Dec 4, 2009

The Discovery Files: Winning By A Toe (Learning English with Science)

Audio Transcript:

Winning By A Toe.

I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files -- new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.

Getting a leg up in the sprinting world may have a lot to do with a certain kind of physiology of the foot. Specifically, a runner having longer toes and a unique ankle structure may have an edge.

New research out of Penn State compared the feet of sprinters with non-sprinters, and found some significant structural differences. They measured the distance between the heel and the end of the toes, and used ultrasound images to reveal the leverage of the Achilles tendon1 within the foot. The long and the short of it is that the runners had longer toes, and a shorter 'lever arm' or distance between the tendon and the center rotation of the ankle.

Those long toes let sprinters maintain contact with the ground just a little bit longer than other runners, giving them an extra boost of acceleration.

To take the research into the next heat2, the team used the stats they collected to design a computer model of the foot in various configurations. The greatest acceleration was achieved with the longest toes, and the shortest lever arm.

Built for speed? The jury is still out as to whether a runner can develop a more favorable foot structure through training or whether it's purely genetics.

On your mark -- get set -- toe!Sorry, it's a running gag.

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The Discovery Files

1. Achilles tendon
Please refer to the link below:

2. heat
a single effort, round, bout, or trial; esp., any of the preliminary rounds of a race, etc., the winners of which compete in the final round
--The winner of each show will move into the next heat.
--I'll just take the confidence into the next heat now.

3. on your mark, get set, go!
a three-command start when racing
For more information, visit the following link:,_get_set,_go!

Dec 3, 2009

Remembrance (Word of the Day, 2009/12/2)

remembrance /rɪˋmɛmbrəns/
[singular, uncountable]
►A remembering or being remembered
►when people remember and give honour to someone who has died
--The Anglican church held a service in remembrance of September 11 victims on Sunday morning.
--President Obama gave the keynote address Thursday at a Holocaust (/ˋhɑləˏkɔst/大屠殺) remembrance ceremony at the US Capitol.

[uncountable and countable]
►a memory that you have of a person or event
--Miss Chen was torn between telling the truth and the remembrance of her promise to her headmistress.

►The power to remember
--The witness lost all remembrance of the accident.

►The extent of time over which one can remember
--He had a lively remembrance of his childhood.

►An object that serves to bring to mind or keep in mind some person, event, etc.; souvenir, gift, keepsake, memento, etc.
--He sent me a birthday remembrance.

--Give my remembrance to your father.

Remembrance Day / Remembrance Sunday
►November 11th or The Sunday nearest to it, when a ceremony is held in Britain to remember people who were killed in the two world wars.
--A Canadian soldier in Afghanistan marks Remembrance Day in Nov. 11, 2008, the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Memory /ˋmɛmərɪ/
[countable usually plural]
►something that you remember from the past about a person, place, or experience
--She talked about her memories of the war.
--He has lots of happy memories of his stay in Japan.
--My most vivid memory is not the accident itself but being in the ambulance.
--One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother reading stories to me by the fire.
--Those old songs bring back memories.

a walk/trip down memory lane
►When you spend some time remembering the past
--She returned to her old school yesterday for a trip down memory lane.

►the total of what one remembers
--Fighting memory loss is not as difficult as you might imagine, and you definitely don't have to assume that simply because you're getting older you'll have memory issues.

[uncountable and countable]
►someone's ability to remember things, places, experiences etc
--His phone number has slipped my memory.

►the length of time over which remembering extends;
in/within memory
►during the time that people can remember
--The disaster was within the memory of many men still working at the station.

►commemoration or remembrance
in memory of somebody
►if something is done or made in memory of someone, it is done to remember them and remind other people of them after they have died
--She set up a charitable fund in her father's memory.

►the way you remember someone who has died
somebody's memory
--She died over 40 years ago but her memory lives on
--There's a bench to his memory in the local park.
--People always cherish the memory of the national hero.

remembrance vs. memory
Memory is the generic term, denoting the power by which we reproduce past impressions.
Remembrance is an exercise of that power when things occur spontaneously to our thoughts.

Memory is the faculty of retaining and reviving impressions or recalling past experiences.
Remembrance most often denotes the process or act of recalling.

memory is stored information about the unique and personal aspects.
Remembrance is the process of recalling and reliving of an experience.