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Lance Armstrong Is Fitter Than You

I've been working today on creating a latent semantic search engine that searches mass spectra for some common organic chemicals.

Poisons, actually. It turns out to be easiest to find online information for things that are extremely toxic.

I don't think anyone has ever done this before - but it works!


I was feeling mighty proud about getting into the New York City marathon, in a kind of anticipatory pre-fitness mood, until Anil pointed me to today's New Yorker article about Lance Armstrong. You could run the New York Marathon standing on your head and still not be as fit as Lance Armstrong. It turns out bikers have us all beat:

Saris compared the metabolic rates of professional cyclists while they were riding with those of a variety of animal species, and he created a kind of energy index—dividing daily expenditure of energy by resting metabolic rate. This figure turned out to range from one to seven. An active male rates about two on Saris's index and an average professional cyclist four and a half. Almost no species can survive with a number that is greater than five. For example, the effort made by birds foraging for food sometimes kills them, and they scored a little more than five. In fact, only four species are known to have higher rates on Saris's energy index than the professional cyclists in his study: a small Australian possum, a macaroni penguin, a large seabird called a gannet, and one species of marsupial mouse.

That's right - only a gannet, macaroni penguin, possum and mouse would have a chance against this guy, if their legs weren't too short to reach the pedals.

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