Sunday, August 5, 2012

Community - And Not So

Farah (R) and Rupp
Browsing the Sunday morning Web-versions of the Washington Post, Gazette Times (Corvallis, Oregon) and Oregonian (Portland), I came on a sport editorial about the Great Britain-United States, 1-2 finish, Gold-Silver medals in the London Olympic 10,000 meter race yesterday. We didn't watch the television coverage of the games until last night, so missed the race and was unaware of the history that was made. It was the first time in 48 years that an American had won a medal in the 10-K race, and as it turned out, the first two finishers were products of the Nike-Alberto Salazar training program in Portland.

I watched the race over-and-over on the NBC Website, not only because of the exciting race, but after reading the editorial about how Mo Farah and Galen Rupp worked as team during the race, and seeing the genuine comradery of the two runners after the race at the track, and in a later news conference. In John Canzono's piece in the Oregonian, he pointed out how the runners were no more than five meters apart during the race - the African runners always work closely together. In the later interview, Rupp said in mid-race he saw the Kenyans  making a move, then Farah just tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'Just relax mate, everything's fine, they're going to come back. Play it cool right now and save everything to the finish.' They did, Farah taking the lead in the last lap, Rupp kicking at the end, history made - the Oregon way.

I have known of situations where team mates have worked together in running for good results. Our high school runner son was once carried along through most of the race by the team leader who held back to pace him until towards the end of the three-mile race - he got his best time-to-date with that help. Our youngest son when needing to qualify for a distance time in his Plebe Summer was paced in a similar way by a prior enlisted sailor who was given the opportunity to go Blue-to-Gold and become an officer - our son made the time, and was his friend's best man at the wedding the day after graduation. My running son liked the atmosphere of the distance runners - run for your personal best, it's all encouragement.

All of this is a contrast to the typical competitive atmosphere that seems to infuse most of life otherwise. Friday evening on NPR there was a news report about difficulty with harassment and abuse that occurs in on-line gaming. An article in the Washington Post yesterday highlighted how a former Facebook employee had cashed out some of her stock holding, quit the company, and moved to west Texas and abandoned her Facebook account to make real relationships. Maybe more folks should take up running - the example of Farah and Rupp is exemplary.
Speaking of not-so-encouraging on-line banter, I came across some comments on a Somali news report about Mo Farah's running (he was born in Somalia, but raised in Britain). Some of this dialog seems like it is out of the movies. Notice how the conversation goes south pretty quickly - just like following blog post comments in the U.S. Regardless, there is great pride in Britain and the Horn of Africa with the success of Mo Farah.

Comments to: 'Kenenisa Bekele main threat to Mo Farah - Haile Gebrselassie' from the Somaliland Press:

Kayse · I am looking forward to this event. Mo Farah is an exciting athlete and a marathon machine. He should move to Australia instead of that freezing old ugly UK.

M. Ali · Now you must have realized that my prediction of Mo winning the 10,000M gold was true !!!!

abdi · Yes 5000m he will win i doubt 10,000m last time he lost to's difficult to run both events and won The sometime in olympic stage.

M. Ali · Mo Farah will for sure win the Gold in both 5000M and 10,000 M races.

DAROODmadhane · lol you deluded haw!ye scumbag. is your mother high on habashi gus. he is a proud somalilander and was waving the flag arounf. but why do haw!ye want to show off their starving as* to the world. he wasnt born in sh!thole mogadizoo he was born in buro.

Truth · You retarded imbecile!! No wonder why no one likes Is@qs!! Mo Farah is been training for years while the other guys just trained for months! And the girl is a basketball players not a runner idiot!! And yeah Mo farah was Born in Mogadishu and he doesn't support your secession, how about that!!

Truth · No wonder why no one likes Is@qs, even Gadabursi don't want to be part of your secession because of your arrogance and back-stapping manners! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

What Do Birds Feel When They Land?

Goshawk preparing to take off
Here is a Navy story about T-45 Goshawk pilots-in-training doing Carrier Qualifications for the first time on the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier. From other accounts we have read, watching videos of the landings and take-off's, and talking with our own Lieutenant Junior Grade in the the same stage of training, it is an intense activity. It is also the kind of thing that mothers lose sleep over, especially if she takes an afternoon nap and then has a caffeinated beverage along with dinner the night before. Our experience today is that once you hear everything went well, the qualification is complete, and the student pilot is back safe on land in Jacksonville, it's time to celebrate. A short phone call is all we needed for the time being - looking forward to details later. We have heard the first-time sensations from landing and taking off are pretty intense.


T-45 Goshawk landing
The shaking some people experience during anxiety is usually most noticeable in the hands. Since social anxiety sufferers are often very self-conscious about others noticing their anxiety this can be a problem. Wobbling teacups, peas jumping off forks and shaking speech notes all make anxious shaking more visible and this can lead to sufferers avoiding these things when around other people. Shaking legs and quivering lips are also common visible symptoms.

The main worry of sufferers is that people will see their visible anxiety symptoms and then make a unfavorable judgement about them. The feared judgements will typically be that the sufferer is weird because of their odd movements or that they are weak because they are feeling anxious.

T-45 Goshawk take-off
People will often do their best to try and hide their anxious shaking, but this tends to only worsen the situation. Anxiety sufferers are nearly always caught in vicious cycles where the ways they try to manage their anxiety only serves to worsen it. Fears about starting to shake in front of people leads to increased worry about the onset of shaking. This worry then increases anxiety levels during social situations which in turn leads to the actual shaking they are trying to avoid. Self-consciousness is increased because of this visible shaking which leads to more worry and more anxiety and more shaking creating a distressing vicious cycle.

In addition to this, sufferers will try to hide or control their anxious shaking, but this only adds fuel to the fire. A common strategy is to tense up to try and keep movements still, but this increased muscle tension only exaggerates the shaking. Another strategy is to try and hide shaking through avoidance or keeping hands out of sight, but this too will worsen the situation. Avoidance strategies like these reinforce the idea that we need to hide these symptoms and that revealing them could have negative consequences for us. They prevent us from finding out that, most of the time, revealing our anxiety will nearly always have no negative consequences for us and that doing so will prevent the anxiety from occurring in the first place. (1)

T-44C Pegasus
With the Carrier Qualifications complete, the next stage of training is a multi-engine T-44 Pegasus. The Pegasus aircraft is manufactured by Beech Aircraft Corporation, Wichita, Kansas.The aircraft is used for advanced turboprop aircraft training and for intermediate E2/C2 (carrier based turboprop radar aircraft) training at the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas. The T-44 is equipped with deicing and anti-icing systems augmented by instrumentation and navigation equipment which allows flight under instrument and icing conditions.The interior includes a seating arrangement for an instructor pilot (right seat), a student pilot (left seat), and a second student.Two additional passenger seats are included.A distinguishing feature of the aircraft is the avionics fault insertion capabilities afforded the instructor pilot from the right-seat armrest and the second student/observer audio control panel that allows the second student to monitor all radio communications.The T-44A is powered by two 550 shaft horsepower PT6A-34B turboprop engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney of Canada.

T-44C Pegasus


Primary Function: Training platform for Navy/Marine Corps pilots.
Contractor: Beechcraft
Propulsion: two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6A-34B 550 hp engines
Length: 35 feet 6 inches
Height: 14 feet 3 inches
Wingspan: 50 feet 3 inches
Airspeed maximum: 245 knots
Ceiling: 31,300 feet.
Range: 1,300 nautical miles
Armament: None
(1) Source of the explanation for shaking.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Comparative Robins - European Versus American

American Robin
When visiting the Brownshill Portal Tomb near Carlow, I identified my first European bird - the Robin. That bird was quite different than the American Robin (shown at the left) - eating insects instead of worms, and being quite smallish in comparison. I have been slowly reading through a book one of my sons gave me as a birthday gift last year that is a compilation of literature that mentions birds, or stories about birds. The night-before-last, I happened on a poem by the Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) titled Proud Masie. Had I not seen the Robin in Ireland, I wouldn't have had an accurate picture in my mind of what Scott was writing about. I found the poem at the Poetry Foundation Website as well, but the spelling of the subject was Maisie, rather than Masie, as found in the Graeme Gibson compilation. It is interesting to hear an writer talk about his perspectives of birds, and what motivates him to consider birds and wildlife.

Robin ('Erithacus rubecula')

Proud Masie

Proud Masie is in the wood,
   Walking so early;
Sweet Robin sits on the bush,
   Singing so rarely.

"Tell me, thou bonny bird,
   When shall I marry me?"—
"When six braw gentlemen
   Kirkward shall carry ye."

"Who makes the bridal bed,
   Birdie, say truly?"—
"The gray-headed sexton
   That delves the grave duly.

"The glowworm o'er grave and stone
   Shall light thee steady;
The owl from the steeple sing,
   'Welcome, proud lady.'"