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BoxVR: An Effective Workout Amidst Lockdown

With his physical movement constrained at home, and with countless snacks consumed, Mat Smith is unsurprised that he gained a bit of weight since March. Since he can’t go to gyms and workout classes, as both of them have been cancelled and closed down, he was left with no choice but to search for the right kind of workout for him in his own apartment.

Destroying most of my excuses, one of those workouts was delivered to my door: BoxVR, alongside an Oculus Quest kit.
VR workouts have been around for a few years, but with lighter and wireless hardware finally here, the case for them has strengthened. BoxVR was at the vanguard, launching over three years ago. It’s now available across most VR platforms including Steam, PlayStation Store and the Oculus Store. While there’s now further DLC content — my other reason for testing it all out — the central premise hasn’t changed.

Unlike other VR workouts, Mat found out that this particular VR workout “tries to keep it all full-body workout”.

…neon balloons will shoot towards you, demanding jabs, hooks and uppercuts, but these are joined by “walls” that you’ll need to duck under. These seem set at a good level (given the game can gauge your height) to feel the burn of squatting; it’s always a little deeper than comfortable, but that’s probably good for a workout. 
It’s a VR cliche, but I appreciated the escapism — a workout that’s not a dull run, nor push-ups or handstand holds in my one-bedroom apartment. I am getting pretty sick of these four walls. 

If there’s a downside, however, it’s when you get a little too sweaty, and you have to remove the goggles to wipe your face.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: BoxVR/ Engadget)


Is This Dog Real?

Check out this photo of a dog which looks pasted on a background, much like in Photoshop. But while this photo looks manipulated, the fact is it isn’t. What you see here is a real dog.

“My dog totally looks like a Photoshopped image,” tweeted @BristolShubun with the photo, mentioning another thing it arguably looks more like than real life. But @BristolShubun assures us the Shiba Inu is real.
Part of what makes the photo so surreal is the leash, which stretches up into the sky and looks like it should be being held in the hand of someone who’s been digitally scrubbed from the photo. But actually it’s attached to a rope that runs above the yard, giving the dog more space to run around.

Pretty cool, huh?

(Image Credit: @BristolShubun/ Twitter)


A Joystick For Your Tongue

If you have your hands full and can’t add another task to your plate, then that’s the time that you should ask for a helping hand. But why get a helping hand, when you can get a helping tongue?

Graduate student Dorothee Clasen imagined constructing a tool that would allow users to bypass their hands or feet and control digital devices with their tongue. As part of her master's degree thesis at the Köln International School of Design, an institution of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Clasen came up with [In]Brace, a plastic retainer attached to a wireless transmitter.
The mouthpiece, customized to fit each user's mouth, contains a magnetic ball running along a sensor track that can be pushed or pulled by the tongue. A thin wire from the mouthpiece is connected to a wireless transmitter that is worn around an ear.

Clasen states that this could be useful for performers, such as pianists, who might be able to use the tech to turn the pages of a digital music sheet, or motorists, who could use the device to manipulate GPS routing alternatives.

More details about this device over at TechXplore.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: TechXplore)


“We Only Use 10% Of Our Brain”: True or False?

Popular belief states that we only use 10% of our brain, which means that we can do more amazing things if we just used our brain more. Science, however, does not support this belief, as our brain is already doing more than what we expect it to. But where did this belief originate? Professor Sophie Scott sheds light on this matter over at BBC Reel.

(Image Credit: TheDigitalArtist/ Pixabay)


Couple Gives Us Tips On How To Improve Our Relationships At Home

Emily and Laurice Alison are psychologists, who help counter-terrorism officers and the police in communicating and co-operating with criminal suspects, as well as extracting information out of them. Their methods are effective in two things: interrogating criminal suspects, and surprisingly, in making relationships at home better.

For the couple – who’ve been married for 21 years and have a 16-year-old son – the parallels with parenting have long been obvious and were underlined by the response of officers they’ve encountered on the intensive courses they run on how to interrogate terrorists.
Time after time, participants fed back that as well as learning invaluable skills for their professional lives, their approach was helping them deal with family and work relationships. “We were fascinated,” says Laurence, director of the Centre for Critical and Major Incident Psychology at Liverpool University. “We’d do a day on the best way to extract information from a dangerous prisoner and at the end of it participants would say, ‘This is such useful advice for me as a parent of teenagers.’”

What’s the secret ingredient to their effective communication? Find out over at The Guardian.

(Image Credit: Shaw & Shaw/The Observer/ The Guardian)


Why Every Star Wars Film Has The Wrong Title

TitTok user fake.disney.facts has prepared a short presentation explaining how every Star Wars film has had its titles mixed up with each other. By giving a quick summary of each film, he puts the proper title to each one.

A person commented that he “hate[s] and love[s] how much sense this actually is.” But what are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: @fake.disney.facts/ TikTok via Zebulon Dak/ YouTube)


What’s It Like Inside A Car Tire?

Have you ever wondered what things look like inside your car tire as you drive your car to places? If yes, then YouTuber Warped Perception has a treat for you: he shows you just that by putting a GoPro inside a car tire and then driving the car around. He found out how the tire adapts to the road’s imperfections, as well as what happens inside when you drive slowly, quickly, and when you hit turns.

Via The Awesomer

(Video Credit: Warped Perception/ YouTube)


The “Little Brain” Is Not Little

Located near the brainstem and sitting under the cortex in the hindbrain is one of the more versatile parts of the brain: the cerebellum. Despite its name, which means “little brain” in Latin, it contributes much in the brain and in the human body — “to our five senses as well as pain, movements, thought, and emotion.” This study published this week in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) sheds more light on the said part of the brain.

Until now, the cerebellum was thought to be involved mainly in basic functions like movement, but its expansion over time and its new inputs from cortical areas involved in cognition suggest that it can also process advanced concepts like mathematical equations.

Learn more about this study over at MedicalXpress.

(Image Credit: Dr. Johannes Sobotta/ Wikimedia Commons)


The Ancient Art of Painting on Water

Turkish artist Garip Ay shows us the art of ecru, or paper marbling. He paints on top of water, where the paint can be manipulated before transferring the work to a stable surface such as paper. His works are not just patterns or abstract art, but also representative pictures, and often a combination of all those. Subtitled in English. -via Twisted Sifter


Penises Are Much Shorter Than You Think

This story is about penises, but it's also about science itself. Science is supposed to be the study of the world through observation and experiment. But who is doing those observations? And how important is the truth of those observations to the observer?

For years, researchers asked men to self-report the length of their erect penises by measuring along the top from the abdomen to the tip, and over that time, men consistently informed researchers that their members ranged from roughly 6.1 to 6.5 inches.

Can you see the problem with this procedure? Asking men to accurately report the size of their penises is like trying to eclipse the speed of light in a junker car: it's not gonna happen.

Whether because of measurement error, respondent selection bias (only men with larger penises want to participate in research), or good old fashioned misreporting (i.e. lying), it seems that studies employing self-report to find the length of the average erect penis have given us the wrong answer for decades.

Turns out the real average penis is shorter, which raises the issue of all those average men who read the science and think they are below average. Knowing how important that number is, it's no wonder guys are spending way too much money on sketchy enhancement devices and supplements. Find out the real average penis size and the research behind it at Real Clear Science.

(Image credit: victorgrigas)


What Do Aliens Look Like?

Aliens in TV shows and movies often have the same size and shape as human beings, which correlates somewhat with the production's budget. But in the real universe, we have no idea what alien life would look like, even intelligent life. What if intelligent life already exists, but those beings are so different from us that we can't even recognize that they exist, much less what they are like? They may know we exist, but why would they bother to communicate with us if we are no more important to them than insects are to us? Kurzgesagt gives us some food for thought.


Squirrel Runs the Wrong Way on an Escalator


The squirrel can never hope to run down along the up-rolling escalator, and so Twitter user Nover has appropriately dubbed him "Sisyphus Squirrel." He was last spotted at 55 Water Street in Manhattan.

-via Nag on the Lake


Quantum Physicists Say That Time Travelers Don't Have to Worry about the Butterfly Effect

What's stopping you from firing up your time machine and traveling back in time to alter the past so that you benefit your current self? Well, you're probably worried about the Butterfly Effect, which is the concern among time travelers that they, through some small, unintended action, may set in motion a cascade of events with major negative consequences.

Good news, everyone! Quantum physicists (quantum physics is like physics, only more so) at Los Alamos National Laboratory say that there's nothing to worry about:

Using a quantum computer to simulate time travel, researchers have demonstrated that, in the quantum realm, there is no “butterfly effect.” In the research, information—qubits, or quantum bits—“time travel” into the simulated past. One of them is then strongly damaged, like stepping on a butterfly, metaphorically speaking. Surprisingly, when all qubits return to the “present,” they appear largely unaltered, as if reality is self-healing. 
“On a quantum computer, there is no problem simulating opposite-in-time evolution, or simulating running a process backwards into the past,” said Nikolai Sinitsyn, a theoretical physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and coauthor of the paper with Bin Yan, a post doc in the Center for Nonlinear Studies, also at Los Alamos. “So we can actually see what happens with a complex quantum world if we travel back in time, add small damage, and return. We found that our world survives, which means there’s no butterfly effect in quantum mechanics.”

So what are you waiting for? Let's grab the keys to the DeLorean.

-via Instapundit | Image: Universal Pictures


This Is A “Sweetheart Grip”

Being a soldier deployed in World War II, or any war at that, is one of the most stressful things a man can experience. Not only is he far from his family, he also is uncertain if he will return home from the battlefield alive. To keep themselves close to the people they left as they went to the battlefield, soldiers back in those days would put pictures of their families or sweethearts on clear grips. These grips would then be known as “sweetheart grips”.

(Image Credit: u/hwesty/ Reddit)


Pilgrims In Mecca Maintain Social Distancing

One of the most difficult things to do today is trying to socially distance yourself from other people, especially in large gatherings or places that are filled with people. It is not impossible, however; every person in that place just has to cooperate.

One especially striking example of this has come from those starting the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca.
This year, taking social distancing measures into account, the event was downsized by Saudi officials to allow a limited number of people to the event — last year saw 2.5 million attend, while this year's number is 10,000, and they must be already living in Saudi Arabia. According to the Washington Post, people over 50 or those with terminal illnesses were not allowed to attend.
Photos from Mecca's Grand Mosque are something to behold, a true snapshot of this challenging time we're in.

Check out the photos over at Mashable.

(Image Credit: Mashable)

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