March 20, 2014

NASA's new map is detailed and very, very cool.     Photo: NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University

Behold This Amazing Moon Map

Amerigo Vespucci unimpressed

Cartographers and aspiring astronauts alike, check this out. NASA has released a free online high-resolution map of the moon's north pole.

As our friends over at Popular Science report, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter started compiling the images to make the map back in 2009. Now, 10,581 images later, the agency has released an interactive map that is a digital mosaic of all the pictures the spacecraft took.

The ostensible purpose of the mapping mission was to plan landing spots for future missions and to analyze the moon's soil composition, but most of us plebes will just find the map to be darn cool. Each of the map's 681 pixels represents two meters; in other words, the detail of this map is extraordinary. For perspective, the map represents a circular area close to a fourth of the continental United States. When superimposed on a map of the Lower 48, the moon map stretches from Utah to Illinois and from North Dakota to Texas. We're talking Google Earth–level detail, but for the moon.

To capture the images, the LRO hovered over the same latitude for a month and snapped a picture every two hours. As the moon rotated beneath it, the spacecraft photographed every part of one latitude, and then moved on to the next one. This produced what's known as a collar mosaic.

Well, what are you waiting for? Explore the moon from the comfort of your living room here.

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Tony "The Fridge" runs with this household appliance to raise money for charity.     Photo: Courtesy of Tony "The Fridge"

London Ultrarunner Will Carry Fridge

Plans to haul 100 pounds 100 miles

If you think running a marathon is hard, imagine running a marathon four times in a row carrying a 92.5-pound fridge strapped to your back.

That's the plan for serial fridge-runner Tony "The Fridge" Phoenix-Morrison. Vowing to run 104.8 miles in 24 hours to raise money for charity, Phoenix-Morrison plans to carry his favorite running companion and household appliance across the finish line of the London Marathon on April 13—and then continue on for the equivalent of three more marathons before the day is done. But after this feat, he says that he'll hang up the fridge for good.

“This record attempt will be my final near-impossible journey, which I hope will inspire people in their battles with cancer and encourage people to keep moving forward," Tony said in a statement. "It will be incredibly tough, and the slightest misplaced step could cause serious injury."

In August 2013, Phoenix-Morrison ran with a fridge from Land's End to John O'Groats—an 874-mile trek. Seventy miles into the endeavor, he tripped in the darkness, knocked himself unconscious, and broke his left femur. Undaunted, he finished the remaining 800 miles on a broken leg.

Running with a fridge is no easy feat. Watch the Telegraph's features writer Harry Wallop try to run on the track with The Fridge.

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These acts of nudity may change they way other tourists can see Machu Picchu.     Photo: snogel/Thinkstock

Naked Tourists Hit Machu Picchu

Full moon at the Inca ruins

Peruvian officials are cracking down on naked tourism at Machu Picchu after three separate incidents this month. Four Americans were detained for stripping down and taking photos on March 14, and similar incidents occurred with both Canadian and Australian tourists earlier this month.

"There are places in the world that people can get naked, but not all places are for getting undressed," Alfredo Atayupanqui, the director of archaeological resources for Peru's Ministry of Culture, told CNN.

An Israeli man has taken naked tourism to new heights by creating a website called My Naked Trip, in which he shares his naked photos from around the world, including his visit to Machu Picchu.

In Peru, officials are not amused by the rise of nudity at the country’s premiere travel destination. Regulations are expected to tighten, according to the Peruvian Times.

"All foreign visitors to Machu Picchu will soon have to hire an official guide to enter the Inca Citadel, follow one of three predetermined routes through the complex, and face time limits at specific points to keep the traffic flowing, under new rules promulgated by the Ministry of Culture in Cusco," the paper reports.

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Bikes vs. Cars: The war continues.     Photo: Design Pics/Getty Images

Watch: Car Door Jams Australian Cyclist

Bike wars reach a head in Melbourne

Riding to work on Monday morning, a cyclist going by the name of CD attempted to pass a line of cars rolling slowly down Collins Street, a busy thoroughfare in central Melbourne. For a while, CD had been running cameras on her helmet and handlebars during her commute; these stayed intact when she collided with with the opening door of a taxi, which was unloading passengers on the left side of the car.

"You just doored me," she explains, sounding patient and unintimidated, while asking repeatedly, "Can I have your details?"

Even after being knocked over, her tone of voice stays the same. It's almost boring, until you get to the part where the passengers refuse to cooperate, and the rider, pursuing them across the street, is called a "fool." Jeff Hunter, a toy and sportswear importer who was among the taxi passengers involved, soon added, "The way people like you ride around is disgusting."

A video (redistributed by the The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald) has added fuel to the chronic disagreements between motorists and cyclists in cities across the world. Many commenters have sided with the passengers:

"Guy did nothing wrong." one person wrote. "How are you going to see someone coming up the inside as a rear passenger?"

"It's pretty simple really," another commenter wrote in agreement. "If it was a bike lane then she had every right to play the victim card, and if it wasn't a bike lane then she illegally undertook a motor vehicle and was served with a nice reality check."

In its 2012-2013 budget report, Melbourne city council allotted A$5.6 million for its bike lane network throughout the city. While the act of "dooring" is an explicit offense in Melbourne, it might be harder to establish fault, given the fact that the cyclist, who prefers to be known simply as CD, was riding in a "cycling refuge" rather than a designated bike lane. Collins Street, despite being a frequent site of dooring collisions, is unlikely to benefit from the upcoming bike lane budget, in part because it is so narrow to begin with.

Although a leader of the local Green party contended that Hunter should be charged, CD has said she doesn't blame the taxi passengers. Hunter, for his part, has since turned himself in to police.

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A new plan aims to connect seven Utah ski resorts, including Snowbird.     Photo: Gary Caviness/Getty Images

Plan to Form Largest Resort in U.S.

Connects 7 Utah ski areas

An ambitious plan aims to connect seven Utah ski areas in an 18,000-acre resort complex—the largest in North America.

Ski Utah, the trade group representing the state’s ski areas, revealed its goal Wednesday to unite the mountains.  

Called One Wasatch, the concept would include Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Snowbird, Alta, Canyons, Brighton, and Solitude. You could access all 18,000 acres and 100 chairlifts with just one pass. 

There are still some major hurdles to overcome before this monster European-style ski area becomes a reality. None of the seven resorts have made a move to initiate the plan, Ski Utah president Nathan Rafferty told the Denver Post. Then there’s the land-dispute lawsuit currently being waged by Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons, which is operated by Vail Resorts.  

Resorts have proposed plans to connect the mountains for decades, but to no avail. The latest iteration of the idea was the controversial SkiLink, which drew both die-hard fans and rabid protestors.

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    Photo: Twitter.com

Fitbit Faces Class Action Lawsuit

Buyers get rowdy about rashes

Today is the first day of spring. We’re emerging from our bear caves. We’re eating better. We’ve got our running sneaks on again. But that Fitbit Force we got for Christmas? We’re over it—the rash it caused and all.

It seems we’re not the only ones upset about the rash; 1.7 percent of Force wearers also complained about the device, which was designed to be worn around the clock. "It’s impossible to have one enrobing any of your limbs and escape without some kind of skin irritation, simply because skin isn’t designed to be encased by anything for any significant length of time," reports TechCruch.com's Darrell Etherington.

On Monday, a suit was filed against the Force, which Fitbit voluntarily recalled last month, in the Superior Court of California in the County of San Diego, seeking class-action status. It alleges the company misled consumers in promoting and advertising the device.

“The suit calls for Fitbit to notify every person who has bought the Fitbit Force device in the state of California, and to arrange to refund the $130 cost of the device, plus tax and any shipping fees," reports the Wall Street Journal. "It also calls for Fitbit to provide a full disclosure of the cause of the wrist irritations.”

While those of us with a rash wait for a refund, there’s always topical cream.

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