November 27, 2013

    Photo: Courtesy of Lionsgate

'Hunger Games' Spikes Archery Interest

Shops swarmed with teenage girls

Bow hunting is suddenly being overrun by seven-year-old girls, according to a story on NPR. The fuel behind this new craze is evidently the popular young adult series, The Hunger Games, which features the strong, bow-wielding protagonist, Katniss Everdeen.

According to Denise Parker, CEO of USA Archery, there has been a marked rise in interest in the sport following the release of the first Hunger Games film in 2012. Over the past two years, membership in USA Archery has more than doubled. To meet the sudden rise in demand, USA Archery is increasing their efforts to train and certify more instructors. "The imagery and the message, it's all a very new look for archery, and we've all collectively got behind it," Parker told NPR. "I guess it's kind of our 'Got Milk?' campaign, so to speak, for the industry.

As young women have been crowding into archery ranges to hone their skills, some shops are having trouble keeping up with the rising demand for equipment. Store owner Boyd Wild told NPR that recurve bows—the model used by Katniss in the film—have been selling out. "It's taking about five months to get traditional bows right now," he says. "I mean, it's just going nuts all over the United States."

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    Photo: Swanksalot/Flickr

Partial Shutdown of Sriracha Plant

"Public nuisance" needs mitigation

Just when you thought your Sriracha was safe…

On Tuesday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered a partial shutdown of the Irwindale, California, Sriracha plant after determining that the spicy odors emanating from the factory were "extremely annoying, irritating and offensive to the senses" and warranted "consideration as a public nuisance."

Irwindale residents filed a lawsuit last month claiming that the factory had become a health hazard, causing nose bleeds, heartburn, and exacerbating asthma symptoms. Judge Robert H. O'Brien ruled that while there is still no credible evidence behind these claims, the odor was enough to force a shutdown.

Under the current injunction, the 655,000-square-foot factory, owned by Huy Fong Foods, can remain in operation, but must immediately discontinue any activities that may produce the offending odors. "We believe it's a strong ruling that acknowledges and is reflective of the concerns that the community has raised about the health impacts of the odor," City Attorney Fred Galante told the Los Angeles Times.

What does this mean for your kitchen's supply of hot sauce? The looming threat to the sriracha supply recently prompted consumers to start hording the "hipster ketchup." But the factory has already harvested and ground this year's supply of chilies, and the process of bottling and mixing the sauce is ongoing. Galante is unsure how this aspect of production will be affected but says that the city's goal is not to have the factory shut down. "We're going to try to keep having a conversation with Huy Fong and working out some collaborative way to test and make sure the oHuy dor problems are addressed," he said.

 Huy Fong Foods has yet to comment on these latest developments.

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One pink wheel left remains thieves stole the rest of of this bike. The San Francisco Police Department is using Twitter to better police these crimes.     Photo: Lisa Risager/Wikimedia

Busting Bike Thieves by Twitter

Social network nabs pedal perps

In a city where only four out of every 25 bicycles recovered by local police were returned to their owners last year, Twitter is becoming an essential tool in curbing bicycle theft.

In July, the San Francisco Police Department set up a Twitter account (@sfpdbiketheft) for residents to report stolen bicycles, post photographs of their missing bikes, and upload photos of suspected bike thieves. Most bike thefts go unreported, SFPD officer Mike Friedman recently told the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2012, the SFPD received only 817 actual reports of bike thefts or attempts out of the 4,085 bicycles stolen last year, according to a report by the city's budget and legislative analyst.

"You see a suspicious guy with a bike, you run the serial number and it comes back negative, so what you have is a guy with an expensive bike," Friedman told the Chronicle. "What do you arrest him for? It's the same with chop shops. If I'm going to take somebody's liberties away, I've got to have proof."

Twitter has been giving police officers that proof, and after only four months, the account has already been used to return a stolen pedicab to it's owner and connect a suspect to a burglary.

"[Bike theft is] just an ongoing issue that the SFPD is continually responding to," Friedman said in the Chronicle. "We need more people to actually report bike theft, to know their serial numbers, and to take pictures of their bikes."

Check out recent tweets below

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A brown bear attacks.     Photo: Aleksey Krylov/Thinkstock

Hunting Hits the Mainstream

More animals, more problems

With an outbreak of disease and deer-related car accidents, Durham, N.C., has authorized bow hunting within city limits, reports TIME Magazine. America's Pest Problem: It's Time to Cull the Herd argues that rising deer and animal populations across the country are creating more dangerous human-animcal encouters, proposing that new, less-restrictive hunting rules may be the answer.

Fifty years ago, many animal populations were in grave danger. Today, communities are dealing with too many deer, wild pigs, raccoons, bears, and beavers across the country. New Jersey is a prime example where the bear population was a mere 50 in 1970, it has since skyrocketed to nearly 4,000, according to TIME. Certainly saving the bear population is a great triumph, but regulating it raises other questions. 

"The fact that New Jersey is teeming with bears (and all other manner of urban and suburban wildlife) has relatively little to do with Mother Nature and far more to do with you and me. In the state of nature, a burgeoning bear population would be handled efficiently and unsentimentally by a dry-eyed tyranny of starvation and disease."

Antihunting activists say to bear-proof trash cans, lock up sheds, and hide pet food. But will this really work? Call in the hunters. "If we don't do it, who will?" explains TIME. Many states are already putting this school of thought into place by expanding hunting seasons, or even opening new ones for species like wolf.

"But whether we hoist the gun or draw the bowstring--or simply acknowledge the facts of nature that require these things to be done--it's time to shake off sentimentality and see responsible hunting through 21st century eyes."

For more on the rise of wolf hunting seasons, see "Wolf Season Opens in Michigan."

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The giant spinning ice disk was spotted on the Sheyenne River in North Dakota by a retired engineer, his brother-in-law, and his nephew.     Photo: AssociatedPress/YouTube

Watch: Rare Natural Ice Sculpture

Life imitates art in frozen river

While hunting in North Dakota, retired engineer George Loegering came upon a circle of ice over 50 feet in diameter gently revolving on the surface of the Sheyenne River.

Leogering took photos and video of the phenomenon, which looks like something environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy might have created while no one was watching.

But it's not artificial. A combination of cold, dense air and an eddy in the river likely caused the formation, Allen Schlag, a National Weather Service hydrologist, and Greg Gust, a weather service meteorologist, told The Telegraph.

Air pressure in the nearby city of Fargo had reached a record high on Saturday for the month of November, says Gust, adding that the river was fairly warm, so the cold air turned the water to ice only sporadically. Bits of ice floating along got caught up in the eddy, began spinning in a circle, and formed the final result:

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