Salem’s resident sternwheeler, the Willamette Queen, has had the U. S. Coast Guard restrict its passenger carrying due to the lack of an out-of-water hull inspection. The Queen, which makes its home at Salem’s Riverfront Park, has struggled to meet the requirement for such inspections for years. In the past, water levels on the Willamette River that would allow passage to Portland, where dry dock facilities allow such inspection, made passage under bridges a problem. While the vessel’s owner/operator, Captain Richard Chesbrough, was able to negotiate the trip before, the closing of the locks at Oregon City has rendered the trip impossible. Efforts to find a solution are on-going. The Statesman Journal explains: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2015/03/03/coast-guard-pulls-willamette-queen-sternwheelers-paperwork-over-inspection/24309037/
National Geographic has announced the People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year for 2015 as 68-year-old, Polish kayaker Aleksander Doba. From October 5, 2013 to April 19, 2014 Doba (then 67) paddled on a record-setting 7,716-mile odyssey across the Atlantic. You can find the announcement of the award here: http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-year/2015/vote/
More interestingly, you can find the story of Doba’s epic journey, here: http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-year/2015/aleksander-doba/
The Deschutes River in Bend has been bent to the civic will for quite some time. That has turned the river’s course into Mirror Pond along Drake Park, and the waters just upstream of the pond have long been obstructed by the dangerous low-head Colorado Dam. Now the city of Bend is rebuilding the dam to permit passage for recreationists and fish. Part of the plan includes a whitewater course, leading to new recreation and competitive event possibilities for the area. Work should be completed by late 2015, but the waterway will be closed to traffic until the work is complete. The Oregonian has more: http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2015/01/bend_parks_and_recreation_buil.html#incart_river
It sounds like an ’80s social venue, but the “disco clam”, Ctenoides ales, gets it name from the dazzling light show it puts on to discourage predators. You can see the dancing lights and get more information about this strange bivalve, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science: http://news.sciencemag.org/plants-animals/2015/01/disco-clam-lights-scare-predators-away
Archaeological excavations in Istanbul, Turkey have shed new light on the history of marine architecture. Wrecks from the fifth to eleventh centuries have been unearthed in a former port of what was then Constantinople. Scientists have been intrigued to find that the technology used in building the ships was more advanced than expected. Both sail-powered craft and galleys were discovered, the latter being, “notably the first shipwrecks of this type discovered from the Byzantine period.” You can learn more at Live Science: http://www.livescience.com/49272-byzantine-shipwrecks-turkey-shipbuilding-history.html
Evidence is mounting that most e-readers and tablets, those with backlights, interfere with sleep. Several studies have found a correlation between exposure to blue wavelengths of light and subjects having trouble going to sleep. Data also point to blue light exposure altering the circadian rhythms that set the body’s clock. To be fair, this has also been voiced as a concern regarding high-Kelvin fluorescent lights, which also emit significant amounts of blue light. It has generally been cautioned that exposure to such wavelengths should be limited after sunset.
It should also be noted that some e-readers, such as some models of Kindle, do not have backlights. It is not thought that these create a problem, because the light they have been found to reflect is redder, (though one might presume this is at least somewhat dependent on the light source in use).
Ars Technica has a nice summary of the latest data: http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/12/e-readers-and-tablets-really-do-seem-to-alter-your-sleep-schedule/
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, studying epigenetic changes in test subjects’ DNA, uncovered alterations in gene expression that affect the propensity for Type-2 diabetes and obesity, due to exercise. This helps to define and underscore the benefits of regular exercise, like paddling. SciTech Daily has the details: http://scitechdaily.com/regular-exercise-induces-changes-in-dna/
Nothing quite says “Christmas” like a proliferation of coffee table books coming out. Naturally, the range of subjects is broad, but to help you weed out those most appropriate to paddlers, here are some recent offerings:
Fifty Places to Paddle Before You Die — If you’re looking for suggestions to add to that bucket list, or you just like beautiful photographs of delightful paddling destinations, this might be a good choice. It’s from an Oregon author, too: http://www.abramsbooks.com/Books/Fifty_Places_to_Paddle_Before_You_Die-9781617691256.html
Field Guide to Oregon Rivers — Published by Oregon State University, this is a comprehensive guide to 120 waterways, throughout the state. Whether floating, fishing or otherwise frolicking in or adjacent to Oregon’s rivers, this should prove a useful resource: http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/field-guide-to-oregon-rivers
Melting Away — Probably the most coffee-table-ish of these offerings, the photos herein reflect Camille Seaman’s decade-long quest to document the changes befalling the world’s polar regions. Perhaps reminiscent of the film, Chasing Ice, the book displays some of the effects of a world climate spinning out of balance: http://www.papress.com/html/book.details.page.tpl?isbn=9781616892609
While it may seem to defy reason that one would need a permit to visit the outdoors, such is the reality of the world in which we live. It may, then, come as some consolation that several permits issued by the state can be had at a discount, if you act quickly. Zach Urness at the Statesman has more: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/travel/outdoors/2014/12/06/five-deals-outdoor-permits/19788995/
It should hardly come as a surprise that much of the American History you learned in school was sanitized and spun to serve the party line. From editorial tweaks to Nathan Hale’s speech from the gallows, to a young George Washington’s fabled toss of a then-nonexistent coin, to politically-inspired mischaracterizations of Shays’ and the Whisky Rebellions, it should be clear some liberties have been taken in educating our citizens. In some cases, the distortion field created by these historical revisions can lead to a very skewed view of our past.
Thanksgiving, it would appear, is one such event-turned-fable. In a brief departure from the usual focus of this publication on matters related to paddlesport, I offer you Talking Points Memorandum’s take on this timely matter: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/it-s-long-past-time-to-update-the-thanksgiving-myth