The Outside Blog

Skiing and Snowboarding : Jan 2012

Hybrid Sharks Discovered off Australia

Scientists from the University of Queensland on Tuesday announced that they had discovered the world's first hybrid species of sharks off Australia's eastern coast. The sharks are a mix of Australian black-tip sharks and common black-tips, which are able to survive in much colder waters than their Australian cousins. Scientists believe the hybrids may have evolved to cope with rapidly changing water temperatures. "It's very surprising because no one's ever seen shark hybrids before," said University of Queensland researcher Jess Morgan. "This is evolution in action."

Read more at Discovery News

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Tanzanian Elephant Populations Drop 42%

Elephant population in two of Tanzania's largest wildlife sanctuaries fell by almost 42 percent between 2006 and 2009, according to a new wildlife census by Tanzania's Wildlife Research Institute. Elephants numbers in Selous Game Reserve and Mikumi National Park fell from 74,900 in 2006 to 43,552 in 2009. Conservationists believe that poachers in search of elephant tusks are behind the decline. According to TRAFFIC, a non-profit that tracks wildlife trading, law enforcement officials seized a record amount of ivory in 2011.

Read more at Reuters

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Hoffmeister Rounds Cape Horn

Sea kayaker Freya Hoffmeister successfully rounded Cape Horn on Tuesday, completing the most difficult and dangerous stage of her planned two-year circumnavigation of South America. Hoffmeister, who became the second person and first woman to kayak around Australia in 2009, spent about 10 days on the crossing, and faced heavy winds and rough seas. The Husum, Germany-based paddler set out from Buenos Aires last August and plans to finish the 15,000-mile paddle before her 50th birthday in May 2014.

Read more at Outside

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The 10 Best Adventure Headphones

I live half the time in Tucson, Arizona—where I run on saguaro-studded trails and cycle on endless highways—and half the time in Manhattan, where I travel by subway and work in coffee shops. Which means music is often an inspiration or a needed distraction from the noise of the world, and most of the time it’s both. As I write this, for example, I’m in a Starbucks, successfully avoiding their latest, cloyingest mix, and instead listening to the soaring guitars of Scotland’s We Were Promised Jetpacks, who sound way better than 25-year-old kids have any right to.

Maybe I lose something when I choose Blue Öyster Cult over the sound of quail in the underbrush, or when I stay inside my audio cave while riding the 1 train in New York. But everyone else on the subway is doing it, and as much as I try to convince myself that those people are listening to Tolstoy novels or teaching themselves Chinese, the truth is probably much scarier. At any rate, it’s their own business: if they want to rock the Glee soundtrack, they have the right, which makes the private listening experience one of the greatest protectors of democracy we have.

If you’ve slept through the past ten years, you might have missed that there’s a vast and varied world of specialized headphones and earbuds and in-ear monitors and Bluetooth devices that will make your experience more enjoyable—and make your investment last. Because whether you’re trying to psych yourself up on your Monday morning commute or facing the final uphill of your morning workout, the quail aren’t going to help you—but a good sonic kick in the butt just might.

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Best for Running

Bowers & Wilkins C5 earbuds are the best for running in a limited sense: you won’t find better acoustics in a small package, but they’re worthwhile only if you’re good at taking care of your property and don't sweat much—they're a bit fragile and not waterproof. If you're hard on headphones and don't mind medium-quality sound, you might go with a more replaceable pair, like Skullcandy’s Fix ($40) or twist-locking, water-resistant Yurbuds (from $30). Still, I hate it when earbuds slip out when I'm on the trail, and B&W’s Secure Loop keeps the C5 in place on runs better than any headphone I've tested. The semi-rigid cord that comes out the top bends into a small, adjustable loop that wedges the earphone perfectly under the inner cartilage of your ear; that also keeps them from colliding with your sunglasses the way over-the-ear clips do. Additionally, they’re weighted with tungsten on the side closer to your noggin, further securing them in place. But there's just no getting around Bowers & Wilkins' sound quality—and yes, they sound that good. Just remember to pop them out and put them back in their case when you finish your run.

Price $180

bowers-wilkins.com

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