previously: flying jellyfish robot!
previously: flying jellyfish robot!
you may have seen these howard schatz photos floating around on the internet the past couple of days. (if you did, you spend too much time online! — if you didn’t, you don’t spend enough time online!) i lifted the ones below from imgur.
all different sizes and shapes of people! neat! (^_^)
left to right: gymnastics, high jump (of course!), trampoline, high jump, triple jump, wrestling [click on images for LARGER views]:
long distance running, marathon (i love this guy!), decathalon, marathon (him, too!), running (800m):
rhythmic gymnastics (oww!!), sport aerobics (huh?), gymnastics, gymnastics, high jump (uh…yeah), gymnastics:
bodybuilding, weightlifting, weightlifting(!), rhythmic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics:
previously: you, too, can become the fastest man on earth!
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on west africans and their (on average) greater amounts of fast-twitch muscles:
“…The differences don’t stop with body shape; there is also evidence of a difference in the types of muscle fibers that predominate. Scientists have divided skeletal muscles into two basic groups depending on their contractile speed: type I, or slow-twitch muscles, and type II, fast-twitch muscles. There are two kinds of the latter: type IIa, intermediate between fast and slow; and type IIb, which are superfast-twitch. Endurance runners tend to have mostly type I fibers, which have denser capillary networks and are packed with more mitochondria. Sprinters, on the other hand, have mostly type II fibers, which hold lots of sugar as well as enzymes that burn fuel in the absence of oxygen. In the 1980s, Claude Bouchard’s team at Quebec’s Laval University took needle biopsies from the thigh muscles of white French Canadian and black West African students. They found that the Africans averaged significantly more fast-twitch muscle fibers — 67.5% — than the French Canadians, who averaged 59%….”
i am totally going with my own personal theory for why west africans have more fast-twitch muscles, and that is because of sexual selection.
for how long have various west african populations been showing off their skillz — like this! — on the dance floor?:
yup. sexual selection. that’s my theory (with a small “t”), and i’m sticking with it!
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don’t miss jayman’s thorough summary of what we’ve been discussing around here over the past year or so (thanks, jayman!!). he’s also thrown in a couple of new ideas of his own that are real zingers, so check it out!:
from the economist:
“Warfare seems to obey mathematical rules. Whether soldiers can make use of that fact remains to be seen….
“[T]he link between the severity and frequency of conflicts follows a smooth curve, known as a power law. One consequence is that extreme events such as the world wars do not appear to be anomalies. They are simply what should be expected to occur occasionally, given the frequency with which conflicts take place….
“In a paper currently under review at Science, however, Neil Johnson of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and his colleagues hint at what that something useful might be. Dr Johnson’s team is one of several groups who, in previous papers, have shown that Richardson’s power law also applies to attacks by terrorists and insurgents. They and others have broadened Richardson’s scope of inquiry to include the timing of attacks, as well as the severity. This prepared the ground for the new paper, which outlines a method for forecasting the evolution of conflicts.
“Dr Johnson’s proposal rests on a pattern he and his team found in data on insurgent attacks against American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. After the initial attacks in any given province, subsequent fatal incidents become more and more frequent. The intriguing point is that it is possible, using a formula Dr Johnson has derived, to predict the details of this pattern from the interval between the first two attacks….
“Though the fit between the data and the prediction is not perfect (an example is illustrated right), the match is close enough that Dr Johnson thinks he is onto something. Progress curves are a consequence of people adapting to circumstances and learning to do things better. And warfare is just as capable of productivity improvements as any other activity….”
neat mathematical patterns like this (and this) — patterns that look just like those found in the behaviors of other species — are found when we look at human behaviors ’cause human behavior is just a product of our biological natures, just like ant behavior is a product of their biological natures.
it may seem to each and every one of us like we are acting rationally, or religiously, or whatever, but we’re really just acting biologically:
“Call it the physics of terrorism….
“‘When you start averaging over the differences, you see there are patterns in the way terrorists’ campaigns progress and the frequency and severity of the attacks,’ he says. ‘This gives you hope that terrorism is understandable from a scientific perspective….’
“It is weird when you step back and say, ‘There are thinking, social beings in these organizations, they have families and causes and ideals and so on.’ And I’m thinking about them as being a little bit like particles.
“‘But,’ he says, ‘the patterns speak for themselves.'”
previously: reductionism works
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