‘The Simpsons’ Knowledge Can Be Exchanged For Goods and Services on ‘Fandom 5’!

Is your head packed with a lot of cromulent information? Think missing a Simpsons trivia question sounds unpossible? If so, we want to see YOU this Friday on our new series, Fandom 5, where you can turn your library of Fallout Boy factoids into cold, hard cash.

The rules are simple: just answer five questions about your favorite fandom (in this case, you know… The Simpsons) and you remove the stone of shame and attach the stone of triumph. Plus you’ll win a prize! There’s just one catch though… you have to spend the night in a haunted house. Er, I mean, the questions get harder the further you go. Hey, it’s a standard clause.

We’ll pick 8 players from the live chat room to compete; anyone who gets 5 questions in a row right with no mistakes wins $150. To play, all you need to do is watch Fandom 5 LIVE and raise your hand during the show. Sign up now by clicking here, so you don’t forget!

During the show, our producer will contact the 8 random contestants with further instructions. Just be sure your microphone and camera are ready to go, and that you don’t fall asleep, even though that’s where you’re a Viking.

A few more rules: to play, you’ve got to be 18 or over, and you have to live in the United States, DC, Puerto Rico, or Canada — except for Quebec. Or Shelbyville.

The first-ever Simpsons-themed Fandom 5 is happening on Friday, September 25 at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT, and it’s going to be… EXcellent… <twiddles fingers>

10 Best ‘Star Wars’ References From ‘The Simpsons’, Ranked

The post ‘The Simpsons’ Knowledge Can Be Exchanged For Goods and Services on ‘Fandom 5’! appeared first on FANDOM.

Patagonia Just Announced a New CEO

Patagonia recently went hunting for the people who should next steer the most influential brand in the outdoor world. Turns out the company didn’t have to look any further than under its own roof: two of its own will run the business. 

The company announced today that Ryan Gellert will become CEO of Patagonia Works, the umbrella company for all its ventures, from clothing to smoked salmon to documentaries. Gellert has overseen Patagonia’s business across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa since 2014. 

“The board took a lot of factors into consideration and ultimately felt Ryan’s deep commitment to Patagonia’s mission and values—that the company has had since the beginning—and his experience leading internationally, best positioned us for success in these uncertain times,” Kris Tompkins, a Patagonia board member, said in a statement. “Further, Ryan’s attentiveness and dedication to seeing others excel, and his passion for our product and activism, made him the right choice for Patagonia’s next chapter.”

“The work ahead promises to be more important and satisfying than anything we have done so far,” she added.

Gellert, 48, is an avid climber and backcountry snowboarder who has ridden all over the world. He previously worked for 15 years at Black Diamond Equipment in a number of roles, including as brand president. (Black Diamond began long ago as an offshoot of Patagonia.) He has a law degree from the University of Utah, an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology, and has been on the board of directors of the Access Fund and Protect Our Winters. 

Gellert has big shoes to fill. During the tenure of Rose Marcario, who resigned in June after seven years as president and CEO, Patagonia quadrupled its sales and contributed more to grassroots environmental groups than at any time in its history. The company became more visibly political, too, taking an active role in the designation of Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument and, later, in the fight against the shrinking of the monument under President Trump. The company also started a venture-capital fund to invest in environmentally and socially responsible start-up companies such as its Worn Wear program, in which used Patagonia products are repaired and sold again.

Such efforts will not slow, Gellert said in an interview with Outside. “I think we have moved from a long history of supporting activism, to becoming much more engaged in activism directly ourselves,” he said. “The necessity comes from the fact that we are living through a climate and ecological crisis,” he said. In the past few months, “Has the climate and ecological crisis improved? Quite obviously, it’s the opposite.” As a result, he said, “We will continue to use every element of Patagonia—our people, our voice, our resources, and our business—to do everything we can to save our home planet.” 

The company also announced today that Jenna Johnson, 44, will be the new head of Patagonia, Inc., responsible for the direction of Patagonia’s business units such as apparel, packs, and other gear. Previously, Johnson, an avid rock climber, had been vice president of technical outdoor for the company, leading groups that built products for everything from trail running to snowboarding. She has an executive MBA from the University of Washington.

Jenna Johnson, the new head of Patagonia, Inc.
Jenna Johnson, the new head of Patagonia, Inc. (Photo: Courtesy Patagonia)

A big goal, Johnson told Outside, is to continue to align the creation of these products with the company’s mission. (In 2018, Patagonia changed its mission statement to read, “We’re in business to save our home planet.”) One tool in this fight is “highlighting the power of product,” she said—always pushing for ways to make quality gear in more sustainable, less damaging ways that inspire people and the industry. 

Patagonia has traditionally hired for the top jobs from outside the company, says Chris Van Dyke, a former Patagonia vice president of marketing and product development who is now a consultant. “I think it’s great they are hiring from the inside” with people who already are familiar with the company and its culture, Van Dyke says. “They both have very strong reputations in the outdoor industry,” he says of Gellert and Johnson.

To Van Dyke, the leadership changes don’t signal any easing off the pedal in Patagonia’s desire to be the political and cultural forerunner that it became under Marcario’s leadership. “They’re well north of $1 billion in sales, they’re highly profitable,” yet more committed than ever to trying to help the planet, he says. 

And the more successful the company becomes, he says, the more influential it can be in creating change.

Would You Pay for a Subscription for Running Shoes?


p dir=”ltr” id=”docs-internal-guid-e1eb78d6-7fff-d9da-d2f7-437244419598″>The life cycle of a running shoe, familiar to every runner, is a sad slide to oblivion: you start with a sparkly new shoe that puts a bounce in your step, which eventually becomes a weathered one that—even though it might cause you pain—you’re reluctant to throw in the trash. The lifespan for its intended purpose is short, and its eventual destination, more often than not, is the landfill.

Swiss footwear company On Running aims to change that with the introduction of Cyclon, a new subscription service built around a fully recyclable plant-based road shoe that runners never own in the traditional sense. Instead, customers pay a $30 monthly fee, receive new pairs as they need them, and send their old pairs back to the company to be recycled into new running shoes. It’s a novelty in the footwear sector and a huge leap into the unknown. “We want to show that it is possible if a company really wants to do it,” says Caspar Coppetti, one of On’s three founders. “Whether our consumers will adapt and really like it, we don’t know yet, but that’s part of this really big experiment.”

If you’ve seen some of On Running’s more popular shoes around—sleek, minimalist uppers married to a footbed uniquely riddled with hollow cavities reminiscent of, yes, Swiss cheese—you may already have an inkling that this is a company that does things differently. The shoes’ different look started with an idea from former pro triathlete Olivier Bernhard, who was aiming for a feeling of “running on clouds.” He joined with his friends Coppetti and David Allemann to develop the prototype and found the company in 2010. Even as the brand has seen steady growth for a decade—now stocked in 6,000 stores in 55 countries—it has retained the feel of a small, founder-driven company, preferring word-of-mouth, organic growth over advertising and media coverage and staying close to the founders’ ethics, particularly around sustainability. 

“These are not traditional shoe people,” says Matt Powell, an analyst at the consumer trend research firm NPD Group. “They’re coming at a whole lot of things very unconventionally, and it’s working for them.” 

Sustainability has been at the core of On’s ethos since its founding, but when the team started looking at the company’s carbon footprint a few years ago, they quickly realized that upwards of 80 percent of their environmental impact came from the materials they used in their products—packaging, shipping, and everything else paled in comparison. “So we said, ‘OK, let’s reassess the impact of the material we use,’” Coppetti says. “Basically what we’re doing is disrupting our own business in a way, but the question for us became how do we go from a linear industry to a circular industry?” 

The circular economy model has been a popular topic in sustainable business discourse since at least the early 2000s, when William McDonough’s book Cradle to Cradle helped popularize the idea of moving from a “cradle to grave” model—produce, use, dispose—to one that emphasizes closed-loop reuse and upcycling. But that’s easier said than done. “The circular economy business model is something a lot of people talk about but very few actually do,” says Eban Goodstein, director of Bard’s MBA in Sustainability program. “It’s not just tinkering on the margins. You’re actually building a whole new business model that’s centered around efficiencies associated with the recycling process.” 

There have been some similar efforts in the clothing realm, with companies like Patagonia focusing on repair and reuse of older products and new launches like For Days (which gives you credit for sending in your used clothes) and Recurate (which lets you sell your used products for credit) trying versions of a circular model. In the footwear world, recycling athletic shoes has long been a goal but not a priority. Nike’s reuse program downcycles running shoes by grinding them up to be used in rubberized surfaces on tracks and playgrounds. Adidas created a recyclable shoe, the Futurecraft.Loop in 2019, but the idea hasn’t advanced beyond the pilot stage. Earlier this month, Salomon announced a fully recyclable shoe to debut in 2021, the Index.01, and while customers will be able to print a label to ship the shoe back to Salomon for free, the company hasn’t settled on incentives for returning them, although a representative says they’re working on some. So, while there’s an increasingly strong feeling that the circular idea’s time has come, no shoe company has yet been able to close the loop.

When On began seriously developing the Cyclon about three years ago, it focused on addressing two primary challenges: creating a fully recyclable shoe and making sure it got the shoes back. For the latter problem, Coppetti says, the subscription model was perfect. “Other industries have gone from owning to renting,” he says. “So once we started thinking about the subscription model as a tool, a means to an end, we got pretty excited.” 

Consumers are increasingly accustomed to subscription-based products (think Netflix, Dollar Shave Club, Blue Apron) and to renting rather than owning (cars, bikes, phones), and they’re increasingly aware of the environmental footprint of their consumption. “Now more than ever, people are looking to companies who stand for something and have actual values behind them, and climate change is obviously a big dimension of that,” says Bard’s Goodstein. “Who knows if they’ll get it right, but they’re committing to something that’s a systemic change. Growing these ethical brands is changing capitalism.”

So far, the response has been good. On signed 2,000 subscribers in the first 48 hours after launching on September 15.

As for the shoe, what On came up with is undyed and unadorned, made with a minimum of 50 percent plant-based content derived from castor beans (a number the brand hopes to drive up to 70 or 80 percent before the shoes ship), every part of it recyclable. On also knew it could not risk sacrificing performance—no matter how much people value sustainability, they first and foremost want a product that works—and claims the lightweight, seven-ounce road shoe performs so well that some of the same components will be used by On-sponsored athletes in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

And as bad as 2020 has been for most businesses, it may be a good time to launch a new shoe: the pandemic has seen an uptick in interest in running and other more self-contained exercise options. On and its competitor Hoka are among a handful of brands that, rather than being hurt by COVID, have seen impressive growth throughout this year. 

Running is in some ways the perfect category to trial this model: unlike a bike or a kayak, most serious runners replace their shoes frequently, and at this price point, you’d have to run pretty regularly to get your money’s worth. On’s website recommends that runners replace their shoes every between 310 and 465 miles, which means if you run 20 miles per week, you’d need three replacements a year. The yearly subscription cost ($360) divided by three ($120) is in line with the starting point of other high-end offerings in the marketplace (including On), which start around $130 and often run up to $180. 

That turnover would provide the company with another interesting opportunity: the subscription model will let On continue tweaking the product. “It’s almost like a software business model,” Coppetti says. “You’ll always get the most up-to-date version. It’s a much more contemporary way of doing business.”

But first, On has to get runners to buy in. “I think the two real barriers are can you make a product that performs and is also recyclable, and second, can this scale to the point where they can make money from it,” asks sports market expert Powell. “Runners are very specific about their shoes, so it’s going to depend on how many people find this a great running shoe for them, and whether that scales to a level that they can make it work.” On says it needs 5,000 people to sign up per region before it ships the shoes to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation. (The brand defines regions by where it has warehouses. The United States is the only country with two warehouses.)

So far, the response has been good. On signed 2,000 subscribers in the first 48 hours after launching on September 15, and its ambitious goals give some idea of the scale it’s aiming to achieve: the company hopes for 30,000 by the end of the year and 200,000 by the time the first shoe ships in the second half of 2021.

Whether the brand can build that kind of momentum or not remains to be seen. On knows it’s taking a big risk. “We’re going in a little naive,” Coppetti told me. “We’re not saying we found the holy grail. We’re saying we have an obligation to try things, and we might fail, and we’re aware of it, but if everyone’s too scared to try, we never move forward.”

A Harebrained Dream of Building a Cabin in the Woods

It sounds like a fantasy: join forces with a good friend to build a sweet little cabin in the woods. And for Bryan Schatz and Patrick Hutchison, that’s exactly how it felt. They took time away from promising careers to pursue a dream of crafting a base camp for adventures in an idyllic spot in Washington’s Cascade Range. There was just one problem: they had no idea what they were doing. Their planned summer project turned into a yearlong saga that drained their bank accounts and stressed their relationships with family, friends, and each other. But they stuck it out and ended up not only with a gorgeous cabin but a new perspective on what matters most in life.

This episode of the Outside podcast is brought to you by Whoop, the fitness tracker that gets you training smarter by giving you feedback on every moment of your day. For a limited time, Outside Podcast listeners get 15 percent off a membership; just enter the code OUTSIDE at checkout.

Life as One of the Last Fire Lookouts

From Director Lindsey Hegan and cinematographer Chris Naum, Ode to Desolation introduces Jim Henterly, a naturalist, illustrator, and fire lookout. In an effort to preserve the human narrative, Henterly is dedicated to holding his post as the eyes and ears of Washington’s historic Desolation Peak Fire Lookout, while contemplating the dwindling days of fire lookouts in North America, with the influence of technology and artificial intelligence threatening to make the role obsolete.

Original source: https://www.outsideonline.com/2416971/fire-lookout-desolation-peak?utm_campaign=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=xmlfeed

The Myth of Synchronized Breathing

In the game of Mindball, two players compete to push a ball whose motions are dictated by their brain waves, as measured by electrodes on their scalps. The harder you try, the weaker the force you exert on the ball. This (as the author and philosopher Edward Slingerland noted in his 2014 book Trying Not to Try) is a modern incarnation of the ancient Chinese paradox of wu wei, or effortless action. And it’s strangely reminiscent of the challenges we encounter in pursuit of running well.

That’s what popped to mind when I read a new paper in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, from Appalachian State University researcher Abigail Stickford and her colleagues, about synchronization between breathing and stride rate while running. People have been speculating about that link for more than a century: a 1912 paper showed that fish “breathe” in sync with the movement of their pectoral fins; and Roger Bannister himself published a paper on the physiology of breathing during exercise in 1954, a few months after his first four-minute mile, which noted as an aside that all the study’s subjects had unconsciously synced their breathing to a submultiple of their stride rate.

More recently, evidence has suggested that experienced runners are more likely to lock into a synchronized pattern—what scientists called entrainment or (equivalently) locomotor-respiratory coupling—than novices. The details of the pattern change depending on how fast you’re going; at a comfortable pace, for example, many runners settle into one complete inhale-exhale cycle for every four steps. Combine that with similar observations from across the animal kingdom, and you start to suspect that there might be something useful about it. Perhaps you should even seek to consciously match your breathing to some particular multiple of your stride rate, as many training manuals have suggested over the years. But here’s where the wu wei comes in: as soon as you start making conscious changes to automated functions like breathing, things get complicated.

There are plenty of examples of entrainment among animals. It’s clear from the research that birds, for example, breathe in time with the flapping of their wings. But that’s partly because they don’t have a diaphragm to control breathing independently, so they use their chest and abdominal muscles for both breathing and flapping. Similarly, horses and other four-legged animals breathe in sync because the body positions and impact forces of galloping or running make it more physically difficult to breathe out of sync, especially at faster speeds.

Of course, we’ve got diaphragms and run on two legs, so it’s not clear why humans should still have entrainment for running and cycling. (Swimming, in contrast, is obvious, and the body positions in rowing impose constraints similar to those faced by a galloping horse.) One possibility is that the habit is just an evolutionary leftover, serving no useful purpose. There’s some pretty cool research on “central pattern generators,” which are neural networks in the brain and spinal cord that automate rhythmic motions like walking and breathing outside of conscious control. Thanks to these pattern generators, cats with key parts of their brains removed can still be electrically stimulated to walk on a treadmill, and their breathing still locks in with stride rate. Even though we’re no longer quadrupeds, our pattern generators may still default to coordinating breathing and running rhythms.

But there may also be a more practical reason for synchronization, if it makes running more efficient or makes it feel easier. Lots of studies have indeed found evidence that running at a given pace takes less energy when breathing is synchronized. Unfortunately, lots of other studies have found the opposite, so it’s hard to draw firm conclusions. And even if it turns out to be true, it’s not clear how or why entrainment should save energy.

The question Stickford’s new study explores is whether entrainment is related to what’s going on in your mind. Compared to novices, experienced runners have more pronounced entrainment patterns; they’re also more likely to have an “associative” focus, meaning they pay more attention to internal cues like the movement of their bodies and how they’re feeling. Perhaps these two phenomena are linked: with practice, we learn to tune into the subtlest signals from our bodies that tell us when we’re running more efficiently, for example by synchronizing breathing with stride rate.

To find out, Stickford and her colleagues collected data from 25 highly trained male runners, measuring their stride rate, breathing rate, and running economy (how much energy they burn to sustain a given pace) at 6:42 and 6:00 mile pace. Immediately afterwards, they answered a questionnaire designed to assess their relative focus on internal (associative) and external (dissociative) thoughts during the run. Their degree of breathing-stride entrainment was quantified by calculating what percent of breaths (either inhales or exhales) started at the same point in the stride cycle during a 30-second period.

There are good reasons for hypothesizing that how you focus your thoughts might influence your breathing patterns. Back in 2018, I wrote about some research by Linda Schücker of the University of Münster in which volunteers were asked to think about their running form, their breathing, or the scenery around them while their running economy was measured. Thinking about their form made them 2.6 percent less efficient; thinking about their breathing made them 4.2 percent less efficient, presumably because they slowed from 34.0 breaths per minute to 28.7. Running form and breathing are important, but consciously trying to improve them seemingly backfired.

The experienced runners in this study didn’t need to be told to focus internally. As expected, they scored very highly on the assessment of internal focus, with 23 of the 25 subjects being classified as primarily associative. And the runners with the strongest bias toward associative thoughts tended to be the most efficient, though the pattern wasn’t particularly pronounced. But the answer to the study’s central question was a bit anticlimactic: the runners were no more or less likely to synchronize their breathing with their strides based on their choice of attentional focus, and there was no evidence that those with greater synchronization were more efficient.

Their entrainment scores at both speeds averaged around 60 percent, which is the fraction of breaths that started at roughly the same point in the stride cycle. That’s a relatively high degree of entrainment, as expected for experienced runners. But it’s worth emphasizing again that there was no single pattern that predominated. In an earlier publication based on the same study data, the researchers reported that the most commonly observed ratio was two complete stride cycles (i.e. four steps) for every complete breathing cycle (inhale/exhale), a ratio of 2:1. That was only observed 29 percent of the time, though. The next most popular ratios were 5:3 and 5:2, each observed 19 percent of the time. Try to imagine deliberately planning to take five breaths for every three strides. Assuming you’re not a professional conga player, superimposing those two rhythms would be extremely challenging. If nothing else, this should convince you that synchronization is not something expert runners consciously choose to do. It’s happening under the hood.

This may seem like a somewhat unsatisfactory conclusion. We still don’t know why runners synchronize their breathing, and we still don’t know whether it’s useful. And we’re stuck with observational studies like this one, instead of interventional studies where, for example, we would actually alter each runner’s attentional focus to see what changes. That’s a hard problem to solve, because of the wu wei issue. Whether we’re talking about breathing patterns, running cadence, or the content of your thoughts, the characteristics of good runners all seem to contain an element of effortless action. As in Mindball, the harder you try, the more elusive the goal becomes. That doesn’t mean you can’t improve, or that we have nothing to learn from emulating great runners. But it suggests to me that, rather than mimicking the end result, we’re better off emulating the things they did to become great runners—starting, most obviously, with running a lot.

For more Sweat Science, join me on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for the email newsletter, and check out my book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.

Original source: https://www.outsideonline.com/2416993/synchronized-breathing-running-study?utm_campaign=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=xmlfeed

Life as One of the Last Fire Lookouts

From Director Lindsey Hegan and cinematographer Chris Naum, Ode to Desolation introduces Jim Henterly, a naturalist, illustrator, and fire lookout. In an effort to preserve the human narrative, Henterly is dedicated to holding his post as the eyes and ears of Washington’s historic Desolation Peak Fire Lookout, while contemplating the dwindling days of fire lookouts in North America, with the influence of technology and artificial intelligence threatening to make the role obsolete.

How (and Why) to Run a Virtual Race

With many in-person races canceled this year, what's a runner to work toward? Under Armour athlete Will Leer has a simple solution: Sign up for a virtual event. They're easier and more motivating than you might think—and they can be a ton of fun. For more info on how to successfully train for and run a virtual race, check out our complete guide.

Original source: https://www.outsideonline.com/2416857/how-and-why-run-virtual-race?utm_campaign=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=xmlfeed

Three Cross-Training Exercises Every Runner Should Try

"You don't always have to be running to become a better runner,” says Under Armour athlete and pro runner Aisha Praught-Leer. Here, she walks us through a simple kettlebell workout that can be completed in just a few minutes. For more tips on how to stay fit and motivated this fall, check out our complete guide.

Original source: https://www.outsideonline.com/2416858/three-cross-training-exercises-every-runner-should-try?utm_campaign=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=xmlfeed