December Excursions

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

December 30 
Willamette River – Run to be determined
We’ll check conditions, and choose a short, local run based on circumstances. Time to get some fresh air and a little space, after the holiday crush.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

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Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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Marine Board Seeks Comment on Newberg Pool Rules 
The Oregon State Marine Board is proposing new rules governing boat operation on the Newberg Pool, a heavily-trafficked section of the Willamette, popular for a variety of recreational activities. You can learn more about their proposal, here: http://geo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=31a3ea9d9319409591bdbe1479b2cda4

The board is soliciting written public comments regarding this proposal, which may be submitted in email form, prior to January 13, 5:00 pm, here: osmb.rulemaking@oregon.gov

Alternatively, on January 9 you can testify in person at the Wilsonville Public Library, 8200 SW Wilsonville Rd. in Wilsonville, in the facility’s Rose Room, from noon to 7:00 pm. Agency staff will be on hand to receive your comments.

Nature and the Environment

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Seagrass: The Ideal Carbon Sink?
Seagrass, already a key element in many aquatic ecosystems, has been found to be one of the most efficient biological systems in sequestering carbon. Unfortunately, seagrass is recoiling in many areas as a consequence of human activity. The Smithsonian has the good/bad news: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/underwater-meadows-seagrass-could-be-ideal-carbon-sinks-180970686/

Wind and Solar Cost Less Than Coal and Gas 
Once again this year, renewable energy sources continued to beat coal and gas on the bottom line. Despite questionable priorities and policies coming out of Washington DC, renewable energy is beating traditional sources on the ground, in the all-important area of cost. Ars Technica has the story: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2018/11/new-year-same-story-cost-of-wind-and-solar-fall-below-cost-of-coal-and-gas/

Additionally, Reuters informs us that fully 40 percent of the world’s coal plants are now unprofitable: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-coal/more-than-40-percent-of-world-coal-plants-are-unprofitable-report-idUSKCN1NZ00B?utm_source=reddit.com

Heatwaves Thought to Reduce Insect Fertility 
Insect populations are taking a dive, worldwide. The potential consequences are enormous. The disruptions to food webs could cause ecosystems to collapse. The loss of pollinators points to potentially massive crop failures. The reasons for the decline remain mysterious, but recent research is pointing to the increasing incidence of heatwaves as one likely culprit. The Smithsonian explains: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/heatwaves-may-dramatically-reduce-insect-fertility-180970819/

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

The Link Between Parkinson’s and the Appendix 
Increasingly, researchers are finding associations between conditions in the gut and maladies in other organs, such as the brain. Some researchers have now advanced the hypothesis that the appendix might play a key role in the development of Parkinson’s disease. Gizmodo fills in the details: https://gizmodo.com/scientists-find-link-between-parkinsons-disease-and-the-1830127056

The Costs of Obesity, Recalculated 
It’s a little hard to put an exact figure on the costs of a health crisis. Nevertheless, a new study from the Milken Institute tries to do just that. The figure they arrived at is staggering; the estimated cost to the US of obesity is $1.72 trillion, annually. More details can be found in Ars Technica’s coverage: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/11/a-new-eye-wateringly-high-estimate-of-the-cost-of-obesity-in-the-us/

Effective Chronic Pain Treatments Overlooked 
While tradition-based, medical treatments for pain have spawned a wave of opioid addiction and huge social costs, psychological treatments for pain are often dismissed. That’s unfortunate, because techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy have shown real efficacy in helping patients manage pain, without dangerous medications. Vox outlines the situation, here: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/5/17/17276452/chronic-pain-treatment-psychology-cbt-mindfulness-evidence

 

Travel and Photography

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Listen In On Orcas 
A new app lets you listen in on Puget Sound Orcas for fun and science. Hydrophones planted in the sound are being used to monitor the endangered Southern resident pods, and determine their movements and habits. By using the app, you can possibly contribute to that effort. The Smithsonian explains: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/listen-orca-chatter-new-app-180970793/

Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2018 
The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards of 2018 are out, and the BBC has an amusing gallery of the winners: https://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-46302730

Astronomy Photo Awards 2018 
Naturally enough, things are looking up at the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards. Here, with the story and a gallery of breathtaking photos, is Ars Technica: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/11/some-good-came-out-of-2018-astronomy-photos/

 

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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Wooden Halibut Hooks Still Catching Fish 
Of course, paddlesports as we know them owe a great deal to the craft used by the Native Peoples of North America. Part of the lore of these traditional designs surrounds their use, for both transportation and obtaining food. Whether harvesting rice, hunting seals, or trading, canoes and kayaks were essential to native lifestyles. The Smithsonian has an article on the handcrafted, wooden fishing hooks used even today in Alaska, to catch halibut: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/revival-traditional-indigenous-wooden-halibut-hook-alaska-180970623/

OSMB Legislative Concepts Video 
The marine board is back to promote their legislative concepts package for the 2019 legislative session, this time with a video. In it, the agency’s new director pitches the various aspects of their proposals. The video’s treatment of the access permit proposal is brief, and adds little to what is already known, but a more comprehensive video on the topic is promised for the future. The portion of the video dedicated to the access account proposal begins at about 6:50: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ueGzt-ZazE&feature=youtu.be

Illuminata Regatta Set for December 15 
The winter solstice version of the regatta is set for the evening of December 15, though details only appear to be available to Facebook users. This is the link I was given, but cannot vouch for: https://www.facebook.com/nd/?groups%2F193754833982135%2Fpermalink%2F2152026258154973%2F&aref=1540009827624444&medium=email&mid=578a139c2ae0fG5af34fcc71fbG578a17ab9e5fcG96&bcode=2.1540009974.AbyuvlRVJdv2bHZCsoQ&n_m=stephaniehazen17%40gmail.com

 

Nature and the Environment

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Microplastics Found In Human Waste 
It should come as little surprise, with microplastics showing up virtually everywhere, including table salt, a new pilot study has found microplastics in the stool of all the subjects tested. The study was small, both in the number of subjects and in geographic range, but it gives cause for concern, as the Smithsonian reports: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/microplastics-found-lurking-human-stool-first-time-180970613/

EPA Acts to Reduce Willamette Cleanup Area 
The Environmental Protection Agency has taken steps to shrink the area of the Willamette in Portland subject to a mandated cleanup under the Portland Harbor Superfund. The Oregonian has the details of the effort and its rationale: https://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2018/10/epa_moves_to_shrink_willamette.html#incart_river_index

New EPA Plans Said to Threaten Public Health 
New rules proposed by the Scott Pruitt EPA are causing alarm for their potential to negatively impact public health. Obscure and ambiguous language in the Strengthening Transparency In Regulatory Science Rule advanced by the agency has the potential to upend efforts aimed at protecting the public. Mother Jones has the story: https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2018/10/the-epas-bold-new-idea-massive-implications-public-health/

Insect Numbers Crashing Worldwide 
Our six-legged friends may not get a lot of love, but they are absolutely critical to food webs and ecosystems. In recent years, scientists have been tracking alarming declines in insects, and the wildlife they sustain, across the world. LMTonline has a take on the troubling situation: https://www.lmtonline.com/news/article/Hyperalarming-study-shows-massive-insect-loss-13308742.php

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

ICU Delirium and Subsequent Dementia 
A strong correlation has been found to exist between visits to the emergency room and the later development of dementia. It seems the trauma of the experience can be overwhelming, and doctors are looking to understand the implications. Research is ongoing, and NPR would like to bring you up-to-date: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/10/10/654445929/when-icu-delirium-leads-to-symptoms-of-dementia-after-discharge

Artificial Sweeteners Found Toxic to Gut Bacteria 
If you wanted direct evidence that artificial sweeteners mess with your guts, this would seem to be it. Researchers found that six common artificial sweeteners were toxic to gut bacteria, when administered at low concentrations. CNBC has the details: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/03/artificial-sweeteners-are-toxic-to-digestive-gut-bacteria-study.html

The Feldenkrais Method: A Prescription for Back Pain? 
The Feldenkrais Method, a system of exercises many have found helpful in living with back pain, is the topic of an informative Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/a-different-way-to-relieve-years-of-back-pain/2018/09/27/f3e663f4-b505-11e8-a2c5-3187f427e253_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c47ed113195e

6 Pressure Points to Relieve Anxiety 
Acupressure is often helpful in assuaging the symptoms of anxiety. Healthline offers a guide to some basic acupressure techniques you may find helpful: https://www.healthline.com/health/pressure-points-for-anxiety

 

Travel and Photography

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Wildlife Photographer of the Year 
The Natural History Museum has awarded its 2018 Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, and the BBC has some nice, selected coverage, as well as a link to the NHM site: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45870218

Year’s Best Microscopy Images 
The folks at Nikon like to get small this time of year, with their annual microscopy photo competition. This year’s winners, once again, give stunning insights into the world around us. Ars Technica elaborates: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/10/the-beauty-of-small-things-a-sampling-of-microscopy-contest-winners/

Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards
‘Tis the season for photography awards, and the Smithsonian has a selection of photos to share from the 23rd annual Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice Awards: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/peer-through-lens-worlds-best-nature-photographers-180970612/

Rare Footage of a Dumbo Octopus 
Researchers operating a drone in the deep waters off the coast of California managed to capture some exquisite footage of a Dumbo octopus, in an unexpected videographic coup. The Smithsonian will fill you in: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/see-rare-footage-elusive-ethereal-dumbo-octopus-180970645/

 

November Excursions

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

November 18
Willamette River, Social Sec. Park to Salem – Class A+ – length 7 miles
— or —
Willamette River, Wallace Park to Keizer Rapids – Class A+ – length 3.5 miles
We’ll check conditions, and adjust plans accordingly. Time to get out and clear some calories before Thursday’s feast.
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com