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I am the holder of that record and would not mind one bit having it broken. However, the man who breaks it should do it under conditions similar to those under which the record was set.
I left Minneapolis with less than $10. I painted signs on days when I laid over in a town to raise enough money to feed myself and my two lifeguard companions. We knocked at back doors to beg food after arriving in some towns. We slept on the riverbank and fought mosquitoes almost every night. Money sent from home—Clinton, Okla.—came at intervals but was never enough. I adopted the slogan "I can always quit tomorrow" and kept on going.
The first freeze overtook us at Natchez, Miss. The water was so cold that I swam fewer hours each day. The water temperature was 47� when on Dec. 29 I reached the foot of Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans.
I have held the record for nearly 44 years. This young man is welcome to it, if he swims without flippers and if he works his way as I did. Since I made my swim the river has been shortened by cutting across the heels of the big horseshoe bends to speed up the flow. So from Minneapolis to New Orleans it now measures about 1,660 miles instead of the 1,826 that I swam in 1930.
The author suggests that a fish snack serves as a secondary reinforcer for a whale's chained behaviors. A secondary reinforcer is not distinguished from a primary reinforcer by its size (e.g., a snack vs. a meal), but by the fact that its reinforcing properties are acquired through association with a primary reinforcer (e.g., food).
The reference to negative reinforcement as "double-speak for physical punishment" is also quite misleading. Positive reinforcement involves the presentation of a pleasant event; negative reinforcement is the removal of an aversive stimulus. As the word "reinforcement" suggests, both procedures are followed by an increase in the desired behavior. On the other hand, punishment involves the presentation of an aversive event and may result in a decrease in desired behavior.
Frankly, these issues have confused and been confused by many behavioral scientists. I would hate to see this confusion spread to the sports world.