mikel ortega's personal webpage, weblog or whatever it is...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Professional cycling, no future

I'm a big cycling fan, but as an activity, I'm not so interested in following professional races. Or at least, not anymore. Years ago I used to follow many races, I knew about teams, riders, and so on... but I got bored. It just stopped interesting me. Later on, with all the doping scandals, the dull world of cycling became even frustrating to me. I guess it's difficult to accept that all your favorite cyclists are involved in doping.

Today I read about Floys Landis's case in the news, and once again, I got the same idea: Professional cycling, as any other professional sport involving endurance exercise, won't make sense in the future.

A couple of years ago I read an interesting article in Scientific American about Gene Doping (pdf). It's not the only article, there are many more on this isue. The main idea behind this is that the genetic data of muscles could be changed to create, let's say, super-muscles or improved abilities like creation of blood cells. This could be managed by introducing a virus with a mutation code in the athletes body, this virus would change the the genetic sequences in body's cells. It seems that they've already made successful trials on mice and the big thing is that it would be virtually impossible to detect.

That was two years ago when I read the article, but it seems that some cyclist are already using this kind of doping. In one of it's forms, it's called Repoxygen, and some coaches are being investigated from having used it. It's a treatment that has not been extensively tested in humans, so the use can be extremely dangerous and still impossible to detect.

Anyway, if it's not Gene Doping I guess it'll be something else in the future.. I think there's nothing to do to stop this investigations from getting astonishing new results. So, well, I'll keep enjoying my cycling rides.. but I guess professional cycling faces a difficult future.

En castellano, os dejo el link a una entrada muy interesante de un blog que acabo de conocer al googlear las palabras de esta entrada. Desde luego que el deporte profesional tiene un futuro bastante incierto.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Tilt-shift is an old photography technique. It consists in tilting the camera's objective or turning it just the other way round. The images you get look like miniatures of the real scene. It's like looking through the wrong side of the binoculars, the depth of field shrinks cosiderably, so only one part of the picture looks focused, all the rest is blurred.

There's also a way to fake this effect using Photoshop when you don't have a reflex camera to play around with the objective. Once I used this technique, when I didn't even know about all this. My purpose was completely different, I just wanted to emphasize one part of the photograph.

ruta del cares

I blurred the left part of this picture, reducing the depth of field, and the result was that the people looked like miniatures.

Months later I read about the reason why it happens. It's interesting how our mind interprets this kind of little details.

This, this and this pictures are much better examples of the technique.
There's also a tutorial on how to fake this effect in Photoshop.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Vídeos caseros

Me encantan los videos caseros que se curra la gente. Con sus viajes, sus aficiones, trabajillos, etc..
Mi amigo Dimas se ha currado un vídeo sobre la aventura en la que se metieron en abril. Hicieron la "Vía de la Plata" pero al revés, de León a Sevilla. Por las batallas que me ha contado debió de ser toda una experiencia. El vídeo es una especie de trailer de otro más largo que piensa hacer, pero no está seguro de que acabe montándolo, no me extraña, con todo el trabajo que lleva.

De paso un saludo a Toñín, que también se curra sus buenos videos y presentaciones de sus viajes.