February 13, 2013

    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Wildlife Officials Helped Track Dorner

Found in Big Bear

After days of searching by Southern California law-enforcement officials, it was wardens from the Department of Fish and Wildlife who located Christopher Dorner. While police searched the hills of Big Bear, Fish and Wildlife officials were brought in to patrol Highway 38, which is where Dorner, wanted for the murder of three police officers, was first spotted.

Around 12:45 p.m. officers in a Fish and Wildlife vehicle spotted Dorner in a purple Nissan. Dorner then turned on to a side road to evade the officers, crashed his car, and commandeered a truck being driven by a local Boy Scout camp ranger. He continued on, driving the stolen vehicle, and was passed by another Fish and Wildlife vehicle going in the opposite direction. These officials radioed a third vehicle behind them, telling their colleagues that Dorner was headed their way.

As he approached and saw the third Fish and Wildlife truck, Dorner rolled down his window and opened fire, damaging the vehicle and causing it to skid off the road. A warden then got out of the truck and shot at Dorner’s stolen vehicle with a high-powered rifle. Dorner sped away, eventually crashed, and then fled to the cabin, where this happened:

The cabin has since burned down. A body, along with a driver’s license with the name “Christopher Dorner” on it, was discovered inside the charred building, but a forensic examination has yet to identify it as Dorner. For the time being, officials are continuing to operate under “tactical alert ... as if he's still out there.”


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chernobyl Collapse Causes Concern

Fear of new radiation leak

A 6,500-square-foot section of the roof at Chernobyl collapsed on Tuesday, sparking fears of another disaster at Ukraine’s derelict nuclear power plant. The collapse occurred 165 feet from the “sarcophagus,” which contains the radiation emanating from the reactor’s ruins. Plant spokeswoman Maya Rudenko told the Associated Press on Wednesday that the collapse was caused by heavy snowfall and that radiation levels remained normal. "Everybody should be absolutely calm," she said. "Yes, it is unpleasant, but there is no danger."

A new confinement structure is currently being built over the old “sarcophagus.” The structure was not affected by the collapse but the French construction companies in charge of the project evacuated their workers as a precaution. They have yet to return.

The area around Chernobyl has been largely off-limits since the plant exploded in 1986 and sent radioactive fallout across half of Europe.

Read more about Europe's strangest wildlife refuge.


The Australian Olympic Committee sets high standards on doping.     Photo: SouthEastern Star/Flickr

Australia Sets Strict Doping Standards

Olympians must pledge clean records

The Australian Olympic Committee unanimously approved the introduction of "statutory declarations" into its Olympic criteria for the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

The AOC is requiring all prospective athletes and officials to sign a legal document on their anti-doping history. In order to be eligible, participants must swear they have never doped, or that they do have a doping violation and have served a sanction.

What makes this document so severe is that, in Australia, anyone found to have made a false statutory declaration could be subject to as many as five years in prison.

AOC President John Coates proposed this high water mark after the Lance Armstrong scandal blew up this past summer. It also comes in the wake of the Australian Crimes Commission releasing a report last week that linked doping to organized crime and said it is widespread in Australian sports.




Drought     Photo: the Italian voice/Flickr

Middle East Losing Oceans of Water

38 trillion gallons gone in seven years

In less than a decade, the Middle East has lost stocks of freshwater amounting to the size of the Dead Sea, according to a new study from NASA.

Examining seven years' worth of data from two gravity-measuring satellites, researchers found that Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq had lost an unprecedented 117 million acre feet, or 38 trillion gallons, of water.

The study is the latest evidence of a worsening water crisis in the Middle East, where demands from growing populations, war, and the worsening effects of climate change are raising the prospect that some countries could face severe water shortages in the decades to come. Some like impoverished Yemen blame their water woes on the semi-arid conditions and the grinding poverty while the oil-rich Gulf faces water shortages mostly due to the economic boom that has created glistening cities out of the desert.

In a report released during the U.N. climate talks in Qatar, the World Bank concluded among the most critical problems in the Middle East and North Africa will be worsening water shortages. The region already has the lowest amount of freshwater in the world. With climate change, droughts in the region are expected to turn more extreme, water runoff is expected to decline 10 percent by 2050 while demand for water is expected to increase 60 percent by 2045.

The report, which is set to be published Friday in Water Resources Journal, attributed about 60 percent of the reduction to overuse of underground reservoirs, with the remaining 40 percent coming from decreased snowpack and loss of surface water.

Via ABC News


Maker's Mark fermenting tanks     Photo: Kentucky Tourism

Maker's Mark to Dilute Bourbon by 7 Percent

Much to everyone's chagrin

Distiller Beam Inc. has raised hackles with the announcement that it plans to water down the bourbon Maker's Mark by three percent in an attempt to meet overwhelming demand. Unfortunately, according to The Atlantic, the manufacturer's three percent ABV reduction works out to an actual alcohol loss of 6.7 percent.

The reaction has been swift and largely negative, but it will be a few weeks before the new formula will hit the shelves.

The proof, so to speak, will be in the pouring. Huerta, who is set to open a bourbon bar in Houston this spring that will feature up to 150 bourbons—if they are available—said she’s worried that Maker’s, which has always been a trendsetter in the industry, is setting a dangerous precedent.

“It’s been difficult to get Maker’s for the last several months, supply has been so tight,” Alba [Huerta, general manager of the nationally renowned cocktail bar Anvil] said. “And other distilleries are in the same position as Maker’s, without enough product to go around. But with this decision, I fear that dilution will become the solution for other distilleries, too.”

“I’d rather wait six months and fight to get the whiskey I want than to put something on my shelf that is inferior.”

Via Time