June 27, 2012

Pikes Peak mountain and smoke plume from the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs, CO.     Photo: Beverly Lussier

Colorado Springs Fire Enters City Limits

Threatens USA Cycling headquarters

Thousands fled their homes in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Wednesday after the Waldo Canyon Fire doubled in size overnight, entering the city's limits and destroying an unknown number of homes. Mandatory evacuation notices were issued to as many as 32,000 residents as the blaze consumed roughly 9,000 acres in a few hours Tuesday afternoon. The fire is threatening the offices of USA Cycling headquarters and staff have been evacuated. Residents attempting to leave Colorado Springs encountered heavy traffic and dangerously thick smoke. The fire started for unknown reasons on Saturday and has been fanned by 65-mph winds and high daytime temperatures.

Read more at NPR

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    Photo: Lance Fisher

Tarahumara Used as Drug Runners

Cartels exploit Indians' poverty, endurance

Mexican drug traffickers are recruiting the impoverished Tarahumara Indians to run drugs across the United States border, according to an investigative report in Newsweek. Exploiting the tribe's endurance, featured in barefoot runner Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run, cartels are promising Tarahumara more than they would typically make in a year to transport backpacks of illegal drugs on foot. “You get a guy who can go 50 miles with almost no water ... they’ve been indirectly training for [cross-border smuggling] for 10,000 years,” says McDougall. American defense lawyers say the number of cases of Tarahumara smuggling has skyrocketed in the last few years, largely due to poverty and famine in the Tarahumara community.

Read more at the Daily Beast

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    Photo: Carly Lesser & Art Drauglis/Flickr

Retired Navy Seal Dies at National Zoo

Animal was a Cold War vet

A retired U.S. Navy seal that was part of the top-secret Marine Mammal Program that trained seals and dolphins to perform underwater tasks died on Friday. Gunnar, who lived to 38, was best known for learning how to use a screwdriver, turn underwater valves, and retrieve objects at a depth of 500 feet during the Cold War. In 1973, a Navy researcher approached a gray seal rookery in Iceland and recruited Gunnar, who showed curiosity while other pups fled. His curiosity eventually ended his tenure in the program. “Seals are like cats: difficult to train, stubborn, and aloof,” said Rebecca Miller, an animal keeper at Washington, D.C.’s National Zoo. The Navy donated Gunnar to the zoo in 1979, where he has lived ever since.

Read more at The Washington Post

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Johnny Hoogerland     Photo: Thomas Ducroquet/Wikimedia

Hoogerland to Sue Over Tour Crash

Cyclist says Euro Media refused to settle

Johnny Hoogerland, who flew into a barbed-wire fence at the 2011 Tour de France, is suing the media company whose car struck him. Euro Media and the Vacansoleil-DCM rider had failed to reach a settlement on Wednesday, the deadline for filing a lawsuit. Hoogerland is said to suffer from back pain, mood swings, and insomnia as a result of the accident, which occured when a media car attempted to pass his group during Stage 9 of the Tour. The car swerved into Juan Antonio Flecha, and Hoogerland then flipped into a barbed-wire fence on the roadside.

Read more at Cycling News

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    Photo: iron.pixls/Flickr

Rapid Sea Level Rise Threatens East Coast

Could flood New York and Boston

Sea levels on the East Coast of the United States are rising three to four times faster than the global average, according to a new study published in Nature Climate Change. The study found that sea levels between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, to north of Boston have risen 2-3.7 millimeters per year since 1990, compared to an average of 0.6-1 millimeters. The discrepancy appears to be due to a slowdown in a major Atlantic current that carries warm, tropical water north: the extra heat causes seawater to expand. "As demonstrated in this study, regional oceanographic contributions must be taken into account in planning for what happens to coastal property," said U.S. Geographic Survey director Marcia McNutt.

Read more at The Christian Science Monitor

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