Yeninko of the Umlaut

Monday, April 16, 2007

What 200 Calories Looks Like

I'm loath to turn this blog into another digg link wonder-world but I thought What 200 Calories looks like was pretty cool. (Note: 3500 calories are required to put on one pound of weight)

Calories are weird because they are simply a measure of energy. Colloquially used they refer to how much energy a food contains. Incinerate some carrots and measure how much energy is produced and that is it's caloric value. Ditto for potato salad, etc. Interestingly, just because something has calories (say gasoline or wood) isn't an indication that our body can process that energy. Nonetheless, I've often been curious of the calorie content of some non-edible substances (gasoline has 242,187.5 per oz. and wood has 149,375 per oz. but numbers for fuel sources are easy to come by). For example, how many calories are in my work badge or keyboard.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007


For most of the last year I’ve found myself unable to motivate myself to read. With the exception of The Road, which was fantastic, I haven’t been able to finish a book even on the rare occasion when I would pick one up.

This was a significant departure for me, having finished at least a book a month since I was nine and read my first book for pleasure, Guadalcanal Diary (I was a late starter to reading but vociferous once started). Until I was in college I hadn’t stopped reading book without finishing it, no matter how terrible.

Nonetheless, I caught this bug and the bug left me disinterested in reading pretty much anything at all. At first I suspected it was a lack of Good Books to read but I think ultimately some sort of mental lethargy had set in. Like work I was moving through a sort of ho-hum mental existence, no challenges, living fat and comfortable, no reason to exercise the ol’peanut.

But that apparently has all changed. I’ve recently started World War Z, buy the same author of The Zombie Survival Guide. The reviews of the latter are good but the former, well I only have 100 pages left so I’m going to finish it, but I don’t recommend it.

I’ve also picked up Suite Francaise, which apparently is sweeping through France, The Great Bridge about the Brooklyn bridge and by the same author as 1776 (a fine book), The Posionwood Bible and This I Believe which is based on the NPR series of essays by the same name and which often rouses me from my slumber in the morning in the form of an alarm.

And I’m thrilled about reading them all. Lately I’ve been feeling like life is moving by me so fast. But there is something about reading a book that makes time seem to pause. As if I can pick up a book and read about a life’s journey only to sit up to and that not a lifetime but only a few hours have passed.

Books, it’s good to be back.