January 24, 2014

Speelman hails from South Africa's East Cape province.     Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

South African Blocked From Sochi

Despite IOC invite, national government won't let skier compete

Despite an invitation from the IOC, South Africa's government won't let a slalom skier compete at Sochi, according to the AP.

Sive Speelman, an 18-year-old from the rural and poor Eastern Cape province, would have been South Africa's sole Olympian in the upcoming Winter Games.

Speelman fell outside of the top 2,000 skiers internationally, but garnered enough points for a different qualifying standard. Although the international skiing federation and the South African snow sports federation both seconded the IOC's invitation, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) blocked Speelman from competing.

In a statement, SASCOC pledged to "continue to adhere to its selection policies in order to ensure participation ... is of the highest quality." In other words, Speelman isn't good enough.

South African athletes have competed in every Winter Games since 1994, when the country was readmitted to the IOC following apartheid. Speelman could have been the first athlete from his country to win a medal at the Winter Games.

Morocco, Togo, and Zimbabwe are the only African nations competing in Sochi.

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Sweat reveals whether or not you're suicidal.     Photo: Creatas/Getty Images

Sweat Reveals Signs of Suicide

Easy measurement has 97 percent accuracy

Your sweat may reveal whether or not you're at risk of committing suicide, according to a clinical study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research in September 2013.

German and Swedish researchers found a strong correlation between patients suffering from depression and experiencing hyporeactivity, a reduced ability to react to various stimuli. To test for hyporeactivity psychiatrists measure fluctuations in the patients blood pressure, circulation, and perspiration on their fingertips as the patient is listens to a pattern of tones. 97 percent of depressed patients who later committed suicide showed signs of hyporeactivity.

"We can determine very accurately whether a person risk committing suicide, which can revolutionise suicide prevention," says Lars-Hakan Torrel, an associate professor at Linkoping University and one of the researchers behind the study, said in a statement. "Everyone who has it is not suicidal—but almost all suicidal, depressed patients have it."

The study also shows that people with recurrent depression run the risk of becoming hyporeactive at some point later in life.

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    Photo: Designs Northwest Architects

A Tsunami-proof House

And a 7.8 earthquake and 85 mph winds

Washington’s Camano Island, home to about 13,000 residents, rests on one of the largest active faults in North America.

Back in 1820, the island lost a chunk off of its south end in a slide that triggered a 13-foot tsunami.

Should history repeat itself, at least one local will be prepared. Architect Dan Nelson of Designs Northwest Architects recently designed a house that can withstand not only waves up to eight-feet tall, but also a 7.8-scale earthquake, and 85-mph lateral winds.

The 3,140 square-foot concept house allows water to flow through the two main floors, which are raised nine feet above ground and supported by a steel frame and strategically placed pillars. In between, glass doors designed to break upon impact take the pressure off the skeleton in the event of a tsunami. The shattered doors will also allow water to flow through the house.

"If the building was a solid wall instead of columns filled in with glass doors, the whole thing could collapse under the momentum of the wave," Nelson told Smithsonian Magazine.

Not to mention, it's a pretty swanky looking house and everything is certified waterproof.

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Caleb Moore in 2012.     Photo: Adam Ohrner/Flickr

Moore Wins Gold for Brother

A year removed from Caleb’s death

Colten Moore, a snowmobile freestyle athlete, honored his late brother with a gold medal in the X Games last night. A year removed from his brother’s death in the exact same event, Moore paid tribute to his brother Caleb with an unforgettable performance.

With incredible support from fans, family, and friends, Colten laid down his winning run in the first heat and watched as other riders tried to dethrone him. X Games regulars such as Joe Parsons and Heath Frisby throttled through the air but left Moore's score of 91.33 atop the scoreboard.

Gold medal secured, a teary-eyed Moore hugged his father and eased into his final run. After a massive flip of his 450-pound sled, Colten stopped and raised his arms to the sky. He later explained just what was going through his head.

"This is the greatest moment ever, to be able to come back and ride for my brother… And not just for him, but with him, because I know he was out here with me all night. To be able to come out here and get gold is unbelievable. I just give it all to him. I know he was the one helping me do everything I was doing. ... It's what me and Caleb grew up doing, pushing each other to go for it. I just knew that he'd be riding with me." 

Caleb Moore died from injuries sustained during the snowmobile freestyle event at the 2013 X Games. It was the first death in the X Games’ 20-year history. 

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The Lyubov Orlova at sea.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

There's No Ghost Ship

Was believed to be full of rats and headed for English coast

As if the world wasn't already loaded with potential nightmare fuel, British media outlets have been trumpeting the possible arrival of a cannibal rat-infested ghost ship on UK shores like it was the Second Coming. But the truth is there might be no ship at all and if there is, it's probably not landing anytime soon with a cargo of mutated vermin.

The ghost ship is believed to be the Lyubov Orlova, a Russian cruise liner built in 1976 for the purpose of taking the country's elite on cushy cruises to the Polar Regions. The ship was seized in 2010 by Canadian authorities after its owners were unable to pay their debts.

In January of last year, the ship was being towed from a Canadian port in Newfoundland to a scrap yard in the Dominican Republic when rough seas cut its towline. The Orlova drifted off east across the Atlantic Ocean. Believing it could be a threat to oil rigs or other boats, Canadian authorities dispatched a second ship to tow the Orlova further out to sea, where it was cut loose a second time and forgotten.

No one gave the ship another thought until March of 2013 when two lifeboats detached from the ship and activated their beacons. The signals told authorities that the ship had drifted almost two thirds of the way across the Atlantic. A week later, radar detected an object similar in size to the Lyubov Orlova off the coast of Scotland. However, searches of the area yielded nothing and there have been no new signals since then.

The British Coast Guard has tried their best to debunk the notion that a "ghost ship" could slip undetected through European waters, and released a statement on their blog saying "there is no evidence to suggest it is still afloat."

But instead of just forgetting about it, British media outlets, fueled by ten months of violent storms in the region, have continued to speculate on the ships whereabouts and direction. This has led to the current belief that the ship now must be heading for the "the coast of Devon or Cornwall." 

As for the cannibal rat infestation, well, that's pretty much a given on any ship that sat in port for two years and has been adrift at sea for some time with no food source except for other rats.

But hey, it makes for a great story doesn't it?

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