Thursday, 12 April 2012

Smell, The Glove

In Sex, Bombs and Burgers, Peter Novak takes us through the major technological advances of the past sixty years and argues that the rate of progress is a direct consequence of our obsession for war, fast food and pornography.

Anyone who has tried ripping off a film from YouPorn only to have their Twitter account harvested by those damned pornsters (all in the name of research naturally), will be aware that the top IT developers are working in the skin trade.

Similarly Novak's research in to the fields of food processing techniques show that war has had a heavy hand in our diet - from the footsoldiers of Napoleon's armies (feed on an early form of the now ubiquitous Spam), to the space race (dehydration and sealed meal bags amongst other inventions such as microwave ovens).  He also shows how mass spectrometers are used to 'build food' that looks, smells* feels and tastes just like the real thing.

But it is not until we get to page 302 that things took a turn for the really interesting.  Biologist Craig Heller at DARPA invented something called The Glove. This device looks 'like a coffee pot with a silver hemisphere inside'.  The idea is to reach out to the hemisphere which is heated or cooled, and by extension can be used to heat or cool a person's blood,

  • One of Heller's lab technicians incorporated the glove into his workout regime.  When he started, he was managing 100 pull-ups per session, but by using the device he was able to do more sets.  Within six weeks, he was doing 180 pull-ups and in another six weeks he was doing more than 600.  Heller himself used the glove to do 1,000 pull-ups on his sixtieth birthday."
I've been taking daily cold showers for several years now - originally for an Xmas day swim in Ireland, and for regular wildswimming in general but perhaps this isn't optimal?  The targeted nature of The Glove - used intra set - seems to have an almost steroidal impact on training.  Given the current heated (excuse the pun) debate in the paleosphere, this is food for thought indeed.

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