Monday, January 29, 2007

What life must be like at Micros~1

Nothing is better than complete happiness.

A buggy application is better than nothing.

Therefore, a buggy application is better than complete happiness.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

White Birthday

It's snowing in Michigan today. We've had erratic snow this season. Not yet enough to shovel. Yet the first snow was before Halloween. None at all for Christmas. If i'd wanted this, i'd have moved to Texas. Call it Global Warming.

But today was my birthday. So, it's a White Birthday.

I got a card by email. It's a Word Document. You can tell, because the names "signed" on the card are underlined in red and green squiggles. That's right. They don't know how to spell their own names, or use proper English grammar, at least according to Micros~1. It shows a cake with candles. Eight candles. Well, that matches my avatar. But in the upper right hand corner was the date. It says January 24, 1007.

I pointed it out to the sender (email is really cheap). It's not your normal It's still 2006 sort of error. It suggests that i'm a millennium old today. (It doesn't really feel like it yet. I guess each candle represents 125 years.). They said that i look good for my age.

Now then. Do you ever hear people say You look thin for your height!. I didn't think so.

This one i heard from a complete stranger just out of the blue: "That's your son? He doesn't look anything like you!". Well he doesn't. It's not an issue for me, but this person couldn't possibly have known that at the time. And people say that Midwesterners are so polite...

Today's music: Happy Birthday, by Weird Al Yankovic. 1983. Still rocks.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

soda can return blues

I'm seeing red because my grocery store no long accepts my soda brand for bottle returns. The trouble is, the vending machine doesn't do returns at all.

Now all this is according to the law. And, i could see it, if the bottles had to go back to the bottling plant. But they don't. Once they're counted, they're crushed and sent somewhere for recycling. They are NOT refilled.

But it's worse. My brand is Mug Root Beer. It's caffeine free. I've had to go that route because caffeine gives me arthritis. I didn't really want to give up my addiction. Really. But Mug Root Beer is Pepsi. My grocery store carries Pepsi, just not this model.


Friday, January 05, 2007

There Are No Absolute Truths

The idea that absolute calorie intake minus calories expended is meaningful is simply wrong. I have two examples where this failed.

I met a woman years ago who was grossly overweight. About five feet tall, and over four hundred pounds. She looked for a diet where she could maintain her weight. She gained weight on a 700 calorie diet. She was quite active, and, no, evidence suggests that she did not cheat. Finally, she was able to maintain her weight on a 500 calorie diet. Once stable for a year, she underwent surgery to remove some 190 pounds. Still a bit chubby. Most people would not survive long term on 500 calories.

When i was in school, i ran cross country. My workouts were 15 miles, twice a day. That's 30 miles a day. 210 miles a week. 14 weeks. My calorie intake was not measured precisely, but did not increase. It was probably around 2500 calories. According to Dr. Cooper, my calorie expenditure was over 4000 calories per day. I should have lost weight, right? The actual result was a 10 pound weight gain.

One reason my intake did not increase was that i could not afford to eat more. The caffeteria provided "all you can eat", but my runs ran into both breakfast and dinner. The result was that they closed just a minute or two after i arrived, every day. So, no seconds.

Absolute calorie figures do not seem to understand how physiology really works. One summer, i decided to bicycle to work. (My new job had showers). When i started, my average speed was under ten miles per hour. At the end of the summer my average speed was 21 miles per hour. At these speeds, drag increases with the cube of the speed. So, a doubling in speed requires an eight fold increase in power. To achieve this, one's cardiovascular system needs to adapt. It does this by increasing efficiency and by increasing capacity. But base efficiency of physiology across a population behaves with a bell curve distribution. There are going to be outliers, like the woman i met above.

What does work is relative lifestyle changes. Eat a little less. Exercise a little more.

These aren't many data points, but in the grand tradition of physics, i'm more than willing to fit a ninth order polynomial to them.

Remember, there's an exception to every rule. Even this one.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

Rather than report this year's resolutions, i'd rather report on how last year's resolutions came out.

My exercise program averaged at least 20 minutes three times a week from January through August. In September, i caught a cold, and averaged once a month through the end of the year. I'm nearly over the cold. I took it easy over the holidays and feel much better.

My diet was, in my opinion, a failure. While i did not have any net weight gain, there was no weight loss. The goal was to loose 35 pounds. I've done this before, so i know it's possible.

My brain exercises program continues on track. Lots of books read. Several other interests moved forward.

There were no financial goals, and none achieved by chance. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Re-use, recycle

Anyone want a like-new calendar?

January 2006
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

If you're a pack rat like me and never throw anything out, what you need to rummage for is a 1995 calendar. Both 2007 and 1995 start on Monday. Now, if, like me, you throw things out after ten years if you haven't used them, then you may as well toss the 2006 calendar. You won't be able to get more calendar mileage from it until 2017, and of course, you'll have tossed it in 2016. You see, 2012 starts on a Sunday, just like 2006. But 2012 is a leap year. February will have 29 days in 2012, whereas 2006's February had 28 days (unless it really had 29, and i somehow missed it).

Remember this for next year too. Since 2012 starts on a Sunday, and is a leap year, 2013 starts on Tuesday - skipping out on the Monday starting year. You must wait until 2018 to reuse the 2007 calendars, and, of course, you'll have just thrown them out.

Just to get you going for the new year, here's how it starts:

January 2007
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

Happy New Year.