Friday, 28 August 2009

Air Force and Fitness Nazis

About three years ago....I started to hear this expression around guys on base. This was when the Air Force stepped toward a very aggressive fitness program. Now, I probably hear this word usage about three times a month. Around twenty percent of the guys I know....have a daily or weekly whine about this fitness stuff now.

They’ve played the game, and it simply continues on....with no end. I think most have reached this peak that they always dreamed about but never achieved.

Who is the fitness Nazi? Typically, it’s a unit guy who has become a dedicated fitness guru and runs the squadron program. They have special exercises that they advocate and are always watching how you do things. They take this fitness business to the absolute extreme. It’s not about just a simple workout....it’s about an entire life change.

I had one NCO in the office who was at the gym....and some fitness Nazi suddenly jumped into his routine. The use of the machine....the method that the NCO was using....all wrong. The thing was....this was all a method that our guy had been practicing for four years. So the fitness Nazi stood there for five minutes....commenting and trying to impress on our guy....with THE method. Our guy played along but he really didn’t care for this expert advice.

I left the Air Force about five years before the grand introduction of the fitness program. For me, it was simply a routine. I would go through a nine-month period....twice a week running a mile or two. Once a week, I’d show up and lift weights for 20 minutes and then ride the bike for 20 minutes. I always took off at Thanksgiving and for 90 days....did absolutely nothing.

My prospective was that you couldn’t keep a 365-day routine going. You eventually got tired. It’s that way with the NBA crowd, the baseball crowd, and the NFL guys.

Today? The Air Force has mandated a 365-day routine and testing to emphasize that idea.

How long will it last? I’m betting three years max. When guys show up with knee and hip issues.....and then they start to waiver twenty percent of an entire unit...there will be questions. Eventually, they will agree that you have to lessen the requirements, to make a 365-day plan work.

A Green Story

The Times of London came up with an interesting story this week:

Giant fly-swat shaped “synthetic trees” line the road into the office, where blooms of algae grow in tubes up the walls and the roof reflects heat back into the sky — all reducing the effects of global warming.

All this could be a familiar sight within the next two decades, under proposals devised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to alter the world’s climate with new technology.

A day after John Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Secretary, warned that negotiations for a global deal to cut carbon emissions were in danger of collapsing, the institution is recommending a series of technical fixes to “buy time” to avert dangerous levels of climate change.

It says that the most promising solution is offered by artificial trees, devices that collect CO2 through their “leaves” and convert it to a form that can easily be collected and stored. Tim Fox, head of environment and climate change at the institution, said that the devices were thousands of times more effective at removing carbon from the atmosphere than real trees.

I sat and read over the concept. It’s a funny thing….I came to grasp this idea back around 2002 and kept pondering why you would not do this. I was corrected one day….by an environmentalist....on this idea. It violates the Kyoto Treaty.

Yes, apparently the guys who wrote the Kyoto Treaty….established that synthetic trees were to be illegal in terms of “counting” off your sins of global warming. I laughed at this and looked it up. Yes, they actually wrote that inventing trees that would make the situation better….was not to be a goal of any signee. They had a golden path…where you had to use less….to make Kyoto work.

So here we are…..and some British geeks have this really great concept. I’m thinking it might be the answer….unless the smart environmentalists go out and recite the Kyoto Treaty.

Sleep

The AP now reports that the CIA tested sleep deprivation limits. Apparently, CIA operatives used severe sleep tactics against a detainee in 2007....keeping him awake for six days straight days with permission from government lawyers.

I sat and read through the whole article. Apparently, a number of folks are now upset by this and really want to punish the guys involved and name the government lawyers in court....expecting this to readily fix whatever was “wrong”.

I pondered this event.

In my youth....out of the Rhein Main days....I probably had two or three weekends where I went 36 hours straight without sleep. It didn’t involve any interrogation dudes or government lawyers....although booze or Fleetwood Mac music might have been involved to some degree. What I learned from this period was that at the 36 hour period....if you had given me a test of a dozen math problems.....I would have been lucky to complete three of the problems.

In the 1990s, I ended up in a deployment situation where over a fifteen day period, I averaged four hours of sleep a day. I could see mental and emotional problems if I had continued that trend for another fifteen days.

What’s amusing by this AP report...is that they wanted to let you know that the State Department regularly lists sleep deprivation as a form of torture. Then the AP lets you know that Iran, Syria and Indonesia regularly engage in this type of torture.

Here’s the real bottom line to this whole thing....sleep deprivation....beyond 48 hours....produces hallucinations and makes people willing to accept any argument...any suggestion....any comment. If you asked a guy if he could build a nuke in his basement....the guy will say sure (whether true or false). So in the end...whatever knowledge or data you wanted....is mostly bogus.

You can sleep well tonight....as you realize the CIA....along with Iran and Syria....are all collecting bogus data off their sleep deprived torture victims. They proudly report this up various channels as official information....and will continue to do this.

In the end....some Senate group will pass a law which forbids this method in the US.....and folks will argue that we are hurting the gathering of REAL intelligence (whether true or false data....they don’t care).