Mar. 19th, 2017

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
Sunday: Last week ended in Stoke-on-Trent playing Cthulhu (thankfully not into the small hours, but certainly quite late). After a large-ish breakfast we returned to Manchester where I went on a long run and attempted to catch up with my to-do list.

Monday: After my morning run my foot suddenly started hurting - same leg where I pulled a calf muscle a few weeks ago. At the time I was unsure of diagnosis, though I now think I've acquired a mild form of plantar faciitis which afflicts the ligament running along the base of the foot and is a bugbear for runners. Since I wasn't actually planning to run again until Saturday I just left well alone and got on with life which mostly involved failing to write a lecture on Machine Ethics.

Tuesday: Tuesday involved driving to Liverpool in order to deposit miscellaneous lego robot equipment. There was a fair amount of walking up and down stairs, not to mention walking from the university to the nearest street which doesn't have Residents' Only parking. My foot was feeling better, but was still quite painful.

I saw several project students all of whom were well on track for their "bench inspections" next week (my weaker students have become conspicuous by their absence. I'm trying to convince myself this is not my problem). I also discovered that the lecture on Machine Ethics I was trying to write was actually a lecture on Verifying Ethical Autonomous Systems, this actually make life a lot easier.

Wednesday: Flew to Bergen where I was to deliver my freshly written lecture to Matryoshka's Machine Ethics students. The university had booked me into a very nice hotel with complimentary brownies available. I met up with Matryoshka once I arrived and, after a little confusion, in which I stood outside her department texting that I couldn't find it, we went out for dinner.

Thursday: I gave my lecture - well two 45 minute lectures and then left Matryoshka trying to organise her students into project groups. Matryoshka gave me a draft paper on verifying properties of filter bubbles on social media, so I amused myself trying to figure out how to actually do this.

Friday: Matryoshka showed me around Bergen. The weather in Bergen is, I gather, mostly like the weather in Manchester, so we trudged through torrential rain to view various Hanseatic warehouses. We had lunch in a fish restaurant which had been recommended but found it rather disappointing. Then we went up the funicular railway to the top of the hill. As we ascended it started to snow. By the time we got to the top my foot was also complaining. Fortunately Matryoshka had pain killers on her person, so we stopped for coffee and muffins in a souvenir shop while they took effect and then went for a very short walk, admired the views we couldn't see because of the thick cloud cover, and the suddenly archetypal Scandinavian scenery we could see (snow covered paths through coniferous forest). Both of us had extremely cold and wet feet by this point.

We returned to Matryoshka's office where I managed to dry my shoes and socks in front of her heater while we discussed modelling filter bubbles as biological processes (mostly because the tool I was looking at had fairly well defined techniques for modelling biological processes). It seems at least plausible that the opinions on social media platforms could be viewed as biological processes so Matryoshka is going to look to see if this can be justified (beyond it's a cute idea) while I'm going to look at the nitty gritty of building a model.

Then I caught the Flybussen to the airport and came home. By this time the sun was shining brightly, the snow had all melted and Bergen was looking extremely pretty and not at all damp and cold. There will be a Bergen picspam in due course.

Saturday: I spent a lot of yesterday reading up on plantar fasciitis. There are plenty of symptoms I don't have but the pain in my foot has localised to the classic location for the complaint - though when under the influence of ibuprofen its now more a weird slight itch than a pain. Recommendations seemed to be anti-inflamataries (B. recommends continuing to take these for at least a week after I'm pain free), stretching of both calf muscle and plantar ligament, and not running in old shoes. I bought new running shoes a couple of months back, but they exacerbated a bunion I have and so I'd regretfully given them to Barnardos.

So far I've always purchased running shoes on a "cheap pair from Decathlon" basis but if I was going to have trouble with my feet it seemed like it might be time to get a more expensive pair from a specialised running place that did gait analysis. Googling gait analysis rather suggested it was a pointless exercise as done in running shops but B. persuaded me that even if it was pseudo-science I would probably still get a better pair of shoes from a place that offered the service. I was having a bit of a self-confidence crisis by this point - partly because I was anxious about buying an expensive pair of shoes that I might end up not using and giving to charity - so B kindly drove me to a running shop and stood around looking supportive while the (I presume) Saturday Girl analysed my gait ("looks all right") and very diffidently offered me some shoes which I purchased (they cost at least twice as much as any shoes I've had previously so I do hope they don't do terrible things to the bunion). I also set up a revised and much reduced training schedule for the half marathon at the end of May, based on various online offerings all of which involved far less running than I had been doing (B. is unaccountably smug about this for some reason). So we'll see how it all goes.

Since I was in a specialist running shop and spending silly money on trainers, I also spent £10 on a "pediroller", a kind of stiff foam roller for massaging the underside of the foot. I'm very pleased with this. It's a very pleasant sensation, though I've no idea if its actually doing any good, but it's quite tempting just to sit at my desk rolling my foot backwards and forwards on it all the time.

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