On the rebound: Answering blogmail
A couple of days ago, I received the following comment from "Vman" in response to my blog about Dr. West , the co-inventor of the electret microphone used in almost 90% of all microphones built today:
A question from my 10-year-old...
So, Dr. West, 'inventor of the microphone,' invented it in 1962?
How were we able to hear Count Basie?"
First, let me say how impressed I am that a 10-year-old was so intelligent to ask that question. Of course, it’s true that microphones existed long before Dr. West. In fact, in 1827, English physicist and telegraph inventor Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875) first coined the word “microphone.” In 1876, German immigrant Emile Berliner (1851-1929), working in Washington , D.C. , invented a microphone used in telephones to transmit speech. (He was also the first to invent the gramophone that recorded on disks, later called records. His company’s symbol was a dog listening to the gramophone.) Then in 1878, David Edward Hughes (1831-1900) invented the carbon microphone that is the model for the modern microphone. Which brings us to African-American Dr. James E. West and his co-inventor Gerhard Sessler, who received a patent for the electroacoustic transducer, and electret microphone. The electret microphone is more reliable, acoustically accurate, smaller, and cheaper than conventional microphones. So, while Dr. West didn’t invent the microphone, he invented a type of microphone that was small and so reliable that it could be used in everything from hearing aids to cell phones. It’s also used on the space shuttles.
Here are some more answers to your questions:
How has martial arts influenced your workout? Do you
continue to study? If so, how has your regimen changed?
-- Jon K
Jon K -- Martial arts has affected my training regimen by making me conscious of how I need to anticipate the various circumstances I will encounter in contests. Training for basketball means that the fundamental basketball skills -- shooting, passing and defense -- must be worked on with an emphasis on endurance. A basketball game is 48 minutes long, so the aspect of performing the fundamental skills while being tired must be addressed. So cardiovascular endurance is an absolute necessity in your training regimen. These days I don't work so much on my basketball skills, since I'm retired, but the fundamentals of strength, flexibility and cardio are always part of what I do. I try to include other activities that are fun but keep the fundamental skills sharp. So I'll jump rope, swim, run some cross country, play squash or ride my bike.
Do you have any thoughts on why yoga studios are so full of women and so few men practice?
Answer after the jump...
Jamie -- I think the reason that women seem to be the most numerous in yoga studios these days is because they have a natural tendency to be flexible. Male hormones lend themselves to making big, strong, and much less-flexible muscle. Hence, all the guys in the weight room. The lack of testosterone makes for a more supple musculature, so you will see women make much faster progress in yoga studios. The best thing for men would be flexibility training. The natural tendency for building strong muscles means that they should do something beyond what comes so easily -- i.e., their strengths. Conversely, women should work on strength, since it;s more difficult for them to acquire strength as opposed to flexibility.
I know former heavyweight champ Ken Norton, and I talked him into taking a yoga class some years back. Ken arrived early and was watching the class that was in session immediately before the one we were going to take together. While watching what was being taught to that class, he became totally intimidated by the demands of flexibility. Ken was seriously muscular but he could plainly see that the postures he would be required to try in the class were beyond the range of his muscle bound frame. After about 10 minutes of observation, Ken quickly changed into his street clothes and left the studio. I don't think he ever tried yoga training after that. The point I'm making is that men need flexibility training to balance their muscular tendencies, and women need strength training to balance their tendency to lose muscle. Being proud to the point of vanity helps no one. All aspiring athletes should cover the basics, which are strength, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. A well-rounded athlete is one who comes the closest to his or her potential.
How can any NBA team stop a Bynum-Gasol in the paint?
Are they going to be unstoppable, in your opinion?
Having the two is almost like having Jabbar and Duncan
in the same team, agree?
-- Staples 24
I've received many questions about how Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum will work together on the Lakers after Bynum returns to the active roster. I think that the line-up will be formidable and a very difficult defensive problem for the Lakers' opponents. Pau has great perimeter skills; a good midrange jumper and post-up moves, and most importantly he is a fine passer. Andrew has found his comfort zone in the Lakers' offensive scheme and is playing with more and more confidence. If they continue to learn how to play in this offense, it will be a thorny problem for any team trying to shut down either of them. In addition, the attention they get will make it more difficult to guard Kobe, Lamar and those other Laker perimeter players. So I'm looking for good things to happen for the Lakers and more problems for their opponents.
Kareem, do you remember "Stompin' ON the Savoy" by the
King Kong Trio, vocal by Godzilla? ... It was literally
a smash in the early '60's.
-- Bob Arbogast
I'm not familiar with the King Kong version of "Stompin' at the Savoy."
photo of the Count Basie Orchestra by Lefty Shivambu, Gallo Images