TIME Horse Racing

This Video Lets You Experience the Thrill of Riding a Champion Racehorse

This is what happens when you put a GoPro on a Triple Crown winner's head

American Pharoah already had a lot of fans after the 3-year-old horse became the sport’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978, but witnessing his speed up-close adds new perspective to his greatness.

This nearly 90-second video, courtesy of GoPro Spherical, shows just how quickly American Pharoah can get around the track. The only downside is that Pharoah isn’t racing any other horses on the track and it’s hard to say the crowd noises heard on the video are authentic, seeing as he’s running in an empty stadium.

Here’s to hoping that racing officials and the folks over at GoPro can work out an unlikely deal to affix the cameras to horses’ heads in time for the 2016 Kentucky derby.

TIME Sports

164 Skydivers Set a World Record While Hurtling Headfirst Toward the Ground

They dove headfirst

Skydiving is tricky enough on its own, but trying to form a shape with 163 other people nearly 20,000 ft. in the sky is even tougher. The daunting nature of the task didn’t dissuade the group of skilled skydivers who jumped out of seven different airplanes at precise moments in an effort to set a new world record for a vertical skydiving formation.

The group succeeded, creating a formation that resembled a giant flower over central Illinois on Friday, while hurtling headfirst toward the ground at speeds of up to 240 m.p.h. It took the team, which was selected from training camps in the U.S., Spain and Australia, 13 attempts to get it right, but they ultimately broke the old record of 138 divers, set in 2012.

“It’s awesome, man,” said Rock Nelson, one of the organizers. “It just goes to show that if you can get the right group of people together and the right support team and good conditions, anything is possible … even on attempt number 13.”

The team was also accompanied by four skydiving videographers who chronicled the journey to the ground.

[AP]

 

TIME human behavior

If You Want to Improve Your Memory, Try Climbing a Tree

Boy climbing tree
Getty Images

A new study says tree climbing is good for your mind

Turns out, the secret to remembering where you left your car keys may not lie with the tried-and-true method of retracing your steps or inside a prescription pill bottle. According to researchers from the University of North Florida, climbing a tree or balancing on a beam can dramatically improve cognitive skills, including memory.

Those two exercises are examples of proprioceptively dynamic activities. According to the The American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, proprioception is “the unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.” The dynamic part is added when you couple that effort with another element like route-planning or locomotion.

According to a press release from UNF, the results demonstrated remarkable cognitive gains: “After two hours, participants were tested again, and researchers found that their working memory capacity had increased by 50 percent, a dramatic improvement.”

For those who don’t have easy access to a forest or balance beam, now might be the perfect time to take up parkour. Don’t worry, it’s still totally way cool.

TIME Television

Coach Taylor Has a Very Important Message About Texting at the Movies

"Clear eyes, full hearts...turn your goddamn cell phones off"

If there’s one thing that we learned over the course of five seasons of Friday Night Lights, it’s that you really can’t go wrong if you just listen to everything that Coach Taylor (or Tami Taylor) tells you to do. Maybe that’s why Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse—famous for its strict rules on theater etiquette—turned to one of the city’s best-known residents, Kyle Chandler, to reprise his role as Eric Taylor and talk some sense into their patrons.

For licensing reasons, they can’t actually call him Coach Taylor or emblazon his traditional blue cap and polo shirt with the Dillon Panther logo, but we all know what we’re seeing. Even if the stakes aren’t quite as high as winning State, it’s always good to see Coach Taylor delivering one of his infamous inspirational speeches—he even breaks out the old “clear eyes, full hearts” mainstay.

TIME Australia

Another Australian Surfer Fends Off Shark Attack

Great white shark
Getty Images

The 52-year-old sustained bites to his leg and arm

Despite Shark Week having ended weeks ago, the sea-bound predators seem reluctant to give up the spotlight. On July 19, a great white was caught on live television going after Australian surfing champ Mick Fanning. The 34-year-old was able fend of the shark without injury, but the incident seems to have done little to diminish the enthusiasm of its fellow great whites.

Craig Ison was attacked by a shark off the New South Wales coast early Friday. The 52-year-old Australian surfer (and former boxer, according to media reports) was able to rebuff the shark with a few blows, but didn’t prove quite as fortunate as Fanning, sustaining bites his leg and left arm.

The shark, believed to be a great white, left a 16-inch bite-mark on Ison’s leg and board. He was taken to a nearby hospital for surgery.

[CNN]

TIME Television

All Your Dreams of Witnessing an Exorcism Live on TV Are About to Come True

The Exorcist
Silver Screen Collection—Getty Images A scene from 'The Exorcist'

The network says it will be the first live televised event of its kind in U.S. history.

It’s been more than 40 years since double Oscar-winner The Exorcist arrived in theaters in 1973, but the abundance of exorcism-themed films in the ensuing years have made it apparent that moviegoers’ fascination with the phenomenon hasn’t waned. To that end, Destination America, a cable channel owned by Discovery Communications, is readying itself to make television history on October 30, when the network will air what it is calling the first-ever live televised exorcism in U.S. history.

The event, appropriately dubbed Exorcism: Live will not be without a proper sense of history. Destination America is planning on returning to the story—and house—that inspired the William Friedkin film, 66 years after the exorcism of Roland Doe in the suburbs of St. Louis. However, instead of performing the exorcism on a person, the program will focus on exorcising the house itself.

“As we step into one of the most haunted and well-known spirit destinations in America, Exorcism: Live will show exactly what is inside this infamous, highly dangerous and possessed home,” Destination America’s Marc Etkind. “By actually exorcising this iconic house live, Destination America will do what it does best — bringing never before seen experiences to television.”

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Television

Jon Stewart Did a Stand-Up Set So Now We Can All Speculate Wildly

Does his appearance at New York's Comedy Cellar give fans any hint of his post-Daily Show plans?

Trading in his customary (and eBay-able) suit for the outfit of a middle-aged angler about to set out on an all-day fishing trip, Daily Show host Jon Stewart appeared at New York’s famous Comedy Cellar to perform a brief stand-up set on Wednesday night.

Stewart, whose 16-year run at the program will end on August 6, performed a 10-minute set at the behest of former Daily Show executive producer Rory Albanese, who now runs the operation at Daily Show spin-off The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Albanese was kind enough to share an image of the outgoing late night host on stage:

As if Stewart’s cameo didn’t add enough excitement to the West Village comedy club, Louis C.K. performed a set of his own just before Stewart. “I could do this again,” Stewart reportedly said after leaving the stage—a comment which is sure to be blown out of proportion by exactly no one as the 52-year-old comedian concludes his Daily Show stint.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Research

Watch NASA Crash a Perfectly Good Plane In the Name of Science

The organization's Langley facility is developing next-generation search-and-rescue technology

On Wednesday, researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia raised a Cessna 172 aircraft 100 feet in the air, suspended by cables, and then dropped it right down into an enormous pile of dirt. It smashed into the ground nose-first, flipping onto its back and delivering tremendous force to the pair of crash-test dummies within. The scientists, by all accounts, were happy.

“This will provide very good data collection for us,” said Lisa Mazzuca, NASA’s Search and Rescue mission manager. “This is exactly what we wanted. The nose hit the ground first.”

The goal, according to NASA’s team, is to improve aviation emergency response times:

Wednesday’s test, the second of three being conducted at Langley, is part of a push to bolster the reliability of emergency locator transmitters. The systems automatically alert rescue personnel in the event of an airplane crash.

But the systems, called ELTs for short, are often so damaged in crashes they fail to transmit as designed. That means it’s harder for rescue teams to reach a crash site quickly.

The first test was conducted on July 1, with the plane crashing into concrete rather than soil. Researchers hope the series of experiments will improve systems designed to help emergency responders locate downed planes by keeping those systems functional after a crash.

[NASA]

TIME mma

UFC Champion Conor McGregor in No Rush to Grapple With Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor
Zuffa LLC/Getty Images Ronda Rousey (fourth from left) and Conor McGregor (third from right) stand with other UFC fighters in Las Vegas, on Nov. 17, 2014.

"If this lady was to get a hold of me she would throw me on my head in literally one second flat"

Becoming the latest man to express his admiration for the fighting prowess of Ronda Rousey, interim men’s featherweight champion Conor McGregor told SI Now on Tuesday that he has no interest in stepping in the ring with the UFC women’s bantamweight champion.

“I certainly would not like to end up in a tie-up with Ms. Rousey,” the 27-year-old Irishman said. “I remember one time, I’d seen her and I greeted her and I said ‘what’s up champ?’ and we embraced. I swear on my life her back muscles were the solidest back muscles I’d ever felt in my life.”

McGregor won his title on July 11 by defeating No. 1 contender Chad Mendes, leading many to speculate that he is now the greatest pound-for-pound MMA athlete in the world. When asked whether he or Rousey deserved that title, McGregor dodged, instead focusing on Rousey’s unprecedented success and impact on the women’s side of the sport.

“If this lady was to get a hold of me she would throw me on my head in literally one second flat,” he said.

Later, McGregor slyly added that he would at least stand a chance against Rousey: “But make no mistake about it, I have my ways to win that fight too.”

[SI Now]

TIME Television

Jimmy Kimmel’s Plea for Cecil the Lion Leads to More than $150,000 in Donations

The late night host's emotional segment paid off in a big way for Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit

When late night host Jimmy Kimmel made an emotional plea on his show on Tuesday night that the death of 13-year-old Zimbabwean lion Cecil not be in vain, an outpouring of support was to be expected, but the magnitude of that generosity proved remarkable.

According to The Wrap, Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit—whose website was flashed on the screen for 25 seconds at the end of Kimmel’s segment on Cecil the Lion—netted more than $150,000 donations from 2,600 people in less than 24 hours. The unit had been responsible for tracking Cecil’s whereabouts until his untimely demise.

“Jimmy Kimmel implored his millions of listeners in the U.S.A. to make donations to support our work on lions, and conservation more widely,” Wildlife Conservation Research Unit director David McDonald said on the organization’s website. “We are so grateful for this and for the up-welling of support for our work worldwide.”

Cecil the Lion was killed on July 1 by American dentist Walter Palmer and two local guides. Palmer has been on the receiving end of mass vitriol from PETA, celebrities and social media users.

[The Wrap]

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