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Category Archives: Vacation

Mount Everest avalanche leaves at least 12 Nepalese climbers dead

Three others injured and seven missing after avalanche caught work party as they prepared route for fee-paying western climbers
Everest base camp, with Buddhist prayer flags in the foreground

Everest base camp, with Buddhist prayer flags in the foreground. Police officials said the group was 25-strong and only three had so far been rescued from the mountain. Photograph: Laurence Tan/Reuters

An avalanche on Mount Everest early on Friday has killed at least 12 local climbers and left several others injured in what is likely to prove one of the most lethal accidents in recent history on the world’s highest peak.

Officials said 12 bodies had so far been recovered and ferried to base camp, while a further three injured climbers were being taken to Kathmandu. As many as four climbers are still thought to be missing.

An injured survivor told his relatives that the path up the mountain was unstable just before the avalanche. As soon as the avalanche hit, rescuers and climbers rushed to help.

Reports suggest a massive avalanche low on the 29,000ft (8,848m) mountain caught a work party of local sherpas as they prepared the classic South Col route – followed by the peak’s first ascensionists in 1953 – for fee-paying western climbers.

Sherpa guides had gone early in the morning to fix the ropes which will guide and safeguard hundreds of climbers, when the avalanche hit them. Reports said the accident had occurred between base camp and Camp 1 in the chaotic and extremely dangerous ice fall. The ice fall is composed of a steep glacier which fractures as it slides over cliffs, forming massive crevasses, and sherpas have to find and maintain a new route through every year.

Tourism ministry spokesman Mohan Krishna Sapkota said the climbers were all Nepalese and were preparing the route to the summit ahead of the summer climbing season which kicks off later this month.

“The sherpa guides were carrying up equipment and other necessities for climbers, when the disaster happened,” Sapkota said.

Base camp is currently crowded as peak climbing season on Everest approaches. A weather window in May allows the greatest chance of success on the mountain.

In recent years there has been growing controversy over the pay, conditions and safety of the local men hired for the risky job of securing the route on the mountain to allow largely western climbers on commercial expeditions charging up to $50,000 (£30,000) to reach the upper slopes of the mountain in relative security.

The Kathmandu-based climbing company Himalayan Climbing GuidesNepal confirmed that two of its guides were among the dead and four were missing.

“Six climbing guides from our company were taking up tents and supplies … two have been found dead and rescue teams are searching for the remaining four,” manager Umid Bhandari told AFP.

Eight people died on Everest last year, including one of the best-known and experienced local sherpa guides who was killed in the ice fall.

The accident will once again raise fears that the mountain is too crowded. Nepalese authorities have introduced a series of measures to reduce the number of climbers on the peak.

Last year more than 500 climbers reached the summit of Everest. On 19 May around 150 climbed the last 915m to the peak within hours of each other, causing lengthy delays as mountaineers queued to descend or ascend harder sections.

Officials have cut mountaineering fees for many other peaks while requiring each climber scaling Everest to bring back 8kg (17.6lbs) of rubbish in an attempt to clean up the “roof of the world”.

Last year officials floated the idea of installing a ladder on the famous Hillary Step, a crucial stretch of technical climbing at nearly 8,840m (29,000ft) on Everest, named after its first climber, Sir Edmund Hillary.

Though such innovations are anathema to many purist climbers, some sherpas welcome them. Entire communities in the otherwise poor Khumbu region of Nepal depend on the mountaineering industry for their livelihoods.

Relations between international climbers and sherpa guides working on the mountain are not always good. Authorities have also stationed soldiers and police at Everest base camp following a brawl between commercial climbers and Nepalese guides last year.

 

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Forget Surfing or Eating Fish for the Next 6000 Years! Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco

By DNA | December 26, 2013

 

This shocking video was taken December 23rd 2013 with a quality Geiger Counter at Pacifica State Beach (Surfers Beach), California.

Location:

http://bit.ly/1g26Zjm

Geiger Counter used:

http://www.geigercounters.com/Inspector.htm

Background radiation is 30 CPM. Near the ocean it’s 150 CPM. The fine mist coming from the ocean waves seems to be what makes the Geiger Counter jump.

Fukushima radiation disaster info:

http://www.rense.com

Massive starfish deaths on West Coast:

http://www.naturalnews.com/

We all must come to the realization that swimming in the Pacific Ocean (let alone eating anything out of it) is a thing in the past. And it’s only going to get worse, as it’s unstoppable. This is by far the worst man-made disaster in human history, and our garbage media and government say nothing.

RELATED :

Fukushima is here: ‘ALL Bluefin Tuna Caught In California Are Radioactive’

 

 

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What I’ve Learned from Dogs… It’s “a pack thing.”

By Antsy McLain
As I write this, a steady rain taps on the window to my left, and distant thunder promises more of the same for the day. A gray Schnauzer sits a few feet away as I write this. He’s 6 years old now, approaching mid life, and seems to be content to be anywhere I am, doing anything I want to do. This, I’m sure you agree, is not the kind of relationship we can have with other humans.
We’re about to go “bye bye” to the store on the corner, so I can’t write for long. I have already said the words bye bye, and therefore set him at his hyper alert state, giddy at my slightest movement, and ready to bolt toward the door. He just whined a little, his low mournful whine that sounds so human, I’m thinking this sentence may not even get finished before I have to leave. (There. A few Snausages. He’ll be fine for a few more paragraphs.)

As we drive to the store, I will crack the window and let him smell everything outside the car as we ride. His nose will add the tell tale streaks on the glass as he watches the world go by. I’ll see the streaks the next time I get in the car without him, and smile. I’ll tell myself I need to wash them off, but I know I won’t follow through with it.

I wrote the word ‘dog owner’ a few times above as way to describe myself, and it immediately felt awkward. It didn’t sound right because it’s inaccurate. Charlie found us, and we never “bought” him from anyone. I don’t think of myself as “owning” Charlie. He’s a part of the family, or more accurately, we belong to the same pack.

Our son Grant was playing outside our house with his friends, and Charlie strutted up to him, picked Grant out from all the other kids, and didn’t leave. The kids all played with him, but he hung out with Grant. It was the same later when he met the rest of the family.

He had a collar with a tag that said “Buddy,” and we called the number. He had gone missing three months earlier about 40 miles away. They told us they had already replaced him, and we could have him. They offered to mail us his papers — meaning his pedigree (they proudly announced he was AKC) — but never impressed with the papers or credentials of humans all that much, we didn’t see why having papers would make this good-hearted dog any more valuable to us than he already was, so we declined.

Grant renamed him Charlie. Being schooled in the art of incentives (at least in the human family), I set out to learn Charlies favorite things, and within days discovered Charlies’s incomparable talents as a ball retriever (only yellow tennis balls, I found out), singer, and cuddler. Like all dogs, he responds to treats and the imminent possibility of road travel. Come to think of it, my favorite people also hold travel and junk food in high regard, so maybe it is “a pack thing.”

I wrote the song with Charlie next to me. I thought of him in every verse. I’ve had many dogs in my 50 years, some of them very close to me, two of them were soul mates. When Moo Moo died, I cried in long, hard fits that left pieces of my soul in dregs along the backyard to where I buried her. Those pieces of me are still there.

But never have I connected to the soul of a dog like this moppy, gray haired barker at my feet. And never have I learned more from an animal.

But you know, they say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And maybe it’s me. Maybe I was getting in my way all along. Charlie was out there. Waiting. And when it seemed we were ready, he came loping up the street and made friends with Grant.

We thought he was just sniffing us out. But more likely he was saying, “Hey, let’s go on an adventure! With lotsa treats, tennis balls and road trips! It’ll be fun! And you just might learn something.”

OK, Charlie, ready to go “BYE BYE?” Oh, man. You should see him now. ha.

 

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VIDEO: Best marriage proposal ever

Isaac Lamb proposed to his girlfriend, Amy, in a very innovative way, and the video has gone viral.
Check out Isaac’s incredible proposal – set to Bruno Mars‘ “Marry You.”

CLICK ON THE PHOTO

 

When Isaac Lamb decided to propose to his girlfriend, Amy, he knew he wanted to do something over-the-top. but not even Amy was prepared for the elaborate proposal he staged with 60 of their closet friends and family members. The video went viral – and has already amassed almost 6 million views on YouTube at last count.

The video even got Bruno Mars’ stamp of approval!

Congrats to Isaac Lamb and the future Mrs.. I don’t think I could’ve made a better music video for this song. Thank youvimeo.com/42828824

 

Environmentally-Friendly Air Travel is Possible, and Here’s How

When one needs to travel a great distance and they want to get there in the most efficient way possible, they will generally book an airline ticket and fly. Aviation has revolutionized how people and goods are moved, but at a significant cost of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that it’s possible to fly in an eco-friendly way, and below we will share a few easy tips for your next flight.

Check for a Modernized Fleet

Newer aircraft are significantly more aerodynamic and fuel efficient than their elder counterparts, so whenever possible it’s best to fly on the airline with the newer fleet. Airlines take pride in their aircraft, so a quick check on an airline’s website or an online search will tell you the average age of the fleet and perhaps even the airplanes that fly your route.

All-Economy Seating is More Eco-Friendly

A number of airlines throughout the world are flying with a majority of “single class” cabins, which eliminate the necessities of business and first-class seating in order to get more passengers on the airplane. These aircraft will still use the same amount of fuel, but the amount of fuel used per-passenger decreases, and fewer flights are required to move the same amount of people. If you’re flying economy, look for a “single class” flight.

Fly Direct Whenever Possible

The closest distance between two points is a straight line, so if it fits within your schedule and budget it’s best to fly directly to your destination. Stopovers and additional flight time create enormous amounts of additional pollution, as does the higher volume of fuel consumption required for takeoffs and landings.

Leave Unnecessary Materials at Home

Most airlines have begun to charge exorbitant fees for checked baggage, with some going as far as to charge passengers for carry-on bags stowed in overhead bins. The simple solution to save both money and fuel is to avoid bringing anything you don’t need with you on your flight. If you have paper materials, try to see if they can be printed at your destination and make use of local cleaners to reduce the amount of clothing you need.

Following the steps above will help keep your “carbon footprint” to a minimum whilst traveling throughout the skies. For those that fly regularly and would like to go one step further, organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund offer carbon offsets which can be purchased to fund projects such as tree planting initiatives. It might not seem like much, but every step taken is another toward a sustainable future.

Want to take your green living to the next level? Ethosource used cubicles are refurbished to look new, saving you money and reducing waste.

 

Here, Take my Wallet; a Cynic’s Guide to Travel

Do you ever get tired of having to chain your wallets to your belt to keep from getting hosed?

My wife and I are off tomorrow for a long deserved vacation at my favorite beach spot, which shall remain nameless, but you will all probably recognize.  We live near San Francisco; I have all my life, and have no illusion that there are banditos in every major city and vacation area we have ever been in.  I would say that it’s global, but there are places that they cut people’s hands off for that kind of thing, I just have never been there.

Having been a road warrior and international vacationer for 30+ years, and my wife been in corporate travel management almost as long, it seems like we’ve been screwed by just about every nationality from Cabo to Rome to Boston and back home.

This trip will be no different, were just getting smarter.  Last time we were down, we reserved a car from National, Paid the liability insurance, and arrived at the desk to pick up our car to be informed (again, it happens every year) that we were required to take their collision insurance as well.  This raised the price of our “economy” car from $16 a day to $45 a day.  $29 a day for insurance?  How is it that I can insure two $35,000 + cars in a major metropolitan area for less than $7 a day for two people, but in my favorite not so little resort area it costs $29 to insure a freeking five year old  Volkswagen Jetta?  Gotcha!

I tried my usual offer to the manager to leave a deposit on my credit card, which has worked for the last 30 years.  No dice.  They apparently have now unionized.  I looked at all the discount offers on the internet and they are all the same.  They offer really cheap car rates, then tack on the extra fees much the way airlines have started charging for bags.  To add insult to injury, to avoid the bandits at the airport we decided to take a transfer to our time-share, and then get a car a few days later from the concierge.  They now have a National Rent-a-Car in the lobby (it is a Sheraton property) and the car that the thieves at the airport wanted $45 a day for, is now being pimped for $65 a day.  Being that we have two golf courses, 6 pools, 3 restaurants,  two small stores with relatively reasonable prices, and we are bringing enough of our own food for several meals, I think we can whale watch for 3 or 4 days and then rent a car to go through the tourist corridor to have our Cheeseburger in Paradise next to Sammy Hagar’s joint.  We can get enough snorkeling in before we leave, and return home with the usual stories of the Marlin that got away.

Since we will be returning the car full to avoid their $10 a gallon surcharge, we will have the wonderful experience of the gas station once again.  Not only are you not allowed to pump your own gas, got forbid there is ANY action that does not involve at least three layers of tipping; there is always the payment game.  It is absolutely imperative to watch the gas pump.  Somehow if you don’t, your Jetta miraculously needed 30 gallons of gas in a 20 gallon tank.  No I am not confusing liters for gallons, I can do the math.

When you pay in the local currency the exchange rate is usually pretty simple, like 10:1.  If it is supposed to be 11.5:1, you still get 10.  Not a huge problem.  In several countries the denominations of bills are suspiciously colored for similar denominations.  In this case a 500 is the same color as a 50.  Be very very careful when you hand a 500 to someone, you make him acknowledge that you have indeed handed him the 500.  I’ve had this one pulled on me on three continents.  They take the red 500, go back to the cash register (always out of eye shot) and come back and hold out a 50 and tell you that indeed, that was what you had given them.  Easy 450 for them, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.

I’ve had two camera bags actually cut off of my person, or someone I was with.  They come up behind you on a Vespa motorcycle, silent and small, slice the strap, grab, and are gone.  They don’t even have to slow down much to do it.  I’ve been pick-pocketed by a five year old while stopped to give a supposedly dying old lady a dollar.  We’ve endured the slums of Mumbai and Bangalore and grossly physically deformed beggars in Bahia del Salvador.   I’ve had a knife pulled on me near Haight-Ashbury in my own home town.  Has that ever stopped me from travelling? No, I just have become a bit more cautious in my old age.

Enough of my whining.  It’s time to pack my tequila, salt, and ice chest so I can be sipping from my $18 quart bottle of Hornitos while I watch the bloated turistos from Milwaukee drinking their $10 watered down margaritas by the pool.  I fear we have watched far too much Tony Bourdain to not have become somewhat jaded.

 

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What’s the Deal with the Northern Lights?

You see them displayed in Christmas movies as a phenomenon of the North Pole. But the Aurora Borealis, as they are scientifically referred to, are actually visible from areas of the earth much farther south than the north pole. If you want to enjoy the beauty and wonder that is the Northern Lights, here are a few interesting things you should know:

  1. The name Aurora comes from the name of the Roman goddess of dawn.
  2. An Aurora in northern latitudes are called aurora borealis (northern lights). An Aurora in the southern latitudes are called aurora australis (southern lights).
  3. The plural of aurora is aurorae.
  4. An aurora occurs when highly charged particles from space collide with atoms in the earth’s atmosphere. This makes the atoms excited, meaning they start moving at a rapid pace. The way they release this energy is to accelerate along the earth’s magnetic fields, which will emit the energy in the form of light.
  5. Solar flares are the most common occurrence that induces an aurora in the atmosphere.
  6. Solar wind is constantly blowing past the earth, contained in this wind are particles that agitate the atoms in our atmosphere. When the sun flares, the wind become stronger so aurorae are most likely to occur then
  7. Norther and southern aurorae mimic each other.
  8. From a distance, the aurora will appear as a greenish glow or even a faint red. From a closer location, the light can appear as a vivid green color.
  9. The green color is due to the emission of oxygen as the atoms begin to slow down from their excited state.
  10. Blue colors come from nitrogen atoms gaining an electron (becoming excited) and red colors occur when the nitrogen atom slows back down to it’s normal state.
  11. Often they look like a curtain of light in the sky that can change shape every few seconds, or even hold their shape. They can also emit it a simple reddish or greenish glow in the sky, without any movement at all.
  12. Aurorae can occur on other planets.
  13. The sun has an 11-year sunspot cycle during which sunspot activity first increases than decreases. Aurorae are most commonly seen at the peak of that cycle and during the three years afterwards because of the increased strength of solar wind produced. The last solar cycle started in January 2008. The max of this cycle is expected to hit in 2011 and 2012.
  14. Pictures taken by space ships of the aurora are even more amazing than what you can see from earth. NASA’s website has a good array of options.

About the Author

Natalie Clive is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers is a useful website that can help students find the best online universities where they can earn a college degree. Individuals with a college degree are more likely to have a higher quality of life.

 

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What Are the Most Difficult Languages to Learn?

The debate has raged for years what the most difficult language in the world is to learn. In trying to ascertain which language actually is most difficult, we need to establish firstly what your 1st learnt language is. For example, if you native language is English, you are going to struggle to learn Korean more than a Japanese person, as the languages share a number of characteristics. Often you will find in interpretation services that professionals often speak more than one language and the languages spoken will share common base qualities. In this discussion of difficult languages, you’ll also come across languages that are niche, or in many cases almost extinct, the most interesting case being the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island who do not welcome visitors of any kind often killing off those unfortunate to come across them! Many of readers of this article may have English as their native language and extensive research and opinions abound about which languages are the most difficult for them to learn, so that will form the basis for our discussion.

Asian languages are classified as being the most difficult languages to learn for a number of very daunting reasons. Mandarin and Cantonese for example require you to take into account a wide array of tonal options for different meanings, five in fact for each sounding word. Japanese is a difficult option to learn as a complete language as the written and spoken word has no relation to each other at all. Japanese also have 3 different written alphabets; Kana, Hiragana and Katakana, which all have very different purposes in the language. Katakana alone has over 20000 unique characters which are based on old Chinese symbols, which can only be learned through memorisation strategies.

Once we move out of the arena of Asian Languages, Arabic is high on many professionals lists as one of the most difficult languages to learn. Reasons behind this are that it has no links to any Germanic language system and dialects can often cause problems for language learners. The alphabet system has 20 symbols, but each one has four different forms, making them very difficult to understand as well as the spoken system focusing on the VSO organisation; meaning that the verbs come before the subjects and objects in a sentence. For this very reason there is a lucrative amount of professional translation work done with the amount of international business done in Arabic countries and its difficulty to learn.

Lastly languages of Finno-Ugric origins are some of the most difficult to learn and even make heads or tails of. Hungarian for example has 35 cases and is almost impossible to practice outside of Hungary. There are more exceptions than rules to the language and sentence structures for these languages have no Anglo or Germanic roots to speak of. Finnish has 15 noun cases and six verb types which can all be conjugated in multiple forms. The good news is that the written word is easily converted to the spoken word, and it sounds exactly like it should.

Sally Roberts is a freelance writer with a keen interest in diversity and difference. Through her articles she hopes to draw attention to the similarities and differences between people for happier coexistance.

 

Hang up and fly right: More evidence of in-flight interference

 

By Rob Lovitt, msnbc.com contributor

Maybe you really should turn off your cell phone when the flight attendant tells you to. No, really.

According to a confidential report obtained by ABC News, interference from cell phones and other personal electronic devices (PEDs) may, in fact, present serious safety concerns for aircraft.

The report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the global industry trade group, surveyed commercial pilots and crewmembers and cited 75 incidents in which the respondents believed PEDs may have created electronic interference that impacted flight systems.

Twenty-six incidents affected flight controls, while 17 affected navigation systems and 15 affected communication systems. Thirteen, says ABC, produced “engine indications” and other warnings. According to respondents, activated electronic devices caused GPS and altitude-control readings to read incorrectly and change rapidly.

Live Poll

Do you think cell phones and other PEDs interfere with flight controls?

“It could be that you were to the right of the runway when in fact, you were to the left of the runway,” Dave Carson of Boeing told ABC.

Although the report doesn’t confirm that the incidents were caused by PEDs, it does note that in several instances, instrument readings returned to normal after crewmembers made passengers turn off their devices.

“We can’t say categorically that these devices cause interference,” IATA spokesman Chris Goater told msnbc.com, “but there are enough anecdotal reports from pilots to raise the question.”

Finding that direct link may only get more difficult, especially as the number and variety of PEDs increase and airplanes rely more heavily on “fly-by-wire,” or electric systems that may be more susceptible to interference than the mechanical systems found in older planes.

“The upshot is that those PEDs emit energy that could interfere with the signals from the control column to the control surfaces,” said aviation safety consultant Steve Cowell of SRC Aviation LLC. “There’s quite a bit of shielding, but it’s also possible that it may not be enough.”

 

5 Things You Can Do To Make Wild Animals Hate You (That You Never Knew Were Cruel)

Most people love wild animals, especially when they visit your yard and let you have a flash of the wild from the comfort of your porch.

Unfortunately, a lot of the things that we do can end up hurting animals, even though we have the very best of intentions. Check out these five ways that you are being cruel when you try to be kind.

Feed Them (and Then Stop)

While feeding wild animals might seem like the best thing you can do to keep them happy and healthy, you need to remember that you are taking on a big responsibility. The animals may come to rely on you as a source of food, meaning that if you stop feeding them, they may have nowhere else to turn. This is especially harmful if the increased food supply has led to them having more babies than normal.

Use a Humane Trap (At the Wrong Time of Year)

Humane traps, such as those used in skunk relocation, are certainly a kind way to deal with nuisance animals, but only if you make sure not to use them during breeding seasons. If you time it wrong you could end up trapping a nursing mother. Even if you release her without moving her, the time that she spent in the trap and away from her babies could be a death sentence if they are very young. If you’re going to try skunk relocation, learn how to trap a skunk humanely first.

‘Rescue’ a Baby (When it Was Perfectly Fine)

Baby birds are piteous little creatures, and the sight of one out of its nest tugs at the heartstrings. The problem is, they often don’t need rescuing.

Baby birds leave the nest when they are learning to fly, and their parents continue to feed them while they are on the ground. When you ‘rescue’ the baby, all you are doing is moving it away from where the parents are coming to feed it. If the area is dangerous it is fine to move the bird onto a wall or under a bush, but otherwise, if the bird has feathers leave it alone. Birds that are obviously young can be put back in the nest if you can find it.

Feed Them (The Wrong Food)

Even if you only feed wild animals a small amount very occasionally, you can cause big problems if you feed them the wrong food. For example, bread and milk is definitely not suitable for hedgehogs and can make them quite sick. If you are going to feed wild animals make sure that you are leaving out something that will agree with their digestion.

Own a Cat (and Let it Outside)

Cats are hunters. It isn’t their fault, but it is in their nature. Cats kill countless birds, rodents and other small animals every day and have been implicated in the decline of songbird populations. At the very least, make sure your cat has a bell on its collar to give the animals the chance to get away.

Now that you know the effects of these practices, you can make sure that the effect that you have on your wild visitors is the one that you intended from the start.

Your next step should probably be learning more about skunk relocation or how to keep rabbits out of the garden humanely and safely, now that you know about wild animals. Post written by guest blogger Mike Ishman.

 

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