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July 20th, 2018 at 10:22 am

Why are obstacle – course races so popular?

Competitors work to pull a woman up an obstacle where competitors must jump to the top of a half pipe during the Tough Mudder at Mt. Snow in West Dover

As marathon participation declines, more people are signing up for extreme events such as Spartan and Tough Mudder.

Completing a marathon has long been the ultimate feather in the cap of an amateur endurance athlete. But the idea of trotting along a boring old paved road for 26.2 miles doesn’t thrill everyone. For the endurance athlete who gets bored easily, a new genre of race has emerged—peppered with obstacles requiring feats of strength and dexterity (Crawling under barbed wire! Climbing a rope! Throwing a spear! Burpees!), and designed to be an over-the-top spectacle where participants emerge covered in mud (and maybe blood), as if they’ve survived a battle.

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July 20th, 2018 at 10:03 am

SpaceX: “”Mr Steven” giant net tested at high speeds in stunning video


SpaceX’s component-catching ship has got an upgrade. Mr Steven, the vessel designed to catch the fairing from the Falcon 9 as it returns to Earth after launch, has been demonstrating its larger net around the port of Los Angeles. New images on Tuesday and a video earlier this week show the ship conducting sea trials at speeds of up to 20 knots, or 20 mph.

Images captured by Teslarati and video captured by YouTuber “Drone Dronester” show the ship conducting tests between July 12 and 15, with the crew and recovery technicians sending the ship out after a multi-week installation of the new net. The ship is what’s known as a “fast supply vessel,” meaning it’s ranked to move 400 metric tons of cargo at regular speeds of 23 knots, or 27 mph. The ship itself weighs almost 200,000 pounds and is around 200 feet long. The crew focused on sharp corners at high speed less than half an hour after setting sail, testing the stability with a net that’s four times bigger than its predecessor with an area of 0.9 acres.

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July 20th, 2018 at 9:50 am

This lab-grown beef will be in restaurants in 3 years


Mosa Meat has raised a round of venture capital and plans of bringing $10 burgers (without any cows involved) to tables by 2018.

This lab-grown beef will be in restaurants in 3 years

When the Dutch stem-cell researcher Mark Post unveiled the first lab-grown burger in 2013–handmade fiber-by-fiber from cow cells in petri dishes–he announced that the single serving cost more than $300,000. But the research was promising enough that Post launched a startup called Mosa Meat to pursue making cultured meat at scale. The company now says that its first products will be on the market by 2021, fueled by a Series A fundraising round of $8.8 million, announced today.

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July 19th, 2018 at 9:16 am

A Chinese university suspended a student’s enrollment because of his dad’s bad social credit score


A Chinese student had his enrollment at a university suspended because of his father’s bad social credit score. The father, surnamed Rao, had failed to repay a $29,900 loan and was added to a debtor blacklist that prevented a university from accepting his son. State media reported that the incident also caused Rao’s social credit score to drop.

China is expected to roll out a national social credit system in 2020, but it remains to be seen if citizens will actually be given a “trustworthiness” score or if they’ll just be subjected to more blacklists.

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July 19th, 2018 at 8:55 am

3D printed guns are now legal… What’s next?

3d gun printer

On Tuesday, July 10, the DOJ announced a landmark settlement with Austin-based Defense Distributed, a controversial startup led by a young, charismatic anarchist whom Wired once named one of the 15 most dangerous people in the world.

Hyper-loquacious and media-savvy, Cody Wilson is fond of telling any reporter who’ll listen that Defense Distributed’s main product, a gun fabricator called the Ghost Gunner, represents the endgame for gun control, not just in the US but everywhere in the world. With nothing but the Ghost Gunner, an internet connection, and some raw materials, anyone, anywhere can make an unmarked, untraceable gun in their home or garage. Even if Wilson is wrong that the gun control wars are effectively over (and I believe he is), Tuesday’s ruling has fundamentally changed them.

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July 19th, 2018 at 8:32 am

These mind-blowing images of the human body were made by a new kind of scanner


THE FAMILY BUSINESS. Phil and Anthony Butler aren’t just father and son. The physics professor and bioengineering professor (respectively) are also business partners. And this week, their company, MARS Bioimaging, unveiled a first-of-its-kind x-ray scanner 10 years in the making.

First, a quick recap of how x-ray imaging works. When x-rays travel through your body, they’re absorbed by denser materials (bones) and pass right through softer ones (muscles and other tissues). The x-rays that pass through unimpeded hit a film on the opposite side of your body. These show up as areas of solid black. The places where the x-rays couldn’t pass through appear solid white.

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July 18th, 2018 at 10:15 am

Scientists just found a novel, cheap way to use CRISPR gene editing to fight cancer


Immunotherapy Holds Big Promise for Beating Cancer

CRISPR is by all accounts a fascinating technology. Its headline feature is that it can literally be used to slice, dice, and otherwise manipulate the body’s genetic code—functions that could carry staggering implications for treating everything from inherited disorders to cancer to HIV/AIDS one day.

Now, new (though extremely early) research suggests that CRISPR could be used to vastly improve upon a new form of cancer-fighting methods that turn the body’s own immune T cells into specially targeted killers that attack cancerous tissue.

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July 18th, 2018 at 9:55 am

Amazon, Alibaba and Nike all point to the next innovation in retail: Personalized physical spaces


Last week I wrote a piece entitled, “Amazon Go Means Goodbye Status Quo.” The piece not only heaped praise on Amazon but also highlighted how Amazon Go, over the long-run, is about far more than the mere buzzwords of “checkout-free shopping.” The thesis is that if one studies Amazon Go closely, he or she will see that it already hints at the next great innovation in retail history: the personalized physical store.

While I expected and even predicted the news back in February that Amazon would roll out more stores this year, I did not expect, in less than one week from publishing this most recent Go piece, that new activities would emerge that would validate this thesis even further.

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July 18th, 2018 at 9:38 am

America’s robot geography

A Lynx robot with Amazon Alexa integration is on display at the Robotics Marketplace at CES in Las Vegas

Robots, it seems, are everywhere these days. They clean our floors, mow our lawns, make many of our industrial products, and are even being trained to give hugs and serve as pets. As robots increasingly become a part of our daily lives, a growing chorus of commentators warns that they may take away our jobs and further damage the once great Rust Belt cities that once powered the American economy and served as the backbone of the middle class.

But which cities and regions will house the robot revolution? Will the rise of robotics correct or reinforce America’s growing spatial inequality?

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July 17th, 2018 at 9:57 am

These anti-aging pills seem to be actually working


Pills hailed as the first real “anti-aging” drugs inched a little closer to the market after a study found they cut the number of respiratory infections in the elderly by half.

The drugs: The pills act on an aging-related pathway called TORC1. Inhibiting this pathway “has extended life span in every species studies to date,” according to Joan Mannick, who led the study for drug giant Novartis. Those species include mice and worms.

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