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Nike's New Shoe Might Help Break the Marathon World Record

Nike
Nike

Nike could continue to sell sneakers on brand recognition alone for the next century. Instead, the company has consistently chased after innovation. They licked the self-lacing shoe in 2016, more than 25 years after it was first broached in Back to the Future II. Now, Nike believes it can help athletes break marathon world records.

As WIRED reports, this week, Nike debuted the Zoom Vaporfly Elite, a running performance sneaker that could assist in surpassing the current two-hour, two minute, and 57-second world record for completing a marathon (26.2 miles). To prove it, Nike plans on equipping three athletes with the gear this spring in the hopes of getting their running time under two hours.

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To do that, Nike had to focus on a three to five percent increase in running economy, which means reducing the weight of the shoe, providing better cushioning, and aiding in propulsion. The Vaporfly's sole is an inch thick, but so light that the overall shoe weighs two ounces less than their current benchmark Olympic sprinting shoe; a carbon fiber plate helps a runner’s momentum. Nike says it has spent a decade refining these elements and believes the Vaporfly will provide an opportunity to see what the physiological limit might be on running times.

Nike will see if they’ve succeeded when the world record attempt is made this spring at an auto racing track in Monza, Italy. The Zoom goes on sale to the general public in June at a suggested retail price of $250.

[h/t WIRED]

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Carl Court, Getty Images
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Is There a Limit to How Many Balls You Can Juggle?
Carl Court, Getty Images
Carl Court, Getty Images

In 2017, a juggler named Alex Barron broke a record when he tossed 14 balls into the air and caught them each once. The feat is fascinating to watch, and it becomes even more impressive once you understand the physics behind it.

As WIRED explains in a new video, juggling any more than 14 balls at once may be physically impossible. Researchers who study the limits of juggling have found that the success of a performance relies on a number of different components. Speed, a.k.a. the juggler's capacity to move their hands in time to catch each ball as it lands, is a big one, but it's not the most important factor.

What really determines how many balls one person can juggle is their accuracy. An accurate juggler knows how to keep their balls from colliding in midair and make them land within arm's reach. If they can't pull that off, their act falls apart in seconds.

Breaking a juggling world record isn't the same as breaking a record for sprinting or shot put. With each new ball that's added to the routine, jugglers need to toss higher and move their hands faster, which means their throws need to be significantly more accurate than what's needed with just one ball fewer. And skill and hours of practice aren't always enough; according to expert jugglers, the current world records were likely made possible by a decent amount of luck.

For a closer look at the physics of juggling, check out the video below.

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Bowman Gum - Heritage Auctions, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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11 Timeless Yogi Berra Quotes
Bowman Gum - Heritage Auctions, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Bowman Gum - Heritage Auctions, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The great Yogi Berra—a 10-time World Series champion and three-time MVP—was one of baseball's best catchers, but he's remembered just as much for his wit and wisdom as his Hall of Fame career. Here are some of the quotes attributed to Yogi (who was born on May 12, 1925), even if he didn't always say them first.

1. "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."

2. "The future ain't what it used to be." (Yogi later clarified, saying, "I just meant that times are different. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.")

3. "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."

4. "It ain't over 'til it's over."

5. "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." (See Quote Investigator)

6. "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." (See Quote Investigator)

7. "We have a good time together, even when we're not together."

8. "It's déjà vu all over again." (See Quote Investigator)

9. "Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical."

10. "I really didn't say everything I said."

11. "Then again, I might have said 'em, but you never know."

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