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from Photographers' Blog:

The toughest foot race on earth

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Death Valley, California

By Lucy Nicholson

Park Sukhee, 46, had been running and walking for more than 35 hours when he approached the base of Mount Whitney. His friend handed him a South Korean flag and he broke into a jog and a smile. Running ahead of him to take photos, and realizing I was his only other spectator, I lowered my camera to applaud his achievement.

Park had just run 135 miles (217 km) from the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, Death Valley, to the trailhead to Mount Whitney, climbing a total of 13,000 feet (4,000m) over the course, in temperatures that blazed to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit (around 49 degrees Celsius).

GALLERY: DEATH VALLEY'S ULTRAMARATHON

The Badwater Ultramarathon bills itself as the world’s toughest foot race. Competitors run, walk and hobble through one or two nights to finish the grueling course within the 48-hour limit.

When I told people I was covering the race, the typical reaction was: “those people are crazy”. But there was something very moving about watching runners stride toward a goal most of us can’t even fathom, let alone accomplish, smiling proudly as they marched towards the finishing tape.

from The Great Debate:

Time for GOP to stop denying climate change

Society, throughout history, has embraced “truths” later revealed to be false: The Earth is flat, the Sun revolves around the Earth and, now, climate change is a hoax. Strong evidence – including the fact that the Arctic ice melt has reached the lowest point in history – shows that climate change is real. Yet Republican members of Congress still refuse to take meaningful steps to address what can be done to protect our planet from this growing threat.

The first eight months of 2012 were the hottest on record since record keeping began in 1895. June, July and August produced the third-hottest summer ever recorded. The nation as a whole is averaging 4 degrees Fahrenheit above the average temperature for the year– a full degree higher than in 2006, which, until now, had the hottest first eight months of any year.

from Photographers' Blog:

Shooting heat without getting sweaty

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By Kai Pfaffenbach

The use of photographs showing global climate change, industries' increasing emissions and its effect on our environment is growing rapidly.

Looking for different images Eastern Europe Chief Photographer Pawel Kopczynski came across thermal imaging technology and bought one of these cameras that shows different temperature levels. The camera was sent to my Frankfurt office with a short and easy job description: “Kai, play around with the camera and make good use of it”. After getting familiar with the technology (the first time ever in my career I had to read a 200 page manual) and taking a few silly shots of houses in the neighborhood I made up my mind to start a tour through southern Germany, shooting the nuclear and coal power plants of the region.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Can YOU pass the Budapest Test?

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Blog Guy, I know you have a background in education. What is the most widely accepted test to identify people with extremely low IQs?

The standard practice is just to look for people who wear baseball caps backwards. It's foolproof, so to speak.

from Photographers' Blog:

Sizzling on the salt flats

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By Jim Urquhart

As soon as I got out of my car and stepped onto the salt I could feel the skin on the end of my nose begin to sizzle. Within five minutes I cracked open my first water bottle and was relatively uncomfortable. By the time 15 minutes had past I was already questioning why in the hell did I choose to go on this three day assignment.

When the bright sun began blinding me after it was reflected off the salt under my sunglasses into my eyes and I could feel it begin to burn under my chin I became thankful I didn't pay homage to the Scottish half of my ancestry and wear a kilt. In fact, within an hour of arriving I met a young couple that decided to tell me while waiting in a line the day before I arrived they had their nether regions sunburned because they didn't have on the right underwear under their shorts to protect them from the reflected sun.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Yes, it’s hot enough for me! Okay?

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I went out this morning and I lost count of the number of people who said, "Hot enough for you?" and "Gonna be a scorcher!"

I never know what to say to things like that.

Such comments are called phatic speech - words used to create an atmosphere of shared feelings, as opposed to imparting information.

from Photographers' Blog:

Tips on the fire line

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My rental SUV smells like a junior high school locker room manned by a chain-cigar-smoking gym instructor and I am standing on the side of the road with my pants and shirt half off cleaning myself with baby wipes and I am itching in areas that are not suppose to itch like that… yeah, I am in the field covering a wildfire.

Luckily I keep a "go" bag with all my own fire gear in it. I got the call in the evening and had arrangements to fly to Albuquerque, New Mexico, the next morning. I was being sent to cover the Wallow Wildfire, which has turned into Arizona's largest fire in history, and was right on the border with New Mexico heading to the community of Luna, New Mexico. Thankfully I had editors that trusted me and knew I had been to a few of these rodeos before and would let me make the calls as to where I would go for photos and take the risk of getting out ahead of the fire.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

So, you come to displace often?

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pool this 490

Quick quiz: If you plan to beat the heat by going to a public swimming pool, be aware of the serious danger of....

pool side 280a) crushing human stampedes

b) dehydration

c) toxic exposure to cheap plastic inflatables

d) drowning

Sorry, this was kind of a trick question. I'll accept any answer except drowning, which obviously is impossible as you can see in this photo of 146,000 frolicking people displacing about two quarts of water.

from Changing China:

Breathless in Beijing — an athletic has-been tries the air

weather graphicThe long-distance cyclists said it was dreadful, the marathon runners live in fear of it and the tennis players want extra breaks to help them withstand its effects.

But how bad is the Beijing air really? Is it miserable beyond endurance for athletes busting their lungs to deliver peak performance? Or are the smog stories a smokescreen, part of the exaggeration attendant on any Olympic Games?

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