workout routine requires  nothing napping 45 minutes
The target market is 'exhausted parents' and the class aims to reinvigorate the mind, improve moods, and even burn the odd calorie. PHOTO: David Lloyd GymsThe target market is ‘exhausted parents’ and the class aims to reinvigorate the mind, improve moods, and even burn the odd calorie. PHOTO: David Lloyd Gyms

The exercise routine of your dreams is here as David Lloyd Gyms in the UK has launched a new health and fitness class called ‘Napercise’. As the name suggests, workout includes nothing but sleeping on a single bed for 45 minutes.

The target market is ‘exhausted parents’ and the class aims to “reinvigorate the mind, improve moods, and even burn the odd calorie”, according to the company’s website.

The class begins and ends with stretching exercises.

“According to our research, 86 per cent of parents admit to regularly suffering from fatigue which is alarmingly high when you consider the important role getting a good night’s sleep can play in our overall mental and physical and well-being,” said a company spokesperson via a press release.

“We’re always looking for new ways to tackle the issues that everyday families face, which is what ‘Napercise’ sets out to do.”

The trial will take place this weekend, and if it proves to be successful the gym will introduce it to other centres across the country.

“We’re always looking for new ways to tackle the issues that everyday families face, which is what ‘Napercise’ sets out to do.”

The class will also feature ‘atmospheric’ sounds and a temperature which promotes calorie-burning during sleep.

The class has been designed with input from sleep expert Kathryn Pinkham who says, “Sleep is a lot more important than people realise.”

She adds that people focus on short-term effects such as being tired or lacking concentration. “But it’s also essential for our long-term physical and mental well-being too.”

Pinkham points out that in addition to a lack of sleep that brings with it a higher risk of developing anxiety or depression, when we are sleep-deprived we lack the energy to exercise regularly and also the mental clarity to make good decisions about the food we eat which can negatively impact our physical health in the long-run.

British Columbians want public schools to offer greater access to healthy foods

A new public opinion survey from the BC Healthy living Alliance reveals that a majority of British Columbians are concerned about children’s physical activity and support government investments to expand access to healthy food options in public schools.

The Health Priorities Survey released on Monday revealed 76% of respondents to be concerned about the impact of physical activity on children’s health, followed closely by nutrition (68%), mental health (67%) and poverty (65%).

>who> BC Healthy living Alliance </who>

>who> BC Healthy living Alliance

“We know that 60% of children are not active enough today and the poll shows British Columbians recognize this as a health issue,” said Scott McDonald, Chair of the BC Healthy Living Alliance. “Interestingly, people in equal numbers support investments to make it easier to walk and bike, which can dramatically increase daily physical activity in children and adults.”

Indeed, the survey also revealed that the majority of B.C. residents support investments to increase quality childcare (85%), active transportation infrastructure (76%), affordable rental housing (76%), mental health community care (74%) and a poverty reduction plan (69%).

Respondents pointed to the expense of healthy foods as the largest barrier to people eating nutritionally.

According to the survey, around 70 percent of respondents want the Government to ensure that children in public schools have access to healthy food through break and lunch programs.

BC Healthy Living Alliance commissioned the survey to measure public support for the health recommendations outlined in their #MakeBCHealthier4Kids policy guide.

Model for viable time machine developed

Ever since HG Wells published his book ‘Time Machine’ in 1885, people have been curious about time travel
Using Einstein's theory, Tippett said that the curvature of space-time accounts for the curved orbits of the planets.

 Using Einstein’s theory, Tippett said that the curvature of space-time accounts for the curved orbits of the planets.

A US scientist has developed a mathematical model for a viable time machine – an advance that could bring stuff of popular science-fiction closer to reality. Using math and physics, Ben Tippett, from University of British Columbia in Canada, has created a formula that describes a method for time travel. “People think of time travel as something as fiction. And we tend to think it’s not possible because we don’t actually do it. But, mathematically, it is possible,” said Tippett. Ever since HG Wells published his book ‘Time Machine’ in 1885, people have been curious about time travel – and scientists have worked to solve or disprove the theory.

In 1915, German scientist Albert Einstein announced his theory of general relativity, stating that gravitational fields are caused by distortions in the fabric of space and time. More than 100 years later, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration – an international team of physics institutes and research groups – announced the detection of gravitational waves generated by colliding black holes billions of lightyears away, confirming Einstein’s theory. The division of space into three dimensions, with time in a separate dimension by itself, is incorrect, said Tippett. The four dimensions should be imagined simultaneously, where different directions are connected, as a space-time continuum.

Using Einstein’s theory, Tippett said that the curvature of space-time accounts for the curved orbits of the planets. In “flat” space-time, planets and stars would move in straight lines. In the vicinity of a massive star, space-time geometry becomes curved and the straight trajectories of nearby planets will follow the curvature and bend around star. “The time direction of the space-time surface also shows curvature. There is evidence showing the closer to a black hole we get, time moves slower,” said Tippett. “My model of a time machine uses the curved space-time to bend time into a circle for the passengers, not in a straight line. That circle takes us back in time,” he said.

While it is possible to describe this type of time travel using a mathematical equation, Tippett doubts that anyone will ever build a machine to make it work. “HG Wells popularised the term ‘time machine’ and he left people with the thought that an explorer would need a ‘machine or special box’ to actually accomplish time travel,” Tippett said. “While is it mathematically feasible, it is not yet possible to build a space-time machine because we need materials – which we call exotic matter – to bend space-time in these impossible ways, but they have yet to be discovered,” he said.

The research was published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity.


You may not recognize her face, but you know her sweet, robotic voice. She’s inside your phone and knows your calendar by heart. She boasts her encyclopedic knowledge all the time, but you don’t mind. She is Siri — aka Susan Bennett, the voice actress behind Apple’s witty digital assistant. Bennett has also loaned her voice to other familiar brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Cartoon Network, Waze and Delta Airlines.

But her most famous role is the smart, sassy Siri, one of the Fab Four of virtual assistants. With a unique vantage point, Bennett has watched little Siri grow up quickly alongside her chatty rivals — Cortana, Google Now and Alexa. “Instead of saying, ‘LOL,’ Siri now actually laughs,” says Bennett. But the more Siri sounds human, the more Bennett grows wary. Surprisingly, the original voice behind Siri has a few choice words for the unnerving future of AI. This interview has been condensed and edited.

susan studio

Susan in the studio



Bennett: It remains a bit of a mystery. In 2005, I had done some recordings for a liaison company that does a lot of voice messaging work — the whole month of July, four hours a day, five days a week. They had come up with these new scripts that were written rather differently than most messaging scripts. We were recording sound combinations that would sometimes be nonsensical. The other voice actors and I didn’t keep up with the speed of technology. We had absolutely no idea exactly what we were doing. So, five years later, Siri appears, and it’s like, “What? We’re who?”



Bennett: I believe I was the first English version of Siri worldwide. Of course, part of me was extremely flattered that I’d been chosen to basically be the voice of Apple. At first, I was shocked and rather appalled because I didn’t know anything about it. I’d been doing voiceovers for many years, so I’m used to hearing my voice in public places, radio and television commercials. I’m also the voice of Delta Airlines and Waze. But it was a completely different trip to have my voice coming out of this tiny computerized phone, interacting with me. So I really didn’t use Siri that much. That’s one of the great ironies.


Bennett: People love digital assistants like Siri and others because they sound human, but they really don’t have human reactions. You don’t have to worry about getting in a fight with Siri, although she does come back with a few zingers every now and then. Yet it’s not the same thing as having to deal with a human. That’s why Siri is so important for people with autism and Asperger’s. They get the human element without really having to embrace the whole human.


Bennett: It is really extraordinary the way technology has improved over the last decade. But I think it’s a shame that young people miss the point of where the original computer is, which is between our ears. These devices, as much as they’re fun and convenient, are taking away some of our intellectual processes. We no longer have to think through a solution. We no longer have to look up an answer. We no longer have to go through the process of learning something. In everyday life, we aren’t really taxing our brain matter very much because it’s just easy to press a button and say, “Hey, Siri.”

We get instant information. If anything does require a process or if anything doesn’t just happen at the speed of light, we get frustrated and anxious. It’s really tough to converse with 20-year-olds. They don’t know how to use the language, and they don’t know how to express their thoughts anymore. I love the English language. But now we’re just getting down to 140 characters on Twitter, and we’re abbreviating everything. I don’t know if that’s a healthy way to express ourselves. Are we just going to be talking in binary language one day — talking in ones and zeros?

Swelling Batteries Prompt Extension On Apple Watch Warranty

Photo: Getty

Apple is pretty great about honoring its warranties and even recently changed its policy on fourth generation iPads to allow for an upgrade if something’s wrong with the device. Now, the Cupertino computing giant is giving customers an extra two years of coverage in case that expensive watch face pops off.

It’s unknown just how widespread the battery swelling issue is. Users have reported issues and posted photos on Reddit, Apple’s official support forums, and Twitter. Here’s what it looks like when that battery swells up.An internal email to Apple Authorized Service Providers was first obtained by 9to5 Mac that notifies specialists of the warranty extension. The full warranty will now cover the Apple Watch for three years instead of one. That’s just in time for the second anniversary of the first generation of the device.

Since Apple has not made a formal announcement to consumers, the battery swelling issue is not believed to be widespread. It appears that the company is simply playing it safe and getting ahead of any negative reports by ensuring that a repaired or replacement device will be available for anyone who experiences that telltale cracking in the display.

Users should not necessarily be worried about Samsung Note 7 style explosions. Battery swelling can be caused by overcharging, overheating, and other damage that occurs. It doesn’t appear that the Apple Watch will suddenly set your wrist on fire. So, if you have an Apple Watch that’s getting older or is already broken, you may have just gotten a new lease on its life.

Elon Musk clarifies Tesla’s plan for level 5 fully autonomous driving: 2 years away from sleeping in the car

Ever since Tesla released its second generation Autopilot hardware and started offering an option called “full self-driving capability”, there’s been some confusion about Tesla’s plan for rolling out fully autonomous driving.

CEO Elon Musk has clarified the plans this week and now predicts that true level 5 autonomy is about 2 years away – though Tesla should still have advanced autonomous driving systems before that.

While Musk said that the “full self-driving capability” option on the second generation Autopilot will eventually enable level 5 autonomous driving, which means fully autonomous in any and all conditions, Tesla also specified that it is dependent on software validation and regulatory approval.

The best timeline he mentioned was based on a coast-to-coast demo drive from California to New York without the driver touching the wheel.

During his TED talk yesterday, Musk reiterated that this demo drive is still planned for 2017:

“November or December of this year, we should be able to go from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey.”

But Musk also said that while the driver wouldn’t have to touch the controls, he doesn’t think that it would be at a level where someone could just fall asleep at the wheel. When asked when he thinks that will be, he said about 2 years away.

It would mean that between the end of the year and around 2019, Tesla could have a level 4 autonomous system enabled in second generation cars – meaning the vehicles can drive themselves without a driver as backup, but not in all conditions or environment.

It’s in line with the expected availability of the system being on the basis of jurisdiction. Unless a clearer national standard is adopted, autonomous driving systems are currently regulated on a state-by-state basis and certain states, like Michigan for example, already have a path to commercial availability of self-driving.

Once ready, Tesla could technically enable a system like that in those markets, but for a truly level 5 coast-to-coast drive where someone could be sleeping at the wheel or not even be in the driver’s seat, it’s unlikely to be before Musk’s “2-year” timeline.

During his talk yesterday, Musk also reiterated Tesla’s vision based approach – reassuring current owners that autonomy can be achieved only with cameras (there are 8 around Tesla’s current vehicles):

“Once you solve cameras for vision, autonomy is solved; if you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved … You can absolutely be superhuman with just cameras.”

Most companies currently working on self-driving technology are also working with vision-based systems, but most of them are also complementing their cameras with lidar sensors – something Tesla believes is not necessary.

In other words, it looks like Musk believes Tesla will solve computer vision by the end of the year, hence the timeline for the demo drive across the country, but it may take another year to prove the reliability of the system and bring it to a level 5 autonomous capability in all driving modes.

Let’s Talk About Google’s Crazy Year In Hardware

Google needs to be in the hardware business. It’s infiltrated nearly all aspects of our lives to an alarming degree. It controls our emails through Gmail, knows where we go through Maps, has a list of every person we communicate with via Android, and understands our every interest thanks to its search engine and Chrome. Yet it’s gonna hit a wall soon. A company as large as Google can’t infiltrate every point of the human experience with software and services alone. It needs to be producing the phones we text on and the computers we browse on.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

Last April it was reported that Google was aggressively hiring a hardware team in preparation for a big push, and sure enough, by the end of the year, the company had released a whole line of gadgets across categories ranging from smart phones to smart speakers.

One year later, there have been some setbacks. On Thursday, David Foster, whom Google poached from Amazon to guide the development and release of the future Pixel phones, departed from the company. Foster’s initial hiring appeared to be a big win for Google last year. He ran Lab126 at Amazon, the lab responsible for the Kindle, Fire, and Echo. Working under fellow poachee, Rick Osterloh (who was a big Motorola Mobility exec), Foster was going to take over the reins of the Pixel, a phone that was announced only a few days after his joining the team.

But now Foster’s gone. “It wasn’t a good fit, or it wasn’t what he was expecting,” analyst Jan Dawson of Jackson Research told Gizmodo. According to Dawson, a departure only six months into Foster’s tenure likely had little to do with the hardware he was developing at Google. “There’s no obvious reason why he’d want to abandon ship.” As Dawson told Gizmodo, the hardware Google’s released thus far has been “well reviewed.”

With Google’s I/O developer conference coming up next month, let’s take a look back at that “well reviewed” Google hardware. Last year I/O was where Google announced both the Home and Daydream — two products that seemed like they could redefine their respective categories. And the products turned out well enough. But now that we’ve got a little distance for perspective, it’s worth asking whether the year Google got serious about building its own hardware was actually good.

Google Pixel

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

In the controlled settings of the Google Pixel launch, Google’s first in-house phone seemed to be some kind of genius. Not just because it came in a vibrant blue version, but because Google Assistant, the company’s answer to Siri, seemed to be genuinely smart.

Then everyone got their hands on an actual Pixel and it was revealed to be a nice phone, but not the hype machine Google wanted and needed. (And Google Assistant was really, really stupid.)

Now, six months later, we’ve all seen the Samsung Galaxy S8, and the Pixel feels more outdated than ever. Sure, the S8 shipped without its digital assistant intact, but its hardware is the best you can get. There’s no phone with better specs or looks.

The Pixel looks downright embarrassing beside it.

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

It looks more like a rip-off of an old iPhone than like the first phone from one of the largest and most influential tech companies in the world. The next version of the Pixel will need to be more forward thinking. Unfortunately, the few rumours we’ve heard about the product suggest it will be chasing Samsung’s glory by rocking a curved display. Come on Google, you can be more innovative than that!

Google Wifi

Image: Google

Announced in October 2016, and available in December 2016, Google Wifi is a very nice little mesh router. For $US300 ($401), you get three, so you can place them all over your home to blanket it in wi-fi (a single router retails for $US129 ($172)). It’s attractive, and pretty easy to set up, and if you’ve ever seen Eero, then you’re going to scratch you head, because they’re a lot alike.


A Stupid Simple Router For Super Lazy People

Wi-Fi routers suck. They’re universally ugly and hard to use. But Eero’s little internet pods are the opposite of that standard. While they may not be the very best in terms of performance, the Eero system fixes a lot of big problems that plague the wifi genre.

Read more

The two products neck and neck when you test them speed wise as well. They even have similar software. The only difference besides price (Eero is $US100 ($134) more)? Eero’s been out since 2015. Google’s first in-house router operates at the same level as a year-old crowdfunded device.

Google Home

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

I really, really liked Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo when it first came out. It’s more attractive, has better audio, and ties into Google Music — my music player of choice. There’s one by my bed that I try and use on a regular basis. I say try, because I am positive the Google Home has gotten stupider since it was released in November 2016.

When you have smart devices like the Home or Echo, you learn to always enunciate clearly when speaking to them. I call it the “Echo voice.” The Home often struggles to understand that. Sometimes I get exactly what I have requested. Other times it forgets that it can do something it did THE DAY BEFORE.

I ask it the weather.

“Sorry, I don’t know how to do that yet.”

I ask it to turn off the lights.

“Sorry, I don’t know how to do that yet.”

I ask it to play some music to sleep to.

“Sorry, I can’t find your ‘music to sleep to’ playlist.”

The genius of the smart home has apparently been bumped in the noggin one too many times since purchase. But Google keeps promising the Home will get better, and it has actually added some new features. If you have a Chromecast or Android TV you can actually control it via voice — the 50-per cent of the time Home understands you.

Google Chromecast Ultra

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

A bright point in a cloud of “eh” products. The Chromecast Ultra works great. But it is also just a regular Chromecast, now streaming in 4K. So it isn’t any kind of game changer — certainly not like the original Chromecast.

Google Daydream View

Image: Alex Cranz/Gizmodo

OK. This is actually an innovative product from Google. Its design, all soft like an old t-shirt, is infinitely better than the ugly plastic goggles everyone else makes, and its small controller, that neatly slots into the headset when neither is in use, is so smart Samsung went and copied it with the latest Gear VR.

But if your biggest innovation in the hardware space comes from a mobile VR headset, you’re not exactly doing great. People didn’t see the Daydream View and say, “YES. I need to buy this immediately so I can watch videos in 360 on YouTube.”

They say, “Neat, I hope this gets cheap one day so I can buy one to shut the kids up on a road trip.”

With Foster gone, Google’s got a chance to shift things around internally. And it needs to. Google IO is only a few weeks away. Last year, Google announced both the Home, and Daydream to wonderstruck its audience. This year, that audience will be much more savvy, and Google’s going to need to have something extraordinary under the curtain.

Apple Extends Service Coverage for First-Gen Apple Watches With Swollen Batteries to 3 Years

Apple has extended the service coverage for first generation Apple Watches with expanded/swollen batteries to three years.

An entry dated April 28th, 2017 in Apple’s internal repair system reveals the new policy:

Apple has extended Service coverage for eligible Apple Watch (1st gen) models with an expanded/swollen battery to three years after the original date of purchase. Eligibile devices will be covered for two years beyond the original 1-year Limited Warranty.

The news comes just after the Apple Watch’s second birthday on April 24th. If you’ve done an out of warranty repair on your device due to a swollen battery, you may want to contact Apple to see if you’re eligible for a refund.

[via 9to5Mac]

Apple Extends Service Coverage for First-Gen Apple Watches With Swollen Batteries to 3 Years

UBC researcher Ben Tippett demonstrates how time travel could theoretically occur