Season Planning Seminar

The Invitation:

First thing back after Christmas (well at least close to first thing) is a good time to lay some plans for the next season. This is partly because everyone is highly motivated at this time of year and full of the ‘New Years Resolutions’ vibe. This week, we’d like to have a club seminar/workshop on self-coaching and season planning. The seminar to start will be informative, but informal, and I’m going to try and address some basics about training for triathlon and explain some of the associated jargon used to discuss this kind of stuff. I’ll also give an idea of how you can design and monitor progress with a training plan. We’ll finish off by each sketching out a plan for ourselves for the season ahead (2013!). Hopefully when you leave you’ll have an idea of what kinds of training lies between here and a successful event or events in the coming year, but also some self-coaching skills to monitor and adapt that plan along the way.

If you’ve attended the club seminar on this topic in years past I hope I can make the evening of value to you. While the actual training plan template I’m going to stick with is based on Joe Friel’s TTB which is the template we’ve used in years past, the seminar won’t be just walking through that process.


Room ED-177,

Tuesday Jan 15

8:30-10:00 pm

There should be enough time to shower and get over there by then. The club will be buying some Pizza for attendees. If you cannot figure out how to make it there by 8pm… then you really need to work on your transitions before race season.

Homework Part 1:

Homework is optional but recommended.

Please come to the seminar this Tuesday evening with some idea of what you’d like to do in the sport of triathlon (or swimming, biking or running as standalone sports) in 2013. If you’re hoping to sign up for your first ever race now isn’t a bad time to decide which one you might like to try. If you’ve been racing for years and have so many favourite races that they conflict with eachother on your calendar then now isn’t a bad time to start choosing. The race calendar in Alberta doesn’t change much from year to year, if you have a look at these websites you can probably get a pretty good idea of what your options may be for racing in 2013.

FYI:The club’s training plan is loosely based around an end of May race and/or an early July race. Examples would be Coronation Triathlon or Oliver Half Ironman, and then Edmonton ITU [out of date website at the moment] or Great White North. Registration for Great White North is still open but there are less than 100 spots left if you are interested in that.

Homework Part 2:

I have attached four documents. They are stolen directly from Joe Friel’s book about season planning for Triathlon.

  1. A survey of your basic abilities in Swim&Bike&Run. Hopefully this will help you identify what you need to work on in training.
  2. A good survey of your mental strength in sport. I have done this survey at the end of my season for 4 years running and learn something about myself each year. It is worth 5 minutes of your time, maybe not right now, but sometime when you need help procrastinating.
  3. A worksheet that can help you identify quantify what is most likely limiting your athletic success if #1 didn’t give you a good enough idea.
  4. A page that can help you outline the steps in training between now and success in 2012 by stating some goals and identifying what it will require of you. If you do take the time to fill it out, it will help you make a commitment to what you want to do. Putting things in writing can be an important step in the process.

Doing these surveys ahead of time is optional, but will likely be very beneficial.


Training methodologies are sometimes a bit like a religion. When you involve part of your life (i.e. all the training you do) with the way of thinking laid out by a certain school of thought (i.e. some group of exercise physiologists suffering from a severe case of groupthink) then you can become pretty defensive about the way you understand things to be. I’ll be among the first to admit that the way I understand and think about training is influenced by the people I have learned from, but I made an effort to do a good job in choosing teachers who knew their stuff. So, what I’ll cover is a very popular and very successful training methodology, it is not the only philosophy that exists. While I’m in the process of giving disclaimers, I’d better add another one: Triathlon is a fantastic sport but it’s a bad religion. We do this stuff for fun, think about that when you’re planning and setting goals for 2013.

Resources for the Season Planning Seminar

Also worth referencing for an “idea” but no more than idea… is Friel’s hours breakdown. As I will stress in the seminar. Appropriate load is the load that creates a training response that can be absorbed by your body, not by what some chat suggests. This is merely an idea of some typical patterns.

The presentation slides are attached here.

The Friel ATP chart is attached here.

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Ironman Nutrition

Michael Lovato posted his nutrition plan from Ironman Hawaii on the First Endurance Blog yesterday and I of course read it… and then I thought about it an awful lot in the past day. Of course, he’s got an agreement with a specific company to use their products during training and racing so there’s some impartiality lacking, but that’s besides the point. The details of a plan are given and it’s not a bogus plan, it’s real and accurate and the guy executed it and it sounds reasonable. Unfortunately there’s not as much of that on the internet as you might imagine. There’s people posting all over the internet what their strategies are for triathlon nutrition but there is no way that they’re accurate. There’s also just as many garbage plans posted to the web out there as there are good plans posted to the web. Lovato has a good one and there is a LOT of really good information in it. I’d recommend reading it.

While Lovato doesn’t explicitly state he’s trying to create certain hormonal condition for racing in addition to getting the fueling right I think the plan he gives does just that. I’ve been thinking about tricking your body’s insulin response quite a bit recently and some of the related things that go with hormones during both exercise and recovery. Joe Friel had an excellent article on his website today about RER & fuel sources during exercise. In it he provides a reference to a study I’d recently read the abstract of about pre-exercise fuel. I still can’t get the full text of it and the abstract doesn’t allude to the answer but I believe the authors likely would assume the source of the variation seen has something to do with the insulin response caused by the glucose versus the fructose. Also worth linking for the interested reader is an article about exercising under depleted carbohydrate conditions (this is a valid way to train your body to run at a lower RER despite what people may think) and another article establishing that consuming carbohydrates during exercise raises RER. Us as athletes can’t somehow select an RER during exercise, our body decides upon it based on our exertion… but because the relationship between RERs and exertion do sometimes change, it’s something that we probably can modify if we want to, in theory it can be trained.

An aside for the real geeks: The electrical engineer slash physicist in me wants to learn the dirac-response to all of the different things I could put in my body as though I function as a neatly organized linear system. Then I could make a “Nutritional Born Approximation” of my body and the protocol I’m following and have a pretty good idea of what’s going on with the macronutrient levels in my blood/liver/muscles during exercise. Clearly it doesn’t work like that and I think a lot of people then dismiss the question as “the body is more complicated than you think”. I agree, the body is more complicated than I’d like it to be in this regard but I refuse to believe that it is too complicated for me to study and learn. How do we learn to make any improvements to sports nutrition at all? I am far exceeding progress compared to where I could be based purely on trial and error so obviously some of the system is at least quasi understandable. The obvious question to ask then is what makes the system nonlinear. That’s the starting point to make a guess at how to best approximate a nonlinear system and as best as I can tell the answer is hormone levels. Insulin is the obvious one as well as the ones involves in regulating free fatty acids, and the more I reflect on the past couple seasons epinephrine has likely got to have something to do with substrate consumption. Paul Tichelaar mentioned while we were riding together at one point this summer that he thinks very very few coaches really understand hormones and that getting a grip on that would really help us out as athletes. I thought a bit about it at the time but I couldn’t see the course of action to learn to be better about it, now I’m starting to see it and I’d like to pursue it. If only I had more time.

Now that I’ve written a half page of ramble I’ll finally get to the point I was going to try and make. I had a great nutrition plan at Ironman. I practiced during training with it and I executed it very precisely on race day. Energy levels and gastric distress did not play a role whatsoever in my race which is exactly the role that you’d like them to play. So if you didn’t get the clue already I’d recommend reading Michael Lovato’s nutrition plan and if you’re so inclined feel free to continue reading and have a look at mine.

  • Friday is the day of my last workout (Sunday = Raceday). Total duration set to be close to my previously established duration of glycogen supply when my body is operating at Ironman pace. For me this is 1 hour 40 minutes and I did about the equivalent of a sprint triathlon with a 50% too-long bike leg. The workout is long enough that I’m going to generally drain out my muscles but I’m not going to drain then dry. Immediately following this workout I hit myself hard with good recovery food. Approximately 3:1 carbs:protein. Consume a whole protein source. I ate fruit, rice, sausage and nuts. I ate until I was full… and then ate a big lunch 30 minutes later. This marked the end of excessive eating. I needed to make sure the body would be reloaded but not stuffed.
  • Night before – Ate a bunch of stuff that I enjoy eating, not trying to stuff myself. I ate a bunch of Quinoa and half a pork tenderloin. If I wasn’t sharing with Dad I would have probably eaten the whole pork tenderloin though!
  • Breakfast – 4 fried eggs, 4 small pieces of bread, some olive oil on top to make things slimey, and a full tub of yogurt. I also had a few pieces of cheese as well as a banana and a kiwi fruit. Emphasis is on not being hungry and lasting from 4:30am when I ate the meal until 8am when I would be on my bike and beginning to eat in earnest once again. There’s no big sources of fiber here, and there’s a relatively high fat and protein content in this meal compared to what is often recommended for pre-exercise. Carbohydrates are there but the emphasis is on stuff that has low to medium glycemic load, I guess the fruit doesn’t really fit the bill. The idea is to get the digestive system running, and running above a minimal idle, not just to put the key into the ignition. Minimal insulin response to this meal and in that sense similar to Lovato.
  • Race Morning – brought water along but didn’t drink more than 500 mls. Banana at 30 minutes until the start. This will be hitting my bloodstream and leaving the stomach as the race begins. Note Lovato’s tip: don’t go into that long swim with a slightly dipping blood sugar. I wouldn’t go into any swim with a dipping blood sugar and that’s often the reason I’m the guy standing on the pool deck at triathlon club workouts while we wait for the group ahead of us to finish and I’m munching on something. Low blood sugar is a recipe for poor focus and low motivation and personally that’s a recipe for disaster during a swim.
  • During the bike – Targetting 2500 calories in the first 4.5 hours on the bike leaving me a full half hour for the descent off of Richter without any pressure to keep consuming. It is un-aero and inefficient to eat when you could be doing more than 60 kph. I also want to give my stomach a chance to empty out so I hit the run with my body loaded up with energy and fuel but without a brimming stomach.

    With me:

    • 2×24oz bottles of Gatorade = 350 calories
    • 2 tube shot bloks = 400 calories, (one before Richter, one before yellow lake)
    • 4 gels 4×110 = 440 calories
    • 4 clif bars = 960 calories

    Need to get en-route:

    • 5 bananas = 600 calories (try at every aid station if there’s time, there isn’t always if I’m trying to get two bottles)
    • 2 bottles of Gatorade = 350 calories
    • Drink Water the rest of the way. (Leave every aid station with more than half a bottle of water)

    Add up all the calories except for the gels and throw away 4x(1/4) full bottles of gatorade and you wind up at 2500 calories.

    The plan was not to eat any of the gels unless I felt like I needed to get more simple sugar flowing into my body in which case they could replace a clif bar or bananas if I couldn’t get them from the aid stations. I preferred to stick to a slightly more complex carbohydrate than powergel. Admittedly I could just choose to eat hammer-gels or carbo-pro or mix up a stiff bottle of perpetuem or something like that and achieve the same ratios and style of calories but I want to be able to happily get through this race without feeling hungry which I discovered can happen if I’m fully fueled but I’ve not been eating much real food. The end result is that I wanted to chew on something to tell the body I was eating and selected to eat clif-bars. They taste good, they chew a lot prettier than a powerbar, and they are at a pretty optimal level of carbohydrate complexity for the intensity I planned to race at. They’re not as low in fiber as all the other options I mentioned earlier but they’re not “high” like any oat based granola bar. That said, I am drinking gatorade as my primary source of electrolytes on the bike and am getting some pretty simple sugar from there as well as from the 2 tubes of shot bloks which I consumed at the base of each climb, with the intention of riding at a higher exertion on the climbs than on the flats and making sure that I was only asking my digestive system to to relatively easier work while I was asking my legs and lungs to be doing relatively harder work.

  • Can of coke in bike special needs… only plan to stop for it if I’m having a rough time, otherwise I want to conserve the caffeine boost until the run.
  • On my aerobars I had a list of landmarks and relative locations of aid stations as well as a guide to how many calories I needed to put in by certain landmarks to stay on track nutrition-wise. I also noted where I would be when each hour of the ride rolled over to the next if I was keeping pace for a 5 hour 5 minute bike split.
  • Leaving T2 – I had a disposable bottle filled with two cans of cola and extra electrolytes added (3xEload caps) which had been frozen overnight and wrapped in tin foil to keep it slushy/frozen in my T2 bag until I arrived. I took this in my hand as I left and used it as a reason to help me do the first mile slow enough otherwise I would likely totally overdo it. It also got the caffeine flowing in my system which is just what I wanted as I find it gives me a good boost. I had a second bottle of the magic mix stashed in the special needs bag along with all sorts of random crap thinking that I wanted to cover all the bases of what I might be craving. I wasn’t craving much when I got there so I didn’t take much other than a fruit leather (50 cals). A special note for people doing Ironman Canada, you should have something to drink in there as there is no aid station at special needs but the stations are spaced out along the way as though you are due for one when you get there.
  • Aid Stations – Gels at every third aid station with water (8 gels). Drink coke/gatorade at each of the other aid stations when possible. Don’t drink more than 500ml at any one aid station as it will make my stomach slosh. Always try to have one gel in my pocket. Stash ice into top at each aid station. Once through the aid station redistribute the ice how I’d like, into arm coolers and neck. Never leave without arm-coolers being wet. The game plan was to switch to water instead of coke and gatorade if I’m feeling like my belly is full. In the final 10 mile I was full up on energy and dealing with cramping in my legs as I ran. By this point I was largely just going through the motions and taking tiny sips at the aid stations rather than drinking anything of substance or consuming much fuel. The game had changed by that point, I had no doubt about my ability to finish strong energy-wise and by the time I hit the south end of town I was in good enough shape mentally and nutritionally to lax up the plan fuel wise and put the focus on the main task which was pain management with the cramps and just keeping on trucking. I took no gels during the last 10 kms and stuck with the coke/gatorade instead.

Post race I ate some pizza but not a lot. Drank some of this and that but didn’t really do that good of a job loading up my body with all sorts of good food. I was hungry but didn’t have much appetite to actually do the eating as I’d spent the whole day eating. Oh well, I ate some chips, drank my first beer in four months, and went to bed. Nothing fancy.

On a related note I wanted to mention that I am really happy to have a guy like Chris McCormack as world champion in our sport. I’ve had differing opinions of the guy over the course of the past few years with lots of the different spins that the media tries to put on this guy. Over the past season though I’ve paid better attention to what he’s doing and what media he’s putting out and how he’s contributing to triathlon. I’ll admit the swaying of opinion could be swayed a bit by the fact that I’m now consuming more “Chris McCormack sanctioned” media and him and his sponsors have had the opportunity to polish it up a bit, take the edge off the sharp bits that might stab you, and at the same time highlight the highlights. Sure, that might have something to do with it but we can also look at the facts.

Chris probably partied hard and reveled in his win as he alluded to in his victory speech… but a week later he was in California spending a week on a big bike tour with the CAF. Where’s Mirinda Carfrae following her victory on the womens’ side? partying in Vegas. I’ll make no illusion that I wanted Macca to beat Chris Lieto, the guy I’m totally rooting for to win Kona before he retires, or even Craig Alexander who is a consummate professional and great role model in his own right, but really I am mighty mighty happy to have Macca take the crown.

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Bam! – Success

Bam! Marks from the last semester finished trickling in sometime in the past few days. Upon my last inquiry I had finally received the last grade for the last of my courses to be completed. That means I’m actually done. Bam! a few more illuminated pixels on the computer monitor and it’s now over.

Plenty of people have been asking me how it feels to be done and really it’s even more anti-climactic that you might first guess. No-one expects you to say “finishing my degree changed my life” but I’d guess that the question is supposed to have an answer there seems to be an expectation that finishing school is a turning point in life, really it wasn’t at all. Getting the Iron ring and making a pledge to pursue a career with professionalism did give a little dose of perspective change.

Why not? I don’t think it’s because I’m returning to Grad School. While that in some sense does make a difference regarding whether or not I see the end of a BSc as the actual end of school I think it’s mostly due to another reason. It’s because I’ve worked hard at putting school way down the totem pole of important things in life. Obviously I haven’t removed it from that hierarchy, because I did still bust my ass hard enough to keep the grades essentially flawless. I have however done a better job recently, especially the last 16 months or so, of putting many more important things first. School doesn’t even make the top 5 anymore: That is success.

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Today’s Soundtrack

The soundtrack of the day as I studied is below:

It’s coming up on my sixth run through…. and at 70 minutes in length obviously it’s been a long day, but there are only 3 more days and I’ll have this degree in the bag!

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End of Exams

So I squeezed my way through semester 7. My Quantum Mechanics final exam today came blasting right down the calendar and arrived all too soon. Any time I’ve had to write more than 2 exams back to back one of them often suffers. I think that’s mostly due to the fact that any time you select 3 of my courses at random from the past years your bound to get at least one stickler. I don’t think I really suffered this time though as a matter of preparation or skills with the course. The final was just too long! I probably could have made my way through all the questions in a full 12 hour day of work with some help from a good calculator and a textbook, but to do it in 3 hours with no discussion or help was a bit much.

Anyhow, Christmas vacation has arrived and I’m quite happy to get out of classes for two weeks and do everything other than work hard on school.

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Asymmetric Capacitance…

Here’s the abstract for the latest paper…

Electric Field Properties of Asymmetric Capacitances

Properties of the electric field produced between two parallel charged conducting wires are described and analyzed. A DC high voltage supply is used to charge a capacitive configuration of narrow gauge wire which produces a strong electric field. An electrostatic model of the apparatus is developed and used to describe the observed phenomenon of ionization of atmospheric gasses in this electric field. Measurement of the forces caused by the acceleration of these ions provided a means of ascertaining an approximate threshold for the electric field to cause ionization of atmospheric gasses of 2.8 ± 0.4 MV·m−1 in excellent agreement with the accepted value of 3 MV·m−1. Forces on the order of tens of milliNewtons are observed, sufficient to support the entire weight of the apparatus generating the field.

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Competition and Technological Innovation

Jared Diamond discusses in his 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning book “Guns Germs and Steel” the reasons Eurasian civilization was the fastest to develop out of a universal hunting-gathering society into the dominant player in world affairs as we have come to know it today. Diamond’s conjecture is that the most dominant forces in history have had not as much to do with the people living it out but rather the variation in the geographical settings in which people lived. Diamond succeeds in making an extremely strong case for civilization first getting off the ground in the Fertile Crescent on the basis of natural selection and further for the diffusion of technology developed here to adjacent regions of similar latitude and climate. Diamond seems to ignore the fact that Mesopotamia is connected to multiple regions of equivalent geography. Turkey, and the Balkans aren’t particularly different from Afghanistan and northern India to the east, the Caucasus in the north, and the horn of Africa in the south. All of these areas are roughly equivalent in their ability to grow the crops and herd the animals Diamond cites as the basis of successful early agriculture.

In the epilogue, Diamond makes his most conscious effort to reconcile this discrepancy. Citing geographical differences between Europe and Eastern Asia he demonstrates the increased likelihood of technological adoption in the highly partitioned feudal system of Europe when compared with the super-nation controlled by one consolidated Chinese government. Diamond leaves his argument here, allowing the reader to speculate and fill in the details with respect to the extent of this description as a general rule. What Diamond is suggesting is that revolutionary change is only adopted in a competitive society whereas mundane technological development is universally implemented. While a powered pump to improve irrigation of a rice patty wouldn’t be readily accepted in ancient China, a systematic technique to reroute existing irrigation channels for uniform water distribution would be accepted without hesitation. According to Diamond a revolutionary European inventor would more likely see adoption of their new technology than a Chinese one because a sense of competition exists between one valley’s kingdom and the one over the hill.

Does the same rule apply today? Are revolutionary technological advances more likely to be accepted if they exist in an environment of competition? I would argue that this fails to remain universally true. Modern day global competition is driving routine small advances in technological change. Intel has invested billions to upgrade a microprocessor facility from 90 nm technology to the 45 nm technology now in production. This advance was made not so much as an improvement of their devices, but because it allows them to step ahead in a competitive market. The market for commercial laser printers varies between 42 pages per minute and 48 pages per minute, customers are won and lost over a few seconds. These advances make or break a company, but are hardly contributing to positive technological development.

It is my suggestion that the globalization of many industries has stifled revolutionary thinking, possibly preventing the development of new technologies. A global market allows businesses existing in well defined industries to compete on a larger scale, this improves the ability of said industry to quickly develop new changes to old technology as a way to keep ahead of competition. Analogous to early neighboring farmers growing different varieties of wheat, the advantage of the farmer growing a lower yield to trade and adopt the slightly higher yield grain is obvious. If the pool of of higher yield wheat is extremely extensive (a global market) it is likely that the farmer will focus on upgrading their crop rather than investing effort in doing what they can to try domestication of a new species or improving their existing yield by a new planting technique or spreading manure as fertilizer.

The natural experiment described by Diamond of the Polynesian settlement of the pacific islands, is in some sense and example of what I am trying to describe. These people would load up a boat with taro, yams, chickens and pigs, settle a new island, populate it and expand onwards. This was seen over and over, and it worked. The nature of their advance was an incremental one, not particularly stimulating of new technology. When the technology at hand didn’t quite work, as is evidenced by Easter Island, the Polynesians weren’t thinking about adapting or trying new things, rather they tried to pound a square peg in a round hole and failed.

When faced with obvious competition in an ‘obvious’ or existing industry it’s more likely that existing technologies are refined and expected to solve all problem; even though new problems may be addressed more effectively through new avenues. The Middle Ages saw many castles build taller and thicker walls while they built bigger trebuchets and battering rams to compete directly on the issue rather than try a different avenue of attack. This directed competition as it was seen hundred of years ago gave rise to a period of stagnation in the obvious industries associated with it. The rise of a global economy is certainly providing an even broader competitive avenue for businesses to pursue improved technology in existing industries. It is not, in my opinion, stimulating competition in new fields as well as it could be. Budding technology is often directed early in its development towards existing contemporary industries that appear to have practical and profitable applications for it.

The field of microfluidics is a brand new technology that is, in my opinion, suffering from such stifling. Microfluidic devices provide the ability to perform various chemical reactions using extremely small quantities of the chemicals involved. The application of these devices has been directed while the technology is still well in its infancy towards diagnostic testing for disease. While this is not generally a bad application, it is an example of a situation in which an existing industry sees this technology as a means to an existing end. Funding for microfluidics research is largely conditional that the goals of the project are directed towards biological testing applications. There has not been, nor will there ever be, an opportunity for companies or research institutions to develop microfluidics as a stand alone entity. From the time the devices were able to be used for primitive diagnostic testing any development of the technology towards improving device versatility or range of applications was essentially halted. Likewise, when the neighboring farmer knew that there was a superior plant to grow, their interest in growing their previous crops to their full potential waned.

The global marketplace is not a terribly difficult place for a revolutionary new idea to get off the ground. It is not however, an environment that stimulates revolutionary change the way competition has in the past. I will admit that I am unsure of whether or not this is a symptom of the adoption of a consolidated marketplace or a symptom of a global market itself. The preoccupation with trying to do everything marginally better than the competition may or may not be a phase that the world goes through. Ideally large scale competition is something that will also stimulate revolutionary new developments in technology in addition to the slow crawl of incrementally better equipment. As we all know, the things we hope to see done are not always the things that are done.

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For my final Physics 397 lab I’m working with Andrew Burke and Steve Jim, we’re studying propulsion. The idea is that we ionize air in the presence of a strong electric field, accelerate the electrons in one direction and the cations in the other direction. As a result in the mass difference (more than 10000:1 for atmospheric gasses) There is thrust generated according to Newton’s third law.

The magnitude of the propulsion force depends on how much air is being ionized and the electric field that it is going to be accelerated across (remember that the mean free path in air (SATP) is on the order of microns, not meters). Generating an electric field strong enough to strip electrons from air molecules isn’t all that simple when you imagine how strong it needs to be, but there is a relatively simply way of doing it. A very simple application of Gauss’s Law to an infinite line charge shows that the field goes like (lambda)/(2*pi*eo*r) where lambda is the linear charge density eo is the permittivity of free space, and r is the distance from the axis of the line charge. That means that the electric field gets arbitrarily large as you approach a theoretical line charge.

To charge a very thin wire (good approx of line charge) we just need to include it in a capacitor and put a large voltage across it. We’re just suspending the thin wire (42 gauge magnet wire) above a large radius of curvature conductor (piece of Al foil).

To measure the force generated (as the obvious manifestation of the phenomenon) we’re suspending the apparatus on a pendulum and measuring the angle of deflection from vertical.

Prelimiary tests have shown that we’re not completely out to lunch, we’re deflecting our “flyer” by close to 100 with a mass of many tens of grams if not hundred (haven’t yet measured).

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Why I love James

Here’s a high quality musing by James Bell the First:

If an intelligent outside observer is required for a waveform to collapse (and thus for anything to exist), how is the entire universe here? Who is the extra-dimensional intelligent outside observer who makes the waveform of the universe collapse into the form that we experience it in? Is there a God?

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Guns Germs and Steel

I just wrapped up reading “Guns Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond as part of ENGG 405 (Management for Engineers). If you’re interested in getting a copy of the book so that you don’t have to go and dig one up before the deadline of March 30, feel free to drop me an email

Guns Germs and Steel

It was a rather well thought out discussion of the physical variables that have played a major role in how History played out. As an effort to answer the question “Why did Europeans gain the upper hand technologically over the course of history”. It’s not obvious why the Mayan culture didn’t get rolling and invade Europe, they aren’t any stupider of people. Diamond makes an effort to describe that nature provided a big advantage to let people near the Mediterranean quit their hunter-gatherer existence prior to, or more completely than, people elsewhere in the world. It’s worth a read if you’ve got time to read lots of books, not worth your while if you’ve only got the commitment to read a couple books per year.

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