This blog as might be apparent from the title has to do with running, biking and basically other outdoor individualistic sports, sometimes extreme, such as rock climbing . But don't be surprised if you find articles on work, personal life, music and even philosophy, this blog is an exception in this aspect in the blogosphere of running blogs and I am trying to revamp the blog to make it more runner friendly. You might want to look at the sidebar titled 'categorised', which as is obvious, categorizes my posts into different areas of interest.
The other thing that might interest many people is a section on 'running videos' and 'general videos' on the side bar, which I keep updating now and then.
I plan to bring in more posts on running and biking, with some added colour, so as to make them 'complete'. That's about it for now.
As a post-note, I have run a half-marathon, but I am yet to attempt a marathon, which through some concerted effort and time should happen in the future, but that ofcourse is not the culmination of this blog, it would on the contrary be something to jumpstart this blog onto new vistas.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I really am. I can feel the itch all the time. I need to do it soon. I really am handicapped without it. My father wants it too, though not as intensely as I do and not as urgently as I do.
The one thing that has always been by my side, whenever I needed it..Now, its a distant dream. Anyway, I am patient, I have always been. For those highs are worth the despair, worth the wait. Two years of bliss and then boom, I had to forsake it. No one's mistake though..just the circumstances, life they say has a weird sense of humour. Just when I was getting to be really comfortable with it, enjoying those long sessions.... anyway fretting and fuming has done no good to any here I stop my rant.

Wishing to see you soon in a new avatar..a new make
Yours truly

Sunday, August 27, 2006


My earlier post on 50-50-50 mentioned how Dean Karnazes was going to attempt 50 marathons in 50 states of north america in 50 consecutive days.
This post is to remind you that while Dean is still yet to start on his mission(17th sept 2006), another ultrarunner, Sam Thompson from Mississipi has already accomplished what Dean had set out to do.
He was written off as being incapable of finishing the mission, but Sam not only finished 50 marathons in as many days, he decided to finish it in style with another marathon, making it a la
Dean Karnazes funded by the North Face Endurance company offers people to run with him in any of the marathons during this epic 50-50-50 for a price of 100$, though Sam was happy to do the same for free. Also while Sam ran an average of 4 hr marathons with a best of 3:29, Dean would be running 4.5 - 5 hr marathons. There is a lot of dissent in the ultra-running community about Dean's commercial propaganda of ultra-running, though it can't be argued that he hasn't popularised or atleast made aware of the sport to the layman.

Friday, August 25, 2006

On stability, earth and social development

Roger Penrose in his book 'The Large, the small and the human mind' mentions that our planet earth has two stable equilibrium states:
a) An atmosphere that is filled with noxious gases at high temperatures, with a weather comprising storms that pour down acid rain and the earth's surface in a chaotic dynamic state. Essentially a state where no meaningful life can exist.
b) The earth blanketed in an ultra-thick sheet of ice a.k.a the ice age.

The fi(e)ry state is much similar to the one on a planet like the mercury and the icy state, well, can be imagined. Now, if these two states are the stable ones for a planet like earth, what about the state of earth we are living in. That ofcourse is a state of unstable equilibrium, an equilibrium that is dependent on a million or gazillion factors. The earth that exists today was different from the one that existed a few days back and will be different every moment as is determined by the factors that decide the state of this delicate equilibrium. But what changes could be effected on earth in an ice age or a gas age? More ice?! More gaseous activity?! It doesn't matter, you get either ice or gas, the same stuff.

Looking at earth(especially earth among all other planets) from this unstable equilibrium perspective makes us think of how extremely arduous or impossible task it would be to simulate the functioning of earth comprising the various ecosystems making up the biosphere.
The ecosystem of earth, though a continuosuly evolving system is a system that left to itself can go on functioning smoothly and efficiently till either the sun runs out of fuel(hydrogen) or an asteroid or comet the size of 2-3 miles or more strikes the earth head on.
Given that our sun is aged 5 billion years, we can put off worrying about it converting into a red giant or a white dwarf till another 5 billion years.
An asteroid or a comet could ofcourse strike earth and given a decent diameter(1-2 miles), enough damage would be done to put earth into ice age(the haze of dust that would envelop the earth after such a catastrophe would prevent the sunlight from reaching the earth for a time long enough to freeze the earths surface) .
These two occurences are unavoidable in due course of time and hence nothing much can be done about it(ofcourse progressive technology could make us shoot out a nuclear missile into space diverting the comet or asteroid's trajectory thus avoiding a catastrophe on earth).
What can be avoided ofcourse is the human tampering of the ecosystem.

People grossly under-estimate the effects global warming, air,water, soil pollution can have on the earth's biosphere . The age of earth is around 4.5 billion years. The first living organisms on earth orginated 3 billion years ago and intelligent life a million years ago. Given how old earth is,
effects of global warming should be measured on a proportionately larger scale..Not a few years, but decades or better centuries. 0.3 degrees celsius per century or 3 degrees celsius per decade increase in temperature would mean a 10 cm rise in sea levels or a whopping 1 metre increase every century. This rate of temperature increase is in no small amounts and can lead to a perfect setting for unprecedented storms that continually batter the earth creating hostile conditions for survival. And the water level rise means lesser land for habitation by humans and loss of life on submerged lands leading to utter chaos on the earth as a whole. We are already witnessing an increase in the number of storms in places least expected all over the world. In India for example, regular monsoons could be replaced by storms and cyclones and in places like Florida where storms and tornadoes are a regular feature, we could have an avalanche of atmospheric and oceanic activity leading to exotic weather hitherto unknown.

Industrial revolution might very well have improved the standard of living, but technology it seems has gone miles ahead of social development as Michio Kaku asserts in the concluding chapters of his wonderfully crafted book 'Hyperspace'.
What we mean by social development needs to be looked at in detail. Humans started out living in small groups of 8-10 and gradually the cluster expanded. Small clusters gave way to villages and villages to towns and towns eventually into cities comprising nation-states of today's world. As long as technological ill-effects were realised within the boundaries of the nation-states there was no room for conflict. The same was true with the resources used for these technologies.
But once the resources needed were used up at a rate greater than made available by nature, nation-states looked to colonisation of other nations thereby capturing the resources of the conquered nations.
As the industrial revolution progressed and technological improvements happened at an exponential rate, a new world order was the need of the hour. Since air pollution caused by one nation didn't necessarily restrict itself to the boundaries of the nation, the existence of nation-states with boundaries demarcating the different nations from one another needed a thorough redressal. Not just pollution and CO2 emissions, but more important issues like Nuclear proliferation cannot be resolved without a change in the social order of the society. We need fewer nations with decisions made and reviewed on a scale larger than that of a mere nation.

We need unions, unions of nations and even better, unions of unions. The critical decisions, the decisions that could threaten the very fabric of life are best left to these unions. Our present state of technology would enable the massive scale of communication required to review and mobilise decisions on a global scale. Infact the decisions on certain global policies(non-critical but nevertheless important ones) could be based on as simple a tool as an opinion poll on the world wide web, so that all global citizens could exercise their opinion on the issue. This kind of a global decision making process would right away eliminate decisions that could prove detrimental to any of the nations(provided the union of nations isn't biased or manipulated). Eco-friendly products, solutions and way of living would become the norm of such a society. We would then also focus our space colonisation efforts with resources pooled from one union rather than each nation doing independent research and making meagre progress.

We need to slowly move up the hierarchy, from a sense of belonging to the nation, to that of the union and finally to the world as such. One world would be ideal but such an impressive goal is not in sight atleast in the near decades what with every country looking for its own economic growth and development in a liberalised world without seeking to combine their economic goals with the principles of sustainable development. The frame work and motivation for sustainable development is easily established when we have a world order of unions and a master union - the union of all nations.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Like music? Like trance? Like mandolin? Bring em together, like a dream?
That's the fusion album by Mandolin U. Srinivas and the guitarist Michael Brook.
The first track of the four track album called 'dance' struck me as a real good piece on first hearing. The tracks are simple words: dance, dream, run and think. Check them out here.

Surely you are jogging Mr. Arbit man

No my dear friend, I don't jog. I run

Prologue to a philosophical discussion

Pre-script: When I am not either running or cycling, my posts reflect the same. Even otherwise, I don't like restricting the scope of this blog to all things running and hence 'Musings of a runner' should be interpreted as "Musings of a person(who enjoys running) on topics including but not necessarily restricted to running, cycling, etc."

Disclaimer: This post is heavy on science, philosophy and religion and not recommended for light reading.

Note after disclaimer: Though coming from an engineering background, I evince a keen interest in philospohy because I believe science doesn't answer many questions. Though I respect the scientific method of proving a theory through experimental evidence, the limitations in technology might make experimental evidence difficult to obtain for some hypothesises. The quantum theory which explained the strong and weak nuclear forces and the electromagnetic forces couldn't explain the gravitational force. On the other hand, Einstein's theory of relativity, explained gravity through the distortion in space - time(4 dimesnions), that is space time becomes curved around heavy objects.

But Einstein spent the last 30 years of his life trying in vain to bring about a 'theory of everything', that could bring together and explain all the four forces: gravitational, electromagnetic, the strong and weak nuclear forces. But Einstein's quest for the 'marble' as he called the theory of everything wasn't to come by him, as he hadn't gone further in dimensions. Einstein's quest for the 'theory of everything' was lost out in the din of the discovery of numerous sub-atomic particles by quantum theorists. It was not until 1970's that physicists brought out the revolutionary super string theory which explained all the forces as distortions in higher(4,5,6,etc) spatial dimensions. For example, light can be explained as a distortion in the 4th spatial dimension, nuclear force in the 5th dimension and so on. According to string theory, there are 10 spatial dimensions and 1 time dimension making it a total of 11 dimensions in space and time. The essence of string theory is that the whole of matter at the sub-sub-sub atomic level consists of strings of vibrating energy. The frequency of vibration of these strings decides the shape and form of the matter. In contrast, quantum theory goes only as far as quarks, which are contained in protons and neutrons, when describing the fundamental elements of matter. String theory is 'one of a kind' theory since it brings out a lot of possibilities that would be considered science fiction by many. For example: time travel through worm holes or slits in the 3-d fabric of the universe. Our universe as seen through string theory would be a three dimensional fabric wrapped around an n-dimensional hyperspace. Hence, the farthest corner of the universe, could be just a millimeter away from us, but in a higher dimension. Philosophists seem to have taken a fancy for string theory since, ghosts and spirits could be explained as beings of the higher dimensions. Astral travel that is commonly acknowledged in the mystic realm can now be made theoretically possible by string theory as travel in higher dimesions.
The biggest problem with the string theory is that it hasn't been proved so far and is very difficult to prove since these strings are supposed to be of the order of 10^(-33), making it impossible to detect by conventional instruments as the amount of energy required would be akin to planck's energy, something that is generated only during the process of creation. But physicists have already started making use of an approach that can sort of validate the string theory.

Scientists have always wondered why gravity is a force that is weak as compared to the electromagnetic and nuclear forces. For example, a small magnet can extract a piece of metal lying on the floor, when the whole of earth can't use its gravitational force to prevent such an extraction. String theory can explain this anamoly through the atom smashers operational in usa and France. The atom smashers aim at detecting particles emitted when electrons that are accelerated close to the speed of light are made to collide with each other.
Gravitons(particles used to explain the force of gravity) which might be released during this collision are suspected to spread in all dimensions and not just the three dimensions that we know of. Therefore, the disappearance of some of the gravitions might show the existence of higher dimensions(into which some gravitons have escaped).
The age-old question of what existed before the so-called big bang seems to have come into focus with the 'M' Theorists(the follow up on string theory) proposing that what has always existed, does exist and will always exist are membranes(of which the universe is made up of) and that big bangs happen when membranes collide with each other creating space-time and matter. This is not unlike what Maha Purana has to say on this:
"If god created the world, where was He before creation? Know that the world is uncreated, as time itself is, without beginning and end".

As I see it philosophy provides the truths with little or no explanations and science tries to prove the existence or non-existence of these truths. One is an intuitive understanding of the truths, the other is a hard-core experimential evidence based understanding. The limitations in the advance of science(lack of proof for string theory or M theory for example) should by no means restrict people from exploring the realms of philosophy since it's a rich world and could provide excellent intellectual stimuluation and insights.

Kennenisa Bekele with the WR

Robbie Mcewen and steve o'grady - The 'Nudge'