Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Sports

Newly-presented research reportedly proves that modern skis perform better without wax

For the past several years, debate has been brewing amongst cross-country skiers as to the merits of ski-waxing. Back when all skis had a wooden base, adding wax was essential in order to get them to glide across the snow. Many skiers still swear by waxing today, even though skis now have supposedly “no-wax” polyethylene gliding surfaces. Waxing can be a tricky process, though - if you use a wax with the wrong temperature rating, you can end up sticking to the snow, or slipping back and forth in one spot. It’s also time-consuming, and requires the skis to be periodically stripped of their built-up wax layers. Now, a researcher from Mid Sweden University (MSU) claims to have proof that modern skis work better without wax, and says that “those who claim otherwise are practicing voodoo and not science.”  Read More

The Adidas Jabulani, official ball of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (Photo: University of Adelai...

Professor Derek Leinweber has been studying soccer balls. He’s interested in the physics behind them, and is particularly intrigued by the design of the official ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, the Adidas Jabulani. He thinks it will behave in a much different fashion than the previous World Cup ball, throwing goalkeepers for a loop - all because of the ridges on its skin.  Read More

A cyclist with a stinky cracked helmet (Inset: one of the odoriferous microcapsules)

We’re told that we should replace our bike helmets every couple of years or so, because minuscule cracks can develop over time, rendering them structurally unsound. For the same reason, we’re supposed to replace a helmet that has withstood a direct impact immediately, no questions asked. The problem is... it’s so hard to get yourself to throw away what looks like a perfectly good helmet, just because it might no longer be effective. New technology developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials should eliminate this situation. When your helmet is getting past its prime, it will start to smell. If it develops any large cracks... well, you’d better plug your nose.  Read More

Monsterbike: you won't even hear the screams of the taxi drivers that cut you off

Ask people why they ride their bicycles to work and they'll tell you it's because they enjoy the physical exercise, the exertion, a morning workout that gets them awake and feeling sharp for their 9am meeting. Why, then, would you spend 10 grand on a bicycle that makes cycling easier and less strenuous, giving you less exercise per mile? We reckon this guy has the right idea - he's built a modern day penny farthing called the Monsterbike using a massive monster truck tyre as the front wheel. Sure, it seems to have a top speed just above walking pace, and it looks like a heck of an effort to ride - but the exercise factor is huge, and you'll never feel intimidated in traffic again!  Read More

A high-tech replacement for a hanging carcass – the Interactiv’ Boxing punching bag

Remember that montage from Rocky IV where Drago’s high-tech training is contrasted with Rocky’s decidedly more low-tech approach? Well, we can’t help thinking that if the Interactiv’ Boxing punching bag was available in the mid 80’s that Drago would have been pounding away on it. This 21st century take on the punching bag features built-in sensors and LEDs that direct you where to land your fists of fury.  Read More

Garmin's golf-specific Approach G3 and G5 touchscreen GPS devices

The integration of GPS functionality into mobile phones has had traditional satnav manufacturers such as Garmin working even harder at creating “must have” features which will give their products a point-of-difference. There's also no better way to a golfer's heart than the promise of a reduced handicap, so Garmin's new waterproof Approach G3 (2.6 inch screen) and G5 (3.0 inch screen) should prove popular. Both come preloaded with 1,250 courses and by capturing intimate detail of every round, they will aid in club selection by detailing distance to the pin or the ideal position to land the ideal approach shot. As you'll already have assigned a club to each shot, so you'll know your average yardage per club, the distance and position of every bunker.  Read More

The Polar CS500 cycling computer features a large screen and rocker switch operation

If you’re a racing cyclist, barreling down the side of the highway at 30mph, what do you not want to be doing? Stabbing at your bike computer's little buttons, or squinting at its little displays, that’s what! Or at least, that’s what the folks over at Polar think. That’s why they’ve designed their latest cycling computer, the CS500, with a couple of unique features – an oversized LCD display, and for the first time on a cycling computer, a rocker switch.  Read More

Raikkonen achieves polysport status

Despite being arguably one of the most well-rounded athletes in history, Michael Jordan's exploits on the baseball diamond didn't go close to matching the heights he achieved on the basketball court. Indeed, it's so uncommon to achieve world competitiveness in more than one sport, there's no word to describe (polysport?) such notables as Jim Thorpe, Lionel Conacher, Babe Didrikson, John Surtees and Denis Compton. World 2007 F1 champ Kimi Raikkonen is the latest to achieve international success in two sports, finishing eighth in the Jordan Round of the World Rally Championship this weekend, scoring world championship points in his second sport and just his third WRC rally.  Read More

Not for hacks ... the Garia Soleil de Minuit golf car has many luxury marque features

Think about it. Where else would you unveil the world’s most expensive golf cart than Monaco? For a mere US$52,000, you can own the Garia Soleil de Minuit – the world’s most costly production luxury golf cart complete with double-wishbone front suspension, fridge and painted in the color of your choice. Driven out of the same factory as the Porsche Cayman and Boxter, the Garia Soleil de Minuit is designed to deliver the ultimate on-course driving experience. Whether it lowers your golf handicap is beside the point.  Read More

The new Mongoose MMi3 cricket bat has been designed with T20 games in mind (Photo: Mat Hal...

For many traditional sports fans, cricket is more a religion than a pastime. In India, the game has never been more popular – well, to be more precise, a new form of the game called Twenty20 (20 overs per side, lots of scoring and a lot of entertainment crammed into a few short hours) has appealed to millions of fans. To match the game’s evolution, a new form of cricket bat has appeared - the Mongoose MMi3. The new bat lit up the world scene a couple of nights ago in the hands of one of world cricket’s hardest hitting batsmen - Australia’s Matthew Hayden. He clubbed 93 runs from 43 balls.  Read More

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