June 17, 2011


Harris-Moore Takes a Plea

The Barefoot Bandit is going to jail

Colton Harris-Moore, the theif-cum-folk-hero, pleaded guilty on Friday to a range of felony charges, including ones stemming from the theft of a pistol and for transporting a stolen airplane across state lines. Outside profiled Harris-Moore in 2009, as his notoriety was reaching its peak and shortly before he was arrested in the Bahamas, in July 2010. (The arrest, which involved the theft of a plane, two boats, gunfire, and culminated in a hot pursuit through an upscale marina, could itself fill the pages of a thriller.) Authorities believe Harris-Moore committed the majority of his crimes, many of which were petty robberies but also involved light aircraft and a Mercedes Benz, near his home in the Pacific Northwest. Harris-Moore's reputation grew after he dodged several close calls with the police, at one time evading capture on foot without shoes. Harris-Moore's sentencing is scheduled for October. His lawyer expects a jail term of up to six-and-a-half years, and Harris-Moore will likely still face charges from Washington State officials. The guilty plea was temporarily delayed over rights to Harris-Moore's story, but under the agreement, any proceeds from a book or movie deal will go to Harris-Moore's victimes, who are owed an estimated $1.4 million.

Read more at The Associated Press


Bike warning sign

Bike warning sign     Photo: Salim Virji/Flickr

L.A. Cyclists Mowed Down by Driver

Late-night ride ends with 11 injured

A driver in Los Angeles plowed into a group of bicyclists early Thursday morning, injuring 11, one critically. Plenty of questions still surround the incident, which happened around 2 a.m.: The driver, 27-year-old Christine Dahab, was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk and may have been texting. The cyclists, members of local club Midnight Ridazz, numbered close to 100 and may have been hard to see as they stood beneath a faulty street lamp on the side of the road. “It was as simple as a bowling ball knocking out a few pins,” witness Fred Armstead told KABC-TV. “There was no attempt to stop. So she just went one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and just kept going." Dahab is being held by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on $15,000 bail, charged with a misdemeanor.

Read more at the L.A. Times



Denali     Photo: Nic McPhee/Flickr

Another Death on Denali

Alaskan dies soon after reaching the summit.

Denali claimed it's fifth casualty of the season last Friday when an Alaskan climber went into cardiac arrest and died soon after reaching the mountain's summit. Brian Young, 52, was in his tent in Denali's high camp at 17,200 feet when he stopped breathing. Rangers from a mountaineering patrol stationed at the camp attempted to resuscitate Young, but he did not regain a pulse and was pronounced dead at the scene. In a press release, the National Park Service said that Young's body would be recovered "when weather permits." Four other climbers have died on the mountain this season, including three who fell to their deaths in May. Despite the toll, 2011 is not Denali's deadliest year yet: 11 climbers were killed on the peak in 1992.

Read more at Reuters


Kumi Naidoo in 2007

Kumi Naidoo in 2007     Photo: Remi Steinegger/World Economic Forum/Flickr

Greenpeace Head Arrested on Rig

Latest in protests over Arctic drilling

Greenland police officers took custody of Kumi Naidoo, the Greenpeace executive director, after he and another activist boarded the Leiv Eiriksson, an oil rig owned by Scotland-based Cairn Energy. Naidoo evaded a Danish naval vessel, then climbed a nearly 100-foot ladder up the rig, which is stationed off the coast of Greenland. Earlier this week, the Danish government barred Greenpeace from harassing the drilling operation, and a violation of that injunction may cost Greenpeace 50,000 euros a day. The arrests follow a similar demonstration by Greenpeace on June 4 in which 18 activists were detained. Greenpeace is protesting Cairn's refusal to publish its spill clean-up plan, which the organization says would be inadequate in the event of a blowout. Arctic melting has uncovered massive oil reserves off the coast of Greenland and may be a boon to the island's economy. Cairn says it is following strict guidelines published by the Greenland Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum. The company currently operates two wells in the region and may double that number by summer's end.

Read more at the BBC


Summer Skiing

Summer Skiing     Photo: Michael Webster

Skiers' Best Independence Day Ever

Slopes at Squaw Valley and Mt. Bachelor to reopen July 2-4

After a season of record-breaking snowfall this past winter, California's Squaw Valley USA and Oregon's Mt. Bachelor ski resorts announced that they will reopen for skiing and snowboarding over Fourth of July weekend. Mt. Bachelor reported 665 inches this season while Squaw saw a staggering 810, with snow as recent as June 6. “It is certainly uncommon to be able ski July but it is truly unheard of to be operating at the capacity that we will be operating on July 4th Weekend,” said Andy Wirth, Squaw Valley’s Chief Executive Officer. In addition to reduced ticket rates at both resorts, Squaw will host a fine arts and crafts festival, pond skimming competition, free Big Head Todd and the Monsters concert, and a fireworks display.

Read more at Squaw.com and MtBachelor.com


Nude diver swims with beluga whales

Nude diver swims with beluga whales     Photo: Viktor Lyagushikin/Flickr

Skinny Dipping for Science

Nude woman jumps into water with belugas.

Russian diver Natalia Avseenko, 36, threw caution—and her clothes—to the wind when she plunged into sub-zero temperatures to swim with two beluga whales off Russia's northwest coast. Avseenko free-dived naked to test a theory that artificial materials, including dive equipment and clothes, repluse the notoriously shy beluga whale. The water, near the Arctic Circle, is cold enough to put most humans into hypothermic shock or maybe kill them, but Avseenko used yoga meditation techniques to hold her breath. She remained in the water for ten minutes and forty seconds as she swam with the whales. Some animal activists aren't happy with her skinny dipping research methods and remain skeptical that she could truly regulate her body temperature using yoga techniques. But the whales, notorious for their facial expressions, at least seemed to smile as they cavorted with their new friend.

Read more at Merco Press