Exercise | Power Generated

We use our Body-Solid home gym regularly. My workout takes about 20 minutes with pauses between routines. Today. I didn’t pause. Workout time was 15 minutes, or 900 seconds.


A principle of physics I taught about involved work, energy, and power. I wondered how much work was done lifting the weights during my workout. Each routine raised the weight different amounts. Units used are Newtons of force and meters of distance. 1 N-m = 1 Joule of work.

Work done = Newtons x distance x number of reps


Total work done was the sum of the separate routines equal to 20,900 Joules.

Average power generated, or work per second, equals 23 Joules/sec, or 23 Watts.

Metabolic Equivalent

If I just sit around and do nothing, my body utilizes energy at a rate of about 81 Joules/sec, or 81 Watts. It is calculated from the Metabolic Equivalent expression of 1.162 Watts/kg. I multiplied my 70 kg x 1.162 Watts/kg to get 81 Watts.

Other physical activities are scaled with reference to this figure. For example, earlier I went for a walk at a brisk pace of 3.4 mph for about 30 minutes. According to the tables, energy was utilized by my body at a rate 3.6 times the metabolic equivalent, or 81 x 3.6 = 292 Watts. Bicycle racers can generate 500 Watts for hours at a time. If a level of 746 Watts is reached, it is also known as one horsepower.

You can look up many activities at the Compendium of Physical Activites. They include things like bicycling, dancing, sexual activity, lawn mowing, etc. Each is rated with a Metabolic Equivalent score. Take your body mass in kg x 1.162 x the score in the activity.

Melanie said “Be sure to provide a link to your post about mowing the lawn.” Thank you, dear.

Moon | Jupiter | Spica | 26 Nov 2016

I offer this peaceful view of the morning sky. The crescent Moon at lower left aligned with Jupiter and the star Spica in a slender triangle at 6:25 am. Jupiter is at the upper right. Spica is almost directly below Jupiter and equidistant from the Moon. Spica is difficult to see because of the twilight. Click for a larger view.


The waning Moon always offers a nice view first thing in the morning from my front window.


Morals | Liberal vs Conservative

right-way-wrong-way1Consider the following moral foundations that guide the decisions people make. How would you rank them in terms of their importance to you? Which one is top on your list? Which is least important to you?

Take your time. Order them from most to least in how important they are as guides to your moral decisions.

Care/Harm: This foundation is related to our ability to feel the pain of others and underlies the virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.

Fairness/Cheating: This foundation underlies the ideas of justice, rights, proportionality, and independence.

Liberty/Oppression: This foundation relates our feelings toward those who dominate and restrict our liberty. Tension with authority can bring people together in attempts to remove the oppressor.

Loyalty/Betrayal: Evolved from our tribal history and the formation of coalition groups with others. Patriotism and sacrifice for our group are two ways this foundation is expressed.

Authority/Subversion: Related to the hierarchy of social interactions within our coalition groups. Emergence of leaders, followers, acceptance of authority, and respect for traditions form from this foundation.

Sanctity/Degradation: Feelings of disgust and contamination guide our attempts to live in a more pure and less carnal way. This foundation underlies the idea that immorality and contaminants can desecrate the temple of the body. It is often part of religious practice.

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Supermoon | 14 Nov 2016

Much has been written about this morning’s Supermoon. If you missed it, there is another December 13. The moon doesn’t orbit the earth in a perfect circle. It is a bit eccentric making it closer and farther from earth than average by a few % during each orbit. Today, just before sunrise, it was at its closest at nearly the same time as when it was full. Both events combined to make this the largest full moon since 1948 by a slight amount. I went out before 6 am to document it. A parking lot nearby gave an unobstructed view to the west where the moon was close to the horizon. It was also aligned with a radio tower to provide an interesting reference frame.


There were a few high thin clouds passing by to make photographing a bit more of a challenge. The parking lot allowed me to move around and compose different views like this one.


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Solar Transit | It Happened Again

Five days ago I received a notice that the space station would transit across the face of the Sun for my location. I wrote about a recent transit on 18 August 2016. I must be living right. The sky was clear again this time.

First view is in real time. Don’t blink. Duration of the transit is 0.94s. Second view is slowed to 10% of real time. For both, I suggest full screen. You might not see it on a phone or tablet.


What’s up for the rest of the month? This JPL video will tell you of some highlights.

Occultation | Moon Hides Aldebaran Again

The Moon is in the midst of a series of 49 monthly occultations of the star Aldebaran, the eye of Taurus the Bull to the upper right of Orion the Hunter. The alignment of the axis of the lunar orbit with the location of Aldebaran is giving monthly occultations from January 2015. Most don’t occur many times in any one location for Earthling viewers. About half of them are daytime events. (I’ve seen them…very cool.) The last occultation of this series will occur September 2018. The next series is from 2033 to 2037.

As midnight approached on the evening of the 18th, I was thrilled to see clear skies overhead. With camera on the tripod, I set them on the front porch for this pairing at 11:15 pm CDT. All images can be embiggened for more detail.

11:15 pm CDT | Yellow line traces expected path of Aldebaran

11:15 pm CDT | Yellow line traces expected path of Aldebaran

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Scotland | Caledonian Canal Lock System

Our View From Iowa

Previous posts about our Scotland trip can be found here.

Our barge Fingal of Caledonia embarked from Inverness and traveled to Banavie near Fort William to the southwest. This video gives some perspective for that journey.

Lake | Loch | Lock

From Wikipedia:

Loch (/ˈlɒx/) is the Irish and Scottish Gaelic word for a lake or for a sea inlet. In English and Hiberno-English, the anglicised spelling lough is commonly found in place names, pronounced the same way as loch. In Scottish English, ‘loch’ is always used. Some lochs could also be called firths, fjords, estuaries, straits or bays.

A lock is a device used for raising and lowering boats, ships and other watercraft between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways.

Caledonian Canal and Lock System

Three lochs are aligned end to end along the route. The largest and most well known is Loch Ness at…

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