November 26, 2013 12:12 pm
In 1999, news broke that the body of explorer and mountaineer George Mallory had turned up. Mallory had disappeared some 75 years earlier, while trying to become the first person to scale Mount Everest, and now, an expedition searching for his remains had found them, at the foot of the Northeast Ridge, mummified and frozen solid. A label sewn into the tattered clothing confirmed that the remains belonged to Mallory.
But evidence has surfaced that Mallory’s body may have been found more than sixty years earlier, during a 1936 expedition. That year, Everest pioneer Frank Smythe was exploring the mountain and spotted the body during a telescope survey. Smythe described the incident in a letter he wrote to Edward Norton, leader of the 1924 Mallory expedition. Just recently, Smythe’s son, Tony, turned up a copy of the letter tucked in the back of one of his late father’s diaries while working on a biography about his father’s adventures on the mountain.
Here’s what Smythe wrote, the Guardian reports:
“I was scanning the face from base camp through a high-powered telescope last year,” his letter read, “when I saw something queer in a gully below the scree shelf. Of course it was a long way away and very small, but I’ve a six/six eyesight and do not believe it was a rock. This object was at precisely the point where Mallory and Irvine would have fallen had they rolled on over the scree slopes.”
“It’s not to be written about,” Smythe told Norton, “as the press would make an unpleasant sensation.”
As the Guardian says, “Smythe was right to be concerned.” Photos of Mallory’s exposed remains can now easily be found on the internet, and when news first broke, newspapers around the world published those grisly images.
More from Smithsonian.com:
November 18, 2013 3:02 pm
We’ve been over what you should do if you’re faced with a bear. But there are also people in this world who know exactly what they would do in that situation—people who invite destruction into their lives and intentionally fight bears.
A video of the professional mixed martial artist Khabib Nurmagomedov wrestling a bear cub as a kid surfaced recently. Daily Mail has the video:
But this is is just one example of bear-on-man challenges. In 2006, a high school wrestler from Cleveland raised the hackles of the PETA by wrestling a bear named Caesar at the Cleveland Sport, Travel & Outdoor Show. Lance Palmer, a 19-year-old wrestler, managed to somehow pin the animal on its back and win the fight. USA Today spoke with Sam Mazzola, the man who owns Ceasar the bear:
Mazzola said bear wrestling has been part of his business — World Animal Studios Inc., in Columbia Station in northeast Ohio — for over 20 years, and he has no intention of stopping now. Most of his shows are at county fairs within the state. PETA says bear wrestling is banned in 20 states, but not in Ohio.
Palmer, the teenaged bear wrestler, told USA Today that Ceasar could certainly beat him if he wanted to:
Palmer, who gets paid by Mazzola, said he’s had a few scratches and bruises wrestling bears, but no serious injuries. He views it as another training method, even if there’s potential for danger. But he said animal rights activists are misguided. “Bears are probably eight times stronger than people,” said Palmer, who is headed to Ohio State as a collegiate wrestler. “If they wanted to, they could do a whole lot of damage to people. But if they are having fun, like Ceaser was, then they will play with you all day.”
It turns out that bear wrestling is a pretty old past time. This 1960 Sports Illustrated profiles of Tuffy Truesdell’s wrestling bear Victor. At io9, they point to these videos of various men taking on Victor:
It’s unclear what happened to Victor — he’s certainly passed away since the 1970s — but this semi-outdated site has some warm and fuzzy accounts from Victor’s sparring opponents.
It seems pretty clear that in a fair fight—where the bear wasn’t chained and muzzled, it would win hands down. It also turns out that they are much faster hot dog eaters than we are.
Forget about robot overlords, perhaps we should be worrying about the bears.
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November 12, 2013 2:26 pm
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will kick off on June 12th, which gives Brazilians 211 days prepare. And one of the things many of them are doing to get ready is to try and learn English.
According to Vanessa Barbara at the New York Times, Brazilians aren’t really ready for the influx of international visitors that the World Cup will bring. Croatia, Lebanon and Malaysia all get more international tourism than Brazil does. And the Education First English Proficiency Index ranks Brazil at number 46 out of its 54 ranked countries. But Barbara says that it’s not that the Brazilians aren’t trying:
There’s a school teaching English on almost every corner, seeming as common as bakeries, hair salons and evangelical churches. The Brazilian Association of Franchising estimates that there are a total of 6,088 franchises of 77 language schools with names like Wizard, Yes! and Wise Up. Some schools guarantee that a student will learn English in 18 months, six months, eight weeks and, yes, 24 hours. The Ministry of Tourism has created a program to increase access to English classes called Hello, Tourist!
And tourists, Barbara says, will have to learn how to interpret the Brazilian form of English, which is full of word-by-word translations often based on sounds rather than meanings. She gives some hilarious examples:
To Americanize some foods, we could write “Barbie Kill Sauce” instead of “Barbecue Sauce.” Trying to explain some typical food to foreigners, we often create nonsensical expression such as: “Meat of the Sun with Fried Potato” (Carne de Sol com Batatas Fritas), “Crazy Meat” (Carne Louca), “Sleeve Juice” (Suco de Manga), “Chicken to the Bird” (Frango à Passarinho) and “Against the Brazilian Steak” (Contra-filé à Brasileira).
Perhaps English speakers should go to a Brazilinglish school before heading off to the cup.
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November 12, 2013 1:32 pm
In the run up to the Olympics, Russia is going sports-crazy. This includes their subway system, which will now reward riders with a free trip in exchange for 30 squats. Russian News site Pravda reports:
A special machine was installed on Vystavochnaya subway station on Friday, at 16:00. The machine sells tickets for sit-up exercises. The sports novelty was presented by Olympic champion Alexei Nemov and Elena Zamolodchikova.
One subway ride will thus cost 30 sit-ups, rather than 30 rubles (90 cents). A special device will count the number of performed sit-ups.
Here you can see a video of the program in action (yes, the video is in Russian, and they are doing squats not, as Pravda says, sit-ups):
Perhaps Michelle Obama can incorporate something like this into her Let’s Move campaign—a gallon of gas for a few lunges?
Via Outside Online
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November 1, 2013 5:30 pm
Among the more than 47,000 runners set to race in this year’s New York City marathon, there are more than 21,000 who were supposed to run the race last year. But after Hurricane Sandy rolled in, the event was cancelled. About 6,000 of those who didn’t run last year will take a spot next year. And there will be 16,000 more of 2012′s runners in 2015′s race. New York’s marathon is the country’s largest, and it’s always an intense contest. But this year, there are added layers of tension, both because of last year’s cancelled race and the bombings at the Boston Marathon. The New York Road Runners have spent twice as much on security than in years past. CNBC estimates that they’ve dropped $1 million on securing the race:
Spectators will see more barricades, fencings, security checkpoints and private security guards on site, according to Peter Ciccia, technical director for the ING NYC Marathon. Runners will be screened at the start on Staten Island, and stripped of certain gear for the race.
The club has also banned masks from the race—so that police can see everyone’s face—and water-filled Camelbaks, to keep people from bringing in anything potentially dangerous. The NYPD has also installed 100 cameras around the route, to watch each area at all times. There was even debate about whether or not to allow any bags into the finish area at all, since that’s how the bombs in Boston were carried in But, in the end, the NYRR decided not to ban them. More from Smithsonian.com: Wilson Kipsang Just Broke the Marathon World Record These Are the Arguments That Convinced NYC to Cancel the Marathon