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By TheophileEscargot (Mon Dec 20, 2021 at 10:27:39 AM EST) Reading (all tags)
Reading: "Vaxxers", "The Rise of the Ultra Runners", "The Way of the Runner", "Put a Wet Paper Towel on It", "Poilu", "One Two Three Four", "The zoologist's guide to the galaxy".

 What I'm Reading
Vaxxers by Sarah Gilbert, Catherine Green. Inside story of the development of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine by two of the scientist/administrators involved. Pretty interesting. Highlights how much bureaucracy is involved in the normal process, largely from the need to get funding at every stage. Also mentions their frustration with the media and some politicians.

What I'm Reading 2
The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn. Running journalist/author takes on ultra long distance running and moves from skepticism to frustration to fascination. A good read, gives some information on the economics of the sport as well as first hand accounts. The account of running the famous Comrades race in South Africa is particularly good.

One frustrating miss is that he tried to use his Kenyan contacts from a previous book to get them to have a go at ultrarunning, but injuries and cancellations keep them from finishing. So we still don't yet know if they could dominate this distance like most others.

What I'm Reading 3
The Way of the Runner by Adharanand Finn. The author goes to Japan to be investigate the running culture there, in particular the long distance relay races which are a big deal there and popular TV spectacles. The Marathon Monks prove to be a bit of a disappointment, being quite cagey about their experiences. Quite interesting.

What I'm Reading 4
Put a Wet Paper Towel on It by Lee Parkinson, Adam Parkinson. Podcast turned book about life as a primary school teacher. Fairly funny and informative, but the humour often seems a bit heavy handed in this format.

What I'm Reading 5
Poilu by Louis Barthas. Gritty first hand account of life as a corporal in the French army in the First World War. ("Poilu" is kind of a French word for "squaddie" or "grunt"). An enthralling read with sardonic humour making the horror bearable: Barthas survived for years on the front lines. Well worth a read if you're interested in the subject.

What I'm Reading 6
One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time by Craig Brown. Interesting short account of the Beatles career. It presents a series of snapshots assuming that you know the basics, which is good as it keeps the length down to highlights. Good account, fun and told me some things I didn't know.

What I'm Reading 7
The zoologist's guide to the galaxy by Arik Kershenbaum. Biologist looks at how animal life might evolve on other worlds, and mostly concludes that it will closely parallel Earth life. Seems plausible but I'm hoping things will turn out more exotic.

Finished! Finally up to date.

< Empire state of mind
From the trenches | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)
Kenyan ultra-running by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Dec 23, 2021 at 11:05:00 AM EST
Pretty unlikely that they would have any specific advantage at ultra-running. They don't seem to have any specific advantage at marathon distance (aside from running being the obvious way to get ahead in Kenya, so if you have any obvious talent in that direction you take advantage of it). That, and "the good life" to a Kenyan requires significantly less prize money than in the first world, so the risk/reward decisions are different.

From decades ago (when I could run), I heard that the Tarahumara indians of Mexico were the ones with a specific bent towards ultra-running (especially being a cultural thing already). Googling turned up plenty of hits without a clue how to spell it, so presumably they are showing up as it rises.


Have to look up Poilu...

From the trenches | 1 comment (1 topical, 0 hidden)