Month: October 2017

Climber Hayden Kennedy kills himself after girlfriend’s avalanche death

Just two weeks before renowned climber Hayden Kennedy killed himself following the death of his girlfriend in an avalanche in Montana, he wrote on a climbing blog that he had watched too many friends die in the mountains over the last few years.

“I’ve realized something painful. It’s not just the memorable summits and crux moves that are fleeting. Friends and climbing partners are fleeting, too,” he wrote for the “Evening Sends” blog. “This is the painful reality of our sport, and I’m unsure what to make of it. Climbing is either a beautiful gift or a curse.”

In this undated photo provided by Louis Arevalo, Inge Perkins climbs Cowboy King (5.13c) in Wild Iris, Wyo. Gallatin County sheriff’s officials say Perkins was skiing with her boyfriend Hayden Kennedy on Imp Peak on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, when they triggered an avalanche in a steep, narrow gulley. Perkins, was buried by the 150-foot-wide slide. Kennedy, who was partially buried, pulled himself free and hiked out for help after he couldn’t find his girlfriend. (Louis Arevalo via AP)  (Louis Arevalo)

Gallatin County sheriff’s officials say Kennedy, 27, and Inge Perkins, 23, were skiing on Imp Peak in the southern Madison Range on Saturday when they triggered an avalanche in a steep, narrow gulley at about 10,000 feet above sea level.

Perkins, also an accomplished mountain climber, was buried by the 150-foot-wide slide. Kennedy hiked out after he couldn’t find his girlfriend.

The area had received a foot of snow since Oct. 1, which was on top of about four feet of dense snow that had fallen over the previous two weeks, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

Kennedy, who had recently moved to Bozeman, was found dead in his home Sunday with a note detailing where to find Perkins’ body.

In this undated photo provided by Louis Arevalo, Inge Perkins poses for a photo. Gallatin County sheriff’s officials say Perkins was skiing with her boyfriend Hayden Kennedy on Imp Peak on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, when they triggered an avalanche in a steep, narrow gulley. Perkins, was buried by the 150-foot-wide slide. Kennedy, who was partially buried, pulled himself free and hiked out for help after he couldn’t find his girlfriend. Kennedy was found dead in a home Sunday as search teams prepared to recover Perkins’ body. (Louis Arevalo via AP)  (Louis Arevalo)

Doug Chabot, director of the avalanche center, said Kennedy did not call 911 to report the slide.

“It all came out in this incredibly detailed and well-thought-out note,” he said. “He basically left nothing to chance in finding Inge.”

Chabot said the note included GPS coordinates and details about the route Kennedy and Perkins were skiing. Kennedy also left an avalanche probe and a shovel in the debris to mark the site, allowing searchers to find the body within an hour of arriving.

Perkins had an avalanche transceiver in her backpack, but it was turned off, Chabot said. It’s unclear if Kennedy was carrying a similar unit.

In a statement released Tuesday, Kennedy’s parents described their son as “an uncensored soul whose accomplishments as a mountaineer were always secondary to his deep friendships and mindfulness.”

“Hayden survived the avalanche but not the unbearable loss of his partner in life,” they wrote.

In this undated photo provided by Louis Arevalo, Inge Perkins puts on her shoes before casting off on Cowboy King in Wild Iris, Wyo. Gallatin County sheriff’s officials say Perkins was skiing with her boyfriend Hayden Kennedy on Imp Peak on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, when they triggered an avalanche in a steep, narrow gulley. Perkins, was buried by the 150-foot-wide slide. Kennedy, who was partially buried, pulled himself free and hiked out for help after he couldn’t find his girlfriend. (Louis Arevalo via AP)  (Louis Arevalo)

Kennedy, who grew up in Carbondale, Colorado, had been working on his EMT certification while Perkins completed a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and education at Montana State University.

Kennedy was perhaps best known for climbing the Southeast Ridge in Patagonia’s Cerro Torre in 2012 and removing many of the bolts placed by controversial Italian climber Cesare Maestri more than 40 years earlier.

Afterward, he and his climbing partner were accosted by locals and detained by police. But Kennedy’s father, Michael Kennedy, who was editor of Climbing Magazine for more than two decades, beamed with pride.

“You made a courageous first step in restoring Cerro Torre to its rightful place as one of the most demanding and inaccessible summits in the world,” the elder Kennedy wrote in an open letter to his son that was published in Alpinist Magazine in 2012. “I never would have had the guts to take that step myself, even in my best days.”

Michael Kennedy, an accomplished mountaineer in his own right, also wrote to his son about losing multiple friends to the sport.

“An awareness of mortality prompts us to focus on what’s important: developing a strong community of family and friends,” he wrote.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/10/11/climber-hayden-kennedy-kills-himself-after-girlfriends-avalanche-death.html

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Ancient Text Reveals Earliest Known Understanding Of Zero

The concept of zero is so deeply engrained in our culture that it is hard to imagine not having it. Yet most ancient cultures never came up with the idea, greatly to the detriment of their mathematical development. We don’t know exactly when the idea first appeared, but re-analysis of a nearly 2,000-year-old Indian manuscript has taken us closer to this crucial point.

The Bakhshali manuscript is written on pieces of birch bark and was found buried in a field outside the village of Bakhshali, Pakistan, in 1881. It has been housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, since 1902. It contains hundreds of zero symbols, and clearly represents one of the oldest surviving references to this concept. However, its age has been in doubt, with estimates based on writing style placing it around the year 800.

Testing of three samples in the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit revealed that the manuscript, rather than having a single origin, was created in pieces centuries apart. The earliest measured section dates to somewhere between 224 and 383 AD, while additions were made in 680-779 and 885-993 AD. The last date roughly aligns with other examples we have of the dot symbol, which gradually evolved into our 0, being used to indicate absence. However, the earlier dates are well outside expectations.

The fact the manuscript remained in use for so long, and was expanded at least twice centuries later, indicates its status, probably as a training manual. It is filled with examples of practical arithmetic and algebra. Oxford’s Professor Marcus du Sautoy told The Guardian: “There’s a lot of ‘If someone buys this and sells this how much have they got left?’”

“Today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics,” du Sautoy said in a statement. “We now know that it was as early as the 3rd century that mathematicians in India planted the seed of the idea that would later become so fundamental to the modern world. The findings show how vibrant mathematics have been in the Indian sub-continent for centuries.”

Both the Babylonians and Mayans had symbols for nothing, but it was only when the Indians developed the idea that its mathematical power was realized. Even then, the placeholding dot took centuries to evolve into the concept that zero could be a number.

Arab traders spread the idea from India, but it faced considerable resistance upon its arrival in Europe, even facing attempts to ban it as heresy.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/physics/starting-from-zero-earliest-symbol-of-nothing-found/

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Trump to launch $200M STEM education initiative with Silicon Valley leaders

Silicon Valley tech companies are teaming up with the Trump administration on a new initiative to push science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in our schools. The new STEM initiative, which Trump will be signing as a memorandum today, will ask the Department of Education to allocate $200 million of its grant funds toward coding and STEM education.

The impetus for this new initiative is train the workers of tomorrow for the growing demand of computer-science jobs. It should also help improve the woeful state of STEM education in this country. According data from the American Institute of Physics, less than 40 percent of graduating high school seniors have taken a physics course. (The White House reports that only 60 percent of high schools even offer physics as a course.) As for computer science, less than half of U.S. high schools offer coding courses.

“Our country is facing a challenge that it hasn’t had to address in two generations: reworking the education system to keep pace with advancing technology,” Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a statement today. “In the 1950s, the race to space drove schools to start teaching physics. Today, it’s all about computer science.”

On Tuesday, Trump’s daughter Ivanka will head to Detroit to announce private sector commitments to this program. Representatives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, GM, and Quicken Loans will be in attendance, among others.

This STEM education effort comes at an interesting time. Many tech leaders recently criticized Trump for his move to end DACA and decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military. Earlier this year, many of these same executives served on the Trump administration’s technology council. While Trump dissolved two related councils (members resigned following Trump’s response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, incident), his administration still hopes to work with industry tech leaders to modernize our government, and now, help bring our education system into the 21st century, too.

Today’s STEM-focused endeavor comes after Trump cut the Department of Education’s funds by 13.5 percent ($9.2 billion) earlier this year.

H/T Recode

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/trump-stem-education-initiative/

Technorati Tags:

Math Suggests The Amount Of Carbon In The Ocean Could Start A Mass Extinction After 2100

Humanity has a huge impact on our planet but predicting the long-term effects of our actions is not exactly simple. An important question scientists have been asking is could our activities trigger a mass extinction?

According to Professor Daniel Rothman, a geophysicist at MIT, if 310 gigatons of carbon were added to the oceans this would first lead to an unstable environment, and then to a mass extinction. This amount is predicted to enter the world’s water reservoir by 2100. The research is published in Science Advances.

“This is not saying that disaster occurs the next day,” Rothman clarified in a statement. “It’s saying that, if left unchecked, the carbon cycle would move into a realm which would be no longer stable, and would behave in a way that would be difficult to predict. In the geologic past, this type of behavior is associated with mass extinction.”

The theory looked at changes in carbon over long and short timescales. Over long timescales, extinction could happen if carbon cycle changes occur faster than the planet can adapt to them. Over short timescales, however, extinction will depend on how big the change is. Rothman was capable of putting a “carbon threshold” on how much carbon the oceans can take in. According to the theory, it might take up to 10,000 years for the full disaster to play out, but Rothman thinks that by 2100 we will be reaching, or moving past, the carbon threshold for catastrophe.

There have been five mass extinctions throughout the history of our planet, and Rothman wanted to know if a sixth was likely based on the data we have today and what we have been doing since the industrial revolution.

“How can you really compare these great events in the geologic past, which occur over such vast timescales, to what’s going on today, which is centuries at the longest? So I sat down one summer day and tried to think about how one might go about this systematically,” Rothman added. “It became evident that there was a characteristic rate of change that the system basically didn’t like to go past. Then it became a question of figuring out what it meant.”

Once the limit is breached, the carbon cycle breaks. Plants can’t take the extra carbon dioxide in and carbon no longer sinks to the bottom of the ocean, where it normally gets buried over time. The best case scenario for 2100 sees humans adding 300 gigatons of carbon to the ocean with more than 500 gigatons being added in the worst.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/math-suggests-the-amount-of-carbon-in-the-ocean-could-start-a-mass-extinction-after-2100/

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Year of the woman: the Democrats inspired by Trump to run for office

Those committed to electing Democratic women to office worried Hillary Clintons loss would repel female candidates. But then the sun came up

Election night 2016 was devastating for Democratic women who had hoped to elect the first female president. But it was doubly so for the organizers committed to electing Democratic women to office. They worried Hillary Clintons loss to a man who boasted on tape about grabbing women would repel female candidates from entering politics. But then the sun came up.

It really started immediately, said Andrea Steele, the president and founder of Emerge America, a national organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office. The next day our phone began to ring and it didnt stop. Emails poured in. Women all over the country woke up and decided to take some action.

Since the 8 November election, Emerge America has reported an 87% increase in applications to its training programs.

Emilys List, an organization dedicated to helping elect pro-choice Democratic women, said more than 16,000 women have expressed interest in running for office since the election, while that number was 920 during the entire 2016 election cycle. Similarly She Should Run, a nonpartisan organization that trains female candidates, said 15,000 women inquired about running in an election,compared to about 900 during the same period last year.

Donald Trumps election has led to a surge in political activism among Democratic women, according to a June survey of college-educated voters by Politico, American University and Loyola Marymount. But so far, the survey found, that energy hasnt totally translated yet into more women wanting to run for office.

Jennifer Lawless, a professor of government at American University and the co-author of the study, said backlash to Trump may have planted a seed but that it could take several more election cycles for that seed to bloom.

Organizers agree that political parity is still years away. But even so, theyre optimistic the interest will usher in another year of the woman.

We look at this not just as our crop of candidates for 2018, because theyre not all going to run right away, Emilys List president Stephanie Schriock told reporters earlier this summer. This is an extraordinary pipeline of future candidates for the next decade.

The Guardian spoke with a handful of candidates who are putting their names on the ballot for the first time from school board to congress, and asked what drove them to run.

Elissa Slotkin, congressional candidate for Michigans eighth district

A few months into the Trump presidency, Elissa Slotkin was still on the fence about running. And then her congressman Mike Bishop voted for the House Republican healthcare bill.

Slotkin said she was shocked that he would cast such a consequential vote without at least holding a town hall and hearing from the constituents.

Too many politicians in Congress have forgotten that they are public servants, that they are voted in by people and that their one responsibility their one job is to improve the lives of their constituents, Slotkin said. It just seemed like a hell of a lot of people who had forgotten that.

Slotkin, a former intelligence official, worked at the Pentagon, the state department and the CIA during the Bush and Obama administrations. As a Middle East analyst at the CIA, she served three tours in Iraq.

During her 15 years working in intelligence and defense, she said no one ever asked her party affiliation. And thats the approach shes taking to her campaign.

Voters are surprised that she is openly critical of the national Democratic party, but she reminds them that her job was to give frank assessments of a controversial war to two presidents with very different perspectives.

I think they take that as a sign that I still understand how to speak truth to power, she said.

Throughout her career, Slotkin said she was often one of the few women in the room or in the combat zone where she deployed.

I have really worked hard to be in some instances twice as competent and twice as capable, she said. But Ive always found that if you know your stuff and youre willing to put yourself out there then people respect that and your gender means less than your competence.

Jena Griswold, candidate for Colorado secretary of state

After the election, Jena Griswold watched in horror as Trump claimed without any basis that millions of people had voted illegally, costing him the popular vote. And then he convened an election integrity commission to prove it.

Griswold, a former voting rights lawyer for Obamas 2012 campaign, decided she couldnt stay on the sidelines.

We saw firsthand how our election could be affected, she said, referring to the conclusion by the intelligence community that Russia interfered in the US election, which Trump has repeatedly doubted.

And now this commission should have us all on high alert. We need secretaries of state who will stand up and say: No, were not going to roll back our democratic institutions on false allegations.

She noted that after the commission started requesting voter data, hundreds of Colorado residents canceled their voter registrations, and that county elections offices reported a flood of calls from voters concerned about their data privacy.

Our democracy requires participating and when people are taking themselves out of voter rolls, were decreasing participation, she said.

Before launching her campaign, Griswold spent hours mulling the decision with fellow female politicians. Griswold had questions about what to expect from running at such a young age and though she felt qualified to do the job, this would be her first campaign.

Eventually, she said, a mentor told her: If youre excited about this, you should run. Maybe not having run for office before will be a benefit.

At just 32, Griswold is running her first campaign and pitching her youth as an asset.

Younger people are being turned off by how our politics work, she said. I understand that. And as a younger person running, I have innovative ideas and a fresh perspective on how to change that.

January Contreras, candidate for Arizona attorney general

For most of her career, January Contreras has disregarded the calls to run for office, choosing instead to serve in other ways. That is, until now.

It became clear that were at this very important crossroads, Contreras said of her decision to run. I decided to step forward and give Arizona a choice that they can trust.

Contreras said special interests have been pulling the strings for too long and that, if elected, she intends to shift the focus of the attorney generals office back to fighting for working families and small businesses.

I came into the race feeling like I have to fight hard for all of these people in vulnerable positions because I know the choices they have to make, she said.

But what I have been surprised by since starting the campaign is that there are a lot of people who have a good home, have a job but are afraid of their government.

Though shes a political novice, Contreras has a lengthy resume with a record of public service.

She worked as an assistant attorney general in the office she now hopes to run, an ombudsman with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services and a senior advisor to Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano. In 2013, she founded the nonprofit Arizona Legal Women and Youth Service, which provides no-cost legal services to survivors of sex and labor trafficking and vulnerable children.

Contreras said she has been fortunate to work for and with female leaders throughout most of her career, like Napolitano, who was one of Arizonas four female governors.

Seeing other women step up to run for office has been inspiring, Contreras said. If we achieve getting more women elected, well see more work across the aisle and more problem-solving because lets face it, moms get stuff done.

Kim Schrier, congressional candidate for Washingtons eighth district

Kim Schrier spent election day on the phone pleading with voters in Florida to turn out for Hillary Clinton. Hours later the state would fall to Trump, along with the rest of the south and a large swath of the midwest.

The election was a real wake-up call for me, said Schrier, a pediatrician in Washington state. It felt like the world changed overnight.

The next morning, her eight-year-old son asked if they were going to have to move to another country.

I knew right away that this was one of those times when youre called upon to stand up and protect everything you love, she said.

The idea of leaving her practice where she has worked for the last 16 years to seek elective office would have sounded absurd a year ago, she said. But as she watched Republicans lead the effort to repeal Obamacare, Schrier saw an opportunity.

As a pediatrician in Washington [DC] I could serve all the children of the country far more than I could serve one ear infection at a time in my office, she said.

The final straw was when her congressman, Dave Reichert, refused to hold town halls with his constituents as the healthcare debate raged in the capital. In a campaign video, Schrier announced her candidacy next to an empty chair meant to symbolize Reicherts reluctance to meet with voters.

If elected, Schrier said she would naturally gravitate toward issues involving healthcare and science. She noted that there are currently no female doctors serving in Congress.

I think having a woman doctor at the table is an important perspective, especially during discussions of womens health and reproductive rights, she said.

Mikie Sherrill, congressional candidate for New Jerseys 11th district

When Mikie Sherrill told her family she was considering running for Congress, the former Navy pilot expected to be called crazy. Instead, they wholeheartedly agreed.

Now the Democrat is running to take on Trump and the districts nine-term Republican senator, Rodney Frelinghuysen.

I started this campaign because I was really disturbed by Trumps attack on the institutions of our democracy, Sherrill said, adding that Trumps equivocating response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville have brought his presidency into sharp relief.

I think now there is a feeling things have come to a head and this is simply not who we are as a country.

As a US Navy pilot, Sherrill spent nine years flying helicopters in Europe and the Middle East. After leaving the Navy, Sherrill attended law school at Georgetown University and later became a federal prosecutor with the US attorneys office in New Jersey.

During the 2016 election, Sherrill said she was especially appalled by Trumps treatment of Gold Star families and his disregard for Senator John McCain of Arizona, who spent more than five years in captivity during the Vietnam war.

Sherrill said she is encouraged but not surprised that so many veterans are running for office.

Veterans at one time in their life have signed up to serve their country, Sherrill said. Whats happening to this country now is a grave concern to a lot of people but veterans in particular feel the need to get engaged and help protect this country and the institutions of our government.

Sherrill said knowing she is joining a fleet of Democratic women around the country in seeking office in 2018 has been empowering.

Ive always found being a woman to be a double-edged sword, Sherrill said. Ive run into corners where Ive experienced some veiled sexism and some not so veiled sexism. But after this election the women are so engaged and that support has really gotten my campaign to where it is.

Olivia Scott, candidate for Charlotte school board – district three

Olivia Scott thought she was too young, too inexperienced, too soft-spoken for politics. The thought of running had crossed her mind but she quickly dismissed it as afar-fetched dream. But then Trump won and that equation changed.

I thought, if he can win the presidency I can definitely win a seat on the school board, Scott said.

At just 25, Scott said shes running for school board to try to change the trajectory for young students in Charlotte, where children born into poverty have little chance of escaping it.

As an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Scott studied English with a concentration in childrens studies. She now works as a director-in-training at a five-star child care center in Charlotte and is a volunteer with the local Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Scott said she is the right person to serve on the District 3 school board because she attended a similar school growing up. As a student, Scott said she was acutely aware of the disparities between school districts.

I couldnt figure out why the schools I went to were so depressing on the inside or why students I went to school with didnt always succeed, she said.

Scott has a three tier platform that she believes will help address some of the obstacles that exist, especially for the poor African American students in her district, including improving communication skills and boosting test scores in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Being young can seem like an obstacle sometimes, but its also an opportunity, she said.

I get a lot of How old are you again? she said. Most people are extremely supportive. When I introduce myself to millennials, a lot of them are impressed and ask how they can get involved.

Hala Ayala, candidate for Virginia House of Delegates district 51

Like so many women, she marched and now shes running.

Hala Ayala has been active in Democratic politics for more than a decade, but it wasnt until after she helped organize a contingent of Virginia women of the Womens March on Washington that she saw her name on the ballot.

We woke up the next day and I dont even know if this is clinically correct but we had political depression, she said. But then I went to the march and the experience, marching with these women, it really energized me and inspired me to take the next step.

For years, Ayala has worked to promote women in politics and civic life. She revived her county chapter of the National Organization for Women and serves on Governor Terry McAuliffes Council on Women.

As a single mother of two, one of whom was born with a serious medical condition, Ayala relied on welfare and Medicaid for support. At one point, she worked as a cashier at the local gas station before enrolling in a training program that put her on a path to a career in cyber security.

Ayala recently left her job as a cyber security specialist with the Department of Homeland Security to join a record number of women to seek a seat in the Virginia legislature. The decision was not without risks and she said she still occasionally wonders if it was the right decision for her family.

There is a lot of sacrifices that we make to run for office and those are not taken lightly, she said.

So far this risk has been rewarding. In June, Ayala won her primary. She is now among 31 Democratic women running for currently Republican-held seats in the Virginia House of Delegates.

  • This article was amended on 4 September to clarify that Hala Ayala has a son and a daughter, not two boys. The son was born with but does not currently have a medical condition. In addition, 31 not 10 Democratic women are running for currently Republican-held seats in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/04/democrats-inspired-by-trump-to-run-for-office-hillary-clinton

Technorati Tags: , , ,