Category Archives: Science

Did the Surf Industry Kill the Future of Wetsuits?

A dozen miles from the Pacific Ocean, at California State University in San Marcos, surfers paddle against a current in a temperature-controlled tank. The flume pool is part of the university’s Surf Research Laboratory, led by surf-obsessed kinesiology professors Sean Newcomer and Jeff Nessler. Newcomer (blond, bespectacled, and well-built) and Nessler (lean, bald, and hydrodynamic) […]

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The Science Says a Sub-Seven-Hour Ironman Is (Sort of) Possible

On June 5, four of the world’s greatest long-distance triathletes will take aim at a couple of those round-number barriers we love to obsess about. There’s the four-minute mile, the two-hour marathon… and now, the seven-hour (for men) and eight-hour (for women) Ironman-distance triathlons. The catchily named Pho3nix Sub7 and Sub8 Powered by Zwift races […]

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Untangling Running’s Shoe Cushioning Paradox

Over the past four years, a new breed of heavily cushioned running shoes modeled on Nike’s Vaporfly line have rewritten the road-running record books. Soft-bottomed shoes, it turns out, can be exceptionally fast. But the hot new debate about the Vaporfly’s performance advantages has managed to push aside an older conundrum that should be of […]

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Why Cyclists Can Handle Heat Better Than Runners

Something is always lost in translation from the lab to the real world—a fact that’s captured in the concept of “ecological validity,” the extent to which the conditions in an experiment match those you’d encounter in the wild. One way around this problem is to skip the lab entirely and search for patterns in naturally […]

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How Los Angeles Is Leading the Urban Tree-Planting Revolution

When I moved to Los Angeles 15 years ago, a row of Mexican fan palms lined the street in front of my apartment complex. They were impossibly tall and perpetually arced in the breeze—a postcard view, I suppose, except for the frond missiles that constantly battered my car. I’ve come to love the city’s less […]

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