January Excursions

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January 19
Willamette River, Wallace Park to Keizer Rapids – Class A+ – length 3.5 miles
Start the New Year right, with a quick run on our local, major river. It will probably be cold, so bring plenty of gear and provisions. Getting even light hypothermia this time of year can lead to real consequences.
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

Paddlesports and the Outdoors

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5 Free Days In National Parks for 2020 
If you’d like to recreate in any of our national parks, and skip the entry fees, there are five days in 2020 in which you may do so. The first one is January 20, and the Oregonian can fill you in on the rest: https://www.oregonlive.com/travel/2019/12/national-parks-will-be-free-for-5-days-in-2020.html

New Boating Laws for 2020 
The big news for Oregon paddlers in new legislation for 2020 is the Waterway Access Permit, which has been covered here, before. It supersedes the invasive species prevention permit, at a multiple of the cost, and is required for most paddle craft. But that is hardly the only new legislation effecting boaters in 2020, and the Oregon State Marine Board has a rundown of the specifics, here (PDF format): https://click.mlsend.com/link/c/YT0xMzE5ODQ4MDY4MjU3OTQ1NTIwJmM9bzR2NSZlPTE5MjgmYj0zMDUwNzU0NjgmZD12NGkxdzJ6.fODhbo9aXh_9sZZrmNkh3uK-IH-1bkTmW_VJ0YUprIE

 

Nature and the Environment

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Mystery Freshwater Mussel Die-off 
Across North America, freshwater mussels are dying in hordes. The reasons are unclear, despite investigations and testing. The services mussels perform in freshwater ecosystems are vital, their loss could wreak destruction on water quality and biodiversity. The Smithsonian elaborates: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-dont-know-why-freshwater-mussels-are-dying-across-north-america-180973802/

Forest Fragmentation Endangers Wildlife 
As development sprawls across the landscape, once-large, contiguous forests are getting carved into smaller and more disconnected fragments. This can be a death sentence for sensitive species. The New York Times examines the situation: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/05/science/forests-fragmentation-wildlife.html

Wildfire Feedback Loop Modeling 
Researchers are developing powerful new software tools to predict the behavior of wildfires. This stands to have substantial benefits for fire fighting safety and effectiveness. Ars Technica explains the developments: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/12/scientists-model-dynamic-feedback-loop-that-fuels-the-spread-of-wildfires/

National Parks Face Invasive Species Crisis 
Invasive animal species are creating big problems in many of our national parks. From pythons, to feral pigs, to lake trout, the invaders are decimating native populations and devastating ecosystems. The BBC has a report: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50633580

West Coast Ocean Acidifying Twice as Fast 
The marine environment on the West Coast of the U.S. is experiencing much more rapid acidification than the world at large. This could have dramatic impacts on sea life and commercial fisheries. The Oregonian looks at the story: https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2019/12/ocean-waters-off-west-coast-acidifying-at-twice-the-rate-of-global-average-noaa-researcher-finds.html

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Air Pollution Linked to Depression and Suicide 
The analysis of global records has shown a pronounced association between levels of air pollution and the mental health issues of depression and suicide. Indeed, polluted air is coming under scrutiny for a range of suspected negative impacts on people and their health. The Guardian has the details: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/18/depression-and-suicide-linked-to-air-pollution-in-new-global-study

Human Intelligence – Threatened By CO2?
In all the preceding millennia of human existence, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been considerably lower than today. Now, researchers are asking whether the levels of CO2 we are breathing might be effecting intelligence, a topic The Atlantic explores: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/12/carbon-dioxide-pollution-making-people-dumber-heres-what-we-know/603826/

Flu Vaccine Sparks Immune System Attack on Tumors 
Working off clues provided by other research, scientists recently tried injecting flu vaccine into malignant tumors. The result was that the immune system was incited to attack the tumor. Ars Technica has more on this encouraging development: https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/12/injecting-the-flu-vaccine-into-a-tumor-gets-the-immune-system-to-attack-it/

 

Travel, Photography and Animals

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2019 British Ecological Society Photo Winners 
The BBC has a selection of striking photos from the BES’s contest, featuring scenes from around the world: https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-50602795

Footloose Photographer Gets Rare Wildlife Images
Roie Galitz ranges the planet taking photos of reclusive wildlife. The Smithsonian features some of his engaging work: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/photographer-goes-ends-earth-capture-rarely-viewed-animals-180973872/

National Geographic’s Best 2019 Photos 
The magazine has compiled a rather long and diverse set of images for its collection. You can find it here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/best-pictures-2019/

Cute! Baby! Rhino! 
The Whipsnade Zoo recently celebrated the arrival of a greater one-horned rhinoceros calf. The little girl is cute as a button, as this BBC’s coverage proves: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/50823834

 

Paddlesports and the Outdoors

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Kayakers Rescue Pilot at Washington Lake 
When a small plane went down in King County’s Lake Morton, local kayakers came to the stricken pilot’s rescue. The Oregonian has the story: https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/2019/11/pilot-rescued-by-kayakers-after-small-plane-lands-in-washington-lake.html

Man Rescues Dog, Together They Paddle the Sea 
It is generally not recommended that pets be taken paddling, but little Nirvana gives new meaning to the old term “sea dog”. Watch the video at Paddling Magazine to enjoy this charming story: https://paddlingmag.com/videos/man-saves-dog-and-they-paddle-across-the-ocean-together/

In 1938 Two Women Botanists Ran the Grand Canyon 
While it is little remembered today, the 1938 expedition was both widely celebrated and historic in its import, both in more than one way. I’ll let Atavist Magazine fill you in: https://magazine.atavist.com/the-wild-ones-grand-canyon-colorado-river-first-women

 

Nature and the Environment

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Slowing Ships to Fight Climate Change 
Recent studies indicate that placing speed limits on ships could result in a great reduction in the production of greenhouse gases, worldwide. Additional environmental benefits also accrue, such as reduced noise in marine ecosystems and fewer collisions with whales. The BBC explains: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50348321

Oregon Dams Among Nation’s Unsafe 
An Associated Press investigation has found 22 Oregon dams, among the almost 1,700 they cataloged around the country, that are at risk of failure. Four of those are rated in the worst risk category. The Oregonian has the concerning news: https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/11/oregon-dams-among-more-than-1600-at-risk-nationally-ap-investigation-finds.html

PSU Study Finds Microplastics in Oregon Shellfish 
Researchers at Portland State University sampled razor clams and oysters from the Oregon coast for microplastics. In analyzing 300 shellfish, only two samples were found with no microplastics. The Oregonian elaborates: https://www.oregonlive.com/environment/2019/11/psu-study-finds-microplastics-in-majority-of-razor-clams-and-oysters-collected-on-oregon-coast.html

Invisible “Barcodes” May Revolutionize Recycling 
A big part of the recycling burden is sorting the items recycled, in order to place them in the proper recycling streams. New label watermarking and scanning technology gives promise that machines may soon be much better able to shoulder that burden. The BBC has the story: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/business-50335737/could-invisible-barcodes-revolutionise-recycling

Germany: Leaf Blowers Fatal to Insects 
Germany’s Ministry for the Environment has cautioned that leaf blowers pose a threat to already imperiled insect populations. This, in addition to other impacts on the environment, has led the ministry to caution against use of the devices, except when “indispensable”. The BBC offers coverage: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50431827

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

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Surveying Treatments for Arthritic Knees 
The Washington Post takes a deeper look at the issues surrounding treatments for osteoarthritis, with a focus on non-surgical alternatives. So, if your knees hurt, take a look at this: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/suffering-from-bad-knees-some-look-for-alternatives-to-surgery/2019/11/15/d286d862-dfd7-11e9-be96-6adb81821e90_story.html

Plastic Lining of Sewer Pipes a Health Concern 
Across our nation, much of our communities’ infrastructure was developed in the post-WWII era. A great deal of that infrastructure is now in serious decay. Sewer pipes laid decades ago are now breaking down, and leaky. To combat the problem, many systems maintainers are turning to cured-in-place plastic liners to renew their sewer pipes. Unfortunately, evidence is mounting that this strategy can result in serious health impacts, as Scientific American explains: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/health-concerns-mount-as-more-old-sewer-pipes-are-lined-with-plastic1/

Hospitals Increasingly Under Siege from Malware 
A quiet crisis is gripping our nation’s healthcare system: burgeoning malware attacks targeting patient and hospital records, as well as digital systems and equipment. ZDnet provides an overview: https://www.zdnet.com/article/malware-attacks-on-hospitals-are-rising-fast-and-the-problem-is-about-to-get-a-lot-worse/

 

Travel, Photography and Animals

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An Oregon Coastal, Fall Sunset 
The Oregonian sent photographer Jamie Hale to Cape Meares to capture an autumn sunset. The result is worth a look: https://www.oregonlive.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/11/ad830a29531463/see-a-beautiful-fall-sunset-over-cape-meares-beach-photos.html

Dutch Windmill Returns to Artisanal Roots 
An interesting story comes of a rehabilitated, classic Dutch windmill, which now produces specialty flour for artisanal bread makers. The BBC will fill you in, with a video of the operation: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20191114-the-dutch-windmill-making-artisanal-bread

 

December Excursions

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TERMS, CONDITIONS, DISCLAIMERS AND WAIVERS CAN BE FOUND ON THE “ABOUT” PAGE.

December 15
Willamette River, Social Sec. Park to Salem – Class A+ – length 7 miles
Favorable conditions are forecast, so let’s try this short run for a short day. Wide vistas largely define this trip, with a few interesting backwaters, and Rickreal Creek thrown in. We will stop for lunch, so bring ample provisions.
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com