May 22, 2013

Kanchenjunga, Oh's controversial summit     Photo: Falk Kienas

5 Dead on Kangchenjunga

Died in separate incidents on descent

Five climbers—almost half of the 11 who summited this week—died while descending from the top of Kangchenjunga in the Himalayas on Monday and Tuesday in a series of separate incidents.

According to preliminary reports from the Spanish climbing site Desnivel, the dead include two Hungarian alpinists, Zsolt Eross and Peter Kiss, who lost contact with Base Camp early yesterday afternoon. Also killed were Korean climber Park Nam Su, who suffered a fall near the top of Kangchenjunga, and two sherpas, Phurba Sherpa and Vivas Sherpa, whose bodies were found near Camp 4 and are believed to have died in a fall.

Reports of the deaths came from Carlos Soria, a 74-year-old Spanish climber who attempted Kangchenjunga as part of his quest to become the oldest person to summit all fourteen 8,000-meter peaks. Soria and his party turned around short of the summit at 8,300 meters after calculating that they wouldn't meet their turnaround time.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

NASA Funds 3D Pizza Printer

Will feed astronauts on the way to Mars

The path to Mars is paved with gooey mozzarella, thanks to NASA, who have just approved a $125,000 research grant for the construction of a 3D pizza printer. Austin, Texas, engineer Anjan Contractor, of Systems and Materials Research Corporation, will use the grant to build an advanced prototype of his food synthesizer, which he hopes will one day be used to feed astronauts on long voyages through space.

In theory, the synthesizer will use pressurized cartridges of powders and oils to build nutritious meals one layer at a time. Though pizza may seem like an odd choice, it is actually the ideal candidate food, since it can be printed in distinct layers that only require the print head to produce one substance at a time.

The process begins with a layer of dough, which will be baked by a heated plate at the bottom of the printer. Next comes the tomato paste, stored in powdered form then mixed with water and oil, and the cheese comes last.

NASA is hoping that the technology will be used to one day feed astronauts on the 520-day mission to Mars. "Long distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life," Contractor said in an interview with Quartz. "The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years."

Contractor’s original prototype, which helped earn him the NASA grant, was a chocolate printer, which can be seen below:

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    Photo: Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.com

Driver Hits Cyclists, Tweets About It

Under investigation by police

The internet is in a (predictable) lather after a British woman tweeted about hitting a cyclist with her car. The rider survived, but the incident points to the dangers of cycling on British roads—122 riders died in 2012, a five-year high.

"Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier – I have right of way he doesn’t even pay road tax #bloodycyclists," she wrote, according to the Guardian.

Her comment was retweeted hundreds of times, leading to outrage among cyclists who pointed out that British road maintenance is funded from centralized taxes, meaning motorists and cyclists are both paying for the upkeep of roads.

In an interview with the BBC, Toby Hockley, 29, came forward and said he was knocked off his bike, likely by the mystery tweeter, while taking part in a race with his bike club. "A car came tearing round the blind corner and narrowly missed a cyclist in front of me," Hockley told the BBC. "She came on to my side of the road, I took the wing mirror off and I went flying off my bike into a hedge."

Police are attempting to make contact with the woman.

Read our story on the psychology of car-on-cyclist road rage.

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    Photo: Ryan Ludwig via Flickr

Sierra Club Joins Oregon Bike Trails Suit

Says plan would hurt the environment

The Sierra Club has joined seven other environmental groups that filed a lawsuit last week against a mountain bike park at Timberline Ski Area on Mt. Hood. Plans for the 17-mile trail network have been in the works since 2010 and were approved by Mt. Hood National Forest Supervisor Christopher Worth this past November.

The groups say the trails are likely to increase erosion and disturb wildlife, as well as interrupt other forms of recreation, like hiking. Timberline, on the other hand, sees the plan as an opportunity to appeal to a growing number of mountain bike enthusiasts. 

When the proposal first appeared in 2010, another group filed a similar lawsuit, which was dismissed when the U.S. Forest Service found that the park would cause “no significant impact.” Many of those groups chose not enter this lawsuit.

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