Monthly Archives: September 2012

Written in Your Genes

DNA Data Storage by Hayley Dunning

(Click link to see original article from The Scientist magazine.)

“…the team assigned the bases A and C as 0s, and G and T as 1s, creating a digital data stream. The manuscript and its accompaniments—a draft version of a book co-authored by one of the study’s authors, George Church, called Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves—was converted to HTML before being translated into the stream of 0s and 1s that could be written into the DNA sequence. The resulting stream was 5.27 megabits long, or 5.27 million 0s and 1s.”

Being a scientist, this piece of news from the wonderful world of science almost made me do cartwheels (If I could do a cartwheel, that is.). Data storage on a strand of DNA! Sure there are hurdles to cross and technology to refine, but it’s all doable. Can you imagine the possibilities? Libraries of data placed inside a single cell. Not only can your cat sit on your lap, but it can also carry around your favorite books embedded in its cells. 

Being a writer, this piece of news opens up the avenues of imagination. I can imagine science fiction/thriller/fantasy stories abound. Secrets being smuggled inside the bacteria inoculated onto a courier’s skin to be grown and the information sequenced from the cultured bacteria. Uncovering alien remains with complete set of information describing their advanced time travel engines. I could go on, and on, and on…

Being a pragmatists, this technology, at a minimum, can give us another reliable method to store information for long periods of time with minimal space. The base technology exists, heck a 53,000 word book preserved on a 5.27 megabit stream is a pretty darn good start. Cheap, rapid and reliable synthesis and sequencing methods will only get cheaper, faster and more reliable as scientist move forward in this realm of study. So exciting. Books, movies, music, video, anything digital can be transcribe.  

Did you enjoy your genes today?

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“Bullets Are Better Than Bowling Balls”

I have been training and coaching strength and conditioning for many years. Some constants through the years has been the weird looks, the snickers and laughs, and the not-being-welcomed-back to a fancy-smancy gym. I do things different. Always have, always will. Our athletes, and even some coaches, have looked at me on more than one occasion as though I had grown two heads or something. The foundation I’ve built my training philosophy upon is that the body is one piece, an explosive athlete is one piece, and an explosive athlete is built from the ground up.

It’s not often that I have run across a similar philosophy. Former K-State Strength and Conditioning Coach Rod Cole was one I respected and admired for years. But I found a strength coach recently who also operates on that rarefied air. I was searching the world wide web looking for an article from the Oregon Duck football program about  something near and dear to my heart; timing the athletic conditioning to meet the timing of the athlete’s sport.

Being Oregon Duck football, and being the standard bearers of fast break, run as many offensive plays in a game as we can, spread offensive football, they worked conditioning to fit into their 10 second timing for a play, 15 seconds max rest, run another play timing. An average football timing is probably around 10 seconds for a play, 40 seconds rest, run another play. So, in order for Oregon to play as fast as they want they need to train their athletes to play within those fast parameters to be able to execute on the field.

Well, I could not find that article anywhere, but I did run across this video from the Oregon Strength and Conditioning Program about Coach Jim Radcliffe. Watch this video, it is a real treat. He hits the very essence of what training athletes is all about.  I think I would really get along with Coach Radcliffe. Listen to what the athletes say and listen to what Coach Radcliffe says, it is pure gold.

Especially the “…this guy’s crazy”.

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A Wave of Football Memories

A funny thing struck me this morning, a lightning bolt of memories whose beauty and simplicity opened the floodgates. Our local high school, the high school where I coached football from 2000-2008, is playing one of our biggest rivals at home Friday night. This morning Coach P. Lane sent a message asking if I still had the records and scores handy for games played against this rival during our coaching tenure. He explained the local sports reporter wanted these results for his preview article. I was able to piece together scores from 2004-2008, but had to dig deep into the memory banks to remember the W’s and the L’s and eventually had to rely on the power of the internet to dig up results.

CCCHS vs AHS (Coach P. Lane Era)

2000- Win
2001- Win
2002 – Win 26-7 (Thanks, Coach K. Unruh)
2003 – Loss
2004 – Win 30-22
2005 – Loss 16-6
2006 – Win 41-21
2007 – Win 28-10
2008 – Loss 13-12

What struck me as an unexpected surprise during this walk down memory lane? The flood storm of people and memories from those years instead of the W’s and the L’s which seemed so vitally important at the time. I mostly remembered the kids and the fine people I coached with and against. The stadiums and smells of concession stands and locker rooms. The bus rides and the pit stops on the road to distant games. I remembered lining up for pregame on 9-14-2001 at Piper High School in Kansas City for a moment of silence and a listening of our national anthem with tears streaming down our faces. The extended football family tragedies and the injuries which almost shattered your heart. Above all else, I remembered how much fun we had playing this great game of football.
I will miss this year’s game to attend a retirement party for a co-worker of 24 years; a priority now which wouldn’t have been just a mere few years ago. But, there is one thing I’d like to pass on to the young men playing on our home field and those playing on the thousands of sports fields across the country Friday night.
Gentlemen, it is important to learn how to put the requisite work and effort in order to try and win a game. It is not easy. It is important to work together as a true team, every man doing his job on every play. Never forget, though, the memory of the W’s and the L’s will fade into oblivion, it is inevitable. But,  you will never forget the teammates who stand next to you night after night at practice and line up toe to toe with you under those wonderful Friday night lights. You will never forget the blood, the sweat and the tears sacrificed in becoming the best individual and the best team you can be.

Good luck and good health.

Play hard and have fun.

Every man, every play

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Football Is NOT Life: Reprise 2012

I originally wrote this post for me, to help me get over myself being down in the dumps over another year not coaching football. I wrote is as a therapeutic reminder that, even though I miss coaching dearly, this great game of football is not, and should never be, the MOST IMPORTANT thing in life.

I am re-posting the blog piece, Football is NOT Life, for you.  You know, you folks out there who have let things slip out of focus. The ones who are half crazed with the emotion and the frustration and the disappointment associated with sports, especially when things are heading south in a hurry.

Everybody wants to win, it is written in the marrow of our bones. However, not everybody can win and we need to remind ourselves there are worse things in life than losing a game of football, no matter how much it hurts.

Respect the kids and respect the coaches. Respect the work and effort everyone invests, no matter how disappointing the outcome is. Use games and sports to build character in our young people, not to expose poor character. Please read this post and think about it.  If it helps, then pass it on to the next person before we adults take all the fun out of this great game.

Football is NOT Life! (originally posted on September 21, 2010)

I know this may sound highly irrational and maybe even a bit hypocritical coming from me, but contrary to what the t-shirts say, FOOTBALL IS NOT LIFE!.

Football is the greatest damn game ever invented, but it is not life.  Football is intensity, competitiveness, sportsmanship and violence, but it is not life.  Football requires immense strategy and teamwork, but it is not life.  Football provides education, drama, entertainment, and a solidarity which binds communities, campuses and fan bases throughout the nation, but it is not life.  Football is universal, it is played by presidents and paupers, genius and idiot, big and small, aggressive and passive, rich and poor, but it is not life.  Football should not be all consuming.  Football should not be the top priority.  I know this for a fact, I have tripped and fallen down this hole before (see my story).

Football can be like a package of Oreos, both need to be consumed in moderation.  You’ve been there, you open the package of Oreos and leave it out on the counter.  Sooner, rather than later, the whole package is gone and you don’t feel so good.  But if you open that package and only take a couple of Oreos and place the package in the cupboard for a later date, they not only taste spectacular, but last and satisfy for days upon days.  Football is not life.  It should be taken in moderation and/or with a tall glass of milk, (1% or skim preferably).

Football has it’s proper place, it has it’s proper perspective. Football is not the primary reason for the existence of high schools, colleges and universities.

Yes, football is important.  It is important to compete.  It is important to work hard to be the best coach or player you can be.  It is important to compete with purpose, pride and passion.  But I think Coach Paul Lane said it best with his prioritization of the sport, “Faith, Family, Football, in that order”.

Football is important to me.  But football is not life.  Let’s work to keep football in it’s proper perspective and place. I would hate for you to get a football belly-ache.

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