Monday, October 20, 2014
“It was a solution to a problem that people didn’t think existed. You’d fit somebody, they’d go away and become your ambassador, telling their friends and colleagues.”
“There was an assumption that pain was associated with cycling,” Jules adds. “The message from us then was, if you’re comfortable, you’re a more efficient cyclist. No one had heard of that, they assumed that they had to have their bars slammed down; that if they had knee pain, it was their fault, not that of their interface with the bike.”
Friday, October 17, 2014
“This is the problem in the debate about Obamacare. The two sides live in different informational universes.
On the whole, though, costs are lower than expected, enrollment is higher than expected, the number of insurers participating in the exchanges is increasing, and more states are joining the Medicaid expansion. Millions of people have insurance who didn’t have it before. The law is working. But a lot of the people who are convinced Obamacare is a disaster will never know that, because the voices they trust will never tell them.”
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
“It might surprise you to learn that they (The All Blacks) spend a lot of time and energy working on an area which most of us totally ignore: emotional skills.
Specifically, their ability to regulate mood, to stay positive and resilient, to handle unfair ups and downs, to remain even-keeled, and to deal with unpredictable misfortune without losing your grip. Basically, their competitive temperament.
It’s funny, we don’t normally think of temperament as a skill. We think of it as a fixed product of someone’s character. We instinctively assume that temperaments are either weak (tend to choke under pressure) or strong (tend to come through). The All-Blacks, however, treat temperament and emotion as muscles to be trained with specific workouts.
Quick background: a few years ago, the team was going through a period of uncharacteristic struggle. Some players were having trouble controlling their emotions in matches. It was the typical stuff we all experience from time to time: they were trying too hard, being overly aggressive, and experiencing the tunnel-vision syndrome Navy pilots dryly refer to as OBE: Overcome By Events.
So, with the help of a former Rhodes Scholar named Ceri Evans, they devised a tool to fix that, built on a simple two-part frame that describes the mental state you want to avoid, and the one you want to be in. They call it Red Head/Blue Head.
Somewhat akin to the inner monkey we’ve read about with the GB cyclists.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
“External cues are proven to work in strength exercises, cardio activities, and ball sports. Try these techniques:
Deadlift – As you initiate the lift, think about driving the floor away with your feet. “This cue results in greater explosiveness,” Berenc says.
Plank – While holding the plank position, picture a fist coming at your stomach. Berenc uses this cue with many exercises that require bracing of the core muscles.
Running – Pay attention to the sound your feet make when they hit the ground and try to run more quietly. Irene Davis, a biomechanist at Harvard Medical School, teaches runners this technique as a way to reduce impact forces and the risk for common overuse injuries.
Swimming – When doing the freestyle stroke (a.k.a. front crawl), think about pushing water back with your hand instead of pushing your hand back through the water. A 2011 study by researchers at UNLV found that this shift in focus produced a significant improvement in 25-yard sprint times.
Golf – When putting, look at the exact spot where you want to hit the ball, then lock your eyes on the ball and keep them there until you’ve completed your stroke. This “quiet eye” technique has been shown to increase putting accuracy by 16 percent.
Tennis – When serving, focus your attention on your target rather than on the mechanics of your swing. A study by Brazilian researchers found that recreational tennis players hit their serves with 63 percent greater accuracy when their attention was focused on the court instead of their body.”
Monday, October 13, 2014
“This study looked at whether drivers overtaking a bicyclist changed the proximities of their passes in response to the level of experience and skill signalled by the bicyclist’s appearance. Seven outfits were tested, ranging from a stereotypical sport rider’s outfit, portraying high experience and skill, to a vest with ‘novice cyclist’ printed on the back, portraying low experience. A high-visibility bicycling jacket was also used, as were two commercially available safety vests, one featuring a prominent mention of the word ‘police’ and a warning that the rider was video-recording their journey, and one modelled after a police officer’s jacket but with a letter changed so it read ‘POLITE’. An ultrasonic distance sensor recorded the space left by vehicles passing the bicyclist on a regular commuting route. 5690 data points fulfilled the criteria for the study and were included in the analyses. The only outfit associated with a significant change in mean passing proximities was the police/video-recording jacket. Contrary to predictions, drivers treated the sports outfit and the ‘novice cyclist’ outfit equivalently, suggesting they do not adjust overtaking proximity as a function of a rider’s perceived experience. Notably, whilst some outfits seemed to discourage motorists from passing within 1 m of the rider, approximately 1–2% of overtakes came within 50 cm no matter what outfit was worn. This suggests there is little riders can do, by altering their appearance, to prevent the very closest overtakes; it is suggested that infrastructural, educational or legal measures are more promising for preventing drivers from passing extremely close to bicyclists.”
Friday, October 10, 2014
“It’s not like I always go overboard — but those instances, every few months, when I do catch myself in the swell of a full-on sweets binge? It can get ugly. Because not only do I feel helpless, bloated and ashamed afterward, but the ensuing crash makes me super-irritable and ill-equipped to be around other people. And yet… I continually do the whole deranged dance over and over again. Why? Because… addict.
I’ve long flirted with the idea of quitting refined sugar (the really bad kind that’s in all my beloved treats) for good. With the help of a 12-step program, I gave up alcohol years ago — I’m still off it, although I’m no longer in program — so I know it’s possible to live without the substances that seem to fuel your very core. I’ve managed to cut out sugar for short stretches in the past, usually with the help of a nutritionist, but my passion for candy has always lured me back into its grip.”
Thursday, October 09, 2014
“My current fury is occasioned the Phones4U scandal (and it really is a scandal).
Phones4U was bought by the private equity house, BC Partners, in 2011 for £200m. BC then borrowed £205m and, having saddled the company with vast amounts of debt, paid themselves a dividend of £223m. Crippled by debt, the company has now collapsed into administration.
The people who crippled it have walked away with nearly £20m million, while 5,600 people face losing their jobs. The taxman may also be stiffed on £90m in unpaid VAT and PAYE. It’s like a version of 1987’s Wall Street on steroids, the difference being that Gordon Gecko wins at the end and everyone shrugs and says, “Well, it’s not ideal, but really we need guys like him.”
I’m not financially sophisticated enough to understand the labyrinthine ins and outs of private equity deals. But I don’t think I need to be. Here, my relative ignorance is actually a plus. You took a viable company, ran up ridiculous levels of debt, paid yourselves millions and then walked away, leaving unemployment and unpaid tax bills in your wake. What’s to understand? We should be calling for your heads on a plate.”
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
“Web analytics firm Chartbeat says it is the first to be certified by the Media Ratings Council for a new way of measuring the actual attention of readers, as part of a move to get publishers and advertisers to stop focusing only on clicks and pageviews”
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Monday, October 06, 2014
“Cycling performance is strongly dependent on aerodynamic drag, of which the majority is attributable to the rider. Previous studies have shown the importance of optimising athlete posture on the bicycle for individual time-trial events. This article identifies that performance in road cycling and draft-legal triathlon can be improved through aerodynamic optimisation of the athlete’s posture. Nine relevant cycling postures have been studied, and it was found that for road cycling, gripping the hoods with horizontal forearms can reduce the required cyclist power by 13.4%, and for draft-legal triathlon applications, the use of short bar extensions reduced the required power by up to 16.7%. It was also found that lowering the eyes and head increased drag in both drops and triathlon postures.”
Friday, October 03, 2014
“There is nothing more joyful and therapeutic than driving a convertible on a sunny day.
In a convertible at more than 30mph with the roof down, it turns out toddlers start crying and five-year olds start complaining. So you have to turn up the stereo or drive around with the roof closed.”
Thursday, October 02, 2014
“Embr Labs claims its bracelet can enhance your “personal thermal comfort” and save in heat/energy costs, but a connected version could do even more, even enhance your movie-going experience.”
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
“I realized that being famous in the age of social media means you can have a giant tour bus with your face on it and a line of screaming teenage fans, even if no one else in the world cares.”
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
“There is a lot of evidence suggesting that lowering LDL-C may be helpful and will not cause harm. However, we can’t ignore the fact the low density lipoprotein, and the lipid molecules it carries play an important role for bodily function. Therefore, although lowering LDL-C may reduce the risk of heart disease, it may in theory have harmful effects, many of which may not yet be fully understood.”
“When it comes to total mortality, some data indicate that optimal levels of serum cholesterol may be between 210 and 230 mg/dL (5.4 and 5.9 mmol/L)“
Monday, September 29, 2014
“Seat designers often make the assumption that nearly everyone will be accommodated if they design a seat for a man in the 95th percentile of measurements, meaning that they are larger than all but 5 percent of other men — and, theoretically, all women. But even in that group, there are big differences.
Take the buttock-to-knee measurement of the largest men in the study: In the North American group, the average measurement was 26.5 inches, but the Dutch men were larger, measuring 27.6 inches. Factor in the fact that nobody on an airplane sits upright with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle, plus variations in calf length and thigh length.
A big flaw in seat design, however, is that men in the 95th percentile are not necessarily larger than women, particularly in the parts of the body that are resting on the seat.”