Something to Learn: The Efficacy of Recycling Plastics

Environmental advocates maintain that plastics are largely single-use: A 2020 Greenpeace USA survey found that plastics with resin codes #3–7 are virtually impossible to recycle, because of limited facility processing capabilities and insufficient market demand. Lawsuits are currently ongoing against Walmart and Keurig Green Mountain, arguing that those companies have violated Federal Trade Commission guidance by presenting plastic items as recyclable. The corporate giants have defended themselves against the allegations and emphasized their commitment to sustainability. (Walmart said in a statement that the company is “a strong advocate for the environment” and recycling, while Keurig has maintained in court that its labels advise consumers to “check locally” regarding recycling options.)

From: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/01/recycling-wont-solve-climate-change/617851/

Podium on Zwift! How I race.

I got a third place (see M Nguyen) finish on Zwift! To be fair, however….it was Tour De Zwift Stage 6, a group ride, but I suspect that the top group ride…riders are racing each other so I’ll take it. 178 total participants officially recognized, see all the details on Zwift Power.

I am not going to claim the competition was comparable to a normal B class race – the C designated in this was for the route not the class. I happened to pick C because I needed the Zwift achievement for the route. That said, I think I did well relative to the power levels I competed against on this flat route – I beat people with significantly higher W/KG and average watts.

My approach to racing is pretty simple. From what I’ve read about Zwift, race strategy is not so complex.

  1. I look to start off strong (300+ watts, 20%+ above FTP) for a couple of minutes, basically as long as I can to be part of the strongest group at the front. I try not to go beyond 350 watts as that will wear me out quickly. My aim is be in the lead group and survive.
  2. Because of my relatively small size, I never pull (lead the group). I just want to get in the lead group and rest in the draft. This allows me to stay in the group with less power. After my start, I basically need to settle down as quickly as possible without losing the group or I will fade.
  3. Each race has places where groups break off. Sometimes it’s obvious where this can happen, like a climb. Even though I’m more oriented towards climbing, I usually find myself getting dropped on these. I’m prepared to go 10% above FTP for longer 1 minute+ climbs, but I see people really pushing hard beyond that. I haven’t raced enough to get the right feel for how I want to approach these. In flat courses, I feel it’s more about focus. I will find myself in a larger group that starts breaking apart but I don’t quite realize it’s happening. Suddenly there’s a widening gap and I have to make a big (see #4v) decision. I feel that I have to stay towards the first half of a group to avoid this happening to me, and even higher in a bigger group. The larger the group, the slower you can tell it’s fragmenting. That’s what I focused on this time – both sustaining high power for longer to make sure I was in the front group at the start and then always making a push if I started falling to the rear of the group. Steps 1 to 3 recapped: surge at the start and hang on in the strongest group (as long as you can).
  4. When a group begins to break up and I am behind, I have to make a decision immediately. Either bridge the gap, no matter what it takes, or ease off. Whether I do the former depends on how much energy I’ve exerted to that point and how much I’ve been surprised by the gap (how far it is). Here, I bridged gaps a couple of times to take the chance I’d be able to hold on for the long term. Thankfully, I did. The worst is to try to bridge the gap and then realize 10+ seconds in that the group in front is still pulling away. I find it virtually impossible to catch up to a decent sized group after it begins to pull away.
  5. If I don’t bridge the gap, I lay off the effort immediately. I then look to find the next group of 5+ riders coming behind me. Just as it’s very difficult to catch up to a group by yourself, it’s just as difficult to stay away from a group behind you. I have never seen a solo breakaway survive. I don’t want to go slow, but I can lay off quite a bit so I can join the next group. However, I have to be careful to ramp up the power as that group comes up so I don’t get passed up completely, I want to get sucked into that group’s draft. Groups, given enough time, will easily pass the rest of the smaller groups and individuals until it’s only behind a faster group. Basically, even if you’re stronger than the group, it’s not worth the extra effort to stay ahead of the group because the group will catch you eventually and you cannot make it to the next group by yourself. Save your energy.
  6. From here, it’s about repeating steps 3-6 and getting a feel to which group you ultimately belong. Stick to a group and try to survive. Fall off, then try the same with the next group coming up. The series of decisions about bridging the gap to a group or laying off to join a slower group seems to be most critical in the overall Zwift standings. Lose focus and use too much energy bridging a gap, you may not be able to stick to slower groups coming up behind you.
  7. When you can stay in a group without spending your max, you’re better able to stay with surges and also prepare for the final sprint. This time, I was in good shape and as I saw other people getting dropped, my focus was to stay in the lead group as it slowly went down to less than 10 people. The longer I survived, the better I felt it was worth it to make sure I didn’t let a surge drop me.
  8. As I got close to the finish and was confident I could stay in the lead group to the end, I had a simple wish: to get a group draft boost (the truck) powerup to close the race. I feel that Zwift power-ups are generally only useful in situations where the group as a whole will break up and you need to survive. Or for the final sprint. Since I am a weaker wattage rider, the draft boost would help me use the other riders to move up with less power. I planned to launch at .4 km (slightly over 30 seconds) remaining in the race, hoping the powerup would let me solidify a position. I don’t think I was planning or even hoping I could win, but I did want a top 3. You can see the final seconds below from Zwift – speed, power, heart rate, cadence. My heart rate at 170 is about 95% of my estimated max heart rate but I can only really hold on between 170-175 depending on the day.

Andrew Bogut Answers My Podcast Question

I got my question to Andrew Bogut answered! Here’s the original text I sent, which Andrew edited for the podcast.

Hi Andrew (and Mike), I was a big fan of yours in college, and was so excited when the Warriors got you. I liked Monta, but I knew the decision was right at the time. That’s not to brag, I’ve been wrong about plenty of things over the years.


Going through your freak injuries, I remember (from media coverage) that these affected your confidence both at the line and in offensive aggression even as you got healthy with the Warriors.


At the same time, I’m sure you were still working on those parts of your game. There have been so many players (Andris Biedrins in the past for the Warriors, Kelly Oubre right now) affected by lack of confidence. How did the coaches try to help you here, if at all, and how did you approach it?


If you could place yourself mentally today into yourself from 2012, would you be better equipped to overcome these issues?

I’m curious, when it’s a long term, multi-seasonal issue, and not really physical, why can’t players get this confidence back?

My Favorite NBA Podcast: Andrew Bogut’s Rogue Bogues

This is my go to podcast for basketball right now, from former Warrior Andrew Bogut and former Head of Player Development at the Mavericks, Mike Procopio.

It’s a new podcast with three regular episodes covering the NBA, but he’s already talked about the power of agents, the lost mentality of role players, and the real reason behind the spread of COVID-19 in the NBA – he talked about this right before any other media coverage mentioned it.

He’s providing insight I’ve never heard before in my many years reading deeply about the NBA. Plus, I’ve always loved Bogut since his college days at Utah and even have his jerseys from the Warriors (gifted to Dad) and Sydney Kings!

Clarence Thomas and the Future of America

I was able to borrow Corey Robin’s The Enigma of Clarence Thomas from my local library after thinking about these themes for so long. As I read it in hardcover, I don’t have a set of notes, so I thought I could write a summary from his eyes:

There has been a corruption of the black man in America. It is a corruption led by progressives seeking to atone for America’s long history of slavery and post-slavery racism. The root cause of racism is unknown, therefore we can never hope to defeat it. Heavy racism will always exist, regardless of our best intentions as a society.

The progressive path is a path proven to fail. The reason why is our political systems are systems led by (racist) whites. Improvements suggested by white people, implemented in systems controlled by white people are simply another means of control of black people by white people.

It does not matter whether the intention of a program is honorable or not. The end result is always the same. Programs meant to help the underprivileged simply set up guidelines to help others abuse them.

Programs like affirmative action reinforce who is in control (white people), making a black man’s success dependent on the recognition and charity of the white man. I know, because I have lived it for myself. Even if a black man is lifted through such a program, there will always be a stigma, both to people who view the man, and within the man himself, that this was only possible with whites’ help.

If schools really cared about equity, they wouldn’t use affirmative action to “bestow” opportunity to blacks. Instead, they would look at other ways to evaluate individuals that wouldn’t bias against blacks in the first place. The reason they don’t is simple: elitism. Schools (the white men who control them) have no desire to give up their power. Anyone’s claims for diversity is merely superficial; you want things to look fair not you want things to be fair.

Eminent domain is supposed to provide fair compensation for the use of land. Let’s talk about what it really is: the right for a government to take advantage of poor (usually black) people, giving “fair” price for land that is immediately gentrified or magnified in value once blacks are disposed of. This “protection” simply makes it easier for those who know how to play the game (wealthy whites in power) to once again take advantage of blacks.

It’s futile for blacks to seek political power – they can never change things when they will always be outvoted at large. Instead, the path forward for the black man is through the economy, through capitalism.

The black man must create his own institutions, develop his own wealth, and then use his economic wealth to speak, to breath power into his politics. Talk is cheap, it’s money that proves the real values of a man. Therefore, one’s use of money needs to be freed. One needs to be allowed to use his money in any way he likes, he must have the ability to earn money in any way he likes. If money can help a man’s viewpoint get visibility, he must have the freedom to use his money to get this viewpoint, communicated by intermediaries, across.

He must have access to guns. Yes, this means white people will have the means to hunt him down, but they always did anyway. A right to bear arms means he can now protect his property, his family, his woman.

The police are surely racist. But this racism is what can make the black man strong. Survive and be stronger for it. What progressive rights have done are to make the black man weak. Things like welfare and social services allow the black man to learn dependency. They prevent him from understanding the truth of America and forging him into someone who can overcome hardships and lead a new generation – his own family. Instead, these efforts let him leave his responsibilities as a man. Prisoners are being punished for crimes. Punishment = a different set of rights versus normal citizens. These penalties are critical in making a black man who can survive America.

I’ve been able to live through both types of black men. My father was a liar who left me.  I could never understand why he never felt responsibilities towards his own children. My mother could not raise me. It was left to my grandfather to teach me the values to survive in America, as an entrepreneur who refused to suck on the government’s tit.

The black man can never be dependent on anyone other than other black people. We are on our own. We must be left free to our devices to succeed.

Back to me again: Robin’s book helped me think a lot about racism. In some ways, perhaps Thomas is right. I do agree on his thoughts on diversity and elitism (I am also someone who takes advantage of it) in institutions. What I do not know is if we should just give up. I’ve heard Thomas referred to as a black nationalist and I never understood what that meant until I read the book: to me, it means creating a black nation-like entity within America. Blacks do their thing and be left alone, and whites the same.

The problem I see there is how that extrapolates into the future. I feel that if you want to achieve progress in economy, humanity -> move towards the Star Trek utopia where everyone is united on a common mission, you cannot do it divided. If you’re just thinking about the now, with no aspirations for mankind, then his view is fine. We can be stuck in the middle ages forever. You just live your life in the same place with your “people”, have kids, die. If we are simply animals, that’s the way.

If you want to explore the potential of humankind, however, it has to be different.

Perhaps that goes back into the core roots of conservatism vs progressive thinking, I don’t know. But from a selfish American standpoint, if I want to see the American economy to keep growing, I feel I need to find ways to get everyone to be part of the success. Extracting my wealth from the bottom may make me better off, but doesn’t grow the American pie. I want to see everyone contributing and befitting to maximize what humans can do.