Month: December 2020

Investors pressuring Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group to stop financing coal projects

first_imgInvestors pressuring Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group to stop financing coal projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Investors with nearly $200 billion in assets holding shares in Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group say they plan to back a shareholder motion urging the bank to cut its lending for coal and other fossil fuels, they told Reuters on Friday.In an unusual showing of hands weeks before Mizuho’s annual general meeting in June, Norway’s largest pension fund and life insurance company, Kommunal Landspensjonskasse, Storebrand ASA and Denmark’s MP Pension said they would support Japan’s first climate change resolution.It marks the first time a Japanese publicly traded company has faced a shareholder climate change resolution.While they represent only a fraction of shareholding rights, their support for the resolution brought by Kiko Network, an activist group and shareholder in the bank, the investors’ support adds to the pressure on the bank, which has already tightened its lending policies but critics say more is needed.“As we await new strict coal and fossil fuel policies from Mizuho, we will without a doubt support the new climate change-based shareholder resolution…at this year’s annual general meeting,” said Jeanett Bergan, head of Responsible Investment at KLP, which has more than $80 billion of assets under management.The resolution sent to Mizuho management last month calls on the bank to outline a plan and set targets so that its business practices are more in line with the Paris Agreement, the global pact to fight climate change. Similar shareholder resolutions have succeeded in getting banks to stop financing coal and other fossil fuels. Policymakers and regulators are also pressuring financial firms to do more to accelerate the move to a low-carbon economy.[Aaron Sheldrick]More: Investors line up against Mizuho support for coallast_img read more

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Milestone set in South Australia as solar supplies 100% of demand for first time

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:The combination of rooftop and utility scale solar met 100 per cent of demand in South Australia for the first time on Sunday, reaching a milestone that will surely be repeated many times over – and for longer periods – in the future.The milestone was reached at 12.05pm grid time (Australian eastern standard time), with rooftop solar providing 992MW, or 76.3 per cent of state demand, and utility scale solar providing a further 315MW – meaning all three of the state’s big solar farms, Bungala 1, Bungala 2 and Tailem Bend were operating at full capacity.The new record came just weeks after solar set a previous milestone of 94 per cent of state demand and rooftop solar output reached 900MW for the first time. On Sunday, that level (94 per cent) was beaten for more than two and a half hours. The combination of sunny weather, mild temperatures and relatively low weekend demand is sure to see more records fall.The state’s generators were producing more than they needed and exporting most of the surplus to Victoria with some going into the state’s big batteries.South Australia is currently required to run a minimum amount of gas-fired generation to provide grid services such as inertia and system strength, but the need for this will be reduced when four new synchronous condensers are switched on over the next 12 month, and as battery storage begins to provide “synthetic” inertia services.The expanded Hornsdale big battery is trialing those inertia services, and has the capacity to meet half the state’s inertia requirements. The construction of a new link to NSW will also further reduce the need for local gas fired generators, and will accelerate the shift towards the state Liberal government’s target of net 100 per cent renewables (averaged over a year).[Giles Parkinson]More: Solar meets 100 per cent of South Australia demand for first time Milestone set in South Australia as solar supplies 100% of demand for first timelast_img read more

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Dog Sledding the South

first_imgPhoto: Earl NeikirkIn January of 2011, teams of sled dogs and mushers relayed down the 16-mile stretch of the Virginia Creeper Trail from Abington to Damascus relaying fake serum. They were paying respect to the legendary Alaskan Serum Run of 1925 during which mushers navigated nearly 700 miles of the wild Alaskan wilderness, relaying a serum to stop the imminent diphtheria epidemic that was breaking out amongst villagers and surrounding native communities back in Nome. Although the Virginia re-enactment was a far cry from Alaska, it was one of the largest dog sledding events ever in the South—and it actually snowed on race day.“That was the only time I have run sled dogs in the snow in the South,” 2008 Iditarod Contender Rodney Whaley recalled.Each team ran a four-mile segment of the relay and hundreds of people were there to watch at every stop as southerners ran with traditional snow sleds through the white blanket covering the trail. They made history that day, a history that even made Alaskan newspapers.“Virginia re-enactment of Alaskan serum run gets a rare treat: snow,” read the headline of the Alaskan Dispatch.Virginia rarely receives enough low-elevation snowfall throughout the year for snow racing, but that doesn’t stop mushers or their dogs from adapting and innovating the classic adventure sport; a sport that seems to be as popular amongst the animals as the humans who train them.“Those dogs were designed to see the wilderness,” said Bill Borden, the only Georgian to ever complete the legendary Iditarod race, which he ran in 2002. “When those dogs turn a corner and get onto a new trail, they just get a burst of life—they’re looking for the next adventure around the next corner.”Many people don’t understand the complexities of breeding dogs and assume that a dog is just, well, a dog and in turn that it’s cruel to make them pull a heavy sled. But every dog breed was created with some purpose in mind, and the history of sled dog breeds is a long one. Today the most common breeds are the Siberian and Alaskan huskies and Alaskan malamutes, but they stem from a heritage that some sources date back to 4,000 years ago. All of these dogs were bred for their incredible strength, high energy, outstanding endurance, and tolerance of icy cold weather. They were bred as cold-weather working dogs.Because of that disposition, many of these breeds have a lot of pent-up energy to expel and if it isn’t let loose, they can become restless, anxious, and sometimes destructive. A simple walk isn’t likely to cut it for them and sadly is exactly the reason that many of these dogs are abandoned.“That’s part of the education of dogsledding: a dog that is a working-breed dog requires something besides take it for a walk.  A happy husky is a tired husky,” says Marcia Horne, head of the Virginia-based not-for-profit Siberian Husky Assist Rescue Center.Many dogs are taken out on the trail where they can be in the wilderness and let off some steam. Watch any mushing team prepare for a run and you’ll see they literally light up, yipping, barking, and bouncing around with excitement once the harnesses get put on them. They simply don’t want to wait any longer to pull and go. And that’s what they do. They just go, because they were built to do it.THE BIRTH OF A COMMUNITYHistory of Dog Sledding in the SouthLess than a decade ago, Marcia and her husband Bob adopted their first Siberian husky from a rescue shelter. Having learned a lot about the breed and been interested in its history as a working dog, they began to explore dog sledding. Not long after they decided to do two more things. Open their own Siberian husky rescue shelter and start educating other people about mushing in The South.“When we did our first event in January of 2004, we advertised that we were going to let people bring their huskies or their high-energy dogs, and we were going to let their dogs pull the sled with our dogs,” Marcia said.The turnout was huge. About three-and-a-half hours into the event, Marcia and Bob had harnessed up dogs, 50 of them being Huskies. Not long after, Marcia met with fellow enthusiasts from as far away as Minnesota and began teaching more classes to eager dog owners—and sometimes even their children—who would bring their dogs to team up with a four-to-six-dog team to pull a sled.They made the leap to go further. With the support of enthusiastic members such as Rodney and his mushing pal Jeff Blewett of Kentucky, the Blue Ridge Dryland Sled Dog Club was created within the Rescue Center. It wasn’t long before mushing enthusiasts joined from Maryland, Kentucky, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and even Alabama.A sled dog community in the Southern Appalachians had been connected and established. It continues to grow as a handful of role models for the sport, such as Rodney or Bill Borden (who started the Cool Dreams Foundation which teaches Iditarod-based programs to children all over the country), teach young scout troops, school children, and other future mushers.TRAINING FOR ADVENTUREIt doesn’t seem to be the least bit coincidental that the Iditarod continues to come up in regular conversation with most any mushing enthusiast. The Iditarod is like the Holy Grail of the sport, and with good reason. Billed as “The Last Great Race”, the 1,049-mile race across desolate Alaskan landscapes fuels inspiration for mushers, spectators, and admirers worldwide.“I’m 59 years old, so I guess 50 years ago I was nine years old when I ran my first race. Me, a little sled, and one dog. Half a mile,” Rodney recalls his childhood growing up in Alaska. “Of course I’d watched the big races like the Iditarod, I’d go down to 4th avenue and it’d be on television and all that.  As a little kid I fantasized of doing that someday. That was my dream.”Rodney was the only Tennessean to ever contend in the race and one of just a couple others in the entire South.The urge to compete or even just push the sport to be more adventurous is driven by other big adventure races aside from just the Iditarod, such as the 1000-mile international Yukon Quest race (spanning the gap between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon), the 400-mile John Beargrease race in Northern Minnesota, the Big Sky in Montana, the UP 200 in Michigan, the Alpirod in Europe, and even just personal adventures taken in snowy, remote locations across the Northern U.S and Canada.But the adventure starts at home.Guys like Rodney and Jeff, who are always interested in pursuing further adventures in the snowy North, take their dogs on multi-day mushing and camping trips in the South to build their endurance. Of course, these trips are a little different in the South than in the snowy North.Down in these parts mushers use dryland rigs, which refers to any wheeled craft built to be pulled by dogs. A standard rig can range from different configurations like a two-wheeled scooter, to what looks like a grown-up’s tricycle without pedals, to a rig that is essentially a snow sled but with wheels.Surprisingly enough, pulling these wheeled rigs is often tougher than pulling a snowbound sled. Many of the snow-less trails that are used for dryland running in the South have rough terrain and rough gravel as opposed to snow or even just crushed limestone, which is easier on the dogs’ feet. And even when the trails do have a little bit of snow, the wheels on dryland rigs often get more bogged down than a sled’s runners would, creating stronger resistance against the dogs.The catch is that some of these factors can actually give the dogs a bit of an advantage over northern dogs that train mostly in snow. Huskies and malamutes are surprisingly versatile and have the ability to slowly acclimate to warmer temps. When the southern dogs take to the comfortable cold and slicker snow, they find it easier than the warmer 30 to 40 degree temps and gravel they’re often used to, while Northern dogs find those temperatures discomforting if temperatures rise during a race, which sometimes even happens during the Iditarod.“The rule of thumb is, you run a mile per dog. In other words, if I take a four-dog team out, about four miles is what I want to run,” says Jeff. “If you run four miles on dry land, you can automatically double that when you get to snow.  Dryland is tougher, it’s harder, there’s so much more impact, and there’s so much more resistance as far as pulling a sled on snow or a cart with wheels.”TRAILBLAZINGSome of the best places for mushing are rails-to-trails projects, thanks to their smooth, long, flat nature. The 184-mile C&O Canal running from D.C. to Cumberland, Md. has seen enthusiastic mushers as well as snow to mush in, along with the Virginia Creeper Trail.“Hands down, my favorite place in that region is the Creeper Trail. The scenery is beautiful, the people there are so nice… if I didn’t live in Kentucky, I’d live in Virginia,” Jeff says, recalling the numerous races he has participated in there.Others improvise using roads that are commonly shut down when winter strikes, serving as beautiful, perfect locales for mushing, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway.But perhaps one of the most exciting and progressive events taking place in the South this year is the Land Between the Lakes Sled Dog Dash taking place in Kentucky, nestled on the Kentucky/Tennessee border at the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area which has over 200 miles of gravel roads that can be used for training.“A lot of us have aspirations to run some of those bigger races in a format like this one that we’re doing. It will give you a chance to overnight with your dogs, camp out on the trail if you want to, pay attention to their health and their welfare, so it kind of trains you in a lot of ways to get ready for some of those bigger races,” says race coordinator Jeff Blewett.While the Land Between the Lakes Dash and other similar races are more what you might consider “fun runs” when compared to the bigger, longer races of the North, the race has caught the attention of a potential huge sponsor considering sanctioning the event and possibly spreading it to surrounding states, which could further change the future of adventure mushing in the South.Let’s just put it this way: snow, trails, speed, sleds, dogs, camping, wilderness… it’s kind of exciting.“It’s nothing you can really articulate to anybody. It’s just a really different way to enjoy the wilderness,” Blewett says.And nobody loves it more than the dogs themselves.last_img read more

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The Next Frontier: Mammoth Cave

first_imgTake the Cave City exit off Interstate 65 in Kentucky and drive past the life-size dinosaur replicas, the abandoned putt-putt course, and Yogi Bear’s unseasonably quiet Jellystone Park. You can also jump in a bumper boat to show your tube-maneuvering skills, but let’s face it, people only come to this quaint Kentucky town to see one thing: caves. Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest cave system in the world, just happens to be a few miles down the road.In addition to the main attraction, the 53,000-acre park is home to nearly 200 other smaller caves and bodies of water like the Green River. But Mammoth Cave itself holds the most allure. It’s one of the few places on Earth that holds as much mystery today as it did when Native Americans set foot into the dark abyss nearly 6,000 years ago.In the BeginningGourds, spear points, burnt cane torches, and even an Indian corpse tell us that these people visited the underground world but did not live there. Researchers believe the Native Americans collected minerals like gypsum and selenite from the cave walls for their medicinal and ceremonial value.By the time the first European settlers came to the plateau that stretches above the cave system, tribes like the Shawnee and Cherokee had been hunting there for generations. Soon, however, those that were spared from disease and warfare were pushed from their hunting grounds to make room for a new era of cave exploits: those of the white man.Visitors built towers of cave rocks both to clear trails and to serve as memorials to hometowns or businesses. This one, built in honor of Kentucky, stands above the rest and touches a ceiling covered in graffiti from the 1800s. Photo: Jess DaddioVisitors built towers of cave rocks both to clear trails and to serve as memorials to hometowns or businesses. This one, built in honor of Kentucky, stands above the rest and touches a ceiling covered in graffiti from the 1800s. Photo: Jess DaddioWhen war with England broke out in 1812, a sudden demand for black gunpowder drove men to the hills. Wealthy gentleman looking to capitalize on the war came in search of caves with saltpeter deposits, used to make gunpowder. Mammoth Cave was filled around the clock with over 70 slaves and a handful of oxen working to supply the American military. Only a year later in 1813, the cave’s owners abandoned gunpowder business for another endeavor: tourism.Then, in 1838, a wealthy man from Glasgow, Ky., purchased the cave and brought with him a slave who would change the future of Mammoth. That slave’s name was Stephen Bishop. Although he would go on to sell the cave only a year later, Bishop would become Mammoth’s foremost explorer and guide. Bishop became the first person to push the boundaries of exploration in Mammoth when he found a crawlway that crossed The Bottomless Pit, a canyon-like section of the cave that most had assumed to be “the end.” Bishop also discovered the underground Echo and Roaring Rivers as well as the eyeless fish that reside in the cave. In all, Bishop did more than entertain and guide visitors; his explorations marked the first contributions of a true caver. He managed to discover and map roughly 25 miles of the cave, a crucial step toward understanding the vastness of this largely unexplored world, which he referred to as a “grand, gloomy, and peculiar place.”Little did Bishop know that he and his rough sketches of Mammoth Cave would spur a frenzy of exploration in the early 20th century. Discovery stories of neighboring caves also drew attention to Mammoth’s already extensive system. One story in particular was the tragic tale of caver Floyd Collins. In 1925, the Kentucky native attracted media outlets from around the country when a 27-pound rock landed on his ankle and trapped him during a reconnaissance mission in nearby Sand Cave. Collins died in his underground entrapment, but his story would put Cave City and the surrounding caves on newspaper headlines around the globe. That same year, the Mammoth Cave National Park Association was created to begin drafting plans for turning Mammoth Cave and the surrounding land into one of three national parks in southern Appalachia.Mammoth Becomes MammothFast forward to 1938. An eight-year-old boy from Shelby, Ohio, and his mother are visiting Mammoth Cave for the first time. The boy, who has long been fascinated with caves hidden beneath kitchen chairs and blankets, carries a flashlight he purchased with his own money. He bounces the beam of light off the cave’s solemn walls, his eyes wide, heart racing; he has been waiting for this moment to come for nearly three years.The tour guide leads the group through Mammoth’s chambers, reciting bits of geology and history along the way. The boy, however, is lost in the moment, the grandeur and mystery of the cave sending his mind into a feverish wave of unanswered questions and stories of lost souls in hidden passageways.“Where does that go?” the boy finally asks, pointing the beam of light at what appears to be another passage. The tour guide stops and chuckles, apparently amused by the boy’s inquiry.“Why, it doesn’t go anywhere!” the guide says, which causes the group to erupt in laughter.The boy, rightfully confused, keeps his thoughts to himself for the remainder of the tour, but his incessant curiosity stays with him long after leaving the cave. That boy would grow up to be one of the most influential cavers in the development of Mammoth Cave. His name is Roger Brucker.Although Brucker dabbled in some “very small and very muddy” Buckeye caves after that first exposure, it would be another 16 years before he returned to the Mammoth Cave region. In 1954, the National Speleological Society (NSS) chose Brucker to join 64 cavers on a sponsored weeklong expedition to Crystal Cave, a trip that would alter the futures of both the cave and Brucker himself.“All of a sudden caving turned from a hobby to an obsession,” Brucker says.The expedition team surveyed a few miles of previously unknown territory in nearby Crystal Cave, slowly enlarging the cave system’s scope, mile by mile.“What we found as we went along was one connection after another,” Brucker says. “It was then that we knew how vast the cave really was.”One year after the NSS expedition, two of Brucker’s caving colleagues discovered the first official connection between Crystal Cave and Unknown Cave, both of which would eventually be included under the umbrella of Mammoth Cave. Now that explorers had mapped nearly 45 miles, the cave’s known passage system was growing in recognition. The National Park Service claimed the cave’s maps covered 150 miles, which put Mammoth Cave on record as the longest in the world.Mammoth Cave National Park was officially established on July 1, 1941. In 1981 it was designated as a World Heritage Site and in 1990 it became the core area of an International Biosphere Reserve. The first tour of Mammoth Cave was in 1816. Photo: Jess DaddioMammoth Cave National Park was officially established on July 1, 1941. In 1981 it was designated as a World Heritage Site and in 1990 it became the core area of an International Biosphere Reserve. The first tour of Mammoth Cave was in 1816. Photo: Jess DaddioSuddenly, Kentucky’s cave-dense karst area exploded onto the scene and attracted the attention of national publications. In 1955, Brucker and two of his partners led photographer Robert Halmi and journalist Coles Phinizy of Sports Illustrated through the recently discovered Eyeless Fish Trail in Crystal Cave. Because neither the photographer nor the journalist had any previous caving experience, it was up to the team to carry their weight. Brucker was burdened with the photograher’s waterproof box, which was filled with over 40 pounds of expensive camera equipment.They arrived at an underground stream near their destination and the “trail” had turned to no more than steep banks covered in a foot of mud. Eventually they had to cross the stream over a bridge of mud. Brucker decided to get on his hands and knees. His crawling technique served him well until he reached the bridge’s halfway point. He was alone now, having to bring up the rear because of his slow pace. Moving his hand forward, he shifted his weight and let his hand sink through the cool mud.All of a sudden, he was no longer on his hands and knees but on his stomach, sliding down into darkness. When his face hit water, he knew he was in trouble. His only light source was now extinguished, and with no reference point above or below, no hopeful beam of light to direct him, Brucker was lost.“When you’re in utter blackness, sinking farther in the water, it’s the kind of thing that makes your whole life flash before your eyes,” Brucker says. “All I could think was ‘don’t panic.’”Underwater, Brucker knew the only way he would find air is if he tried to swim in some direction. With all of his gear on, and the photographer’s waterproof box still in tow, his body sank like an anchor. Unfortunately, Brucker was swimming the wrong way, which he knew as soon as he knocked his head on an underwater ceiling.“At that point, I realized I must be in some rain-barrel-sized hole, one of a series of small, underwater caves I’m sure,” he says. “When I couldn’t find the surface, I absolutely panicked.”By pure luck—and a great deal of thrashing—Brucker eventually surfaced in a pocket, sputtering and gasping for air. He cried out for help, still totally disoriented in the suffocating darkness.Brucker’s team heard his struggles and finally found him, though the photographer was more worried about his cameras than Brucker’s near-death experience.“Obviously I made it out okay, but it shook me up for quite some time,” Brucker recalls.He didn’t stop caving, however. In fact, he would go on to help link Mammoth Cave’s system from just over 100 miles to the present-day 400 miles. According to Brucker, exploration in the cave will continue at this impressive rate long after he steps down from the caving scene.“If we can continue to add seven or eight miles to the system per year, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mammoth Cave’s reach will extend to 1,000 miles by the end of the century.”Caving for What?Unlike mountaineering or even paddling, there’s no grand summit during a caving expedition, no singular moment to work toward, no take-out at the end of the day. A constant desire to find out what is around the next corner continues, and will continue, to drive cavers of every generation toward some yet-unknown goal.“Potential for further exploration is almost unlimited,” says Dave West, the Eastern Operations Manager of the Cave Research Foundation (CRF). The Mammoth Cave system is surrounded by other large cave systems, including Fisher Ridge, nearly 120 miles in length. It’s only 300 feet away from one of Mammoth Cave’s entrances, but it has yet to be connected to the system. Underlying politics between organizations have thus far prevented the connection of the two systems, but there is strong speculation that they share passageways and the discovery of their connection, if possible, will only be a matter of time. Though Mammoth Cave is the longest in the world, it is relatively shallow, which means any added mileage will come from cavers pushing the boundaries outward, not down.“One passage we are exploring is in Great Onyx Cave,” says West, referring to a smaller cave within the national park’s boundaries. “It has the potential to connect into the system, but exploration there is weather dependent, so it is unclear when that may happen, or if it is in fact possible.”CRF also helps protect more than 130 different species of crustaceans, fish, insects, and other inhabitants of Mammoth Cave.“We cannot be certain we even know the full scale of habitation,” says West. “Each cave is a unique environment, and it is not uncommon for a single cave to have one or more inhabitants that are not known to live anywhere else. Consequently, many unique species are endangered immediately upon discovery.”Like many caves throughout the region, bats are particularly at risk due to White Nose Syndrome, a fungus that interrupts hibernation cycles. The effect of a weakened bat population extends far beyond the daily life of a cave; without bats, increases in certain insect populations (which would normally serve as a food source for bats) could wreak havoc on nearby agriculture. Other cave-specific species that are at risk include the Kentucky cave shrimp, the eyeless cave fish, blind beetles, and cave crayfish.“Caves are important to all of those that live near them,” West says. Unique microbes might be found that could provide a path to a cure for disease. We must protect what might well be the last unknown frontier.“last_img read more

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Letter from the Editor: The Homelessness Hero, November 2014

first_imgThe Homelessness HeroA few years ago, I decided to go homeless for three days. It was an artificial homelessness, because I knew that after 72 hours I could go back to a warm bed and a fridge full of food. But the people I met — and the misery they experience — were very real. They were not the lazy alcoholics and drug addicts I’d assumed them to be. They were ordinary people looking desperately for jobs but not getting them, mainly because they had no permanent address. Many had kids whom they called from payphones. All were ashamed of their situation.I decided to go homeless because I wanted to feel human again. For a few days, I wanted to close the widening gap between rich and poor, suburbanite and street dweller. Wealthy Americans consume over half of the world’s resources, while one billion people starve. Within our own borders, 3.5 million Americans sleep on the streets or in shelters each night, and nearly 20 percent of Americans go hungry. Most of them are children.For too long, I’d rationalized away these kinds of statistics: they need to get jobs and make better choices, I figured. It wasn’t until I spent three days on the streets that I realized the hollowness of my rationalizations. These facts have faces. These people are human beings, just like me.Homeless people are the ultimate endurance athletes and outdoor adventurists, I discovered. They hike for miles every day and camp out under the stars each night. They can start a campfire with a single match and a few twigs, and they can forage for food and wild edibles better than most mushroom-gathering hippies. They are thru-hikers without a Katahdin, trudging daily through rain and snow in search of their next meal or job interview.I wrote about my homeless experience for the magazine last year. The story received some decent feedback and thought-provoking chatter on the site, and I figured that was the end of it.But then an amazing thing happened. After reading the story, an avid outdoor enthusiast from Virginia named Chris Finlay decided to do something about it. He started a nonprofit called Shelters to Shutters, which provides housing and employment to the homeless. It’s a sustainable, scalable model built upon partnerships with apartment companies throughout the region. Shelters to Shutters now assists the homeless in several cities in North Carolina and Tennessee with plans to expand beyond the Blue Ridge.As a writer for over two decades, I’ve published hundreds of stories. Rarely do I see any lasting impact from them. It’s incredibly heartening to know that there are people like Chris Finlay, who find inspiration and then act on it.I am deeply grateful to all of the Chris Finlays out there who don’t just read about problems but do the hard work of creating solutions. Their stories don’t always get told; they’re often too busy working behind the scenes to help others or protect species or safeguard rivers. But they are the true heroes of our mountains and our magazine.last_img read more

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Deep Water Soloing at Tuck Fest 2017

first_imgThis past April, the U.S. National Whitewater Center hosted Tuck Fest, a three day celebration of the outdoor lifestyle through competitions, demos, and live music. During this year’s event, the USNWC debuted the world’s first Deep Water Solo climbing complex, bringing together top climbers from across the country to compete for a piece of the $15,000 purse.  Aaron Davis from Cliff Hangers (Mooresville, NC) and Kenny Benson from Inner Peaks (Charlotte, NC) were called in to set the routes for the inaugural competition. We caught up with them to get their thoughts on Deep Water Solo, Tuck Fest, and the impact of this climbing discipline.What is Deep Water Solo?Deep water soloing is a discipline of rock climbing, where a climber climbs over a pool of water. He/she is essentially climbing with no protection on the rock face, but is able to bail or take falls into the water as a “safe” way out. Obviously, you can still get injured if you fall incorrectly or fall from an extreme height. Any form of climbing is still considered dangerous.What are your goals when setting a DWS route?We wanted to make the climbers move in a spectacular way, both for themselves and the crowd, but the first priority is the safety of the climbers. After we set a climb that challenges them and provides a show for the crowd, we double back to check that we haven’t asked them to do anything too risky. Again, this form of climbing is still dangerous, and our job as setters is to make sure the athletes can have a good time and stay healthy. If they get injured, the show stops and the dynamics of the event change.How is it different than other route setting?Aaron: First, you’re over water, so there’s always that factor of “don’t go in the water”. Keeping everything out of the water, not dropping any bits, screws, holds etc. Obvious things. Nevertheless, you also have to pay close attention to the movement you’re producing. Will this move cause any potential weird falls or a collision with another climber? What can happen if the climber misses this move or jumps here? Questions like these are the ones we were constantly asking to make sure we weren’t putting any climber in danger.  Kenny: For me, this was my first time setting an event of this size. The USNWC put up a sizable cash purse which attracted very talented climbers and a media outlet to promote the comp nationwide. With this, we needed to set something that would show the athletes and viewers a good time. This was our “coming out party” and we needed to make a statement that would put ourselves in a good position for growth next year.What did you think about the caliber of athletes that came out to climb at Tuck Fest this year?The turnout this year was incredible. We had nationally recognized climbers competing alongside local crushers. Hopefully we can get more pros next year and keep this momentum going. We also hope to see more female competitors next time.What does a competition like this do for the climbing community both regionally and worldwide?These Deep Water Solo events are so much fun, not only for the athletes and setters, but the viewers as well. I know the crowd at Tuck Fest kept the energy high from start to finish. These events are easily understandable for the climbers in the crowd and the non-climbers. The added elements of speed and mental difficulty when in a head to head format comp makes the event exciting to watch while having an obvious winner at the end of each round.2017 Tuck Fest Deep Water Solo Climbing Comp ResultsMen’s Top 3 Finishers1. Carlo Traversi2. Nathaniel Coleman3. Ben HannaWomen’s Top 3 Finishers1. Kyra Condie2. Alex Johnson3. Arabella JarielTuck Fest 2018 will take place Friday, April 20th through Sunday, April 22nd at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.last_img read more

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LOAP does the Roanoke Go Outside Festival!

first_img As with every event we attend, we will be repping our sponsors and their awesome gear! You can check out first hand what we use on the road to live outside and play, including gear from La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine. Nothing brings humans together like the great outdoors. This past weekend was our first time in Roanoke, Va. and our first time at the Roanoke Go Outside Festival (GO Fest). We rode our bikes, saw old friends, made new friends, ate plenty of tasty food, and soaked up everything that Roanoke and GO Fest have to offer. Long story short – We’ll be back.On Thursday we teamed up with Roanoke Mountain Adventures for a  group mountain bike ride up to the top of Mill Mountain right in the heart of Roanoke. It was a rainy evening, but nobody seemed to notice. With the days getting shorter we were guided on a quick ten mile ride up to “The Star” and back to the RMA shop for a beer. HUGE thanks to RMA for showing us around and helping us out with some new decorations for our bikes. If you are in the Roanoke area make sure you visit their shop for guided trips, rentals and more.With 30,000 attendees and over 125 activities, GO Fest has been growing every year since it’s inception in 2011, and it’s easy to see why. There’s literally something for everyone. Bike demos from some of the best in the business? Yep. Free shuttles to the top of Mill Mountain? You know it. Lumber Jack Competitions? Absolutely. GO Fest not only celebrates the outdoor lifestyle but it encourages the crowd to get involved. Whether that means trying out a SUP for your first time, enjoying the children’s superhero race, tasting a beer from the local homebrew club, taking part in a fly fishing demo, or climbing the rock walls, the idea is to get out, be active, and have fun.Once the sun goes down at GO fest, the family-friendly festival starts to take on a different feel. The bands start jamming, the beer flows like wine, and the line for the silent disco starts to build. Suddenly you start to feel like you’ve stepped into a full-blown music festival. The festival offers onsite camping so people can get their groove on and not have to worry out venturing too far at the end of the night.With the central location of the festival, right off of the greenway, GO Fest also makes it easy to bike in and see the town. We made a habit of getting out before the festival started for the day, exploring a little bit, and grabbing some morning fuel.Even though GO Fest is one of the larger events that we attend in the fall, it still felt like a small community. Everyone seemed to know everyone. We got to hang out with all of our old vendor friends and we were happy to make some new ones as well. One of our favorite things about working festivals is making new friends with our neighbors. Big shoutout to crew under the Adidas tent who spent the weekend taking donations for the Access Fund and tolerating Roxy’s aggressive use of our megaphone during our daily raffles.We’ve said it before but one of our favorite parts of the job is getting to make new friends all across the country. When we started in the spring we couldn’t help but feel a little lonely out here thousands of miles away from home. Now, not a day goes by where we don’t run into one of our new friends. Up next we’re back in Fayetteville, West Virgina for Bridge Day. It’s our final festival of the year so if you are in the area stop by our booth on the bridge and say hey. We’d love to meet you! center_img last_img read more

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The Brazilian Air Force Signs a Letter of Intent to Purchase Four Orbisat Radars

first_imgBy Dialogo April 19, 2011 The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has signed a letter of intent for the purchase of four SABER M-60 radars developed by Orbisat. The agreement was concluded during LAAD 2011, in Rio de Janeiro, between the firm’s managers and Brazilian AIr Force Aviation Commander, Gen. Juniti Saito. The SABER M-60s are portable radars that integrate low-altitude surveillance and search. The FAB will use them as part of the equipment of the Canoas and Manaus airbases, with their primary application being in the anti-aircraft artillery area of SISDABRA (the Brazilian Aerospace Defense System). According to Orbisat’s technical director, João Moreira Neto, the Airspace Control Department has been evaluating the SABER M-60 since 2010. This year, the Brazilian Air Force General Staff granted its approval, considering that the equipment meets the force’s operational requirements. Recently, the SABER M-60 was certified by the Brazilian Army, in a document guaranteeing that the equipment meets the required military, environmental, and electromagnetic-interference standards. The SABER M-60 radars use the Asterix communication protocol and can be linked directly to the SISDABRA network and integrated with other FAB surveillance radars. The next steps after the signing of this letter of intent will be developing the details of the technical and business proposal and negotiating a contract to be signed this year. Orbisat is part of Embraer Defense and Security, which purchased 64.7% of its shares in March 2011, and is the part of that aerospace company that is dedicated to the development and manufacture of monitoring and defense systems around the world.last_img read more

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Operation Martillo: USS Nicholas seizes more than 4 tons of drugs

first_img MAYPORT, Fla. — Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47) delivered more than four tons of cocaine and marijuana to Naval Station Mayport in Florida, seized from drug interdictions conducted in support of Operation Martillo on July 17. Crew members offloaded approximately 3,408 kilograms (7,513 pounds) of cocaine, and 109 kilograms (240 pounds) of marijuana, with an estimated wholesale value of more than US$93 million. The amount of cocaine seized was enough for 7.2 million doses, each dose approximately the same size as a sugar packet. USS Nicholas is returning to port after a 175-day deployment supporting counter illicit trafficking operations aimed at disrupting transnational organized crime and keeping drugs off the streets. With the help of some partners in the region we accomplished what we set out to do: disrupt the drug trade,” said Cmdr. Stephen Fuller, USS Nicholas commanding officer. “Interdictions are challenging, but with the help of other naval units, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the partner nation navies, we executed a successful deployment.” During the deployment, Nicholas — with embarked U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) — conducted a combination of six disruptions and interdictions while in the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic and Pacific coastal waters of South and Central America. [Navy.mil, 17/07/2012; Wokv.com, 18/07/2012] By Dialogo July 20, 2012last_img read more

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Last Brazilian World War II Veteran Pilot Dies

first_img After his return to Brazil, he remained in the 1st Fighter Aviation Regiment, on the Santa Cruz Air Force Base. Later, he studied aeronautical engineering and served as Director of Engineering at the Material Directorate and the Routes Directorate. While living in Canada, he was part of the International Civil Aviation Organization, in the city of Montreal. By Dialogo September 18, 2013 The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) and the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) registered in Brazil’s military history pages of glory and heroism that make us proud and are valued by the allied countries in the Second World War conflict. Brig. MIRANDA CORRÊA will be remembered as an example of courage, professional virtue, an aeronautical vocation motivator, and love to the Homeland that watch his birth. By the way, Brazil was the only country which offered soldiers to the Great War without being intimidated or invited. It only requested, in retribution, a piece of land in Pistoia, Italy, to bury his dead. Today, the Pistoia cemetery is symbolic and the remains of our soldiers rest at the FEB Monument at Rio de Janeiro city.Ney de Araripe Sucupira – Honorary Member of the Brazilian Air Force – São Paulo Lieutenant General José Carlos de Miranda Corrêa died on September 15, in Rio de Janeiro. He died at 1:13 p.m. at the age of 93, in the Hospital Central da Aeronáutica (HCA), where he was hospitalized. Lieutenant General Miranda Corrêa was a Combat Pilot and Information Officer in the World War II 1st Fighter Aviation Regiment, in Italy. Between November 13, 1944 and January 3, 1945, he participated in eight war missions. Currently, he was the last surviving Brazilian veteran of World War II. Before he fought in Italy, then Lieutenant Miranda Corrêa performed his training as a Combat Pilot in the United States and Panama. Some of the awards he was honored with throughout his career include the Aviation Cross – A Ribbon, the Italy Campaign, the Atlantic South Campaign, the Order of Air Merit, the Santos Dumont Order of Merit, a Distinguished Flying Cross (for sinking a German ship on the coast of Rio de Janeiro), a Presidential Unit Citation, and a Bronze Star, with the latter three having been awarded by the U.S. government. last_img read more

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