February 11, 2013

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Coast Guard to Investigate HMS Bounty Sinking

Hearings to begin Tuesday

A two-week hearing into what brought down the HMS Bounty off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy last October is slated to begin Tuesday.

The Coast Guard said it is hoping to learn more about the accident in an effort to improve the future safety of similar vessels.

Two people died when the tall ship lost power and went down in 18-foot seas.

Read more on the sinking of the Bounty in "Sunk: The Incredible Truth About a Ship That Never Should Have Sailed."


16 bikes were stolen during the night.     Photo: Michael Mandiberg/Flickr

Garmin Drops From Tour After Bike Theft

17 bikes stolen in France

In an impressive heist, thieves robbed Garmin-Sharp of 17 racing bikes while the team slept at their hotel during the Tour of the Mediterranean this weekend.

The team discovered Saturday morning, before the beginning of Stage 4 of 5, that the bikes were missing from their storage trailer, which was backed up against a car to inhibit access. But the thieves had moved the car and then put it back without anyone noticing.

Garmin-Sharp was left with the option of borrowing spare bikes from other teams. Because the riders were not comfortable using unkown bikes, the team chose to withdraw.

Via Velonation


    Photo: Erick Reis

'Spider Rain' Hits Brazilian Town

Arachnids spin webs in power lines

Think the snowstorm that pounded the East Coast this weekend was bad? Try dealing with a rain of spiders. That's what residents of Santo Antonio da Platina, a town in southeast Brazil, faced this weekend. A video captured by a 20-year-old designer shows thousands of the tiny arachnids dangling from a giant web suspended from the town's power lines.

While it may seem otherworldly, Marta Fischer, a spider biologist from the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, told Brazil's G1 news that eight-legged invasions of this type are actually not uncommon.

"They are spiders from the species Anelosimus eximus, also known as social spiders. They normally stay in the trees during the day, and construct a kind of sheet of web during the afternoon and evening. Each individual makes its own, and afterwards they join them together. Their objective is to capture insects," explained the biologist.

"During the day they destroy their webs so that birds don't do it instead," concluded Marta, who went on to stress that the spiders' venom isn't dangerous to humans.

Anelosimus eximus forms some of the largest colonies in the spider world, with as many as 50,000 individuals sharing a web.


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Horsemeat Scandal Widens, 'May Be Donkey'

Shipped from Romania

The horsemeat scandal that has shaken the European beef market in recent weeks may worsen as French officials are now speculating that donkeys may be in the mix.

Much of the scandalous mystery meat comes from Romania where, until recently, horses and donkeys were allowed on public roads as a common form of transport. A law passed six years ago—but only recently enforced—banning horse- and donkey-drawn carts has sent hundreds of thousands of now obsolete animals to slaughter.

Initially thought only a British problem, the mystery meat has turned up in France and Sweden as well. French consumer minister Benoît Hamon has threatened legal action against the two French companies that handled the meat if it is discovered that they were aware of the horse and/or donkey meat beforehand.


    Photo: Aaron Escobar/Flickr

3 Die in Discovery Channel Helicopter Crash

Sunday morning, just outside of L.A.

Three men died in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles early Sunday morning while filming a segment for a military-themed Discovery Channel television show. Pilot David Gibbs, 59, cinematographer Darren Rydstrom, 46, and 45-year-old Michael Donatelli, who is believed to be a former Special Forces officer, were killed.

The helicopter was operated by Eyeworks USA, the unnamed program's production company. It crashed around 3:40 a.m. at Polsa Rosa Ranch, a popular film spot. The Discovery Channel has since released a brief statement: 

A production company was shooting a show for Discovery Channel when this tragic accident occurred. We are all cooperating fully with authorities. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families.

Aviation officals are currently investigating the crash.