Sunday, September 25, 2005
There was much more in "Rowing News" -- the best coverage of training, health, and technique I've seen in any of the sports-oriented publications. "Outside", eat your heart out. "Runners World", pack it in. Except for the tidily-winks players, everyone should read the article on "Balance and Stability Training."
Thursday, September 22, 2005
"The goal of our research was not to find another way to make artificial proteins in the lab, but to discover the rules that nature and evolution have used to design proteins," Dr. Ranganathan said. "The rules we have extracted from the evolutionary record of proteins contain a substantial fraction of the information required to rebuild modern-day proteins. We're building solutions so close that, at least in a test tube, we can't tell them apart from natural proteins."
--Ranganathan, Co-Author of a paper appearing in Nature Sept 22, 2005
Now that is programming!
Monday, September 19, 2005
The first part makes sense: powering the kite in light air produces more power. The second is not so obvious: by de-powering, the kite flies more efficiently & gets up high for a power stroke faster. (Perhaps it just makes the turn faster?)
Unfortunately, it was clear right away that the session would be short: the tear in my left abdominal was getting worse.
Soon the wind came up a bit; by that time my kite handling had improved a bit so that once again the problem was too much speed. Eventually Peter succeeded in getting me to use very subtle movements and to realize that I really did not need anything but one minor down stroke as long as my board position was good. When I did this, it was like Eos intervened. Everything was easy & I had good control -- until I didn't have good control. I think that if I had also made my hand position narrower when I no longer needed an aggressive initiation, I would have not worked the kite by accident so much -- that is where my excessive speed came from.
Looks like its almost time to try a smaller board. That would make edging much easier.
On the delta I've been riding a North Toro '05. That is their school kite, but many riders like it in the surf because its so stable. The fact is I've been dumbfounded by how stable it is -- that stability was especially useful in improving my starts because it makes it much easier to maintain good body position if you don't have to do anything to control the kite. [The stable delta winds also help] At the 'stick I was using a Cabrinha Contra '05. Nominally the kites are quite similar -- school kites from two leading kite companies. However, the Contra flies much higher & must have much better upwind potential. It flies so high, its hard to see it without cramping ones neck.
I called the session off way too early, but my gut was getting worse & with Peter's help I'd moved up a step. I've been really lucky to get such good instruction from Sandy & Donnie at Ki'topia and Peter at Kite Wind Surf .
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
This session began on a flood and ended on an ebb so I started with flat water with the wind and current both working against me and ended on the ebb with good chop & the two working against each other. But, my skills were much better and on many runs I was able to work my way upwind.
I learned a few interesting things about setting up kites.
- Since the front lines are always under tension, they stretch faster than the outside lines. That is why there are three attachment points: they accommodate stretching lines. I thought it was a tuning issue.
- A couple nice mnemonics for thinking about line placement:
- Outback -- outside lines go to the back of the kite (bottom)
- Front and Center -- center lines go to the front, the top, the leading edge
- The truly unexpected thing is that the kite is steered from the back of the kite (outside lines). Once you remember this, all the other pieces are logical, but this is odd.
Most runs ended in a crash & that was usually caused by working the kite too much & not holding an edge. I'm just not getting the body position good enough to use the edge and back of the board as a brake. Once my kite starts working too much, I go too fast and when the kite goes up I have lift and guess what? I'm bouncing across the tops of waves going straight down wind.
Another lesson, this time on SF Bay, on Friday.
About 3 hours on the water with absolutely first clas instruction (again) from Ki'topia. What a treat.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I had a nice combination of Anusara and Yin & was shown a different way to get into handstand in the Anusara class. Its much more graceful than what I've been doing & it should make a full handstand (no wall) much easier. Yin was, as almost always, great -- especially since I'd been away for two weeks.
I took my first Iyengar class. As I expected, even one class was useful. Perhaps its due to a shortage of talent, but I need lots of time to feel a pose & the Iyengar emphasis on alignment helps. I's still not sure if the Iyengar people really face up to all the issues of body proportion and alignment, but I hope to do more of these.
I did another double header. The first was a pretty active level 2 taught by a real monster. He provided interesting variation on pigeon -- straighten the extended leg & it will help align the hips & then its possible to press back and out on the bent side to work the hip strongly. In Yin I returned to my own style of using a belt for hamstring stretches. This really works & its also nice to see I've made real progress on my hamstring in the last three weeks.
My regular Yin instructor taught a strong level 2 & I had a great time. There was a really nice sequence for the hips & that always makes me happy.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
A few weeks ago I took a kiteboarding lesson from Sandy at Ki'topia, a great outfit on Sherman Island. Because my car was stolen by a shady pair from Pisa, I've not been able to take another lesson & today I discovered that their lessons are almost full for the rest of the season. [They then head for S. Padre in Texas.] I was able to snag a lesson on the 14th, but that will be it for the year.
Panic :: What to do?
I found a useful local site with a posting about lessons for people in Marin. That pointed me to a couple places in Alameda. I've avoided Alameda because the beach is a bit zoo like because of too many people pretty much like me trying to learn. However, it turned out that one outfit has PWC supported lessons & sells Cabrinha's new Crossbow, which is the kite I'm really interested in. So I signed up for a lesson next Friday and put a deposit down on a kite.
Getting Ready :: The SF Plan
So now I have two lessons in the next 14 days & I'll be taking my very nice Ozone Frenzy (really a snow kite) out to practice, practice, practice. Skills from one kite are not totally transferable, but they are still useful. Plus, I'll always want my light Frenzy for backpacking in the snow and perhaps some beach areas -- perhaps I'll try it this weekend with a longboard in Tomales. [The Frenzy does not include an inflatable bladder to make starting in water easier -- flotation is not too important on snow -- so its much lighter and more compact for hiking into the high country.]
Getting Ready :: The Travel Plan(s)
Playa Copal in Costa Rica looks good. Some kite surfing locations are inexpensive. There may well be better nearby locations that don't cater to boarders.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I'd hate to be misunderstood :: what's happening to people in the Gulf is terrible & there is nothing about the way I run my life that suggests I will always avoid a similar fate.
The news coverage is driving me crazy.
We, those who pay attention to science, those who think reality matters, have expected increasingly sever storms for 10 or 15 years. Guess what? We have been getting increasingly sever storms.
- We should act on greenhouse gases, deforestation, etc. to limit climate shifts
- We should keep our National Guard at home where it can guard the nation
- We should not encourage people to live in flood plains
- We should remember that its not a good idea to piss off your mother
Part of the problem I have with the news coverage, is how they categorize the disaster. Is it just bad luck or the result of negligence. I don't have a crystal ball & mother nature does not call me on the phone so I certainly can't say this storm would not have happened if...
But, we can say that storms like this are more likely because of greedy, short sighted policies.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I've avoided practicing my kite surfing much. I think it is quite dangerous while you are learning because:
- the equipment has not been very well thought out & safety systems have been afterthoughts
- your safety is always based upon the skills of the people on the same beach, if they are all beginners, then its like skiing Chamonix with a SF bike messenger as a partner.
- things are most dangerous if you are on the beach, but in most areas a beginner must spend 90% of the time at the beach.
- people keep getting electrocuted, bashing out their brains, and dying of hypothermia. The lucky ones only loose fingers & eyes. You may remember I saw a guy knock down a sement wall (bye, bye, leg), slam into a bigger wall (bye, bye, period), and one get lofted (10 year old DR helper still attached) into the top of a palm. I'm old enough to heal slowly if dismemberment or death comes my way.
Today I got the right combinations of location, equipment, and instruction & was able to get long rides, hold my own against a strong ebb current with pretty big waves, work my way up wind without the board, and handle the type of kite pros use 80% of the time. These give excellent up wind capacity, but require more skill to keep in the air & relaunch when they crash. The kite was fantastic, but when I buy a few I'll probably buy a newer model from a competitor, which is even safer. Next year: waves on the California coast!
So, I had more fun than a barrel of monkeys & got some wonderful runs. Because the kite gives you a lot of lift, it often feels like you are flying & just using the board as a rudder. The kite I was using was actually owned by one of the worlds top riders & he uses it for 80% of his riding. A little like learning to ride a horse a GG fields. [The kite was not a true high aspect kite, but these days most pros seem to be riding medium aspect kites for most purposes as they have greatly improved performance.]
If I can get a day like this in each of the next 4-6 weeks, I'll feel confident in a much larger set of locations, including Larkspur. I'll be able to ride over the hippos & terrorize the ferry passengers.
Since I've made one trip to the DR and one trip to Texas its been disappointing that I've not gotten real rides until today; sometimes I've really felt like the classic old fool. But, I've been confident that my kite skills are really pretty good and that I've had far from ideal conditions, although I've been in areas where the conditions are usually ideal. Its strange that I finally got the conditions I wanted near Antioch! My instructor was a real teacher & taught veterinary medicine for years. Encouragement from a young athletic blond never hurts.
So part of the excitement is the thrill of some nice rides & part is the confirmation that I'm really not past being able to handle the sport, which is the sport of the future. Next year Sardinia, which has the best wind in Europe & pecorino to boot!
Disclaimer: If you saw me riding, you would wonder why in the world I think I'm having any success at all. My body position is terrible, I'm never truly centered, I don't usually go anywhere after I get up, no intentional air, I ditch my board at the slightest hint of trouble, I'm still not ready to ride without backup. All the above was carried out with Jet Ski support. I was able to practice a long way from anyone else & I had someone who could cut lines and/or chase after me in an emergency.
Monday, August 08, 2005
I started from a position like the one in the photo, except I was on a thin bolster & had two thick bolsters between my legs. Then I moved into a forward bend over first the right, then the left, so it was a a twist, and since it was a Yin class held for about 5 minutes for each leg.
Both my hips and my hams got a deeper stretch than I normally get and by the end of the session I was almost back to where I'd been a week ago.
The instructor dedicated the class to the memory of Hiroshima.
-- attributed to Feynman, borrowed from von Neumann, and re-borrowed from J.Oppenheim.
If you have not done anything really worthwhile for a few months, read his account of negative information.
Friday, July 29, 2005
- Google :: everyone knows Google as a search engine, but here I'm thinking of it as a platform, much like Microsoft Office, except based upon the net, not the disconnected desktop.
- Blogger :: simple web site publishing for non-technical people -- or people like me who want simplicity and free hosting. Based upon its behavior, I'd say it is built much like most web pages have been built over the last 10 years.
- Picasa2 :: simple photo/movie discovery and organization. For most people Picasa2's image processing is far superior to photoshop because Picasa2 is can be easily understood and makes it hard to screw things up. Its like this: my cheap Subaru is, for me, much more powerful than a race ready Ferrari because I can go the speed limit with it and I am less likely to drive it off the bridge. Picasa2's interactivity is a leap ahead of most web apps because they are making good use of efficient communication with the server and using an application development language far superior to the standard C# and Java.
- Hello :: changes personality depending on what else you are using. With Picasa2, Hello is instant messaging for photos; with Blogger Hello is content management for a simple web site. Like Picasa2, Google Maps, Google Earth, Hello is pretty lively.
Of course, creative and technically competent photographers and webmasters have been carrying out the same (except for IM) activities for years. The google stack, however, lets the less capable do most of the same things (and IM) easily and for free.
This free stack is just the hook for a wide variety of profitable add ons for Google. Similar branded stacks are emerging from organizations like yahoo and microsoft. In fact, if you want to make some money, prototype a slightly better version of one of these and sell it to the highest bidder.
Its significant that Picasa2 and Hello are conditioning people to expect ancillary software to run on their computer rather on expecting pure web based applications. While the web is becoming the new desktop, the desktop is becoming the new web. Quote me!
For better or worse, tribes are forming around these brands. We have the Google bunch, the Yahoo tribe, the Microsoft minions. There are even more consumer oriented tribes associated with Amazon and eBay. Its interesting that both Amazon (a9.com) and eBay have their own takes on search engines. The eBay engine allows one to use a cell phone to take a photograph of a bar code while in a store & get a report on similar items available from eBay. That is pretty close to 'something new under the sun.'
Note that one of the cool features of Blogger is the ability to time shift. When published, this note will have the timestamp of the original, very brief posting. I could have also rewritten it just a bit and published it with a date like 1 January 2003 as a prediction of software directions. I can hardly wait for the US government to start using this idea to rewrite history.
Friday, July 22, 2005
A view from the beginning of my longest day for a many years -- about 40k in distance with more than 2,000 meters of elevation gain. And drop.
What a fantastic hike. Essentially from a little past the point where this photo was taken, one hikes for hours and hours though vertical cow pasture. Steep cow pasture. Why don't the cows fall down?
Along the way the views of nearby peaks, glaciers, etc. are wonderful. The wildflowers are endless and on the route I took, the trail on the way back is really steep.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Why do I care?
- First, I care because I care about openness.
- Second, I care because their analysis software is pretty fancy, but does not happen to be what I want. That is why open data is important.
- I want is to be able to look at the relationship between work performed and heart rate. I can do that with the GPS distance and altitude information plus heart rate -- not perfectly, but better than with distance alone.
I sent Garmin a request for help on this; perhaps they will send me the internal format they use.
Monday, June 13, 2005
The story never made sense to me -- Artemis was a fan of young women -- why would she allow the damn war mongering men to destroy her?
I'm anxious to find the urn & take a picture. Perhaps I'll find time to read Iphigenia in Tauris, which assumes a version more like the one on the urn.
whets interesting to me is that the tale was clearly used to put forward rather different view of women, war and warriors.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
The general structure of the system
Saturday, June 04, 2005
Order from EarthPrint.
The UN's Environmental Programme (Unep) released this on June 3 in anticipation of World Environmental Day, which has been celebrated/observed (whats to celebrate?) each June 5 since 1972.
Some highlights available in the BBC coverage of the publication.
Sunday, April 17, 2005
According to a BBC Story...
Prisoners are alone in the death chamber when they die
A team from the University of Miami looked at information on anaesthesia and awareness in prisoners.
They suggest some suffer unnecessarily, and claim standards do not meet those for putting animals down.
The researchers, writing in the Lancet, call for the use of lethal injection to cease to prevent "unnecessary cruelty".
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Lichen and wildlife?
David Friesan, who lives with the Ulkatcho Indian Band in western British Columbia, recently decided to try Bryoria. He put some to soak in a lake overnight, and in the morning it was covered with freshwater shrimp. So he boiled the whole thing into a tasty soup.
The insulating qualities of Bryoria as fiber made it somewhat useful to the Lillooet and the Nlaka'pamux (Thompson Indians) in British Columbia, who twined it together into clothing when they couldn't get animal skins. It must have been scratchy when dry and soggy when wet.
Lichen and Slow Food?
An overnight soak qualifies.
Friday, April 15, 2005
I just picked up & set up my new Shuttle. The scoop:
- I wanted a quiet machine
- I wanted a 64-bit AMD processor
- I wanted a small machine
- I wanted a near portable, but something something without all the compromises of a laptop -- especially support for a good monitor & keyboard; something suiable for taking to a conference or vacation
- I wanted great graphics --- perhaps for a game, but more likely for...
- rapid photo processing
- Revit use
- CAD/CAM use
Price is a fraction of the price of a comporable, but bigger and louder, machine from HP or (ugh) Dell. Better yet, all the components are name components & the system is designed as a system -- its not a bucket holding whatever components happend to have the best prices the week I ordered.
Of course, I'd not be quite so happy if I'd not also picked up a nice Eizo monitor to complement the Shuttle.
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Saturday, April 09, 2005
- Need 30,000 songs for your iPod?
- Bittorrent to the rescue!
[Thanks to /.]
But, far from the best so far -- unfortunately my record keeping is deficient.
So far I'm not using a scale & I think the quantity was a bit small so it may have heated up a bit faster than idea. Or not. I'm not experienced with this bean, but the chaf quantity was small. Perhaps it never really got hot enough?
The nice folks at Peet's can still rest easy.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Here are the flickr results for graffiti.
Real humans attach their notion of meaning to photos they upload. Suddenly I have a few tens of thousands of photographers working for me. I'm a photo editor!
Not only that, I have a chance to integrate with grafedia by posting a picture of my own (or your) grafedia, posting it to flickr and tagging it 'graffiti'.
How cool is that?
The possible synergy with google's adsense is interesting -- a photographer has the chance to use adsense (money for google) to sell photos on flickr (money for yahoo) thus making money for the photographer. Will photographer's hijack flickr?
Friday, March 25, 2005
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
I'm headed to South Padre on May 12th for 4 days of lessons. South Padre has miles of flat water, steady winds. Fine. It also has flat shallow water - 3 to 5 feet deep - for miles. That, I think, will make a safe learning environment.
Now I just have to learn the right wind dances...
...and A9 is up to something as well with the ability to add creative commons as a search target.
What is it about the yahoo support that has Larry so excited?
Dammed if I know, so I'll investigate. LL is not likely to be getting money under the table from yahoo, so there is probably some beef to be found.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Sweetmarias has had these in stock for two months & I've been struggling with a stovetop system. I've also got some Brazilian Peaberry on the way. Normally I don't order from Brazil, but evidently they are attempting to get open up some higher quality beans. Since they have the world's coolest minister of culture, I have great hopes for their coffee.