Tracing the Circulatory System Behind Antarctica’s Blood Falls

Tracing the Circulatory System Behind Antarctica’s Blood Falls

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Blood Falls is an on-again-off-again flow of red-orange water—striking against Antarctica’s sweeping grayscape—from the toe of Taylor Glacier, not far from McMurdo Station research base. The color comes from iron in the salty water, which is thought to originate from a pocket of brine trapped deep beneath the glacier for more than a million years (and supporting its own, unique microbial ecosystem). But how that water gets through the glacier has been a mystery since the falls was first described in 1911.

Now a team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College has used ice-penetrating radar to track the flow of red water almost 1,000 feet into the glacier. They encountered a circulatory system within, of brine pools and pathways, and now surmise that Blood Falls is a release valve for some of the pressures that emerge over 34 miles of slow-moving ice.

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Blood Falls is also a special case, because the Taylor Glacier is so cold that it really shouldn’t have any liquid water flowing through it at all. In this case, the scientists found, the saltiness of the water (which lowers the freezing temperature) and the latent heat of freezing—which is definitely a thing—helps explain how Blood Falls keeps flowing.

“While it sounds counterintuitive, water releases heat as it freezes, and that heat warms the surrounding colder ice,” said University of Alaska Fairbanks glaciologist Erin Pettit in a statement. “Taylor Glacier is now the coldest known glacier to have persistently flowing water.”

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April 26, 2017 at 10:48AM

Voile Ultra Vector Ski — Alpine that Tours

Voile Ultra Vector Ski — Alpine that Tours

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Post by WildSnow.com blogger

| April 26, 2017  
   

Ultra Vector

Voile Ultra Vector is what I’d call “an alpine ski that tours.”

Lack of ski weight is important to us. Especially now that the industry has indeed figured out how to make astoundingly light skis that still crank out turns. Nonetheless, exceptions are allowed. To that end, what I’m always looking for are skis marketed as backcountry and performing well in a variety of conditions — all at an excellent price. In other words, your “entry level” plank for ski touring, or perhaps something you’d feel comfortable with as a quiver of one, at the resort or in the backcountry. Being made in the USA is a plus as well.

Thus, we constantly circle back to Voile. Nearly every ski they make is a hit. Take their Vector model for example. It’s been around a few years now. When it went to market in 2010, official word was “A light touring ski capable of carving a beautiful turn.” Our reviews agreed. Along with that, Voile was selling a ski called the SuperCharger. With a ~105 mm waist and some mass, SuperCharger wasn’t our favorite touring ski — but it was an excellent ride.

Thus, enter the Ultra Vector, combining the SuperCharger and Vector. Supple flex, 95 mm, wonderful pricepoint of $695. Made in USA.

Tip rise and rocker.

Tip rise and rocker for our 177 cm pair.

Tail rise and rocker, tail-tip is moderate, we'd prefer it even flatter.

Tail rise and rocker, tail-tip is moderate, we’d prefer it even flatter.

Our pre-retail testers are heavier than what’ll be offered in retail so I won’t publish a scale weight. Voile says they’ll come in at close to 1587 grams per ski in a 177. That’s ok, though we’d contend that a true “touring” ski these days, in this width and length, would be noticeably lighter.

Main thing, I mounted the Ultra Vector with a set of freeride touring bindings and got out for a couple of sessions. They’re indeed a truly all-around ski, with good edgehold on piste, supple and somewhat playful in powder. They felt more aggressive than what I normally ski on, pretty much what I’d call a resort ski that tours. Probably due to the beefy wood core, chatter was not in the Ultra Vector vocabulary. In fact, I easily exceeded the speed limit of my ski touring boots without any complaint from the skis. On the other hand, I wouldn’t call these planks particularly demanding, they’d work for a person still working on improving their downhill ski skills.

There you go, just thought I’d get this out there for this coming autumn shopping season.

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April 26, 2017 at 10:18AM

National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

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National Building Museum

The enormous brick structure that now houses the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. was originally constructed after the Civil War to house the Pension Bureau. A force of 1,500 clerks used the magnificent space to sort through the mountain of paperwork associated with the 890,000 pension claims from veterans of the Union Army.

Pensions were a very big deal after the war; they made up almost a third of the government budget in the 1880s, and half of the legislation in the 49th congress was special pension acts. The building’s architect, Montgomery Meigs, a veteran of the Civil War who served as quartermaster general, conceived of the structure as both a hall of records and a memorial to the conflict.

Congress stipulated that Meigs was to use brick and metal, fireproof materials that would keep veterans’ records safe more economically than carved stone. The scale of the building project resulted in a region-wide shortage of bricklayers during the summer of 1883. Meigs brought in skilled workers from cities across the north, and got local home builders to delay their projects until the Pension Building was completed.

The Italian Renaissance Revival architecture was a sharp departure from the neoclassical marble norms that had previously dominated government buildings. The building’s interior features massive 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns, some of the largest interior columns the world. On the red brick exterior is a glorious 1,200-foot terra cotta frieze depicting Union soldiers.

Today we can draw a parallel between its style and that of the smaller brick marketplaces that used to dot Washington. But "Meigs’ red barn" drew sharp criticism when it opened, with General Philip Sheridan famously complaining that it was "too bad the damn thing is fireproof." The Washington Post reported that Rep. Dunham called the building an "architectural monstrosity" and Rep. Rogers called it "a cross between a horse-car stable and a union depot." Rep. Springer declared that "it was offensive to the vision, and … the present ornamentation should be blown up with dynamite." 

Not everyone was against it. Senator McMillan and the powerful Speaker of the House Joe Cannon praised the offices as comfortable, well ventilated, and "better adapted to its purpose than any public building in Washington."

The building’s interior design did have several clever features. The office galleries were laid out in arcades around a massive central atrium. This allowed the hot summer air to rise up to the top, where ventilating fans expelled it through the roof. The offices also have unusually high ceilings that contributed to this cycle.

Figuring that thousands of disabled veterans would have to climb the stairs between floors, Meigs built gently sloping steps with unusually wide treads and short risers. This early attempt at accessibility predated the Americans with Disabilities Act by a century and a half. 

The crush of paperwork that moved around the building each day also necessitated a novel technological solution. Meigs built a special document-moving system that whisked baskets around on rails that ran the perimeter of each floor. The original rails are still visible today on the third floor. A separate dumbwaiter system could lift papers up and down vertically.

The Pension Bureau eventually became the Department of Veterans Affairs which relocated to new offices in 1930. The building then passed to the General Accounting Office, who occupied it until 1950. The GAO remodeled the space and converted the ground floor into glass ceilinged cubicles.

By the 1960s, the building was in a state of disrepair, and Congress considered demolishing it. The influential DC architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith proposed establishing an architectural museum. In 1980 Congress took up the idea and created the National Building Museum, which stands today, fittingly dedicated to the history and impact of the world’s architecture, engineering, construction, and design.

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April 26, 2017 at 10:06AM

National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

http://ift.tt/2qeR9fm

National Building Museum

The enormous brick structure that now houses the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. was originally constructed after the Civil War to house the Pension Bureau. A force of 1,500 clerks used the magnificent space to sort through the mountain of paperwork associated with the 890,000 pension claims from veterans of the Union Army.

Pensions were a very big deal after the war; they made up almost a third of the government budget in the 1880s, and half of the legislation in the 49th congress was special pension acts. The building’s architect, Montgomery Meigs, a veteran of the Civil War who served as quartermaster general, conceived of the structure as both a hall of records and a memorial to the conflict.

Congress stipulated that Meigs was to use brick and metal, fireproof materials that would keep veterans’ records safe more economically than carved stone. The scale of the building project resulted in a region-wide shortage of bricklayers during the summer of 1883. Meigs brought in skilled workers from cities across the north, and got local home builders to delay their projects until the Pension Building was completed.

The Italian Renaissance Revival architecture was a sharp departure from the neoclassical marble norms that had previously dominated government buildings. The building’s interior features massive 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns, some of the largest interior columns the world. On the red brick exterior is a glorious 1,200-foot terra cotta frieze depicting Union soldiers.

Today we can draw a parallel between its style and that of the smaller brick marketplaces that used to dot Washington. But "Meigs’ red barn" drew sharp criticism when it opened, with General Philip Sheridan famously complaining that it was "too bad the damn thing is fireproof." The Washington Post reported that Rep. Dunham called the building an "architectural monstrosity" and Rep. Rogers called it "a cross between a horse-car stable and a union depot." Rep. Springer declared that "it was offensive to the vision, and … the present ornamentation should be blown up with dynamite." 

Not everyone was against it. Senator McMillan and the powerful Speaker of the House Joe Cannon praised the offices as comfortable, well ventilated, and "better adapted to its purpose than any public building in Washington."

The building’s interior design did have several clever features. The office galleries were laid out in arcades around a massive central atrium. This allowed the hot summer air to rise up to the top, where ventilating fans expelled it through the roof. The offices also have unusually high ceilings that contributed to this cycle.

Figuring that thousands of disabled veterans would have to climb the stairs between floors, Meigs built gently sloping steps with unusually wide treads and short risers. This early attempt at accessibility predated the Americans with Disabilities Act by a century and a half. 

The crush of paperwork that moved around the building each day also necessitated a novel technological solution. Meigs built a special document-moving system that whisked baskets around on rails that ran the perimeter of each floor. The original rails are still visible today on the third floor. A separate dumbwaiter system could lift papers up and down vertically.

The Pension Bureau eventually became the Department of Veterans Affairs which relocated to new offices in 1930. The building then passed to the General Accounting Office, who occupied it until 1950. The GAO remodeled the space and converted the ground floor into glass ceilinged cubicles.

By the 1960s, the building was in a state of disrepair, and Congress considered demolishing it. The influential DC architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith proposed establishing an architectural museum. In 1980 Congress took up the idea and created the National Building Museum, which stands today, fittingly dedicated to the history and impact of the world’s architecture, engineering, construction, and design.

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April 26, 2017 at 10:06AM

Tree Vs. Baseball

Tree Vs. Baseball

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The tree.
The tree. Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office

Which do you like better, trees or baseball? It’s a pretty tough question—some might even say too tough. But Queen Anne’s High School in Centreville, Maryland was forced into the choice over the weekend, when someone planted a sapling smack in the middle of the baseball field, near the pitcher’s mound.

According to the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office, “Someone had planted a tree in front of the pitcher’s mound and had scratched in the dirt on the mound ‘Earth Day 2017.’” They suspect a “senior prank.”

Earth Day 2017!
Earth Day 2017! Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office

“The field has been repaired,” writes WMAR—a euphemism, we assume, for “the tree has been removed.” Baseball wins again.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to [email protected].

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April 26, 2017 at 09:52AM

Get up to a 75% Bonus When You Buy JetBlue Points

Get up to a 75% Bonus When You Buy JetBlue Points

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Today through Friday, April 28, you can earn up to a 75% bonus when you purchase JetBlue TrueBlue points. This promo has a tiered structure — the more points you buy, the larger your bonus.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Purchase 3,000-9,500 points: Get a 25% bonus
  • Purchase 10,000-29,500 points: Get a 50% bonus
  • Purchase 30,000 points: Get a 75% bonus

TrueBlue points typically cost 3.7 cents apiece including the tax recovery fee, but this promotion will lower the cost to as little as 1.7 cents per point when you buy 30,000 points for $886.88 (including tax) and get the 75% bonus of 22,500 points.

TPG values JetBlue points at 1.2 cents apiece, so even with the biggest bonus you’re paying more than what these points are typically worth. However, if you’re just a bit shy of an award flight, buying enough points to bridge the gap could make sense — and this promotion will at least let you do that at a discount.

Note that you can purchase a maximum of 30,000 points per transaction, and a maximum of 120,000 points per calendar year. Additionally, remember that JetBlue point purchases are processed by Points.com, so you won’t earn bonus rewards for using the JetBlue Plus Card or another co-branded option. If you’re looking to maximize your return on spending here, your best bet would be the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which earns 1.5x Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase.

Of course, buying points isn’t the only way to boost your TrueBlue account balance. You could sign up for the aforementioned JetBlue Plus Card and earn 30,000 points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. You can also transfer Citi ThankYou points to the TrueBlue program — though at a sub-optimal 2:1 ratio (currently boosted to 1,000:750). You can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points over at a 250:200 rate as well.

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April 26, 2017 at 09:43AM

Is Chase Ink Preferred’s 80K Bonus Right for Your Business?

Is Chase Ink Preferred’s 80K Bonus Right for Your Business?

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It seems like you can always rely on Chase for some exciting sign-up bonus offers, and their latest 80,000 bonus points for the Ink Business Preferred is no exception. But credit savvy entrepreneurs know that bonuses are not the only consideration when you decide to apply for a new business card, so let’s take a look at what substantial perks Ink offers.

80,000 Points, $1,000 Cash, 25% Bonus

There’s no doubt that Chase’s Ultimate Rewards are some of the most coveted awards among credit card holders and Ink Business Preferred is offering a whopping 80,000 once you spend $5,000 in your first 3 months as a cardholder.

Those points are equal to $1,000 that you can use towards travel rewards when redeemed via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

And of course you need not just redeem the points for travel, though that gives you the most value per point as they are worth 25% more when cardholders redeem their points for travel-related items like airfare, rentals and accommodation.

Discounts on Shipping, Internet, Cable and Phone Services

What is of special interest to business owners is the card’s overall reward scheme, which is pretty impressive given how generously frequently used business categories are rewarded.

Cardholders get 3 points for every $1 they spend (on the first $150,000) in combined purchases on travel, shipping, Internet fees, cable and phone services, and on advertising purchases on social media sites and search engines each year.

There is no doubt that the above categories are the main expenses of many companies and that most cardholders will likely be able to take full advantage of the 3x rewards category.

You also earn 1 point for every $1 spent on any other purchases. Best of all, there is no limit to the points you can earn at the 1:1 ratio and your points never expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. Employee cards are available at no extra cost.

Related: How to Earn More Chase Ultimate Rewards Points

There is an annual fee of $95. However, aside from the aforementioned bonus points and strong rewards ratio for common business expenses, the Ink Business Preferred comes with many additional incentives, including no foreign transaction fees — a real boon for frequent international travelers.

Other Incentives

Other nice pluses are trip cancellation and interruption insurance, as well as trip delay reimbursement. Card holders also have access to 24/7 roadside emergency service and auto rental collision damage waiver.

As is common with premium credit cards, the card features purchase, return and price protection, as well as extended warranty protection. What is especially noteworthy is Ink Business Preferred’s cell phone protection coverage.

Card holders are covered up to $600 per claim if the phone is stolen or damaged. The coverage is not only good for the business owner but for employees who are listed on the cell phone bill (as long as you pay the bill with the Ink Business Preferred).

You are entitled to 3 claims every 12-month period (there is a $100 deductible per each claim).

With such a generous sign-up offer and strong potential for earning reward points in many heavy-spending business categories, Chase’s Ink Business Preferred credit card is well worth consideration for business owners who are serious about having a credit card that works for them.

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April 26, 2017 at 09:05AM

Sturrock Cemetery in Zavalla, Texas

Sturrock Cemetery in Zavalla, Texas

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A historical marker at the cemetery explains that the graves are laid out in a traditional east-west orientation.

A well-preserved historic gem, the Sturrock Cemetery hides in a hushed clearing of southern yellow pines in East Texas. This little cemetery sits on the outskirts of a faded town (population 100) and at the end of an unmarked dirt road. It is out of cellphone range and sight of power lines, which only contributes to the sense that the cemetery is out of another era.

The Sturrock family emigrated from Scotland in the 1830s, settling in Texas and opening several mills and a cotton gin. The first death was the matriarch, Cynthia Frisby Sturrock, who was buried on the family’s land by the Neches River in 1853. Her grave marker, a neatly stacked pile of sandstone slabs, was a distinct imitation of ancient Scottish cairns.

Other Sturrocks would follow, each buried in the family cemetery beneath a sandstone cairn. Cutting, transporting, and arranging the heavy rocks would have only been marginally easier using Civil War-era tools rather than Bronze Age ones. The Sturrocks took their technique with them to their graves, and now we can only guess at how they built these low-slung crypts.  

Many of the Sturrock family burials were the result of war. Confederate soldiers were laid to rest in this land, and so were East Texas sons who fought and died during World War I. One grave stands apart from the rest: A single slave is buried along the fence line, separated from the other plots by several yards, a lush carpet of wood ferns, and a racial divide. His marker reads simply, "Ned Gregory, Negro slave of Homer J.W. Gregory."

Apart from the remarkable cairn gravestones, there are a few standard headstones. Like Ned Gregory’s, they are similarly plainspoken: "Citizen of the Republic of Texas" and "Mrs. Abernathy, Died 1850s." The doll-sized gravestones of newborns tell a timeless tale of plaintive sorrow and hardship.

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April 26, 2017 at 09:02AM

Sturrock Cemetery in Zavalla, Texas

Sturrock Cemetery in Zavalla, Texas

http://ift.tt/2q7xhyq

A historical marker at the cemetery explains that the graves are laid out in a traditional east-west orientation.

A well-preserved historic gem, the Sturrock Cemetery hides in a hushed clearing of southern yellow pines in East Texas. This little cemetery sits on the outskirts of a faded town (population 100) and at the end of an unmarked dirt road. It is out of cellphone range and sight of power lines, which only contributes to the sense that the cemetery is out of another era.

The Sturrock family emigrated from Scotland in the 1830s, settling in Texas and opening several mills and a cotton gin. The first death was the matriarch, Cynthia Frisby Sturrock, who was buried on the family’s land by the Neches River in 1853. Her grave marker, a neatly stacked pile of sandstone slabs, was a distinct imitation of ancient Scottish cairns.

Other Sturrocks would follow, each buried in the family cemetery beneath a sandstone cairn. Cutting, transporting, and arranging the heavy rocks would have only been marginally easier using Civil War-era tools rather than Bronze Age ones. The Sturrocks took their technique with them to their graves, and now we can only guess at how they built these low-slung crypts.  

Many of the Sturrock family burials were the result of war. Confederate soldiers were laid to rest in this land, and so were East Texas sons who fought and died during World War I. One grave stands apart from the rest: A single slave is buried along the fence line, separated from the other plots by several yards, a lush carpet of wood ferns, and a racial divide. His marker reads simply, "Ned Gregory, Negro slave of Homer J.W. Gregory."

Apart from the remarkable cairn gravestones, there are a few standard headstones. Like Ned Gregory’s, they are similarly plainspoken: "Citizen of the Republic of Texas" and "Mrs. Abernathy, Died 1850s." The doll-sized gravestones of newborns tell a timeless tale of plaintive sorrow and hardship.

Travel

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April 26, 2017 at 09:02AM

Did United Kill the Easter Bunny?

Did United Kill the Easter Bunny?

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Simon, a 10-month-old giant rabbit that measured nearly 3 feet long, recently died onboard a United Airlines 767 flight. As the BBC reports, he was en-route from London to a new owner in the US, via Chicago.

(For the purposes of this article, due to the timing of the incident and size of this rabbit, we are going to refer to Simon as the Easter Bunny. Yes, United killed the Easter Bunny.)

(Parental Advisory: The content below may only be suitable for primary cardholders aged 18 and above.)

It’s like that children’s song brought to life. Or, in this case, death. You know how it goes:

United killed the Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny, the Easter Bunny
United killed the Easter Bunny
That lived on Drury Lane.

We managed to catch up with one of Bunny’s neighbors and closest friends, the Muffin Man, also of Drury Lane. At that point the story took an even darker turn.

According to Muffin Man, Bunny wasn’t even loyal to United — he just booked the cheapest fare. Perhaps most disappointing of all, as a Basic Economy customer, Bunny didn’t even earn miles for this final hop.

Bunny’s final meal consisted of Illy coffee. The airline had been serving stroopwaffels in the economy cabin, but as a Basic Economy passenger, Bunny had landed himself a center seat in the last row of coach. The passenger in the window seat was handed the last stroopwafel.

United boards 148 stroopwafels on this particular aircraft, which offers 151 seats. A United representative explained that based on data collected during dozens of flights, an average of 145 passengers request stroopwafels. As part of an effort to curb waste a cost-cutting measure, the airline provisions fewer waffles than passengers on board.

(As compensation for Bunny’s death, the catering snafu and Wi-Fi issues reported by multiple passengers during the flight, United issued the family a travel voucher in the amount of $50, which can be used toward the purchase of any United or United Express flight $1,000 and above.)

To make matters worse, following the incident, the plane diverted to Michigan’s Meowamazoo International Airport (CAT), where Bunny had an outstanding bench warrant after neglecting to pay a speeding ticket for going 25 in a 65. As a result, his body is being held by authorities pending payment of a $15 ticket. Meowamazoo’s mayor, The Cat in the Hat, declined the family’s counteroffer of a $50 United travel voucher.

(But seriously, folks, United is currently investigating the death of this animal. And condolences to the owners.)

Featured image by Graiki via Getty Images.

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April 26, 2017 at 08:54AM