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Photos: staggering contrast. Untouched Nature's beauty vs human footprints: waste produced & garbage trashed

photo: Kalalau Beach; inset: National Geographic Human Footprint - Beer

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Photo: Kalalau Beach. The natural beauty and isolation of Na Pali were populated by Native Hawaiians continuously for six centuries through the early 1900s. In recent decades, however, it has lured half-million visitors annually who hike its trails, camp overnight in its valleys, buzz over its 3,000 foot cliffs in helicopters and, sadly, at times prove poor stewards of Na Pali. Inset: How much Beer will the average person consume in a lifetime? National Geographic Human Footprint looks at how beer is consumed by the average American over a lifetime.

Photo: Na Pali Coastline of Kauai; inset: National Geographic Human Footprint took at look and the numbers are staggering

Photo: Na Pali Coastline of Kauai. Inset: Have you considered the impact of the cars that you will own over your entire lifetime? National Geographic Human Footprint took at look and the numbers are staggering.

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Photos courtesy of ecopreservationsociety.wordpress.com, secretofthecrystalskullsmovie.com / Diane Cook & Len Jenshel, Wings Over Kauai, and National Geographic

Original Source: Eco Preservation Society and Crystal Skulls

280 California parks bring annual $4.3 bil to state, mils locally. 200-park closure to shoot deficit? or economy?

Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, California is the closest Pacific Ocean beach to Thousand Oaks, California. Its biggest claim to fame is as a popular location for photographers and movies, including The Karate Kid, Grease, The Craft, and Point Break

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The State Parks use less than 1/10th of 1% of the budget, yet return $2.35 for every dollar spent in revenues from surrounding communities whose economies are boosted by (or based on) proximity to the parks.

Proposed state parks closure list is not for the faint of heart

"This morning, I glimpsed the list of California state parks earmarked for closure if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger successfully cuts funding, and I became sickened and angry. There are 220 parks, reserves and beaches on the list. That would leave a mere 59 parks for our continued enjoyment." (Comment posted by Maggie Wolfe Riley: "The State Parks use less than 1/10th of 1% of the budget, yet return $2.35 for every dollar spent in revenues from surrounding communities whose economies are boosted by (or based on) proximity to the parks.")

Among 220 state parks the governor proposes to close, Anderson Marsh Park is a California State Historic Park  read more »

Photo: Ring of Water - F/A-18F Super Hornet hits speed of sound, water vapor in the air forms ring cloud around it

ring of water forms in the air as Super Hornet hits the speed of sound

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An F/A-18F Super Hornet hits the speed of sound. As the plane pushes air away, the temperature drops and water vapor in the air forms a ring cloud around it.

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Photos courtesy of Christopher Pasatieri / Reuters

Original Source: Reuters and Time

Bill Turner treats Zebedee with total kindness, winning over a friend from Nature, going together to the pub for a pint

horse racing trainer Bill Turner learned to ride Zebedee in just two weeks

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A horse racing trainer loves to trot to the pub for a glass of Red Stripe lager - on his zebra. Dad-of-two Bill Turner bought 14-month-old Zebedee for £4,500 from a Dutch game reserve. Bill, 61, said: "He loves being ridden and it means I don't have to worry about being breathalysed."

Zebras are notoriously difficult to break in but the former jump jockey soon coaxed Zebedee to accept a bridle and saddle. In less than three weeks Bill was riding his new mount round his farm. Now Mr Turner rides Zebedee to his local, the King's Arms, for a pint after work.

Bill, who saddled 600 winners in 30 years as a trainer, said: "It's a mile and a half to the pub and Zebedee pricks up his ears every time we go. "The RSPCA says its OK to ride him." Bill's wife Tracy, 61, followed in a lorry on the first pub outing in case Zebedee tired and had to be driven back. But ten-stone Bill said: "He had no trouble and even cantered for a bit. The regulars got an incredible shock when I rode up."

zebras

It was the trainer's lifelong ambition to break and ride a zebra. Bill said: "I've broken hundreds of horses and wanted to try my luck with a zebra. "Very few are ridden in Africa - usually the only way to mount one is to put it in a river." Finally a livestock agent who Bill deals with in Belgium found the zebra for him. Bill said: "They say zebras are so hard to train because they don't have any brains and panic easily. Zebedee gave me a hard time at first, coming at me with his front feet and also biting.  read more »

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. - Author Unknown

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.

— Author Unknown

Brief History of Hubble Space Telescope - undergoing final maintenance-and-repair mission before retiring in 2014

Hubble lifts off on board Discovery in 1990

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The $1.5 billion Hubble rocketed to space aboard the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. It's named after Edwin Hubble, a pioneering American astronomer who furthered our understanding of other galaxies and demonstrated that the universe is continually expanding.

primary mirror, the Hubble Telescope

The Hubble's primary mirror, nearly eight feet across. A flaw in the mirror was discovered after the Hubble was in space; thanks to miscalibrated equipment, its glass had been ground slightly too finely at the edges. Though the imperfection measured just one-fiftieth of the thickness of a piece of paper, it distorted the Hubble's images. Astronauts fixed the problem in 1993.

Hubble Telescope orbits at a speed of five miles per second, 353 miles above Earth

About the size of a large school bus, the Hubble orbits at a speed of five miles per second, 353 miles above Earth. At that velocity it can cross the United States in about 10 minutes and circle the globe in an hour and a half.

Hubble Deep Field - our most detailed view of the universe  read more »

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