June 8, 2012
González Videla Station in Antarctica

Iceberg near Chile's González Videla Station in Antarctica     Photo: Liam Q/flickr

NASA Discovers Arctic Algae Bloom

Phenomenon thought to be impossible

NASA scientists who discovered a huge algae bloom underneath the Arctic ice sheet are calling the find "as unexpected as finding a rainforest in the middle of the desert." Researchers from the agency's ICESCAPE announced Thursday that the project had discovered the cloud of microscopic phytoplankton below a layer of ice in the Chukchi Sea, north of Siberia. "If someone had asked me before the expedition whether we would see under-ice blooms, I would have told them it was impossible" said Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University, head of the expedition. The appearance of the organisms, once thought to live only in sunlit open ocean, is evidence that Arctic sea is rapidly thinning.

Read more at GlobalPost

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    Photo: Greg Walters/Flickr

China Bans Foreigners From Tibet

Lockdown after Tibetans self-immolate

Chinese travel agencies are reporting that the government has banned all foreign visitors to Tibet after two men set themselves on fire at Lhasa’s Jokhang temple last week to protest Chinese rule. The two Tibetan protestors were taken away by paramilitary forces, and it is not known whether they lived. The Chinese National Tourist Office stopped issuing entry permits after the self-immolations, though Chinese nationals will still be allowed to travel freely. Travel agencies expect the ban to last at least through June and perhaps indefinitely. The lockdown comes as Tibetans begin the month-long Saga Dawa festival, which typically draws thousands of pilgrims and tourists. At least 34 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest since March 2011, but last week's protests were the first of their kind in the city of Lhasa.

Read more at USA Today

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    Photo: Cassi G/Flickr

Bank Repossesses Idaho Ski Lift

Chairlift builder tasked with dismantling

Seven years after installing a mile-long high-speed chairlift at Tamarack Resort in Idaho, the ski lift's builder is dismantling it in a repossession by the resort's creditors. Tamarack, which closed in financial ruin in 2009, owes its largest creditor more than $300 million. A separate creditor, Bank of America, has decided to recoup some losses by selling the resort's most expensive lift, a task that contractors describe as "difficult." "I'm in the ski lift business, not the ski lift removal business," said Highlander Ski Lift Services & Construction president Paul Johnston. "Ultimately, as sad as I am to remove it, it's sadder to see a large $4 million machine sit there and grow cobwebs. There are a lot of interested parties. It's like buying a used car."

Read more at the Idaho Press

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Wingsuit jump: Lysebotn, Rogaland Fylke, NO

Wingsuit jump: Lysebotn, Rogaland Fylke, NO     Photo: hakonthingstad/Flickr

BASE Jump World Record Claims Refuted

Red Bull had announced highest launch

On Wednesday, Red Bull erroneously claimed a new world record after their sponsored athlete Valery Rozov completed a wingsuit jump in the Indian Himalayas. The Russian BASE jumper led an expedition to climb Shivling mountain last month before jumping from 6,420 meters on May 25. Red Bull's Wednesday press release claimed the jump had set a new world record for launch height. Guinness World Records recognizes a husband and wife's jump from 6,604 meters on Mount Meru as the highest ever BASE jump. The couple said they were "miffed" by Red Bull's claims. In response to the misstatement, Rozov told CNN he didn't care whether or not he had acheived a world record. The online press release has since been removed and the Red Bull website now calls the feat "one of the most challenging BASE jumps ever performed."

Read more at CNN

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