Some Pearls From Recent Reading

Some good quotes from books I have read recently.

From page 78 of Feynman’s Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life. Author Leonard Mlodinov was talking with noble prizewinner Richard Feynman:

feynmans_rainbow“Let me ask you something,” I finally said. “Do you think it would be wise to work on a theory that almost everyone thinks is nonsense?”

“Only under one condition,” he said.

“And what is that?”

“That you don’t think it is nonsense.”

“I am not sure I know enough to tell.”

He chuckled. “Maybe if you knew enough to tell, you would not work on it either.”

“You mean maybe I’m too dumb to know better.”

“Not necessarily. Maybe you just don’t know enough, or know known it long enough, to be spoiled by what you know. Too much education can cause trouble.”

From The Science of the Tour de France: Training secrets of the world’s best cyclists by James Witts, page 39:

“So it’s always a balance between power output and aerodynamics.”

thinking_bodyFrom a real gem written in 1937 by Mabel Todd, The Thinking Body is a must read for anyone interested in human movement.

  • “As soon as the body must function as a unit, as in walking or running, or dealing in any direct way with the environment, the structural lines of connection are drawn tighter and the bony and muscular parts are moved toward center so there is as much economy of effort as possible.” P. 17-18
  • “Posture is incessant.” P. 43
  • The thinking body stands, moves and performs its skills through knowledge of the natural forces and in its dynamic balances.” P. 295

Richard L. Lieber’s Skeletal Muscle Structure, Function, and Plasticity is one of the richest resources I know, a constant source of reference.

  • “Therefore, resist the temptation to classify muscles in terms of anatomy. Instead, state that the rectus femoris always acts to generate hip flexion moment and a knee extension moment but reserve creating general categories in the absence of specifying a motion.” P. 27
  • “Skeletal muscle architecture can be defined as “the arrangement of muscle fibers relative to the axis of force generation.” P. 27
  • “. . . functionally, quadriceps and plantar-flexors are designed for force production based on their low fiber length/muscle length ratios and large physiological cross sectional areas. Conversely, in general, hamstrings and dorsiflexors are designed for high excursions and velocity by nature of their high fiber length/muscle length ratios and relatively small physiological cross-sectional areas.” P. 37
  • “. . . the gait cycle is a wonderfully orchestrated sequence of electrical and mechanical events that culminate in the coordinated propulsion of the body through space.” P. 152
  • “Physiological function may not, therefore, be obviously based only on anatomical configuration.” P. 159
  • “Muscle fiber types are clearly related to performance, but are not the cause for performance at a particular level.” P. 213
  • “‘Strength’ is a very complex phenomenon that has underlying muscular, tendinous, nervous and skeletal components.” P. 258
  • “Whether the level of use increases or deceases, muscle responds accordingly. As you have seen, muscles ate always ‘trying’ to tailor their structural and functional properties to the level of use they experience.” P. 287
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