May 15, 2013

    Photo: Rainer Zenz

Fat-Burning Power Plant Coming to London

Will use "fatbergs" from sewers

A planned power plant in London will turn globs of discarded fat clogging the city's sewers into the city's newest source of energy. Announced by Thames Water last month, the proposed station will run largely on "fatbergs," giant globs of discarded fat and grease formed from cooking waste that restaurants and residents pour down their drains.

"This project is a win-win: renewable power, hedged from the price fluctuations of the non-renewable mainstream power markets, and helping tackle the ongoing operational problem of 'fatbergs' in sewers," said Piers Clark, commercial director of Thames Water, said in a press release.

The plant is projected to produce 130 Gigawatt hours of electricity a year, or enough to power about 39,000 homes.


Climbers at Lhotse.     Photo: Garrett Madison

Alex Bolotov Dies on Everest

Rope broke, according to Urubko

Russian climber Alexey Bolotov died early Wednesday morning in the Khumbu Icefall. His body was found at the head of the Khumbu Glacier, though details surrounding his death have been slow to emerge.

According to a Tweet by his climbing partner, Denis Urubko, Bolotov's rope was frayed by the edge of a sharp rock, and the climber fell 300 meters "down a ravine filled with rock [...] death was instantaneous." He is said to have fallen at around 18,000 feet.

Bolotov and Urubko were planning their final attack in alpine style on a the sheer Southwest Face via a new route. Had all gone according to plan, they would have negotiated the Rock Band to the summit and descended via the standard Southwest ridge route.

From our feature story Lost on Everest: "Urubko told a Spanish magazine that he and Bolotov are 'ready to work hard and die if necessary.'"


    Photo: Facebook

Man Dribbling Soccer Ball to Brazil Killed by Truck

Was promoting One World Futbol

A man attempting to dribble a soccer ball from Seattle, Washington, to Brazil was struck and killed by a truck Tuesday just 14 days and 260 miles into his journey. Richard Swanson, 42, was attempting the 10,000-mile trip to promote One World Futbol, which donates soccer balls to children in developing countries. He was walking along U.S. Highway 101 outside Lincoln City, Oregon, when he was struck. He was taken to a local hospital where he was declared dead.

Swanson, a private investigator, said in an interview with the The Daily News newspaper in Longview, Washington, that he was just looking for an adventure in between jobs.

"We are deeply saddened to learn about Richard's death," said One World Futbol’s Lisa Tarver in a statement. “He was a very inspiring man who in a very short time walked his way into many lives. Our thoughts are with his family."

The driver of the pickup truck that killed Swanson has not been charged and is cooperating fully with authorities.

Police say that they have recovered Swanson’s soccer ball.


    Photo: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Bald Eagles Lock Talons and Crash

Photographed on Minnesota airport tarmac

A midair battle between two bald eagles turned into a somewhat humiliating situation when the birds were unable to unlock their talons and crashed to the ground together. They survived the fall and were found, still entangled, on the tarmac of Duluth International Airport.

Randy Hanzal, a conservation officer with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, put the birds in the back of his pickup truck, covered with blankets and jackets. Halfway into the two-mile drive to a local rehabilitation organization, Hanzal says he heard a ruckus. “I looked around and saw feathers flying up.” Then one of the birds jumped out of the truck and flew away.

The other eagle has been treated for deep puncture wounds in its legs and abdomen, and it is expected to make a good recovery. Its pride, on the other hand, may take a very long time to heal.