CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

Is Rio's Olympic Pool Helping Swimmers Go Faster?

Original image
Getty Images

For the past week at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the best swimmers in the world have been racing to make history, and to grab a medal for themselves and their country along the way. While the athletes are undoubtedly incredible, they may have to share some of that credit with the pool itself, according to Sports Illustrated.

Experts and athletes agree that the Rio pool is a "fast pool," which is a reference to how it was designed and how those design elements benefit the swimmers. "A fast pool typically has at least three meters of depth to it," University of California’s women’s swimming team coach Teri McKeever told Sports Illustrated. "The deeper the pool is the better, because the splash or the turbulence and everything takes longer to get down to the bottom, and then it doesn’t ricochet back up into the swimmers." During the London 2012 Olympics, NBC ran a video segment about the fast pool at the London Aquatics Center as a part of its Science of the Summer Olympics: Engineering In Sports series, calling it "one of the most technologically advanced pools ever built." Four years prior, announcer and swimming legend Rowdy Gaines called the pool in Beijing "the fastest pool in the world." The pool in Rio is expected to produce just as many records as the one in London, and it's all by design.

Depth isn't the only thing that matters. Sports Illustrated reports that things like buffer lanes, lane lines, and gutters all help to break up waves and reduce ripples and turbulence, the reduction of which provides clearer sailing for the swimmers. Changes to swimsuits and the atmosphere of the venue are also said to play a role, and the athletes themselves still have to be at the top of their game to beat out the competition. "Yes, you want a good facility," coach McKeever told SI, "but also I think it’s the competition, it’s the emotion and everything else that helps with those world records."

[h/t Sports Illustrated via TIME]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

Original image
Ikea
arrow
Design
How IKEA Turned the Poäng Chair Into a Classic
Original image
Ikea

IKEA's Poäng chair looks as modern today as it did when it debuted in 1976. The U-shaped lounger has clean lines and a simple structure, and often evokes comparisons to Finnish designer Aalto’s famous “armchair 406.” Its design, however, is ultimately a true fusion of East and West, according to Co.Design.

In 2016, the Poäng celebrated its 40th birthday, and IKEA USA commemorated the occasion (and the 30 million-plus Poäng chairs they’ve sold over the years) by releasing two short videos about the armchair’s history and underlying design philosophy. Together, they tell the story of a fateful collaboration between Lars Engman, a young IKEA designer, and his co-worker, Noboru Nakamura.

Nakamura had initially come to IKEA to learn more about Scandinavian furniture. But the Japanese designer ended up imbuing the Poäng—which was initially called Poem—with his own distinct philosophy. He wanted to create a chair that swung “in an elegant way, which triggered me to imagine Poäng,” Nakamura recalled in a video interview. “That’s how I came up with a rocking chair.”

“A chair shouldn’t be a tool that binds and holds the sitter,” Nakamura explained. “It should rather be a tool that provides us with an emotional richness and creates an image where we let go of stress or frustration by swinging. Such movement in itself has meaning and value.”

Save for upholstery swaps, a 1992 name change, and a new-ish all-wooden frame that's easily flat-packed, the modern-day Poäng is still essentially the same product that customers have purchased and enjoyed for decades. Devotees of the chair can hear the full story by watching IKEA’s videos below—ideally, while swinging away at their desks.

[h/t Co. Design]

Original image
Pop Chart Lab
arrow
Design
New Pop Chart Lab Poster Is a Boozy Blueprint For Making Classic Cocktails
Original image
Pop Chart Lab

Pop Chart Lab's posters combine design with data, and their latest offering—a full breakdown of the ingredients in 60 classic cocktails—is no exception. From the exact ratio of gin and tonic that should go into a G & T (2 ounces and 4 ounces, respectively) to the garnishes you'll need to make a proper Tom Collins (a maraschino cherry and a lemon twist), the 3-foot-by-2-foot "Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" artwork teaches mixology basics you'd typically learn in bartending school, sans tuition fee.

In addition to mainstays like the Negroni and the Whiskey Sour, the poster also includes relatively obscure drinks (ever heard of the Golden Dawn, or the Journalist?), which you can attempt after drinking your way through your favorite concoctions. Before you know it, you'll be explaining to your friends the intricacies of why you should stir martinis instead of shaking them (sorry, James Bond), or the difference between a highball and a Collins glass. Bottoms up!

"Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" costs $37, and is currently available for pre-order. Shipping begins on Friday, October 20, 2017. (To see the poster's details up close, visit Pop Chart Lab's website and click on the diagram.)

The
Pop Chart Lab

Pop Chart Lab's
Pop Chart Lab

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios