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Surf Lifesaving: voluntary lifeguard services & competitive surf sport originated in Australia, expanding globally

competitors run to the water during the start of the Open Women's Board Race final, 2009 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships


Surf lifesaving originated in Australia in 1906 in response to drownings at local beaches in Sydney. It comprises key aspects of voluntary lifeguard services and competitive surf sport and has expanded globally to other countries including New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and the United States. Such groups became necessary following the relaxing of laws prohibiting daylight bathing on Australian beaches. Volunteer groups of men were trained in lifesaving methods and patrolled the beaches as lifesavers looking after public safety.

a competitor from Northcliffe competes in the Open Men's Board Race semifinal, 2009 Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships  read more »

Nature fed up with animals being ill-confined, force-fed? 1st cows mad, then bird flu, now deadly virus from swine

A couple attempts to kiss. Across Mexico more than 1,300 people were tested for suspected swine flu infection and 400 were taken to hospital for checks. Health officials believe that tens of thousands, and possibly more, have been infected but have since recovered.


While Indonesia's bird flu death toll climbs to 119, deadly strain (a nasty mash-up of swine, avian, & human viruses) of swine flu gets under radar of the immune system and pushes death toll in Mexico to 152 and climbing. "Residents [of La Gloria, Perote Municipality, Veracruz State, Mexico] believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to ‘flu.’ However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms. It was unclear whether health officials had identified a suspected pathogen responsible for this outbreak."  read more »

First ever Unemployment Olympics held: Upbeat mood in bleak job market, contestants make most of free time granted

Howard Henson, an unemployed financial IT recruiter, tosses a phone during the Unemployment Olympics in New York, Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Jobless compete at unemployment Olympics

The increasing ranks of the unemployed today aren't just sitting around the house feeling sorry for themselves. A group of the recently job-deprived gathered in New York City's East Village on Tuesday, March 31 2009, for an event described as the Unemployment Olympics.

job-deprived gathered in New York City's East Village Tuesday for an event described as the Unemployment Olympics

Rather than an expensive stadium and firework display, the inaugural jobless games took place in an appropriately low-budget concrete playground decorated with hand-painted cardboard signs. Events included "Pin the Blame on the Boss," a dash to the "unemployment office" and a content in which participants tossed an office phone at targets. A planned competition to see who could throw a fax machine the farthest was sadly canceled at the last minute due to safety concerns.  read more »

MIT Solar Electric Vehicle Team unveils sleek 90-mph car, will compete in World Solar Challenge in Australia

MIT's latest solar race car


MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the oldest such student team in the country, has just finished construction of its latest high-tech car and unveiled it to the public this Friday. "It drives beautifully," said George Hansel, a freshman physics major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the team. "It's fun to drive and quite a spectacle." With six square meters of monocrystalline silicon solar cells and improved electronic systems and design, the car can run all day on a sunny day at a steady cruising speed of 55 mph. The car will be competing in October in the World Solar Challenge race across Australia, and in preparation for that the team plans to drive the car across the United States over the summer. About a dozen team members are expected to go to Australia for the race, although only four will drive the solar car in the competition.

MIT's Solar Electric Vehicle Team, the oldest such student team in the country, has just finished construction of its latest high-tech car  read more »

Nature perturbed: icy darkness in N Amer; 1st-time-in-100-yrs heatwave cooks egg on court at Australia Open in 60C

Australian Open tennis tournament


Above: players and fans at the Australian Open tennis tournament did their best to keep cool.

heatwave: cooking an egg in 10 minutes on an outside court at the Australia Open, 2009
An egg cooked after ten minutes on an outside court where air temperatures reached 60C. The official temperature in the shade at 4.53 pm was 45.4C, the hottest since 1908.

heatwave in Australia buckles rail lines
A heatwave scorching southern Australia, causing transport chaos by buckling rail lines and leaving more than 140,000 homes without power, is a sign of climate change, the government said.

one of the worst heatwaves in recent history in Australia
"It is the worst heatwave most will have lived through," senior forecaster Terry Ryan said in a front-page story headlined "Heat Wave Hell". But this lot looked like they were enjoying it.

Heatwave in Melbourne plays havoc with the Australian Open  read more »

Mastery of winter: onto ice are skaters, swan, crabapple tree, child & sculptures at International Ice & Snow Show

Harbin, China: the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival


People visit ice sculptures for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, in Harbin, China, opened on Jan. 5, 2009. The festival lasts for one month, and features large ice and snow sculptures, ice lanterns, swimming in the icy Songhua River and more. The northern hemisphere is a hospitable place for ice festivals these days, so in that spirit, here is a collection of recent photographs of all things frozen, and some of the ways we live and play with ice.

Castleford, northern England: swan trying to land

A swan attempts to land on a frozen lake near Castleford northern England Monday Jan. 5, 2009. Freezing temperatures and snow have struck large areas of Britain.

visitors sliding down ice slides at 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival

Visitors slide on tracks at an ice sculpture during a preview for the 25th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival at a park in Harbin, China on December 23, 2008.  read more »

Bikes incl. wooden bikes help break poverty trap - many Africans spend 4 hrs/day walking, 1/4 income on transport

father and child on bike


Many Africans spend 4-hours per day walking, or 1/4 of their income paying for transport. A bike can save this every day, helping to break the poverty trap.

Wooden Bike Racing in Rwanda

Wooden bikes are fairly common in Rwanda and they’re used pretty much daily for transportation of goods and people. Tom Ritchey got the bright idea that the bikes should be raced as well and now the annual Wooden Bike Classic draws curious tourists from around the world for a chance to watch (and even participate).

one of the big events for Project Rwanda is the annual Wooden Bike Classic

The goals of Project Rwanda are pretty simple and they all come back to cycling: building awareness for the country (through events like the Wooden Bike Classic), specialized bike design (real steel bikes for transporting coffee crops), bike distribution, and national pride (through support of the Rwandan National Cycling Team).

bicyclist Jules Fils Otong Bassong tours Cameroon  read more »

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