Nature and the Environment

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Permafrost Melting Releases Mercury 
Scientists have pointed to another hazard posed by climate change. Centuries of burning coal have loaded the Arctic permafrost with mercury pollution. When the permafrost melts, the mercury is released into the environment. The Washington Post reports: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/02/05/the-arctic-is-full-of-toxic-mercury-and-climate-change-is-going-to-release-it/?utm_term=.d902fb508e7b

Hoverflies May Spread Bee Diseases 
Scientists have, for the first time, detected viruses in hoverflies known to cause deadly diseases in bees. Hoverflies are also pollinators, but have significantly larger ranges than bees, so researchers are afraid the hoverflies may be spreading the diseases. The BBC has the story: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43200277

Flat Energy Demand Confounds Utilities 
Amidst the drama over coal vs. renewables, it has been little mentioned that America’s energy demand has gone flat. This has put some utility companies in a precarious position. Vox explains: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/2/27/17052488/electricity-demand-utilities

 

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Health, Fitness and Safety

Food Thought to Affect Cancer Spread 
Evidence is mounting that some cancers’ growth is increased by nutrients in certain common foods. Starved of those nutrients, malignancies in mice struggled to grow. The BBC provides the details: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42976851

Highly Processed Foods Linked to Cancer 
French researchers believe they have found a significant correlation between the consumption of highly processed foods, such as confections, snack foods, or sausage, and increased cancer rates. I imagine the food processing industry would like you to take these results with a large grain of gluten-free, sea salt. The BBC informs: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-43064290

Low-fat v. Low-carb: Same Result 
Researchers at Stanford tested the results of low-fat as opposed to low-carbohydrate diets for losing weight. In the end, it was calories consumed, not their origin, that determined whether weight was gained or lost. At the same time, the researchers tested whether the individuals’ metabolic genome had an effect. It didn’t, confounding some expectations. Ars Technica elaborates: https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/02/low-carb-vs-low-fat-both-led-to-12lb-loss-after-a-year-regardless-of-genes/

 

Travel and Photography

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Underwater Photographer Contest Winners 
The BBC shares a breathtaking gallery of winning photos from the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2018 competition: http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-43044592

OSU Produces Coral Reef Documentary 
Oregon State University has produced a feature-length, documentary film on the crisis facing the world’s coral reefs. While arranging public distribution is still a work in progress, the Oregonian provides insights into the film and its prospects: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2018/02/oregon_state_debuts_feature-le.html#incart_river_home

 

March Excursions

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

March 18
North Santiam, Greens Bridge to Jefferson – Class 1 Whitewater – length 3.5 ± miles
This is a nice, short run with which to shake the winter cobwebs out. Remember, the water is still cold, so bring appropriate equipment and provisions.
Jim Bradley
jim.cascadepaddlers@gmail.com

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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Kayaks on the Nehalem 
The Statesman Journal recently ran a photo essay, by Zach Urness, documenting a kayak adventure on the lower waters of the Nehalem River. You can find it here: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/picture-gallery/travel/outdoors/2018/01/08/nehalem-river-kayak/109284694/

From Germany to Australia by Kayak in the 1930’s 
It is an amazing tale: From 1932 to 1939, Oskar Speck paddled his folding kayak solo, from the Danube river to the northern tip of Australia. The story is harrowing, colorful, and illuminating. Though not a particularly sympathetic character, Speck is amazingly focused and determined, while his adventures highlight a pivotal moment in history. Vanity Fair has the story: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/01/from-nazi-germany-to-australia-the-incredible-true-story-of-historys-longest-kayak-journey

Yoga for Paddling-Related Low-Back Pain 
While kayak seats have gotten much better in recent years, kayakers still often report low-back pain after paddling. Adventure Kayak magazine has a highly-touted yoga exercise to address the problem: https://www.rapidmedia.com/adventurekayak/categories/skills/8887-yoga-for-paddling-must-do-pose-for-paddlers-with-low-back-pain

 

Nature and the Environment

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Lawsuit Threat Halts Fed’s Beaver Killing 
The USDA’s Wildlife Services has suspended a program, said to kill “beavers, river otters, muskrats and minks in Oregon”, in response to a notice of intent to sue, by environmental organizations. The Oregonian has the details: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2018/01/federal_government_suspends_be.html#incart_river_index

Coral Reefs Under Plastic Assault 
Along with ocean acidification and warming waters, it has now been shown that coral reefs are besieged by plastics, as well. Studying reefs around the world, researchers found that the increased presence of plastic debris greatly increased the rates of disease in reefs. Science magazine provides coverage: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6374/460.full

Ocean Life Suffocating from Oxygen Depletion 
Worldwide, marine ecosystems are being decimated by low oxygen levels, killing organisms both large and small. The depletion is being caused by warmer temperatures, which reduce dissolved oxygen, meanwhile increasing metabolic rates, and oxygen demand, by sea creatures. It’s a global warming double-whammy that threatens entire marine ecosystems. The Smithsonian reports: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/why-our-oceans-are-starting-suffocate-180967746/

Recycling Piling Up in US as China Turns It Away 
If you missed the news, China started rejecting a number of recycling waste products from the US at the start of the year. The Statesman looks at what that means, locally: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2018/01/16/paper-plastic-piling-up-across-oregon-china-refuses-take-u-s-recycling/929270001/

 

Health, Fitness and Safety

More Fiber Equals Less Weight 
Most Americans don’t get much more than half of the fiber they should. An interesting statistical revelation is that as fiber consumption goes up, obesity goes down. The Atlantic has the story: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/01/just-eat-more-fiber/550082/

Your Brain on Sugar 
Sugar’s effects on the brain involve many structures and a variety of processes, resulting in altered perception and cognition. The story isn’t pretty, but it is, ahem, food for thought. The Age explains: http://www.theage.com.au/interactive/2017/what-sugar-does-to-your-brain/

Sugar Additive Helps Create Superbugs 
The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been linked to trehalose, a sugar commonly added to prepared foods. Trehalose use has grown dramatically, since a cheap process for making it appeared at the turn of the century. A concomitant rise in drug-resistant bacteria appears to be the consequence. The Los Angeles Times reports: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-sugar-c-diff-20180103-story.html

 

Paddlesports, Outdoors and Wildlife

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New Willamette River Campsite in Yamhill Co. 
Riverside property donated to the Willamette Riverkeeper in Yamhill County will host a low-impact, river-access only campsite in the coming months. The Statesman has the details: http://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2017/12/15/new-water-trail-campsite-sit-donated-land-along-willamette-river/945493001/

Riverfront Park Master Plan Survey 
Stephanie Hazen informs us the City of Salem is once again soliciting public input on a master plan for a city park. This time it is for the prominent Riverfront Park, adjacent to the downtown. Both an online survey and public meetings provide opportunities for input. You can find a link to the survey, as well as a listing of the upcoming meetings, which start January 18, here: https://www.cityofsalem.net/riverfront-park#masterplan

Cedar Canoe Blog 
As most of you know, Current Reading is hosted, free, by WordPress, (hence the ads). Another blog with a paddling theme you might find interesting comes out of the adventures of a couple from the Netherlands. As you probably gathered, a beautiful cedar-strip canoe is central to their excursions, many of which take place in America. Find their site, here: https://thecedarjournal.com/

 

Nature and the Environment

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Fake Organic Food Floods Market 
It appears the chances are all too good that foods in the market labeled organic were not produced to certification standards. To get the higher prices organic produce demands, some providers of produce have found devious ways to misrepresent their products, and cash in. The Oregonian reports: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2017/12/the_dirt_on_organic_food_you_m.html#incart_river_index

Work on First High Seas Conservation Treaty Begins 
The United Nations has begun the process of negotiating a treaty to cover conservation of the high seas. While oceans worldwide are under threat from human activities, only a very small percentage have any legal protections. The UN is now attempting to wrangle out a treaty which would provide some protections to the remainder. The Smithsonian has the story: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/un-begins-negotiating-first-conservation-treaty-high-seas-180967644/

Marine Board’s Foam Encapsulation Rules Under Review 
The Oregon State Marine Board is considering changes to their rules regarding encapsulated foam, a product frequently used for flotation in aquatic environments. For information on the specific rule language, a February 21 public hearing, and how to submit written testimony, visit this public notice page: http://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/info/Pages/Rulemaking-and-Public-Notices.aspx