October 29, 2013

    Photo: Scott E Read via Shutterstock

Nebraska Begins Hunting Cougars

102 permits issued for the state's 22 mountain lions

How much does it cost to be the first person to hunt a mountain lion in Nebraska? $13,500.

The state's Game and Parks Commission unanimously approved a cougar-hunting season earlier in July, and the last of 102 permits were claimed on October 16. Beginning on January 1, hunters will pursue the state's 22 big cats, to the celebration of Nebraska farmers and the dismay of wildlife conservationists.

"We got along fine without them for 100 years," one anti-cougar Nebraska farmer told High Country News.

Mountain lions were once native to Nebraska but completely hunted off by the 1890s. A century passed before the mountain lions were spotted crossing from Colorado to the Cornhusker State. Today, less than two dozen cougars comprise the state's breeding population, and many say that's not enough to justify a hunting season.

"The decision wasn't a surprise," wrote Pete Letherby in an op-ed for High Country News. "The nine commissioners were appointed by a like-minded governor who leans over backward to please the state's agriculture interest, which demands that any potential threat to their livestock and corn—however minuscule or exaggerated—must be eliminated."

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Big wave surfing at Mavericks     Photo: Shalom Jacobovitz/Wikimedia Comm

Possible New Big Wave Record Set in Portugal

Carlos Burle rides estimated 100-foot wave

Carlos Burle, a Brazilian surfer, may have set the new big wave record off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal, yesterday. In the same break where friend and fellow surfer Garrett McNamara set the record in 2011, Burle rode an estimated 100-foot wave on Monday.

The possibly record-breaking ride came during an intense day of jet ski-assisted surfing, according to CBS Newswhich included rescuing surfer Maya Gabeira who nearly drowned in a dangerous fall. Surfer Today spoke with Burle yesterday after the ride.

"It was luck. We never know when we will be catching the wave. I still hadn't surfed any wave and everyone had already had their rides. Maya almost died. For me, it was a big adrenaline moment to get back there after what happened."

According to The Guardian, a deep underwater canyon bordered by a shallower shelf causes enormous Nazaré waves to peak and break in a regular and controlled fashion, which is ideal for surfing.



As with McNamara's 2011 wave, accurately measuring these giants can be difficult and is rarely exact. Photo and video can be studied in comparison to the surfer's height, yet these methods are greatly dependent on perspective and camera angle.

Read more on measuring a record-breaking ride.

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Sriracha hot sauce is made by Huy Fong Foods, located in Irwindale, California.     Photo: Tedeytan/Flickr

Sriracha Production Suspended

Hot Sauce Fumes are Too Strong

A small squirt of Sriracha hot sauce can make eyes water and throats burn. So imagine the possible side effects from a 655,000-square-foot Sriracha factory.

Residents of Irwindale, California, have learned firsthand that such a facility does in fact cause irritated eyes and throats, headaches, and unbearable odors. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, about 30 people have filed complaints against Sriracha producer Huy Fong Foods, including one family that was forced to move a birthday party indoors due to an intolerable spicy odor. 

On Monday, the city took action; Irwindale filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Huy Fong Foods, “claiming that the odor was a public nuisance and asking a judge to stop production until the smell can be reduced.”

A judge will decide whether to grant the order on Thursday. While we wait, what’s your favorite way to use the hot sauce? We like it on our eggs.

 

UPDATE: On October 31, the Los Angeles County Superior Court decided not to suspend Sriracha production at Huy Fong Foods. 

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    Photo: Piotr Wawrzyniuk /Shutterstock

Kayakers Progress on 4,000-mile Journey

Brothers complete South American leg

Brothers Russell and Graham Henry, based in Victoria, British Columbia, are midway through their 4,000-mile sea kayaking journey from Belém, Brazil, to Key West, Florida. They finished the South American portion of their joruney in early October and recently paddled the 80-mile, 30-hour stretch from the Caribbean island of Tobago to Grenada.

"Setting off on the big crossing [from Tobago to Grenada] was a bit of a weird mental experience," says Russell Henry, 21. "I don’t know if it is because we have been dealing with risk and big challenges for the last few months or if we were just really comfortable with the risk we were taking, but there wasn’t a whole lot of emotion tied to the takeoff."

Russell and his kayaking partner, Graham Henry, 22, had endured the muggy, buggy coastline of South America since June 10, when they took off.

As they now make their way into the Caribbean leg of their odyssey, they exchange choppy waters for big swells, untenable shores for welcoming beaches.

"Needless to say, we are looking forward to this change of pace," Russell told Canoe and Kayak, though he and his brother have three more 80-mile crossings ahead of them.

The Henry brothers are hoping their venture will prove inspiring.

"From the get go we’d been planning to present our trip story at schools upon return to Canada with hope to inspire kids to get outside and promote the power of education through adventure."

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