Friday, September 02, 2005

The Mandate Of Heaven

Morning weigh-in: 174.5#, 7.5% BF

Rode Jacobsburg last night on the singlespeed, had the place pretty much to myself though Lee rode in on his motorcycle to say hi. He'd taken the day off & did a bike ride earlier in the afternoon -- the bum! Saw a few Blue Mtn Ski Club riders out there, but the parking lot was almost empty (rather than the usual filled-to-capacity Thursday scene), and none of the usual crew was there.

After that was a Team in Training fundraiser at Which Brew: one of Margarita's friends/co-workers will be running a marathon in San Francisco, in memory of another co-worker who died of lymphoma. They had arranged to have some friend's band play at WB, and also to have raffles with cash and merchandise prizes. I missed the raffles, but gave a $15 donation and got a soft-pack cooler -- sweet!

Geeking Out, or, Evolution in (Virtual) Action: I took a grad-level "Computer-Aided Engineering" course in college, and one of my favorite parts was the section on nonlinear optimization and mathematical programming. I still keep my dilettante's eye on the field, and a few years ago ran into a really cool new technique called "genetic algorithms," which use data structures and mechanisms analogous to genes, mutation etc in biological systems, to allow evolutionary forces to select the optimum design. I got some killer C programs from a Navy research site, but here is a good introductory page.

Slipping is Crash's Law: The old Chinese Empire used to go through an approximately 300-year dynastic cycle (on average), ending with stagnation, revolution and the establishment of a new dynasty. The cycle was pretty much caused by the rules of inheritance, which slowly screwed up the system until it was paralyzed -- then the society rebooted, land and wealth were redistributed and the cycle started again but the Chinese explanation was that the previous dynasty lost "the mandate of heaven;" the divine universal force showing its displeasure and withdrawal of support through natural disasters etc. The number of disasters per year didn't actually rise, but what happened was that the Imperial ability (or will) to prepare for and ameliorate them had collapsed. Sound familiar?

UPDATE: forgot to post this Friday.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Moving Right Along

Morning weigh-in: 174.5#, 6.5% BF

Homer gets his hand stuck in the candy machine...

EMT Guy #1: We're going to have to cut your arm off.

Homer: Oh no! It'll grow back, right?

EMT Guy #1: Um, yeah.

EMT Guy #2: Mr Simpson, are you still holding on to the candy?

I see that Australian scientists have just developed a regenerative mouse. Meantime, Korea has cloned a dog and Singapore is making great strides in stem-cell research ... and here in the USA we've got Intelligent Design (I won't dignify it with a link).

Anyway, went to the gym last night, light workout. Dinner was a bit of an experiment: tuna w/ a touch each of curry, ginger & tamari, with an "early spring mix" bag of mesclin salad. Didn't quite work out, but good enough to at least finish it... I'll probably hit Jacobsburg on the Surly tonight after work.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A Small Rain

Morning weigh-in: 177.5#, 5% BF (say what?)

Watching the current situation down in New Orleans, it kind reminds me of Pynchon's story "The Small Rain." Plenty of stuff going on but the premise, based on a true story (told to him by a friend who was in the Army when he was in the Navy), is that a hurricane wipes out the Louisiana town of Creole, and the army flies in as part of the disaster relief. The interaction of soldier "Lardass" Levine with the disaster, and with the disaster relief, is what drives Pynchon's version, which can be found on Slow Learner. This time, the disaster is a little bigger -- a large US city has essentially been destroyed -- but I think the same grinding human tragedy and class-based callousness will be played out. (Others have noted the same thing here, and here, and here, and here...)

Meantime, what you can do to help: Donate to the Red Cross.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

My Allamuchy Photos

Some Selected Chain Gang Racers
Originally uploaded by donXfive.
My photos are up! All the good ones anyway, which aren't all that many but you can see them here. Enjoy!

Still No Photos, But You Can Call Me

Morning weigh-in: 177#, 10% BF

Unpacking (found my phone), laundry & other chores, no chance to put my photos up, but you can see the official Allamuchy results here, and check out official photos here. Enjoy!

Next up, the Vermont 50-Miler (at the end of September).

UPDATE: If the photo link doesn't work for you , try navigating to the Allamuchy photos via ImageExtreme.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Back From Allamuchy

Morning weigh-in: 178#, 10% BF

Wow, another Allamuchy come and gone... Very good course, probably the best ever, great campsite and some serious, fun racing, marred only by ...rain. Tough weekend of camping and riding because of it, but it was still a good time -- better than the one being had in New Orleans right now. Everything I brought is slightly damp... I've still got a ton of unpacking, cleaning & maintenance to do tonight, but should be able to get my pics online.

Some selected results: I believe we (Spaceballs) took 5th of 17 in the 4-Man Masters division, with 16 laps; not sure how many laps but Flaming Balls (not Exploding Balls, sorry) took 2nd in their 4-Man division, Men's Solo's Napoleon Dynamite and Team Slo-Mo both got in 5 laps, and Hot Double-Team Action -- the announcer refused to say their name correctly -- and surprise solo contender Karen W both took 1st place, in the Tandem class & Solo Women respectively. Nice job everybody!