Zwift has announced that it will host a virtual Tour de France over three weekends starting on July 4th. The startup offers an app with virtual worlds that runners, cyclists and triathletes can traverse using their personal treadmill or bike trainer. A virtual avatar will match their performance – speeding up when they jog or pedal faster, and dropping off when their legs start to tire – and take other factors like drafting into account. Some Zwift events have Mario Kart-style power-ups, too, that let the rider turn invisible, become lighter, or increase the effects of drafting temporarily. The competition will be held over six stages that each take roughly an hour to complete.
A team from MIT’s CSAIL, in collaboration with Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), designed a new robotic system that powerfully disinfects surfaces and neutralizes aerosolized forms of the coronavirus. The approach uses a custom UV-C light fixture designed at CSAIL that is integrated with Ava Robotics’ mobile robot base. The complete robot system is capable of mapping the space – in this case, GBFB’s warehouse – and navigating between waypoints and other specified areas. During tests at GBFB, the robot could cover a 4,000-square-foot space in GBFB’s warehouse in just half an hour.
According to research, the workout initially changes the brain before changing muscles. The study was conducted in macaque monkeys. Their brain systems, when it comes to movement, are similar to people. The experiment revealed that weightlifting strengthens the nervous system through a motor tract called reticulospinal tract, weeks before any muscle is added. “People do see benefits quite early on in terms of becoming stronger – because the nervous system changes mean they can activate their existing muscles more efficiently. But they don’t see changes in muscle mass. That takes longer.”
Researchers found the 670nm light had no impact in younger individuals, but in those around 40 years and over, significant improvements were obtained. Cone colour contrast sensitivity (the ability to detect colours) improved by up to 20% in some people aged around 40 and over. Improvements were more significant in the blue part of the colour spectrum that is more vulnerable in ageing. “Our study shows that it is possible to significantly improve vision that has declined in aged individuals using simple brief exposures to light wavelengths that recharge the energy system that has declined in the retina cells, rather like re-charging a battery.”
Kim Kardashian West is selling a stake in her beauty brand for $200 million, a deal that values the reality TV star’s three-year-old makeup business at $1 billion. The buyer, Coty, will own 20% of KKW Beauty. Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017 and leveraged her hundreds of millions of social media followers to sell lip gloss, body foundation and perfume. The 39-year-old will remain the creative force behind KKW Beauty. KKW Beauty’s reach dwarfs that of Coty’s existing brands, which include Max Factor makeup and Sally Hansen nail polish. Max Factor, for example, has 585,000 Instagram followers, compared to KKW Beauty’s 4.4 million.
BP has sold its petrochemicals business for $5bn to Ineos, in a deal that will boost the oil company’s under-pressure balance sheet. The deal will result in Ineos taking on BP’s aromatics division, which produces chemicals for polyester used in clothing, film and packaging, as well as BP’s acetyls business, whose products are used in food flavourings, paints and glues. The decline in oil prices triggered by the coronavirus pandemic has damaged the finances of oil producers around the world, accelerating BP’s need to cut costs and restructure. BP said the crisis would take as much as £14bn off the value of its assets and it is cutting 10,000 jobs worldwide.
A kickstarter was recently launched for a new fragrance called Eau de Space to bring the smell of outer space back down to Earth. It was created to help astronauts train before launching in orbit, and it was part of NASA’s goal of eliminating any potential surprises astronauts might encounter or experience in space, according to the Kickstarter. Richmond said that he has struggled to describe how the fragrance smells, adding, “Astronauts describe the smell as a mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries and rum.”
Japan has produced its first ninja studies graduate after Genichi Mitsuhashi spent two years honing his martial arts skills and absorbing the finer traditions of the feudal martial arts agents. The 45-year-old completed the master’s course at Mie University in central Japan, the region considered the home of the ninja. In addition to researching historical documents, Mitsuhashi said he took the practical aspect of being a ninja to heart. Mitsuhashi grew vegetables and worked on his martial arts techniques, in addition to copious ninja study in the classroom.