October 31, 2013

Orangutan in the Como Park Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota     Photo: puliarf/Flickr

Palm Oil in Candy Leaves Orangutans Homeless

Ingredient in high demand

Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters this year could inadvertantly threaten the world's orangutan population, reports CNN, as candy production often involves destroying the endangered species' habitat.

Wild orangutans in Malaysia and Indonesia have seen their forests chopped down to make room for trees producing palm oil, a staple ingredient for Halloween candy because it lacks trans fat—which the U.S. has required companies to list on nutritional labels as unhealthy. Since most palm oil is farmed in Malaysia and Indonesia, buying candy that contains the popular oil could encourage further habitat destruction.

The El Paso Zoo in Texas—which features orangutans—has compiled a blacklist of candies containing non-sustainable palm oil, including Skittles, Snickers, and Milky Way, produced by Mars.

The candy company stated in an e-mail that "Mars is committed to working with the broader community towards 100-percent traceable sources of palm oil that are free of deforestation, expansion on carbon-rich peatlands, and the violation of human and labor rights," adding that it will begin using sustainable palm oil by the end of the year.

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Runners at the 2009 New York City Marathon.     Photo: Saucy Salad/Flickr

$1 Million Spent on Marathon Safety

NYC marathon doubles its security budget

No expense will be spared on security at this year's New York City Marathon after the bombing at the Boston Marathon on April 15, which killed three people and injured more than 260.

New York Road Runners executive vice president Peter Ciaccia told New York Daily News that more than $1 million was spent on security this year—doubling last year's security budget. Among the many precautions, NYRR has hired international security firm MSA to consult be present on race day. In addition to private security measures, the NYPD will be in full force with 100 mobile security cameras, hundreds of police officers stationed along the 26.2-mile course, helicopters scanning the area, and police boats on the waterways.

Many road races began banning luggage and backpacks to quell suspicion and fear following the Boston Marathon Bombing. NYC Marathon organizers considered banning bags from the finish area, but decided that spectators would need to carry clothing and provisions to support runners.

Newly Prohibited Items

  • Bulky costumes
  • Masks
  • Runner's backpacks in the Start Village, Start Corrals, and on the race course
  • Vests with multiple large pockets.
  • Strollers
  • Liquid containers larger than one liter

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Longboat on the beach; Krabi, Thailand.     Photo: mksystem/Flickr

Thailand Leads Best Countries for Expats

List scores cuisine, financial, and social qualities

The probable Sriracha shortage isn’t the only reason to move to Thailand. The southeast Asian country topped HSBC’s survey for the best expat experience, scoring high when it comes to making friends, having an active social life, eating well, and getting finances in order.

The HSBC survey, which involved more than 7,000 expatriates from nearly 100 countries, compiled the top 37 best places to live abroad. China (No. 3), Singapore (No. 6), India (No. 7) and Taiwan (No. 8) all emerged in the top ten.

According to WSJ, Asia is home to some of the highest paid expats in the world; that financial stability combined with a high quality of living has attracted more and more Americans in recent years. 

“From Thailand’s countless tropical beaches and islands, to the world-class restaurants and modern infrastructure, the cultural attractions, and a still relatively attractive overall cost of living, it’s really hard for any country to top,” expat Neal McCarthy told the Wall Street Journal.  “I don’t regret for a second having made the decision to come here.”

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On Thursday, creator Olivier Feuillette told curious YouTube viewers, "The pressure is equalized so scuba rules are apply, same for depth [sic]."     Photo: YouTube

Watch: Kayak Turns into Submarine

Childhood fantasy: achieved

A new kayak that can transform into a human-powered submarine within seconds gives paddlers a new, stealth means of transport. 

Olivier Feuillette's Subo, the kayak-cum-submarine, includes a sealed hatch, oxygen tank, and a CO2 filter for dives of up to two or three hours. Once you're sealed in, your paddle becomes a distant memory—were you just kayaking?—and a swimmy, swaying rudder extends out the back to give you propulsion and a badass shark-like appearance.

Feuillette took a few years to realize this childhood fantasy—provided you're not claustrophobic. 



Where would you take the Subo kayak?

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