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Want to Be an Archeologist? Learn to Fight Forest Fires

The effects of climate change are not only threatening fragile ecosystems, but could erase our past as well.

Cliff palaces in Mesa Verde National Park. Image by Ken Lund via Flickr

In the hot middle of August 1996, lightning struck a dense piñon-juniper range in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. Then flames licked up, burning northward through Soda Canyon, Little Soda Canyon, and Park Mesa’s research area. The blaze ran its course for seven days. Aircrafts doused the park in water, and fire retardants known as “slurry” were used to snub out flames in the nooks of tough-to-reach craggy topography. Slurry stains are still visible, almost 20 years later, on the impressionable sandstone trail to Spruce Tree House, a collection of cliff dwellings. The national park contains an estimated 600 buildings fashioned into cliff alcoves, and over 5,000 other archeological sites produced by the Ancestral Puebloans. Although the fire quit just before reaching the Visitors’ Center, burning through a small (but important) 4,781 acres in the end, it accelerated a natural process known as spalling. When water evaporates in sandstone, layers of rock flake off. Because of this accelerated spalling, the fire claimed an important victim—the famous Battleship Rock Panel, which was degraded and destroyed. This petroglyph panel portrayed humans and animals, dated roughly back to 1100 AD, was chiseled into the sandstone, and helped archaeologists contextualize life of the Ancestral Puebloans.

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This Magical Alaskan Ice Cave Captured on Video Last Year No Longer Exists

These beautiful ice caves are caused by climate change.

Discovery Digital Networks’ brand new platform Seeker hopes to take its readers on virtual adventures around the world and spark a love of wonder and travel. They have certainly succeeded with this mesmerizing first episode of “This Happened Here,” a daily series that sources photos and travel diaries from adventurers around the globe. The “Disappearing Ice Caves of Alaska” episode tells the story of honeymooners Lauren and Andrew Russel as they climb on, under and all around the massive and constantly evolving glaciers of Alaska. Their destination? A majestic ice cave located below the 12 mile long Mendenhall Glacier.

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Science Says Smoking Weed is Safer Than Getting Drunk

And now you can toke up recreationally in Alaska, the third state to legalize marijuana.

Photo via Flickr user Torben Hansen.

Should you harbor any anxieties that your recreational marijuana use is bad for your health, light up a joint and forget your worries. Science says your ganja is probably safer than that third glass of whiskey you downed in a poor man’s imitation of Don Draper. A report published in the journal Scientific Reports by researchers in Canada and Germany found that alcohol consumption had a higher risk of death than marijuana use, which had the lowest ranking. Pot, in fact, was found to be 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Heroin, cocaine, and tobacco use were all found to be much deadlier than smoking a joint.

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There's Less Summer Sea Ice in the Arctic Than Ever (So Now We're Drilling There)

What do we do when we realize that temperatures in the Arctic are rising four times faster than the global average? We drill!

What do we do when we realize that temperatures in the Arctic are rising four times faster than the global average, causing Arctic ice to recede to record-low levels?

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Where Do People Walk and Bike the Most? It's Not Where You Think

Alaska tops a new ranking of biking and walking levels in all 50 states. Among cities, Boston takes the number one spot.


The Alliance for Biking and Walking just released its biannual benchmark report, and the results may surprise you. The state with the greatest percentage of cyclists and walkers? Alaska. Among cities, Boston takes the crown.

If those results seem a little bit off—Isn’t Portland the country’s biking mecca? Or, if you trust Bicycling Magazine, Minneapolis?—consider another figure from the Alliance’s report: Americans choose to walk for 10.5 percent of all their trips, and bike just 1 percent of the time. While Bostonians aren’t known for their rad bike culture, 13.9 percent of the city’s commuters walk to work. (And I hear there are plenty of fixies to be found in Allston.)

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Photographs: Corey Arnold's Fish-Work Slideshow: Corey Arnold's Captivating Photos of Life on an Alaskan Crab Boat

Take a look behind your seafood into the crazy and captivating world of Alaskan commercial fishermen with Corey Arnold's latest book: Fish-Work.

Photographer and fisherman Corey Arnold's latest book, Fish-Work, documents life on a crab-fishing boat in Alaska's Bering Sea. It's a captivating look into a world that doesn't often reach the dinner table—a place with staggering natural beauty, giant ocean swells, and half-crazy commercial fishermen pulling traps in one of the most fulfilling and deadliest jobs.

I spoke with Arnold from his home in Portland, Oregon.

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