bike; commuters;

Bicycle commuters in bike lane.     Photo: Shutterstock/connel

Washington Named Bike-Friendliest State

Report on most bike-friendly communities released

The League of American Bicyclists, a 133-year-old bicycle advocacy non-profit, named Washington the most bike-friendly state in the U.S. in its Bicycle Friendly Community awards report, released on Octover 15. This biannual evaluation ranks states and cities based on a myriad of factors including the miles of bike lanes, number of bike fatalities, and how communty laws affecty riders.

"Washington state has had really strong leadership that promotes bike friendly laws," said League spokesperson Carolyn Szczepanski. "But we're seeing the introduction of more bike-friendly facilities, like physical, protected bike lanes in places like Memphis, Tennesse. I won't say it's mainstream yet, but it's becoming the typical city planner is embracing." 

States such as Washington, Colorado, and Oregon (which round up the top three) have always been perennial contenders for most bike-friendly states, but Szczepanski said seeing Delaware and Illinois crack the top 10 is an encouraging development. Between 2000 and 2011, the number of bike commuters in the U.S. has grown 47 percent, and the League certified 38 new Bike Friendly Communities creating 291 such designations in 48 states.


Bike Friendly America: Where does your state rank?


A map of states in the U.S. with their bike-friendly ranking according to the League of American Bicyclists. Photo:Gigillo83/Wikimedia


News Outside Online

Craters of the Moon National Monument     Photo: Alaskan Dude/Flickr

Hiker's Body Found in Idaho National Monument

Government shutdown delayed search

The body of a missing hiker was found yesterday in Idaho's Craters of the Moon National Monument. Dr. Jo Elliott-Blakeslee, 63, was found nearly a month after she was reported missing with her friend, Amy Linkert, reports ABC News.

The two women went missing on September 24just days before the government shutdown. Authorities found the duo's car with their purses, cell phones, and dogs inside soon after they were reported missing. Linkert's body was found on September 25, but the search for Elliott-Blakeslee was hindered by the government shutdown.

Although the shutdown on October 1 prevented rangers from using government resources like helicopters and dogs, ten furloughed Park Service rangers continued the search on foot, according to ABC News

Yesterday, park rangers in a helicopter found Elliott-Blakeslee's body only a mile from where Linkert's body was found a month earlier. Elliott-Blakeslee's cause of death has yet to be determined according to Rueters.


Dutch designer Dave Hakkens creates all sorts of furnishings using plastic he recycles with his own machinery.     Photo: Courtesy of Dave Hakkens

WATCH: Make a DIY Recycling Machine

Witness the good you're doing

The 2011 recycle recovery rate in the U.S. was an abysmal eight percent, prompting a Dutch designer to create a DIY plastic-recycling machine. Dave Hakkens' open-source prototype, called Precious Plastic, incorporates "salvaged stuff like an old oven" that is basic enough that anyone can recreate it. The setup, Treehugger explains, consists of a plastic shredder, extruder, injection moulder, and rotation moulder that ideally you can scrap together yourself.

Precious Plastic has so far produced lampshades, bins, spinning tops, and more, munching through the "impurities" of recycled plastic that larger-scale manufacturers are often too afraid to deal with.

Hakkens has also provided instructions in the hopes that others will manufacture their own.

"...I prefer that everybody can just use [the machines] and make whatever they want and start setting up their production," Hakkens says. "People can just make them on the other side of the world, and maybe send some feedback and say 'maybe you can do this better.'"


blackfish movie documentary tim zimmerman orcas seaworld dispute argument

Photo: ViewAllPapers

"Blackfish" on CNN Tonight

Documentary airs at 9 p.m. EST

Tune in to CNN at 9 p.m. EST tonight to watch Blackfish, Gabriela Cowperthwaite's award-winning documentary inspired by the Outside article “Killer in the Pool."

The film examines 39 years of killer whales in captivity, focusing extensively on Tilikum, a 12,000-pound male orca associated with the deaths of three people, including SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010.

The documentary also unveils the conditions at Loro Parque, a marine park in the Canary Islands, that led to the death of trainer Alexis Martínez in 2009. That story, “Blood in the Water,” was also told by Outside correspondent and Blackfish Associate Producer Tim Zimmermann.

In July, Zimmermann responded to SeaWorld’s complaints about Blackfish in “Taking On SeaWorld: Let the Voyage Begin.” He writes: “After decades of defining how the public sees killer whales in captivity, SeaWorld’s anti-Blackfish PR blitz may only be helping bring an alternate view of Tilikum’s life and killer whale captivity to a public that has long regarded Shamu as a friendly, happy, icon.”

Tune in tonight, and let us know if you agree.


News Outside Online

Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise     Photo: Alex Carvalho/Flickr

Russia Drops Greenpeace Piracy Charge

Charges of hooliganism remain

Russia announced Wednesday that they would drop the piracy charges against the 30 crew members of Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that the charges of hooliganism remain, presenting the crew with a potential seven-year sentence if convicted.

Vladmir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia released a statement disputing the charges. "We will contest the trumped up charge of hooliganism as strongly as we contested the piracy allegations. They are both fantasy charges that bear no relation to reality."

Russian authorities have held the 30 crew members, including two freelance journalists, ever since Greenpeace's September 17 protest of Gazprom's oil platform in the Arctic Sea.

According to CNN, Russian authorities may still charge crew members for using force against state officials and for endangering the lives of Gazprom employees.

Update from Greenpeace's 11/15/13 press release:
"Despite promising to withdraw the charge of piracy, the Investigative Committee has so far failed to formally do so. The Arctic 30 have now been detained by the Russian authorities for nearly two months, since the Arctic Sunrise was seized on September 19th."