The Morning After: 'Mario Kart', but for fitness goals

And Asics uses science and tech to prove that exercise makes you feel better.


Exercise makes you happier, huh? Prove it.

Asics tried to, using a portable EEG to measure the effects of running on the brains of both pro athletes and mere (but fit) humans. The sample size is small, but the numbers show an 18 percent increase in participants' ability to relax and a 29 percent improvement in stress resilience — I’d like a bit of both of those even if I can’t stand running. The researchers also noted that runners who ran in groups saw better results than solo runners — not easy to arrange in a pandemic, alas.

And if you don’t like running, like me, how about a workout centered squarely on Mario Kart? More on that below.

— Mat Smith

Homebrew Labo kit turns your exercise bike into a 'Mario Kart' controller

The prototype works.

The Morning After

New year, new you. As Couch to 5K fails to tempt you away from your couch and game console, hardware hacker Mike Choi built a concept Labo Fit Adventure Kart Kit -- that’s his name for the thing. It combines the Ring-Con fitness peripheral and an exercise bike to turn your next Mario Kart session into a cardio workout.

The kit is built around a TAPBO “robot” that presses Joy-Con buttons when it gets signals from both the Ring-Con and the bike. A sensor on the bike determines when your speed climbs above the necessary threshold. And when you want to launch a green shell? Squeeze the Ring-Con.
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Audi and BMW shut down car subscription programs

Cadillac may be trying a reboot, however.

The Morning After

According to reports, Audi and BMW car subscription services are wrapping up. Audi is winding down its Select program on January 31st, while the Nashville-only Access by BMW is closing as the automaker develops the “next iteration” of the service.

Mercedes-Benz shuttered its subscription service due to convoluted logistics and middling demand. But it’s not the end of car subs: Volvo’s service is still going, and Automotive News claims Cadillac is testing a resurrected service with dealers.
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Facebook and Google allegedly cut a deal that reduced ad competition

It hurts their chances of surviving antitrust cases.

The antitrust cases against Facebook and Google might have some additional fuel. The New York Times says it has obtained documents from a Texas antitrust lawsuit elaborating on a “sweetheart deal” (first mentioned by The Wall Street Journal) Google gave to Facebook in 2018, allegedly reducing ad competition. Nicknamed “Jedi Blue,” the deal offered benefits to both sides.

Facebook had more time to bid for ads, secure direct billing deals with the sites hosting the ads and get help from Google to understand ad audiences.

For Google, Facebook said it would bid on at least 90 percent of ad auctions when it could identify users and promised minimum spending levels up to $500 million per year. A Facebook spokesperson claimed that deals with Google “help increase competition.” A Google spokesperson, meanwhile, said the Texas lawsuit “misrepresents” the deal and other aspects of its ad business.
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NASA's historic Moon mission rocket test is cut short

The SLS is crucial to its future.

This NASA photo released on January 6, 2020 shows NASAs powerful new rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which will send astronauts a quarter million miles from Earth to lunar orbit at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana. - The agency is committed to landing American astronauts, including the first woman and the next man, on the Moon by 2024. Through the agencys Artemis lunar exploration program, we will use innovative new technologies and systems to explore more of the Moon than ever before.On January 1, 2020, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted: "Making progress! The massive @NASA_SLS core stage is moving to Building 110 at the Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. There it will be readied for the Pegasus barge and its trip to @NASAStennis. Thank you to the @NASA team for working through the holidays!" (Photo by Jude Guidry / NASA / AFP) (Photo by JUDE GUIDRY/NASA/AFP via Getty Images)

NASA’s crucial test to ensure it’s next mission to the moon goes forward was unfortunately not a success. The agency conducted a hot fire test for the Space Launch System’s (SLS) rocket core stage at 4PM ET last Saturday, an hour earlier than scheduled.

NASA fired the rockets, but cut the test short of the planned eight-minute burn after what might be a component failure. SLS is still poised to be one of the most capable platforms for getting things into space. One mission can carry payloads that might require two or more launches — even for SpaceX’s upcoming Starship, let alone existing options. This means, if NASA can get it all working, SLS could simplify some missions and save a lot of money.
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But wait, there’s more...

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