The Athletic Head: The Real Advantage of Race in Sports

We’ve written about race in sports before. That’s actually where this whole thing started unraveling for me.

There’s a statistical discrepancy in the skull size of black people and others: they’re smaller. There’s some debate as to what it means and if there is even a discrepancy at all. Let’s just assume for a minute that the African brain is smaller on average than other brains. 

Why is that important? Because with our brain entropy model, this smaller-skulled race would have an athletic advantage. Especially in “fast twitch” events. Because the engine is smaller, it takes less energy to start, and therefore can start quicker.

White people can’t jump. If you assume that the more entropy you have in the brain, the slower the time perception, smaller brains would be much more likely to jump higher and run faster.

Faster recovery. If we also assume the brain is made of the same substance, this smaller brain would also cool off faster when overheated. Another advantage in most sports.

Less sleep. If sleep cools the brain, a smaller brain would mean less cooling, and less sleep necessary to zero out entropy from the day. We’ve explored this concept before. 

What about all those great distance runners from Kenya? I’ll just put this here. Brain_Size_Map.png

But also, this race has a much greater risk of death by stroke or heart attack. How does that relate? A stroke happens when your brain pressure gets too high. For smaller brains, higher pressure is easier to attain. So the same mechanism that gives them an advantage at sports, increases their risk of early death.

Assuming that the African brain is smaller, we can predict most aspects that set them apart as athletes as well as their sleep patterns and elevated risks of heart attack and stroke.

Sources:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_size
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/african-americans-and-heart-disease-stroke
  3. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/2017/study-heart-disease-stroke-cutting-lives-black-americans
  4. https://www1.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/1996reviewRushton.pdf
  5. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/poll-reveals-sleep-differences-among-ethnic-groups

Rethinking the 100-meter dash

What’s the smallest unit of time that you can perceive. How much does it change throughout the day? At what points does time fly? 

I’ve noticed is that as I relax my mind and see better, my “now” becomes longer. I think it’s why if you focus on a single point when you’re running or working out, you perform better. Because the more “nows” between me and my destination, the worse I’m going to run. Counter-intuitively, the choppier the curves of now, the smoother the time feels. So the fewer points that time stops, the faster time flies. 

Is there any math behind this theory? Yes. Simple calculus. Integre_area37115

Calculus is the math behind finding the exact area of the curve. Take a look at this curve. For a moment, I want you to imagine the curve as time it takes you to run 10 meters. The chops of the curve are your instantaneous now. As you stress your mind and body, these shorten. And you run slower, and you use more energy. The key to your fastest race is the thickest bars under the graph [after you get going]. 

Think about the 100-meter dash. Let’s assume that everyone has perfect running form, and a perfect start. Usain Bolt takes 41 strides, Justin Gatlin takes 42.5, Johan Blake takes 46. Why does that matter? The person that wins the 100-meter dash is the person that slows down the least. Everyone slows down. And if everyone has the same top speed, and gets to that speed in the same amount of time, the only difference between Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin is that Gatlin slows down a little more over the course of the race. His relative “now” is slightly shorter than Bolts, meaning that he’ll need more strides to complete the race. And more energy. And more time. 

There’s one more important thing to discuss about the 100-meter dash. The acceleration phase. The portion of the race where the runner accelerates to top speed. This portion rewards those that compress time the most. The harder you push, the shorter the amount of time between strides, the faster you accelerate. 

So before you write off the 100-meter dash as a simple display of athleticism, remember the delicate balance of rest and relaxation. The race pits runners against each other, and against themselves. Push too hard, and you’ll come up short. Don’t push hard enough, and you lose. Transitioning two opposing mindsets is key as the runners changing their perception of time throughout the race. 

Sources:

  1. https://news.ncsu.edu/2011/06/wms-dogs/
  2. https://animalogic.ca/wild/7-near-psychic-animals-that-might-just-be-able-to-predict-disasters-before-they-happen

Is Running the Key to Aging?

As always, let’s start somewhere completely unrelated: adolescence. 

Think about this for a moment: if our brains control our bodies, do we control our own adolescence? We always talk about puberty like it’s some event that “happens when it happens.” Consider for a moment that we play at least some role in our own development. I think it’s more than that, but I want you to keep reading.

We do not know why some people go through puberty before others. We just don’t. There’s a nice age range and we know that girls typically go before guys, but that’s about it.

So let’s make our typical assumptions. If time does not exist, what is the difference between our subject when she’s 10 and when she’s 15? Her mind. So if her mind is the only thing to change, and we know that age of puberty onset is not genetic, how do we control when we hit puberty?

There are disparities in puberty onset of different races. Take a look at this. There’s a significant average onset age difference between different races and cultures. Surely you know by now that I don’t buy into the fact that genetics controls everything we don’t understand. There are other factors at play here, and we should look at them with an open mind.

Puberty begins earlier in African American girls. We’ve looked into black culture a good bit over the past month. You know what else we know about black girls, generally speaking? They don’t workout

Think about this for a moment: Female track athletes almost always look like they’re fifteen, or younger. You pick your definition of the development of women, and you will not find it in these girls.

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See what I mean?

Running is known to help longevity.  This article goes a lot further than that. It’s basically saying that running is the fountain of youth. So I’ve already written about how aging starts in the brain, so if that is true, what does running do to the brain? I found an article about that too, but then I got to thinking: if we don’t know how the brain works, how can we say what running does that will benefit it? Here’s what you should take away from this: aging is not what you want to do. People get ugly and less productive, and less functional as they age. Cancer and most all diseases develop later in life, as we age. So if running is what we say keeps you from aging, you should run. Or pick your cardio of choice.

So if we know that you today is the same as you tomorrow, and is the same as you in five years, what does running to do slow down the aging process? We know now that aging starts in the brain. As the brain ages, the body ages.

Running can change your brain.  This is a great post that explores the mental benefits from running at several different angles. I think it’s simple: running is a stress reliever and the right amount of cardio helps alter our perception of time.

Think about the sports where the athletes look the best. In my opinion, basketball, soccer, and tennis. Three of the most run-intense sports. I prefer to look at the professional athletes, because you’ll get a larger percentage of days and time on court. The NBA players are in a league of their own.

So find your venue of choice, and go running.