The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Jan 2013

A Whole Lot of Skateboard Speed Records and Crashes—in 1 Film

Once a year, from 1975 to 1978, skateboarders in pursuit of speed and recognition gathered in Signal Hill, California, to race down a roughly 30-degree slope. Actually, after the first couple of years, contestants in the annual Signal Hill Speed Run weren't so much skateboarders as speed junkies in small-wheeled crafts of variable designs bombing down a road surrounded by thousands of spectators. The event began after a producer for The Guinness Book of World Records television show called the head of the U.S. Skateboard Association and asked for a competition fit for television. As one can imagine, a large number of unqualified contestants pushing the boundaries of design and speed in proximity to a large crowd led to plenty of record runs, a wild party, and a whole lot of accidents.

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Giro Combyn: A Helmet That Protects You Hit After Hit

Combyn-MatOrng copy

On January 31 at the SIA Snowsports Show in Denver, Colorado, sports design company Giro will introduce its first soft-shell helmet. Using new impact absorbing materials, Giro promises that this helmet will provide riders with durability and protection across a wide range of impact types, and even when the helmet takes multiple hits over the course of an event, a season, or even multiple seasons.

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Scouting Report: No-Hassle Family Skiing at Canyons

John_Davis_CongareeNP_Susan_BaycotCanyons Resort. Photo: Scott Markewitz

Last week I was at Canyons Resort in Utah on official Outside business, and for the first time in months, I had to leave my children behind. Solo traveling has its pros and cons. On one hand, without little bodies pattering into my bedroom at 3 a.m. or hollering “Rise and Shine!” while it’s still black as night outside, the assignment was surprisingly relaxing. I actually came home more rested than when I’d left. On the other, it’s a kind of strange to find yourself at the epicenter of family adventure without, well, your own family.

Then again, because I wasn’t spending every free second bundling little ones into snowsuits and wrangling their gear, I had time to dial in the details on a sweet family ski trip.

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World's Largest Natural Sound Archive, by the Numbers

Shutterstock_107677163What an ostrich sounds like. What an ostrich chick in an egg sounds like. Photo: Shutterstock

You might know what an ostrich sounds like because you watched that episode of Dirty Jobs, but do you know the sound an ostrich chick makes as it's trying to crack out of its egg? There's now a place online where you can find out.

On January 15, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology announced that it had converted its Macauley Library sound archive into a digital catalog that anyone can click. "Our audio collection is the largest and the oldest in the world," said Macaulay Library director Mike Webster. "Now, it’s also the most accessible."

The institution said the new digital archive will help expert and amateur birders and other naturalists train, offer video and audio editors a place to find specific sounds, and allow the library to assemble a larger collection. "Now that we’ve digitized the previously archived analog recordings, the archival team is focusing on new material from amateur and professional recordists from around the world to really, truly build the collection," said audio curator Greg Budneyaid.

Here's a bit more about the sounds that have been collected and digitized, with a selection of some of the best recordings and a look at the numbers.

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