1. Volcano Skiing Is Gritty, Wild, and More Than a Little Rad
Sam Smoothy was posted up in France at Xavier de la Rue’s house in Cap Breton when the two shredders got to talking about a tropical trip. With The North Face behind them, they cooked up an adventure to ski the ash slopes of a volcano on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Because why not?
My first ride I was pretty nervous, which was kinda hilarious. Xav and Victor’s gear had been lost by the airline, so I went up alone. There was this howling wind which made walking really tiresome and the volcano was exploding, like it always does we found out later, and I was super nervous of being clipped by some flying molten hot rocks – which would have really messed up my day! It was such a primeval place to stand alone on the lip of the crater, looking down on such beautiful violence in the crater, then turn, click into my skis and ski away.
2. But You Knew This: Exercise Is Good for the Heart
Our colleague Gretchen Reynolds continues to sniff out the science of kicking ass and taking names for the New York Times: Today she reports that cardiovascular workouts appear to make the hearts of mice younger. Well, not literally younger, but the telomeres on the chromosomes in heart cells, which are like the caps on shoelaces, protecting DNA, appear to get longer after just one 30-minute workout. Longer telomeres are good.
The takeaway? Keep running.
3. Crazy: Some Utahns Like Their Public Lands
While representatives of the outdoor recreation industry are giving Utah Governor Gary Herbert the what for over the state’s push to rescind national monument status for Bears Ears and to shrink Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, locals in towns near GSENM are singing a different tune from the state’s representatives. About 75 mostly pro-monument people from Escalante and Boulder showed up a Garfield County commissioners meeting to praise the growth brought about by the monument.
In fact, there’s a building boom and labor shortage around Escalante because of tourism—which pleases recreation-based business but alienates the traditional Mormon families whose roots go back generations.
“They are always looking to coal, to timber; they are looking to the past rather than the future,” said Lisa Varga, who runs the Burr Trail Outpost and Earth Tours guiding service in Boulder.
One alarming note: Those who want to reduce Grand Staircase boundaries have their eyes on Kaiparowits Plateau, which has massive amounts of coal. The inclusion of the plateau in the monument locked up a landscape that would be devastated by mining and holds vast treasures of fossils.
Sorry, there’s no way to sugarcoat this: The world’s oceans have lost two percent of their oxygen between 1960 and 2010—an effect long predicted by climate change scientists and computer modeling but just now measured on a global scale for the first time. Warmer water can hold less dissolved gasses, and unfortunately marine life is highly sensitive to oxygen levels. It’s…not good.
This “should ring yet more alarm bells about the consequences of global warming,” said Denis Gilbert, a researcher with the Maurice Lamontagne Institute at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Quebec.
What can you do? A great place to start is to call your senator and urge them to vote against confirmation of former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt has head of the EPA. Perhaps the best way to put it is to say that Pruitt is a climate change skeptic. Senator Bernie Sanders was harsher:
Trump picked the worst group of cabinet nominees in the modern history of America. But EPA nominee Scott Pruitt is the worst of the worst.
Mabel had known there would be silence. That was the point, after all. No infants cooing or wailing. No neigh¬bor children playfully hollering down the lane. No pad of small feet on wooden stairs worn smooth by generations, or clackety¬clack of toys along the kitchen floor. All those sounds of her failure and regret would be left behind, and in their place there would be silence.
She had imagined that in the Alaska wilderness silence would be peaceful, like snow falling at night, air filled with promise but no sound, but that was not what she found. Instead, when she swept the plank floor, the broom bristles scritched like some sharp-toothed shrew nibbling at her heart. When she washed the dishes, plates and bowls clattered as if they were breaking to pieces. The only sound not of her mak¬ing was a sudden “caw, cawww” from outside. Mabel wrung dishwater from a rag and looked out the kitchen window in time to see a raven flapping its way from one leafless birch tree to another. No children chasing each other through autumn leaves, calling each other’s names. Not even a solitary child on a swing.