October 25, 2012

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Scientists Eye Birth Control for Squirrels

Population booming after a mild winter

Last year’s mild winter led to a squirrel boom that has researchers considering contraceptive-laced seeds to inhibit breeding. The warm weather resulted in a large supply of nuts, their primary food source, and now they’re everywhere; stripping bark from trees, eating crops, and chewing power lines. Researchers at South Carolina’s Clemson University, which has lost over a million dollars in maintenance costs to squirrel mischief, began by offering the squirrels black sunflower seeds coated in the cholesterol-lowering drug DiazaCon. The concoction also contains a non-toxic dye that stains the squirrels’ bellies, making it easier to identify the treated subjects. Research will likely continue for another year to determine whether the drug has any negative effects on the squirrels’ natural predators and the surrounding environment.

Via National Geographic


    Photo: Ailine Liefeld/Flickr

Burton Restructures, Closes Program Brands

Will shutter Costa Mesa headquarters

Burton Snowboards announced Tuesday that it will close down its Forum, Special Blend, and Foursquare brands and scale back several others as part of a restructuring. The Program brands were purchased in 2004 with the "intent to keep snowboard companies in the hands of snowboarders." In a prepared statement, Burton said that it would also turn its Analog brand back into a snow-only line, and would transition to only selling its Gravis line of shoes and bags in Asia. "Burton has experienced several years of income growth since the recession and paid out bonuses to employees over the last two years,” CEO Jake Burton said. “That said, the economy has a voice of its own that we all have to listen to, and the message is clear: Do what you do best and focus purely on it." Among the affected include Forum-sponsored riders Pat Moore and Andreas Wiig and Analog team surfer Nathan Fletcher, whom Burton plans to "transition out."



    Photo: Erik van Leeuwen/Wikimedia Commons

Lolo Jones Named to U.S. Bobsled Team

Gold medal runner Tianna Madison also selected

After three weeks of training and tryouts, Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones has been named to the U.S. bobsled team. She joins fellow summer Olympian Tianna Madison—a gold medalist in the 4x100m relay in London—and four others as push-athletes on the team. ''It was definitely a thrill,'' Jones said. ''This is definitely the first time I've made a team and I haven't had to cross the finish line and look at the scoreboard.'' Only three of the six push-athletes will compete in each World Cup competition, the first of which takes place on November 9 in Lake Placid, New York. Coaches are expected to name the competitors for the first event next week.

Via Associated Press