## Tuesday, December 27, 2011

### PACING YOURSELF - The Answer Key!

In our last titillating post, we briefly discussed the ways in which different runners pace themselves to arrive at the finish line of a 5 Kilometer race. We choose three mathematicians to compete, each one using his own approach to pacing the his way to the finish line. The award for the fastest and first to arrive at the finish (amid cheers, popping champagne corks, autograph requests and other of the accoutrements accompanying a heroic feat) was a free XXL Tee- Shirt (with the event sponsor's name, Tanks-A-Lot Cesspool Cleaning Service, "We Keep You Running". Here we go....
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Since we are Braintenance, we will choose a five kilometer race, in which three mathematicians are competing. Each has a distinct running pattern, strategy or (ulp!) formula for spanning the distance.

The question to answer regarding each runner is simply this: "How long will it take him (in minutes) to reach the finish line to receive his souvenir Tee-shirt?" Of course, these Ts are only available in one size...XXL.

Note: When we speak of percentage increases or decreases, each such increase or decrease is based upon the initial pace. This is not one of Douglas E. Castle's infamous "compound interest meets calculus" problems.

Here's the lineup of our contestants:

Racer 1:  This fellow runs (on average) one kilometer every 18 minutes.

He runs at a steady pace of one kilometer (British? Kilometre!)  every 18 minutes. The calculation is simple 18 minutes x 5K = 90 minutes.

Racer 2:  This fellow starts the race at a rate of one kilometer every 12 minutes, but his pace declines by 10% per kilometer.

This fellow starts out like a soldier with dysentery, but slows down at a constant rate:

1st Kilometer =12 minutes.
2nd Kilometer =13.2 minutes
3rd Kilometer =14.4 minutes
4th Kilometer =15.6 minutes
5th Kilometer =16.8 minutes

If we add the time it took him to conquer each kilometer, his total time was 72 minutes.

Racer 3:  This fellow starts the race at a rate of one kilometer every 30 minutes (remember the tortoise and the hare?), but his pace increases by 15% per kilometer.

Here's this fellow's pacing pattern:

1st Kilometer = 30 minutes
2nd Kilometer = 25.5 minutes
3rd Kilometer = 21 minutes
4th Kilometer = 16.5 minutes
5th Kilometer = 12 minutes

If we add up this fellow's time (he's apparently a 'late bloomer'), we arrive at a total time of 105 minutes. It is interesting to note that he ran his last kilometer at the same pace at which the second runner ran his first.

And the winner was runner #2 (ironic, considering the name of the sponsor).

Now that we've learned (unknowingly!) about rates of decay, rates of acceleration and how slow most mathematicians tend to be as runners, we can leave the realm of racism, and graduate to more exciting cerebral challenges.

Douglas E. Castle for BRAINTENANCE

## Saturday, December 24, 2011

### PACING YOURSELF: A Braintenance Cerebrethon* - Re-Posted

Image (somewhat distracting and annoying) via Wikipedia

Progress, from the starting line to the finish line, can occur in many different ways. Some start the race slowly but speed up toward the end, using reserves of strength; some jog along at a steady, even pace; still others virtually go into orbit at the start and burn out quickly to a vomitous, spleen-gripping, huff-and-puff walk.

Since we are Braintenance, we will choose a five kilometer race, in which three mathematicians are competing. Each has a distinct running pattern, strategy or (ulp!) formula for spanning the distance.

The question to answer regarding each runner is simply this: "How long will it take him (in minutes) to reach the finish line to receive his souvenir Tee-shirt?" Of course, these Ts are only available in one size...XXL.

Here's the lineup of our contestants:

Racer 1:  This fellow runs (on average) one kilometer every 18 minutes.

Racer 2:  This fellow starts the race at a rate of one kilometer every 12 minutes, but his pace declines by 10% per kilometer.

Racer 3:  This fellow starts the race at a rate of one kilometer every 30 minutes (remember the tortoise and the hare?), but his pace increases by 15% per kilometer.

Okay, friends. Let the cerebration begin.

*Cerebrethon is indeed a Lingovation, and should be respected as such. It means "a competition involving the thought processes." Just click on the picture of our dear departed Uncle Albert, below, in order to learn more.

## Friday, December 23, 2011

### PACING YOURSELF: A Braintenance Cerebrethon*

Image (somewhat distracting and annoying) via Wikipedia

Progress, from the starting line to the finish line, can occur in many different ways. Some start the race slowly but speed up toward the end, using reserves of strength; some jog along at a steady, even pace; still others virtually go into orbit at the start and burn out quickly to a vomitous, spleen-gripping, huff-and-puff walk.

Since we are Braintenance, we will choose a five kilometer race, in which five mathematicians are competing. Each has a distinct running pattern, strategy or (ulp!) formula for spanning the distance.

The question to answer regarding each runner is simply this: "How long will it take him (in minutes) to reach the finish line to receive his souvenir Tee-shirt?"

Here's the lineup of our contestants:

Racer 1:  This fellow runs (on average) one kilometer every 18 minutes.

Racer 2:  This fellow starts the race at a rate of one kilometer every 12 minutes, but his pace declines by 10% per kilometer .

Racer 3:  This fellow starts the race at a rate of one kilometer every 30 minutes (remember the tortoise and the hare?)

Let the cerebration begin! - Douglas E. Castle

*Cerebrethon is indeed a Lingovation, and should be respected as such. It means "a competition involving the thought processes." Just click on the picture of our dear departed Uncle Albert, below, in order to learn more.

## Monday, December 19, 2011

### De-Stress, Relax, Defragment: A Braintenance Experiment

 While you look at the above photo with doubt, aren't you just the slightest bit envious?

We defragment our computers. We take our automobiles in for servicing after we've driven them for a while. We have blood drawn and go to doctors for all sorts of tests. Why is it that we each tend to put our own state of psychological and emotional health last on our list of life-maintenance priorities? We need to rest, re-set, re-calibrate and refresh our perspective from time to time... and we actually damage our incredibly complex and delicate inner workings by this 'customary' neglect.

We burn out. We break down. We make bad decisions and say things that we regret. When we fail to maintain our brains, we do damage to ourselves, to those around us, and possibly (to those of you who are excited by theosophy, Rosicrucianism, collectivism, and the Celestine Prophesy sort of thing) even the Collective Consciousness. It would seem that we do a great deal of unintended harm by not tending to our minds. That is something that can, and should be changed. Why not begin today?  Give some thought to your thinking (ahem).

De-Stress, Relax, Defragment - A Braintenance Experiment.

A friend and colleague (they are not necessarily mutually exclusive) who shall remain nameless (as his parents thought so highly of him that they chose not to label him with a name which might limit his possibilities and prospects) sent me a collection of fascinating meditation videos, each of which is worth watching and listening to. We should, each of us, take more time to meditate -- to either clear our thoughts, or to re-focus our thinking on things other than those which tend to preoccupy us, and lead us to a state of frustrated exhaustion or a dreary dead end where fatigue sets in and replaces creativity.

Please click on each of the links below, enjoy the audio and visual experience, click the "BACK" button on your browser, and return to click on another.  Then repeat the process. Do this when you have a good half-hour to a two-hour interval of truly free time. That means no TV, no texting, no whittling, no eating. Just sit back in a comfortable chair and luxuriate in the feeling of having an external medium free you from your habitual effort of conscious or volitional thought.

At very worst, it may prove a seeming waste of a bit of time -- at best, it will change your pattern of thought formation and put you into a better place, with a better perspective. Here's hoping. By the way, I guarantee that mediation does not ever work when you don't actually attempt to do it. Suspend your natural skepticism and propensity toward disbelief (wrought through the experience of past disillusionment) and let it go. I am telling you, personally [Douglas E. Castle to each and every respected reader and esteemed visitor] that IT WILL WORK.

A word of apology -- since these are YouTube videos, they are sometimes subject to either mysterious disappearance or malfunction. If you should happen upon a clunker, simply proceed to the next.

Pick and click:

While your in this neighborhood, I would also recommend another form of self-indulgent escape therapy. Take a few minutes several times every day to listen to a bit of music. It is the ultimate rapid mental flossing for the multitasking manic overachievers that most of us have become. Music has power. I may be slightly biased, but I highly recommend listening to some of the selections on RadioDAZZ, at http://RadioDAZZ.blogspot.com. You might become a fan or make that site a favorite.

Here's to all of you, my friends!

## Thursday, December 8, 2011

### Controlling Objects With Your Mind?

Telekinesis has long been the subject of scientific exploration, experimentation and some fiction, as well. Not as abstract and as difficult to quantify or evidence as astral projection, ESP, clairvoyance and other fancy stuff, telekinesis is a phenomenon that could be  the subject of a controlled laboratory trial. The notion of moving objects with the power  of the mind (psycho bioenergetics) is physically measurable. A preferred term for this same phenomenon is psychokinesis. An interesting variation on this theme is mind-controlled or thought-manipulated robotics. There is a great deal of research into this area (like telekinesis, but perhaps with an intervening catalyst or machine) because of its unfathomably vast applicability. We might be getting closer than you'd imagined.

If we are absolutely certain that no other forces are at play (such as gravity, air currents, poltergeists, or an object that has the machinery or mechanism to move itself), we can measure the following Braintenance  physical variables:

1) How far the object was moved.

2) How much energy was utilized (a function of the weight or mass of the object and the distance it was made to travel).

3) How much energy was produced by the mover's mind on average per unit of time. Think about this - If you needed a group of telekinetic wunderkinds to move a pyramid or a paperweight - would you choose your team from the ones (on average) who could muster the force to move a two-pound brick six inches in 5 minutes, or from the ones who could muster the force to move a two pound brick twelve inches in five minutes?

You might find the following article excerpt to be of great interest, especially if it is possible that telekinetic ability can be cultivated through exercise:

The article link comes to us courtesy of SmartPlanet:

The BodyWave, an iPod-sized device, can read your mind through the body instead of monitoring directly from your head. The gadget measures brain activity to control 3D simulations on the computer screen, helping to minimize stress and anxiety.  Read the full story

The possibilities, assuming a solid validation of telekinetic ability, and the power to train and focus it to become stronger and more efficient are limitless for either Human advancement (repairing decaying infrastructure) or Human destruction (dropping objects on each other's feet).

Other articles which might be of interest, a few of which relate to the subject matter of this article, and some which are either humorous deliberately or by default.

## Saturday, December 3, 2011

### I Will Teach You Nothing - You Will Learn Much From Me

Image via Wikipedia - Rene Descartes: philosopher, mathematician, theoretical physicist, and a fellow with an unkempt but nonetheless fascinating hairstyle.

Most individuals don't actually understand the distinction between teaching (a third-person exercise) and learning (a first-person exercise).

When a wise philosopher [most philosophers are assumed to be wise -- this is principally out of respect, I believe, for any person with the wondrous ability to a) survive without actually having to either earn a living by some sort of work, or b) with the good fortune to be leisurely whittling away at a substantial familial inheritance while pontificating about whatever happens to be on his or her mind] said to one of his disciples (every successful philosopher worth his weight in either hemlock or horse manure must have disciples):

"I will teach you nothing. And you will learn much from me," he was not even stating a clever paradox. There actually is no puzzle or riddle embedded in this preliminarily conflictory-seeming statement. If you don't quite understand why, re-read the first sentence of this post.
If that doesn't satisfy, read on:

We learn by teaching ourselves. No one truly teaches us. We learn by voluntary applying our senses and ability to reason to teaching ourselves. This is what is meant when someone (usually a meddlesome, conceited, self-proclaimed "adult") says,"You can best teach by example," or "children don't learn by what we preach to them; they learn by observing what we actually do."

A teacher is a catalyst, or a source of information, or an inspiration. But we learn by teaching ourselves.

## Sunday, November 27, 2011

### Wisdom Is Timeless

News Versus Wisdom: Transient Versus Timeless

I had actually meant to post this item of possible interest to those of you who might be interested in Asian politics, demographic trends, capital markets, inevitable eastern world domination, Rare Earth Element export restrictions, exotic recipes, FOREX, and so forth many months ago, when I actually received it. It might have been critically important then -- but then again, as I do not read and comprehend any languages other than English, some German and a bit of urban Spanish (either written or spray painted on aging infrastructure), I hadn't any idea what it meant. If it was breaking news, then this post will be seem to be a waste to many of you. Or perhaps, for those of you who may be Braintenance or Sending Signals adherents, it might actually be incredibly thought-provoking.

Before deleting the correspondence, I thought, "What if the message contained in these curious characters is not breaking news, per se? What if it is wisdom?" I realized at that moment that news is time sensitive, and may have limited utility, whereas wisdom is timeless and has limitless utility. News is important, but transient... wisdom is always relevant. This is a very under-appreciated difference. It captures the very essence of why a wonderful book retains its appeal over centuries while yesterday's racing form, stock market tip, or last month's election forecast may be of such short-lived relevance. The original post follows:
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This morning I received the following correspondence, and wanted to share it with my friends and colleagues immediately. If what this person claims is actually true, things could be much better than any of us had originally thought. I offer it here for your consideration. Please be at liberty to write me back with your thoughts on this very serious matter. Whatever it may be. I am hopeful that it will not translate to something socially inappropriate for my general audience:

p.s. It is occasionally considered "bad form" to send spam to people. But, technically speaking, this letter is merely information and an inquiry. Perplexingly, I do not know whether or not the forwarded correspondence is spam -- it may well be a formula for a cancer cure...then again, it could be an ad for cheap Cialis from a pharmacy in Mexico.

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Interestingly enough, the above message (I believe it was a response to a post on one of my blogs from some time ago), may or may not be of any significance or utility. It is actually irrelevant to this article.

The importance of this article is by no means dependent upon (or even related to the curious characters in the curious characters above. The importance of this article is that news becomes either stale or irrelevant quickly -- it has a very limited shelf-life. But wisdom, whenever it arrives, remains relevant forever. News is a report. Wisdom is a vastly applicable rule, born of an important observation.

Keep up with the news to remained informed and prepared...but pursue wisdom in order to become the owner of a greater mind. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the news were enriched with more wisdom? Wouldn't it be wonderful if those persons who reported the news [objectively and accurately], could end with an observation regarding the news item that represented some wisdom derived from the news?

## Tuesday, November 22, 2011

### Homographs: Right - Left Brain Links... [Hemispheric Integration]

Homographs, for you ever-curious Braintenancers, are words which are always spelled in the same way but have multiple meanings in varied contexts. Some simple examples are words such as "keys," "lead," and "   .". The curious mental magic associated with reading or spelling with these words forces your right brain (the artistic, abstract , conceptualist) to cooperate with your left brain (the literal, pattern-seeking, logical, analytic computer) to solve puzzles, questions or jokes which cause you to simultaneously and creatively access both hemispheres of your brain. In doing this left-right "getting to know you" exercise, your thinking processes will improve in a number of aspects. you will find yourself able to look at every grouping of words in several different ways. It allows you to develop synergy between your imagination and your direct logic.
These words have the advantage of improving your punsmanship, your understanding of double entendres and your deciphering of subtle concealed messages within seemingly simple combinations of words. Your perception of words and meanings will deepen, as will you appreciation of native language:
Just compiling a list of these homographs can be a challenging referencing exercise. Here are a few to start off your list, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Many of these have first syllables that evolved from Latin prepositions, although again that does not account for all of them. Also, some of these words only exhibit the stress alternation in certain varieties of English. For a list of homographs with different pronunciations (heteronyms) see List of heteronyms
Do you know where words are stored in your brain…?
As you know your brain has two sides (two hemi­spheres) con­nected by the cor­pus cal­lo­sum. So you have one tem­po­ral lobe on each side of the brain. Let's get them to wok together.
If you are right-handed, your lan­guage is stored mostly in your left tem­po­ral lobe. If you are left-handed, you are not so lat­er­al­ized and your lan­guage is stored a bit on both sides of your brain in the tem­po­ral lobes.
Words in the brain are not stored ran­domly. They seemed to be quite orga­nized. Research has shown that words that are often heard together (such as salt and pep­per) or words that share some mean­ing (such as nurse and doc­tor) are con­nected or asso­ci­ated in the brain. Once you hear one, the other is activated.
Here is a brain exer­cise whose aim is to stim­u­late the con­nec­tions or asso­ci­a­tions between words in your tem­po­ral lobe.
In the left col­umn you have a pair of words. Your goal is to find a third word that is con­nected or asso­ci­ated with both of these two words.
The first pair is PIANO and LOCK. The answer is KEY. The word key is con­nected with both the word piano and the word lock: there are KEYS on a piano and you use a KEY to lock doors.
Once Again: Key is what is called a homo­graph: a word that has more than one mean­ing but is always spelled the same.
Ready to stim­u­late con­nec­tions in your tem­po­ral lobe(s)? Enjoy! (Solu­tions are below. Please don’t check them until you have tried to solve all the pairs!)
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Ready to stim­u­late con­nec­tions in your tem­po­ral lobe(s)? Enjoy! (Solu­tions are below. Please don’t check them until you have tried to solve all the pairs!)
1. LOCK — PIANO
2. SHIP — CARD
3. TREE — CAR
4. SCHOOL — EYE
5. PILLOW — COURT
6. RIVER — MONEY
7. BED — PAPER
8. ARMY — WATER
9. TENNIS — NOISE
10. EGYPTIAN — MOTHER
11. SMOKER — PLUMBER
— This arti­cle was inspired by a piece writ­ten by Pas­cale Mich­e­lon, Ph. D., for SharpBrains.com. Dr. Mich­e­lon has a Ph.D. in Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­ogy and has worked as a Research Sci­en­tist at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in Saint Louis, in the Psy­chol­ogy Depart­ment. She con­ducted sev­eral research projects to under­stand how the brain makes use of visual infor­ma­tion and mem­o­rizes facts. She is now an Adjunct Fac­ulty at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity, and teaches Mem­ory Work­shops in numer­ous retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties in the St Louis area. Douglas E. Castle and The Braintenance Blog graciously offer their thanks to both Dr. Michelon and SharpBrains.com.
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Here are some of the answers to the questions above: PIPE. You simply have to find the rest of them by clapping those two hemispheres together!