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Todd Hymas Samkara's Posts

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Frog hunters and soccer stars of the Ukraine, unite!

Merely an excuse to mention the World Cup.

I'd been trying to find an excuse to mention the World Cup here, other than the Green Goal thingie. And here is an amusing, feeble (though legit) excuse. Frog Chorus Keeps Ukraine Soccer Players Awake Ukraine's World Cup players complained on Tuesday that frogs were disturbing the sleep of the squad at their lakeside hotel in Potsdam. Central defender Vladislav Vashchyuk told the Sovetsky sports newspaper that frogs in the Templiner See lake were keeping the players awake at night ahead of their Group H opener against Spain on Wednesday. "We have agreed we will take fishing rods to hunt …

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Hooray natural fibers, and please don't eat the sheep

Wool and silk pass the test

Vindication is a strange animal (like unto a marmot, or maybe an echidna) creeping up where one least expects it. Such as the BBC yesterday. A fan, nay, a necessary devotee of natural-fiber clothing (see: Multiple Chemical Sensitivities), I often get flak from fellow outdoorspeople for outdoorsifying in non-synthetics. Especially so on high-altitude peaks in Colorado. But, newsflash, people: natural fibers like wool and silk, when worn correctly in layers, can hold up to just about everything synthetics can, even on Everest.  Or on 14,000-foot peaks in the U.S. Or in the high Sierras. Of course, no material is perfect …

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World Naked Bike Ride, take three

The Third Annual World Naked Bike Ride hit cities across the world this weekend, bringing attention to cycling, cyclists' rights, oil use, climate change, and, well, nudity for a good cause.

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Move Thyself: Deer avoids car, hits man on bicycle

D'oh, a deer ... In other bicycle news, it seems the Chinese masses are increasingly trading in their classic cruiser-style Flying Pigeon bikes for cushy mountain bikes and higher tech road bikes (oh, and cars). Not a huge surprise, as an increase in affluence often leads to a transportation upgrade. But nonetheless, the state-owned bike company has noted the changing demographics of its riders as well as a dip in sales. Sales at Flying Pigeon, the state bicycle company set up after the Communist revolution in October 1949, have plummeted so far that the company is considering outsourcing to south-east …

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The recipe for twins (sorry, vegans)

Attention female vegans (and no, I'm not soliciting romance, thanks): If you're dreaming of birthing twins, you may want to read this. Women who eat a vegan diet -- a strict vegetarian diet that excludes all animal products including milk -- are one-fifth as likely as other women to have twins, a U.S. researcher reported on Saturday. But despite what some headline-writers suggest ("Vegan diet lowers odds of having twins" and "Meat-Eaters More Likely to Have Twins?"), neither meat-eating nor even necessarily veganness seem to be the key. The reason [for the vegan twin-birth difference] may be hormones given to …

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Move Thyself: Post script: The thievery capitulation

As if this guy didn't already have enough interesting stories about decades spent cycling essentially nonstop around the world, here's one more: For almost 44 years, Heinz Stücke traveled the world on his beloved three-speed black bicycle. After 335,000 miles (539,100 kilometers), the "most traveled man in history" had his bike stolen in Portsmouth, southern England as he slept in his tent. Luckily for Stücke, the thief reads the paper. In an interview with the Portsmouth News, he said he would do anything to get his bicycle back. "I am very emotionally attached to my bike," Stücke told the paper. …

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Move Thyself: A tribute to fallen cyclists, and cycling away the gas-price blues

Tonight in some 200 U.S. cities (and six other countries), cyclists will be joining in the Ride of Silence to pay tribute to bicyclists who've been killed or injured on public roadways. And there are a lot. From the Seattle Times article: In 2004, in Seattle there were 258 bicycle collisions with cars -- resulting in 224 injuries and one death, according to the city's Department of Transportation. Um, make that 260, and 225 injuries. My two collisions that year went unreported. (Stupid minivans!) And from the Oregonian: The most recent Oregon Department of Transportation statistics show 14 bicyclists died …

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Rhymes with unanimity

Basically everyone agrees: we're full of chemicals. Hooray, agreement! Now what to do about it? Some California lawmakers are suggesting a program to monitor and catalog said chemicals in residents' bodies. Senate Bill 1379 would create the nation's first statewide biomonitoring program to study levels of chemical contamination in blood, urine, fatty tissue, or breast milk. Essentially it's a state-specific version of the CDC's National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Predictably though, powerful forces are aligning against it, fearing an educated, informed, environmentally aware public. And the bill's preamble explicitly makes the connection between environment and disease, a …

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Multiple Chemical Sensitivities can drive sufferers into poverty as well as ill health

Consider the trappings of modern life: Calvin Klein Eternity, gasoline, Gore-Tex, Aveda hairspray, paint, particle board, polyurethane iPod cases. Is this the face of the future? Photo: iStockphoto. Now imagine that you're allergic to virtually all of them. Environmentalists usually think about chemical toxicity as either a dramatic local crisis (Bhopal, Love Canal) or the simmering concern of those far away (breast-feeding mothers in the Arctic) or far in the future (our oft-evoked grandchildren). But for people suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, the chemical crisis is already here. Indeed, thanks to industrialization, it is already everywhere. And, like so many …

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Move Thyself: My other bike is a pipe bomb

Careful about what stickers you put on your bike, people

Recent bike-related news offers an answer to the oft-posed question, "I'm a police officer -- when the hell am I going to need to know about pop culture?" The answer, of course, is when a sticker on a bicycle bearing an indie band name you're oblivious to prompts the destruction of said bicycle with the jaws of life in order to extract a nonexistent explosive device. To be fair, the band's name -- "This Bike is a Pipe Bomb" -- isn't quite like affixing a "NIN" or "The String Cheese Incident" sticker to your seat post, but still. Authorities shut …

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