Saturday, December 22, 2012

Goodbye Instagram!

True this.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Anniversary Mrs. S!

End of the world today? Nope that would have been Dec 21, 1983 for me. ;-)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Trouble #LittleFeat

"And the footprints on your ceiling, they’re almost gone
And you’re wondering why?
Well mama lay your head down, don’t you cry”
A. Smit, T. Fennell & F. Lendrum

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

For those about to support a triathlete: we salute you!

If endurance athletes are crazy, what does that make the people who love them? Patience and understanding incarnate, with a little crazy mixed in as well.

After having to watch an Ironman cheers to Mrs S for all her support this and previous seasons. The odd trip to an exotic local (Kelowna counts, right?) makes it all worthwhile, right?

Does Your Partner Support Your Training? |

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Priceonomics Blog: What Happens to Stolen Bicycles?

Thanks to John Gruber (@gruber) on Daring Fireball for pointing out this article on why “a$$holes” steal so many bikes. Was going to take my bike to SF, maybe not after reading this.
At Priceonomics, we are fascinated by stolen bicycles. Put simply, why the heck do so many bicycles get stolen? It seems like a crime with very limited financial upside for the thief, and yet bicycle theft is rampant in cities like San Francisco (where we are based). What is the economic…
Priceonomics Blog: What Happens to Stolen Bicycles?

Friday, September 14, 2012

#xkcd: ADD

Week long intensive working group meeting…. so many balloons to grab.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sex Missile Mama: A Few Pix from IMC 2012

Trying to download race updates in the hills outside Penticton killed my phone battery, but before it quit I got a few snaps of AO (aka “Sex Missile Mama” according to the rest of Team Black Velvet) tearing up the race course, not to mention the cheering entourage.

From all of us congratulations Ann!

photos: IMC 2012 Pix

Monday, August 13, 2012

Apple Triathlon Kelowna: Follow the Apple Triathlon Live

Apple Triathlon Kelowna: Follow the Apple Triathlon Live: Technology meets the 2012 Kelowna Apple Triathlon! Now you can follow the race live on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19. Kelown…

Yours truly will be doing the International Tri on Sunday so follow along!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bad news for fans of Ironman Canada

Graham Fraser is a great race director, and losing him at the helm of IMC can’t be good news. Scary to think the race may be even bigger, already 1000+ more starters on the same course I first did in 1990.

Adieu Graham and thanks!

Bad news for fans of Ironman Canada

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How I spent my Sunday: Making Shoes

So not my normal weekend activity, but yesterday I made my pair P1 try at lightweight running shoes and today P2, which came out not too badly.


P2’s are made out of a smooth mountain bike tire and I used paracord for the lacing. P1 I went classic with the laces (yellow waxed hockey laces) and used a more gnarly treaded MTB tire. I intend to use those hiking when we’re out in BC mid month.

Wore the P1’s around town yesterday and took a short jog in the P2’s today. The only downside of using bike tires is they are a bit curved, which is not a problem when standing (and hugs the feet) but means when you walk around the occasionally sound like whoopee cushions. The P1’s aren’t real comfortable on smooth surfaces, but I think will hook up nicely on the BC desert sand.

Say what you will but current trendy minimalist shoes are $100 and mine cost < $1. So if anyone wants to do some cobbler-ing let me know! I'm going to keep me eye out and try to scrounge some other sole materials, something thin which lies flat.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

internal monologue #xkcd

A nickel for every time I’ve had this conversation.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

SKODA Tour De France 2012 Commercial

Nice to see the peloton give George and Chris honours to lead them onto the Champs-Élysées. Congrats to Team Sky for an excellent tour, Thomas Voeckler for a reminder to us to HTFU on race day and Jens Voigt for his awesome attacks.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

OK let’s set the record straight on today...

In keeping with the theme, “What do you do for recreation” I did what is called in triathlon a trainer brick this morning in anticipation of next week’s Bluewater Tri. A trainer brick involves riding your bike hard for a brief period on a stationary trainer and then running hard, repeat. Deadly but effective. So for the record I was not sitting at my computer all day.

So if you’re keeping score please note that.

Sparrow Mail migration to another Mac: an update for v1.6.x

Jakub Fedyczak (see link below) had some tips in this area that weren’t available on the Sparrow Knowledge Base. What he says for 1.5 is correct, you have to move the plist and the App Support files. However (at least in the 1.6.x sandboxed app store version) you have to find these in the ~Library/Container subfolders.

The other trick is you have to install Sparrow, start it up and quit immediately. This will make the Application Support and Preferences folders in the Container with aliases to everything but the sparrow stuff. You drop your files in (“Sparrow” data folder in App Support, your plist file from Preference, you can leave the lock file in) and viola, it works.

Sparrow: you could have saved me several hours by posting this information (I did wait ~ 18 hrs for tech support).

This is not souring me on the product and until Monday it is on sale on the App Store, a nice coincidence as I hadn’t realized this. Before this time support had answered a request for product information. This is a small company and maybe it is not reasonable to expect support on a weekend.

If you have been curious about Sparrow I recommend you buy it (or use the trial version first, maybe this would have gone smoother if I had downloaded the trial from the App Store and not the vendor, I then upgraded from the App Store).

Sparrow Mail migration to another Mac: an update for v1.6.x

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Friend Asks About the Higgs Boson

My good friend AO writes:
I am still struggling with how to explain the Higgs boson particle to my friends. Any physicists out there who can help me? The Margaret Thatcher/ Justin Bieber analogy in the paper today did not really help. ☺
As a professional in this area I am obligated to respond. My analog would be to hieroglyphics. We pretty much understand these and can interpret all the stories. But say there was one symbol that appeared a lot and, if we misinterpreted it, the rest of our understanding of the other characters would not be consistent. We aren’t sure what the symbol means, but we have some theories and a model that ties it all together that unfortunately has many free parameters (a math-y way of saying that it fits stuff because we pick numbers that let the model work). Also, the stories all make sense so there appears to be no need to change them, but we would really like to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. So we spend decades obsessively devoted to showing that, though we are still not completely sure what the unknown symbol is, no matter what it is the other stories will remain the unchanged.

The importance of this result was recognized by the team of Lennon-McCartney, who in a seminal work wrote:
I read the news today oh, boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall

My personal part of the story is I almost spent my scientific career doing this stuff. I was fortunate enough to have a senior physics seminar with Leon Lederman. I worked a summer at Fermilab back in the 70s. And I sensed that, while intellectually challenging, this field was going nowhere after the glory days of the 50s and 60s. All they were doing at that time was searching for the Higgs Boson. Fast forward to 2012 and they have a statistical resonance in the correct location that will probably, in a couple years, actually turn out to be the Higgs.

And that will be that.

Sub-atomic physics was the 20th century. The 21st century is about macroscopic, complex systems like the economy, epidemics, weather and climate. You could know everything about a single atom but it won’t allow you to calculate how water will flow down a hill or how a new drug will behave on the molecular level.

By the way AO, I also have an extended rant about exoplanet research if you have an afternoon or 5 hour bike ride to kill go ahead, ask.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hard Rain a Fallin'

Just rained so hard this robin’s nest with an egg and 2 just hatched chicks fell out of our maple tree. CSS put a chick and an egg back up in the branches, I hope the adults figure it out.
“cause when life looks like easy street there is danger at your door”

Dalek: [evenly] "You would make a good Dalek."

 Thanks to jillthompson:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Game is Fast!

This angle gives you some idea of how fast the game really is, we get used to super-slow motion and 50 replays! Poor JQ, as an ex-goalie that time between the goal and the faceoff seems like about an hour.


(via Inside the Net Cam: Parise puts Devils ahead Video - NHL VideoCenter)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Reap what you sow..

The spring planting of bowling balls is done in Canada. I hope we have fresh pins all August.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Marty Never Too High or Too Low!

"You know, I think we wanted to make them jump on a plane and come to New Jersey. We had to go anyway. Might as well get a game out of it." 
Marty Brodeur

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Lego Crow & Tom Servo

via arcaneimages

Monday, June 4, 2012

May the Ump Be With You

Darth Vader and the Star Wars crew at the Detroit Tigers game Saturday night. They helped the Tigers beat the Yankees.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

@tweedybirdnorth: Here’s your dream job

Maybe instead of an elevator this is what HF should be installing, then you can be the "Little Angel"? There is texting, sexting, would this be pr-exting? Blessexting?

Friday, March 30, 2012

#GretchenReynolds reports on the metabolic cost of barefoot running.

Correction Appended

Does it take more work to run in sneakers or barefoot?Jordan Siemens/Getty ImagesCan a sneaker improve your performance?
Phys Ed

For the past few years, proponents of barefoot running have argued that modern athletic shoes compromise natural running form. But now a first-of-its-kind study suggests that, in the right circumstances, running shoes make running physiologically easier than going barefoot.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder, began by recruiting 12 well-trained male runners with extensive barefoot running experience. “It was important to find people who are used to running barefoot,” says Rodger Kram, a professor of integrative physiology, who oversaw the study, which was published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

“A novice barefoot runner moves very differently than someone who’s used to running barefoot,” Dr. Kram says. “We wanted to look at runners who knew what they were doing, whether they were wearing shoes or not.”

Specifically, he and his colleagues hoped to determine whether wearing shoes was metabolically more costly than going unshod. In other words, does wearing shoes require more energy than going barefoot?

A few previous studies have suggested that in terms of physiological effort, it’s easier to go barefoot. After all, shoes have mass; they add weight to your feet, and pushing weight through space, as you do with every step while running, demands energy.

These earlier studies generally concluded that every additional 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces) added to your feet should increase the energy cost of running by about 1 percent. Over many miles, that 1 percent becomes magnified if you wear heavy running shoes, which can easily weigh 300 to 400 grams or more.

But for the new study, Dr. Kram and his colleagues wanted to use a relatively lightweight, cushioned shoe. They chose the Nike Mayfly, a model that, as the name intimates, is a flyweight, barely reaching 150 grams.

The runners were asked to run multiple times on treadmills while either wearing the shoes or not. The runners were never completely barefoot; when unshod, they wore thin yoga socks to protect them from developing blisters and for purposes of basic hygiene on the shared treadmills.

Next, the researchers taped 150 grams’ worth of thin lead strips to the top of runners’ stockinged feet. By adding an equal amount of weight to the bare foot, they could learn whether barefoot running really was physiologically more efficient than wearing shoes.

It wasn’t. When barefoot runners and shod runners carried the same weight on their feet, barefoot running used almost 4 percent more energy during every step than running in shoes.

To the surprise of the researchers, barefoot running, often touted by fans as more natural than wearing shoes, was actually less efficient.

“What we found was that there seem to be adaptations that occur during the running stride that can make wearing shoes metabolically less costly,” says Jason R. Franz, a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado who led the study. Shoes, he says, “provide some degree of cushioning.” If you eschew shoes, “something else has to provide the cushioning.”

That something, he and his colleagues believe, is your legs. If you are barefoot, the job of absorbing some of the forces generated by the collision of foot and ground shifts to your leg muscles, a process that Dr. Kram calls the “cushioning effect.” As a result, the leg muscles contract and work more and require additional energy. The metabolic cost of the activity rises.

Of course, most barefoot runners don’t head out to jog wearing leaded Band-Aids, as they did in this study. But notably, even when unweighted barefoot running was compared foot-to-foot with running in the Mayflies, the shoes won out. For 8 of the 12 runners, wearing shoes remained slightly more efficient than being barefoot, even though the shoes added more weight.

It’s important to note that the study looked only at the metabolic efficiency of wearing shoes, compared with going barefoot. The scientists didn’t evaluate the common claim that barefoot running lowers injury risk.

In the end, the difference in metabolic cost between going barefoot or wearing lightweight shoes is probably of greatest interest to competitive runners. Serious racers might want to mull over the trade-off between having less mass on their feet when barefoot versus having greater potential strain on their leg muscles.

For the rest of us, the lesson might be that even if you’re not interested in going barefoot, you might want to invest in a slimmed-down trainer. “There is a metabolic cost to wearing really heavy running shoes,” Dr. Franz says. Lightweight models, though, that provide cushioning to spare leg muscles without mass to slow movement may be the physiologically smartest alternative, he says, to being bare.

Correction: March 21, 2012

An earlier version of this post misstated the weight of running shoes, which may easily weigh 300 to 400 grams, not ounces.

My take home message from this study is their results are consistent with my testing on myself, that I'm a bit faster and more comfortable with a bit of padding underfoot, but not much and the flatter the shoe the better. CSS and I just got the scale out and my Minimus, VFFs and Free 3.0's are all well under 200 g, and I have some Hattori's coming for tri season which are about 150 g. CSS loves his Hattori's, which seem to be a great compromise between low weight, no heel lift and some cushion underfoot (as well as appearing to be tri-perfect with the velcro closure and sock upper).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On learning a new parlour trick & my #engagement. Smile @ultragirl09 #swimming

It's a big deal to learn a little thing even if lots of other people can do it. Juggling, whistling that kind of thing. So after a few years of false starts and a new commitment to success this swim season I tried again to band-only swim. Most years I quit after a couple times of going 12.5 m and having my legs pointing to the bottom of the pool with my arm cadence at 200. Same when I started again 2 weeks ago after taking at 4+ month break from swimming. 

But today I relaxed and with calm arm movement swam 50 m LC. Tried it again, 60 s length. Again, 58 s length. What more when I put the paddles on after this set for 8x100 p (no buoy) finally, after at least 10 years of hearing "engage your lats" (and wondering WTF), they engaged. Somewhere Coach BB is smiling!

It makes me no never mind that I have friends who are excellent swimmers, like AO, who can effortless swim 1000 m like this without any additional effort. Whether this translates into better racing or not is largely irrelevant, as this was more about the journey that the destination. And it will probably not have a large effect in wetsuit racing. But to as #AmyFarrahFowler says it adds "another arrow to my quiver of whimsy."

And hopefully a 1000 straight band swim before summer's end!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Congrats to @cnezzy world champion. What are you doing with all the chocolate you won? #LDNont

Canadian speed skater Christine Nesbitt crowned world’s best via the Toronto Star

I heard you won chocolate with each race, so you better share with the entire team or you are going to get a tummy ache! :-)
What a day and taking one of Anni Freisinger's track records at her home track is quite an achievement. I hope your taper to Worlds goes as planned.
"Canadian speed skater Christine Nesbitt crowned world’s best", from @tostar.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

RIP Peter Bergman, #FiresignTheater: I’ve spread hamburger all over the highway in #Mystic CT in yer honour #AhClem

Firesign Theatre/Columbia Records. Clockwise from far right, Peter Bergman, Phil Austin, Phil Proctor and Dave Ossman of the Firesign Theater in 1970.
To Wit, let me flip this little chromium switch here:
Mark Time!
Clone me Doctor.
Take speed my Lord. (Edmond, double Edmond!)
He's been up for a week, but he's coming down.
Face it people: All I Know is Everything You Know Is Wrong
{And even Fletcher must sleep sometime :-( }

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Product review: 0 stars for the #crankbrothers Speed Lever. Piece of junk!

Originally submitted at REI

This innovative tire lever makes changing tires without pinching quick and easy--great for hard to change road tires.


By Bob the TriGuy from Ontario, CDN on 2/25/2012



1out of 5

Cons: Bends Easily, Ineffective, Tough to Grip

Describe Yourself: Competitive Cyclist

Was this a gift?: No

This cheap piece of plastic is garbage. It broke and the FIRST tire I tried to use it on. It is poorly made and is much less effective then 2 standard plastic tire levers. Perhaps if this product was not so cheaply made it could be effective but it isn't. Please do not waste your money on it.

Funny, when I read about this product elsewhere I thought what a good idea, but noticed Crank Brothers dealers/distributor in Canada would not order or carry these, now I know why!


Monday, February 20, 2012

#TIL Togo did not get near the credit he deserved in saving Nome AK. Thanks #Togo

Spirit of a Racer in a Siberian Husky’s Blood, from the New York Times, describes Togo's near forgotten role in saving the population of Nome in 1925. So when you see Balto in Central Park give some love to the Lead who pulled his team 261 miles across the moving ice of Norton Sound in the dark.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

@tweedybirdnorth I promise thee many hammers. #MyBrainHurts #KeepItSimple #KISS

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What a #DayOfActivity in #ldnont. Nice to see #uwofa waving their flags

This video catches some of the day's spirit driven by a beautiful speech by the head of the Sisters of St Joseph’s.

The EMD workers are in for a long fight with CAT. Brothers & Sisters "stand up for your rights, don't give up the fight!”

Mayor Fontana: "get your a$$ down here #stevenHarper #ldnont


Crowd: shame, shame, shame

#ldnont : @tweedybirdnorth won’t give up the fight


Modern day warriors? #ldnont


Cool vibe here

Day of Action #ldnont


Arriving at the park flags everywhere music playing

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Well done #Obama. Stomped on #SOPA / #PIPA. Stopped #Keystone. You done #AlmaMater proud!

So maybe it was worth waiting for a bit or "Roar Lion Roar" from the White House the last few years? The facist bully boys wanted to use eminent domain to steamroller ranchers in the West and keep the rest of us net neutrality, but the Prez got in their faces good! I'm smilin' today.
Be the Rain! (or to be more accurate for southern Ontario today, the snow). Hope you enjoy being able to see Neil and the Famly dancing because if SOPA were ever to happen you couldn’t!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Computers will NEVER win at #CalvinBall! #xkcd: Game AIs

and I agree never at Seven Minutes either!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

@stevefleck @rappstar Crank Call: Ectomorph, Endomorph there’s the rub

I needed a few more than 140 characters to make a point that often gets overlooked in this talk about crank length/cadence, etc (and many other position related issues). I called out Steve and Jordan in the title in part because they are tall, lean riders, who might not appreciate what your options reduce to if you are short. They can ride a 15 cm or greater tri drop, and probably 10 cm on a road bike with no problem. Hence, changing crank length is possible in their generous fit box* allowing them even more room to explore. This freedom does not exist for small people with extremely tight fit boxes.
Consider a small endomorph like myself. If you use Dan Empfield's average drop for a person my size riding at 80 degrees you'll find I'm on the low end of drop (e.g. aggressive for distance tri), 7.5 cm, and probably about half (or less) of what tall folks can ride and still be in a fairly relaxed aero position.
This situation is a sense related to the seat angle issue: for short people we can move our butts a small amount on the saddle to change our seat angle significantly (a few degrees) while that adjustment is not practical for the big folks as the distances are to far.

Don't believe me? Find your favourite short person hop on your road bike and go for a spin. Play around trying difference drops/positions as you roll along. You'll quickly realize as a tall person the issue the small people face: tall people can imitate all the pictures you see of top road and tri riders, while the short people can't be in many of the positions you see (and I want to note here on a scale of flexibility for an AG triathlete I would put myself on the high end, I stretch religiously, this is not a flexibility issue it is just a question of space). Put another way a 5'3" tall person isn't going to be able to flatten their back like Dave Zabriskie.

While going to shorter cranks for a tall rider who has sized up to a 180 mm crank for TT they may be able to drop their position enough to significantly reduce their CDA** using a relatively short crank. But I am highly skeptical that significant CDA changes are attainable for small riders who are already in the middle of their fit box. In my case I have ridden as short as 160 mm cranks and now ride 172.5 mm ones with basically the same CDA. Our fit boxes are just not as sensitive to these changes.
Riding in the real world on real hills there are real advantages and disadvantages between shorter and longer cranks, but for smaller riders in a TT position crank length is not likely to have a significant effect on CDA. For taller riders the differences may indeed be significant.

*fit box refers to the area one can adjust a rider's position and still be in an acceptable aero position, e.g. changing seat angle versus dropping bar height.
**CDA is short for the product of the drag coefficient times the rider's frontal area; the drag force on the rider is directly proportional to CDA, so a smaller CDA means your position is more aerodynamic.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

@cheysica @sunrisesica @tweedybirdnorth #2011 #GOGD #TrulyWeird #BeyondThePale #ThatsIt

So Many Roads People. Leave a comment (not just the fam, all you Kreepers) on your 2011, Jerry is right on, ours was truly weird. Use your "idle half hour”.