Friday, November 2, 2012

Best of the Week #81

Welp, it’s November! SpeedyKate, her friend, and I celebrated the last day of October by eating pizza and handing out candy to many many many trick-or-treaters. Turns out our neighborhood is the Halloween hotspot! I think the winning costume was a very little girl dressed as Batman. Or my nephew, who was a giraffe and slept through the whole thing.

Other than that I have no particularly notable events from this very short week, except that YES this is me doing a post-run pre-work trampoline workout in my living room.

My most popular post this week was Lunchtime Running. The weather is now officially cool enough for this to be a mid-work possibility again! Yay!

Ok here we go – Best of the Week – it was a short week, so this is short.

SpeedyKate and I are totally guilty of this:

Are you having a rough week? Listen to this it will make you happy.

An interesting angle on the whole Lance Armstrong kerfuffle: “‘Tattooed Guy’ Was Pivotal in Armstrong Case.
  • The long road to Lance Armstrong’s downfall began here, across the world from the French Alps where he climbed to the pinnacle of cycling, at a strip-mall tattoo parlor in the foothills east of Los Angeles.
  • Covered in ink from his legs to his neck, Kayle Leogrande, the owner of this shop, competed full time as a professional cyclist for only a couple of years. He met Armstrong only once, he said, at a 2005 race in Ojai, Calif.
  • Four years ago, the United States Anti-Doping Agency suspended Leogrande for using a blood-boosting hormone known as EPO. His case grew into the lengthy investigation that culminated in Armstrong’s lifetime ban from the sport. 
  • “When I see what’s going on with Lance now, I have to laugh to myself a little bit,” Leogrande said as he sat in his shop this week, still dumbfounded that he played a pivotal role in the fall of one of the most accomplished cyclists in history. 
More bad news about elephants: “India: Nearly 300 elephant deaths in Orissa.”

But then (finally) some good elephant news! “Will elephant contraception work in South Africa?
  • Unlike in many African countries, where poaching has recently been having a devastating effect on elephant numbers, in South Africa the population is estimated at about 20,000.
  • For the last five years, wildlife experts in the Tembe Elephant Park, which borders Mozambique, have been firing the contraceptives into the female elephants from the air.
My high school science teacher just sent me this video, “Epic Rap Battles of History: Einstein vs Stephen Hawking.”

A different than usual point about corruption from Chris Blattman: "The Blind Spots in the UN Development Agenda."
  • It helps to remember: every economic marvel of its day–from the US to China to (dare I say) England — were paragons of corruption. Few can match Tammany Hall or the Chinese Communist Party in their ingenious machinations. It’s not clear this is a hindrance to development. Taking the long view, corruption may even be part of the glue that keeps societies from falling apart in the midst of transformative economic change–like it or not, elites need something to compensate them for losing their influence, or the’re unlikely to let go without a fight.
  • My feeling: Anti-corruption is a 20th century Anglo-American fetish, important, but nowhere near as important as political stability or basic property rights.
  • The exception might be kleptocratic rulers like Mobutu. They are major impediments to, well, everything important to their citizens. But I’d argue theft of that magnitude is merely a symptom of the much more important institutional issues–the absence of any check or balance on Presidential power foremost among them. Fix the underlying institutional problems of over-centralized political power before picking at corruption around the edges.
This looks amazing. “Cinnamon nut crunch shortbread.”
  • Top a basic shortbread dough with cinnamon-sugar nuts. Almonds, walnuts, and pecans all work. Then sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of each piece for an extra-special touch.

This is super-silly but I like it: “Share the Sweat (Hug A Runner Day).”
  • Last year we declared November 20, 2011 the first annual “Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day!” or G.O. H.A.R.D. Thousands of people attended the event on facebook, random hugs were given, and gallons of sweat were shared!
  • This year let’s make it an even bigger celebration as we wrap our arms around cross country runners, track runners, road racers, walkers, joggers, and sloggers.  Nothing shows our unity better than a great big sweaty hug!
And I will leave you with this. Surprisingly hilarious. Right? 

Ok enough is enough. Have a great weekend!