January 22, 2013

The San Gabriel mountains with a view of Mt. Baldy where a hiker fell to his death.     Photo: miheco/Flickr

Man Dies in Fall on California's Mt. Baldy

60-year-old was hiking solo

Hikers discovered the body of a Long Beach man on California's Mount Baldy in the San Gabriel Mountains on Sunday. Dominic Belletti, 60, left his home early Sunday morning to hike the mountain alone. His body was found in an area called Baldy Bowl, on the mountain's south peak.

Preliminary reports say the cause of death was "an apparent unwitnessed fall." According to the Press-Telegram, trail conditions might have played a role.

The route, known as the Baldy Bowl - Ski Hut Trail, climbs 3,900 feet over 4.5 miles to the highest summit in the San Gabriel Mountains. The trail ascends the southwest side of the mountain and is the shortest route to the top that does not involve the use of a ski lift. It is described by experienced hikers as aggressive in good weather, and hiking the peak at this time of year usually requires the use of crampons and other specialty gear.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff's department said no information about trails or Belletti's equipment is currently available due to Monday's holiday. The coroner's office is investigating.


    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Private Asteroid Mining to Become Reality

Deep Space Industries plans to launch by 2015

Asteroid mining may no longer be the sole province of the awful 1998 film, Armageddon.

A new private space initiative launched Tuesday morning with the goal of mining the riches of the solar system. At a press conference in Santa Monica, California, Deep Space Industries announced their plans to launch a fleet of automated prospecting spacecraft by 2015, and then begin harvesting metals, water, and minerals from near-earth asteroids.  

CEO David Gump said in a statement that asteroid mining has vast potential, not just for humanity’s expansion into deep space, but also for industry here on Earth. “More than 900 new asteroids that pass near Earth are discovered every year," he said. "They can be like the Iron Range of Minnesota was for the Detroit car industry last century—a key resource located near where it was needed.”

Watch the press conference at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying here:


    Photo: subflux/Flickr

4 Climbers Die in Scotland Avalanche

Freak snowfall and cold conditions

Authorities on Monday released the name of the fourth climber killed in an avalanche in Scotland over the weekend. Rachel Majumdar and friends Christopher Bell, Una Finnegan, and Tom Chesters, all in their twenties, died on Saturday in a slide on Bidean nam Bian, a 3,773-foot mountain in the Scottish highlands.

A fifth climber is in the hospital with injuries after being rescued by personnel from Glen Coe Mountain Rescue Team, Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team, and a dog from SARDA Scotland. One other member of the group managed to escape the slide through self-arrest and was able to alert authorities.

Police say the deceased climbers fell about 1,000 feet before being buried in deep snow.

The rare avalanche is being tied to an unusually severe cold snap on Friday, which dumped snow and stranded passengers at Heathrow airport.



    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

David Attenborough Doesn't Love You Back

Admits humanity is a "plague"

Surely you’re familiar with David Attenborough, the honey-voiced BBC naturalist whom we all wish was our grandpa.

As it turns out, however, David Attenborough doesn’t share those warm feelings for his viewers. In a recent interview with the Radio Times, the 86-year-old expressed some strong feelings about what he thinks is necessary to save the planet:

We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.

To wash that dose of hard reality out of your mouth, here's papa Attenborough saying "boo!" to a sloth: