Women in Combat: Already Done It.

My guest blog on the Women in Combat symposium of May 1-2 2014 just went live on Carrying the Gun. Check it out. 

Lego Roundup

Military Training

I’m in the middle of writing a guest blog for Carrying the Gun on my experience at the Women in Combat symposium held this week in Washington, D.C. The symposium featured speakers from the militaries of the US, Canada, Norway, Sweden, and the home of everyone’s favorite building toy, Denmark. One of the most important subjects covered was the gender-mainstreaming of military physical fitness tests to reliably measure occupational competence despite the subtle biological differences in the average man and the average woman. I was researching more about Denmark’s physical fitness test when I found this.

Lego CEO

CNBC interviewed Lego CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp on the viability of the company’s new factory near Shanghai, China. It’s an interesting window into how the company navigates a ruthless business world guided by Nordic values. Also, the interviewer mentions that Lego has never had to recall a single brick, which I hadn’t heard before. 


Lego outdoes itself again with its intricate version of the Sandcrawler (video), the famous Star Wars desert vehicle.

Lego Roundup

Wired UK covers a really cool analog music machine designed by Alex Allmont:

“I use a lot of technology but I get frustrated when the workings of something is hidden, I like to see the whole process,” Allmont says.


In Australia, a Lego enthusiast has recreated the city of Launceston, prompting the city’s mayor to seek a longer-term display at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery:

Credit: ABC News Australia

Credit: ABC News Australia

And at The Guardian, Rupert Myers defends David Beckham’s Lego use against those who take the time out of their day to judge others for engaging in socially harmless activities in which children also sometimes engage.

Good Training

Since I deadlift heavy every other week and this was not one of those weeks, I took the opportunity to do some box jumps and single leg squats. These light deadlift weeks are probably the most fun I have in weight training.

Having mastered the highest box at the Gold’s Gym where I train, I’ve taken to buying notebooks four at a time to continue increasing the box height every week.

Doing the single leg squats on the overturned stability dome has really increased my balance over the months. I’m strong enough now to comfortably “surf” the DC metro, which is generally unheard of because the relatively modern transit system accelerates and decelerates very rapidly–much faster than the NYC subway, for instance. Maybe I’ll post a fun surfing video in the near future.

Lego Roundup

Here’s a likeness of former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal clutching a real basketball. 

Reasons Why The Walking Dead Scares the Crap Out of Me, Ctd.

Apropos of previous posts about how the zombie genre hits closer to scientific home than most of us realize, here’s one about parasitic bacteria taking over the function of plants for their own monstrous ends:

The plant parasite in her study is dependent on both insects to spread and  on which to grow. It induces the plant to transform its flowers into leaf tissue, sacrificing its reproductive success and becoming sterile. It is now a zombie plant – dead to the future and destined to benefit only the survival of the bacteria.

When leafhoppers eat infected plant material, the bacteria colonize the insects, including their salivary glands. If the insect dribbles saliva as it sucks on another plant, the bacteria are able to spread into new plant tissue. The bacteria set to work on making the plant more attractive to leafhoppers.


Stay vigilant.

Good Training

Pulled 425 for 3 yesterday. That breaks my previous record of 415 for 2 by 10 pounds and an extra repetition, making this decidedly the strongest I have ever been. My lifetime max is 430 for 1, so in two weeks I’ll set a new max by pulling 440. I should get it for two.

Previous training here, here, here, and here.

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