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Showing posts from May, 2010

On biomechanics: simplicity vs complexity

I've been preparing this humongous post on this but decided in the end to postpone it and just put up a short and easy one instead.
I wanted to for some time to voice my opinion regarding biomechanical modelling. And in particular the subject of complexity versus simplicity. Biological systems are frequently very complex, the details of which are often poorly understood. The musculoskeletal system is no exception. I shan't linger on how complex the musculoskeletal system is, but I will comment on the approaches in which we try and model this complexity, or approximate it.
With the advent of affordable computers, it has become expected for biomechanicists to perform high-complexity analyses with many parameters. I'm all for development of sophisticated models and analyses. It helps identify elements of the musculoskeletal system that are otherwise difficult if not impossible to determine. But herein lies the problem; a lot of the complexity, be it the actual values of …

On Republic Commandos: the books not the game

I'm going to comment on Star Wars again, this time on a series of books I recently read; Republic Commando and Imperial Commando by Karen Traviss. This series is supposed to be an official tie-in to the game Republic Commando, which I really liked (although I thought it could be longer; only three stages?!). I was hesitant to read this because I was scared that I would be disappointed by the novels (which I tend to more and more these days) so I had put off reading until Order 66 had just come out. Now being a fan of stormtroopers and clone troopers, I had to read Order 66; that was a requirement for me. But because it was the newest book in a series, I had to first read the other three books, Hard Contact, Triple Zero and True Colours. So I decided to buy these books and started reading.
Hard Contact I found was kind of interesting, not bad at all. Although I found it a bit boring and not at all like the game I was so used to - you know, working as a unit and blasting throug…

On calipers

I'll ramble on about calipers today, just because I like calipers. In my line of business I use calipers very frequently. And not just a normal handy 150mm caliper, but a larger 300mm caliper or an even larger 600mm calliper. So I'll just list my callipers in size order.
150mm glass fibre dial calliper I really like this one, despite the fact that I bought it at a local hardware shop - if it's good enough to refurbish your kitchen or build a bed, then it's good enough for me. So far I've trusted my life with the works of carpenters/engineers so I don't see why I can't trust my measurements using their tools. To begin with, craniometrics are not the most precisely defined measurements and taking these at the precision of 0.01 mm is absurd - rounding to the closest mm is fine, at least it's accurate to the mm or maybe 0.1mm.
Anyway, I digressed. I like this dial calliper because first of all it is very easy to read. Unlike vernier calipers dial callip…