Thursday, November 8, 2012

Best of the Week #82

Happy Birthday SpeedyKate

Today my favorite roommate turns awesome years old, and I may or may not have skipped my run this morning to do this:

And it’s not even finished yet – there’s a whole other layer and I’ll give you a hint: It starts with chocolate and rhymes with shmanache. I’ll post the recipe next week!

In other news, today is not Friday, but I’m posting a Best of the Week like it is because I’m going to Boston tomorrow to visit Jess! YAYAYAYAY!

Despite it being Thursday, I have A LOT of links this week. Enjoy! (Oh and I do have a post scheduled for tomorrow – look at me! thinking ahead! – and it’s kind of delicious, so check back.)

I went down quite the internet rabbit hole yesterday and am just SO IMPRESSED: "The Symbolic Heft of Sarah Robles."
  • Twenty-three-year-old Sarah Robles, a weightlifter, out-lifted all Americans of both sexes at last year’s world championships.  ”On her best day,” writes Buzzfeed, “she can lift more than 568 pounds — that’s roughly five IKEA couches, 65 gallons of milk, or one large adult male lion.” Sarah Robles outranks any American weightlifter (man or woman).

Washington, D.C. Time Lapse (Empty America)

FunFact: The amount of money Americans spent on Halloween costumes for their pets this year is equal to the national budget for the Central African Republic (~$370 million). (source for Halloween costumes) (source for CAR budget)

Hilarious/horrifying: “Because it is unwise to risk the good we already have for the evil which may occur.”!?!? Also "petticoat rule" might be the best band name ever. Someone should use it!

For runners: "The Big 7 Body Breakdowns, How to avoid (and recover from) the most common running injuries." Oh hello #3, you sound familiar:
  • 3. Hamstring Issues: The muscles that run down the back of our thighs bend our knees, extend our legs, drive us up hills, and power finish-line kicks. So when our hamstrings are too tight or weak to perform well, we notice it. Seven percent of poll respondents say their hamstrings have bugged them this past year.
  • WHO'S AT RISK? Hamstring issues usually arise because these muscles are weak—often from being too long or too short. Counterintuitive as it might seem, very flexible people are prone to hamstring problems because their overly stretched-out muscles are more vulnerable to damage. On the flip side, people who can barely touch their toes or who sit for long periods of time are also at risk. Tight, short muscles are under greater tension. Another factor is muscle imbalance: Many runners' quadriceps overpower their hamstrings, which sets them up for injury.
  • CAN YOU RUN THROUGH IT? If the pain comes on suddenly and strong and the area bruises, you may have a true pull and you'll need extended rest—months—before you can run again. If it's a less severe, chronic overuse injury, you can usually run, but it'll take some time before you're back in the green zone. "Hamstring issues stink," Price says. "It takes a long time to heal them." Running a slow, easy pace is usually less bothersome than attempting intervals or hill repeats. Bicycling, pool running, and swimming are good alternative activities.
  • REHAB IT Strengthen your hamstrings with one-legged hamstring curls (raise the bar with both legs, then slowly lower it one leg at a time) and one-legged deadlifts. Use a foam roller to alleviate tightness before and after a run, Merrill says. In chronic cases, active release technique (ART) and deep-tissue massage may be necessary.
  • PREVENT A RELAPSE Stay strong with bridges: Lie on your back with your feet on a chair or exercise ball. Raise your hips, then lift one leg into the air. Slowly lower your hips back down to the floor, using the supporting leg. Return that leg to the ball. Repeat with the other leg. Also, compression tights (see "Home Remedies," below) during or after running can aid blood flow.
  • ELITE TREATMENT When U.S. champion miler David Torrence felt his hamstring tighten up, he took the next day off and went to his chiropractor. "My pelvis was misaligned, causing my hamstring to do extra work," he says. "I took it easy for a few days, iced the hamstring four times throughout the day, and was improved within a week."


This is pretty cool: “Empire of the In-Between.” It’s a video and NYT Magazine article – they do these things so well! (You have to go there to watch the video.)
  • As anyone who rides Amtrak between New York and Washington knows, the trip can be a dissonant experience. Inside the train, it’s all tidy and digital, everybody absorbed in laptops and iPhones, while outside the windows an entirely different world glides by. Traveling south is like moving through a curated exhibit of urban and industrial decay. 

Crazy Uncle Joe (i.e. VP Joe Biden) is going to be on Parks and Rec!!! This is pretty much the confluence of two of my favorite things. (source)

  • With the race won, a guest appearance by Mr. Biden on the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” filmed way back in July, can finally be revealed. Everything about the scene, which the executive producer of the show, Michael Schur, labeled a “scenelet,” had been under strict secrecy. The show was warned that if any word leaked out before the election, some provision might have to be made to give the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Representative Paul Ryan, a similar cameo.
  • The re-elected vice president will make a guest appearance on the episode scheduled for Nov. 15 on NBC. He is playing, yes, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the one who has frequently been mentioned in a running joke on the show as an object of fascination — and a little love-struck passion — by its lead character, Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler.

This series on International Law is very educational and interesting (that is, in case you care to learn about international law): “2: Sources of International Law.”
  • However, as law increasingly tries to accommodate and reflect contemporary socio-political realities, vibrant debates have emerged that seek to transcend this rigid divide. Three lines of questioning underlie this transition:
  • - Does international law regulate only the behaviour of states, or does it reach beyond the state to embrace interests within the state such as individuals, corporations, non-governmental organisations, or indeed intergovernmental organisations as well?
  • - Similarly, who are the beneficiaries of international law? Do such beneficiaries have a right to assert their beneficial interests directly and independently of the state?
  • - Finally, who gets to make international law? Is such law-making solely the function of the institutions of the state, or do other interested persons such as individuals, civil and corporate non-governmental organisations have a role to play in the process?
This picture is scary – it’s a lighthouse on Lake Michigan during Hurricane Sandy. (source)

Amazing -- watch both videos of a dog learning how to slackline. As a person with slackline experience, I can tell you that 1) it is HARD, and 2) falling off hurts sooooo much.

Wonky and interesting (to me): “Is Wartime Rape Declining On a Global Scale? We Don’t Know — And It Doesn’t Matter.”
  • Having detailed the problems that we see with the GDC (Global Decline Claim)  we turn toward what we view as the real problem with the GDC debate, at least in policy terms. A contested global trend in wartime rape is simply irrelevant to policy in any given conflict zone, and to the local patterns that inform, or should inform, evidence-based policy responses to conflict-related sexual violence.
  • Focusing on global patterns aggregated from conflict-level data is not particularly useful, either for academic analysis or for evidence-based policy-making. Rather than debating the GDC, both academics and policymakers should instead focus on variation between armed groups (both state and non-state). What we need to know is why some armed groups engage in high levels of wartime rape and why others do not — often within the same conflict. Understanding this puzzle will provide important support to those advocating prevention of, and accountability for, war crimes of sexual violence.
Umm yes please: "The New Nutella: 5 Speculoos Desserts." Speculoos = cookie butter!

FunFact from Sister2’s Thailand blog:
  • Buddha images are often coated in gold because even when the Buddha is in darkness, with even a glimpse of light it shines through. 
The eternal question:

Ok so I think everything on this blog (Political Violence) is fascinating…which definitely says something about me. “Can Climate Anomalies Explain Conflict Patterns?
  • Last summer, Nature magazine made waves after publishing an article claiming that the warming effects of El Niño can explain over one-fifth of all civil wars. Yet the push to link climate change to conflict gained steam a decade back when UN researchers suggested that environmental degradation was partly responsible for civil violence in Darfur. Other studies around this time found similar results. UC Berkeley’s Edward Miguel predicted that given current temperature trends, incidences of armed conflict may increase by more than one-half by 2030, or an additional 393,000 battle deaths. Last January, the Journal of Peace Research devoted an entire issue to climate change and conflict.
  • But during most cases of climate anomalies, even in adversely affected regions, conflict is not the norm. Many regions that suffer unpredictable patterns because of, say, an El Niño rarely see violence. Scholars who privilege grievances as a result of environmental degradation tend to over-predict violence and fall prey to environmental determinism, without fully accounting for why internal violence more often than not does not erupt. They fail to explain how states and societies over the centuries have learned to adapt to severe climate patterns.
And what’s a Best of the Week without an infographic? “Drinking Water and Wastewater by the Numbers.”

Happy Thursday, happy Friday, and have a great weekend!