Archive for the ‘C’ Category

The Origin of the Panyee Football Club

March 21, 2011

Here’s a nice little short film about the origin of the Panyee (Thailand) Football Club:

You probably will want to view it full-screen to be able to read the subtitles.

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Vampire spiders and “human” scent

February 17, 2011

There is a recent study out about how vampire spiders are attracted to human scent. These spiders eat mosquitoes, and in Africa where they live, those mosquitoes often have recently feasted on human blood.

Jumping or Vampire Spider

As noted in this article, “Jumping spiders that love smelly socks could help fight malaria“, the spiders are often found in tall grass adjacent to human dwellings. What the study found was that the spiders spend more time (i.e., are more attracted to) smelly socks, and the conclusion is that they are thereby more attracted to a human odor. You can also see more in this blog post, Vampire spider drawn to the smell of human feet.

So, what is wrong with this picture?????

Who says that smelly socks smell like humans? Smelly socks have their odor because of all the bacteria that live inside shoes, where they thrive on the warm, dark, moist environment there. Real bare feet are not “smelly.” Yes, they probably have a (faint) odor, but it is a real stretch to say that the smell of the bacteria have anything to do with bare feet, or the odor of humans. If anything, the feet of those who regularly go barefoot probably smell more of what they are walking in.

And this study was in Kenya, where many people there really do go barefoot (or at least sandaled) all the time. The whole study is biased by a shod viewpoint. How would these spiders become familiar with the odor of shod feet in Kenya?

Yet, we are assured, in this comment, that “Real sweaty socks (as opposed to synthetic, which just don’t work as well) are a commonly-used attractant for human-feeding mosquitoes, so it works well enough as a “human” smell for some of our ectoparasites.” It may be that really sweaty socks are used as an attractant, but, really, how do they know that those arthropods are not somehow attracted to some other aspect of the bacteria growing on those socks, and not some human odor? (I also note that synthetic materials are not as conducive to bacterial growth!). How do we know that these mosquitoes and spiders are not tagging on the bacteria themselves? I somehow doubt that such a test had been done, and that these shoddy researchers have just assumed that this is a valid indicator.

It is always valuable to look beneath the unexamined assumptions of various studies.

If Your Name is “Barefoot”

February 13, 2011

If your name is “Barefoot,” according to the Name Meaning and History page on Ancestry.com:

1. English: nickname for someone who was in the habit of going about his business unshod, from Old English bæra ‘bare’, ‘naked’ + fot ‘foot’. It may have referred to a peasant unable to afford even the simplest type of footwear, or to someone who went barefoot as a religious penance.

2. In some instances, probably a translation of German Barfuss, the northern form Barfoth, or the Danish cognate Barfo(e)d.

There is also another possibility. In “The East Anglian,” by Charles Harold and Evelyn White (1904), in a section on wills, the will of one Francis Barfoote was probated in 1598. In a footnote, the author adds the following:

This plebian name of Barefoot is identical with that of the aristocratic Warwickshire family of Hereford or Beresford, who held a manor in the neighbouring parish of Clopton in the fourteenth century. I have noted the following different spellings, which mark its degradation:—Bereford, Berford, Barford, Barforth, Barfoot, Barefoot.

“Beresford” means “beaver-ford”. So, just because your last name is “Barefoot” does not mean that you had an ancestor who was named that for going barefoot.

However, I can guarantee that if you go back far enough, you will find an ancestor (actually, many ancestors) who went barefoot all the time.

Two Feet of Snow

February 10, 2011

Via Dan in a comment. The image comes from The Worley Gig:

Two Feet of Snow

A Little Snow Fun

February 8, 2011

OK, this is just a bit of fun, with no deep significance at all.

We had about half an inch of snow at my house today, and I walked in it on my driveway while fetching the mail, leaving a nice set of snowprints. Here is one of them:

Snowprint

The cool thing is what happens if you use photo processing software to invert the image (sending dark to light and vice versa). It then actually looks like a cast of your foot. See for yourself:

Inverted Snowprint

Voilà!

More weird podiatrist stuff

February 6, 2011

Over at Jason Robillard’s Barefoot Running University blog, he takes podiatrist Catherine “Cat” McCarthy to task for more of the usual crap about how only elite, Olympic-class athlete’s should even consider running barefoot. You’ll want to go read that. He debunks her points:

  • that only world-class athletes can be barefoot runners;
  • that our present environment is not barefoot-friendly, yet out ancestor’s environment was; and
  • that the foot needs support.

But he did not link to her blog entry, so I went looking for it to read it myself. The entry is here, or I should say, it was there, because if you click on that link, you find that link does not exist.

However, you can can find the entry in the Google cache, here.

I wonder why it was removed? I know, if I had written it, I would have been ashamed enough to remove it.

Let’s see what she says. Here’s how she starts out:

If you are a world class athlete under the supervision of a team of professional trainers – please disregard my diatribe. Barefoot running shoes may be appropriate for you as you train for your future Olympiad event – best wishes and I sincerely hope you win!

If you are like me and the other 99.999999% of the world’s population – this review is for you.

She later goes on to say:

I cannot help but have an emotional reaction to people arguing for barefoot running and perhaps that is my own personal downfall but I have spent my career trying to heal people’s foot and ankle injuries caused by one false move in a bad shoe that did not protect their foot and led to injury and pain.

Well, there’s your problem: “one false move in a bad shoe”. Ya think it might be the shoe?

In her defense (slightly), she is mainly gigging on “barefoot shoes”, which are not barefoot, and because the soles of those things prevent proper feedback they might
cause more problems. However, there is still no evidence that shoes are better than bare feet when it comes to running injuries (though, of course, all too many podiatrists say that backwards — no evidence that bare feet are better than shoes). But, for non-running situations, we know that bare feet do not cause bunions, corns, or even fallen arches the way shoes (oh, yeah, those are “bad shoes”) do.

Uncontacted Amazonians

February 2, 2011

There have been a couple of stories in the news about some recent pictures of uncontacted Amazonian tribes. Here’s the story on Yahoo, and here’s the original press release.

There is a lot I could say about the issue, but since this is a barefooting blog, I will restrict myself to just commenting on their feet.

Here is the primary photo, taken from the air:

Uncontacted Amazonian Tribe

Uncontacted Amazonian Tribe

One thing I noticed, more visible in this cropped version,

Better view of their feet

Better view of their feet

is the shape of their feet. Even from the air we can easily see the natural separation of the big toe, and even pretty good separation between all the toes.

This is what natural human feet look like. This is what feet that do their natural job look like. Compare that to what feet look like after a lifetime of being stuffed into high heels, for fashion’s sake (the condition you see below is called hallux valgus):

Hallux Valgus

Hallux Valgus

Enough said.

Barefoot in Businesses — Rights?

January 13, 2011

Michael Buttgen of The Primalfoot Alliance asked me about how this news story, Pregnant woman says she was kicked out of bar, might apply to barefooters.

The story is about a pregnant woman, Michelle Lee, in Roselle, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) who was kicked out of a bar because she was pregnant. A bouncer asked her if she was, and when she said “yes”, he made her leave. According to the story:

“He just said, if anything happens, if a fight breaks out and you get hurt, we are responsible,” Lee said. “That can happen anywhere. If I am going somewhere, I am taking responsibility.”

Sounds rather familiar to what we barefooters hear, doesn’t it? In this instance, the ACLU is concerned because of sex discrimination (since, obviously, it is only women who get pregnant, so far).

However, the part of the article that raises the question related to barefooting is this part:

According to the Illinois Human Rights Act: “It is unlawful to discriminate in the full and equal enjoyment of facilities and services by any place of public accommodation.”

* * *

Chicago lawyer Martin Dolan, who handles civil rights and personal injury cases, said that a private bar may set its own rules, including behavior standards or a dress code, but that those rules must be established in advance and be obvious to customers, such as a visual posting.

“The key to this is being able to justify the legitimate reason, not just (pull something) out of the air,” Dolan said.

And that leads to the question from Michael:

What does your experience tell you about how this applies to barefooters? Can a business legally discriminate against us if they don’t have “established” rules? In other words, can we share with managers or security that they have no right to discriminate if they are just making rules up on the spot?

The answer? It depends (doesn’t everything?). To a large extent it depends on the state that you are in.

As a general rule, businesses are allowed to discriminate however they want and can kick out whomever they want for whatever reason, as long as it is not because of race, creed, color, sex, sometimes sexual orientation, etc.. That is based upon states’ public accommodation laws. However, some states go beyond that restricted set of reasons. For instance, California has The Unruh Act, that has been interpreted to mean that you cannot be tossed from a public accommodation merely for unconventional dress. The seminal case there was In re Cox, 3 Cal.3d 205, 474 P.2d 992 (1970), from 1970. Since that time, California courts have been emasculating that ruling, and it has never been tested in regards to going barefoot, but it is at least something. (On a more pessimistic note, I wouldn’t be surprised if some court there would say that a barefoot ban would be “reasonable”.)

I am also aware that New Jersey has a similar state law. Now, from this article, I see that Illinois also has something similar, except that I note that the language for Illinois is the strongest I have seen: the right to be in a public accommodation doesn’t seem to be an afterthought to the other conditions (race, sex, etc.). The Illinois law is (775 ILCS 5/) The Illinois Human Rights Act, and as the article states:

It is a civil rights violation for any person on the basis of unlawful discrimination to:

(A) Deny or refuse to another the full and equal enjoyment of the facilities, goods, and services of any public place of accommodation;

As I look at case law, I cannot find anything that even supports what the lawyer in the article says, that rules must be specified in advance and posted. It appears to me to be even stronger than that, and in fact there is language in a major court decision, Chicago v. Corney, Jr., 13 Ill. App.2d 396, 142 N.E.2d 160 (1957), (that opinion was in regard to racial discrimination) that says: “Persons seeking such accommodations, etc., cannot be excluded from the premises so long as they conduct themselves in a peaceable and orderly manner.”

Who knows how an Illinois court might rule in a barefooting case. I do note that the Chicago Public Library has a barefoot rule — in this regard I don’t see how it could be legal, but I also know that judges are extremely reticent to legitimize barefooting and they end up succumbing to the usual myths.

Finally, let me finish with my state, Ohio. I only recently realized that their human rights statute goes a bit beyond the standard race, sex, etc. It says, in the Ohio Revised Code § 4112.02(G), that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice:

For any proprietor or any employee, keeper, or manager of a place of public accommodation to deny to any person, except for reasons applicable alike to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, or ancestry, the full enjoyment of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of the place of public accommodation.

I’ve added the emphasis. There are some court rulings that suggest that that phrase really does require the business have a consistent policy (such as a sign) for it to be enforceable.

That might be fun to test someday.

Slap Me Silly

January 8, 2011

Here’s a story in today’s Boston Globe, Minimalist sneakers send runner limping away, also titled, “You’re crazy.” It’s about the authors attempt to use Vibram Five Fingers.

Now, I’m sure you are all aware that I don’t think much about Vibrams, simply because they are not really barefoot. But, when it comes to having something on your feet, they are almost assuredly better for muscle/tendon/ligament development than hard leather soles or super-padding. But I have also warned that you just cannot expect to suddenly go barefoot and do heavy lifting (so to speak) than you can suddenly, after years of couch-potatohood, go to a gym and do (literally) heavy lifting.

Anyways, the author of the article doesn’t seem to understand that, and he also doesn’t seem to understand the results of various studies that you DO NOT run barefooted the same way you do in shoes.

The clue? Right here in his third paragraph:

On my first run, the FiveFingers sounded odd as my feet slapped the pavement in the thin rubber soles.

He’s slapping his feet? Well, that’s your problem right there.

HuffPo? HuffGo!

December 31, 2010

OK, after trashing The Huffington Post for this article with ridiculous statements about barefoot running, I have to do the opposite for the article they published today: Barefoot Shoes? The Primal Reason You Want to Take Off Your Shoes.

The article is by Mark Sisson, described as “former elite marathoner and triathlete, author of the best-selling health and fitness book, The Primal Blueprint.”

He notes how we evolved (and did just fine doing so) with bare feet, and goes on to note:

We’ve still got those same feet, but we don’t use them anymore. Instead, we cover them up. We wear shoes that alter the structure and function of our feet, and that weaken the myriad tendons, muscles, and ligaments through disuse. We strap on rubber soles that sever our proprioceptive connection with the ground and restrict our nervous system’s ability to subconsciously respond to changing environments and protect us from tripping or turning an ankle.

He also describes our favorite Philip Hoffman study, “Conclusions Drawn From a Comparative Study of the Feet of Barefooted and Shoe-Wearing People”.

His call? “Go barefoot as often as possible. It’s as simple as that.”

Here, here.

And for some of us, that is all the time. Admittedly, everybody cannot do that, and Sisson also acknowledges that. I’d add that one reason everybody cannot do that is nothing more than cultural expectations, and one of the things that the Society for Barefoot Living is doing is trying to change those expectations and make going barefoot more acceptable. Sixty years ago jeans were restricted to farmers, and then hippies or college students. But today jeans can be worn nearly everywhere. There is no reason the perception of bare feet cannot change the same way.

Sisson also includes a reasonable caveat:

As with any muscle you haven’t been using for an extended period of time, your feet are probably weak, and rushing into mile runs or two hours hikes in unprepared bare feet will be painful and potentially dangerous. Ease your way into it, especially if you’re habitually shod.

Good advice.

It is nice to see many of the arguments we have made over the years make it into more mainstream media, and that the barefooting movement is not just us barefooters talking amongst ourselves.


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