Tuesday, May 22, 2012

IMO the best Mental Model for Strength is Work

The best Mental Model for Strength is Work in my opinion. What I mean by work, the SI unit or Watts. There is a an amount of Work or Strength relative to what counts as Endurance.

I personally use work as a mental model of strength and endurance or constitution. It helps me in working out and planning my activities in a day. It is not that I measure every activity precisely to the Wattage, but I just have the principles in mind when I consider an activity. I know that rushing something expends more work over time, concentrating work in a limited amount of time has its inefficiencies especially given the nuances of the human body.

I also keep in mind that the body can perform certain tasks more efficiency than others. Lifting with certain muscle groups can take more effort while some muscle groups are so specialized, that we don't realize the work they do (also how the skeleton plays a role in all of this). Consider the amount of work walking vs lifting the equivalent weight as one's legs are carrying constantly.

There is a maximum work out put and there a minimum work output. By maximum, examples are an activity like Power Lifting consuming all the energy in few actions over a span of time or the same as more extreme feats of power and energy. As for minimum, there is an amount of energy that is consumed regardless of inactivity, the way a person sitting on a desk and doing light mental activity can still be tired at the end of the day (but much later in the day than a person doing a heavy mental activities). 

Other Usefulness of Strength as Wattage

  • How much Watts an Oar Rower Can generate for Ships. 
  • Marching and Logistics.
  • Measuring Degrees of Labor for measuring PC activities. 
    • Digging
    • Carrying loads
    • Simplifying a Variety of Work
  • How much Force can be generated by an Action, and how many instances of that action can be repeated. Imagine using this to find out how much force a character can generate throw an object with variable mass and bulk. See below for various forces. 

Off the top of my head I can think of several examples of Force or Joules.

  • 1-2J Legal Limit Airsoft
  • 7J Paintball
  • 50J Commotio Cordis
  • 180J A Swung Bat or Sword
  • 550J typical 9mm Pistol

More Comparisons

Anyway that is my thesis for Strength, and it applies to Endurance as well. While strength is more of Maximum Outputs, Endurance is energy Storage and replenishment ability. You will notice it in the methodology of Fatigue Saves.

I find Strength and Endurance, effort in general, is like a "cashflow problem" or what my brother-in-law calls a "money sync" situation. Having the mental model present in my thinking helps me judge activities and strategies of actions and efforts. I know this is a an "acquired taste" among gamers so I don't hard sell it to players. Still there is a benefit in being able to juggle the concept.
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