It’s the Heat AND the Humidity

Runners have a tendency to track their workout times. This can be both misleading and dangerous if you don’t figure in the effect of weather, a trap both newbies and experienced runners can fall into. Consider long runs.

Runners have a tendency to track their workout times. This can be both misleading and dangerous if you don’t figure in the effect of weather, a trap both newbies and experienced runners can fall into. Consider long runs.
Last week, I went down to the local canal trail for a long run. I ran 16 miles and comfortably averaged about 7:00 minute per mile pace. In fact, my first few miles were a bit easier and I had no problem running the last few in the upper 6’s. It was mid 50’s F, clear, and low humidity. A downright refreshing and pleasant run.
This morning, my training partner and I ran down to this same trail. Now, over the course of one week of normal training there’s no way that you’re going to lose or gain considerable fitness (short of accidents and illness). We ran 12 miles, averaging about 7:30 pace on the trail. We were drenched and exhausted on the final approach to his house (and a welcome dip in the pool). We ran 3/4ths the distance at a considerably slower pace and finished anything but “refreshed”. How did this happen? Simple. This morning we ran in mid to upper 70 degree weather with extremely high humidity (as of this writing around noon, the dew point is 74 F). And to top it off, the sun started to burn through the mist about halfway in for added sauna-like effect. So we’ve got warmth and extremely inefficient evaporative cooling due to the high relative humidity.
If your body can’t cool itself, you will suffer and be forced to slow down. It doesn’t mean that you’re out of shape, it means that you’re a human being. In fact, we expected the run to be difficult, and so set off at the afore-mentioned easier pace, but still, the effects are unavoidable in spite of our experience and caution. I’m only glad we didn’t opt for 14 or 16 again.

It’s the Heat AND the Humidity

Runners have a tendency to track their workout times. This can be both misleading and dangerous if you don’t figure in the effect of weather, a trap both newbies and experienced runners can fall into. Consider long runs.

Runners have a tendency to track their workout times. This can be both misleading and dangerous if you don’t figure in the effect of weather, a trap both newbies and experienced runners can fall into. Consider long runs.
Last week, I went down to the local canal trail for a long run. I ran 16 miles and comfortably averaged about 7:00 minute per mile pace. In fact, my first few miles were a bit easier and I had no problem running the last few in the upper 6’s. It was mid 50’s F, clear, and low humidity. A downright refreshing and pleasant run.
This morning, my training partner and I ran down to this same trail. Now, over the course of one week of normal training there’s no way that you’re going to lose or gain considerable fitness (short of accidents and illness). We ran 12 miles, averaging about 7:30 pace on the trail. We were drenched and exhausted on the final approach to his house (and a welcome dip in the pool). We ran 3/4ths the distance at a considerably slower pace and finished anything but “refreshed”. How did this happen? Simple. This morning we ran in mid to upper 70 degree weather with extremely high humidity (as of this writing around noon, the dew point is 74 F). And to top it off, the sun started to burn through the mist about halfway in for added sauna-like effect. So we’ve got warmth and extremely inefficient evaporative cooling due to the high relative humidity.
If your body can’t cool itself, you will suffer and be forced to slow down. It doesn’t mean that you’re out of shape, it means that you’re a human being. In fact, we expected the run to be difficult, and so set off at the afore-mentioned easier pace, but still, the effects are unavoidable in spite of our experience and caution. I’m only glad we didn’t opt for 14 or 16 again.

God’s Identity Revealed

It’s amazing what you can find on the Internet. Yes, it seems that God has written an autobiography. Apparently, God’s name is Thomas O’Donnell.
Not really much more I can add to that, except that author O’Donnell also goes by the name Jesus and Satan. Is it a tad presumptuous to pen “autobiographies” of this sort?
In any case, that’s what I call a trinity.

Cryptography 101

I am not a cryptographer but it is an area I have studied a little. It’s a great topic to introduce to my first and second year programming students. Some of them really perk up when we start talking about it. Invariably, someone will ask if I can show them how to “crack” protected software. I always tell them that, although I have the knowledge, it would not be ethical. Some of them give me strange looks at this point.

This week’s NOVA Science NOW on PBS has an interesting piece on the Kryptos sculpture in front of CIA headquarters. The segment does a decent job of showing some of the basic techniques used such as substitution and transposition, in just a few minutes.
I am not a cryptographer but it is an area I have studied a little. It’s a great topic to introduce to my first and second year programming students. Some of them really perk up when we start talking about it. Invariably, someone will ask if I can show them how to “crack” protected software. I always tell them that, although I have the knowledge, it would not be ethical. Some of them give me strange looks at this point.

Continue reading “Cryptography 101”

Summer Reading

Perhaps I’m not going too far out on a limb to suggest that there aren’t a lot of people who’d be happy to curl up in an Adirondack cabin on a rainy afternoon with any of these titles.

Today is my second official day of summer vacation. Now that the academic year is complete I get to figure out what to read over the summer. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much reading in over the past year as I spent a good deal of time developing and teaching a new course, Science of Sound, along with a bunch of new assessment work (the ISO 9000 of academia). Consequently, many of these books are items that I had intended to read some time ago. Perhaps I’m not going too far out on a limb to suggest that there aren’t a lot of people who’d be happy to curl up in an Adirondack cabin on a rainy afternoon with any of these titles. In no particular oder:
Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook 4E by Douglas Self. I’ve been teaching a discrete amplifier design course for about 25 years and virtually all of the texts I have seen use the same treatment. My quick scan of Self’s book indicates about 450 pages of interesting design philosophy and techniques, most of which are probably way over the heads of my sophomores.
High Performance Loudspeakers 6E by Martin Colloms. I read the second edition back in ’81 and missed editions three through five. The sixth dwarfs my faded second edition. I wonder what Mr. Colloms has included since the days when the KEF 105 was the feline’s sleepwear?
Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett. I never was one for witchcraft.
The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. Nature? Nurture? Neuter?
God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. A bit obvious perhaps, but my sister picked this up and promised to lend it to me when she finished it.
And, for what seems like the 87th year in a row, if I get around to it I’ll finish (actually, restart and finish) Milton’s Paradise Lost. Always good to have a classic in there.

An Interesting Proposal For Voting

The crossroads of Dada and fun: “Found humor”.

The crossroads of Dada and fun: “Found humor”. I love weird typos and the accidental use of words to create something inadvertently rib-tickling. Check out this item from the newsletter of a local running club:
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I don’t know about you, but I’d like to join this club just so that I can cast a vote as Kashchei from Stravinsky’s Firebird.