Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 9th, 2009

Easy Going  

Part I:

There is no Palestinian baby, no Palestinian child.

There is no Palestinian youth.

They are Arabs. Bad Arabs.

 

1.   Indonesia is mostly Muslims.  They invaded Timour, East and West.

Indonesia is not on the Black List.  It is a big nation.  Huge interests, stupid.

 

2.   Bosnia has suffered immensely.  Peace missions finally in place.

War criminals?  La Hague tribunal is ready and waiting.

We don’t meddle.  They are no Arabs.

 

3.   Somalia is mostly Muslims.  At long last, compassion landed.

Starvation ended.  Can’t talk bad:  They are blacks.

Farrakhan is black.  A Muslim.  He is no Arab, yet.

 

4.   Bantustans in South Africa are no more “A la mode”.

Freedom.  Liberty.  Equality.  Human rights, please.

Bantustans in Palestine are essential for all the above values.

Security and Safety of the Jews is at stake.

The Chosen people, remember?  Surrounded by Arabs, mind you!

 

5.   The harem of the Sultan of Brunei is, technically, not one.

Mostly professional consultants for tourism.

The bad harems are purely Arabs.  The Sultan is no Arab.

 

6.   The original American Indians were bad.

Wish they were Arabs.  No clear conscience.

The Mexicans in Texas were bad too.

Wish they were Arabs.  Conscience a tad clearer.

The Iraqi people are bad:  they call themselves Arabs, not our media.

The Iranians are not really that bad:

Too proud and Muslims all right, but no Arabs.

The Turks are a little better now:  Certainly not Europeans.

Not as much as the Israelites.  Definitely no Arabs.

 

7.  We are a compassionate people.  We adopt babies from all over the World.

From Latvia, Estonia, Romania, even from Africa and Asia.

Arab babies are off limit; off the media.

There is no Arab baby.  No Arab youth.  Just Arabs.  Bad.  Arabs.

Article 33

 “How to tell long and good stories from human factors graphs?”

If we concentrate on a graph we might generate a long story that span many disciplines and furnish us with a wealth of information and knowledge that pages of words cannot convey. A graph might open the gate for dozen of questions that are the foundation of scientific, experimental, and critical thinking.  Suppose that we are comparing the efficiency in energy consumption between walking bare feet or wearing shoes that weight 1.3 Kg.  Considering the walking speed as the other independent variable along with the type and weight of shoes then we observe that the curves show that we are consuming less energy at low speed, then both curves decreasing to a minimum consumption of 0.2 KJ/Nm and intersecting at around 80 meter/min and then increasing as walking speed increases.

This graph is telling us that casual walking consumes less energy per unit walking effort than fast walking and that at a cut off speed of 80 meter/min the energy consumption is equal for both foot wares.  Some people might jump to the conclusion that this cut-off speed can be generalized to all foot wears but more experiments are necessarily needed to verify this initial hypothesis.  Another piece of information is that after the cut-off speed it is more economical energy wise to walk barefoot. Basically, this graph is saying that the more weight you add to your lower limbs the more energy you should expect to spend, a fact that is not an earth shattering observation. Biomechanics tells us that the structure of our body is not geared toward saving on our muscular effort but to increasing our range and speed of movements.  Most of our muscles are connected to the bones of our limbs and their respective joints in manners they have to exert great effort and many fold the weight of our body members to overcome any of our limb’s mass.  Usually, the tendons of our muscles are inserted to the limb bones close to the joints and thus the muscles have to exert a huge effort to overcome the moment of the bone and flesh weight in order to effect a movement. Any extra mass to our limbs will tax our muscles to produce many folds the additional weight.

There is a caveat however; if you wrapped a weight of 1.3 kg around your ankles and walked bare feet you would consume more energy than without the added weight but the curve would be parallel to the previous curve and not increasing more steeply than walking with shoes weighting 1.3 Kg.  Consequently, the variation in the behavior of the graphs result from a combination of added weight and lesser static coefficient of friction exerted by the shoes on the walking surface than the bare foot..

Thus, what this graph does not mention is the static coefficient of friction between the footwear and the ground and which is the most important variable and in this case can concatenate many independent and control variables such as the materials of the footwear and the type of ground into a unique independent variable of coefficient of friction.  The higher the coefficient of friction the easier it is to move and progress and thus walking faster for the same amount of effort invested.  It is not that important to generate muscle force if the reaction force on the surface cannot be produced to move a person in the right direction; for example, it is extremely difficult to move on slippery surfaces no matter how much muscular effort we generate.  Apparently, the shape and skin texture of our foot provide a better and more efficient coefficient of friction than many foot wears.

However, the most important fact of this simple experiment is showing us the behavior of the curves and offering additional hypotheses for other studies.

What this graph is not telling us is the best story of all and which can excite the mind into further investigation. For example, what kind of earth materials are we walking on; sands, asphalt, rough terrains, slippery roads or grassy fields?  Does the sample of bare feet walkers include aboriginals used in walking bare feet, city dwellers, and people from the province?  Does the sample groups people according to the softness of their feet skins or the size of feet?

May be the shape of the curves are the same for females as well but it would be curious to find out the magnitude of variations compared to males.  It is clear that a simple and lousy graph delved us into the problems of experimentation and raised enough questions to attend to various fields of knowledge.

In the final analysis, the question is how relevant is this experiment practically?  How far can a modern man walk bare feet?  Does any economy in energy compensate for the ache, pain and injuries suffered by walking bare feet?  Would athletes be allowed to compete bare feet if it is proven to increase performance and break new records?  Does anyone care of walking barefoot in order to save a few kilo Joules?

The theme of this article is that you can venture into many fields of knowledge just by focusing your attention on graphs and tables and permitting your mind to navigate into uncharted waters through queries and critical thinking.

It is a beautiful rainy day; (July 9, 2009)

The book “Odette Toulemonde” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt contains 8 novellas; they are excellent but I will focus on two of them. 

“It is a beautiful rainy day” is a great novella for character description. Helene is the type of women used to appreciate symmetry in people and in nature.  She dwells on the details of imperfections, such as changing her dresses when noticing any tiny spot, permanently tidying her room, feeling horrified in any asynchronisation in group dancing, and offbeat notes in musical tunes.  She used to cry when receiving returned books with pages marked on the corners.  Most of her potential friends lost her confidence because of imperfect details that did not match her subjective perfection. 

In adolescence Helene realized that nature is as bad as men:  One of her tits was slightly different in form; one of her feet was slightly longer than the other.  Even her height was shocking: it stabilized at 171 cm instead of 170 or 175.

            Helene accumulated many boyfriends; the relationships never lasted more than a couple of days because she seeks idealistic perfection:  She focused on imperfections and she could easily differentiate asymmetric aspects. The two required necessary exigencies, of idealism and lucidity in men, could never be assemble in any one individual.

            By the age of 30, Helene was a cynical and disillusioned woman.  Intelligence in others did not impress her: she mastered several language and she was a lawyer.  Her body was attractive and agile. 

Antoine, a lawyer, fell in love with Helene.  Helene permitted this plain-looking Antoine to press on his initiatives, simply because he was a foot taller than her.  Helene tolerated Antoine for longer than she had the habit of retaining lovers: Antoine was an “agreeable” fellow, though he was a fake slim guy when undressed; he prolonged foreplay so that he won’t have to repeat intercourse; his foreign languages were poor and he was pretty naive.  Helene kept silent as Antoine expressed the intention of including her in his future plans.

            Antoine took Helene to the North Sea instead of the sunny Mediterranean Sea she was used to spend her vacations.  On the first morning, a thunderstorm broke out and it poured rain. Helene was terribly upset.  Antoine retorted: “This is a beautiful rainy day” and explained how they would enjoy this day with new shades of colors that the sky, trees, and nature would take; how they would dry their clothes by the fireplace while taking hot teas; how they will had the opportunity to make love several times, to have lengthy conversation. 

Antoine’s happiness sounded abstract to Helene but she decided to go along.  Optimist Antoine saw the lovely and charming aspects in the streets, the stores, the waitresses, and the food.  Helene was disgusted with everything and could not agree with Antoine happiness.  Helene confined that she never looked at the seas or the waves but was content of enjoying the sun.  Antoine was amused with Helene’s negative comments thinking that she was being purposely funny and ironic and he laughed a lot that day.

            They finally got married. Helene had a boy and a girl but she knew that nothing inside her has changed; she was basically the same Helene with one alteration: Helene refrained from expressing her opinions and learned to keep silent. 

“Agreeable” and happy Antoine allowed Helene to see opposite perspectives and a comfortable joyful family life.  Antoine had to die.  Helene walled her life and then decided to travel the globe; she could not enjoy traveling as Antoine did.  (There is an ending but I prefer the reader to invent an ending and then compare it with the original)

The other novella that I like to review is “The intruder”.  This novella was a practical eye opener for understanding what Alzheimer disease means.  Recent memory goes first and retrograde to when you were born.  Odile sees her face in the mirror and thinks that an old woman intruder is harassing her and switching and moving around her belongings.  She calls the police and finds no intruder. 

Odile confuses her son for her husband; she thinks that her son’s wife is her long dead husband’s mistress.  Odile is rewriting the introduction of her thesis that she published so many years ago.  Her son, wife, and two grandsons are relieved as Odile returns to the period before her wedding. Soon her son will cuddle his old mother as a newborn lady.

            (What is that? We are as old as our memory permits it, and as young as it fails! It is a shame that people with Alzheimer cannot write their diaries; we would have great recalling of early childhood emotions and feelings.  I propose that professional psychologists should study these patients and record what they say as they retrograde in their memory.  We could have excellent descriptions of how children feels and react to adults’ behavior)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2009
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