Friday, 25 November 2011

Parutions du recueil "La Philosophie expérimentale"

Les éditions Vuibert font paraître un volume de recueil d'articles sur la philosophie expérimentale : Dutant, J., Machery, E., Knobe, J., Nahmias, E., Cova, F., Nichols, S., (eds) (2011), La Philosophie expérimentale. Paris : Vuibert. 
J'ai traduit l'article de Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer, et Turner : L'incompatibilisme est-il intuitif ?

Friday, 18 November 2011

The mystery of the sunstone

In sagas recording Viking navigational stories, it's written that they used stones that could point to the sun in any conditions. A study, directed by Guy Ropars (University of Rennes)  and published by the Proceedings of the Royal Society, shows that they may have used a mineral called iceland spar, a form of calcite. The passage of sunlight polarises it, which means that light from the sky points towards the sun, in certain conditions.
Source : the Economist, Discovery News.

MAJ  (19/11/2011) : someone I know reacted to this post by saying that sometimes we have the feeling that with our technology we can do more things that we ever did, but often it's just that we have forgotten how we did it before. Moreover, even if with technology we are able to do things that were forgotten, just look at the cost. Vikings could navigate with a stone. We need GPS. What goes with GPS ? A manufactory, powered by an electrical station. A satellite in the sky, that needs to be launched by a rocket, built by another manufactory, etc.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The 100-up exercise for proper running technique and posture

Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run, published a paper in the New York Times where, among many other things, he describes a good training to obtain a proper technique and a good posture: the 100-up exercise. With his talent as a narrator, he narrates how he digged up this secret, from W. G. George. Here is the description of the exercise:

The 100-Up consists of two parts. For the “Minor,” you stand with both feet on the targets and your arms cocked in running position. “Now raise one knee to the height of the hip,” George writes, “bring the foot back and down again to its original position, touching the line lightly with the ball of the foot, and repeat with the other leg.”
That’s all there is to it. But it’s not so easy to hit your marks 100 times in a row while maintaining balance and proper knee height. Once you can, it’s on to the Major: “The body must be balanced on the ball of the foot, the heels being clear of the ground and the head and body being tilted very slightly forward. . . . Now, spring from the toe, bringing the knee to the level of the hip. . . . Repeat with the other leg and continue raising and lowering the legs alternately. This action is exactly that of running.”
Here is Christopher McDougall showing how it's done:

He then published two blog posts related to injuries, posture and the 100-up exercise: the barefoot MD, in his own words, 100-up and the vampire bite (aka, plantar fasciitis).
Some interesting comments on McDougall's post:

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Thursday, 3 November 2011

High fat diet & digestion of pythons

Interesting article to appear in Science this week reported in the National Geographic about the swelling of organs in pythons in the after-meal period. Reseachers shows that there is a link between blood high level of fatty acids and the swelling of organs. The purpose of this process is to speed up digestion. The remaining question is how lipids causes the swelling.