June 13, 2012

    Photo: spaceamoeba/Flickr

Ice Block Strikes Home From Clear Skies

Officials cite global warming

A mysterious basketball-size chunk of ice fell from clear skies on Sunday, leaving a manhole-size crater in a Northern California home. Federal Aviation Administration officials are reviewing radar data to determine if the ice fell from a plane over the Fremont, California, house, which lies in the flight path of San Francisco International Airport. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the ice was white rather than blue and probably didn’t drop from a plane’s lavatory. Scientists believe the ice could be a megacryometeor, a phenomenon triggered by global warming that causes the lower atmosphere to expand and rise, forming hail conditions despite clear skies. There are 40 documented cases of megacryometeors in the last 13 years.

Read more at The San Francisco Chronicle

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Alex Honnold on El Capitan

Alex Honnold on El Capitan     Photo: Tom Evans/El Cap Reports

Alex Honnold Solos Yosemite Triple

Climbs 7,000 feet in 19 hours

Alex Honnold climbed three of Yosemite's biggest walls solo in 19 hours on Wednesday, just two weeks after free-climbing the linkup, known as the "Triple Crown," with Tommy Caldwell. Beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Honnold ascended the South Face of Mt. Watkins, the Nose of El Capitan, and the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. "It’s boring and you lose track of time," Honnold said of climbing through the night. "You’re adrift on a wall in the dark and it’s weird." The 26-year-old Californian is reportedly preparing to attempt to break the Nose speed record with Yosemite legend Hans Florine.

Read more at Outside

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Lance Armstrong in 2002

Lance Armstrong in 2002     Photo: Benutzer:Hase/Flickr

Armstrong Hit With New Doping Charges

Banned from triathlons

On Tuesday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency brought new doping charges against former cyclist and triathlete Lance Armstrong. In a 15-page letter, USADA alleged it collected blood samples in 2009 and 2010 that indicated Armstrong had used the blood-booster EPO and possibly blood transfusions. USADA also says that "multiple riders with firsthand knowledge" will be brought to testify in a case that could strip the athlete of his seven Tour de France titles. This comes after U.S. Attorney General dropped an investigation into Armstrong's alleged doping last February. In the wake of the charges, Armstrong was immediately banned from competing in triathlons. He was due to take part in his first full distance Ironman in Nice, France, on June 24.

Read more at the Washington Post

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    Photo: Dr Stephen Dann/Flickr

Spray Tanning May Cause DNA Damage

Artificial tan previously called "harmless"

A Freedom of Information request by ABC News resulted in the release of a FDA study on Tuesday that said spray tanning may not be a healthy alternative to sun tanning, potentially causing genetic alterations and DNA damage. A panel of medical experts expressed their concern that the active chemical in artificial tanning agents dihydroxyacetone (DHA) could result in serious illness. "These compounds in some cells could actually promote the development of cancers or malignancies," said Dr. Rey Panettieri, a toxicologist and lung specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. "If that's the case then we need to be wary of them." The report found that the tanning agent was present in dangerously high levels in users' living tissues. Prior to the FDA's release of the report, the tanning industry has fervently denied that DHA posed a health risk.

Read more at ABC News

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Andy Schleck

Andy Schleck     Photo: Dave Cox

Andy Schleck to Miss Tour de France

Cyclist sidelined by spinal fracture

Luxembourger cyclist Andy Schleck will sit out this year's Tour de France due to injuries sustained during the Criterium du Dauphine. Schleck's father, former pro cyclist Johny Schleck, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that his son would miss the Tour, and likely the London Olympics, with a spinal fracture. "His morale is zero at the moment," Johny Schleck said. The younger Schleck, who has struggled with illness and knee injuries this year, will now focus on the Vuelta a España in August. Schleck was awarded the 2010 Tour de France title last month after Alberto Contador was disqualified for doping.

Read more at Yahoo News

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View from a kayak

View from a kayak     Photo: Adam Levine/Flickr

Explorer Kayaks Across South America

Expedition hailed as a first

On Tuesday, a Swedish explorer completed a nine-month expedition to kayak the length of South America and study its biodiversity. Christian Bodegren began on the Orinoco River in Venezuela last September, arriving at the Atlantic Ocean by way of Argentina on June 12. Bodegren frequently had to paddle upstream in order to transect the continent, encountering various dangerous animals and unknown sections of river along the way. "That my stubbornness lasted much longer than their doubts just feels extra nice now after nine months," Bodegren wrote on his website yesterday, addressing those who said his project was impossible. "Being able to stand here on the beach and raise the Swedish flag and feel proud of my performance is a great feeling."

Read more at The Adventure Blog

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El Capitan

El Capitan     Photo: Mike Murphy

Climbers Break Women's Nose Record

Sent 32 pitches in 10 hours

Colorado climbers Jes Meiris and Quinn Brett set a new women's speed record on the Nose route of El Capitan on Monday, climbing the 32-pitch line in 10 hours and 19 minutes. Brett and Meiris, both climbing guides and instructors, had to pass five people on the final pitch of the climb, and said they didn't expect to break the record. The previous record of 10 hours and 40 minutes was set by Libby Sauter and Chanel Astorga in September 2011. The overall record, set by Dean Potter and Sean Leary in 2010, is two hours, 36 minutes, 45 seconds.

Read more at Rock and Ice

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    Photo: Luis Stortini Sabor via Shutterstock

Dutch Startup to Colonize Mars by 2023

TV series will document journey

Dutch startup Mars One has announced a plan to fund the first human settlement on Mars by 2023 with a reality television series that will document the colonization. Mars One plans to send rovers in 2018 to scout a location, followed by a small crew who will build a permanent settlement in 2022. A new group of settlers will join them every two years. Paul Römer, co-creator of the reality TV show Big Brother, backs the plan for a series on the selection and training of astronauts, which will begin later this year. "We expect that almost every person on Earth will witness the landing of the first astronauts on Mars," Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp said. Author Ray Bradbury, who envisioned a similar colonization in The Martian Chronicles, passed away Wednesday morning at 91.

Read more at Slate

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