October 1, 2013

Skydiver jumps with GoPro helmet mount     Photo: Official U.S. Navy Imagery/Flickr

GoPro Unveils the Hero 3+

Small changes, big improvements

GoPro, the action camera giant, announced last night the release of its newest camera, the Hero 3+. Engadget reports the camera will be 20 percent smaller than its predecessor and pack a 33-percent increase in image sharpness. With new features like 1080 “superview,” a new auto-low light mode, and updated audio components, the Hero 3+ promises to be a worthy upgrade.

GoPro’s Hero 3 took a lot of heat for poor battery performance, and the Hero 3+ was updated with better battery life in mind. Gizmodo tested the new 1180mAh battery and concluded the Hero 3+ gives you at least 30 more minutes of shooting time.

The Hero 3+ will also sport a sleeker underwater housing rated 131 feet—reduced from the Hero 3’s 197 feet (sorry deep-divers). GoPro also claims a tighter fit for the housing, which will cut down on rough audio at high speeds. According to Engadget the camera will be available as early as this week, starting at $399 for the Black Edition and $299 for the Silver Edition.

Read more on GoPro Founder Nick Woodman in Outside’s October Issue.

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    Photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Maveric149

How the Shutdown Affects National Parks

Grand Canyon permit holders turned away

Yosemite National Park turns 123 today, but it won’t be open for its own birthday.

Since the federal government partially shut down at 12:01 a.m., Yosemite is one of the more than 50 National Parks that will remain closed until Congress passes a new federal budget.

According the Park Service’s contingency plan for this situation, those trying to enter any place administered by the NPS will meet locked gates and closed entrances.

Even those with special permits, which often require years of planning are being denied access to NPS lands. If you’ve planned a scenic wedding in Yellowstone, you’ll have to wait because special-use permits have been revoked.

Tiffany Burson, from New Hampshire, with a group of 16 other rafters were expecting to start a 20-day trip down the Grand Canyon on Wednesday. They should have been rigging their boats today, but the group was forced to camp in the parking lot of the Marble Canyon Lodge as park rangers and law enforcement officials have blocked the entrance to Lee’s Ferry, where rafters put-in. The group had first applied for the permit to raft the canyon in 1995. Burson says that her family has paid $12,000, scheduled time off from work, and took her kids out of college for this trip.

“What’s frustrating is that we were given a permit, and they’re not honoring it,” Burson said. “I didn’t come to the Grand Canyon just to look at it.”

Hunters will likely also miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. An exclusive elk hunt in Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico is scheduled to begin on Saturday, but those 15 tags will be rescinded unless the preserve obtains a special waiver. Like rafting permits, these tags only come along every few decades.

Those already in the parks were asked to leave immediately. Roads on the rim of the Grand Canyon remained open, but no one was allowed to leave their car as they headed to the nearest exit. Backpackers, overnight campers and guests staying in National Park hotels must leave by 6:00 p.m. Thursday.

National Parks aren’t the only sites closed due to the government shutdown. All 401 sites run by the National Park Service are closed indefinitely, which includes parks, monuments, and zoos.

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Crystal Mountain Opens for One Day

75 lucky skiers to catch early-season pow

It sounds like a common internet scam: Comment on our Facebook page and win. However, a few powder-hungry followers of Crystal Mountain’s Facebook page did win the chance to shred the mountain on Tuesday, well before it's open to the public.

Due to an early-season dump with snow up to 18’’ in places, the Washington state resort decided to power up its gondola exclusively for the first 75 people who posted their favorite thing about the resort on its Facebook last night. More than 400 people commented for the chance to buy a lift ticket for $15 today.

“It's about giving the people what they want,” said President John Kircher in a release on Monday.

The gondola may be running, but the runs aren't in the best shape yet. Crystal Mountain encourages the lucky few to stick to the backcountry. “This is Rocktoberfest,” Crystal Mountain’s release said, “Ski with the weeds and early-season rockstars!”

Afterwards, those lucky 75 may want to spend the rest of the afternoon applying P-Tex to their skis. It is “Rocktober” after all.

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Agnes Vaille Falls     Photo: Jeff Hall/Flickr

Five Dead in Colorado Rockslide

One girl survived

A 100-ton-rockslide killed five people at a vantage point looking up on Agnes Vaille Falls in Northrop, Colorado on Monday. A 13-year-old girl, who suffered a broken leg, is the lone survivor, the Associated Press reports. 

"The true hero here is her dad," Sheriff's Deputy NickTolsma told the "Today Show." "She said her dad jumped on top of her to protect her right at the last moment when the rocks were coming down."

Engineers are currently evaluating the stability of the area and crews hope to return to retrieve the bodies Tuesday, after the ground thaws out from the night's freeze. While the cause of the slide is unknown, heavy rain in the area may have been a factor.

The trail to the falls is relatively easy, CNN reports that rockslides are fairly common in the area.

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With some help from the amputee's preserved nerves, his mechanical limb moves as intended 98 percent of the time, up from 87 percent without a neural connection.     Photo: Eric R. Schroeder/Shutterstock

Man Controls Prosthetic Limb with Thoughts

Marks the first thought-sensitive prosthetic

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has created the first synthetic leg that can tap into neural activity. Preserving the nerves in their male volunteer's lower leg during its amputation, engineer Todd Kuiken and his team planted them anew in his thigh muscle, reconfiguring the nerve signals to communicate with his robotic prosthetic.

The team programmed the mechanical prosthetic, attached below his thigh, to detect the nerve patterns the patient created when thinking about moving his leg.

The man can now transition smoothly from level ground to stairs, and can even kick a ball, reports The Washington Post.

This is the first use of targeted muscular reinnervation (TMR) on a man with a leg amputation since Kuiken theorized the method in 2006.

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