Big Mig - honest, dishonest?



On May 28, 2:24 am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
wrote:

> Would you encourage a kid to study mathematics,
> knowing that math is hard, that not many of the
> people who study it make it to a PhD, not many
> of those become practicing academic mathematicians,
> and that the path to becoming successful may eventually
> require personal, professional, and ethical compromises
> that a naive youth would not anticipate on opening
> her first calculus textbook?


Been there, done that:
http://groups.google.com/group/rec.bicycles.racing/msg/3e37ef4bd5676eba
 
On May 27, 8:31 pm, Michael Press <rub..[email protected]> wrote:
> In article
> <[email protected]>
> ,
> "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
>
> wrote:
> > Would you encourage a kid to study mathematics,
> > knowing that math is hard, that not many of the
> > people who study it make it to a PhD, not many
> > of those become practicing academic mathematicians,
> > and that the path to becoming successful may eventually
> > require personal, professional, and ethical compromises
> > that a naive youth would not anticipate on opening
> > her first calculus textbook?

>
> The thing about a mathematics degree is the number of
> high paying jobs the degree holder can step into. In
> college I knew an unwashed guy in the dormitory whose
> room was utterly rank take a bachelor's mathematics
> degree directly into a programmer's job for a high
> priced government contractor at a ten-year veteran's
> salary.
>
> A doctorate in mathematics is often parlayed into
> extremely high salaries these days. Academics is not
> the only option.


Yes. There was a deliberate parallel - namely that
relatively few people "succeed" if success is defined
strictly as becoming a math professor or a ProTour pro.
However, there's no dishonor in going to grad school
or training as an amateur bike racer, and then
chucking the academic rat race or the $12K rat race
and saying "I did it, I liked it while I was doing it,
and now I'm done."

I know people who went to grad school and got off the
Research-1 university track or bailed out of the
professoriate or out of academia, and they're all harried
in the middle-class way, especially the ones with kids,
but the ones that bailed aren't bitter like Lafferty.
If anything, they're happier than the ones that are
still in.

Of course, college and math grad school nominally better
prepare you for other careers than does being a U23 racer.
In that sense, it's rather irresponsible to encourage kids
to take up sports with the allure of turning pro, but
this has nothing to do with doping and is true of all
the major sports. At least in the US, collegiate bike
racing is sufficiently amateur that it hasn't been
effectively professionalized, and some kid can go to
college and race a bike while still actually getting an
education. It may not be optimal preparation for bike
racing, but it's probably better preparation for life.

Ben
 
R

Ryan Cousineau

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
[email protected] wrote:

> On May 28, 6:00 am, Ryan Cousineau <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> > Yes. But we don't worry about enforcing things that are allowed.

>
> Hmmm. Don't you see the circularity there? (In addition, it appears
> many people didn't much worry about enforcing disallowed things as
> long as they didn't know about them).


Heh. I missed that the first time. Another way to say it is that the UCI
is mostly enforcing the right things.

> > At the
> > risk of dragging those bloody children into this argument again [there
> > should be a special text colour to set off my rhetorical cheap
> > shots...], I don't think I'd be worried if generic talented junior
> > trained had a good hematocrit and was reading Coggan and doing his
> > intervals.

>
> Why not? What if you were wealthy and could afford wind-tunnel time,
> while other kids couldn't? Which performance-enhancing substances,
> devices, training, and knowledge should be allowed, and which
> shouldn't?


I think rider health and safety has to be the first principle. At some
point in my hypothetical example, the problem is we're just talking
about a kid: the main goal of youth-dev programs is not to make the kids
fast right away, it's to find the ones who will be fast. The chance that
a wind tunnel will take Junior from also-ran to next David Millar
(er...) is not great.

Back to drugs, I'll answer in a moment...

> > Right, doping: I think I've articulated how I think doping differs from
> > bread, water, intervals, and even altitude tents, but I'm willing to
> > express it explicitly and at great length if necessary.

>
> Perhaps you have, but I missed it. Is it necessary?


I don't know.

But briefly and bluntly, I don't much want to watch racing where the
riders are driven into quasi-experimental (quasi- because it's not very
scientific in many cases...) drug practices that might get them dead or
badly hurt.

If I come up with some dumbass new training technique like super-low
cadence, the most likely problem I'll give myself is a use injury and
bad results. Life goes on. If I mess with roids or EPO and do it badly,
I box my liver, or die, or experience exciting long-term effects.

The libre-drugs proposal skirts the issue that right now, even our
"useless" drug-enforcement system actually forces a lot of drugs out of
the sport. You can't use most steroids at all, because they show up too
easily. You can't use speed for the same reason. You can only use EPO in
small, circumspect doses, lest you get caught over either the 50% HCT or
by a drug test.

HgH? Not so good yet. Testosterone? I thought it was well-screened, but
now that I've been talking to Floyd...

All this makes doping both less effective and less dangerous, for the
most part. There are some perverse effects with steroids, where it's
likely that the ones least likely to mess with your body are avoided
because they can be seen on tests, but on the whole I'd say there are
substantially fewer drugs in the system because of testing, and they're
used in smaller quantities, than there would be in any plausible "drugs
are acceptable" system.

> > Aha! But the 6.8 kilo limit is an _easily enforceable_ safety standard.
> > It makes the bikes so heavy that, given current technology, they're
> > within the margins of non-craziness. There's no incentive to mess around.

>
> Dude, they're building bikes lighter than that and then adding weights
> to bring them up to 6.8kg.


Some of them, but a surprising number of pro bikes that actually get
weighed are 7+ kg. The "high" weight limit (note to weight-weenies: I
will buy your useless and outmoded 7.5 kg bike!) has driven innovation
into aerodynamics, where it belongs. Deep wheels, aero frames...I see
Cervélo as the obvious vision of the future.

That said, I would not object to a weight limit that gradually dropped.
If, by mutual agreement, the bike companies told the UCI they could
safely build, say, 6.3 kg bikes, then go for it.

Same goes for drugs, by the way. After messing with the caffeine limits
for years, these days WADA basically says, "ah, forget it," and allows
quantities that are clearly performance-enhancing but not obviously
unsafe, and not outside the realm of consumption experienced by a great
many office workers who hardly even think of their morning cup as a
drug-delivery mechanism.

I think we should expect to see this trend continue, and the questions
will get harder, not easier. I still think the right answers in terms of
proscription (if not enforcement) are closer to WADA's answers than the
libre answers.

Still thinking about that bodybuilder whose body seized up while posing,

--
Ryan Cousineau [email protected] http://www.wiredcola.com/
"I don't want kids who are thinking about going into mathematics
to think that they have to take drugs to succeed." -Paul Erdos
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article
<[email protected]>,
[email protected] wrote:

> On May 28, 8:37 am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
> wrote:
> > However, there's no dishonor in going to grad school
> > [...] and then chucking the academic rat race

>
> Hmmm. I think I said something very similar to this when I didn't get
> tenure. I said it several thousand times.


Sounds like you did not chuck it, rather you were up-chucked.

--
Michael Press
 
J

John Forrest Tomlinson

Guest
On Sun, 27 May 2007 20:20:47 -0700, Michael Press <[email protected]>
wrote:

>Let's test most
>riders all the time. Dozens every day. Three month
>suspensions and no record rewriting.


This makes a lot of sense except for the problem of the tests costing
money.

--
JT
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On May 28, 11:33 am, Michael Press <[email protected]> wrote:

> > > However, there's no dishonor in going to grad school
> > > [...] and then chucking the academic rat race

>
> > Hmmm. I think I said something very similar to this when I didn't get
> > tenure. I said it several thousand times.

>
> Sounds like you did not chuck it, rather you were up-chucked.


It's worse than that. I jumped on the first chance I had to get back.
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article
<[email protected]>,
John Forrest Tomlinson <[email protected]>
wrote:

> On Sun, 27 May 2007 20:20:47 -0700, Michael Press <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
> >Let's test most
> >riders all the time. Dozens every day. Three month
> >suspensions and no record rewriting.

>
> This makes a lot of sense except for the problem of the tests costing
> money.


Not my problem. Until the testing program changes in
the way outlined we will not have an equable test
process that can reduce doping. Only when many, many
instances of doping are detected will the incidence of
doping decline. The current scheme does not work
because riders' utility computation is mostly
determined by probability of being caught. Do not win a
stage when you know you will test positive.

--
Michael Press
 
On May 27, 11:46 pm, [email protected] wrote:
> On May 28, 8:37 am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
> wrote:
>
> > However, there's no dishonor in going to grad school
> > [...] and then chucking the academic rat race

>
> Hmmm. I think I said something very similar to this when I didn't get
> tenure. I said it several thousand times.


Dumbass,

You're supposed to chuck the rat race before getting
that far into the experiment. Although, I slightly knew
someone who got denied tenure at Caltech, and now
works here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_Technologies
and I hear he's a lot happier. Also, he makes bank.

It's okay though. You did the equivalent of washing
out of your ProTour tryout. I'm the academic 12K dreamer,
or maybe the academic Joe Papp.

Ben
 
On May 27, 9:34 pm, Ryan Cousineau <[email protected]> wrote:
> "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:


> > Would you encourage a kid to study mathematics,
> > knowing that math is hard, that not many of the
> > people who study it make it to a PhD, not many
> > of those become practicing academic mathematicians,
> > and that the path to becoming successful may eventually
> > require personal, professional, and ethical compromises
> > that a naive youth would not anticipate on opening
> > her first calculus textbook?

>
> I would say that while it is possible to be an ethically compromised
> mathematician, it is quite easy to enter the realm of the successful
> mathematical career without um, cheating the rules of mathematics. Or of
> the profession.
>
> I should say this is not theoretical, though. If math is generally less
> susceptible to academic fraud (harder to fake and obfuscate your data
> like those naughty soft-science academics occasionally do), I did once
> work for a math-research group where a disgruntled member of the group
> publicly accused the director and another mathematician of improperly
> taking credit for his work (long boring story: the three were listed as
> co-authors, disgruntled mathematician now claims the other two added
> almost nothing to his original work, and went and hogged all the
> credit). And there were also behind-the-scenes intrigues that I only
> have half-heard rumors of, so there you go.
>
> But that's about as bad as math gets, it's the kind of story that is
> considered bad form (though the problem of marginal co-authors and
> credit haunts all of academia), but it's considered an unusual case, not
> the norm. The great mathematicians the discipline are almost never
> heralded for disputed work: for all I know there are
> credit-and-attribution whispers about one or two of Erdös' papers, but
> nobody disputes that he did a ton of good mathematics.
>
> Math doesn't seem to have an inverse relationship between the number of
> ethical shortcuts a mathematician takes and the success of their career.
> Indeed, in math if you cut corners once too often you're likely to find
> your job offers dry up and nobody wants to write papers with you or
> publish your stuff.


Dumbass,

I digress from cheating in bike racing for a moment
and talk about being a ******* in the refined and
civilized academic pursuits.

Math is a less collaborative discipline than many other
fields and so it has slightly fewer opportunities for
screwing people over, but as your example showed, it
might happen anyway. Do not assume that faking
data is confined to naughty soft-scientists. Quite a
few of the most prominent recent fraud scandals have
been in hard sciences (materials, physics). However,
I suspect that unethical treatment of colleagues is
far more common than actual faking of results. I don't
see being an evil jerk to your underlings as a less
serious problem than doping in sports, but maybe that's
because dopers aren't stealing $5k from me at Superweek.

http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-57/iss-11/p42.html

39% of junior members of the American Physical Society
claimed knowledge of ethical violations, mostly credit
or publication disputes, not faking data. Few of the
department chairs responded and only 10% of them knew
about any problems.

It may be that mathematicians are more solitary than
other disciplines and have less opportunity to mess
with people. But in academia, where part of success
is convincing other people that you're smart, one
tried and tested method is ruthlessly stepping on
people who don't know as much or aren't as verbally
agile. I think every department has an "educator"
who regularly makes some poor grad student feel like
an idiot. There's hardly ever negative consequences
for this type of behavior.

It's not any different in the rest of the world,
or people wouldn't think "The Office" is funny.
(It is funny, right? I mean, funny for a documentary.)

Ben
 
On May 29, 9:29 am, "[email protected]" <[email protected]>
wrote:

> 39% of junior members of the American Physical Society
> claimed knowledge of ethical violations, mostly credit
> or publication disputes, not faking data. Few of the
> department chairs responded and only 10% of them knew
> about any problems.


A few years ago my wife was asked to review a new book that had just
been published on a topic related to her field. Part way through the
first chapter, she read a sentence that sounded familiar. The next
sentence, too. She went to her file cabinet, pulled out an article
she'd written a few years before and started comparing sentence after
sentence, paragraph after paragraph, page after page. The guy who was
the nominal author of that chapter was shocked, shocked to discover
this and said he, too, was a victim. He'd trusted that the stuff he'd
taken from his research assistant was original.
 
D

Donald Munro

Guest
rechungREMOVETHIS wrote:
> He'd trusted that the stuff he'd taken from his research assistant was original.


Perhaps the research assistants do injections too.
 
D

Donald Munro

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> It's okay though. You did the equivalent of washing
> out of your ProTour tryout. I'm the academic 12K dreamer,
> or maybe the academic Joe Papp.


Time to get a decent program then.
 
S

SLAVE of THE STATE

Guest
On May 25, 10:58 am, "B. Lafferty" <[email protected]>
wrote:

> I wonder how you would feel if you raced clean and lost Olympic Gold or the
> Tour to a doper.


For any race I've ever done, I really didn't care if the competition
was doping.

> I'd want justice and the medal.


I'd just pick another career if I didn't like the environment.
 
M

Michael Press

Guest
In article
<[email protected]>,
Donald Munro <[email protected]> wrote:

> rechungREMOVETHIS wrote:
> > He'd trusted that the stuff he'd taken from his research assistant was original.

>
> Perhaps the research assistants do injections too.


Research assistants carry the can.

--
Michael Press
 
D

Donald Munro

Guest
rechungREMOVETHIS wrote:
>> > He'd trusted that the stuff he'd taken from his research assistant was original.


Donald Munro wrote:
>> Perhaps the research assistants do injections too.


Michael Press wrote:
> Research assistants carry the can.


And the blue cooler box.
 
On May 29, 12:43 am, [email protected] wrote:
>
> A few years ago my wife was asked to review a new book that had just
> been published on a topic related to her field. Part way through the
> first chapter, she read a sentence that sounded familiar. The next
> sentence, too. She went to her file cabinet, pulled out an article
> she'd written a few years before and started comparing sentence after
> sentence, paragraph after paragraph, page after page. The guy who was
> the nominal author of that chapter was shocked, shocked to discover
> this and said he, too, was a victim. He'd trusted that the stuff he'd
> taken from his research assistant was original.


Once at a research conference I had a lively BS session
(while studying the procedures of LIVEDRUNK)
with some of my friends about the difference between
"ethical" and "moral." You can likely figure it out;
loosely, one idea is that ethics are a set of accepted
practices (possibly in a specific field) while morals
are guiding principles, Ten Commandments-type stuff.
Is doping in bike racing unethical or amoral? Who the
hell knows? However, your wife's anecdote provides maybe
the best distinction I've seen yet. The research assistant's
plagiarism was unethical, but hardly rises to being immoral.
The author's assertion of authorship was ethical (in keeping
with accepted practice in the field) but immoral.

Ben
 
R

RonSonic

Guest
On Wed, 30 May 2007 09:25:43 +0200, Donald Munro <[email protected]>
wrote:

>rechungREMOVETHIS wrote:
>>> > He'd trusted that the stuff he'd taken from his research assistant was original.

>
>Donald Munro wrote:
>>> Perhaps the research assistants do injections too.

>
>Michael Press wrote:
>> Research assistants carry the can.

>
>And the blue cooler box.


They has a bucket!

http://ihasabucket.com/

Ron
 
On May 29, 1:56 am, Donald Munro <[email protected]> wrote:
> [email protected] wrote:
> > It's okay though. You did the equivalent of washing
> > out of your ProTour tryout. I'm the academic 12K dreamer,
> > or maybe the academic Joe Papp.

>
> Time to get a decent program then.


I tried to sell my integrity, but no one was
buying.