October 11, 2013

Classes cancelled!!     Photo: anitakhart/Flickr

Headmaster Cancels Class for Great Weather

Tired of just bad weather closings

The headmaster at Calvary Christian School in Columbus, Georgia, cancelled school on Friday because the weather was just too darn nice. According to the local ABC News outlet, the Len McWilliams was tired of canceling school just for bad weather.

"In the late 1980s, I was calling school off one winter day because of the terrible weather," the headmaster told the Ledger-Enquirer. "The thought occurred to me that it would be great to call school off some day because it was too beautiful a day to go to school."

With his retirment looming at the end of this year, the headmaster saw today as his chance.

However, there are a few people questioning the headmaster's decision. The local news station's meteorologist told the Ledger-Enquirer "If I was paying for my kid (to attend Calvary), I would want my day to be reimbursed."

With a forecast of sunny skies and temperatures topping out at 83 degrees, the students of Calvary Christian are in for a good three-day weekend.

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Arches National Park will open by Saturday for ten days. The state of Utah reached an agreement with the Department of the Interior to pay National Parks Service employees with state dollars during the government shutdown.     Photo: Palacemusic/Wikimedia

Utah National Parks Open Saturday

State foots the bill to open its parks

The federal government shutdown continues, but Utah's National Parks will open this weekend.

Thursday, the Obama administration announced that it will work with governors who want to open their National Parks if they foot the bill, and Utah’s governor Gary Herbert took the Department of the Interior up on that offer. Eight sites run by the National Parks Service—including Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks—will be open to visitors by Saturday and remain open for the next 10 days.

The governor told KUTV that he hopes to restore tourism dollars to the communities that depend on them. 

Utah will shell out $166,572 per day out of the state’s coffers to briefly open its parks and bring dollars back to many tourist towns that have been turned into ghost towns during the shutdown. According to the New York Times, the shutdown is costing parks around the country about $76 million per day.

If the National Parks in your state are still closed, you do have recourse. The website DrunkDialCongress.org allows you to enter your phone number and connect to a random member of the House. The website also prompts you with talking points, such as "If you can yell at a Park Ranger after forcing the Government to shut down then I get to yell at you," "My kids won't stop yelling at me about camping," and "I can't watch the panda."

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A crabbing boat off the coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea. The federal government shutdown may delay the crabbing season, which beings on Tuesday.     Photo: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Wikimedia

'Deadliest Catch' Faces 'Fishing Cliff'

Shutdown may delay Alaska crabbing season

The three-month Alaska crab season starts Tuesday, October 15, but it's still unclear if the federal shutdown will affect the 80-some vessels that sail the Bering Sea. Crabbers, including the crew on the Discovery Channel show "Deadliest Catch," are still waiting for permits from the National Marine Fisheries Service. U.S.

Representative Suzan Delbene said on the House floor that "we are facing a 'fishing cliff' in the Bering Sea unless Congress acts," the Seattle Times reports.

Jake Jacobsen, director of the Seattle-based Inter-Cooperative Exchange, said to the Times that if the crab season were pushed back a few days it wouldn't cause worry at seafood restaurants around the U.S. since the crab season runs until January 15.

The greatest financial threat comes from the loss in foreign markets. If the shutdown last until the end of October, crabs may not reach the Japanese markets before January 1. Crab is to New Year's in Japan as turkey is to Thanksgiving in the U.S., and half of Alaska king crab is sold in Japan.

This afternoon, the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on how the shutdown is affecting the nation's economic security. Keith Colburn, one of the stars of "Deadliest Catch," is invited to testify. 

Watch the full Senate hearing

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This marks the largest oil spill in North Dakota since 1 million barrels of salt water brine, a by-product of oil production, leaked in 2006.     Photo: huyangshu/Shutterstock

Huge North Dakota Oil Spill Ruins Crops

EPA unable to assess due to shutdown

A Tesoro Logsitics LP pipeline in North Dakota has ruptured, spilling more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil into a nearby wheat field. The accident marks the biggest leak in the state since it became the country's second-largest oil producer last year.

Farmer Steven Jensen discovered the leak nine miles south of Tioga, North Dakota, on September 29, spilling "like a faucet," Jensen told Reuters. It created a stream "4 to 6 inches" across seven acres of wheat (the size of seven football fields) in a remote region of his 1,800-acre farm.

Although the spill marks one of the largest in North Dakota history, the regional Environmental Protection Agency office did not visit the site due to the government shutdown.

Tesoro Logistics, an oil company based in Texas, owns North Dakota's only oil refinery. The company said in a statement that the ruptured portion of the pipeline has been shut down. No water sources have been contaminated thanks to 40 feet of clay soil sopping up the spill before it could reach the underground supply, state environmental geologist Kris Roberts told The Guardian.

The affected pipeline, six inches in diameter, runs 35 miles underground from Tioga to Black Slough. The cause and duration of the spill remain unclear to Tesoro and state regulators, but Tesoro extrapolates the cost of repair, containment, and remediation at around $4 million.

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    Photo: Crystal Eye Studio/Shutterstock

Exercise: Good for Body and Brain

Molecular link discovered

Exercise has long been linked to increased production of a protein known as the "brain-derived neurotrophic factor" (BDNF). BDNF is essential for creating and maintaining healthy neurons and thereby delaying (or possibly preventing) neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Enter cellular biologist Bruce Spiegelman and his colleagues from Harvard Medical School and the University of Michigan Medical Center. The researchers suspected FNDC5, a protein induced during exercise, was responsible for increased levels of the "smart protein" BDNF.

This seemed to be the case for mice that ran a 5K every night for 30 days. But what would happen if FNDC5 was increased artificially (not during exercise)? According to Science, the researchers increased FNDC5 production in mouse brain cells in a dish. The result was more BDND. The molecular process in neurons in fact mirrored what happened when mice exercised.

The takeaway? If you're looking to increase your brain power, start injecting FNDC5. Or just get moving. 

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