June 5, 2013

Moore, OK, May 22, 2013--Aerial views of the damage caused by the tornado that touched down in the area on May 20, 2013. FEMA continues to assist disaster survivors and are encouraged to register for assistance. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA     Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma Tornado is the Widest Ever

2.6 mile-wide twister killed 19

A deadly tornado that formed outside Oklahoma City last Friday is now officially the widest on record. Not to be confused with the massive tornado that devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, the Friday tornado that struck El Reno measured a whopping 2.6 miles in diameter, with winds of nearly 300 mph.

The National Weather Service initially rated the tornado as an EF3, but upgraded it to an EF5 after surveying the damage and measuring the winds. Nineteen people were killed in the storm, including three storm chasers.

The record-breaking twister struck the countryside between El Reno and Union City, an area composed mostly of farmland and grazing areas. According to the Weather Service’s chief warning coordination meteorologist, Rick Smith, the toll would have been much greater if the twister had struck in a more densely populated area. "Any house would have been completely swept clean on the foundation," Smith said.

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    Photo: Chris Bennett

Strava Wins Lawsuit

Not responsible for death

A California judge has ruled in favor of the social fitness website Strava in the death of a cyclist who was killed while riding in Berkeley, California, in 2010. William Flint's family sued the company claiming that Strava encouraged Flint to speed, resulting in his death.

“They assume no responsibility,” Susan Kang, the family's attorney told VeloNews. “They don’t put cones out. They don’t have anybody monitor and see whether a course, or a specific segment, is dangerous.”

The San Francisco-based company lets cyclists compete for spots on its leaderboard by sharing data. Flint was descending at least 10 mph above the posted speed limit of 30 mph trying to win back a Strava KOM segement when he lost control of his bike while attempting to avoid a car.

The judge ruled that cycling is "an inherently risky activity" and that "Mr. Flint impliedly assumed the risks of bicycling."

More on how Strava is changing the way we ride.

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    Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Town Mails Errant Dog Poop Back to Owners

Led to a 70% drop on stray feces

Residents of a Spanish town angered by prolific dog poop have taken strange measures to clean up their streets: mailing the poop back to the dog owners.

Over the course of a week, a group of twenty volunteers patrolled the streets of Brunete looking for negligent dog owners who failed to properly dispose of their charge’s feces. They then struck up a conversation with the owner to determine the dog’s name and breed. When run through the town’s registered pet database, that information would reveal the name of the owner, and an address where the dog’s waste could be sent.

147 poop deliveries have been made since the campaign was launched in February, and the town of 10,000 has since reported a 70% drop in criminal dog poop.

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    Photo: dogboxstudios via Shutterstock

Dog Fitness Device Launches

Uses accelerometer to measure pet activity

A new FitBit-like activity tracker for dogs launched today aims to keep pet owners updated on their pet's fitness level, as well as give them an early warning about potential health problems. Whistle, which retails for $100, consists of a small, metallic disc that clips onto a dog's collar and uses an accelerometer to determine whether a dog is active or resting.

Owners monitor their pets' activity level using a smartphone app. The information is also collected and uploaded anonymously to databases used by university researchers.

Whistle CEO Ben Jacobs says that he hopes the new device will improve pets' standard of living. "We would love to be able to help these dogs live longer lives," he told CNN. "The No. 1 indicator of a dog's health is its own activity compared to its base line." More than half of dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese.

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    Photo: Red Bull Air Force via Flickr

WATCH: 102-Year-Old BASE Jumper

Did it as a birthday celebration

Dorothy Custer typically gets her kicks playing the harmonica and sewing, but she takes her birthdays very seriously. For her 102nd this year, the Idaho native BASE jumped 486 feet off the Perrine Bridge

Though Custer is definitely the oldest person to BASE jump, she did have help from a tandem jump instructor. After landing on the shore of the Snake River, Custer complained that the jump was too short. “I don’t know why it went down so quickly, but that was alright,” she said, conjuring the perspective of her 102 years.

BASE jumping was the logical follow-up to her 101st birthday celebration of ziplining across Snake River Canyon, and luckily, she also captured her bridge jump on film.

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