Photo: Courtesy of +Pool

Floating River Pool coming to NYC

Prototype funded on Kickstarter

A prototype floating pool that aims to make it safe for New Yorkers to swim in their rivers will become reality this summer after raising over a quarter of a million dollars on Kickstarter.

Conceived of three years ago by a group of architects, engineers, and scientists, the cross-shaped +Pool uses a uses a chemical-free filtration system to remove bacteria and pollutants by using a pump to draw the water through a multi-layer filtration system.

According to Treehugger, this summer's prototype will be a miniature version, 35 by 35 feet long. The final, Olympic-sized version will cost an estimate $15 million to build and will incorporate four separate pools: a kids pool, a lounge pool, a lap pool, and a sports pool.


india gandamal pesticide insecticides organophosphates 23 dead kids schoolchildren


Insecticide Kills 23 Children in India

Tainted school lunches

Pesticides have been blamed in deaths of nearly two dozen school children in rural India. The students were served tainted lunches Tuesday at their school in Gadamal village and began fainting within hours. By the Wednesday, 23 children, ages 5 to 12, had died.

According to officials, the rice in their meals had been tainted with organophosphates, a common insecticide, and was not washed properly before it was cooked. A container of the insecticide was found in the school’s cooking area but it is not known whether it was the source of the contamination.

Organophosphates were developed in Germany and became a popular deterrent for pests. They are, however, extremely toxic. So much so that the EPA has tried to limit their availability to the public. They’ve even asked manufacturers to voluntarily eliminate or limit their use in residential areas. However, small amounts are still allowed for industrial farming purposes. Unfortunately, the same restrictions do not exist in India.

The insecticide can enter the body via ingestion, inhalation, or even skin contact. Once in the system, organophosphates begin to inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme in the human nervous system. "They're considered nerve agents because they have the same mechanism of action as nerve gases like sarin," says Emory University toxicologist Dana Boyd Barr. "You end up suffocating because you are essentially paralyzed."

A few of the victims were buried in front of the school Wednesday in protest. Officials are still waiting on lab results for more details on the source of the chemicals.


Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani climb together during the Tour.     Photo: placid casual/Flickr

Tour Riders Balk at Retroactive Testing

French Senate plans to release 1998 dopers' names

The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) is opposing the French Senate's plan to release the names of riders who tested positive for EPO during the 1998 Tour de France. Releasing the list would be a "serious violation of fundamental rights of riders," the group said in a press release on Thursday.

During the 1998 Tour, there was no test for EPO. But samples stored from the race were retroactively tested in 2004. And in August of 2005, it was announced that there were 40 positives from the race. The French Senate has ordered that the riders be identified, but the body delayed the decree until after the conclusion of this year's Tour.

The CPA claims that since only a small proportion of riders were tested, the named athletes would be condemned while others who escaped testing would be untainted by the findings.

The agency went further to say that the publication of names "would have undeniable and irreversible impact on the reputation of the riders complained of, and on their current and future work. And while the against-analysis seem excluded. The publication of a list would be tantamount to an accusation of doping without any possibility of defense!”


Thousands Evacuate in California Wildfire

Largest active fire in the state

A wildfire in the San Jacinto mountains that started Monday has forced about 8,000 people to evacuate with 4,100 residences threatened, Forest Service spokeswoman Melody Lardner told USA Today.

The Riverside County blaze, known as the Mountain Fire, can be seen from Palm Springs, about twelve miles from the fire's origin, and is only 15% contained.

Mount San Jacinto State Park is closed, as is a nearby section of the Pacific Crest Trail.