Play to Win They manage hedge funds. They run carpools. They work 70-hour weeks and endure 90-minute commutes. Yet somehow these elite desk jockeys stay as fit as the pros. Here's how they do it. By Gordy Megroz.
Veelcome to Tiksi, You Vill Find it Apalling Place. Few Americans have heard the story of the ten brave explorers who were lost after ice crushed their ship in the Russian High Arctic in 1879. But as Hampton Sides discovers on his own gritty, mosquito-infested mission to Siberia, the Russians will never forget it.
Black Year In April, just as the Everest climbing season was getting under way, a monster avalanche buried 16 Sherpas in a grave of ice. Grayson Schaffer has the inside story of the mountain's deadliest day and the aftershocks that will change climbing forever.
The White Stripes The new neighbors have arrived—and they stink. All across the country, skunks are moving into our woodsheds, garages, and empty lots, and there's little we can do about it. Christopher Kemp noses into a new kind of urban blight.
DISPATCHES First Look: A high-flying Google X startup aims to blow new life into the deflated wind-energy sector. Biking: How traffic-choked Boston turned into a two-wheeler's dream. Primer: Are new organic-food lines from Walmart and Target a godsend or the death of a movement? Rising Star: Two years after a near fatal crash, triathlete Lukas Verzbicas is climbing the pro ranks. Media: Biologist Wallace J. Nichols's prescription for a healthier and happier life? Salty H2O. Feuds: Fur trapping is back—and it's snaring man's best friend. Covet: Summer just isn't summer without portable tunes.
DESTINATIONS Northern Europe: The sun never sets on the land of mountains, fjords, and rustic gourmet food. Weekend Plan: Ski mountains come alive in warm weather with zip lines, rope courses, and other downhill fun. Go List: Yosemite's Merced River opens up to paddlers, credit cards for travelers, and a new way to avoid airport parking fees. Base Camp: An Icelandic lodge set right on top of the action.
ESSENTIALS Photography: The sharpest smartphone lens we've ever seen. Summer Toys: Gear that's happiest when wet. Obstacle Course Racing: Tools to get you over, under, around, and through any barrier. Watches: Tough timepieces.
Central California's El Portal fire has put about 50 homes at risk (one man even resorted to chopping up his deck to save his ranch). But there's another "structure" in danger: the Merced Grove of giant sequoias. This group of ancient trees sits in the western part of Yosemite, and as the fire grew during the day Wednesday, closing roads within the park, some were sweating the possibility of flames reaching the grove.
Luckily, more than 800 firefighters made good progress Wednesday night. The most recent reports say the fire is about 34 percent contained and no longer "an imminent threat" to the sequoias, according to park spokesperson Scott Gediman. Still, if the fire makes a significant surge, it could threaten the trees once again, he told the Associated Press. Efforts to further contain the flames continue as low humidity and thunderstorms will likely keep the fire going strong.
But don't panic. The idea of fire reaching these flammable natural wonders is scary, but the threat is not as bad as you might think. As ecologist Stephen C. Sillet told National Geographic during last year's wildfire season, it's not going to completely destroy the forest. Giant sequoias are quite flame resistant because their bark is so fibrous, and though they could be somewhat damaged in a fire, Sillett assured us that "the big trees are going to be fine."
Street-trials cyclist extraordinaire Danny MacAskill has skills that take him to places far away from his Scottish home. This time, they took him into the Playboy Mansion.
The result? A two-minute, Red Bull–sponsored video of MacAskill bunny hopping his bike about the grotto, tennis courts, and gardens.
MacAskill was stateside to promote his new video project, Epecuén, filmed in the abandoned Argentinian town of the same name and recently shown at Red Bull's North American headquarters. The media tour included a stop, naturally (or not so naturally), at the Playboy Mansion.
"Immediately I thought, 'I really hope there's good riding there,' because it's horrible when you go to a location to do something like that and you're not able to do anything legit," MacAskill told Red Bull. "It turned out there were some decent bits to ride, but it was quite hard with all those girls distracting you. … It was a surreal experience, definitely something I can look back on in 20 years' time and laugh about."
When you're the most famous 28-year-old stunt rider on the Internet, the job has its perks.
Spanish climber Miguel Angel Perez Alvarez, 46, died in his tent after descending to Camp 4. Some reports indicate that he made the summit, although others say he abandoned his attempt 300 meters from the top. According to the blog of Tamara Lunger, an Italian climber who made the summit, Alvarez was slow on his descent and was forced to spend a night outside above 8,000 meters before making it back to camp.
K2, referred to as the "Savage Mountain," is notoriously deadly. Climbers are at the mercy of harsh, unpredictable weather and route conditions. A favorable weather window began around July 22, though expedition members still had to navigate technical sections on a mountain known for its high fall potential, teetering seracs, and soft snow avalanches.
Since 1954, only 337 summits of the world's second-tallest mountain have been recorded, and 84 people have died trying.
A Houston-based aerospace company named Celestis Inc., an affiliate of Space Services Inc., has for years offered memorial space flights for the cremated remains of our dearly departed.
The cost of its services varies: Your run-of-the-mill "Earth Rise Service" brings the remains back to Earth for $995, while the "Voyager Service" starts at $12,500 and promises to launch your loved one's ashes into deep space. Also available: the "Luna Service," which sends the remains into lunar orbit.
If that sounds a little flamboyant for your taste, brace yourself. The company announced earlier this week that it will offer similar memorial services for pets. That's right. For less than a grand, you can give your deceased hamster the ride of its life—after that life has ended.
Celestis is obviously no stranger to bizarre practices. The company is credited with conducting the first and only "lunar burial" in 1999, when it deposited some of geologist Eugene Merle Shoemaker's ashes on the moon in a capsule bearing the following lines from Romeo and Juliet:
"And, when he shall die Take him and cut him out in little stars And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night And pay no worship to the garish sun."