Staying a Step Ahead of Aging

Staying a Step Ahead of Aging – New York Times: “Train hard and train often,” said Hirofumi Tanaka, a 41-year-old soccer player and exercise physiologist at the University of Texas.

Dr. Tanaka said he means doing things like regular interval training, repeatedly going all out, easing up, then going all out again. These workouts train your body to increase its oxygen consumption by allowing you to maintain an intense effort.

“One of the major determinants of endurance performance is oxygen consumption,” Dr. Tanaka said. “You have to make training as intense as you can.”

When you have to choose between hard and often, choose hard, said Steven Hawkins, an exercise physiologist at the University of Southern California.

“High performance is really determined more by intensity than volume,” he added. “Sometimes, when you’re older, something has to give. You can’t have both so you have to cut back on the volume. You need more rest days.” [Plan for February: Ride (out or in) Sunday through Thursday. Intervals will be sprinkled into the schedule. It’s time to regain some fitness. Last year was a fitness disaster. Little steps people. Little steps.]

What’s This Crap About a Ruby Backlash?

What’s This Crap About a Ruby Backlash?: Zed’s rant triggered some patently false anti-Ruby memes that have now been bouncing around the programming blogsphere echo chamber for a few weeks. Disturbingly so. It’s time to put a bullet to the head of the idea that Ruby is experiencing a widespread backlash, that it was just a fad, or that it is inferior to competing technologies such as Groovy. As far as I can tell, the originators of these ideas are people that betray agendas against the success of Ruby and/or Ruby on Rails. Specifically, I’m calling one of them out by name: [It’s never dull ’round these parts.]
Source: Obie Fernandez

Pricing Recs to Include Residential Parking Permits

Pricing Recs to Include Residential Parking Permits:

The Congestion Mitigation Commission will vote on a plan today at 3 p.m. A source who has seen the final draft of the Commission’s report tells me that it includes the following recommendations:

  • Congestion pricing revenue goes directly to the MTA. 
  • A residential parking permit program with revenues going towards funding streetscape improvements and bike infrastructure.
  • Making 60th Street the northern boundary of the pricing zone rather than 86th Street as Mayor Bloomberg originally proposed.
  • A surcharge on taxis and black cars operating inside the pricing zone.

[Why do I think this is going to get entirely messed up?]
Source: StreetsBlog

Raising the (Clif) bar

The folks that make Clif bars and other somewhat organic snack/energy foods have a cool program running where they ask that you ride your bike for errands within 2 miles of your house, since a lot of the miles we collectively put on our cars are for these short trips. Unfortuantely there are only two trips I make in a car that are within 2 miles of my house. Food shopping and gasoline. Sad.

Anyway, I was in a local organic produce store and saw some new flavors of their Mojo bars. Surprised in this day and age of blogging and tweeting that a new flavor of a product could be released without seeing some mention of it. I wrote to the PR department asking why they don’t send some stuff out to the bloggers (in this case me) and at least try to get some word of mouth out there. As of yesterday, there wasn’t a single Google entry for their new stuff and no mention on their own website except buried in the press release section of a very search engine unfriendly site.

I’m curious to see if they write back.

[Update: They did. More news as it develops.]

Driver who killed teen cyclist sues for damage

The Denver Post – Driver who killed teen sues for damage: MADRID, Spain—A speeding motorist who killed a teenage cyclist is suing the boy’s parents over damage to his luxury car, the government says. [What a mess.]
[Update: “Hundreds of people had gathered outside the courthouse in the town of Haro in northern Spain where the case was to be heard when Delgado’s lawyer announced his client was dropping the lawsuit.”]

Certainty kills

Disaster is not set up by inexperience but by experience.

When you *know* things and those things are untrue, they are far more dangerous than if you believe you don’t know. Certainty kills. There’s always hidden characteristics, newly input energy about which you are unaware. If you think you don’t know, you remain agile and open. You improvise your way through ground you believe familiar, but on your toes, ready for the unexpected. Knowing breeds inattention. So while large scale collapse is virtually certain, your involvement in that collapse is not. The butterfly effect tells us that small inputs can create powerful effects. One moments attention could be all it takes to remove you from a catastrophe.

Be Here Now

Seems like simple advice. It’s something I discussed with my wife just before the birth of Noah. The context was a discussion about whether to purchase a video camera. Our decision was based on my feeling that you can either concentrate on collecting excellent footage to be assembled into some masterpiece of cinema or enjoying the moment and not caring that it wasn’t preserved for an eternity, or until the disk crashed, format changed, etc. Other’s might be better at pulling this off, but I didn’t want to split my attention. I wanted my focus to be on the delight and wonder of watching my child grow, not on whether something was exposed correctly, in focus, enough disk space of tape etc. etc.

It also works for all relationships and work.

Simple but powerful. Be of the moment. Be here now.

The last interaction

The last interaction: Forever, my only memory of the job is going to be the mess. Forever, the only thing I’ll talk about is the mess. The last interaction, in my experience, is responsible for virtually all of the word of mouth you’re going to get, positive or negative. [Yet it doesn’t color my impression of how an interaction went. Interesting that it so greatly influences what we talk about.]
Source: Seth’s Blog

Doing bold things (a start) (part trois)

So here’s some starter steps to doing bold things.

At the top level…

  1. Dream Big
  2. With high goals comes high risk
  3. Things will go wrong

So, you’ve got a big dream… now what? Break that dream into manageable pieces. Vision drives activity so put that first manageable piece, that “focus” into writing. You want to reach a singleness of purpose, because that singleness drives simplicity into the project. Forget failures, forget past mistakes, only think about what you want now. Only work on prioritized activities. Once you’ve got your “singleness” together, prioritize your actions and use those as a guide. Otherwise the wandering and yak shaving will drive progress out of your dream.

Because you could well be risking a lot to make this big dream come true, don’t take any uncalculated risks. Accepting risk will be part of doing bold things, but you can manage the risk you own by preparing. Two things dramatically reduce risk. Preparation and specificity of practice. Practice what you need to prepare for the task at hand. Practice to feel confident that you can handle many emergent situations. Be aware that your adaptations and experience maybe wrong. People tend to rehearse rather than practice. Rehearsing is repeating and refining. Practicing is developing new skills which are often the things you’re *not* good at! Don’t waffle around, practice the specific things at which you are worst. Expert resources shorten learning, so by all means seek out experts to help you get in the groove sooner, or to explain adaptations that you never considered (differing experiences).

Things will go wrong. You’ll balance and juggle, and dodge a few bullets as the saying goes, but sooner or later the big one is going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it (before it happens). When it does defer decision making until the last possible moment — you’ll have the most knowledge. The critical step is to decide “when” is the last moment. Once you decided when “when” is, do not hesitate when it arrives. It’s time for action! Rethinking “when” (rather than fine tuning it) could simply stall the entire affair until the clock runs out. Lastly, make decisions at the lowest possible level (respect people.) It’s easy to convince yourself that no one has any insight but yourself or the couple of folks you interact with all the time. It’s rarely true. People at every level can have the insight to provide the solution or resolution you need.

A corollary to things will go wrong is pain is temporary. Sometimes when things go wrong they hurt. A lot. It can certainly make you rethink what you’re doing, and whether you ought to be doing it. It’s almost always the wrong time to make that decision. Wait until the pain eases. You can only quit once. It might be the right thing to do, but it’s a one trick pony.

Sales people will tell you that “No” means “Not yet”. It’s a very wise piece of advice in many cases. Timing is critical for ideas and products to grab hold. Whether at the individual level or the broader market. You can always learn something from the folks who are saying no, about why, when, and what is working for them etc. that will probably improve your situation down the road.

Teams outperform individuals in many ways. Teams are far more resilient when things go wrong with an elastic strength that moves projects along when individuals run out of steam. Individual success is a team function in almost every case. To think otherwise is self centered, and usually incorrect.

Yesterday’s challenges are today’s norms. Once things thought impossible are now every day, ho hum occurrences. Expect that growth as part of your work.