Points on the Palm


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Intended to be stimulated during exercises with tai chi ruler and tai chi bang:


The heart and pericardium meridians cross the palm. The small intestine meridian follows the outside (distal) edge of the hand. The triple warmer, lung and large intestine meridians cross the back of the hand. To maximize the number of points in contact with the end of either wooden tool (1) angle the two outer fingers (pinkie and ring) slightly more toward one’s heart so the outside tips of the fingers come into contact with the rounded end of the tool and (2) angle the thumb and index fingers in the opposite direction (so different on the two hands) so the points on these fingers also come into contact with the end of the tool (3) You also need the two points on the palm – heart 8 and pericardium 8 – to be in contact as well as heart 9 (4) keeping Small intestine 1 and Heart 9 both in contact with the wood involves some compromise (5) and then you have to have a relaxed grip through all of this.

Reducing the parallelism



Normally, we are all in favor of increasing the concurrency of our software – how many parallel threads it is doing at the same time. Typically, a reasonable rule of thumb is two times the number of cores plus 2. For a quad core chip that means 10 threads. If Intel Hyper-Threading is available on a quad core chip we push the work to 18 threads. When things are going well significant savings are realized in clock time: if it takes 18 minutes for one thread to finish a set amount of work it might take 2 minutes for 18 threads to do the work in parallel.

However, when it comes to having live students get kwan daos, less is better. There’s way too much noise and confusion when 16 students are fetching long weapons. We are experimenting  with four groups of four students each. A little slower, but safer.


A New Nano-Mesh


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In the latest issue of  Nature Nanotechnology, Akihito Miyamoto and colleagues from the University of Tokyo report on a new ultra-thin mesh that offers direct integration with the soft surface of the skin. There is virtually no mechanical footprint and the skin can still breathe and sweat as normal. The skin becomes electronics.  In the past, there has always been a substrate – some sort of a thin base layer that connects electronics to skin. The challenges have been that substrates limit softness and flexibility, impose weight (and sometimes heat), and usually have poor gas permeability. Miyamoto’s mesh is made with fibers of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a synthetic water-soluble polymer that is already used in medical applications. The polymer fibers are then patterned out and coated in a thin layer of gold. The resulting mesh is affixed to a patch of skin and sprayed with water. The PVA dissolves, leaving only finely interwoven threads of gold. Goldfinger would be pleased.




We note with sorrow


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the death from breast cancer of Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, aged 40, an Iranian-born mathematician who was the first woman to win the coveted Fields Medal.  We stumbled across her paper “Ergodic Theory of the Earthquake Flow” from 2008. An ergodic process is one whose statistical properties can be deduced from a single, sufficiently long, random sample of the process. The term had not been applied to earthquakes – or volcanic eruptions or tsunamis, for that matter. The Persian below may be translated as “it rains in our hearts”

در دل ما باران می آید

Obtain the Optane


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The document discusses how to improve Windows computer performance by using Intel ® Optane ™ storage technology as an upgrade over normal hard disk drives. In particular,use as a device for the SuperFetch and ReadyBoost functions; use as the drive holding Windows itself as well as other heavily used applications; and use as a server drive holding a reasonably large and active database. The document discusses database table key structures in the context of our SAITO application software needing to insert 100,000 rows of sensor data per minute. Click the link below to download a 3 megabyte 32 page PDF




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is defined as a collection of cancers that usually begin in the bone marrow and result in high numbers of abnormal white blood cells. There are four main types of leukemia — acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) — as well as about a dozen less common types. There are four imprecisely defined  populations – infants, children, young adults and mature adults.

In the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 published in The Lancet leukemia was present in 2.3 million people and caused 353,500 deaths world-wide. About 75% of leukemia cases in children are ALL, but about 90% of all leukemias are diagnosed in adults, with AML and CLL being the most common. About 250,000 people in the United States have some form of leukemia, including those that have achieved remission or cure. Approximately 50,00 new cases of leukemia are diagnosed per year in the US. I hope to get more quantitative data.

Among environmental factors thought to be causes we have smoking, ionizing radiation, some chemicals (notably benzene), prior chemotherapy, and Down syndrome (chromosome 21 trisomy). There is some interesting research on genetic causes of some leukemias, especially involving genes on chromosome 21.

Of interest was an email from China which mentioned that in traditional Chinese medicine there are several diagnoses that we would associate with leukemia. In some cases the drug homoharringtonine has been effective – made from the leaves of a plum yew tree found in parts of Asia – Cephalotaxus harringtoni. Of additional interest was the advice to de-emphasize direct (flesh on flesh) and indirect (flesh on floor) impacts during practice. The example was given of Buddha’s Warrior Pounds Mortar (done multiple times in 18 Movements, Lao Jia 1, Lao Jia 2 [Cannon Fist], Xin Jia 1 and Xin Jia 2) where the back of the right fist impacts the upturned left palm and the right foot stomps into the ground. The problems are most people with leukemia bruise easily, and the bruising tends to increase the number and activity of abnormal white blood cells.

I am checking around if Dit Da Jow, the liniment used in Iron Palm training, might be useful.



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While the painting of the white box is going on I have been thinking about what to use as a liner. Among the candidates are blankets, towels, sheets, cardboard and bubble-wrap. The goals are to minimize dings and dents in the weapons, not add too much more weight, and be quick and cheap to replace.

I may build two similar-sized experimental boxes – one out of PVC and one out of wire mesh. I have not found a cart big enough – 12″ or more higher, 24″ wide and 48″ long.

Next up at some point would be one or two boxes for long weapons – probably one box for weapons 48 to 72 inches long and one box for weapons longer than 72 inches. I have 20 of the former: 11 are staffs plus a bagua big saber, a Miao Dao saber, a flail, a long sword, a spear, a gold coin spade, and three hybrid weapons (butterfly wing, sun moon spear, horse blocking knife). I have 17 of the latter:  eight are kwan daos; a nine-point rake, trident, a halberd, a long-handled ax, a pu dao, a wolf tooth mace, a gold coin snake spade, a monk’s spade, and a lau gar long pole.




White Box – Wheels and casters


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I decided to start with casters so here they are before painting started. These are two inch – we will see how they work out. I could not find larger casters at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I was not anticipating a runaway white box full of weapons rolling wildly so I thought  a caster with brakes was unnecessary. These were about $2.50 each – larger, harder swivel “wheels” with the ability to screw into the bottom can get quite expensive.

I was looking for zinc (or something silvery) coated three inch door hinges, but they were out of stock everywhere – and not due in for days. So I went with brass.

For a bill of materials and tool list we have


Thinking about blanket versus towel versus cardboard versus paper for the interior lining.



White Box – waiting for signs



The feather was dropped by a crow. The owning species of the eggshell is a bit more complicated. I am guessing ring-necked dove. I had no glossy black paint, but since I did have about half of a gallon of eggshell white paint, I am painting the box white. Normally, I prefer to use one coat of spirits of turpentine to open up the grain and then two coats of polyurethane, but because I was using surplus (=scrap) lumber of different types this seemed like a painting opportunity.

White Box – on all the corners

At one time describing oneself as “Irish on all the corners” mean you had four Irish immigrant grandparents. On the short sides the L-shaped brackets are again six inches from the edge and 12 inches apart on center.

I had 4 (four) 12 inch long pieces of rope so I drilled two holes in each end piece in order to use the rope pieces as handles. Also on on the lid – not shown yetWhiteBox07

and a simple fixture – a hose clamp – on the inside