Saturday, 20 June 2015

Estimating Calories from random foods

Every piece of food you buy in Canada is equipped with a Nutrition Facts label.

This label presents an data total Calories, Fibre, Fat, Sodium, Carbs, Protein and micronutrients per serving. Of those, only protein, fat, and carbs contribute meaningfully to total calories. There are some odd trends in the labelling practises. For instance "Fat" and "Carbohydrates" have a "% Daily Value" (%DV) associated with them, but not protein. This is odd, since recommended protein intake is much easier to estimate a priori than either carbs or fat (more on that later). It's also odd that %DV of total calories is not given, since fat and carbs (whose recommended percentages are given) make up the bulk of food calories. Yet so much data is given, seems we could figure this out. Is it possible to reverse engineer the nutrition data given, make some simple assumptions, and sneakily obtain total recommended daily calories?

My Goal: using only the packaging of random food items (and one assumption about protein intake), I will determine the tacit daily caloric intake made by Health Canada.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

(Questionable) ideas for promoting road races

In the USA, for the year 2014, total marathon and half marathon participation numbers are at an all-time high. There are almost 100 races across the US with more than a thousand participants. All good news so far.

We've come a long way from the niche sport that was marathon racing 40 years ago; total numbers have since increased 20-fold. There is no reason to suspect a collapse of the system, as races require little capital investment compared with, say, a soccer stadium or an NHL-worthy ice rink. But there are hints that 2015 will see an absolute peak in race numbers. This could lead to a small, but noticeable, chain of events.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Drugs in sport: a manifesto of sorts

Here are some propositions for putting drugs in context with the broader definitions in sport.  There are no hyperlinks to news articles. There are no equations. There are no scientific articles and few drugs are actually mentioned in context. We assume the drugs work as prescribed. Anyone reading this far already has opinions on the matter of drugs in sport, therefore I am avoiding superfluous quotes from other op-eds.

I am searching for beginnings, rather than ends to the conversation on drugs in competition. We already know 'getting caught' is 'bad'. But why? What starting point brought us to this conclusion? These are seven propositions that seem, collectively, like as good a starting place as any. Basically I have assembled collection of (what appear to be) generally-true statements about drugs. Some statements are trivial, others contentious, some others vague. I'm curious what others see in them.

So here are the seven propositions for what we consider when bettering oneself at a sport: