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UK residents can win a good night’s sleep in first BnB to offer actual sheep-counting

October 3, 2022

Located near a hillside in dreamy rural Sussex, England, in a field full of the fluffy farm animals, a “sleep dome” is offering tired patrons a chance to doze off counting real sheep, reports Good News Network.

The small glamping outfit created by a sleep technology company will host two guests and feature a luxurious double-bed with views of idyllic surroundings from all angles.

After dinner and settling in for the night, guests will be encouraged to count the numbered sheep as they walk about their paddock before gently drifting off into a blissful slumber beneath the stars.

Daylight will herald a guided yoga session and a breakfast full of locally-sourced food.

The ‘Shleep Sanctuary’ was created by sleep tech company Emma Sleep, which has launched a contest offering two people the chance to try it for free when it opens in summer 2023.

The dome was created after a poll of 2,000 adults found 44% have struggled to get to sleep this year.

More than one-fifth (21%) of those polled have struggled to sleep due to worries over the cost-of-living crisis, while 23% have been kept up fretting about work.

“The study also found that 23% of respondents claim their quality of sleep is worse now than ever before—with 10% even admitting they can’t remember the last time they slept well.

Trying to improve these unhappy situations, 14% of adults have employed ‘visualization tactics’ like counting sheep in a bid to get a good night’s sleep.

The study, conducted by OnePoll, also revealed factors that respondents say boost their chances of sleeping well—including fresh air and the sound of nature.

“When practiced regularly, these kinds of exercises have been proven to lower the heart rate by encouraging slower breathing and activating the parasympathetic nervous system,” said Theresa Schnorbach, sleep scientist at Emma.

“Imaginative distraction is also an effective cognitive strategy to help sleep, where you imagine a pleasant and relaxing image in as much detail as you possibly can—like counting fluffy sheep as they jump over a fence,” she says.

“The aim is to use as much cognitive capacity as possible so that worrying thoughts are suppressed. Studies show this not only shortens the time it takes to fall asleep but also improves sleep quality.”

For a chance to win a stay at the Shleep Sanctuary with a guest of your choice, register here.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

Lululemon slashes price of Mirror by 50% as it nears October 5 launch of fitness studio

October 3, 2022

Starting October 5, fitness gear company Lululemon will temporarily cut the price of its Mirror home-fitness device by roughly 50%—taking the price down to $795 as it works to build interest in a new studio membership platform, the company announced on Wednesday, September 28, reports Business Insider.

The company first unveiled the plan for a membership program linked to Mirror at an analyst day in April. On Wednesday, it offered new details about the platform, which it’s calling Lululemon Studio, including a launch date that coincides with the Mirror sale: October 5.

According to Business Insider, for $39 a month, members will have access to more than 10,000 online classes. They’ll also get a 10% discount on Lululemon merchandise and discounts on in-person classes at studio partners including Pure Barre, Rumble, and YogaSix.

Membership requires the purchase of a Mirror device, and current Mirror owners will automatically become members of the program for 12 months.

Lululemon also will launch a free membership program on October 5 that will offer shopping rewards, free access to select Lululemon Studio classes, and early access to product drops.

Lululemon executives said the platform will help the company to serve its customers more flexibly.

“Our guests’ fitness needs have evolved and Lululemon Studio is solving for them by providing members with access to fitness content from our world-class trainers and studio partners at home, on the go and live in studios around North America,” said Chief Brand Officer Nikki Neuburger in a news release.

Analysts weren’t immediately sold on the plan given the struggles of other connected-fitness companies.

“Increasingly, it seems publicly traded companies are making the pivot to content over equipment,” said Simeon Siegel, a BMO Capital Markets managing director, in an email to Business Insider. But he questions whether companies can do both content and hardware at the same time.

“Like all companies, connected-fitness operators should focus on what makes them special. If it’s the equipment, great. If it’s the content, fantastic,” Siegal said. “If it’s both, make sure to value and price both accordingly. But that is rare. And being true to who they are is difficult, but key.”

Lululemon acquired Mirror in July 2020 for $453 million. At the time, company insiders were skeptical about the technology, calling it “buggy” and wondering how it fits into Lululemon’s long-term growth strategy.

At the April investor day, Michael Aragon, Lululemon Digital Fitness CEO, said Mirror is a natural fit for the company’s business plan.

“Our goal is to build a platform that connects Lululemon guests, who want to live healthier lives,” he said. “The goal is simple: Be the go-to platform for fitness and wellness.”

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Judge rules Trump can ignore Special Master’s order to prove claim FBI ‘planted’ docs

October 3, 2022

U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Florida Aileen Cannon—who was nominated to the court by former President Donald Trump in April 2020—ruled on Thursday, September 29, that Trump does not have to comply with an order by the Special Master to put up or shut up about his claims that the FBI “planted” information among documents that agents seized from Mar-a-Lago, reports HuffPost.

Special Master Raymond Dearie—a federal judge who was recommended by Trump’s own legal team—had given the former president’s lawyers until Friday to confirm or refute an inventory list of items taken by the FBI agents that was provided by the Justice Department.

Dearie’s order, in essence, demanded proof of Trump’s claims that some White House files agents confiscated at Mar-a-Lago had been “planted.” It was a claim pointedly not ever made by his attorneys.

“This submission shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” Dearie, a former federal prosecutor and a U.S. district judge in Brooklyn, New York, said when he issued the order.

Trump said that he and family members watched agents search sections of his Mar-a-Lago home and resort on surveillance cameras—raising the question of how the FBI could have secretly planted evidence at the same time.

Two lawyers for Trump were also at Mar-a-Lago during the search, and one signed off on a list of boxes and “miscellaneous top secret documents” that were removed.

In a letter written on Sunday, September 25, and made public late Wednesday, Trump’s team attempted to duck Dearie’s demand.

“Because the Special Master’s case management plan exceeds the grant of authority from the District Court on this issue, plaintiff must object,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

Cannon agreed in her order Thursday, saying Trump’s attorneys would not be required to affirm the accuracy of the FBI’s inventory from Mar-a-Lago before getting a chance to review the records themselves.

“There shall be no separate requirement on Plaintiff at this stage, prior to the review of any of the seized materials. … The Court’s Appointment Order did not contemplate that obligation,” Cannon wrote.

Her order also extended the timeline to review the documents Trump took from the White House to stash at Mar-a-Lago from November 30 until December 16. The records, which belong to the public, are supposed to be held by the National Archives.

Dearie is supposed to be reviewing the several boxes of documents to determine if any may be protected by lawyer-client or executive privilege.

While Dearie appeared to be speeding up the process, Cannon is slowing it down— which will delay revealing any damning information until after the midterm elections.

In a blow to Trump, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled last week that the Justice Department can resume reviewing the seized classified records—blocking a portion of a stay issued earlier by Cannon. The appeals court also prohibited Dearie from vetting the documents marked classified.

After the ruling, Cannon—whose decision in Trump’s favor protecting the records seized at Mar-a-Lago has been criticized by several legal expert— amended her own order. It now states that material subject to a special master review no longer includes the “approximately one-hundred documents bearing classification markings.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Here’s why eating three big meals daily–not five small ones—might fight cognitive decline

September 30, 2022

The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to triple by 2050, with low- and middle-income communities taking the brunt. What’s worse, establishing consistent research findings to help scientists pinpoint relationships between disease progression and factors such as sleep and diet continues to be an uphill battle, reports Brain Tomorrow.

However, a new Chinese study from Zhejiang University offers promising results. Scientists say that results show that eating three larger meals per day is associated with greater cognitive function than spreading out intake across five smaller meals.

Epidemiological studies have studied temporal distribution of eating patterns related to diabetes and hypertension risk in the past. Regarding brain function, there have been few. Previous studies in animals demonstrated that meal disruption can change the brain’s clock rhythm, specifically in the hippocampus, which is the memory hub.

The research team pulled data from 3,342 people at least 55 years old from nine different Chinese provinces. They used an algorithm to identify six patterns of temporal distribution of energy intake: evenly-distributed, breakfast-dominant, lunch-dominant, dinner-dominant, snack-rich, and breakfast-skipping.

They then assessed cognitive function using the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS-m), which organizes functions by a point system. Immediate and delayed word recalls are worth 20 points, backward counting 2 points, and serial -7 subtraction testing is worth 5 points. Higher cognitive scores (ranging from 0-27) signify greater cognitive function.

To tie eating patterns and cognitive score together, patterns were assessed over a ten-year period. These assessments were adjusted for age, gender, residence, total energy, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol consumption, household income, education level, and body mass index (BMI) to account for limitations.

Those with evenly-distributed eating patterns had notably higher long-term cognitive function scores than those with irregular temporal distribution of energy intake. This was most commonly identified in participants part of the breakfast-skipping group.

From this, the team concludes that skipping breakfast may be detrimental. They emphasize that optimal, timely nutrition is crucial for cognitive health and dementia prevention.

It’s often said that breakfast is “the most important meal of the day,” and here’s more proof that the saying might just be right.

This study has been published in the journal Life Metabolism.

Research contact: @braintomorrow

LeBron James is buying a professional pickleball team

September 30, 2022

Even NBA superstar LeBron James is getting caught up in the pickleball craze. James and his business partner, Maverick Carter, have joined a group of investors that includes NBA players Draymond Green and Kevin Love to purchase a Major League Pickleball expansion team, the league said on Wednesday, September 28, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Othr investors include investment firm SC HoldingsPaul Rivera, chief marketing officer for the SpringHill Company; and Relevent Sports Group co-owner and CEO Daniel Sillman.

Each member of the new ownership group plays pickleball, the league said.

Anne Worcester, MLP’s strategic adviser, said the team, which has yet to be named, is valued in the seven figures.

“This new ownership group brings extensive experience across sports, media, branding, entertainment,” Worcester told the Journal. “We are excited to work with them to expand and to bring pickleball to new audiences.” 

A spokeswoman for LRMR Ventures, the family office of James and Carter, said both were unavailable to comment.

The new pickleball team marks the latest expansion into sports ownership for James and Carter. Both are partners with Fenway Sports Group, the owners of the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool F.C., the English Premier League soccer team.

James, a newly minted billionaire, also co-founded SpringHill with Carter, who is a childhood friend of the basketball star. The company helped produce “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” which starred James and was released in 2021, and the 2019 HBO documentary “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali.”

Pickleball, a hybrid of tennis, ping pong and badminton that dates back to 1960s, has taken off in the United States in recent years. There were about 4.8 million players nationwide in 2021, a 39% increase from 2019, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Pickleball was officially announced as the fastest-growing sport in America for the second year in a row, the group said.

Other pickleball team owners include former professional football player Drew Brees; Marc Lasry, co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks; and former professional tennis player James Blake.

The league is in the process of choosing new ownership groups for the final three expansion teams. The league is currently weighing about 20 bids for teams from over 60 groups, Worcester said. MLP expects to choose the final three ownership groups in the next month, she said.

“We are reviewing the rest of the bids internally,” Worcester said. “It’s looking at the resources each group would bring to Major League Pickleball to help us grow the sport at the pro level as well as the grassroots level.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Trump resists request to declare accuracy of Mar-a-Lago document inventory

September 30, 2022

On September 25, former President Donald Trump’s legal team formally resisted a request to declare whether an updated inventory released by the FBI of items taken during its search of Mar-a-Lago on August 8 is accurate, reports The Hill.

In a letter written last Sundaybut made public on Wednesday night, September 28—Trump’s team sidestepped the request from Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master appointed in the case, at the former president’s request.

“Because the special master’s case management plan exceeds the grant of authority from the District Court on this issue, plaintiff must object,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

The refusal to meet the court’s request comes as Dearie continues to push Trump’s team to back in court many of the claims the former president has made on television and on his social media platform that the FBI “planted” evidence at Mar-a-Lago and that he declassified the documents found there—a rationale that matters little for the crimes the Justice Department is contemplating.

The FBI posted an updated inventory on Monday night, September 26, that contained slightly different figures about the number of documents in each box, but was largely the same as the inventory first released earlier this month.

The Justice Department referenced Trump’s letter in its own filing before it was made public, saying all of the objections were “without merit.”

“The Special Master needs to know that he is reviewing all of the materials seized from Mara-a-Lago on August 8, 2022—and no additional material —before he categorizes the seized documents and adjudicates privilege claims,” the Justice Department wrote.

The Trump team’s Sunday letter also seeks to avoid instructions from Dearie to detail what type of privilege they believe a document qualifies for. Dearie asked the team to file the documents into six different categories, while the order initially approved by federal District Judge Aileen Cannon asks for just four—only asking for presidential records to be deemed privileged or not privileged.

“The amended case management plan goes beyond that grant of authority,” Trump’s legal team wrote.

The Justice Department pushed back, saying Trump needs to fully participate in the process he requested.

“Plaintiff brought this civil, equitable proceeding. He bears the burden of proof. If he wants the Special Master to make recommendations as to whether he is entitled to the relief he seeks, plaintiff will need to participate in the process,” the government wrote.

The fighting over the inventory and how to categorize the documents comes before Trump’s team has been able to see them. The parties have yet to secure a vendor to scan the documents so that all parties can digitally review them.

The government insinuated that vendors did not want to work with Trump, writing that none of the five companies they reached out to were “willing to be engaged by plaintiff.”

Trump’s team said the issue was the sheer volume of documents. In the Wednesday night letter, they say the nearly 11,000 documents taken during the search include some 200,000 pages.

Research contact: @thehill

Can’t dance to the beat? Your two left feet might be genetic

September 29, 2022

Music and dancing are some of the most joyous aspects of the human experience. Yet, for many, the dance floor can be a daunting destination. What comes naturally to some feels like an impossible exercise to others. If you’ve ever wondered why you, or someone you know, has two left feet when it comes to dancing, scientists may have found the answer, reports Brain Tomorrow.

Researchers from the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute and 23andMe have collaborated to conduct the first large-scale genomic study on dancing ability. They found 69 genetic variants linked to the ability to move in synchrony with music beats.

“Rhythm is not just influenced by a single gene, it is influenced by many hundreds of genes,” says co-senior author Reyna Gordon, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery and co-director of the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab. “Tapping, clapping and dancing in synchrony with the beat of music is at the core of our human musicality.”

Gordon also points out that many of the discovered genes are associated with central nervous system function—including ones expressed early on in brain development and in areas in charge of auditory and motor skill development.

23andMe has an extensive research dataset and has been able to provide study data from more than 600,000 customers who consented to be part of the research. “The large number of consented study participants offered a unique opportunity for our group to capture even small genetic signals,” says David Hinds, Ph.D., a research fellow and statistical geneticist at 23andMe.

Scientists say they noticed that beat synchronization shares some of its genetic characteristics with other related every-day rhythmic activities, such as walking, breathing, and circadian pattern.

The team believes that this particular finding will be beneficial for exploring other rhythmic patterns that affect patient health and wellness outcomes, especially in respiratory or mobility conditions where these factors may be impaired.

“This is novel groundwork toward understanding the biology underlying how musicality relates to other health traits,” explains co-senior author Lea Davis, associate professor of Medicine.

Moreover, the scientists are pleased with their main discoveries regarding music, as previous research hasn’t exactly addressed genetic components that may play a role in ability to catch a beat. This study provides a solid start for further expanding genomic and phenotypic studies to deepen understanding in this field of research. As they continue to do so, this will not only offer insight into musicality and health, but also into parenting and child development which heavily rely upon synchronous movement and interaction.

This study is published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

Research contact: @braintomorrow

Christie’s launches ‘Department X’ as collectible sneakers and street-wear boom

September 29, 2022

Famed auction house Christie’s is launching a new department to capitalize on the booming market for collectible sneakers, streetwear, and sports history, reports CNBC.

On Monday, September 26, Christie’s announced the launch of its Department X—which will give Air Jordans and Supreme Skateboard Decks their own category, alongside Impressionist & Modern Art and Old Masters. The move is the latest sign that a wave of younger collectors is redefining the collectibles world.

“When looking at the auction world and the way collectors are evolving and the new collectors coming into the marketplace, we felt this is a strong a robust marketplace,” said Caitlin Donovan, Christie’s head of Handbags, Streetwear and Sneakers, who will head Department X. “It’s only going to get stronger and that’s why we felt it was time to dive headfirst into this new market.”

Department X will sell rare collectibles across music, fashion, art, and sports history—but sneakers and streetwear will be among its biggest categories. It will hold online auctions, with live previews in New York, and private selling exhibitions throughout the year.

Sneakers and sports collectibles have exploded in popularity and value in recent years. In June, Christie’s held a “Six Rings − Legacy of the GOAT” sale dedicated to basketball legend Michael Jordan’s career, with sales nearing $1.5 million.

And top competitor Sotheby’s Auction House this month sold Jordan’s “Last Dance” jersey—from his 1998 NBA Finals Game 1—for $10.1 million, setting a new record for sports memorabilia.

A collection of 200 pairs of Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1 sneakers designed by the late designer Virgil Abloh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this year for $25 million. That was more than eight times the estimate—with one pair selling for $350,000.

According to CNBC, Sotheby’s launched its streetwear category in December, with most of the buyers between 20 and 40 years old and 80% of bidders new to the auction house.

As part of its Department X launch, Christie’s will hold a private-sale exhibit titled “Ye Walks,” celebrating two pairs of Kanye West’s sneaker designs. The Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototype was the first West designed with Nike. The Nike Donda West Air Jordan VI was created in memory of West’s mother.

Hats, shirts, skate decks and even pinball machines from Supreme also have continued to soar in price. In 2020, Christie’s offered a collection of 253 Supreme t-shirts for $2 million.

Donovan says that younger collectors gravitate to the images and culture they grew up with. Street wear, rare sneakers, and memorabilia tied to sports icons are likely to grow in value as younger collectors gain wealth.

“We go for what tugs at our own past experiences and heart strings,” she said. “So for these collectors in their 30s and 40s, it’s a celebration of their culture.”

Some collectors say six-figure sneakers and t-shirts are a product of a speculative bubble, but Donovan said the rise of so-called “hype-wear” is likely to endure despite falling stocks and recession fears.

Research contact: @CNBC

McConnell signals support for Electoral Count Act changes

September 29, 2022

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has offered qualified support for a Senate bill that would overhaul a 19th-century law that governs the way Congress counts and ratifies presidential elector votes, giving the bipartisan effort a boost, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The House passed its own version last week, 229-203. Both measures are a response to efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his supporters to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

“I strongly support the modest changes that our colleagues in the working group have fleshed out after literally months of detailed discussions,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, September 27, before the Senate Rules Committee voted to advance the bill. He said he would “proudly support the legislation, provided nothing more than technical changes are made to its current form.”

The 1887 Electoral Count Act requires Congress to convene for a joint session after a presidential election, on January 6 at 1 p.m., to count and ratify the electoral votes certified by the 50 states and District of Columbia. The vice president, serving as president of the Senate, has the duty to count the votes. Last year, Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject some electors unilaterally, which Pence refused to do.

McConnell said he was convinced of the need for an update to the law following the “chaos that came to a head on January 6 of last year,” when Trump supporters overran the Capitol—temporarily halting the ratification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.

The Senate bill already has public support from 11 Republican senators—enough to overcome the chamber’s 60-vote filibuster threshold, if all 50 members of the Democratic caucus vote yes. Negotiations over the measure have been led by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia).

The legislation would raise the threshold for lawmakers to object to the electoral count to one-fifth of each chamber. The House bill would raise the threshold higher, to one-third.

Both thresholds are higher than the current law, which only requires one House member and one senator to raise an objection, which both chambers then have to debate and vote on.

The Senate bill would clarify that the vice president is merely tasked with a ministerial role of counting the votes publicly and doesn’t have the power to determine the outcome of the election.

Research contact: @WSJ

Adorable dog photobombs her pawrents’ wedding photo with the cutest smile

September 28, 2022

A wedding day lives on forever through photography. That’s why couples rely on a trusted photographer; they don’t want to leave anything up to chance.

Or maybe they should: In doing so, they might capture amazing shot—like the one that Calgary wedding photographer Sarah Pukin snapped of this Canadian couple and their beloved pup, reports My Modern Met.

As Callie and Travis Jones posed for a picture under their flower-lined arch, their dog Luna stood between them. To say Luna was happy her pawrents tied the knot is an understatement; she is literally grinning from ear to ear!

The entire wedding day was a busy one (as most are), but the laid-back couple chose a beautiful setting that was a dream for Pukin. “Their venue was a literal playground for me as a wedding photographer—there were so many unique spots to create and capture artistic angles with,” she shares with My Modern Met. “The whole day flowed in a laid-back nature with no set schedule for things just allowing everyone to mingle, enjoy, and celebrate!”

Things were made even better with the addition of Luna. “I am dog obsessed,” Pukin admits. “I think everyone who comes across my website or has met me knows this. So, Luna was a pleasure and a gem.” The pup did great through all of the family photos, and it wasn’t until Pukin was going through and selecting the final images that she saw Luna’s grin. “Her smile was perfect and she did a really good job posing for the photo!”

For every wedding day that Pukin documents, she strives to tell a couple’s story in an honest and organic way. Moments like Luna’s smile show that Pukin has done her job of helping to foster an environment in which people and pups are relaxed and happy.

And as for other dogs who want to follow in Luna’s footsteps? Pukin welcomes it. “Any dog that wants to photo bomb is welcome, too, in my books!”

Research contact: @mymodernmet