Some Sharks Are Invisible

  Prior to my piece about surviving mountain lion attacks, I had done some pondering about mountain lions and their larger counterparts. I came to the not-so-difficult realization that these predators have been given an undue amount of natural selection. Sharks, kind of the lions of the sea, enjoy a similar list of natural endowments--thousands of razor sharp teeth, keen sensory abilities and the ability to see in the dark help deliver dinner to your...
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Concept Survival Gear: Reborn Survival Kit

Although most of us probably won't find ourselves fighting the perils of the choppy seas, just in case, here's an interesting piece of concept gear that would be invaluable. The Reborn Survival Kit, designed by Xue Zhichao, folds up like a baton and contains all kinds of gadgets that would come in handy should you find yourself looking out at an ominous ocean, with no clue of how to get home. Open the kit to...
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Daily Lesson in Appreciating the Small Things

I'm sure there's a technical name for it, but I don't know it, so I called it a mini-flower. Spotted yesterday (Sunday, March 16th) at Stinson Beach, California.
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How to Book a Discount Berth on an Antarctic Cruise

I just got an email from a friend of a friend who is spending three months in Argentina. He and his wife were able to get a substantial discount on two berths on an Antarctica-bound ship. You can use their technique to get a discount too. The trick is that you have to actually go to the Argentinian city of Ushuaia, the southernmost in the world, which is where those ships depart from, and then...
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Stay up to date on the latest environmental health news

Warning: the following site can be overwhelming, with its hundreds (!) of new articles compiled daily. It can be depressing, with the coverage it frequently features of planetary warming, human-caused mass extinctions, emerging diseases, contaminated drinking water, et cetera. And it can be addicting. Don't say I didn't warn you. Environmental Health News
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Jewelers oppose "dirty gold" mine

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a bit of heartening environmental news from the Los Angeles Times: A group of prominent jewelers including Tiffany & Co., Helzberg Diamonds and Fortunoff will announce today that it opposes the massive gold and copper Pebble Mine planned for Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed, site of the world's largest sockeye salmon run. The jewelers' “Bristol Bay Protection Pledge" marks a new front in the “No Dirty Gold” initiative waged by...
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Shoot (photos) from the hip

Shooting from the hip is a photography term -probably originated from Wild West cowboy slang, but these days it's a photog term- that refers to taking a quick, basically uncomposed photo that you wouldn't have had time to get if you had taken the time to compose the camera carefully. These were all taken out the window of a moving car. It's a fun artistic challenge - try it!   
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Safety tips from the deadliest beach in California

Yesterday (Sunday) my boyfriend and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather -55ish and sunny as can be- so we hopped into the trusty ol' Metro and headed north on Highway 1. Hugging the road's constant curves, we wound our way along the Pacific coast, through northern Marin county and into Sonoma. A few hours later, we arrived at Black Point Beach State Park - our arbitrarily-chosen turnaround spot just a few miles...
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Get nautical adventure books for free

Read online or download PDFs of classics like Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle and Joshua Slocum's Sailing Alone Around the World through the awesome Ria Press. Free!One book available is one of my favorite adventure books of all time, The Sea and the Jungle by H.M. Tomlinson.  
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My boyfriend gave me crabs...

Sorry, I couldn't resist. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were taking an afternoon drive up the beautiful Sonoma coast. We often take weekend day trips. One of our favorite things to do on them is to find small, mom-and-pop type cafes, delis and restaurants that serve local food. So when we were driving into the town of Dillon Beach and he said, "We should find crab somewhere - I think it's in...
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How to take unique beach photos

Let's face it: most beach pics are boring.It seems counterintuitive. Beach photos typically have everything going for them: spectacular colors, scantily clad people having fun, bodies of water that never look the same twice, shall I go on? Yet the majority of beach pics, even the ones featuring Hawaiian sunsets and lithe, sun-kissed surfers, call to mind a quote I once heard. The quote is attributed to a photographer whose name I forget; I'm probably...
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Write a novel in 16 words

So I heard this on NPR the other day - the "16-word novel contest." They read some of the top entries. The idea intrigued me. I consider myself primarily a nonfiction writer, but a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I started out writing short stories and bad poetry. Maybe, I thought, I should write a 16-word novel. At first I had trouble coming up with anything. Then I decided it would...
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The truth about the $.03 beach vacation

My previous photo series probably gave the impression of a vast, beautiful beach upon which one could frolic and splash in playful waves. This is a false impression. First of all, the series depicts three beaches that are part of Point Reyes National Seashore: North Beach, South Beach, and Drake's Beach. None of them are really fun-in-the-sun, let's-play-beach-volleyball-style beaches.  North has a particularly ominous reputation because the shape of the sea bottom creates a vicious...
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The $.03 beach vacation - black and white edition

  The 3 cents covers the cost of the electricity you're using to look at these photos. 
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How to make people secretly hate you

Meet someone who shares your passion for the outdoors, someone you click with on every levelMove to a beautiful place with great quality-of-life features like hiking trails and bouldering [northern California] Against overwhelming odds, find a relatively affordable place of your own to rent that just happens to be two blocks from the beach Against overwhelming odds, land an interesting, challenging, rewarding FT job, complete with salary and benefits, with a nearby nonprofit organization. Did I mention that said...
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More info about the California oil spill

It's not just the San Francisco Bay area. The oil has spread along a fifty-mile span of coast, last I heard, from Pacifica in south SF to Point Reyes National Seashore up north. 58,000 gallons. The really unbelievable part? Volunteers have been and are still being turned away, tons of them. You can only help if you've had an official federal training session. This blog has photos and first-person accounts of the spill. It's so...
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Prevent giant oil spills

After the Exxon-Valdez disaster, a law was passed requiring oil tankers to have double hulls. That didn't help the wildlife in San Francisco Bay and as far north as Point Reyes when a Korean ship ran into the Golden Gate Bridge, puncturing a fuel tank and dumping thousands of gallons into the ocean. Here's an easy way to prevent giant oil spills: require that ALL oil containers on oceangoing vessels, from fuel tanks to supertankers themselves, be double-thick....
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Seagulls- the sewer rats of the sky?

Perhaps I'm being unkind, but they just always struck me as dirty birds - like, if they were people, they would be sleazy lounge-singer types with slicked-back hair and half-buttoned shirts. Maybe that impression has something to do with how you see them circling garbage barges, shrieking in maniac delight.  
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Disappearing Cape Cod

You have got to see this. The Civil Society Institute has unveiled www.CapeCodFlooding.org, an interactive website that shows the projected impact on Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard of a potential one-meter ocean level rise due to global warming. The Flash-based web map includes close-up coastal flooding details for Hyannis, Truro and a total of four points on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The mapping is based on the latest available and most detailed elevation information from MassGIS (Massachusetts Office...
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