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Sign up for the various activities of the 16th Annual Penn State Track and Field (and XC) Alumni activities now!

1. Whole package $175
2. Recent graduate rate (2011-2016) $125
3. Friday night reception $35
4. Saturday Awards Dinner $55
5. Those under 18 $10 for (Friday and Saturday)
6. Golf only $100 ($150 for golf and dinner Saturday)

Monday, October 31, 2011

19th Century Conditions Here With 21st Century Results From Illinois

As my power remains out, I've put guinea pigs to work trying to make enough energy to put a post up on Halloween.  The little guys are rowing like crazy like on TV, except for the fat one, who just keeps saying "row" over and over again.

Caitlin Lane propelled her Women's Team to a third place at the Big Ten XC Championships in Illinois with her individual win.  Congrats Caitlin!

The Men's team finished 6th behind Kyle Dawson and Vince McNally's 11th and 12th place finish.  Next up are the NCAA Regional Qualifiers.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"The Streak" Threatened by Freak Storm

The overly happy weathermen on the tube make me sick.  They are all so happy that they have a "record" storm to talk about.  Problem is, they are all coming to my neighborhood to record their gleeful taped segments.  Wet snow brought down many brittle old Sycamore trees and their adjacent electric lines.  The power is still out 24 hours later. Authorities say it could be days...

"The Streak" wasn't really in jeapardy, as I would have slogged a mile through the slush if I had to.  Instead I checked into a Hampton Inn (Official Hotel of PSU Track Alumni Golf!) around the corner and did my usual 3 miles on the treadmill and 4 on the elliptical.  Couldn't watch the Nits' game though as the Dish Network wasn't working either.  I'm just about set to do it again, maybe I can watch an NFL game this time.

The cool thing was the appearance of the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile in our hotel parking lot this AM.  It was here to appear in the now cancelled Halloween Parade in York.  I'll bring a few pics when I figure out how to make them appear in my HP Touchpad's browser???

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"The Hawk" Soars at Masters Cross Country Championships

As the only person I know who has braved the return to the most grueling of running pursuits (except for Jeff Adkins), I applaud Mark Hawkins recent participation at the USATF Masters 5K Cross Country Championships in New York.

In his usual deprecating style, Mark has downplayed his performance.  I still find it admirable as a return to the hills and dales after nearly 30 years.  His 26th place 20:05 in his age group will be a springboard to some good performances in the upcoming indoor and outdoor track season.

That's him in the photo with Joan Benoit Samuelson, 1984 Olympic Marathon Champion who placed 2nd in her age group.  The photo gives me another opportunity to tell one of my "stories" which is a tertiary point of this whole blog thing, so tough luck people, you're getting another one.

Following my wedding with Rob Whiteside as my Best Man, my wife and I headed off for Freeport, Maine for our honeymoon.  I know it's not quite paradise but they do have the L.L. Bean store that is open 24 hours daily every day of the year.  A 2:00 A.M visit there is an eye opening experience.

After several days at a Bed and Breakfast in bucolic Freeport we decided to head over to a State Park where ospreys were supposedly nesting on the shoreline.  As we drove there a torrential downpour ensued and we were forced to pull over due to nearly zero visibility on the roads.   We were lost and decided to ask someone for directions if we could find someone in the gathering gloom.

And then in the foggy distance appeared a lone figure making her way toward us on the road.  A rather small figure, she seemed not affected by the most horrid of conditions we had encountered in many years.  I readied to roll down the window (yes young things, car windows used to have handles!) to ask the stranger for some help.  As I rolled it down and began to speak, I realized it was Joan Benoit in the middle of a run, unfazed by anything other than her preparation for her next race.  I took the blast of cold rain in the face, kept silent, and rolled the window back up.  That is the extent of my meeting of the first Olympic Marathon Champion.  I just didn't have the guts to interrupt her run.  (Was she in the 1988 Olympics, anyone?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Is Penn State the Number 14 Most Powerful All-Time Cross Country Program in the Nation?

The good folks at the web site Faster Than Forty recently undertook the task of answering the question of which NCAA Division I Cross country Programs were the most dominant or excellent.  This task, of course, was met with many arguments on the web site LetsRun.com, where anarchy tends to rule.

There are many places to begin an argument, but they lay out their criteria in a dispassionate enough way and follow through with a detailed Excel spreadsheet for everyone to download and see the data.  My only gripe with it is that they begin their analysis in 1960, as that is the year that qualification for the NCAA Championships began.  This necessitates eliminating the great PSU teams of the '40s and '50s when PSU helped herald in the entire sport of College Cross Country.  Maybe these years shouldn't count as much, but not counting at all seems arbitrary and wrong.  Don't get me wrong; I still applaud their efforts and you haven't seen me trying to do all the hard work they did.

There are others amending and manipulating the data to accentuate one aspect or another with some minor and major changes in the rankings.  The back and forth seem to me a lot like the arguments of whether Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron or Albert Pujols is the best baseball player of all-time.  I suppose it 's all dependent on what you accentuate and what you dismiss.  The powers-that-be will always put more evidence on "what have you done for me lately'.  Is Galen Rupp a more excellent runner than Horace Ashenfelter III was?  I think you get my drift.  (For the record, I think Babe was the greatest ballplayer and I'll take Horace as the first runner in my fantasy cross-country team!)

An interesting side note emerged from the data after I stared at it long enough.  At Number 13, just above Dear Ole State, was William and Mary, the Program that Coach Groves took from obscurity to prominence before migrating to Happy Valley.  I was ready to ask the question, "Is there any other Coaches of 2 or more Schools in the top 20?"  The answer was YES, another PSU great, Steve Walsh!  He has run for Number 14 PSU and has coached Providence (Number 4) and William and Mary (Number 13).

Official Group Physicist Retraces the Steps of the Greats

Official Group Physicist Brian Boyer is traveling to beautiful Rio de Janeiro for some lectures and business having to do with uranium and centrifuges and such.  He is traveling by way of State College where he will also present some lectures to the young aspiring nuclear engineers and physicists.  He follows in the footsteps of Physics great Richard Feynman who was known to frequent the beaches of Copacabana sketching the young beauties he found.  Let's hope Brian remembers to take some pencils with him! (and his running shoes!)


Also, if anyone wishes to partake in my love of the field of Physics, a new graphic novel is out that will make it easier for you.  It is a comic book detailing the life of Richard Feynman in great detail.  Nothing goes with the sharpest of minds like a comic book.  Pick up Feynman at any bookstore to delve into the wonderful world of the brainiacs among us.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Run For Your Lives!

I didn't make the Zombie Run in Maryland as I had hoped but it appears to have been a rousing success.  Nothing like combining the great outdoors, exercise, and brain-eating undead all in one setting.  This will certainly catch on in a big way next year and there will be lots of zombies spread out across the nation.

In addition, the zombie movie I'm  an Associate Producer of has been held up in post production, but I still have my fingers crossed for an upcoming release.

Blog IT Czar Jeff Sanden brings us this video showing the ins-ands-outs of zombie obstacle course running. 

Run For Your Lives 2011 from Alexander Turoff on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

You Can't Run From the Law!


Sydney Maree certainly has led an exciting life.  It would be great to talk to him, but his family doesn't know where he is!  Actually they know he's in prison in South Africa, just not which prison.  The story is long and complicated, and I would like to think he is there mostly for being quite naive. The alternative seems unlikely, but the authorities in South Africa definitely think otherwise.

I first met Sydney at a road race in Lancaster when he was touring the US looking for a college to attend.  He dominated the rest of us at the 5-Mile Red Rose Run the summer before I  matriculated at Dear Ole State. (My 24:41 is still my PR, and I'm not threatening that in this lifetime!)  Rumors were already in the air then that Jumbo Elliott had his eye on him.  I didn't even know who Jumbo was at the time.  The rest, they say, is History.  Stellar college career, 1500 M World Record, American citizenship, Olympic success...

Then he inexplicably renounced his American citizenship, moved back to South Africa and started his second career as a respected economist.  When several hundred thousands of government dollars were discovered in his personal account, his goose was cooked.

The prisons in South Africa are notoriously horrible.  Think Papillon in French Guiana or Frank Abignale in France (Catch Me if You Can).  I look forward to hearing his version of the story when he is released.

The photos show Sydney after winning the Fifth Avenue Mile in a still record  3:47:52 and in a Cross Country Race on the Blue Course in 1978.  That's Alan Scharsu, Bruce Baden, John Ziegler, Bob Snyder and Mike Wyatt mixing it up with Amos Korir, Sydney Maree and George Buckheit.  Although I'm sure Larry Mangan was just outside the camera's gaze* in this one, he did alert me to this story, and I thank him for that.  His contributions to the blog, although still not direct, are appreciated beyond belief.  Anyone can send me interesting stories, photos, videos and inanities at any time!

*My mistake!  That's Larry right there in the pic next to Mike Wyatt.  But where is Tom Rapp? Possibly next to Larry? (I was indeed much further back than the camera's gaze.)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Physics Updates Ahead of Cross Country Championships

Physicists are almost always ahead of the rest of us in life.  Understanding the minute interactions of quantum particles somehow gives insights into the larger world others are not privy to.

The whole Field of Physics has been very busy lately and I feel some BIG changes are ahead for this world.  That's even if the superluminal neutrino is a figment of man's fallibility and Higg's elusive boson is never found.

First up is a fun little exercise from the experimental side of things.  The Experimental Physicists are looked down on by their Theoretical brethren, but can always be consoled by being better than the lowly Chemists (just kidding!).  Think of Sheldon and Leonard on The Big Bang Theory, if you will.  Answering the very important question of "How many layers of bubble wrap would be needed to survive a fall from the 6th story of a building?" takes quite a bit of work.  But there is lots of cool equations and admonitions to Not Try This At Home.  It's a lot better to be the Theoretical scientist involved in this query, not the Experimental one!

Next we must discuss the possibility of the superlumnial (faster than light) neutrino.  When I asked the question "If a superlumnial neutrino was a car and turned on its lights would anything happen?", I knew the answer was pretty complex. I asked two PSU Physics greats to reply and I got two neat answers.  Ron Moore replied that if you were in the car, the lights would work exactly as you would expect.  But those outside the car would observe things quite differently.  Remember, Relativity is quite relative.

Brian Boyer answered in a more straight-forward manner.  "The Law is the Law!", meaning that there is nothing that travels faster than the speed of light, so answering the question is moot, which it probably is.  I would like to see the cop who tried to stop the car driving without lights, however.  Here's several links to understanding why Brian is most likely correct,  here here, and here.  Not that Ron is wrong either, pondering the unfathomable is definitely in the realm of the brilliant.*

* I received B's in both Physics classes at PSU and cannot discuss QED (quantum electrodynamics) with any proficiency at all, despite being quite intrigued by it all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Coffee and a Wrist Band

Datum Procurement Specialist Larry Mangan sends us this Wrist Band photo from the left-hand upper quarter of the US, otherwise known as Seattle.  Which brings us back to the recent topic of coffee, its prices, and its endless array of sizes.  Beware however, a Mucho Grande will probably run about $7 in Seattle


Monday, October 17, 2011

There's Hope For Us All

You would think that an 8 hour marathon wouldn't draw much attention or garner any awards, but you would be wrong. 

Roaming Coorespondent and Blog Muse Rob Whiteside sent me the story of Fauja Singh, who just completed the Toronto Marathon in a world record time of 8 hours and some inconsequential minutes.  Fauja started running marathons at the age of 89 and has completed 8 of them.  At the age of ninety, he ran 5:40:01.  At the Toronto Marathon, Fauja set world records for 100 year-olds at every distance from 100 meters to 5000 meters and the marathon.

* Photo represents how Fauja's feat makes me feel in comparison to him.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"His mudder was a mudder..."

Even non-participants like the ever-working Jess Riden (I really need to come up with a proper title for her group status!) found the driving rain and dirt in a emulsified, colloidal suspension (otherwise known as mud) difficult at yesterdays Penn State Open.  The Men placed first in the event and the Women third in a strong field.

Kyle Dawson placed third overall in the difficult conditions on the 5.2 mile Blue/White course. Vince McNally followed up in 7th place.  On the women's side,  Kara Millhouse and Caitlin Lane placed 4th and 5th in the wet conditions. At least it wasn't snow!

The Alumni Team was short a man, but I would like to think that all of us in the vast audience of this blog were the fifth man they so desired!  I salute Kevin Fuller,  Matt Groves, Chris Ferry and Cody Edling for braving the weather and representing us in stellar fashion. I'm hoping someone will come up with some photos of them as my day-job kept me away from playing in the mud.



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mohammed Gammoudi Helped Me Get Started

Many of us runners in the 70's got our start because of Frank Shorter's Marathon victory in the 1972 Olympics.  I personally had a great poster of Frank on the wall even before I took my first run.  It was a track race and next to Frank was Mohammed Gammoudi.  After becoming aware of him and seeing his stellar record, I became a fan of his too.  It seemed he was in just about every photo from the big races of the days stretching from Billy Mills' 1964 10,000 M Olympic victory to 1972 and beyond.  The iconic photo of Mohammed winning the 1968 Olympic 5,000 M ahead of Kip Keino at Mexico City heralded the new age of African dominance in the distance events still with us today.  I even tried to emulate Mohammed's hand raising finish from that stellar image in all my big race victories in high school, which unfortunately didn't last into college, but then I was mixing it up with all the Big Boys like you!  I wish I could find that same poster today.

The wonders of the internet has recently allowed me to thank Mohammed for his influence on my early running career.  Facebook has linked us through many miles and a few years.  Thanks, Mohammed.  I'm sure there are others among PSU Track Alumni who remember your running exploits fondly as well.  It looks like even today you could lace up some spikes and do yourself proud on the track.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another Reminder

Remember to save the dates of May 18th to the 20th, 2012 for the 11th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tourney and the First Annual Alumni Reunion Weekend. Remember, the golf is optional but highly recommended.  It's also the only way to get your name on the Harry Groves Memorial Cup!  Ask the non-golfers that have been engraved on there what a thrill it is.  Next year's empty plaque is waiting for your very name.

The combination of our group's previous efforts and the PSU Program's efforts to unite all PSU Track Alums is bearing fruit.  This year's weekend should prove the most exciting yet, and we want everyone to join.  We hope to entice as many of the 1,500 living members of our exclusive group as possible.  The glorious part of it is that YOU are just as important as every other member in this goal.  Those of you lapped twice in your best PSU race (like me!) are every bit desired as the person that lapped you (and you know who you are!)

Don't forget to let the PSU Program know where you are and what you are up to.  We want to spread the news far and wide what PSU Track means to all student-athlete's growth and development.

And as for PSU Track and Field Alumni Golf getting second billing on the announcement, it was approved of by the idiot officers of the group.  We really want to emphasize the reunion part of things this year.  Coach Groves and Coach Sullivan both also want spouses and families to attend.  Second billing isn't necessarily a bad thing anyway...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Just Like Old Times

My aversion to actually attending a PSU Football game led me to miss a great mini-reunion of some of my best friends and PSU Track Alumni Golfers.  Rarely seen Don Ziter even traveled from either Boston of Florida to attend the festivities.  Mark Hawkins, Larry Mangan. Steve Balkey, Jeff King, (current PSU trackster) Olivia Mangan and Nick K. all braved the gorgeous weather for a few runs and a tailgate before the Iowa football game. They apparently even made a foray up Four Hills at the end of a run, which must have been a thrill for everyone.  I'm pretty sure it's also illegal now, but maybe I'm mistaken.

Some of them even braved the ancient cavern known as Rec Hall for a shower prior to the tailgate.  The same showers that were the scene of a certain brave future Best Man's hour-long shower while seated in a folding chair after a particularly difficult work-out.  The best water pressure in the world was counterbalanced by the need for immediate action if anyone flushed the toilets nearby.  Most everyone ever using the facility knows what I'm talking about. I'm still healing some of the burns.

Here's some poor quality video of the showers at Rec Hall, demonstrating the amazing water pressure that was so welcome after work-outs and mountain runs.


Wrist Band Put to Good Use


Director of Youth Development and all-around great guy Artie Gilkes sent us this great Wrist Band Photo which he has put to good use protecting his insulin pump.  I suppose I'm not nearly as creative as he, but I do have wrist bands lying about just about everywhere I go.  The glow-in-the-dark models are a comforting presence whenever I lay my weary head down at night.  Whenever I travel, I'm sure to take one with me just in case there will be a suitable photographic opportunity.  The problem, of course, is that I don't travel anywhere as interesting as the rest of you.  So be sure to send me some more Wrist Bands Around the World photos to keep adding to the glorious collection already assembled.

I'm looking for suggestions for the back-side slogan for next year's wrist bands.  We should have the largest crowd ever, so your suggestion may be spread far and wide.  Keep them clean boys and girls, keep them clean!  Add a suggestion to the comments below.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's All or Nothing

The recent poll on coffee drinking seems to confirm what I've always observed about that wonderful obsession.  There are two main camps when it comes to coffee.  Those that don't drink it, and those that drink a lot of it.

I can't even have a Mountain Dew after Noon nowadays without being up all night, so I'm glad the caffeine molecule has not snared me like it has so many others.  Now if I could just kick the potato chip "molecules" I'm addicted to, I could maybe even start training again!

And just to keep the food theme going, our next online poll will ask, "What part of a chicken dinner is your favorite"?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

EEs Made the Finest Movie Ever Seen

In the olden days, every Dorm complex at PSU sponsored movies on Friday and Saturday nights to raise money for future chicanery and luxuries otherwise out of reach to the masses huddled together in the Third-World conditions,.  These usually cost a $1 or so, if I remember correctly, which no one should ever take for granted.  There was usually a good selection of fairly recent films and old classics that would fill whatever Hall was used to host the event.  North Halls movies were usually held in The Forum, a pretty good venue for them.



The Electrical Engineers on the floor, of course, lined themselves up as the heads of the North Halls Entertainment Committee.  They possibly had been the Audio-Visual Nerds you laughed at and gave wedgies to in high school, and were the harbingers of the computer geeks we all must bow down to today. Payback is a cruel mistress, isn't it?

Movies were delivered every Wednesday like clockwork.  The "Committee" chose movies they liked, without regard to how others would regard them.  Their goal was to attract other like-minded  guys and the stray he-man who would bring a date, ensuring at least a few women would be present.  Movies came in the form of several reels to be used on those old projectors that only Audio-Visual Geeks had any chance of using appropriately.  It can't possibly be the same experience today, if it exists at all, with movies now in perfect format on thumb drives the size of a pinky nail and projectors the size of a pack of cigarettes.

Every Sunday evening, the "Committee" would meet and decide which scenes in the movie were the best scenes.  They would then proceed to cut out those scenes from the movie reels and add them to the previous week's scenes, the new house reel getting ever bigger week after week.  They would then splice the film back together, minus the good scene and add the same amount of blank film to the end.  The only checking the film company ever did was to rewind the film and make sure it was the same length as the week before.  They were never caught.  Those wily electrical engineers were sheer geniuses!  When the film debuted at Ohio State (or wherever)  the week after we had it, it would be without the best scenes, a fact that probably still makes the EEs chuckle to this day.  Can you imagine Gone With the Wind without "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

The collected movie was shown only one time that I know of, and it was the finest movie I've ever seen.  It was shown on a bed sheet in a dorm room that had been stripped of everything it could be, to accommodate as many people as possible.  There was popcorn and beverages and frivolity beyond belief.  The EEs were known to wring every drop of goodness out of life humanly possible.

Here's an actual scene taken from a film shown by the North Halls Entertainment Committee, and the very first film I ever took my future wife to!  Content Warning: This scene is gross beyond belief and should never be viewed by those made queasy by gross things. Of course it was targeted by the EEs!



Coming Soon:  EEs Build a Wonderful House of Cards...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Electrical Engineers are an Endearing Lot

This is the first in a possible couple of blurbs about the electrical engineers that lived on my dorm floor in North Halls way back in the days of old..  I'm not sure how it happened, but there were many EEs on our floor, and they certainly became emboldened by their sheer numbers. Neighbor and friend Don Skerpon was an EE student, but luckily the pursuit of a 17 foot pole vault kept him from joining their exploits.  Don's sons are both at PSU now adding prestige to the Blue Band and the baseball team.  Although (certainly) not an electrical engineering student, Gregg Garrity lived and played among them.  I remember none of the other names, but admired their relentless pursuit of all that is fun in life.



One of their greatest exploits was bringing more than the 1 1/2 TV channels (Johnstown and Altoona) to the rest of us lowly peons on the floor.  With their knowledge of wires and things, and an unabashed proclivity for mischief they climbed the poles on the other side of the street (JoePa's neighborhood) and tapped into the newly installed cable lines.  They then proceeded to run the new line down the radiators the length of the building.  For a small fee, they would then splice into the line at your radiator and give you dozens of channels on a TV, a concept so alien to us that all our grades dropped immediately.

One result was the realization that a station had been created which carried sports 24 hours a day!  Can you imagine?  When I told my dad this, he immediately stated that "it would never work".  One of the only times in life I've known him to be wrong.  ESPN was here to stay, even though most of its coverage was on Australian Rules Football, the third most violent sport on earth, (behind only Hurling and Native American Lacrosse).  I've heard rumors that Ryan Foster has played the sport and will inquire about that directly.


Next up, EEs make the greatest movie ever seen...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm so old that....

  1. My first run was in Converse All-Star High Tops.  Two miles, the standard high school cross country distance.
  2. I remember the 1964 Phillies blowing their post-season chances.
  3. One track we ran on in high school was a 330 yard cinder beauty and another was grass.
  4. The phones in the dorms at East Halls were in the hallway, one for every four rooms.
  5. Beaver Stadium was still an open horse-shoe with a track when I saw my first football game there.
  6. I could make a big dent in my next term's tuition fee by painting houses in the summer, and still run 8 miles in the morning and 8 miles at night. (No young whipper-snapper should attempt this today!) Documentation available upon request.
  7. My first Nikes were obviously hand-made, and quite poorly also.  I loved them anyway.
  8. McDonalds were counter service only and hamburgers were 15 cents.  We had to drive 20 miles to New Cumberland to partake.  I always finagled my sister's fries.
  9. I once owned a Leisure Suit and platform shoes. No photos are available.
  10. Pittsburgh still made actual steel.  So did Allentown, for that matter.
  11. We actually discussed the possibility that Derek Clayton's Marathon world record may never be broken.  He discussed blood in his urine after the effort, which made everyone quite queasy. 
  12. Televisions still had vacuum tubes and took minutes to warm up.  That's how the habit of leaving them on all the time began. Technicians often made house calls to fix TVs which were "on the fritz".  This often took several trips, as the tubes were often not in stock.
  13. Land-line phones were on a "party-line".  Often, all your neighbors knew everything you talked about and to whom you talked.  900-lines didn't exist.
  14. Only one guy made football prognostications and he was a criminal.
  15. "Over-distance" runs for the PSU runners were 3 miles. (Source is a Horace Ashenfelter interview)
  16. The Empire State Building was the world's tallest and was built in less than 1/20th the time of the new World Trade Tower Building.  Everyone threw a penny off the observation deck to keep the urban legend alive.
  17. Everyone else on my first cross country team regularly took salt tablets to guard against "side stitches".  I have no idea who dreamed that one up.  I somehow knew better.
  18. I once bought bee pollen from Gary Fanelli.
  19. I once ran 35 miles from York to Gettyburg while my brother drove ahead to give me ERG  (Electrolyte Replacement with Glucose) every 5 miles. The head of the Bon-Ton Stores saw me at the square in Gettysburg and still to this day doesn't believe I had run from York.  (Marathon distance in 3:03!).  Those were the days.
  20. No stores were ever open on Sunday.   When I lived in Amish Country, the stores actually closed at 4:00 PM on Saturday so they could prepare for Sunday!
  21. Shoe stores regularly x-rayed your feet in shoes to see if they fit.  The machines delivered very high doses to the feet and high doses to the groins of the children viewed.  Shoe store employees were the only documented victims of the machines, however.  My feet were only in it once.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Caitlin Lane Blogs

PSU XC standout Caitlin Lane has been blogging about the current season on the PSU site.  You can get some inside information and keep up with the current teams via her reports.  Caitlin's Women's squad has moved into the top 20 nationally and 4th regionally while the Men are poised to break into the top 30 soon.  I hope to meet up with them at the upcoming Penn State National Open (as well as the PSU Alumni Team!).

Good News/Bad News: A Physics Brief

The Good News:  3 American Physicists won the Nobel Prize in Physics!

USA,  USA,  USA!

The Bad News:  They won the prize by discovering that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate.  That suggests the cosmos will eventually freeze to ice. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Note From the PSU XC Alumni Team Captain

At least I suppose he's the captain!  He's organizing the Alumni assault on the Blue/White Course at the upcoming Penn State Open.

Penn State Track and Cross Country Alum,

I am putting together another stud-filled Alumni team for the Penn State National XC Open on Friday, October 14th. Come race in our PSU Alumni uniforms as we look to defeat some collegiate teams. Last year we walked away with a few scalps, most notably Pitt. I look forward to taking a few more. We will of course have the post race celebrations at any of the fine food and drink establishments in town following the race.


Please let me know ASAP so I can get our roster into Jess Riden.


Thanks,


Brian Fuller

Foursome Number 6 (I think???)


It has been correctly pointed out that I have failed to show all the pictures of foursomes from last year's Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament as I had promised.  I'm still trying to figure out which ones I haven't included. The slight is inadvertent, as is all slipshod shenanigans on this site.  And with the new camera I had purchased just for the event, it somehow places the photos in different folders depending on how I try to upload them. Finding them again is difficult for the computer illiterate!  The photos were all taken by Kay Warfel with the help of Coach  Jeri Elder, (who I still owe money to for going to get the proper batteries!)  I'm all about organization.

Well anyway, here's a promised picture of the foursome of Paul Mangan, Larry Mangan '81, Greg McKelvey '80 and Mark Hawkins '81.  They ended up in a respectable (-4) for the tourney in the grossly wet conditions.  And looked sharp in doing it, by the way.

Coffee and Snow*

We got a pretty good response to the poll question about the nationwide price of a cup of coffee and I wanted to follow up with it.  Those who value documentation will again be angry with me because I failed to remember the source of the information, but the average price is $1.62.  I've never been a big coffee drinker although I do enjoy it when I have a cup.  For year's now I have tried to limit myself to one cup of coffee per week, but that has nearly doubled in the past year.  I will put another coffee poll up now with the question, "How many cups of coffee do you have in a normal day?"  Could prove interesting...

And my patients this AM are all abuzz about the fact that State College got a measurable amount of snow yesterday*, although I haven't heard anyone from Happy Valley complaining about it.  The earliest I remember it snowing was when I was a Freshman in 1977.  On October 12, I went outside for my 6:00 AM run (I really did, Coach!) then slipped and fell on the 4 inches of white stuff on the ground.  My very first injury while at PSU.  Oh, the memories...

* Confidential sources in University Park do not confirm frozen precipitation in the past day, although mountain cabin owners confirm snow in the surrounding mountains. No injuries are yet documented.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

End of An Era: Beginning of a Monopoly

The Big Red Button was pushed just after 2:00 PM on Saturday ending nearly three decades of high velocity particle impacts at the Tevatron facility at the Fermi Lab in Batavia, Illinois.  Our very own Ron Moore was there in the control room giving a blow-by-blow account on Facebook as the once world's-largest particle accelerator ceased to be.  Parts of the facility will still be used for other research and 1/3 of it will be turned into a visitor's center where wannabe Physicists like me can view the set up.

Ron and several thousands worth of other IQ points took one last run around the 4 mile Ring Road several hundred feet above the actual collider tunnel.

This leaves the search for Higg's Bosons and faster-than-light particles to mere Europeans in Switzerland at the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN facility.  Can we trust the Europeans?  Will the Higgs ever be found?  Will Einstein recover from being kicked in the groin by no-weight particles traveling at faster than the speed of light?  Will the scientists ever be allowed to discuss findings questioning the antrhopogenic global warming theory?  Stay tuned as the soap opera continues...
 
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