NerdFit: Why Techies Love CrossFit

JC Herz reports on the strange bedfellows to be found when you’re into “measurable, observable, repeatable” benchmarks.

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Homemade cardboard Portal gun for less than $10


Redditor Pastlightspeed cosplayed Chel from the game Portal and put together an amazing Portal Gun out of cardboard and paint for less than $10. The Imgur set shows some details of the build, and the incredible fact that she ran a 5K while dressed in full Portal drag and carrying her sidearm.

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Nike+ Fuelband SE

Hot on the heels of FitBit's new app-connected wristwatch pedometer, here's Nike's new $150 Fuelband SE. Features include an ambient light sensor, Bluetooth 4 pairing to a new iOS smartphone app, and time display for when you're not thinking about calories or footsteps. New are the neon accent colors in green, red and pink, better weather-sealing, and the alleged ability to ignore 'false positive' flicks of the wrist.

The physics of pull-ups

Some people are naturally better than others at pulling off the elusive pull-up, writes Kyle Hill at Scientifica American. For them, it's all about mass-to-arm-length ratio — ideally, you want a low mass and short arms to minimize the amount of energy it takes to pull your body upwards. But Hill insists that the less genetically fortunate can learn to do pull-ups, too. It's just something that takes dedicated training.

Fitness tracking wristbands reviewed

David Pogue reviews two fitness armbands, the Nike Fuel Band and the Jawbone Up. He prefers the former, but appears impressed by neither.

The Nike band is polished and professional, it has that awesome screen and the wireless Bluetooth syncing is the way to go. This pony performs its trick brilliantly, but it’s still just one trick. The Up band is saddled by its goofy headphone-jack syncing method and rather weird software design.
I looked at these recently and came to the same conclusion: the wristband pedometers are great gadgets, but limited by bizarre software. Nike's, for example, wants you to focus on some weird "Nike Fuel" metric based on "oxygen kinetics"--even if it isn't bullshit, it couldn't look more like it.

So, even though I wanted a band, I instead bought the Fitbit One, a traditional 'clip on' model. I'm not ready to recommend it yet, as I'm just a few days into using it, but at under $100 it's cheaper than the other brands. It does come with a wristband into which it can be slotted, but the band is stretchy black gymwear and clearly not as pretty as the gadgets from Nike and Jawbone. The Fitbit One's wireless background sync works perfectly—the Jawbone wristband doesn't even have wireless, and must be taken off and plugged in!— and it's cool to be able to just jump into a smartphone app and see how long I've slept, how much I've eaten, and estimates of far I've walked and how many calories I've burned today.

Gweek 053: Fitness for Geeks

Click here to play this episode. Gweek is Boing Boing’s podcast about comic books, science fiction and fantasy, video games, board games, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

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Zombies Run! Kickstarter-funded mobile game about running

Adrian from Six to Start sez, "We just launched a Kickstarter project for a new running game called 'Zombies, Run!' we're developing for iOS and Android. In the game, you help rebuild civilisation after a zombie apocalypse by going out and running in the real world. As you run, you can collect medicine, ammo, batteries, and spare parts that you can use to build up and expand your base - all while getting orders, clues, and story through your headphones. We've already raised over 60% of the funds from over 200 backers, so we're pretty sure it's going to happen now, but we have some super-neat rewards like people being able to contribute their best zombie-groan to the game, and also becoming one of the RUNNERS."

ZOMBIES, RUN! Running game & audio adventure for iOS/Android (Thanks, Adrian!)

Database to foil yoga copythieves to launch

A open Indian database of all yoga postures will go live soon. It's intended to serve as a reference for patent and copyright offices around the world who are petitioned by the likes of Bikram Choudhury with patent and copyright applications for individual postures and sequences of postures. The Times of India article is somewhat confusing in that it mixes patent and copyright freely. I haven't heard of patents being granted on yoga postures, but there have been many stories about the controversial practice of copyright offices allowing registration of choreography copyrights for sequences of postures:
In order to stop self-styled yoga gurus from claiming copyright to ancient `asanas', like Bikram Choudhury's Hot Yoga -- a set of 26 sequences practised in a heated room -- India has completed documenting 1,300 'asanas' which will soon be uploaded on the country's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), making them public knowledge.

Around 250 of these `asanas' have also been made into video clips with an expert performing them.

According to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ( CSIR) and Union health ministry's department of Ayush, "once the database is up online, patent offices across the world will have a reference point to check on everytime a yoga guru claims patent on a particluar `asana'."

CSIR's Dr V P Gupta, who created TKDL, told TOI, "All the 26 sequences which are part of Hot Yoga have been mentioned in Indian yoga books written thousands of years ago."

He added, "However, we will not legally challenge Choudhury. By putting the information in the public domain, TKDL will be a one-stop reference point for patent offices across the world. Every time, somebody applies for a patent on yoga, the office can check which ancient Indian book first mentioned it and cancel the application."

India pulls the plug on yoga as business (Thanks, Msikk, via Submitterator!)

(Image: Bikram Yoga - with Bikram Choudhury, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from tiarescott's photostream)