50 More

After posting earlier this morning, I read Elroy's comment on the Dec. 20th post. I still had a few minutes before my hour was up so dropped down and was able to do 50 more. That means I'll be doing 200 not 150 each day. Anyway, I hope that each of you that celebrates Christmas has merry day tomorrow.

Push Batman Push

A big set back yesterday. Having done my ten days of alternating A days (100 push-ups over spread over an hour) and B days (100 push-ups throughout the day) and then taken two days rest, I tried to do as many as I could in a single set. My big number: 55. Ouch. I've got to raise this. I have a whole set of excuses but the Batman doesn't get excuses and so neither do I. Next week I must have a significant improvement. So I'll up my number from 100 push-ups to 150 and try to do fewer sets of larger numbers. I don't think that I can jump right up to 200.

Also I have been learning knots (I've memorized my fourth one and have completed a couple more) but I don't have access to Gimp or a steady stream of internet right now so I'll hold off until after Christmas to post about them.


Batman and Ropin'

Today is day ten of the push-up regiment. That means it's the last day of Round 1. I still feel good about it although I have to admit, I'm a little bit stiff. After a two day break I'll see how many push-ups I can do consecutively. Before I started I could do about 45ish. I hope to double that on Tuesday.

I received two books that I ordered for this Building Batman project in the mail today.

Book 1: The Knot Book by Budworth and Compton. Batman knows knots. Trust me. Climbing up and down building... oh ya he knows knots. Tying up baddies for Gordon to pick up. Some fun with Catwoman. Mooring the Batboat.

Book 2: Visual Guide to Lock Picking by McCloud. That's right, not only am I learning from a friend but also on my own. It will probably take me quite some time to understand lock-picking well enough to explain anything but sooner or later we'll cover this stuff.

So here's the plan. Over the next few weeks I'll introduce you to a knot or so a day as I learn and practice them. As that happens I'll learn as much as I can about lock picking. Learning these couple of skills will be big step in becoming Batman.


Home Made Equipment

My lock picking friend came in this morning with an old lock, a homemade Torque Wrench, a make shift Slim Jim and a WR3 bump key.

Of course, I'll explain what all those things are in blog posts as I learn to use them.

Batman: Lock-pick Extraordinaire

I haven't mentioned it yet but I've been looking into lock-picking a bit. It's not quite next on the list of Batman's Skills for me to learn but it's pretty high up there. So you have something to look forward to for after Christmas now.

I was talking to a friend of mine about being interested in lock-picking and it turns out he has some experience from his days in a hardware shop. It turns out that this shop acted as a minor locksmith's and part of his job was to pick the locks that came in without keys.

Anyway, he offered to teach me how to make a pick set. If all goes according to plan not only will he teach me how to pick locks but also how to create makeshift picks and fashion more sturdy long term picks. Great coincidence that I plan to take full advantage of.


Welcome to Wayne Manor

This is the funniest thing I have seen since... I really don't know... I'm speechless. The art is amazingly fun and the stories are hilarious.

The webcomic (if I can call it that) is called Welcome to Wayne Manor and it's amazing (did I already mention that?). The guy who does it also posts his stuff on deviantART but it's nothing different than the blog site.

Please!!! You must go leave this artist a comment or two encouraging him to keep going. The blog hasn't been happening for that long but I laugh and smile so much every time something new is posted.


Who Has The Time To Fight Crime?

You know the worst thing about push-ups? The ups.

It's actually finding time to spread the sets out evenly throughout the day. It's tough to find the little bits of seconds here and there.



Four days ago I started doing push-ups following theComics, Films, Kung Fu, and Whatever the Hell Else. I'm starting easy since I've never been a particularly athletic guy but I'll try to improve fast.

The routine consists of picking a number of push-ups to do (I'm doing Elroy's gentle 100). On day one you do 100 over the course of an hour. The next day, you do 100 hundred sometime throughout the whole day. Then you repeat. You do this for ten days and then rest for two days. After the two days of rest, you try to do as many as you can in one go. Then start all over again with a larger number of push-ups.

I don't know what Batman would think about two days of rest but I think in the real world there's wisdom in giving yourself a break of some sort.


Drink Up, Batman

I made a mistake yesterday.

I drank an espresso and an americano. They were decaf so it was ok, right?

Getting off of caffeine wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I had a couple of restless nights and a few days with minor headaches but really it wasn't so bad. Since quitting I had drank a few decafe coffees here and there when others went for coffee and I wanted a break.

If I had just checked Wikipedia first I would have known that the international standard of decaffeination is only 97%. That means that my espresso and americano gave me about 45mg worth of caffeine (calculated from this website) which is equivalent to about a can of diet coke.

This is terrible! I was up until early this morning (I read some of a book called Varieties of Religious Experience by William James which I would recommend highly as a must read to anyone who just loves lecture series from over a hundred years ago on the psychology related to religious experiences. Oh and I also reread Justice) and had to sleep in this morning all because of the equivalent of a pop?

So what do I do? Drink no coffee so that when I do finally drink it (as is bound to happen since its the most consumed drug in the world) I'm messed or need it every single day so that if I don't get a cup I have withdrawl?

It depends on the other side-effects of coffee. Are there long term problems? Long term benefits? Is there a way to be immune to caffeine? That last idea would be best but try as I might, I could not find a believable method of becoming immune (which is different than normalizing and being able to sleep again or drink more without getting jittery which is called caffeine intoxication).

It seems one major side-effect is that caffeine makes it harder for your body to retain calcium which means weak bones. But it sounds like this is not really serious if you drink milk. Despite your kidneys doing all the processing of caffeine, coffee doesn't seem to pose any health concerns for your kidneys.

Children and pregnant women might not want to drink tonnes of coffee since caffeine is a drug that primarily effects the nervous system and children's nervous systems are still developing. That being said there are no documented longer term effects due to drinking coffee while pregnant.

So what about benefits? Caffeine seems to have poorly understood but positive effects on athletes
and metabolisms. I suppose that this would appeal to a crimefighter without superpowers.

To the obvious benefit: caffeine is a stimulant. People use it to increase energy, decrease fatigue and make them more focused. Fine. But there is something else here. Studies seem to say that caffeine boosts short term memory retention.
That's amazing. Even better, not only does it improve short term memory, caffeine may also reduce memory decline in the elderly (especially women) and prevent memory loss.

Conclusions: There's enough benefits to caffeine not to stop. From this little experimental diet of mine, it seems that I can stop anytime I'd like given three or four days. But the moral of all this seems to be "All things in moderation." Governments seem to take a pretty conservative stance of saying that you shouldn't ingest over 400mg a day if you are a healthy adult (that's a venti at you local Starbucks). So here is my revised plan. I'll finish the month-of-no-caffeine but after that I won't be so strict. However, I won't drink coffee daily, making sure it isn't a habit. In this way, I'll cash in on the benefits by being able to chose when I wish to drink it instead of "needing my coffee to get through the day" while avoiding worrying about caffeine intoxication in everyday situations.


Aerodynamics of Boomerangs

I promised this a long time ago but I was too busy to write up the details and there were a couple of things that I needed to figure out how to explain better. I think I can explain how a boomerang works to absolutely anyone. That being said I may be wrong so if there is something that you don't understand in my explanation just ask.

We'll end up talking about a lot of stuff that doesn't have to do with boomerangs just so that we have all the details we need. In fact, we'll start by talking about syringes.

So you go to a doctor and they give you a needle. The fluid in the main barrel is flowing with some speed because the nurse is pushing on the end but when it gets to the needle part what happens? Because the area of the pipe has changed the fluid must move faster to get the same amount out in the same amount of time. Maybe the diagram helps a bit.

OK. Now let's talk about something seemingly completely different (and still with nothing to do with boomerangs). You're driving really fast on a highway in your Batmobile. Then you pass a semi-truck (driven by the Joker, maybe?) that is going the other way. What happens? You get sucked TOWARDS the truck not blown away from it. How come?

This has to do with Bernoulli's equation (I swear this is the only equation that we will need in order to understand boomerangs so don't get scared away, dear reader) which says that pressure plus velocity (squared) must stay constant. That means that if velocity is increased the pressure must go down and if velocity is decreased the pressure must increase to compensate and make sure that when you add them together they stay constant.

So what happened with the semi-truck? The truck and you form a short channel and just like the medicine in the syringe speeds up in the needle, as air passes between you and the truck it must speed-up too. BUT if the air speeds up that means that the pressure must go down between you and the truck (Bernoulli's equation) but the pressure on the other side of your car stays the same. That means that there is a stronger force on the other side pushing you towards the truck.

Good. Now lets talk about airplanes. Airplanes are like boomerangs, right? Forget about everything except the wing. The wing of an airplane is an aerofoil. The air that passes on the top of the wing is pushed up and has a longer path than the air below. So the air above goes faster than the air below. That means (by Bernoulli's equation) that the pressure below the wing is bigger - there is a force pushing up on the wing! This is the lift force and it's what makes airplanes fly.

Now it's time to use our imaginations. Imagine turning a wing complete sideways . Now what happens? Well for one thing there is no force counteracting gravity and it will fall but there is a force pushing it sideways. The side ways force will make the wing go forwards and sideways. It will curve but it won't quite go turn and travel in a circular path just like a boomerang.

BUT this has a bigger problem. What? Well think of a pencil that you balance on it's tip - and you laugh at me and say, "how could I balance a pencil on it's tip. The smallest bump imaginable would cause it to fall over." Right! As it tips gravity can enact more and more torque on it since as it tips the centre of gravity moves further and further away from straight over the fulcrum (like where the pencil is touching the table).

Our imaginary turning wing is even worse. If it started to tip (as it definitely will) then not only would gravity make it tip faster and faster but also soon the lift would be pointing down more and more. Our sideways wing will flip over really fast and as soon as that happens it's not going to move in a circle anymore. It will just crash downwards. Maybe the series of diagrams illustrates it.

Here's an idea. A pencil will tip because it's unstable but what if you spin the pencil really fast? Now it's like a top. As long as a top is spinning fast enough it will be stable which has to do with angular momentum. Even though gravity pulls down on the centre of mass as it starts to tip, it doesn't fall because the angular momentum which points up from the tops principle axis changes the direction of motion and causes it to have processional motion rather than falling.

So let's spin our wing. The spinning will cause the wing to be staple and it will move in a strafing path rather than tipping.

Good try but there is another problem! The wing is travelling one way at the top of the circle and the other way at the bottom! That means at the bottom the aerofoil is facing the wrong way. How do we fix this? Cut it in half and turn one arm around and glue it back together. That way the aerofoil is pointing the right way at both the top and the bottom. This is a boomerang! The wing on the top and the wing on the bottom both have a lift force pointing in the same direction causing the boomerang to turn to the left (that's why boomerangs can only be left or right handed - they have to be built differently for different hands). The two diagram shows how the aerofoil shape has the leading edge on opposite sides of each each arm of the boomerang.

The wing on top is traveling through the air faster than the bottom one because the boomerang is spinning and moving forward and the top wing moves with it while the bottom wing moves against the direction of motion. So the forward moving top wing has more sideways force than the retreating bottom wing. This unequal force is what turns the boomerang so that it goes in a circular path and not just side ways. The turning force comes from the unequal air speed of the spinning wings while the spinning is able to keep it steady.

The bend in a boomerang isn't needed at all although I've read that it makes it easier to throw. That's what I know about boomerangs.

If this was too long an explanation then you should check out

Boomerang Shop

If this was too short and you were saying to yourself, "It doesn't mean anything if it's not expressed mathematically" then the websites for you would be

Unspinning the Boomerang

And if you still aren't satisfied check out this really in depth look at

Research Support Technologies


Batarang Found

I went out one last time to try to find the boomerang that I lost. The wind had blown all weekend and most of the leaves are off the trees now. I'd gone looking 3 or 4 times during lunch hours and on my way home from work and I was starting to feel like I would never find it again.

But I did! There it was hanging from a branch in this little tree in someones back yard. I could just see it over the fence.

It's a little beat up (I think the rain warped it a touch) but it flies just fine. Now I just have to hope that it doesn't snow tomorrow.


All One Big Batdream

My sleep the last couple of days has been fitful and littered with dreams. Now, I know that vivid dreams and restless nights are common if you've recently quit smoking cigarettes or pot but both of those have sedative properties. Caffeine is an upper and so if this isn't just a coincidence then I'm surprised. Perhaps vivid dreaming is associated with any change in chemicals that effects the way you think.


Every Day Poisons

I've mentioned that it's turning into a pretty busy time of the year which makes Bat-training that much more difficult. So in order to make the best use of my time, I tried to think of something I could try that wouldn't require practice (unlike boomerangs or ambidexterity) or really any time investment at all.

So I decided to get rid of any addictions in my life. It's pretty canonical that as Bruce Wayne, the Batman fakes drinking at parties so that he can keep up his playboy persona while being in peek physical condition.

What other drugs would Batman refuse? It depends a lot on who's writing the Batman character. Does he do drugs just to see what it's like to be the Joker? Maybe? Or does he take performance enhancing drugs? No? Then no drugs at all maybe? Not even coffee?

So here are my thoughts. Batman would never let allow himself to be addicted. The entire point of Bruce Wayne dressing up as a Bat and beating-up criminals is to feel like he has some measure of control over a world that he really feels he has no control over at all.

So this leads me to think that he would use whatever drugs necessary to make himself more effective but would never allow himself to become addicted to any of them. If he ever felt that any drug had gained power over him in any way, he would use some of that iron determination to break the addiction.

So here's what I've begun doing. I've thought about all the drugs that I take (mostly caffeine but also small amounts of nicotine and alcohol) and I stopped taking them. I stopped on the 1st of December and I will try to go for a whole month. Then at the end of that month I will binge on all the drugs that I had quit on and try to operate normally while intoxicated with these everyday drugs.

This personal experiment marks the start of gaining the toxicology knowledge that Batman must have.

Poison Ivy Ate My Batarang

I still haven't found my boomerang. I went out a couple of times over the weekend but I can't find it anywhere. I check the ground I've been looking up in the trees but I just don't see it. There are a couple of big evergreens in the area so if it's stuck up in one of those, I don't know if I'll ever get it back.

In the mean time, I've ordered two new boomerangs. I feel confident enough with how well things had been going (before a tree ate my boomerang) that I bought two intermediate level ones: the Rainier and the Adirondack Standard. I got them both from the Boomerang Man again.

Hopefully, I they arrive before it starts to snow.