' A humane agent, she fearlessly investigated, arrested, and prosecuted thousands of cases of abuse of children, women, and animals. The work was dangerous and physical. Despite death threats, Jennie put herself in harm's way, intervening in brutal conditions on behalf of the vulnerable. ..." - Keene WalldogsJennie Powers mural in Keene NH

... and, for something completely similar yet completely different:

Jumanji film mural in Keene NHA painted wall advertisement from a fake business seen in the 1995 Robin Williams' film Jumanji, whose exteriors were filmed mostly in Keene. - Roadside America

- Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 07:30:39 (EDT)

2019-06-23 - Time Travelers

~11.2 mi @ ~14.9 min/mi

Union Hardware Van Gogh Starry Night"The bartender says, 'We don't serve time travelers!'" Ken begins telling a joke. We converge in downtown Bethesda and head first to Union Hardware, where Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is recreated on a wall via 1,250 doorknobs and handles. Then the Trolley Trail takes us north by northwest past NIH. G-ji and K2 discuss the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. Danger Man tapers for next weekend's Missoula Marathon and the highly competitive Beer Run that precedes it. Ken tells of "La Soupe aux Choux", a comic French film (1981) that inspired costumes he and R2 witnessed at the 2013 Marathon du Medoc.
"Peace, Love, and Happiness!" suggest the rocks that a garden gnome carries atop his head. Front yards feature cone flowers and other brilliant blossoms, a curvy avenue of pinwheels, statues of pigs and dinosaurs, a live woodchuck, and two speedy bunnies. Ken finishes the joke: "A time traveler walks into a bar."Lawn gnome peace love happ


- Friday, July 12, 2019 at 08:56:59 (EDT)

2019-06-22 - Hayaku

~14.0 mi @ ~15.0 min/mi

front yard rose"Hayaku!" says Sakurako. It means "Faster!" in Japanese. Cyclists politely warn as they zoom by along the Capital Crescent Trail. In the Dalecarlia Tunnel the mini-shrine continues to prosper. R-Squared leads today's trot, and tells K2 about the Marathon du Medoc in France (oysters, cheese, wine, etc. every km - tempting!) and the Polar Bear winter indoor marathon in Ohio (211 laps - maybe not!).

"I'll be there in 45 minutes - if there aren't too many flowers along the way!" Roadkill promises. There are lots of blossoms, and 3 fast rabbits on Leland Street. He nevertheless arrives in time to snag iced coffee to share.

"May Peace Prevail on Earth" wishes a front-yard pole, in Amharic, English, Hebrew, and Spanish. Danger Man begins his taper for next weekend's marathon in Missoula Montana.


- Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 04:48:22 (EDT)

2019-06-21 - Maternal Search

~5.3 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"Are you my Mother?" asks the coltish young deer, all alone as she follows Dawn Patrol from a safe distance on the hillside.

"No! And watch out when you cross the street!" K-Rex tells her, maternally. We approve the recent repavement job in Langley Forest, explore a bit of the path at the end of Whann Avenue, turn back, and meet a US Geological Service woman hiking in to check flood gauges and other sensors along Dead Run.

"Bloom!" declares a pompadour-pink sign. Is it a Joycean allusion to the protagonist of Ulysses? Or a command to passers-by, demanding that they flourish? Earlier this morning a gray fox with white-tipped tail crosses the street. K2 recounts how it was seen once with a rabbit in its jaws, wide-eyed and wondering what to do next.

"People open up to you about their fears and feelings — is that your new(est) Superpower?" We discuss how to help an organization that has room for improvement in performance and morale. Everybody's kids are fine; ice cream is in our future; the world is all right. Now, to invent that Time Machine and go back to repair the past!


- Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 04:26:44 (EDT)

Same, Difference

The Sciences are about how things that seem different
        are really alike.
The Humanities are about how things that seem alike
        are really different.

... or maybe vice versa?

(cf In the Name (1999-08-19), Mathematics and Poetry (2008-11-09), No Repeats (2017-02-06), Macro vs Micro (2019-02-03), ...)

- Tuesday, July 09, 2019 at 05:37:56 (EDT)

2019-06-19 - Five Stacks

~8.6 mi @ ~12.8 min/mi

"We must Marie Kondo our minds!" KeyMaster suggests that decluttering isn't just for worldly possessions. Dawn Patrol inspects suburban sculpture, Metrorail track switches, and a bamboo-grove panda family along Great Falls Street. Grass is dewy, humidity high, running garb soon sweat-soaked. Dark-roast cold-brew iced coffee at Starbucks is a blessing. (A contrarian opts for hot blonde joe.) In a front-yard garden a grazing deer pauses to watch us pass by.

"Five stacks: For Others to Love + Seen Better Days + Lifelong Memories + First Bachelor Pad + Needed Next Week", lists K2, sketching her sorting system for stuff. Could that help organize a healthy brain too?



- Monday, July 08, 2019 at 04:28:20 (EDT)

2019-06-16 - Self-Discovery, Skills of Mind, Generosity of Heart

~12.2 mi @ ~12.6 min/mi

"Self-Discovery, Skills of Mind, Generosity of Heart," reads the bumper sticker on a car at mile 9 — mission statement of the Field School in DC, and not a bad motto for Dawn Patrol either! K2 leads the way from Fletchers Cove Boathouse downstream. Alleys of Georgetown provide a cobblestone surveillance detection route to iced coffee at Starbucks.

"We saw a Great Blue Heron yesterday," says Roadkill, a quarter mile into today's run.
http://zhurnaly.com/images/run/C_and_O_Canal_deer_2019-05-17_t.jpg"And there's one now!" replies K2, pointing at the big bird standing in the waters of the C&O Canal. And then, a quarter mile later, "There's another!" and a quarter mile after that, "Look, another!" Time to pause for photos and appreciation. A few steps later, "Deer ahead!"

"Nice rack!" Roadkill comments, then apologizes, as we admire velvet-covered antlers that the stags are growing. The pace of nature discovery slows after the first mile; we spy one doe and one more heron.
"Grow their Circle of Concern?" We brainstorm ways to encourage better medical testing among young people. Maybe instead of peer-pressure or self-protection, remind them that they can help their friends and family be healthier? Likewise pattern inversion can suggest ideas for corporations to apply data-analytics to help employees, and vice versa. And maybe category theory can generate new jokes and meta-humor? "If a light sleeper sleeps with a light on ...".

"Less first-person singular?" After all, in a note from oneself the words "I think" or "In my opinion" are often a bit redundant. First-person plural is better, and maybe even that can be minimized? Hard not to have a viewpoint, though! Monuments stand dense on the mall — Lincoln, Korean War, Washington, DC War Memorial, Jefferson. A happy horse nibbles hay in a Park Police van.
http://zhurnaly.com/images/run/C_and_O_Canal_Great_blue_heron_2019-05-17c_t.jpg"Fat & Greasy Citizens Brigade" reads the sign on a Georgetown churchyard fence. Roadkill is ready to sign up! Later research reveals that it's a DC theater company and a Shakespearean allusion. "Maybe after I lose another 19 pounds?" We wish Happy Fathers Day to dads running with baby carriages along the Mount Vernon Trail.

"Both elegant and genuine!" Qualities to strive for, and lovely feedback to receive. It's so hard to see ourselves as others see us, and to accept kind comments. We discuss the value of complementary skills in a group; Roadkill remembers an old science fiction story ("Pandora's Planet" by Christopher Anvil) where both an alien civilization and humanity discover that they each need the other. Young runners dash past.
In the final cooldown mile: two of the first Great Blue Herons that we saw two hours ago, still fishing in the canal waters. And on the way home, by chance Roadkill drives past the Field School on Foxhall Road NW.

"Self-Discovery, Skills of Mind, Generosity of Heart"
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Washington Monument


- Sunday, July 07, 2019 at 14:01:21 (EDT)


Chengyu are four-word Chinese idioms, often based on ancient literature, frequently fascinating. Some examples:

Yojijukugo are similar four-word idiomatic proverbs in Japanese. Some examples:

(cf 2019-06-07 - Master Lockout, ...)

- Saturday, July 06, 2019 at 17:32:53 (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), 0.9934 (September-December 2018), 0.9935 (December 2018-February 2019), 0.9936 (February-April 2019), 0.9937 (April-July 2019), ... Current Volume. Send comments and suggestions to z (at) his.com. Thank you! (Copyright © 1999-2019 by Mark Zimmermann.)