June 30, 2011

Diamondback Terrapin     Photo: USFWS/Flickr

Randy Terrapins Stop Air Traffic at JFK

Turtles shut down runway, delay flights

Security officials at JFK International Airport are expert at confiscating liquids and gels, but they're useless against turtles. On Wednesday, about 150 diamondback terrapins wandered onto JFK's runway 4L, causing delays of up to two hours and forcing air traffic controllers to reroute flights. The seven-inch-long turtles, which live in adjacent Jamaica Bay, were en route to a sandy nesting site on the other side of the runway to lay their eggs. The runway was eventually shut down for an hour while Port Authority and US Department of Agriculture workers rounded up the reptiles and trucked them to safer breeding grounds. The turtles, outraged, took to Twitter: "We go straight to the runway because it takes 5 hours to get out of our shells for the TSA…and the shell pat down option is too awkward."

Read more at the Daily Mail

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Alberto Contador in 2007     Photo: Goldenbembel/Wikimedia

Contador Addresses Criticism

Defending champ won't catch a break

Alberto Contador, last year’s Tour de France winner, is under pressure from all fronts days before the Tour's launches on Saturday. Reporters at a press conference today peppered Contador and Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis with questions about doping. Contador is facing ongoing legal procededing from a positive test last year that he blames on contaminated meat. The appeal process will last through August, with Contador’s win from last year—and whatever result he achieves this year—on the line. But Contador downplayed that storyline. "What's important is to focus on the race, to keep my goal in mind," he told Reuters.  Meanwhile, Tour chief Christian Prudhomme was wary of the message Contador's presence will send. “We have to take a neutral perspective. We’re right in the middle of proceedings,” he told the Agence France-Presse. And Andy Schleck, Contador's biggest competition, still hasn't forgotten Contador's controversial decision not to stop when Schleck's threw a chain last year in stage 15. "Alberto apologized and I forgave him," Schleck told the Herald Sun. "I forgave him, but I did not forget."

Read more at Cycling News

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Snow bridge     Photo: Börkur Sigurbjörnsson/Flickr

Hikers Find Ultrarunner Buried in Snow

Rescuers work to free woman from tunnel

Marcia Rasmussen was hiking in Sequoia National Park when she fell through a snow bridge, dropped into a hidden creek, and was washed 40 feet downstream. Rasmussen, an ultramarathoner and Outings Chair of a local Sierra Club chapter, was able to grab a branch and pull herself out of the water, but she remained buried in the snow tunnel. It took her three hours to dig through to the surface, where she made a large-enough hole to push her backpack up, hoping someone would see it. (She later recounted the experience on a Sierra Club blog.) Soon after, hikers Stefan Barycki, Christopher Edwards, and Michael Voyles spotted the pack and, upon further investigation, saw Rasmussen's head beneath it. They dug her out, helped her rewarm for two hours, then accompanied Rasmussen as she walked out and drove home with only minor frostbite and bruising. Barycki, Edwards, and Voyles were presented with NPS Search and Rescue pins Wednesday for their efforts earlier this month. "It's citizens like this that make the world go round," said Sequoia and Kings Canyon park superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich.

Read more at the Fresno Bee

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Beach Trash     Photo: H.L.I.T.

The Nation's Dirtiest Beaches

Are you sure you want to swim this weekend?

According to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, beaches in the United States are in a bad way. Beach closures from dirty water in 2010 were up nearly a third over 2009. Beaches were shut down for a total of 24,000 days, the second highest total in 21 years. The worst-affected area, Louisiana, was no surprise, and it's oil-spill-battered coastline and had a contamination rate of over 31 percent. But the most common cause of beach contamination is somewhat ickier: nationwide, high bacteria readings from human and animal waste is responsible for 70 percent of closures. "Going to the beach is a summer rite of passage but can also make you sick,"  says NRDC official David Beckman. Potential illnesses range from pink eye to hepatitis. Outside of Louisiana, the Great Lakes, California, Ohio, and Indiana all had significant contamination problems. Surprsingly, New Hampshire, with only 18 miles of ocean shoreline, has the nation's cleanest swimming.

Read more at Reuters

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    Photo: Chez10/Flickr

Massive Fox Trailer Goes Missing

Bike company loses 28-foot rig in Canada

How did a Ford F-550 towing a 28-foot customized trailer go missing? Your guess is as good as ours. Fox racing lost the truck on Monday as the team traveled to a  UCI World Cup mountain bike event in Mount Sainte Anne, Canada. The truck and trailer are more than a little conspicious: the company plastered the Fox logo everywhere, installed specially embroidered seats, and replaced Ford's standard decals with custom Fox ones. The perpetrator(s) made off with the entire rig, which was filled with Fox racing equipment and four bikes. Fox is offering an award for information that leads to the return of the vehicle. The truck and trailer were stolen sometime Monday evening and last seen Tuesday at 4:30am traveling west on highway 20 just outside of Montreal.

Read more at Interbike Times

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