June 7, 2013

    Photo: Donald McTim/Flickr

Surfers Suspected of Fake Shark Warnings

Advised beach-goers to go to rival beach

"Shark Warning" signs recently posted at beaches in Santa Cruz and Capitola are fake, according to California state park rangers. Officials are not sure who has been posting the fake warning signs, but evidence has led them to believe that they may be part of a local east side/west side surfing rivalry.

The notices listed several recent great white shark attacks and recommended that surfers stay away from the beach for at least 48 hours. But at the bottom of the fake notice was a clue. “Surf Cowells instead,” it read. Cowells, on Santa Cruz’s west side, and Pleasure point, where the warnings were posted, have a longtime rivalry. Officials suspect that the warnings were an attempt to drive more traffic to a rival beach.

Unfortunately for the Pleasure Point Gang, surfers largely ignored the warnings, according to NBC, and entered the water gleefully Thursday morning. Officials later removed the signs. The world now waits with bated breath for payback from the Cowells Beach Brigade.

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Mexican Gray Wolf     Photo: USFWS

Gray Wolf to be Removed from Endangered List

Responsibility will move to states

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has officially moved to eliminate the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species. A 90-day comment period now begins for proposals seeking additional scientific, commercial, and technical information. Under the plan, state wildlife management agencies will assume responsibility for management and protection of the species. The Mexican wolf will remain on the endangered list.

The proposal comes after a review determined that the listing for the gray wolf mistakenly included large swaths of land outside the species' historical range.

From the brink of extinction, the gray wolf has bounced back to exceed population targets by over 300 percent in the last 35 years.

“An exhaustive review of the latest scientific and taxonomic information shows that we have accomplished that goal with the gray wolf, allowing us to focus our work under the ESA on recovery of the Mexican wolf subspecies in the Southwest," USFWS director Dan Ashe announced.

State wildlife management agencies have responded by supporting the federal directive. "Oregon is ready to take on further responsibility for wolf management in this state,” Roy Elicker, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced. "Oregon is supportive of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publishing a proposed rule to begin this dialogue, and we look forward to participating in the scientific review process."

Earlier this year, a hunter sparked outrage after killing Yellowstone's most famous wolf.

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    Photo: emre.kocali.18 via Flickr

Usain Bolt Loses to Justin Gatlin

Said he just wasn’t himself

Ironically, it was an uncharacteristically fast start that slowed down the seemingly unbeatable Usain Bolt in yesterday’s Rome Diamond League 100 meters. His 9.95-second time brought him a second-place finish behind American Justin Gatlin, marking his first significant loss since 2011. 

Bolt took the loss in stride, saying that his perfect start threw him off. “That was ridiculous,” he said. “I have to do more strength work, I guess. At the end it was just not me." After a brief moment of disappointment, Bolt shook Gatlin’s hand.

Gatlin himself was banned from competition from 2006 to 2010 after he tested positive for doping, and had been trash-talking Bolt before the race. But at the finish line he kept his celebrations restrained.

Watch them face off—and finish just a hundredth of a second apart:

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The Panama Canal     Photo: dsasso via Flickr

Plans for Nicaragua Canal Progress

Would dwarf the Panama Canal

A plan to build an alternative to the Panama Canal took a step forward Wednesday after Nicaragua officially announced the start of the $40 billion project. The president of the country's national assembly awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build the canal.

The proposed route will be a higher-capacity alternative to the Panama Canal, which is currently being widened at the cost of 5.3 billion. If all goes according to plan, the new canal will be able to accommodate vessels twice the size of those able to pass through the Panama Canal, Time reports. The Chinese company plans to use funds from across the world to finance the project, which will cut through the water of Lake Nicaragua.

Since the early 19th century, plans have been in the works for a Nicaragua Canal, but the U.S. abandoned the project in the early 1900s after purchasing French interests in the Panama Canal. Recent interest in the project began in 2004 and continued with the Nicaraguan government commissioning a feasibility study in 2012. Environmentalists oppose the damage that may be done to surrounding rivers and jungle.

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    Photo: Stupid Dingo via Flickr

Kayaker Drowns on North Fork of the Payette

Was familiar with the river

A North Carolina man drowned Wednesday evening while kayaking with friends on the North Fork of the Payette River in western Idaho. Twenty-two-year-old Eric Weigel seemed to have been knocked unconscious when his kayak flipped in rough rapids. Weigel had been wearing a full-face helmet. His friends tried to give him CPR, but he was trapped underwater for several minutes before they could reach him.

The group had been on their last day of a three-week whitewater-rafting trip. They were familiar with the river and had taken all necessary safety precautions. “It’s just one of those freak accidents,” said Lieutenant Dan Smith of the Valley County Sheriff’s Office.

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