BRAZIL WILL CLONE ITS ENDANGERED SPECIES
There is something creepy about this idea, but Brazilian scientists have announced that they are moving ahead with plans to clone a number of endangered species, a list of animals that includes the jaguar, maned wolf, and black lion. The initiative is being conducted by the Brasilia Zoological Garden in partnership with the Brazilian government’s agricultural research agency, EMBRAPA. The researchers claim that they’re not looking to repopulate habitats, but to increase the number of captive specimens available. But in the event of extreme cases, they admit that they’re prepared to release these cloned animals into the wild. These animals will not be the first ones to be cloned by EMBRAPA; the government agency was responsible for the birth of a cloned cow in 2001. Since that time, various other animals have been cloned in Brazil, including other cows and horses. And FYI, scientists in South Korea and the United States are also working on similar research. Via i09.
TEXTING AND SMOKING ABOVE CLIFFS DON’T MIX
On Monday Maria Pestrikoff of Anchorage, Alaska, fell 60 feet down a rocky beach cliff on Kodiak Island in the northern Gulf of Alaska while texting on her cellphone. Pestrikoff was walking toward the steep drop to toss a cigarette butt while attempting to send a message when she slipped on wet grass. By the time the Kodiak Fire Department got to Pestrikoff, the tide was coming in. Rescuers had to act quickly — she was only about 10 feet from the water’s edge. Rescuers reportedly rappelled down the cliff and hauled Pestrikoff up in a stretcher to a waiting ambulance. Just a hunch that quitting texting and smoking simultaneously would be healthier. Walking? Keep up with that. Via Alaska Dispatch
ERIC LARSEN CYCLING TO SOUTH POLE
On December 25, 2011, the weather at the South Pole was the balmiest in history, hitting an all-time record high of 9 degrees. It was news that Boulder-based polar adventurer Eric Larsen couldn’t ignore. This winter, in a quest to draw attention to global warming’s fallout in the Antarctic and promote the need for alternative transportation, Larsen will attempt to become the first person to ride a bike to the South Pole. Starting in late December, Larsen will pedal 25 to 40 nautical miles per day through snow and ice on a Surly Moonlander bicycle fitted with five-inch-wide tires. This won’t be his first (polar) rodeo: In 2010, Larsen succeeded in reaching the North and South poles and the summit of Mount Everest in a 365-day period, and in 2006, he completed the first summer expedition to the North Pole. His 750-mile round-trip pedal to the South Pole will cap off a lifetime obsession with polar climates. “For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by the variety of snow and ice that exists on our planet,” Larsen said in an interview with ExplorersWeb. Via Ozaukee Press.
ARIZONANS AGREE STEALING GRAND CANYON IS DUMB
Arizonans took an IQ test on Election Day and, unlike some of their lawmakers, they passed. Proposition 120 would have tried to force the U.S. government to cough up 25 million-plus acres of federal lands like the Grand Canyon to state control. But the Sagebrush Rebellion measure got the stinkeye from voters, who ultimately defeated it by a 2-to-1 margin. “This [proposition] is just blatantly unconstitutional,” the Sierra Club’s Sandy Bahr said in a pre-election interview with Reuters. “Does Arizona really need another lawsuit?” The answer was a resounding no — the epic legal battle following Arizona’s controversial 2010 immigration crackdown clearly still fresh in voters’ minds. (Reminder: It went all the way to the Supreme Court). Yet the Sagebrush Rebellion will reportedly keep charging ahead, with legislators in several other western states busily scribbling their own versions of federal-land-grab legislation for 2013. Via Reuters.