LINDSEY VONN WANTS TO RACE AGAINST THE MEN
Damn straight, Linds! Lindsey Vonn, who typically crushes pro women’s ski races, has asked ski racing’s world governing body, FIS, to let her compete against men in the season-opener World Cup downhill November 24 at Lake Louise. The only problem: The men’s downhill is a week before the women’s downhill race, which would give Vonn a few practice runs on the course before she competes in the women’s race. FIS seems open to the idea and will decide during its next meeting early next month. Vonn says she won’t race against the men if it means she can’t compete in the women’s event the next week. Vonn’s teammate, Julia Mancuso, called her idea “ambitious.” Via NY Times.
CALIFORNIA HIKER LOOKING FOR AUTHOR OF NOTE … FROM 1972
The note left in a canister on California’s Milestone Mountain said, “Anyone finding this, please write.” That was in 1972. But when Larry Wright found the note last month, 40 years later, he figured he’d try to get in touch with the author. Tim Taylor was 13 years old when he left the note, on the peak — which is not exactly easy to reach, with a minimum 23-mile hike one way, and at least 3rd class scrambling to the top. Wright contacted the owners of the house at the address listed on the note, but they had no information. Via LA Times.
UPDATE: After the LA Times reported this story, Tim Taylor turned up. He’s now a Superior Court judge in San Diego. He left the note during a 50-mile Boy Scout backpacking trip, on a rest day. “We had nowhere to go that day, so I woke up and I looked up and said, ‘I think I’ll climb that mountain. I could see it was unnamed, and that was part of the attraction,” he said. “There was no evidence that anybody had ever been there.”
COYOTES HAVE NO PROB ADAPTING TO BIG CITY
A thriving pack of coyotes living just a few miles from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and whose range is less than a third of a mile suggest that even large carnivores are just fine living right under the bootprint of a human-made landscape. The coyotes were studied as part of a project by Ohio State University to figure out how the animals are adapting to an increasingly artificial ecosystem — and it turns out they’re kinda killing it. That’d be literally, since coyotes will eat the occasional small dog and any cat, but mostly they’re good at keeping down the prodigious rodent population of cities like the windy one; Dr. Stan Gehrt, who led the study, says there may be as many as 2,000 coyotes living among the nine million human inhabitants of the greater Chicago area. And versus their country cousins? The sophisticates’ young have five times better odds of surviving the urban jungle than the wilderness. Via Ohio State.
FOREST SERVICE RUN DRY ON FIRE FIGHTING FUNDS
It’s not surprising that the U.S. Forest Service dug deep into the budget to fight fires this year – it was the biggest wildfire season on record, and officials knew back in May that they’d run out of cash to keep those tankers in the air. What is surprising — or not, actually, since we’re talking about government — is how messed up the funding is for fire suppression. Congress gave the USFS just half the $1 billion it needed because it calculates the amount base on an average of the last 10 years. The only problem is that wildfires are getting much bigger and more intense than even 10 years ago, so the formula is whack. Also whack: Congress created a special fire fighting fund that would roll surpluses from light fire years forward, to be used in busier seasons. A great idea, but when those surpluses did in fact build up, Congress took $200 million and used it for something else. Via Washington Post