sjh - mountain biking running linux vegan geek spice - mtb / vegan / running / linux / canberra / cycling / etc

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Tue, 15 Jun 2010

Finished the Kona Mawson MTB Marathon - 11:16
Andrew and I finished the 367 km mtb ride in 19h52m, there are photos and a report online. We were a little disappointed not to finish faster, however it was a great event and the scenery was incredible. Good to see Claire and Joel win mixed (and 5th overall), Brett Bellchambers riding a geared bike and giving it a good stab with Jason McAvoy (4th overall), Mark Tupalski coming 3rd with Mark Fenner and Bec and Phil finished too to make up the Canberra contingent there.

It would be nice to be able to run/walk up some of the mountains and really see more of the area, however this event at least got me down to the area which tends to be how my tourism is focused now days (around events and racing). Thanks to Andrew for a good race.

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Wed, 09 Jun 2010

A ride in the desert - 10:36
I am heading to South Australia this evening, and hopping on a bus tomorrow morning to get up to Blinman for the start of the 2010 Kona Mawson MTB Marathon. People competing in the 4 day stage race have already started this morning, however those of us doing the non stop option start on Friday morning.

I am looking forward to this event for a number of reasons. I have never been to parts of Australia that look like classic Australian Desert (or the Red Centre as it is known). I have been told that the Flinders Ranges definitely live up to this look. Lots of big Australian desert to look at. I have not competed in a 24 hour race solo since 2004 so I am looking forward to this as it will take me out of my comfort zone in my best discipline again. (AR is different as you change discipline fairly often).

Andrew and I are both fairly bike fit and should be able to get along at a good pace for the whole event, I plan to take photos while riding but will be working hard to avoid wasting time and stopping much. Hoping to get in under 20 hours to the finish at Melrose, and who knows once we finish and rest a bit I can even hope I feel up to walking/running up Mount Remarkable in Melrose. However that is on Saturday and we still have 367km of mountain biking starting at 7:30am on Friday morning to get through. Bring it on.

[/mtb/events] link

Sat, 05 Jun 2010

Journalism tomorrow - 16:04
I was interested to read this article about the efforts being made to help ensure the future of high quality journalism by Google. I guess I am biased toward the availability of news papers and reporting as I read two most days. I also admit I have not tried some new way of reading news on an iPad or tablet, however I have never enjoyed the websites for the papers I read (The Canberra Times and The Australian).

I suspect some of the bits this article touches upon pertain to this, newspapers are expert at placing their content in the format that works for the traditional delivery (thus I find it more pleasant and easy to read papers on paper), they have not yet managed to work into the online format perfectly yet. However I like to think Google are correct in pointing out quality journalism will work with better advertising revenue in the future with online delivery than it does now with 70% of the cost of some newspapers going into the production of printed paper news delivery.

The only online broad news site I look at much is the ABC News site, I also will look at links from blogs I read, however the online news sources I do regularly check are very focused such as the cycling web sites I read.

I do not hear as much in Australia about the death of journalism and newspapers struggling as I hear coming from the US (it could well be that the lack of craigslist in Australia is a large influence on this), however it is obvious the traditional revenue models for newspapers will not continue to work around the world. I really hope the media and journalism around the world can cope with this sensibly and find a way to work and flourish on the Internet. If they dig in their heels and fight to hold onto broken business models rather than embracing new models they will simply end up looking stupid just as the music and movie industry has.

Of course it was interesting the point in the article about how new news models have popped up rather suddenly over the last 100 years and changed parts of the industry in some respects (Fox news, Jon Stewart, Time Magazine). It seems at the moment that Murdoch for example is too tied to current business models to embrace the Internet properly, so it will be interesting to see if parts of Newscorp work out how to work on the Internet or if over the coming decade something new springs up employing journalists delivering quality content funded the way Google envisions.

[/various] link

Wed, 02 Jun 2010

Survival of the fittest in other fields - 14:30
This M&M testing and breeding is the sort of thing I would expect to see Mikal doing on a day when bored with other activities. It does make you think, what other places do we want to see a survival of the fittest style testing regime happen?

With many things we use it already happens, such as bike parts, software, recipes. They go through a process of engineering/development/evolution over time (though guided by us, unlike in nature). Of course the M&M breeding is simply someone choosing to apply their own criterion to their candy that was not the evolutionary criterion applied by the company that made them. So the question is what evolutionary criterion do you want applied to everyday things that so far tend not to be.

Say if you buy a hardback book, you either want it as soon as it is available or you need another device with which to cause injury to others. Try hitting someone with the book if they stay conscious you need to find sturdier books. Of course it really is pretty cool when scientists and engineers redefine their work such that they look for something with different qualities/goals (or get lucky and discover something awesome they were not looking for).

This seems to be an ongoing failure in modern research funding, with a goal/result oriented funding appearing world wide often, if people can not research all manner of things in their field of interest we are less likely to have the accidental discoveries that so often change history. Though funding experts in the field to research their interests works, as is pointed out in this list of 10 accidental discoveries, "That's the genius behind all these accidental inventions - the scientists were prepared. They did their science on the brink and were able to see the magic in a mistake, set-back, or coincidence."

Good to see M&M recognised this, gave the man a bag of M&M's and let him get on with his research.

[/various] link

Tue, 01 Jun 2010

Bucking the trend - 16:58
Almost all my stuff on the diary recently have been in the mtb or mtb/events category, obviously I should do something different and write about something else. Heck maybe it is time to write the great Canberran novel about squirrel infestation.... though it would be kinda short seeing how we don't have any squirrels here.

I keep thinking of a suggestion made by Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti with a footnote along the lines of

P.S.S. My god, is there anything as intrinsically bloggy as a long and tedious
post explaining why you haven't been blogging? Someone should start a blog
that consists solely of daily, long-winded, and humorous entries purporting to
explain why it hasn't been updated. Free idea. Yours for the taking.

Which I thought at the time would be great, however it would require far more ability and dedication to the cause than I have. Also I do from time to time write stuff here rather than simply come along saying geez I have not written much.

I was actually thinking about the fact I do not seem to be trying to write here much these days (definitely not as often as when Andrew gave me a you are blog obsessed sort of t-shirt), and the thing that is not around much at all is my attempts at humour (or at least linking to a large variety of funny things elsewhere... maybe I am not wasting as much time collecting crap from the web now).

Thinking about style of writing and what can be amusing I was reminded that Jeremy Clarkson can be hilarious (and offensive). In the co-op bookshop a while back I found two of his books (collections of columns) remaindered at $5 each. So I bought and read them, highly entertaining indeed (even to this Vegan cycling fanatic). Though he has his own style and years of practice writing often, it was interesting to give some thought to how he uses language and his reputation for loud claims and such to create humour. There are probably things to think about that could be incorporated into writing more often.

Of course as authors say the only way to write is sit down and write, there are no magic shortcuts, everyone can have lots of ideas, however implementing those ideas to turn them into novels is the hard work of writing page after page. I can not say I am really too upset at my low posting count here the past while, not enough to concentrate more on writing here anyway,

Speaking of authors and them writing stuff, I was interested to see the blow up recently in the US about Neil Gaiman's standard appearance fee. His job is to write books, not to do public speaking tours so he has deliberately tried to price himself so high he does not get asked to come and speak everywhere all the time. Makes a lot of sense really, he donated the money to charity and he is still a lot cheaper than really high profile speakers (Bill Clinton is one he mentions as an example).

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