April 22, 2013

    Photo: Pakhnyushcha via Shutterstock

Were Early Humans As Fast As the Pros?

New equation calculates speed from footprints

Two Spanish scientists are having something of a Holmesian moment. Javier Ruiz and Angélica Torices of Madrid's Complutense University have created an equation that determines an individual's walking or running speed based solely on their footprints. 

The scientists collected data on speed and stride length from professional athletes as well as 14 paleontology students who were asked to run along a beach. Their resulting calculations showed surprising accuracy, with a margin of error ranging from 10 to 15 percent. 

Now they hope to apply the equation to fossilized footprints of early humans. In fact, they have already used it on Pleistocene-era tracks in Australia. Scientists had previously guessed that the tracks indicated a speed comparable to that of a professional athlete. Ruiz and Torices' equation has estimated a much more believable sprinting pace. Mystery solved.

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Castleton Tower     Photo: Skrankkala

Legendary Climber Layton Kor Dies

Made first ascents of Castleton Tower, Naked Edge

Layton Kor, the legendary climber who established some of America's hardest and most frightening routes during the 1950s and 60s, died on Sunday night. Kor, 74, had been fighting kidney failure and prostate cancer.

Born in Canby, Minnesota, Kor began his climbing career in Colorado's Eldorado Canyon, where he established bold free and aid climbs like The Naked Edge and T2. Beginning in the 1960s, he took his act to the deserts of southern Utah, where he made the first ascents of cutting-edge routes on Moab's sandstone spires, including Kor-Ingalls on Castleton Tower and Finger of Fate on the Titan, both of which were later featured in the seminal book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America.

Kor essentially quit climbing in 1968 when he became a Jehovah's Witness, but came back to the sport later in his life. In 2009, when Kor was in his early 70s, he made the first ascent of a 150-foot tower near his home in Kingman, Arizona, with Stewart Green, Ed Webster, and Dennis Jump. "Climbing is hard to give up," Green would later recall him saying. "It's just as hard to give up as cigarettes."

In his later years, Kor struggled with medical bills, including daily medications and thrice-weekly dialysis. Despite the efforts of fellow climbers who organized fundraisers for his benefit, his biographer, Cameron Burns, told Climbing that Kor died "essentially in poverty."

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    Photo: Wikipedia

WATCH: New Mountain Bike Speed Record

Cyclist hits 135 mph

Eric "The Red Baron" Barone set a world speed record on a serial production mountain bike this month, blazing down the slopes of a French ski resort at 135 mph.

Barone, 52, topped the previous world record of 130 mph, but he fell 3 mph short of the world record for speed on a mountain bike prototype set in 2000.



While attempting to break the world record for speed on gravel in 2002, he hit 107 mph at the Cerro Negro Volcano in Nicaragua before his front fork collapsed. He suffered only broken ribs and other minor injuries in the crash.

"I feel a huge sense of relief. I have reached my personal goal," Barone told BikeRadar. "I have been living with the big crash for more than 10 years and today I got some closure at last."

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    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kilts Will Help Your Sperm, Get You Laid, Supposedly

Dutch researcher crusades against pants

Heed these words, Men. Drop everything you are doing and take off your pants. According to a Dutch researcher, the modern male “scrotal environment” is killing your sperm. The solution? Kilts.

The tyrannical confinement of pants and underwear holds the testicles close to the body, which sits at an average 98.6 degrees. According to Erwin Kompanje, a senior researcher in the department of intensive care at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, “adequate spermatogenesis requires a temperature about 3 degrees [Celsius] lower than normal body temperature.” Pants also restrict the function of the cremaster muscle, which raises and lowers the scrotum in response to heat and cold. “In tight trousers it cannot work,” says Kompanje. “In a naked man, or a man wearing a kilt, it can and will.”

However, Kompanje admitted that he hasn’t yet proved this theory and is only working off of his own experience with kilts. "I searched on sperm quality [sic] and found many scientific papers related to high scrotal temperature and tight clothing,” he said “So as 1+1=2, I formed the hypothesis that wearing a skirt-like garment (as a kilt) without underwear would help to improve sperm quality.”

Though lacking scientific proof, Kompanje still believes that a kilt can increase your chances of reproduction through fashion alone. “I found literature, and I have experienced this myself, that women like to see a man wearing a kilt,” he said with a wink. “It can be very masculine and sexy.”

There you have it. One and a half reasons to wear a kilt.

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London Marathon     Photo: Roy Reed on Flickr

Kebede and Jeptoo Win London Marathon

Boston Marathon wheelchair winner victorius

Six days after the bombings in Boston, Ethiopia's Tsegaye Kebede overpowered Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai in the final mile to win the London Marathon, a race with no security scares, roughly 35,000 competitors, and more than half a million spectators.

Kebede won the men's race with a time of 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 4 seconds. Priscah Jeptoo won the women's race with a time of 2 hours, 20 minutes, and 15 seconds. After winning the women's wheelchair title in Boston, American Tatyana McFadden celebrated her 24th birthday by taking the same event in London. "There was never a doubt that I was not going to run," she said. "And I was going to run for the people back in Boston — the people who lost loved ones or who are newly injured."

The only blemish to the race occurred when a men's wheelchair competitor, Josh Cassidy, ran into Olympian Tiki Gelana as she went to get a drink. The Ethiopian finished 16th and Cassidy finished 20th.

A moment of silence for the victims in Boston was held before the start of the men's race. Many spectators cheering along the course waved American flags and held banners up about Boston. "I was surprised so many people on the way cheering us," Jeptoo said. "And that shows there was no fear for those people."

For more, read "Festive and Defiant, London Runs a Marathon for Boston."

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