Dean Karnazes: the man who can run for ever

Most runners have to stop when they reach their lactate threshold, but Dean Karnazes’ muscles never tire: he can run for three days and nights without stopping. What’s his secret?

From club runners to Olympians, every athlete has a limit. Scientifically, this limit is defined as the bodys lactate threshold and when you exercise beyond it, running rapidly becomes unpleasant. Weve all experienced that burning feeling heart pounding, lungs gasping for air as your muscles begin to fatigue, eventually locking up altogether as your body shuts down. However, there is one man whose physiological performance defies all convention: Dean Karnazes is an ultrarunner from California and, at times, it seems as if he can run for ever.

Karnazes has completed some of the toughest endurance events on the planet, from a marathon to the South Pole in temperatures of -25C to the legendary Marathon des Sables, but in his entire life he has never experienced any form of muscle burn or cramp, even during runs exceeding 100 miles. It means his only limits are in the mind.

At a certain level of intensity, I do feel like I can go a long way without tiring, he says. No matter how hard I push, my muscles never seize up. Thats kind of a nice thing if I plan to run a long way.

When running, you break down glucose for energy, producing lactate as a byproduct and an additional source of fuel that can also be converted back into energy. However, when you exceed your lactate threshold, your body is no longer able to convert the lactate as rapidly as it is being produced, leading to a buildup of acidity in the muscles. It is your bodys way of telling you when to stop but Karnazes never receives such signals.

To be honest, what eventually happens is that I get sleepy. Ive run through three nights without sleep and the third night of sleepless running was a bit psychotic. I actually experienced bouts of sleep running, where I was falling asleep while in motion, and I just willed myself to keep going.

While supreme willpower is a common trait among ultrarunners, Karnazes first realised that he was actually biologically different when preparing to run 50 marathons in 50 days across the US back in 2006. I was sent to a testing center in Colorado, he recalls. First, they performed an aerobic capacity test in which they found my results consistent with those of other highly trained athletes, but nothing extraordinary. Next, they performed a lactate threshold test. They said the test would take 15 minutes, tops. Finally, after an hour, they stopped the test. They said theyd never seen anything like this before.

As Laurent Messonnier from the University of Savoie explains, the difference is that your aerobic capacity is a measure of your cardiovascular system performance, while your lactate threshold is your ability to clear lactate from your blood and convert it back into energy.

If you take a high-level runner and you train that guy for a long time, his cardiovascular system will improve until a certain point where it will be very difficult to improve it further, as its determined by the heart and the blood vessels. So if you carry on training that guy, you will not improve his aerobic capacity but his performance will still improve, because the lactate threshold is not limited by the cardiovascular system its determined by the quality of the muscles.

Your body clears lactate from the blood via a series of chemical reactions driven by the mitochondria in your muscle cells. These reactions transform lactate back to glucose again and they are enhanced by specific enzymes. The clearance process also works more efficiently if your mitochondria have a larger capacity, increasing their ability to use lactate as a fuel.

Years of training will improve both your enzymes and mitochondria and so improve your clearance, but there is a limit to how much you can improve your lactate threshold by training alone. If you inherit these enzymes and a larger mass of mitochondria genetically, your personal limits will be far higher.

Karnazes fell in love with running from an early age, and at high school he began to show endurance capabilities which far surpassed those of his peers. At one charity fundraiser, while his fellow runners were able to manage 15 laps of the track at most, Karnazes completed 105. But in his mid-teens he stopped altogether until experiencing an epiphany on his 30th birthday. Gripped by a powerful desire to run once more, he set off into the night.

After 15 years of no training, most of us would not have been physically capable of getting too far, but Karnazes did not stop until 30 miles later. Although the blisters were excruciating, his muscles showed little sign of fatigue.

Many elite distance runners will show some improvements in their ability to clear lactic acid from the system due to the training effect, but that only goes so far, he says. The rest, as I am told, is left up to heredity. They say the best thing you can do as a long-distance runner is to choose your parents well!

However, genetics alone does not tell the full story. Karnazes believes that his lactate clearance abilities could also be down to low body fat, low sweat rate, a highly alkaline diet and low exposure to environmental toxins. Genetics can give you the propensity for a natural advantage but you express your genes differently depending on your environment and your lifestyle.

The intriguing question is whether Karnazes lactate clearance abilities would be the same now if he had not done so much running at an early age.

If you take two twins one grows up in Africa and one grows up in northern Europe their athletic performance will potentially be very different, because they will express their genes differently as the environment, food, everything is different, Messonnier says.

An interesting experiment could be to repeat the lactate threshold test with Karnazes brother.

He plays competitive volleyball but has never really done an extensive amount of running, Karnazes says. I would be curious if he exhibits some of those same abilities to clear lactic acid from his system.

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An inventor built a tiny Macintosh classic with LEGO and Raspberry Pi

Image: jannis hermanns

Nostalgia has been all the rage among electronics enthusiasts these days, from this Windows 98 “smartwatch” to Nokia’s revamp of the classic 3310. But here’s a nostalgic effort that goes above and beyond: Developer Janis Hermanns built a Wi-FI enabled LEGO Macintosh Classic that runs Docker on a Raspberry Pi Zero with an e-paper display.

Hermanns was playing with LEGOs with his son when they decided to build one of the first computers he remembered using, the Macintosh Classic. The project would be a birthday present for his friend. (He detailed every step of the process in a blog post here, so you, too, can build your own.)

Image: jannis hermanns

The duo designed the project on LEGO designer, ordered an epaper display and some white LEGO bricks and connected them to a Raspberry Pi Zero. The result? This adorable mini Macintosh Classic replica.

Image: jannis hermanns

The parts were around $160 in total; read the guide here if you want to try this at home.

WATCH: This device lets you alert your mom if you’re stuck in a shady situation


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Airline pricing secrets: How carriers come up with fares

(CNN)Anyone who’s lost an evening researching flight deals knows that airfare pricing can seem pretty random — high one week, low the next and long-distance often cheaper than short-haul.

It’s called airline revenue management: the science of adjusting fares dynamically and in real time so that airlines can maximize their revenue.
And it’s not just a case of simple supply and demand.
Airlines now rely on ever-more sophisticated software that takes into account a broad range of factors, from overall conditions across their global networks, right down to the individual preferences of their passengers.

The evolution of airline pricing techniques



Playing the points game: Airmiles explained




Customer profiling

But how does the airline know who the higher-value passengers are and how much to charge them?
Stuart Barwood, founder of Travercial, an airline consultancy firm, says airlines can make a number of reasonable assumptions about the profile of traffic on a certain route and then adjust their prices accordingly.
“The London to Majorca route, for example, has a marked leisure profile. This has implications not only for fare levels but also for the way pricing changes over time.
“If the airline assumes that leisure passengers will tend to book relatively early, months before their holidays, it may be tempted to start pricing seats on that route relatively high. It would then adjust them according to the market response.
“Meanwhile on a typical business route — let’s say London to Frankfurt — the airline may start with low prices to fill a minimum of capacity, then raise prices steeply for business travelers that book at the last minute.”
In fact, those last-minute high-value passengers are so precious that some airlines go the extra mile to make room for them.
For example, a service developed by Barcelona-based company Caravelo helps airlines identify those passengers most likely to accept a flight swap in exchange for compensation, such as vouchers or frequent flier miles, and offers to rebook them on a later flight.
With space then cleared, the high-fare passengers are then booked onto the previously full flight.

Towards total customization

You might think of fare classes in terms of economy, business and first class, but the reality is airlines have dozens of subdivisions.
The airline will adjust the number of seats allocated to each fare class. When one class has been sold, the sale price will leap to the next one.
This is how most fares are currently set, but it’s still some way off from the ultimate goal: Airlines want to know their clients so well they’re able to offer fully personalized pricing.
Loyalty programs, registered users and cookie tracking can give airlines some valuable clues, but even when an airline has gathered a lot of data about its passengers they still might not be putting it to profitable use.

Adding up the extras

“In reality, it is quite common for passenger data to be scattered throughout several functional areas within an airline, kept in data silos where it is of little use to the revenue management department,” says Barwood.
Airlines might be lagging behind the likes of Amazon when it comes to personalized marketing, but Barwood says many are getting up to speed with data management and this is already being felt in pricing and marketing.
Revenue management systems will increasingly take into account not only the air fare itself, but the total value a passenger can generate for the airline, including ancillary revenue.
That’s all the extras that can be added to your base fare, and it’s a growing source of profit.
Using seat choice as an example, many airlines now charge for the privilege of picking your seats in advance.
This could, in theory, be managed dynamically. Why not base seat prices on the occupancy of a given flight? Or charge less to members of your loyalty program?
This kind of profiling might be beneficial to the loyalty program customer in this instance, but what about when a frequent business traveler is then consistently shown higher fares when they’re trying to book a family vacation?
It could well prompt a backlash among the sort of high value customers that every airline hopes to retain.

Protecting the brand



The loophole letting passengers fly on the cheap



And while airlines may have good reasons not to overcharge their best customers, they also have to be careful not to undercharge the other classes of client.
The temptation is to aggressively lower prices when there are still empty seats left before a flight departs — but if this becomes the norm there’s a serious risk of undermining the brand and alienating higher-value passengers.
A number of companies, such as Bidflyer, Plusgrade and SeatFrog, have come up with applications that allow airlines to sell upgrades to the highest bidder through an auction mechanism — an efficient but anonymous way to get passengers to tell the airline how much they’re willing to pay for premium services.

Back to basics

The apparent randomness of airfares makes for an excellent conversation topic with friends and colleagues, but it can also be a source of anxiety for many travelers.
Perceptions that prices are immensely variable can add to the fear that customers may be overcharged for any extras they inadvertently purchase, or the worry that they might not be getting the best deal out there.
Which is why many airlines have opted for a different approach: go back to basics and offer branded fares — a bundle of services for a closed price.
This shouldn’t be confused with the rigid fare system that prevailed when the first low-cost airlines hit the scene.
This is more like an evolution of the low-cost fare system which lets customers choose the extras they want to add to the base fare.
This approach means rebundling a bunch of services — from checked-in luggage to a wider, more spacious seat — into a number of fare package options of varying complexity, all selling for a set price.
Think of it as like the menu options at a fast food joint.

The airfare arms race

Airlines might have a whole battery of tools to help them extract the most revenue from their passengers, but travelers can also call on their own arsenal of technological countermeasures.
Companies such as Skyscanner and Kayak have introduced fare alerts which allow you to monitor fares for specific flights and get automated alerts the moment they change.
Some companies are also developing fare prediction technology that promises to help travelers book their flights at the optimal moment, when the fare is likely to be lower.
In order to do this they rely on their own algorithms, plus a heap of historical data on air fares.
California-based FLYR uses its own proprietary fare prediction technology to offer fare lock-in insurance in partnership with TripAdvisor.
This service is similar to buying a financial option where you pay a relatively small premium in advance, to make sure you won’t pay more than a certain amount at a later date.
It also works with travel agents and other distribution partners to optimize bookings.

Seizing the moment

FLYR’s founder, Dutch entrepreneur Alexander Mans, says that outside a 30-day window of a flight’s date of departure, there is a 60 to 70% chance that a specific air fare will drop in price at some point.
“It is practically impossible for someone to monitor this manually, but with our computing resources we can predict pretty accurately the chances of a fare coming down and advise on the best course of action.
“If we think a fare is going to be lower in the future, we recommend waiting, before hitting the ‘book’ button.”
Hopper is another company specializing in the field of airfare prediction. Its mobile app, which has been downloaded more than eight million times, uses big data technology to predict fares as much as 12 months in advance.
“Our system looks at six to eight billion air fares every day. Our database has five years of historical fares, that means trillions of prices!” Frederic Lalonde, Hopper’s founder and CEO, declares proudly.
He claims their algorithms are capable of accurately predicting an airfare within $5, up to six months before departure.
“We are confident enough in our system to predict actual figures and to tell our customers whether they are getting a good fare or not.
“We have tracked our accuracy to 95%. Whether people later follow our advice or not is another story…”
With this amount of computing power being thrown into the field of airline pricing and the expectation that artificial intelligence technology will go mainstream, it might ultimately be up to the robots to fight the airfare war.
This isn’t necessarily bad news — it may result in better choices and more efficient booking processes.
With virtually millions of different air fares — as many as the number of passengers airlines carry every year — what seems assured is that airline fares will continue to be a topic of conversation by the office cooler for years to come.

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When her Dad says bang I never thought shed react like THIS Hilarious!

Kili theSenegal parrot has perfected the trick ofplaying dead.

When her dad points his finger at her and says Bang! Kili immediately dropsto the floor in a theatrical way and lays still. What a smart bird.Even some dogs can’t do this trick, I love it!

SHARE Kili’s awesome trick with family and friends who love animals!

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Women Are Creating She-Sheds, A Female Alternative To Man Caves (15+ Pics)

Men need their space. But so too do women. But while some men prefer to dwell in their Man Caves, some woman prefer an alternative place to relax. Such as the She-Shed.

Whereas Man Caves are usually a part of the house somehow, say hidden in the basement or the garage perhaps, She-Sheds are typically situated in the garden. There are no set rules to how a She-Shed should be constructed. Some turn them into reading areas while others use their She-Sheds as craft rooms or even miniature yoga studios.

Want a She-Shed but don’t know where to begin? Then take a look at the pictures below where you might just find some inspiration. That applies to you too, guys. Go on. Don’t worry. We won’t tell anyone.

(h/t: mymodernmet, contemporist)




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Turn your Android into a Game Boy Easily

Hyperkin was just kidding when it posted an April Fool’s Day pic of an attachment for your smartphone that turned it into a Game Boy. Well, sort of.

The company later admitted on Facebook that it had plans to make the device a reality if people liked the idea, and now it’s something you can hold in your hands.

Dennis Scimeca

Shown for the first time at E3, the developer version of the Smartboy will retail for $59.99 and can be pre-ordered on Hyperkin’s website. The good news is that it plays both Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles (yay!) using open-source software. Sadly, it only works with Android phones, as Hyperkin will only work with phones that run Google’s OS. In a super cool move, Hyperkin is offering a royalty percentage to anyone that can improve the Smartboy’s serial app and firmware.

Dennis Scimeca

Dennis Scimeca

Hyperkin hasn’t announced a release date for the final model, but it did say that it monitors social media for feedback regularly and hopes to continue to improve the device as it evolves.

The SupaBoy S was also on display, which is a handheld that plays Super Nintendo cartridges. It’s an upgraded version of the original SupaBoy with a 4.3 inch LCD screen, as opposed to the prior model’s 3.5 inch screen.

Dennis Scimeca

Hyperkin aims to release the final version of the Supaboy S late this fall, and it will retail for $89.99. Time to crack open your vintage game collection (that is, if you don’t have a shrine to it in your living room already).

Dennis Scimeca contributed to this report.

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Scared Kitten Found Under A Truck And Then This Happened

When this good guy saw a scared kitten clinging to a truck near his office, he just couldn’t leave her like that. Turns out, “the mama kitty ran off… and ditched the kitten. No other kittens could be found,” – redditor JustAnotherGoodGuy explained.

Immediately after finding the kitty, the man sent the picture to his wife asking “can I bring it home?” His wife’s reaction? “Who could say no to that face?” – she said.

The first thing they did was take her to the vet. “That’s how we found she’s a she. Got shots, the whole new kitten package.  She was only 4-5 weeks old when found.”

“[Axel] has made herself right at home with our 19 year old cat and 2 year old dog. She’s safe, sound, warm, and… loved,” – the couple explained.

“The mama kitty ran off and… ditched the kitten”


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Adopting A Dog Helped Me Deal With My Depression More Than Going To Therapy

I never really believed in the potency of pet therapy, and I didn’t really like animals much either. I never had a pet growing up, so I wasn’t able to understand the bond that people have with their pets is actually powerful.

I had been battling with anxiety and depression for almost three years. I was seeing therapists and psychiatrists, and I wenton and off several different antidepressants. I was drowning in the most irrational fears and obsessions that made me feel like I could never have a normal future.

Because of all of my anxieties, I was convinced I was mentally ill and needed to be institutionalized. I was afraid of death and loss of control. But at the same time, I also struggled to find a purpose for my life.I felt unlovable. I believed I didn’t deserve to be cared about. Since I was blessed to have the necessities of life, I believedI hadn’t gone through real hardships.

As I was sitting in class one evening, my mind was zoning out and wandering into dark places.

No one cares about me, and I am a waste of space, I thought. “If I died, would anyone care?” These thoughts made me question my purpose of being alive, and I was afraid of them.

Afterconsulting my parents and therapists that night, I changed medications again. But, I was tired of relying on doctors and medicine. I wanted to feel like I mattered to someone.I was living away from home at my university. I had a few friends, a boyfriend and roommates, but I constantly felt alone. I didn’t know how to help myself feel better anymore.

One day, my parents suggested I’d get a dog to live with me at school. I was very surprised because my parents had neverallowed pets at home. As a result, I never had a desire to take on that kind of responsibility. At first, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. How could a dog help my mental health?

But, the more I thought about it, the more I became open to the idea. I researched dog breeds and started visiting shelters to learn more about taking care of dogs. My family and I went to a bunch of shelters in Los Angeles to find a dog I could connect with.

I went toa park where a few shelters came together to bring dogs for adoption. That’s where I finally found the one. It was like love at first sight. I saw him from a distance, and before meeting him, I instantly knew I would adopt him.

I took my dog back to school with me the day I adopted him. The first few days with him were difficult, as I had never cared for a pet before. Then, I created a routine, and every day, it became easier. We built a tight bond. He was dependent on me, and I became very attached to him as well.

Every time I’d come home, he would be at the door to greet me. I felt the unconditional love, and it was as if a void inside of me was filled. My dog enabled me to find a sense of purpose. I also became more social and approachable because people wanted to pet and learn more about my dog. I started making friends at school and finding happiness.

It almost felt like I was starting to become a new person. I was becoming a better version of myself by being more social and open to trying new things. My dog, Aristotle, helped me learn to appreciate everything I have. Heshowed me how to allow myself to be loved. Aristotle saved my life, and I am grateful for him every day.

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Roomba creator responds to reports of poopocalypse: We see this a lot

Robotic vacuum cleaner is said to run over animal feces and continue its cleaning cycle around the house, spreading the mess over every conceivable surface

Jesse Newton found out the hard way what happens when a robotic vacuum cleaner encounters a dog turd, and it isnt pretty.

Newtons Roomba is scheduled to clean the living room of his home in Little Rock, Arkansas, at 1.30am each day, so that the family wakes up to a clean space. That all changed this month when his puppy Evie had an accident on the rug during the night, leading to what he described as the poopocalypse.

As Newton explains in a graphic Facebook post, the Roomba ran over the dog feces and then continued its cleaning cycle around the house, spreading the mess over every conceivable surface and resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting.

It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be in your kids toy boxes. If its near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25ft poop trails all over the house, he said.

Newton was helpful enough to draw a diagram.

A diagram of the Roomba poopocalypse. Illustration: Jesse Newton

It turns out that this isnt an isolated incident.

Its happened to neuroscientist Becca (she didnt want her full name published) between five and 10 times over the past two years.

She and her husband bought the Roomba to tackle the hair shed by their four cats Aretha, Bert, Merry and Pippin. It does an amazing job, she said.

That is, until theres a stray cat turd. Sometimes this happens when one of the cats simply misses the litter box, while at other times its down to the cat having a little dangling one that falls off somewhere in the apartment.

Its awful. The poop gets stuck in these tiny treads in the wheels, gets sucked inside and in all the brushes, Becca explained. Thats on top of the poop smeared all over the house.

Most of the time the mess is concentrated to a small area, something that Becca credits to a feature that leads the Roomba to go over an area repeatedly if it thinks it has detected a particularly dirty spot.

A couple of weeks ago we had this big asterisk on the floor because the Roomba was going in zigzags trying to get the spot, she said.

Roomba. Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer

Los Angeles marine biologist Jonathan Williams endured a similar trauma. Its happened three times in the past few months, ever since his family moved to a house with their pug, Alice.

The first time it happened he came back from work to find tread-marks of caked-in poop all over the house.

The next two times were much worse. Its almost like [Alice the pug] deliberately left it right in front of its path at the start of the cycle.

The last time it happened, Alice had been out in the morning and evacuated her bowels, lulling Williams and his wife into a false sense of security. We thought it was safe and we could run it, but it seems like she was storing some up for us.

Quite honestly, we see this a lot, said a spokesman from iRobot, the company that makes the Roomba.

We generally tell people to try not to schedule your vacuum if you know you have dogs that may create such a mess. With animals anything can happen.

Are there any plans to introduce any poop detection technology to the product? Our engineers are always trying to figure out ways to help people with their problems, and weve known this is an issue people deal with.

He suggests that it might be possible to introduce a specific sensor or feces-specific image recognition.

I cant say we have the solution yet but its certainly something our engineers are aware of.

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