October 9, 2012
El Capitan

El Capitan     Photo: Mike Murphy

Caldwell, Siegrist to Tackle Dawn Wall

Sixth year attempting route

Tommy Caldwell and new partner Jonathan Siegrist will head up El Capitan in Yosemite National Park tomorrow to return to Caldwell's longtime Dawn Wall project. With about 30 pitches, including seven of 5.14 and seven of 5.13, the Dawn Wall would likely be the world's hardest big-wall route when complete. Caldwell began working on the project in 2007, teaming up with Kevin Jorgeson in 2009. The climb will be the first on El Cap for Siegrist, who recently made the first ascent of Idaho's hardest route, the 5.14d Algorithm. Jorgeson, who is now on a rafting trip down the Colorado, will join the pair later this month.

Via Climbing


Felix Baumgartner

Baumgartner all suited up     Photo: Jorg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Stratos Launch Aborted

Felix Baumgartner forced to postpone again

On Tuesday, Red Bull Stratos was forced to again delay the launch of a balloon that was to take skydiver Felix Baumgartner 23 miles above the earth, where he was expected to break the world record for highest skydive and become the first free-falling human to reach the speed of sound. A commentator on the Red Bull Stratos livestream indicated that a radio failure had forced the delay of the 5 a.m. launch until the winds became too strong for the balloon to safely take off. The jump was originally scheduled for the summer of 2010, and Baumgartner later admitted that it was cancelled due to a bout of claustrophobia in the specially-designed space suit. Subsequent launch dates in the summer of 2012 were scratched due to winds. Baumgartner has said he will try again, but it is unclear when the weather will cooperate. The Red Bull team said the extremely delicate balloon would require wind speeds under 2mph in order to launch.

Via RedBullStratos.com


    Photo: WM Jas/Flickr

Man Dies After Winning Cockroach Eating Contest

Exact cause of death remains a mystery

Florida resident Edward Archbold, 32, died Friday night after ingesting a large volume of live cockroaches and worms in a contest at a local pet store. According to investigators, Archbold began to feel ill almost immediately after the contest and started regurgitating the roaches. He was taken to a Broward County hospital where he was pronounced dead. The exact cause of death has yet to be determined. Michael Adams, a professor of entomology at the University of Californa, told the Associated Press that he had never heard of someone dying after consuming cockroaches. "Unless the roaches were contaminated with some bacteria or other pathogens, I don't think that cockroaches would be unsafe to eat." The contest was part of a “Midnight Madness” sale at Ben Siegel Reptile Store. Had Archbold survived the ordeal, he would have taken home a free ivory ball python.

Via The Smoking Gun


    Photo: barryskeates/Flickr

Lead Found in NYC Backyard Eggs

As high as 100 parts per billion

Eggs laid by chickens in New York City public gardens have higher than normal levels of lead, preliminary research has found. Researchers from the New York State Health Department’s Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment examined 58 eggs from chickens in community gardens in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, and discovered detectable levels of lead in about half of them, reaching as high as 100 parts per billion. They also tested store-bought eggs, none of which contained any detectable amounts of lead. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have any specific guidelines concerning safe levels of lead in eggs, and the researchers have yet to reach any conclusions. “We generally support chicken raising,” said the study’s leader, Henry M. Splietoff. “However, we also support reducing lead exposure.” Splietoff expects to publish the results in a more conclusive study later this year, once he has collected further data on the chickens' soil and feed.

Via New York Times