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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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D.A.R.E. Falls for Ridiculous Fake Story on the Dangers of Pot

According to a piece recently posted on the anti-drug site, “Children are being addicted to marijuana.”

In this world of legal marijuana and clinical ketamine tests, somehow D.A.R.E., that cheesy 80s anti-drug program, still exists. Their main schtick was bringing creepy cops into schools to scare children, getting kids used to the presence of the empire’s stormtroopers at a young age to reduce the chance of adult resistance. Recently, the organization’s obsolescence and antiquated drug war mentality was put on full display, when they posted a ludicrous, satirical anti-marijuana news story on their site as truth.

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These Retro Arcade Consoles Have a Special Message for Colorado Pot-Smokers

The Colorado Department of Transportation really, really understands the target demographic for their latest safe driving campaign.

image via Denver CBS 4 screen capture

As most anyone who spent time playing video games between 1989 and 2000 knows: “Winners Don’t Use Drugs.”

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[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCMqtUqjLy0

This content is brought to you by IBM. Click here to read more stories from Figures of Progress.

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You're Not Powerless: How to Talk to Kids About Violence After a Tragedy

Kids need reassurance and ways to take action against hate.

This morning my two sons bounced out of bed, excited that the day that they'd be going to see
The Dark Knight Rises was finally here. I was watching news coverage of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, so all that eagerness was quickly replaced with horror and sadness for the victims. They also began to wonder, will this happen at the movies if we still go tonight?

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Send Us Evidence of the Valentine Phantom In Your Town

Each year around this time, mysterious red hearts pop up in cities across the country. We're collecting your photos for a Valentine's Day slideshow.

This weekend, the mysterious phenomenon known as the Valentine Phantom, or Valentine's Day Bandit, will spread a simple message of love across the country. Like street art cupids, these Valentine Phantoms venture out in the night to place bright red hearts in highly visible places just before Valentine's Day for a very public display of affection. Apparently the tradition began in Portland, Maine, in the 1970s, gained a big following thanks to a "Kissing Bandit" in Boulder, Colorado, and has a very special place in the, um, hearts of Montpelier, Vermont, residents, where there's even a Valentine Phantom Phan Page.

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