Saturday, July 29, 2006

Story about Landis and Not About Doping

It is hard to find a silver lining to the media coverage of Floyd Landis’ abnormal test. But we are learning a lot more about Landis. Ian Austen wrote Landis Has a Reputation for Honesty in NYT. “Sitting in a team bus festooned with sponsors’ logos, the pair took turns reading dark, humorous quotations from a book by Jack Handey while listening to Metallica.”

Friday, July 28, 2006

Floyd Landis' Physican Testosterone Would Make It Worse

Floyd Landis was on Larry King Live. Lance Armstrong was a call in with support. Sitting with Larry King was Dr. Brent Kay, Landis’ personal physician who is board certified in sports and internal medicine.

LK: How do you explain the high level of testosterone?

Doc K: Well, I think that has been one of the problems is that he does not high level of testosterone. That has not been documented. He has a high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone in his urine.

LK: Meaning?

Doc K: Which could be due to an elevated testosterone level. It could be due to a low epitestosterone level. And it could be due to a variety of other factors with handling, with specimen contamination and various other things.

LK: I asked Floyd this. He said it is better answered by you. What does testosterone do for a race driver?

Doc K: For a cyclist it will be my opinion that it will makes it worse.

LK: Worse?

Doc K:  I think that is the crazy thing here. I think everyone really needs to take a step back and look at what we are talking about. Because testosterone is a body building steroid that builds mass, that build mass over long term use of weeks, months or even years. And it is crazy to think that a Tour de France professional cyclist would be using testosterone, particularly in the middle of a race. It is a joke. Ever sports medicine expert, physician, trainer, scientist that I’ve talked to in the last day – really, same opinion. No way. This is a joke.

 

 

 

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Hope and Guess on Landis' Failed Test

I want Floyd Landis to remain a great champion and his final week in the Tour de France to remain legendary. I also think that there is some reasons to believe that he did not dope. 

I agree with Dr. Gary Walder that testosterone “doesn’t really compute.” First, it is a drug that “would have no effect on performance”. Though Austin Murphy quotes a Dr. Moosburger that it could help. Second, if he was a user, earlier tests during the Tour and other races would have shown the usage. Third, because Landis had previous won a stage, he knew that he would be tested at the end of the stage in question. Fourth, because of the risk of even accidental contamination, I would think that there would not be any testosterone within a mile of the team or Landis. Fifth, this is a very complicated test says the Donald Catlin who runs the Olympic drug testing lab at UCLA, so it is no slam dunk. Sixth, unlike the media reports of high testosterone, the level was actually normal and the epitestosterone was low. So I would think that scientific studies on the interaction of alcohol and drugs with epitestosteron and the ratio would be examined (see Washington Post comment by jjouet). Seventh, given his thyroid disease and the approved cortisone shots for his failing hip, there is a slime possibility of someendocrine weirdness. Eighth given the fact that several riders were kicked out at the beginning of the race, doping had to be on everyone’s mind. So why risk it?

 

Austin Murphy talks to Floyd Landis

“Did you do it, bro?” Austin Murphy asks Landis. “No, c’mon man.” Good story by Sports Illustrated writer.

Testosterone "doesn't really compute"

ESPN.com spoke to Dr. Gary Walder of the World Anti-Doping Agency on testosterone and testing.

Q: For a cyclist, what's the benefit of elevated levels of testosterone? Why would a cyclist use it?

A: It's certainly not one of the first-line drugs one thinks of for racing. Steroids can increase strength and improve recovery time and prevent the breakdown of muscle, maybe make him more assertive and aggressive. All of those could have some positive attribute. But most steroids are given in cycles [6-12 weeks] and in context of working out in a gym with weights. It makes no sense to me why an athlete would take testosterone the day of a race when it doesn't work that way. It doesn't make sense in terms of the pharmacology of the drug, and it really doesn't have the attributes that would be attractive to a cyclist -- particularly one running the risk of violating anti-doping regulations.

Everybody knew the spotlight was on cycling. For eight years, the world has been watching cycling particularly closely. It would be the ultimate form of denial, or the ultimate sense of invincibility, to think you're going to evade that. And when the pharmacology of the drug doesn't really, in my judgment, seem like a drug of particular note to a cyclist, it doesn't really compute.

Associated Press has a story quoting Dr. Walder as well.

NYT Better Reporting on Landis

New York Times ran with the headline “Landis Fails Drug Test After Triumph in Tour de France” which is a better headline but it lead with “illegally high levels of testosterone.”  No mention by the writer of ratio except for quoting the Phonak web site. Juliet Macur also quoted Donald Catlin who runs the Olympic drug testing laboratory at U.C.L.A. “This is not a slam-dunk case,” he said of Landis’s case. “There is work to do, and if there’s ever a test that won’t repeat a positive, it will be a really complex analysis, and this is one of them.”

Phonak Cycling Team English Statement

The webiste site repeats the statement in English, Deutsch and Francais.

The Phonak Cycling Team was notified yesterday by the UCI of an unusual level of Testosteron/Epitestosteron ratio in the test made on Floyd Landis after stage 17 of the Tour de France.

The Team Management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result. The rider will ask in the upcoming days for the counter analysis to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake in the confirmation. In application of the Pro Tour Ethical Code, the rider will not race anymore until this problem is totally clear. If the result of the B sample analysis confirms the result of the A sample the rider will be dismissed and will then pass the corresponding endocrinological examinations.

Please understand that we cannot at this time give you more detailed comments.

Tour de France Winner and Testosterone

MSM, in particular the Washington Post headline writers are getting it wrong when the are telling most readers that “Team Says Landis Tested Positive for High Levels of Testosterone”. If you read the third paragraph of the article it was not high testosterone but the team said “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone ratio”. ESPN’s cycling commentator John Eustice corrected the subs on Pardon the Interruption to say that “the testosterone levels are actually low… The epitestosterone levels are actually very low.”  ESPN’s home page also got it wrong with their lead “tested positive for high testosterone levels.” I don’t know the science here, but if you are going to report on the fall of a hero, get the story and the science right.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

MSM and Tour de France

Floyd Landis in the last five stages of the Tour de France has one of the top sport’s  performances of the year. Winning the yellow jersey, then hitting the wall to lose it, then coming back in the mountains to be in a position to win it back in the sprint the following day. Plus, he has a personal story and seems to be embraced by the French though his francais vocabulary est petit.

But does the main stream media (MSM) in America follow this story? Hardly. The Washington Post had their Foreign Service cover the story, not a sports reporter. One of the local TV sports channels didn’t even mention it last night. Most media lead with a story about Barry Bonds not be indicted like the MSM said he would the previous day. So the MSM was the news and not a truly heroic sports story. Jim Caple on ESPN’s Page Two thought this was nuts.  No wonder the term MSM was invented and now it is becoming an unflattering adjective.

Friday, July 21, 2006

User Experience Week 2006 (Aug)

While Europe is on holiday in August, I’ll be at Adaptive Path’s User Experience Week 2006 in DC. In preparation, I’ll be reading of books, blogs and sites plus listening to podcasts. Some creating. And I’ll be writing on my design blog heavily as I prepare. So see you there at multipurposeroom.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No More More AJAX meets River of News

Humanized has a demo of an RSS aggregator that keeps adding more content at the bottom of the page without needing to click on a more button. It is an excellent River of News format with Ajax. I just worked on a 1.2.3.4 script and was thinking about slowly showing more and this is a great example.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

JavaScript Custom Objects - Fun Ajax Stuff

With my recent JavaScript coding I’ve been using more objects. Simon Willison has a complete set of notes from a three hour tutorial – A (Re)-Introduction to JavaScript. I’m reading it Custom Object section and will be reading it again. In this section he provides a step-by-step guide to creating better objects and using the keyword ‘this’ which is always tricky. I found this tutorial while reading  Jamie Orchard-Hays’ post about Prototype’s bindAsEventListener().

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

JSON

Every new document type that gains popularity has many cultural impacts. JSON is a data syntax as is XML. JSON on the Web, or: The Revenge of SML on XML.com is a very good summary with lots of links to details.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Best Friends

Just heard that a dear friend died a few days ago. Heard a few days ago that more Americans than ever say they have no best friend. He could have been a best friend. I’ll miss him. I’ll miss he and his wife as a couple. And his laugh. Halloween will be bittersweet this year. Don’t worry about the future, make your friend a best friend for today.

Rocketboom and Paul is 64

Good business partners are hard to come by, especially in the creative world. Look at Lennon and McCartney or any number of other feuding twosomes. So it seems that Rocketboom has exploded with Amanda Congdon and Andrew Baron feuding and likely ending their mutual success. Too bad. The lawyers will get involved with the 49% issue and probably kill any chance the Rocketboom survives as a brand even with its spot on Tivo. I’m certain we’ll see Amanda again has her name and face are now recognizable.

Scoble brings up money issues as a possible problem at Rocketboom, but more interesting is his discussion of a salesforce. In our advertising driven internet days, never underestimate the need for sales. They are the real partner in any business and one sorely missing from most. Thus the overwhelming success of Google’s Adsense. This is also why many lasting partnerships include a salesperson.

I hope we’ll see alot more advise for structuring startups in the blogosphere in the next few days, even if it repeats classic lessons learned. Good time for Guy Kawasaki and others to speak up.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Engineering Discussion: RSS and Atom

Have the flames died down enough that engineers can now talk about RSS and Atom? I hope so, because there is an interesting post by an Amazon engineer that you can do things with Atom that you can not do with RSS.

Unless the Atom was an exact copy of RSS, that would always be true. The real question is “Can you do something significant with Atom that you cannot do with RSS?” DeWitt Clinton provides a good example of why that is true for those that care about the technical details (like engineers). I might find a case in my coding where that is true. And I’d also look at the Yahoo media RSS namespace in that case. However, for the majority of sites providing new information on a daily basis (e.g., news media, bloggers, etc.), RSS is still the best match.

And as Dewitt points out, for the average user or manager, RSS is a fine term for syndication. Which leads me back to my hope that engineers can now talk about Atom and RSS.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Business Week Tries to Billboard Google's Products

In So Much Fanfare, So Few Hits, Business Week looks the lack of number one products beyond search: News, Gmail, Maps, Instant Messaging, Checkout and more. Google says that they expect several new products to fail. This is the publishing model and should be examine more thoroughly. I’d also like to see a side by side comparision of Google’s products and Yahoo’s. Might as well add in MS, Amazon, Cnet, AOL and a few others. Many of the big and small players follow this publishing model and is should be discussed.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dave Winer Doing S3 Heavy Lifting

So often Dave Winer is working and thinking along the same lines as myself but a few steps ahead. Here is is again talking with Amazon about developing with S3. Keep pioneering Dave!