Print Story Well break out the big guns
By TheophileEscargot (Fri May 04, 2018 at 02:01:27 PM EST) Reading, MLP, Me, Watching (all tags)
Reading: "Landmarks", "Democracy:A Life". Watching. Me. Links.

What I'm Reading
Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane. Unusual book focused on a glossary of unusual nature words that are falling out of use. Each chapter describes a particular nature writer and has a glossary of words related to their landscapes.

I found the glossaries a bit dull, but Macfarlane is a skillful writer and his passion for the outdoors really comes through. I'll be keeping an eye out for the books mentioned such as "The Peregrine" by J.A. Baker and "The Living Mountain" by Nan Shepherd.

What I'm Reading
Democracy: A Life by Paul Cartledge. Decent book with a rather misleading cover and blurb: the back cover claims it's "The 2,500 year story of democracy, from ancient Greece to the twenty-first century". It sort of is, but most of the book covers ancient Greece and only the last 40 pages are after Rome.

What he really does is go beyond the cliches of "Periclean Athens" and look at the whole history of ancient Greek democracy. He shows that it lasted a long time after the age of Pericles until the polieis were swallowed up by Macedon and then Rome. He also shows that it was in the later period that democracy spread widely beyond Athens, with a large fraction of Greek cities adopting it.

It's a good book as far it goes: lucid and knowledgeable. Even I found it got a little bit dull at times though, and I'm pretty much the target reader for this.

Well worth reading if you're interested in the wider history of Greek democracy.

What I'm Watching
Saw Avengers: Infinity War. Had pretty low expectations, as trying to cram too many characters in makes the plot unwieldy, and I didn't much like similar things like "Age of Ultron". Until the end it was doing better than I expected. Was decently paced with some time to recover between action scenes, and managed to avoid too many tone clashes by grouping the more comic characters and the more angsty characters together in their own subplots.

However, I didn't like the ending much. From reading comments other people managed to suspend their disbelief a bit better, but it didn't really work for me. Overall, OK entertainment as expected.

Ending discussion.So in the final battle, the baddie Thanos uses the Time infinity stone to reverse time and undo a minor Avengers victory. So naturally I expected that Thanos would apparently win, and then the goodies would reverse time themselves and undo it. Instead the credits start rolling after Thanos wins and kills a bunch of major characters. So now we presumably have to wait a year and watch another 2-3 hours before they pull the same stunt. I think there must be a sweet spot between jaded cynics who can't suspend disbelief that they'll really kill off the titular heroes of upcoming movies, and the younger kids who've apparently left the cinema sobbing hysterically at their deaths, but I'm not in it.

Some of these new private rental bikes have been appearing near where I live and where I work. Have taken two rides and been pretty impressed. The bikes are heavy but seem solid, have good brakes and three gears. Commuting to work cost 50p which is a third of the price of the bus ride: must be some kind of introductory deal as they surely can't make money at that level. Nice to get some fresh air and exercise on the way, hopefully they'll stick around. Everyone's already bitching about the bikes apparently being left blocking pavements etc (though I haven't seen that myself), hopefully people will be sensible and the bikes will stick around.

Still get some injury pain from running, but it seems to be fading. With the cycling and swimming I've been able to get a bit of alternative aerobic exercise. Found cycling even slow and short distance pretty hard on my legs: it must be working muscles differently somehow. Don't think running practice helps cycling as much as I'd hoped.

Socioeconomics. Gelman's Law: Economists will defend anyone apparently acting like a jerk, but argue anyone apparently acting nice is not really. Comic: Welcome to Liberty Island. The beginning of the end of tax havens

Random. Max Woosnam, the Greatest British Sportsman. Marx crossing signals.

Politics. Why the Left Should Embrace Brexit. The moderate wing of Remain has been defeated.

Pics. Bird catching a shark catching a fish. Chinese bicycle graveyards.

Sci/Tech. PC building simulator.

< Red lorry yellow lorry | Hi >
Well break out the big guns | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
sweet spot by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #1 Fri May 04, 2018 at 08:24:27 PM EST
I don't remember how to spoiler tag here, apparently.

Anyhow, I was surprised at the ending, because this just isn't something I'd expect Disney to do. Even if I am skeptical about its permanence.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Apparently it tracks pretty close by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat May 05, 2018 at 08:04:44 AM EST
to the comics storyline, so all the characters whose actors are still under contract will be back. Scalzi talks about all that at his site:

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Infinity War by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat May 05, 2018 at 10:11:37 PM EST
This is part one of a two part story.  So it ending the way it did is fine since the story isn't over.   

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Cycling and running and muscles by lm (4.00 / 2) #4 Sun May 06, 2018 at 03:04:08 PM EST
If you're doing both properly - leaving out sprinting on the running side - you're using the fast twitch muscles for the cycling and the slow twitch muscles for running. This assumes you're cycling with a 90+ rpm cadence.

Moreover, unless you're cycling with straps/cages on your pedals (or pedals with cleats) you're largely not using the same muscles. And even with straps/cleats, if you're not using the right positioning, you're still not firing a lot of the same muscles.

And, even if you're doing everything "correctly" (e.g. the way that endurance athletes would do it), even though there is a lot of overlap (e.g. hitting the quads), you're hitting them differently (e.g. pulling instead of pushing, etc.).

I find the whole thing pretty fascinating.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Running and cycling by Herring (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun May 06, 2018 at 03:17:02 PM EST
OK, the cardio thing has to help, but I've been in a 17mph group where a guy who had recently run a sub 3 hour marathon struggled. (Recently not being the day before but a few weeks before.)

A lot of people who aren't used to cycling push too big a gear. Don't do that. Admittedly with only 3 gears, it might be a choice between grinding and spinning like a mad thing. Experience will show you what you can and can't do.

If I worked in the London I'd probably choose cycling in as it's faster and nicer than other forms of transport.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

I've been using Boris Bikes by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon May 07, 2018 at 09:21:18 AM EST
..for the last month or so; they could really do with another gear or two. 

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
[ Parent ]
When I was cycle commuting by Herring (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon May 07, 2018 at 12:16:56 PM EST
I use my bike that's fixed gear. Because that makes you dead hard. Spinny on the way in, grindy on the way home. I back calculated the max RPM on the pedals and it was 180 - or 6 pedal strokes per second.

But yeah, I remember the old 3 speed Sturmey Archer things and the ratio differences were far too big. Fairly bulletproof though - which is important in a hire bike.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
some of them were bulltetproof by lm (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon May 07, 2018 at 08:29:36 PM EST
The AW3 series, in particular. I've got one from the 60s. It's remarkably robust.

Some of the others, like the S3 series, not so much.

A few of the current fat bike models have internal gearing. I would love to have one of those for winter commuting.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Well, there are more choices now by Herring (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue May 08, 2018 at 01:25:05 PM EST
The Rohloff 14 speed is mighty expensive but the Alfine 11 is much more reasonable. Couple that with a belt instead of a chain and that should be a pretty tough drivetrain.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Well break out the big guns | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback