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2013-52 Week 8

And I’m back. Yes, this one is a little late, but it is with very good reason. See, I had to give my brain a bit of a rest after a weekend and two days of writing so I could turn in my Doctoral Program application. For some reason they want to make sure you actually know how to write, so there were three response questions and a personal statement that had to be turned in with the packet. I do believe it will be a bit of a long shot for me to get into the program, not because I doubt my abilities, but because I would be somewhat of a non-traditional choice since I have no Educational Leadership experience. I would, however, bring provide a large helping of technical knowledge, which there was an indication they were looking for, so I emphasized that in my application materials. I’m hoping I did well on the initial materials to get to the interview stage, where I believe I can solidify a compelling case for my inclusion. We shall see.

In the meantime, I was able to finish my first book of the year. Yes, I know it’s a little late, but I’m already halfway through my second book and anticipate finishing it this weekend, so I’ll be back on track there. Full resolution update to come in Week 9, since there’s a few hours left yet of February, but there’s a sneak peak of where the reading resolution is at. The book I read was The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, which is about how often we see predictions in our day-to-day lives fail, and if it is possible to actually make good ones. It was a fascinating read, not too technical (although some experience with probability will help) and proceeds to examine about a dozen different areas (one per chapter) over the course of the book. Thankfully it lined up with my beliefs on predictions (probably another reason I liked it), basically boiling down to this: the more information you have helps, but only up to a point, and if the data says something opposite of your views, don’t try to make it fit, acknowledge you may be wrong. Additionally, I will say this, this was the most heavily end-noted book I’ve ever read, with nearly a hundred references per chapter. I spent the first couple chapters bouncing back and forth between the chapter and the back of the book, but found it ruined the flow too much. Eventually I just read a chapter and then went and looked at the notes for that chapter, which about three quarters were references, but the other quarter expanded a bit on whatever topic was being discussed. A good choice, I feel, to start off my reading project, even if I was initially a bit lazy getting started.

I did have to make a difficult decision this past week, I am calling off my coast-to-coast marathon attempt this year. I have been unable to get myself past the half-marathon area in my training, and the Los Angeles Marathon is only two weeks away. Add that to the fact that I have to take the GRE the week before as a part of my Doctoral Program application, and there’s just no way that I can be ready in time to prevent another nine mile run and seventeen mile walk. It also frees us up from having to pay for New York at the end of the year and trying to fit a vacation around a three day running event (expo, race, recovery). Instead we can do a vacation we both will enjoy without the risk of me being miserable for part or all of it. I think the main difficulty is that I weigh too much at the moment, and that’s been really taxing on my long run/walks. When I did the LA Marathon the first time, I was 15-20 pounds lighter. I’m going to continue distance training for the future (mostly maxing at the half-marathon range) and will see how I feel once I drop the weight back down (which is taking far too long even though people keep telling me I look skinnier). Tentative reboot year: 2015.

Well, that’s all I have in the brain for right now, I think it’s still a little gelatinous from the weekend. I still have some projects to grade and a few more miles to put in today, should be back on schedule next week.

Weight: 229 Loss: 1 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 119.2 miles (+23 miles) Last year-to-date: 38.7 miles – Words-to-date: 16089 (+4577)

Posted in Matt 2013-52, Matt Book Review, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

One Response

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  1. Stephen said

    Other interesting books that are somewhat related:

    Fooled by Randomness
    The Black Swan
    The Predictioneer’s Game
    Against the Gods: The Story of Risk
    Super Crunchers

    There you go!

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