August 2, 2013

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Eco-Goats to Tend Congressional Cemetery

Will be clearing weeds for our forefathers

Goats. Mysterious symbols of the occult, kings of the mountain ranges, and now, caretakers of our forefathers. Starting August 7, a heard of 100 goats will begin tending Washington D.C.’s Historic Congressional Cemetery as part of a new green landscaping initiative.

The goats will graze 24 hours a day, devouring weeds, vines and all manner of unwanted debris. They’ll even fertilize the fields for free! “The revolutionary use of eco-goats eliminates the need for harmful herbicides and prevents the invasive and often foreign species from killing large mature trees in the cemetery’s wooded area,” says the Association For The Preservation Of Historic Congressional Cemetery.

Among the residents who will be enjoying the goats’ company are deceased FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, and Choctaw Indian chief, Push-ma-ta-ha.

Goats have also been used for landscaping purposes at San Francisco’s International Airport, where the presence of the endangered red-legged frogs made the use of pesticides impossible.

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    Photo: Vadim Petrakov/Shutterstock.com

New Regulations for Climbing Everest

Nepali team will monitor climbing, permits

The Nepalese government will station a team at Everest base camp next season to monitor climbers and enforce the law, officials say. The team, dubbed the Integrated Service Center, will also be responsible for checking permits and verifying summits.

While all Everest teams are currently required to work with a government liason officer, the officials rarely leave Kathmandu; even when they do, Puma Chandra Bhattarai, the head of the government's tourism division, told the BBC, they are typically only accountable to expedition teams. "When there is the presence of the government on the ground, the message 'violating the law is punishable' becomes clearer," he said.

In addition, new regulations will prohibit helicopters flying near the mountain for anything but rescue operations, and require climbers who plan to set records on the mountain to register them first. The new rules follow several incidents this year, most notably a violent confrontation between a group of Sherpas and alpinists Simone Moro, Ueli Steck, and Jon Griffith.

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    Photo: Courtesy Graham Hughes

WATCH: Four Minutes to Explore the Globe

Man who visited every country sums up his journey

In 2012, Graham Hughes successfully became the first person to visit all United Nations member states without flying.

On less than $100 a week, it took Hughes four years to complete his journey. In a newly released video, you can follow in his footsteps in all of four minutes—covering roughly one country per second.

It's a bit dizzying, to be honest.

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    Photo: Dudarev Mikhail

STUDY: The Camping Cure

A week outside resets your body's biological clock

Technology is interfering with your sleep cycle, and camping is the cure. A weeklong camping excursion can reset your biological clock, according to a study published this week in the journal Current Biology.

Researchers recorded the melatonin levels—a hormone involved in the sleep cycle—of eight people throughout their daily life. The hormone should rise before sleep and decrease throughout the night. But in the participants, their melatonin levels were high for several hours after they got up—possibly leading to difficulties with alertness in the morning.

In search of an explanation, the scientists took the volunteers for a week of camping without flashlights or electronic devices and found that their sleeping patters became synchronized with the sun.

"They all shifted to an earlier time," Professors Kenneth Wright from the University of Colorado in Boulder told the BBC. "They all shifted to an earlier time," said Professor Kenneth Wright from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Researchers believe that a reliance on electric lighting is responsible for the shift in our sleeping rhythms and suggest dimming all electric lights in the evening and starting the day with a blast of sunlight or a morning walk. Previous studies have shown that exposure to bright light in the morning can spike your cortisol levels. While this stress hormone is typically associated with negative health outcomes, a morning boost actually readies your body for the stresses of the day ahead, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York believe.

More on the "Nature Cure."

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