Jordan Romero: Too young to fail

My first reaction to the news that a 13-year-old kid is aiming to become the youngest ever to climb Mt. Everest? It’s pretty simple:

You’re supposed to wait until after you graduate Dartmouth to become a extroverted narcissistic orthodontist.

Fortunately, my second reaction was much more thoughtful, much more compassionate. It took into account the real-world impacts that a successful summit might have on this kid. It clearly cares about his future:

Climbing Mt. Everest when you’re 13 would be kind of like having sex with Jessica Simpson when you’re 13. Yeah, it’s technically possible, but wouldn’t that really just set the bar too high for the rest of your life?

..... CONTINUED @ The Adventure Life


Eyjafjallajokull image gallery

IF you like this, you'll absolutely LOVE this photo gallery:

LINK: Boston.com

Enter the "Green Tea Party"

“.... We, the Green Tea Party, believe that the most effective way to advance America’s national security and economic vitality would be to impose a $10 “Patriot Fee” on every barrel of imported oil, with all proceeds going to pay down our national debt. America now imports about 11 million barrels a day, about 57 percent of our total oil needs — mostly from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. As T. Boone Pickens told Congress the other day: “In January 2010, our trade deficit for the month was $37.3 billion — $27.5 billion of that was money we sent overseas to import oil.....”

LINK: Thomas Friedman, New York Times

Monday daydream: A day in Chamonix

BD athlete Colin Haley skiing on Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix, France from Black Diamond Equipment on Vimeo.


One degree of Wicked Outdoorsy

"The Town that Food Saved," 2010, Rodale Press, by Ben Hewitt. "On a sun-washed Vermont hillside on a late July afternoon, my face tilted into the day’s fading heat, I stood and listened to Tom Stearns as he expounded on the woes of modern agriculture. “Who’s the biggest user of energy? Agriculture! Who’s the biggest user of land? Agriculture! Who’s the biggest user of water? Agriculture! Who’s the biggest polluter? Agriculture!” He stabbed a finger in the air for emphasis. “All we have are models of broken plans to look at. Totally, completely broken.” He sipped from his beer, and turned to face me squarely. “In five years, we will have people from all over the planet visiting Hardwick to see what a healthy food system looks like.”

Tom and I were standing on the sprawling hillside lawn of Heartbeet Life Sharing, a residential farming community for special needs adults, who participate in all aspects of farm operations on the sloping 160-acres of field and forest. There was drumming and a bonfire and small children running across the sunlit lawn clutching rabbits to their chests. A small herd of cows grazed on pasture below the house, casting long shadows in the late afternoon light. Earlier in the day, there’d been a collective effort to construct a wood-fired stone-and-clay oven and now it sat drying, at once lumpen and graceful. If one were looking for an inspiring setting in which to discuss localized agriculture, with all its ancillary benefits of social good and pastoral beauty, one couldn’t have imagined a better stage.”

LINK: Ben Hewitt, a guy I skied with
Buy it on Amazon

"Shell Games." 2010, Harper Collins. By Craig Welch. "Puget Sound sits south of the border between the U.S. and Canada and is home to the magnificent geoduck (pronounced "gooey duck"), the world's largest burrowing clam. Comically proportioned but increasingly fashionable as seafood, the geoduck has been the subject of pranks, TV specials, and gourmet feasts. But this shellfish is so valuable it is also traded for millions of dollars on the black market— a world where outlaw scuba divers dodge cops while using souped-up boats, night-vision goggles, and weighted belts to pluck the succulent treasures from the sea floor. And the greatest dangers come from rival poachers who resort to arson and hit men to eliminate competition and stake their claim in the geoduck market.

Detective Ed Volz spent his life chasing elk-antler thieves, bobcat smugglers, and eagle talon poachers. Now he was determined to find the kingpin of the geoduck underworld. He and a team of federal agents set up illegal sales, secretly recorded conversations, and photographed hand-offs from the bushes. For years, they tracked a rogues' gallery of lawbreakers, who eventually led them to the biggest thief of all— a darkly charming con man who called himself the "GeoduckGotti" and who worked both sides of the law.

In Shell Games, veteran environmental journalist Craig Welch delves into the wilds of our nation's waters and forests in search of some of America's most unusual criminals and the cops who are on a mission to take them down. This thrilling examination of the international black market for wildlife is filled with butterfly thieves, bear slayers, and shark-trafficking pastors— all part of one of the largest illegal trades in the world."

LINK: Craig Welch, a guy that I used to work with
Buy it on Amazon

"Hooked, A thriller about love and other addictions." 2010, The Twelve. By Matt Richtel. "In August of 2003, I was processing the end of one intense personal relationship and acclimating to a new one. Coincidentally, I was covering Silicon Valley for the New York Times, immersing in tech world, and I conjured a not-especially-profound theory of modern life. I called it "the cell phone-orthodontist principle." The axiom states that if you're driving in a car alone, and run out of people to talk to, you'll eventually get so bored and desperate that you may call directory assistance to get the phone number of the person who attached your braces in junior high. "I love what you did with my teeth," you might say to your orthodontist, "Are you busy for the next 30 miles?"

What does the frenetic, digitally-enhanced pace of modern life and our need to be constantly stimulated have to do with my personal life, or yours?

When I sat down that August at a café and started writing the first pages of Hooked, I didn't intend to write a book. I was writing a story for myself -- to process, entertain, maybe distract. An excuse to drink sit at a café and drink hot chocolates. Quickly, I found myself conscious of an audience, but I was nervous I would not hold readers' attention. So I purposefully tried to write short chapters, ending them each with a hook, writing at a breakneck pace. A fast book for fast times and busy readers.

What became evident to me as the narrative took shape that I was constructing something broader than a fast-paced story. I am loathe to be more specific because I don't want to give away the twists in the book, but I hope the story articulates something relevant about the impact of the digital era on our personal lives. Might there be some profound similarities about the way we invest in and obsess about relationships, and in our email and mobile phones?"

LINK: Matt Richtel, a guy I knew in high school
Buy it on Amazon

Maine Gubernasocialmedia poll

2010 Maine Gubernatorial candidates, Twitter followers as of April 14

Rosa Scarcelli

Steven Rowe

Libby Mitchell

Patrick McGowan

John Richardson

2010 Maine Gubernatorial candidates, Facebook friends as of April 14

Steven Rowe
1497 friends

Patrick McGowan
1221 friends

John Richardson
1186 friends

Libby Mitchell
1021 friends

Rosa Scarcelli
910 friends


Enter the dragon

Last week's eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano (say that five times realllly fast) caused the evacuation of "only" a few hundred people when it blew its top.

But what's really got people's attention is that the big E typically serves as foreplay to the main event: the eruption of Katla, Iceland's most dangerous volcano. If Katla rears her head like only she can, the effect in Iceland could mean a massive glacier melt with the output of the Amazon, Nile, Yangtze and Mississippi. Combined.

In the rest of the world, climatologists say that the effect of massive ash and gas pumping into the atmosphere would be extended global cooling .... a stark contrast from our current world that'll definitely push up those real estate prices for your grandma's Florida condo.

Of course, you might be cynical of a mass market weather prediction at this point. And who wouldn't be? But hearing the lava talk got me remembering a conversation I had with a climbing guide in Iceland when I visited a few years ago. "Everybody wants to see the disappearing glaciers," he said to me, with an expression that was half chuckle, half sneer. "But what's really important are the volcanoes."

As we walked through the treeless, lava rocked terrain, he didn't talk much about recent history to support his claim. Instead, he talked about the late 1700s, when the Laki volcano spewed ash and lava for more than eight months, pumping out miles and miles of basalt lava and clouds of poisonous gases that decimated the island's livestock and resulted in a 25% population decline. Bad as 1783 was, the after-effects of the volcano allegedly dropped the global temperatures enough to cause European famines ... and spurred on a very hungry, very grumpy French population to start doing very creative things with knives and pitchforks.

With a genuine laugh, he joked one final time with me, saying that -- thanks to the volcanoes -- eventually Iceland will be the largest country in the world.

The good news, I guess, is that nobody's talking about Iceland's economic crisis anymore.