Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Updates from under the pile

My last post was more than a month and bucketfuls of optimism ago. Back then I believed I would be able to keep up with this on a very regular basis, both because it is relaxing to post stuff on this blog and because I thought I would have time to think of new and creative things to talk about. Like many times before, I was wrong.

I got buried under a pile of schoolwork. Anatomy (as I indicated in my previous posts) took up the most time. But of course I can't abandon this blog. So here are a few rapid fire updates of my non-spectacular life over the last month or so:

  • One of the coolest things I learned in anatomy was the organization, function and innervation of muscles in the upper and lower limbs. While I knew the basic outline of the major muscles (biceps, triceps etc.), it was very neat to learn about the muscles that move the hand (wrist, thumbs, fingers). There are about 50 muscles in the upper limb, and an astonishing 28 of them work to move some part of the hand. Finer movements of the hand are very important to our day to day life and allow us to perform many amazing feats that other animals cannot (think about Hendrix plucking the string of a guitar or van Gogh painting one of his many masterpieces) These are movements you are not even conscious of performing. Like for instance, just now, I typed out a sentence of the laptop without even realizing I used, among others,(I am gonna show off a bit now) the lumbricals, abductor pollicis longus, opponens pollicis, and a whole bunch of flexors and extensors. 
  •  I have taken up cubing. If you are going "huh?", cubing is a sport (any activity that has a word organization to regulate it is a sport) that involves solving the Rubik's cube (allegedly the best selling puzzle of all time, and the lazy film writer's prop of choice to depict nerddom).I was a bit into those cubes about 5-6 years ago and was able to solve them by following algorithms, but never really bothered to memorize them. Now I am determined to memorize the algorithms. Solving the cube is not that hard, really. The simplest method probably involves memorizing just about 6 algorithms. That's it. You could probably solve it in about 3 minutes with the simplest method. To get fast at it, now that's a whole different game. That takes amazing pattern recognition skills, very nimble fingers (there's those pesky muscles again!) and superhuman spatial skills. The world record currently is 5.66 seconds. People who can solve the cube in less than 25 seconds typically memorize about 60-80 algorithms. I am currently working on an intermediate method that involves only 15 algs. Will gradually progress to more advanced methods to improve my time. 
  • A year ago, the Niners were the laughingstock. In a otherwise shitty NFC West, they were the champions of shit. They unceremoniously sacked their coach mid-season, (one of) their quarterbacks had a spectacular meltdown on the sidelines, and they looked like a cause very much lost. And look at them now. 8-1 and sitting at the top of the freakin' world. On the flip side, the Eagles were supposed to be legit superbowl contenders this season: a string of high-profile off-season acquisitions, an explosive quarterback aided by eager receivers, they had it all. They are 3-6 now, and will be incredibly lucky even to win a wild card spot. 

Finally, a word about this blog. I seriously intend to keep it going, and while I can't promise daily updates, I can promise this: I will post something substantial at least twice a week. Look out for at least one more post later this week.

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