Philadelphia Marathon 2014

It’s been a while since my last post but I’ve been far from inactive. In fact, last year I hit a new annual high in terms of mileage logged with 1,315 miles. In my Atlantic City Marathon 2013 review I mentioned that I was on the lookout for my next marathon. As it turns out that next marathon was the Philadelphia Marathon on November 23, 2014.

I wrote about my Philadelphia Marathon experience for my friend’s fitness blog if you’re interested in my race recap. In short, it was another tremendous life experience akin to my first marathon, and I loved the big city marathon feeling in contrast to the smaller marathon experience from Atlantic City, and definitely recommend others to consider doing a larger race if they have not yet done so.

Here is a picture of my wife and I shortly after the race:

Post-Philadelphia Marathon

Now onto the next, perhaps this one?

 

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David Luiz Off To PSG

Over the past week or so there’s been a lot of speculation about David Luiz moving to Barcelona or even Bayern Munich as part of a player + cash deal for Mario Mandzukic, but it will be Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) where he’s shipping off to next season. The terms agreed between Chelsea and PSG have not be officially publicized, however many news sources are claiming a fee of £50 million. If true, this would make David Luiz the most expensive defender in world football history, a record currently held by Thiago Silva (Luiz’s Brazilian center back partner for the national team) who is also currently at PSG. 

While David Luiz has been one of my favorite Chelsea players due to his tremendous personality, leadership and the camaraderie he fosters, this amount of money is simply way too good to pass up. £50 million for Luiz represents a fantastic profit, especially since he hasn’t been a guaranteed starter under Jose Mourinho. That kind of money will allow us to easily purchase a striker like Diego Costa, and a backup, while still complying with UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. 

Thanks for all the memories David Luiz. I wish you the best of luck at PSG and will never forget the contribution you made to the best night in Chelsea’s history.

David-Luiz-Champions-League

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Chelsea Launches New 2014/15 Away Kit, Looks An Awful Lot Like Arsenal’s

Chelsea revealed the new 2014/15 season away kit, a return to yellow which includes blue trim and lettering. I don’t particularly dislike the new kit, though I much prefer last season’s away kit, but what I do hate about it is the striking resemblance to Arsenal’s away kit of last season. Every time I see the new away kit next season I’ll think of the Gunners, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Chelsea Away Kit 2013/14

Chelsea-FC-Away-Kit-2013-14

Chelsea Away Kit 2014/15

Chelsea-FC-Away-Kit-2014-15

Arsenal Away Kit 2013/14

Arsenal-FC-Away-Kit-2013-14

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NASA To Begin Construction On 2016 Mars Lander, Dubbed “InSight”

After a Mission Critical Design Review last Friday, NASA has been given approval to begin construction on a new Mars Lander, which is scheduled to launch in March 2016. NASA’s Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, making it the first interplanetary mission to ever be launched from my home state.

The InSight mission will pierce the Martian surface to study its interior and seek to understand how Earth-like planets formed and developed their structured inner layers (core, mantle, and crust). The lander will carry a robotic arm that will deploy surface and burrowing instruments, including a seismometer and magnetometer, as well as wind, pressure, and temperature sensors.

Mars-Lander-InSight

Measurements gathered during the InSight mission will provide supporting information toward NASA’s goal of sending a human mission to Mars in the 2030s.

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Ashley Cole Tweets Farewell to Chelsea FC

Ashley Cole has finally put to rest all of the speculation regarding a potential contract extension with Chelsea FC through a series of tweets this evening. Cole has been at Chelsea for eight years and was arguably the best left back in the world for most of that tenure. He has been a tremendous servant for the club and has garnered a plethora of silverware to show for it.

We will miss you Ashley Cole, Chelsea legend, and bid you good luck in your next adventure whether it be MLS or another European club.

Ashley-Cole-Goodbye-Chelsea-Tweet

 

We will never forget:

Ashley-Cole-Champions-League-Trophy

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Consumer Advertising Lifting Off To The Moon In 2015

The Verge is reporting that Japanese beverage maker Otsuka is planning the first private moon-landing mission in October 2015. The goal of the mission is to place a 1 kilogram canister filled with powdered sports drink and children’s dreams on the moon. Notwithstanding the obvious marketing undertones, the company says it hopes the publicity stunt will inspire young children to become future astronauts and one day travel 380,000 kilometers to the moon to consume the powder.

LUNAR DREAM

I think it’s a rather sad (and unfortunately accurate) portrayal of our society that a consumer products company will invest in space exploration for the sake of a marketing stunt, but NASA continues to face budget cuts. With the long-term survival of the human species depending on space exploration and evolving beyond our dependencies on Earth, the distant future is looking bleak.

pocari-sweat

*Images in this post courtesy of The Verge.

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Using Mathematics To Improve Running

Researchers with the French National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), have created a mathematical model that seeks to improve a runner’s performance, weight and fitness. Their findings, which could conceivably result in personalized e-coaching applications leveraging an individual’s physiological state, conclude that runners who vary their speed are better able to conserve energy and therefore run longer.

The mathematical model uses differential equations to combine speed, acceleration, propulsion forces and friction, maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) and anaerobic energy coupled with initial conditions (zero speed and fixed energy) and constraints (positive energy and propulsion force) to predict an optimal running strategy for a race. In addition to determining that by varying speed runners conserve energy and run longer, the model also allows researchers to identify which physiological factors a runner should modify in order to improve performance.

The researchers are hoping to develop software can could serve as a personal e-coach and are at the same time looking to incorporate additional parameters such as altitude and wind speed/direction into the model so that it can be applied to other sports beyond running like cycling or swimming.

I would love to see an iPhone app for this, or even better incorporation of the model into an existing app like RunKeeper. Apart from helping with training it would be great during an actual race, for example outlining the best plan to complete the second half of a marathon in which I’ve expended too much energy during the first half.

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Fish Oil May Not Actually Help Prevent Heart Disease

According to an article recently posted in CBC News, a new 2014 study has found that 1970s research done on the cardiovascular benefits of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids is deeply flawed. In the original 1970s study, Danish physicians H.O. Bang and D.J. Dyerburg concluded that the Greenland Inuit population had a low prevalence of heart disease due to a diet rich in fish oils and omega-3 fatty acids. However, a new study to be published later this summer highlights that the original study never measured to frequency of heart disease in the Inuit population. Records used for source data in that study were sparse and in many cases hearsay given the remote nature of the Inuit, and “very soft, from the point of view of science.”

The new 2014 study, led by Dr. George Fodor, found that the Inuit population does have similar rates of heart disease compared to non-Inuit populations, including very high stroke death rates. Fodor notes that most researchers never read the original 1970s study and took its conclusions at face value.

“The fish oil capsules I don’t think will stand up to a critical review. They simply don’t do anything for you,” he said. “The people should know that it doesn’t help to prevent heart disease.”

I know a lot of people who take omega-3 fatty acid supplements for nutritional benefit and I think it’s fascinating that every decade or so science turns what we think we know about health and nutrition on its head. Nutrition habits have changed dramatically since I was a child, I still remember “eggs are bad,” and it will be interesting to see how our understanding of nutritional health continues to evolve over the next decade, particularly with the rising obesity epidemic and the waterfall of adverse health consequences.

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John Terry Signs Contract Extension For 2014/15 Season

For those who don’t know, since living in London a few years ago I’ve taken a rather fervent interest in football (soccer in the US) particularly in Chelsea FC as Stamford Bridge was located down the street. Therefore, expect some Chelsea related posts in the future. On that note…

Chelsea announced today that captain John Terry will be sticking around for another season as he’s signed a one-year contract extension through the 2014/15 season. The terms of the extension are undisclosed but there have been rumors of Terry needing to accept a reduced salary to continue on for another season. This upcoming season will mark Terry’s 17th with the first team, and 20th with Chelsea Football Club overall. He’s currently the fourth highest appearance maker at 621 games and that figure will only rise next year, especially if he’s able to maintain the scintillating form and center back partnership with Gary Cahill.

John Terry Chelsea FC Captain

Now that Terry is locked in it’s time for the club to get extensions signed with Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole!

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Twitter Announces New Mute Feature

Twitter announced on its company blog today that it will be rolling out a new feature in the coming weeks called mute, which basically means you can follow a person while not receiving any of that individual’s Tweets or Retweets in your timeline. You’ll also be opted out of any SMS or push notifications when the muted user Tweets. And, in the obligatory name of privacy, the muted user will not know that they have been muted or if you decide to unmute them.

This begs the glaringly obvious question: what is the point? If you’re following someone it’s because you have an interest in that person or what they do, either from a personal or professional standpoint. Given that, what is the value of the mute feature? It comes off almost like a “soft-block” where you’re following someone maybe as a courtesy or so as not to offend them, but you’re not really following them.

I think Twitter is a wonderful platform with a myriad of uses and ton of potential, one need not look further than when there is any breaking news story, the rate of information flow and sharing on Twitter far outpaces any other medium. So to spend time and effort on a mute feature seems silly to me when there are far better causes to put those resources toward.

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