Right now, an attempt to make history takes flight: John Collins, otherwise known as The Paper Airplane Guy, will try to fly a paper airplane further than any paper airplane has flown before.
Collins set the standing world record for paper airplane flight—226 feet and 10 inches—in February of 2012. But now, Collins has even higher hopes. “In terms of breaking the record, our worst practice day of that year was world record day,” he says. “We’d routinely thrown beyond 230 feet, and sometimes beyond 240 feet. Adding a couple of meters to the record is likely if conditions are good.”
In the days leading up to the attempt, Collins will fold dozens of paper airplanes while his “arm”—former arena football quarterback Joe Ayoob—will perform hours of practice. Collins says it takes about 25 minutes to make a competition-ready plane, and he plans to show up with no less than 24 on the day of the attempt. That might mean very little sleep, because when it comes to these perfected planes John says the fresher they are, the better. John and Joe will have 10 attempts to break the current world record from the sprawling Pomeroy Sports Centre in Fort St. John, British Columbia.
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Google’s new Clips camera takes short looping videos of your kids and your pets, and it does it all using AI. Sure, that sounds like some weird technophobic nightmare—Google, one of the most data-thirsty companies on the planet, pointing a camera at your kids? But the way the company designed the Clips keeps all of your visual memories private until you decide to share them, if you decide to share them at all. Mike and Arielle talk about how Google’s innovative approach to computer vision in consumer products could lead to other types of digital cameras that are as private as a Polaroid.
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Whether you’re Zooming it in or not sitting down on the job, here’s how to do it right.
Videoconference Like a Boss
Acing a group video call is harder than it sounds. “It doesn’t take that much tech savviness to click a link, but you’d be surprised by how many people do it and it’s just a mess,” says media coach Ruth Sherman, who trains celebrities and executives on how to conduct themselves professionally in a digital environment. Follow her tips to appear composed, prepared, and confident. You’ll deliver a perfect onscreen performance, even while wearing your pajama bottoms.
1. Set the Scene Position your face by dividing the frame into horizontal thirds, then aligning your eyes with the upper third without cutting off your forehead. Clear your backdrop of clutter, which Sherman calls “noise.”
2. Light It Right Don’t sit with your back to a light or a window—it will turn you into a silhouette. Natural daylight from the front is the most flattering. If that’s not possible, put a lamp behind your screen. “It wouldn’t kill you to go out and buy some lights,” Sherman says.
3. Look the Part Dress for the camera: Solid colors present better than patterns. Don’t move as much as you might during an in-person meeting, and stay within the camera frame. And you know this, but look into the lens, not at the screen. That’s where the people are, and that is how you make eye contact. This requires a surprising amount of practice.
4. Manage the Audio Make sure your sound equipment is connected and working before the meeting starts. In groups of less than five, it’s safe to assume you can keep your microphone on. In larger conferences, mute your mic as soon as you join the meeting.
5. Be Present Don’t try to get away with multitasking. “We can see you not paying attention,” Sherman says. Also, don’t cut the video feed without explanation—it’s like walking out of the room without excusing yourself. Rude! Need a break? Explain that you’ll be right back.
Do the Upright Thing
A standing desk is not an automatic ticket to better health. As Joan Vernikos, author of Sitting Kills and a former NASA Life Sciences director, discovered in her research on the stresses imposed by microgravity environments, uninterrupted standing can be as bad as sitting. Ideally, you’d switch between the two, but at least if you’re standing you’re more apt to lean forward or backward, or switch legs. To ensure a healthy day at the (standing) desk, incorporate these posture changes.
Work Your Legs The simplest thing you can do is place a footrest under your desk where you can prop one leg while you stand. Vernikos recommends switching legs often, because “the body needs stimulation through a change signal.”
Practice Movement Vernikos suggests walking in place or squatting every half-hour or hour. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for your body to feel the benefits of these movements, so dose them out. “If you do a whole bunch in 20 minutes, that doesn’t count.”
Take a Knee Kneeling exercises are great for getting the blood flowing, Vernikos says. Try swiftly alternating between kneeling and standing five times. Keep it brisk to get the burst of energy you need to bang out those last three Keynote slides.
February is the cruelest month, as the poem goes. Oh, no, wait. That’s April. February is a great month to be born in if you want to become famous, but the rest of us might find the cold, gray days to be a bit of a bummer. In sum, this is a great time of year to curl up with a hot cocoa in front of a new smart TV. We’ve rounded up the best weekend deals with the help of our friends at TechBargains.
Grab One of the Best 15-Inch Laptops Around
Dell’s 10 percent off deals are still going strong. The Dell XPS 15 is the slightly larger sibling of one of our favorite laptops of 2017, the Dell XPS 13. Simply put, it’s one of the best 15-inch laptops money can buy–only with this deal, you’ll be spending a lot less of it.
We are blown away by this deal. This is an amazing price for a Sony television that already manage to pack in a lot of high-end features in an affordable package. It displays with HDR and SDR content spectacularly and has tons of connection options. It even has cord management built right into the stand.
If you were looking for a beautiful new LED TV, Samsung’s offerings are a good place to start looking. Unfortunately, they’re usually pretty pricey. With a $150 Dell gift card, though, you have a chance to buy one of the MU7000 series for under a grand.