Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vibram Five Fingers KSO

The Vibram Five Fingers are some of the coolest new running shoes out there.  It's about as close to running barefoot as you can get without actually going barefoot.  The idea is that, since there is no cushion underneath, you will instinctively learn to land on the ball of your foot or your entire foot instead of the heel.  And, if you don't, you'll be in serious pain :-)

A lot of top African runners started running barefoot (some almost their entire lives) and, if you think about it, there were no real "running" shoes until Nike came out with them during the 70's jogging craze.  Before that, people either ran in sneakers or barefoot.

Well, this past Christmas, Santa (a.k.a. my wife) left me a pair of Vibram Five Fingers KSO under the Christmas  tree :)  Of course, I couldn't wait to try them on.

Putting them on can be a little challenging.  The trick is to focus on sliding your big toe to the inside of your foot so that it slides into the toe slot.  Once you do that, the rest of the toes seem to fall in line.  Then, grab the rear loop and pull towards your heel and slide the back of the foot in.  The velcro strap has to be in front of the foot (just leave it open).  Otherwise, you can't slide your foot in.

Once you have them on, it's showtime.  Try walking around the house in them and try in the lawn.  You can almost feel every single rock or crevice of the yard underneath your feet.  Pretty cool stuff.

I'm still learning to run in them. I'm up to about 1.3 miles every couple of days but they really make running a different experience than before.  You feel like your are "closer" to the ground and more into the running.  It's hard to explain.  You just have to try them out.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beware of the Japanese radioactive fallout maps floating around... it's just a hoax

Earlier today I was surfing the web using my (I mean my kids') Wii. As I am fond to do once in a while, I check out Matt's Drudge Report to see what he finds interesting.

Obviously the past two days have been non-stop with the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster.   To top it off, the Fukushima Daiichi plant partial meltdown and subsequent explosion makes the disaster and its effects much more of a global interest.

As I sat there clicking on Drudge's links, I came across what seemed to be a really far out image to a website named showing that the western U.S. would be in the path of the fallout from the radiation releases. I've reproduced it here just to show the overview since I won't give them the benefit of a link to their site.

I've seen at least two versions of the image.  There is one showing the map alone giving a huge 3000 Rads maximum (not shown) and the one above showing more "believable" lower values with both a map of the northern pacific ocean, a map of Japan's nuclear power plants and what looks to be a possible NOAA image however mis-characterized as a "Pacific Deadzone"...

Ohhh... pleeeeezzz!

Karthik Sridhar has a good review of the hoax.

So, if you come across this, please take a chill pill.  It's a lousy piece of misinformation.

Drudge shouldn't have linked to it in the first place and, to his credit, in the time it took me to write this blog entry, he did remove it.