Daily Archives: June 6, 2017

Why You Should Drink Coffee Before Your Workout

Drinking a cup of plain ol’ black coffee before your workout will boost your athletic performance. Loads of scientific evidence says so. Many scientists, coaches and trainers further believe that, in order to fully benefit from a pre-workout cup of joe, one must coffee-fast in preparation. (Thus preventing your body from becoming habituated to the effects of caffeine.) Needless to say, coffee addicts don’t take too kindly to this assertion — among them Bruno Gualano, biking enthusiast, coffee lover and, conveniently, physiology and nutrition professor at the University of São Paulo in Brazil.

Thus, Gualano set out to prove the coffee withholders wrong. His research, which appears in the newest Journal of Applied Physiology, suggests that those who partake of the stuff daily can still get a performance buzz when needed.

To test his theory, Gualano recruited 40 competitive male cyclists to participate in a study. He divided the bikers into three groups: those with a low caffeine intake (less than one cup of coffee, tea, cola, Red Bull, etc. per day), those with a moderate intake (the equivalent of about two cups of coffee per day), and those will a relatively high intake (three cups of coffee or more per day).

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He then asked each group to return to the lab three times to complete three time trials. During the time trials, each cyclist rode as hard as they could until they burned 450 calories. Each task took about 30 minutes, each time the riders were asked not to eat or drink anything between the time they woke and the time they reported to the lab.

During one round, each rider took a 400-milligram caffeine pill, the equivalent of around four cups of brew, an hour before the trial. (That poor low-intake group must’ve been thinking in caps lock for days.) During another round, the riders took a placebo pill. The third time, they took nothing at all. Nearly every rider performed best after taking the caffeine pill.

When under the influence of caffeine, participants rode approximately 3.3 percent faster than their baseline performance. The placebo pill caused participants to ride about 2.2 percent faster than their baseline.

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Now for the kicker: Coffee enthusiasts will be happy to hear that the results were the same across categories, meaning that the cyclists who’d chugged four plus cups of coffee the day before their trial did just as well as the (shaking? sweating?) light caffeine drinkers.

This, of course, does not mean it’s necessarily good to chug four cups of brew before hitting the gym (heart palpitations are no fun). Plus, the study had several holes: It looked at the effects of caffeine on fit young men. Women and those in poor physical condition were left out of the equation. Not to be preachy, but we’d say the real takeaway here is that, if you, like Gualano, have a well-founded suspicion that a rule that ostensibly applies to you doesn’t actually apply to you, don’t hesitate to question it.

[ via The New York Times ]

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Scientists And Engineers Have Developed The First Robotic-Termite

Scientists And Engineers Have Developed The First Robotic-Termite

Termites may be hated creatures, but at least they are great at building structures. Termites are likely more sophisticated than you may think. In fact, one study suggests that termites can create a sort of air conditioning system that cools their underground tunnels. Despite their relatively advanced social nature, most people just want to make sure that they are far away from their homes. However, one group of researchers has been using termites for one purpose, and that purpose is to build a termite-robot. Amazingly, these termite-robots behave more like termites than actual robots.

Entomologists and even many engineers have long marveled at the termites ability to create structures that are, relative to the size of a termite, absolutely colossal. Termites often build their nesting structures above ground, and sometimes these structures can become complicated in design. The tallest termite mound on record measured at forty two feet in height. Amazingly, termite accomplishments, such as tall nesting-mounds, are the work of millions of termites. What is most impressive is the fact that these termites are not following a blueprint, nor are they taking orders. Somehow, every termite in a colony, which can be millions, knows what to do in order to work towards creating a nest. Researchers believe that termites can sense what is around them, and they instinctively know what to do.

Now, two prominent researchers have built robots modeled after termites in order to see if the robots could build structures in the same way as termites. The scientists programed the fleet of termite-robots to follow specific rules, but the robot-termites can end up building anything. Even after operating on the same program, the robot-termites built different structures each time. These structures included castles and pyramids. Instead of communicating directly, the robots, share different environments so that other robots can finish the previous robot’s task. This is exactly how termites operate socially while working together to build a nest. This study opens up new possibilities regarding future robot-made structures.

What scientific or practical value does this study have to humanity?

 

 

 

 

The post Scientists And Engineers Have Developed The First Robotic-Termite appeared first on Arizona Pest Control.

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Video: Downhill Urban Mountain Bike Racing in Mexico

We all love those amazing mountain bike videos that take us to remote trails across the globe. But there is also something fascinating about the occasional urban mountain bike run through the heart of a busy city too. That’s what we have here as pro rider Rémy Métailler rides the narrow, twisty streets of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, navigating jumps, staircases, trails, and steep drops along the…

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The London terror attack shows counterterrorism policy needs a major reboot

london terror attack

On Saturday night, three terrorists drove a white rental van to London Bridge and began mowing down pedestrians. They proceeded to a nearby market to continue their attack with knives while wearing fake explosive vests to add to the fear and chaos. By the time the attackers were fatally shot by police, they’d murdered seven people and injured about two dozen more. The violence was claimed by the Islamic State the next day, though it remains unclear whether ISIS had any real contact or merely ideological simpatico with the three men.

As the investigation into this horrific crime continues in Britain, here across the pond, the London Bridge attack occasions a fresh examination of the United States’ approach to the war on terror: Is what we’re doing working? Does it keep us safe? Is our counter-terror strategy effectively defensive?

The basic bipartisan assumption in Washington for the past decade and half has been that the best way to stop terrorism is an interventionist, military-first foreign policy. In this approach—accepted with surface variation but little fundamental difference by three consecutive administrations—the U.S. pursues a strategy of preemptive military strikes against terrorist targets and oppressive regimes across the greater Mideast, following them with expensive, long-term nation-building obligations that often re-escalate into military action as new unsavories arise in the power vacuums those very strikes help create. On the home front, meanwhile, Americans are asked to accept as the price of security enormous national debt and an expansive surveillance state that runs afoul of constitutional privacy and speech protections.

After 16 years, it is impossible to argue Washington’s approach is working.

U.S. Army Specialist Iraqi Border With Syria Guarded By Iraqi Border Patrol

Though still statistically rare as compared to decades past and other regions of the world today, terror attacks are clearly on an upward trend in the West. Before London, it was Manchester. Before Manchester, Stockholm. Before Stockholm, the Berlin Christmas market. Before Berlin, London again. The list is grim and growing.

This rise in terror attacks coincides with an increasingly frenetic U.S. foreign policy defined by increased military intervention at massive cost to the American taxpayer. Washington has already spent or promised some $12 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone—while expanding unauthorized engagements of at best debatable value in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. In Syria, for example, U.S. military action continues apace despite a no-win situation in which America has little to gain and much to lose. Ditto Yemen, where the U.S. is playing second fiddle to a Saudi-led intervention with appalling humanitarian ramifications and counterproductive security outcomes.

Review this foreign policy in toto and it is evident the conventional political wisdom isn’t wise at all. It is costly and detrimental, an enormous drain on limited counter-terror resources that seeks to apply external military solutions to internal political problems of the Middle East. This is not the path to stability, let alone peace.

To answer our initial questions: It is not working. It does not keep us safe. It is not effectively defensive.

The diagnosis of domestic counter-terror policy is no better. That expansive surveillance state is largely an exercise in futility, as would-be terrorists are lost in a swarm of useless data about innocent Americans.

Trump CIA

“The intelligence community has never made a compelling case that bulk collection stops terrorism,” notes Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who introduced the PATRIOT Act back in 2001 but has since become skeptical of the spying architecture it created. Rather, he added, the “bigger haystack makes it harder to find the needle.” This leaves intelligence agencies bogged down in a flood of irrelevancies, missing useful details more mundane (and constitutional) detective work would catch.

The “lone wolf” terrorists—those, like the London Bridge attackers, who typically have a mere digital connection to ISIS and its fellows—can thus escape notice until it is too late. Big Data obscures their plots, and their independence and sheer physical distance make them generally impervious to the circumstances of their Mideast inspirations.

Politicians from both parties frequently respond to lone wolf terror by recommending further U.S. military action, but this facile suggestion would have no practical effect on the type of violence we saw in London this weekend. ISIS is losing territory, and fast—but that did nothing to stop three men armed with knives and a van.

Ill-considered military intervention can exacerbate the lone wolf problem. Though ISIS “is clearly weakened on the ground,” writes Hassan Hassan at Foreign Policy, “the nature of the losses it is suffering has strengthened its legitimacy” among supporters. And, even “where armed intervention has achieved a semblance of tactical success—the ousting of some unsavory dictator, for example—it has yielded neither reconciliation nor willing submission nor even sullen compliance,” explains Ret. Col. Andrew Bacevich, a military historian, at The Boston Globe. “Instead, intervention typically serves to aggravate, inciting further resistance. Rather than putting out the fires of radicalism, we end up feeding them.”

After London, the need for a new approach is palpable. At home and abroad, Washington’s bellicose security strategy post-9/11 has shown itself a consistent, expensive, and dangerous failure.

Of course, there are no easy answers to a problem as grave as terrorism, but rejecting the discredited interventionism of recent years ought not be controversial. In its place, as Bacevich has argued, should be a new realism endowed with “a sober appreciation for recent miscalculations” that have proved incapable of producing “promised results [of] disorder curbed, democracy promoted, human rights advanced, terrorism suppressed.” Our guiding values must not be reflexive military action nor misguided hopes of remaking the world in America’s image. Rather, our foreign policy should be guided by realism, prudence, and diplomatic common sense.

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities. She is a weekend editor at The Week and a columnist at Rare, and her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, Politico, Relevant Magazine, The Hill, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.

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