December 6, 2012

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BASE Jumper Dies Near Grand Canyon

Parachute failed

Norwegian BASE jumper Eliliv Ruud died near the Grand Canyon on Tuesday when his parachute failed to open after he struck a cliff face and spiraled out of control. The accident took place at Salt Trail Canyon in northern Arizona. According to a spokesman from the sheriff’s office, Ruud, 37, was about 500 feet down when a gust of wind blew him against the canyon wall. Ruud struck a cliff and spiraled down the rest of the way. Rescue crews were flown in but had to hike to the scene of the accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Ruud was an experienced BASE jumper and had previously jumped in that area of the canyon. This video features him jumping with friends in Europe:


Alberto Contador     Photo: Flickr

Study: EPO May Not Help Elite Athletes

Authors call drug "pointless"

A new study has concluded that using the doping agent EPO in elite competition may not help improve performance. The study, published on Thursday in the British Journal of Pharmacology, reviewed 13 studies on EPO, conducted between 1991 and 2010. Most of the studies on EPO were conducted on people with average physical prowess, and researchers found "no scientific evidence" that the drug enhanced performance in elite athletes.

The popular justification behind EPO use is that it improves an athlete's VO2 max. But the study points out that cycling test subjects have only been assessed over short distances, and nothing resembling the length of a cycling race. It also argued that VO2 max is far from a decisive factor in long-distance competition.

"An elite cyclist runs on technique, on muscle power which is supplied by oxygen and glucose and amino acids and foods, on team tactics, on weather, on millions of things," said lead researcher Adam Cohen. "To assume that one of these factors, which is delivery of oxygen to tissue, is going to clinch the whole thing, is rather naïve."

Cohen suggests that the lack of conclusive evidence to support EPO use—and the extensive evidence of its very real dangers—may be more successful at deterring doping than current prohibitions.

Via Bloomberg News


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Wildife Officials Open Python-Killing Competition

$1,500 to the best snake-killer

It's no longer just a Simpsons episode: Florida wildlife officials are enlisting the help of residents to confront the invasion of pythons in the delicate Everglades ecosystem.

The first-ever Python Challenge will take place during the month of January 2013, and contestants will attempt to kill as many Burmese pythons as they can. A $1,500 prize will be awarded to the contestant with the most kills, and an additional $1,000 will be awarded for the longest snake. A hunting license is not required.

Burmese pythons, a popular exotic pet, started appearing in the Everglades in the late '70s after escaping—or being released—from people's homes. The pythons, which have no natural predators in the Everglades and are known to eat birds, rodents, reptiles, and mammals, are considered a major threat to the region's endangered species. The U.S. banned their import in January of this year.

Via Treehugger


    Photo: aurĂ©lien./Flickr

IOC Strips 4 Medals, Plans to Strip Armstrong's

U.S. gains a gold

The International Olympic Committee stripped four 2004 Athens Olympics track and field athletes of their medals on Wednesday after retesting about 100 doping samples. Yuriy Bilonog of the Ukraine (gold, shot put), Ivan Tskikhan (silver, hammer throw) and Irina Yatchenko (bronze, discus) of Belarus and Svetlana Krivelyova of Russia (bronze, shot put) all lost their medals. IOC rules allow blood samples to be frozen for eight years after competition and then tested again using improved technology. Both shot put winners at the Athens Games have now tested positive for doping and lost their medals.

The U.S. gained a gold medal, as shot-putter Adam Nelson was awarded Bilonog’s gold, but will also lose a bronze when the IOC strips Lance Armstrong of his medal from the 2000 Sydney Games. “If the UCI have the ability to remove all these titles,” said IOC vice president Craig Reedie, “we should have the ability to remove a bronze medal. Once they go through their procedures, then we'll go through ours.” For now, the IOC must wait for the International Cycling Union to formally notify Armstrong of the loss of all results since August 1998.

Via Associated Press


McAfee in an undated Facebook photo.     Photo: John McAfee

John McAfee Arrested in Guatemala

Fighting extradition to Belize

Software mogul John McAfee was arrested in Guatemala City on Thursday after entering the country illegally. McAfee, 67, said on Wednesday that he had requested asylum in Guatemala, and that he feared he would be killed by police if he returned to Belize, where he is a person of interest in the murder of his neighbor, Gregory Viant Faull.

"He will be in danger if he is returned to Belize, where he has denounced authorities," said his Guatemalan lawyer, Telesforo Guerra.

The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry is now deciding whether to send McAfee back to Belize for questioning. McAfee has been on the run since early November, when Faull was found dead in his home from a gunshot wound.

Via Salt Lake Tribune