Get fit 2017: all the fitness gear you need to fight the festive flab

If the overindulgence of Christmas has inspired you to get fit in early 2017, we’ve got you covered.

Whether it’s the best fitness band to keep a track of your steps or a new treadmill for your home, we’ve rounded up all our top features into one handy guide.

Let’s kick off our ultimate fitness gear guide with five top tips from Nick Anderson. He’s a GB and EA running coach, PT, plus a coach for Saucony, High5, and the Running Bug. So basically, somebody who knows a lot about running!

Nick’s best running tips

  1. Enter a race or an event. This gives you a goal and real target, date and objective to work towards.
  2. Get a plan towards this goal or event and choose one thats realistic. It could be written by a top coach and aimed at your ability, pace and experience making it achievable.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people when chasing the resolution. This could mean training with friends or a running group to make your plan fun. Equally it could be buddying up with a friend to go to the gym or a new conditioning class.
  4. Join one of the communities aimed at supporting you and your new year resolution/pledge. RunningBug offer Run Yourself New and there is also the Jantastic community.
  5. Remind yourself why you set the resolution and how you were feeling at the time. We often get more time over the festive season in the build up to New Year to assess our lives, goals and direction. Then when New Year arrives we abandon the resolution as already too busy. Think about how you felt and ring fence the time to make this resolution work each day and week…..running just 3 times a week can see fantastic result for example!

Now read on for all the fitness gear you need in your life, from fitness bands to mobile apps

Best running shoes to buy

Picking up a great pair of running shoes is essential to ensuring your fitness regime goes to plan and we’ve tested a whole load of the best. Aside from making sure your feet are comfortable, a great pair of running trainers should offer support, let your feet breath and boast some extra nifty bits of tech to round things off. We’ve also got some top tips on choosing the right pair of shoes for your running style.

Read: best running shoes

Best running headphones

So, you’ve got your sparkly new fitness band, a treadmill for your home gym and stocked up on enough pairs of running shoes to last you the year, what else do you need? A great pair of running headphones, that’s what. Yes, we know, you could stick with the buds that came bundled with your phone, but we all know that they’re not very good. Instead, you should pick up a pair of dedicated ‘phones, which won’t fall out of your ears as soon as you start running. Many of these are resistant to sweat too, which is a must, for us anyway and they sound fantastic. Perfect for pumping out your handcrafted gym playlist.

Read: best headphones for running

Best football boots to buy

The options here range from solid, mid-range boots to wild flights of footwear tech fancy. Don’t forget to carefully choose between the various options that most of them offer with, for instance, variants for hard and soft ground. You should also probably be realistic about your skills. Having a boot that’s super-light and offers next to no protection is not a great idea if you’re not as fleet of foot as you once were. On the other hand, having a super-flash set of boots can give you added confidence and a better first touch, if you’re not completely hopeless in the first place.

Read: best football boots

Best sports sunglasses

If you’re looking for the best sports sunglasses you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put our eyes on the line testing the very best shades money can buy. Whether you’re running, cycling, golfing, or fishing this list is for you.

Read: best sports sunglasses

 Our buying guides for bikes

Nothing beats buzzing around town on two wheels during the summer months. Evening pub pints with pals are made even more appealing without the worry of sweaty public transport or the ferocious cost of cabs, while the daily commute can provide some much-needed post-winter fat removal when tackled on two wheels.

We’ve collated the best of this year’s offerings under £1,500 as well as the top electric bikes, road bikes under £2,000 as well as expensive elite choices.


[Source:- T3]


Nasa makes all research free to the public in fight against academic journal paywalls

Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams in space

What’s the point of research, if hardly anyone can read it? Nasa has decided to make all of the scientific research it funds available for the general public to access for free from a new public web portal, even if the research originates from a peer-reviewed journal that might be behind a paywall.

The PubSpace portal will archive all original journal articles that were produced by Nasa-funded research, and the data must be submitted and available for the public to download, read and analyse within one year after the paper is first published.

“At Nasa, we are celebrating this opportunity to extend access to our extensive portfolio of scientific and technical publications,” said Nasa Deputy Administrator Dava Newman. “Through open access and innovation we invite the global community to join us in exploring Earth, air and space.”

Nasa’s move to launch a portal of research results comes as a result of a request from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which has directed all scientific funding bodies in the US to increase the access given to federally-funded research results.

But it also sends a powerful message to academic publishers and copyright holders that Nasa essentially doesn’t agree with the concept of restricting access to scientific research only to those who are willing to pay, which has led to a situation so dire that it is often difficult for academics to access even their own work.

Scientific community fighting for freedom of information

“I can haz PDF” is a secret code word used by scientists to secretly swap academic journals for

In the last 12 months, the online movement of disgruntled academics and scientists has grown, leading to an increase in the number of people who are actively trying to find ways around academic paywalls in order to access the crucial research they need to do their jobs.

In November 2015, it was reported that scientists have been using the #IcanhazPDF hashtag on Twitter to quietly request help from other academics around the world whose institutions might have paid for access to a particular library of journals containing a very specific paper the seeker needs.

Those who have access to the particular papers for free download them on request and then email the paper to the Twitter user who asks, and then the tweets are deleted so that all evidence of the request and transaction is gone.

Frustration over journal paywalls has also led to the creation of Sci-Hub, a website that is essentially the “Pirate Bay for scientists”, enabling anyone to download over 48 million peer-reviewed academic papers for free in an instant, thanks to login credentials to paywalled journal databases that are given by supporters to Sci-Hub’s creator, neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan, who is based in Russia.

Despite multiple attempts by academic publisher Elsevier to get Sci-Hub taken offline and blocked from being accessed in the US, the website continues to be hugely popular with the global scientific community, and has even added the option for users to anonymously search for papers from within the encrypted messaging app Telegram.



[Source: Ibtimes]

Your Old USB Flash Drive Could Help Fight North Korean Repression

A tiny USB memory stick is unlikely to bring down Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, but thousands upon thousands of them just might help enlighten the North Korean people to the freedoms enjoyed by the outside world, according to human-rights activists.

The New York-based Human Rights Foundation and Forum 280, a Silicon Valley nonprofit, have teamed up to launch a program that will collect donated USB flash drives, load them with content ranging from “South Korean soap operas to Hollywood films to Korean-language versions of Wikipedia to interviews with North Korean defectors,” and smuggle them into the North for ordinary North Koreans to enjoy.

The goal of the initiative, dubbed “Flash Drives for Freedom,” is to turn our dust-collecting electronic has-beens into a cheap conduit of information for some of the nearly 25 million inhabitants living under what the West considers one of the world’s most oppressive regimes.

“In the world’s most closed society, flash drives are valuable tools of education and discovery,” the program’s website says. “In a society without Internet, with total government censorship, and with no independent media, North Koreans rely on these little pieces of plastic. Filled with films, books, and explainers, they are windows to the outside world.”

U.S. Warns of ‘Serious Consequences’ in Response to N. Korea Rocket Launch 2:51

Organizers say the pre-loaded memory sticks would be given to North Korean refugee-led organizations, which would then work to smuggle them into the North.

Few North Koreans have access to a Mac or PC, so they won’t be plugging the flash drive into a traditional desktop computer, according to Human Rights Foundation’s Alex Gladstein. But many do have Notels, which are portable media players made in China that have USB and SD ports. And cheap tablets and smartphones with USB ports are also becoming popular, Gladstein said.

HRF hopes the program will raise the world’s awareness of the hardships faced by North Koreans, as well provide North Koreans with a taste of life beyond their borders.

“Obviously, one flash drive is not going to depose Kim Jongng-un, Gladstein told NBC News, “but it could change the life of a North Korean.”


[Source:- NBC]

Brussels attacks: ‘Fight the westerners’ text sent to youths in Molenbeek

Messages, feared to be from Isis recruiters, sent on Sunday after video online apparently showed young people celebrating attacks

The Molenbeek district of Brussels
Molenbeek in Brussels. Youths complain that some employers will not hire anyone with a postcode from the area. Photograph: Alamy

Young men in the Molenbeek district of Brussels were sent messages over the weekend calling on them to “make the right choice” and “fight the westerners”.

The texts were sent on Sunday night from a prepaid account that could not be traced or replied to. It followed a video distributed on Facebook, since removed, apparently showing local youths celebrating the attacks in Brussels last week. The death toll from the bombings has risen to 35, Belgium’s health minister said on Monday.

The short SMS message written in French, which the Guardian has seen, says: “My brother, why not fight the westerners? Make the right choice in your life.”

The text reportedly sent to young men in Molenbeek
The text reportedly sent to young men in Molenbeek.

The rapid use of technology to spread propaganda after the attacks will stoke fears that Islamic State is trying to use the heightened tension to recruit more disaffected youths.

It is not known how the recipients’ phone numbers were obtained, but community activists believe Isis handlers download all contacts from the phone books of new recruits and select young men of north African origin to follow up.

Jamal Ikazban, the local Socialist party MP, told the Guardian that the communications were stoking tensions in the community. “These people are trying to take our youth by storm,” he said.

“It is like having a big-time drug dealer outside the school gates. We feel the same. They have to be taken off the streets. They are predators and our youths are the victims.”

For jihadis to be brazen enough to put out propaganda during a police crackdown after the attacks was “cheeky”, Ikazban said.

Police stand guard outside court where Salah Abdeslam, wanted over Paris attacks, was appearing
Police stand guard outside court where Salah Abdeslam, wanted over Paris attacks, was appearing last week after his arrest in Molenbeek. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

There are multiple reports of similar Facebook messages and emails being sent to young Muslims around Brussels, although those who receive them often do not wish to be identified.

Jamal Zaria, the imam at Molenbeek’s Arafat mosque, said fears among parents in the area’s Belgo-Moroccan community were growing.

“They are being exposed to something like a cancer at a metastasic stage,” he said. “It is really spreading very quickly. We have to race against time to develop an immune system for the children in our community so that they reject the message of Daesh [Isis].”

Belgium has been criticised for a slack response to the rise of Isis, and Ikazban said political authorities and security services had not reacted to past warnings from him about locations used by jihadi groups.

A mother of two sons who went to fight in Syria told the Guardian that one of them was subjected to a barrage of intrusive messages before his departure. “In the 10 days before he left home, his recruiter called him 140 times,” she said. “If that is not harassment, I don’t know what is.”

The police refused to intervene when warned that her son was about to depart for Istanbul, she said.

Molenbeek is one of Belgium’s most deprived and stigmatised districts with high levels of poverty and a youth unemployment rate of about 50%. Youths complain that some employers will not hire anyone with a Molenbeek postcode.

“Joining Daesh is a form of suicide,” Ikazban said. “They understand that there is a despair here which could be used to indoctrinate and recruit these people. I’m very angry that we have not done enough about that.”

There are concerns that the polarisation Isis feeds off could be amplified by an “expel the Islamists” demonstration planned in Molenbeek next Saturday by a far-right group.

The march has been banned but after nationalists successfully defied a prohibition on marches on Sunday, community leaders said they were anxious about the risk of more violence.

[Source:- Gurdian]