July 30, 2014

This is one of the very few instances when technology and nature work well together.     Photo: Remains/Thinkstock

Let Eddie Bauer Be Your Adventure Guide

New app makes planning outdoor activities easy

Eddie Bauer doesn't just want to outfit you for the outdoors. Now the apparel and gear company wants to get you outdoors.

The Eddie Bauer Adventure Guide, a free iPhone app, will be available in August to help you plan outdoor activities in more than 10,000 locations across the country.

"Inspiring and enabling people to get outside and live their adventure is what we do as a brand," said Mike Egeck, Eddie Bauer's chief executive officer according to a Pitch Engine report. "Our new iPhone app makes it easy to do just that."

The Adventure Guide offers expert reviews, step-by-step directions, weather conditions, duration, and terrain type for almost any weekend trip or afternoon outdoor activity (snowshoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing, to name a few). Eddie Bauer hopes to expand activity types and locations with future releases.

So, if you have just two hours for a hike in Seattle, the Adventure Guide will provide you with information such as driving directions to the best trailhead, hours of available daylight for your quick hike, total elevation gain, and—of course—which Eddie Bauer gear best suits your needs on the terrain (you saw that one coming, didn't you?).

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Not a typical Sunset Boulevard sight.     Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times

UCLA Is Underwater

Bruins get doused after water main ruptures on Sunset

At 3:30 p.m. yesterday, a 90-year-old water main near UCLA ruptured, resulting in a 30-foot geyser that inundated portions of Sunset Boulevard and the college campus. The appropriate valve wasn't located and shut off until 7 p.m., at which point 8 million to 10 million gallons of water had been lost on the streets of Westwood.

Students were seen removing their shoes and wading through water. Others, clearly wishing to make the most of the opportunity, showed up towing boogie boards. 

Although the cause for the rupture has yet to be determined, the Los Angeles Times reports that the event created a 15-foot sinkhole on Sunset Boulevard and flooded many famous UCLA venues, including the John Wooden Center and Pauley Pavilion, home of the men's and women's Bruins basketball teams.

"Unfortunately, UCLA was the sink for this water source,” UCLA chancellor Gene Block said of the flooding. "It’s painful."

It's also painful to California as a whole that this needless waste of the state's most valuable commodity should happen during one of the worst droughts in its history.

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As far as artificial light goes, if you want the biological rhythm of your dreams, blue is best.     Photo: Drew Coffman/Flickr

Lightbulbs Can Transform Your Health

Ideal for cave-dwelling office workers

Unless your workplace is the great outdoors, chances are your office lighting isn't spectacular—and that's not great for your well-being. But researchers have come to the rescue, determining that a specific kind of artificial light can help keep your biological rhythms correctly synchronized—and they've successfully tested it in the most extreme real-world conditions.

Scientists know that white light enriched with blue wavelengths effectively helps synchronize the body's biological clock, which is hugely influential on things like memory, cardiovascular function, and sleep quality. But the lighting has never been properly tested under real conditions. Cue the Concordia international polar research station, located on the Antarctic Plateau. Researchers living there go through nine weeks of no daylight during the polar winter, making them probably the world's best test subjects for this promising light.

The Antarctic researchers maintained their day-to-day habits, changing only the kind of lighting they used to light up rooms, switching lighting types each week. After the nine weeks were over, the scientists concluded that during "blue" weeks, the Antarctic subjects had better sleep, reaction times, and motivation—plus absolutely no disturbance to their circadian rhythms. Those positive effects remained the same from the first "blue" week to the last, so the benefits seem to stay strong over time.

That means bringing this kind of lighting to any poorly lit environment could effectively keep biological clocks running as they should. It's as simple as changing the type of lightbulb you use—no special sessions of exposure required. The study's authors concluded, "These results could quickly lead to practical applications." Better start lobbying to replace those hellish fluorescent lights, stat.

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A view of Longs Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park's most popular summit, from nearby Chasm Lake.     Photo: CedricTheCat/Flickr

Teen Dies Climbing Longs Peak

No environmental hazards or foul play suspected

A Kansas teen died Friday morning while climbing to the summit of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

The National Park Service announced Monday that Lenexa resident Nicholas L. Hellbusch, 18, appeared to have struck his head while falling from the standard eight-mile Keyhole Route. A climber called Rocky Mountain rangers at 7 a.m. to report that he'd seen a body. Rangers arrived at 10:15 a.m., at which point Hellbusch was pronounced dead. A U.S. Forest Service helicopter recovered his body soon afterward. 

Neither weather nor foul play were likely involved in the death of the Shawnee Mission South High School student. The Kansas City Star reports that weather on the mountain was clear and warm, and climbers said there was no ice on the trail below where Hellbusch was climbing. A park service investigation is ongoing. 

At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the 15th-highest mountain in Colorado, as well as the park's hallmark mountain. Thousands make their way to the top each year, but thousands more turn back from the climb, rated "difficult" by climbing website 14ers.com, and for good reason. The route has claimed more than 60 lives since 1884, which Trail & Timberline reports resulted mostly from unroped ascents. 

A YouCaring.com page has been set up for Hellbusch's memorial. By Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $6,100 of the $10,000 goal.

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