Jon Holato

a geek moonlighting as a husband and a father

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Atlantic City Marathon 2013

A few weeks back when I started writing again I mentioned a recently discovered interest in running. In fact, beginning in January 2013 I started running, a lot. Last year I ran over 1100 miles, 26.2 of them happened to be in Atlantic City on October 13, 2013 when I ran the Atlantic City Marathon, my first of hopefully many more to come.

My wife and I drove to Atlantic City the day prior to pick up our packets at the expo and stayed the night at Caesars because it was located very close to the start/finish line.  Being our first time running any sort of official event we didn’t know what to expect and were freaking out a bit with anxiety as well as excitement. After picking up our packets from the expo we spent most of the time relaxing in our room carb-loading on whole wheat bagels and quinoa while watching movies. We went to bed early to get as much rest as possible before the big day.

It had been three days since my last training run by the time Sunday rolled around, couple that with the adrenaline rush so when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. I was raring to go. We got ready slowly while trying to stay calm and ultimately made it outside to line up near the starting line around 7:30 a.m. This was a relatively small race, only a few thousand runners including half-marathoners, so there weren’t designated starting corrals. I lined up with the 9-minute/mile pace team whom I had chatted with the day before at the expo. In hindsight this was not a good decision. While I could certainly hold that pace or better during training runs, I had never attempted it while covering any significant distance (10+ miles) so I was probably a little too overzealous. Nevertheless, when the gun sounded I took off with the pace team not knowing what was going to happen.

As it turns out, I did pretty well, for the first half of the race. I completed the first half of the marathon in 1:58:00 (including a quick bathroom trip) which was seven minutes faster than my training best of 2:05:00. However, running such a quick pace for me during the first half consumed too much energy and the second half was much more difficult to complete. During the second half I had to take frequent, short walk breaks, especially between miles 18-25. I abandoned any sort of time goal and just set my mind on finishing the race. The volunteers handing out water, Gatorade, and snacks were fantastic and have my everlasting gratitude! The second half of the marathon took 2:38:56 which gave me an overall marathon time of 4:36:56 and 10:34 pace.

I was so excited (and relieved) to have finished the marathon and enamored with my finisher’s medal that I didn’t immediately notice the beating I had just given the lower half of my body. A few minutes after stopping my legs started having severe cramping. I had experienced this previously after my 15 and 20 mile training runs so I knew what to expect, but the blisters and black toenails I would find on my feet a short while later after returning to the hotel room was something I did not anticipate.

Running so much last year I had more than my fair share in dealing with running blisters, but these were on a whole new level. I wish I had pictures to post but unfortunately I can only describe it to you. Essentially, for both of my feet, the instep, the area underneath my toes, and all around my toes had just become one massive blister. It was like having half the surface area of your foot as one gigantic blister. Then, to top of off, my big toenails were black with the nails lifted off of the nail beds. While this freaked me out the most since it was something new I would later come to know via my podiatrist that this was merely a subungual hematoma, or “runner’s toe,” and not nearly as serious as it looks/sounds.

After the marathon I took a week off from running to allow my body time to recover. Eight days later I started with a short 3-mile run to get back into the swing of things and slowly returned to normal distance and pace over the weeks that followed. Since then, I’ve been working to slowly increase my pace over distance and am hoping to do at least one marathon this year. I registered for the NYC Marathon but did not get chosen this year so I’m on the lookout for another one to do. Who knows maybe AC round 2?

Here are some pictures of my experience at the 2013 Atlantic City Marathon:

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