Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Trailpeak.com Breaks New Ground in Trail Mapping

Hiking, biking, and paddling trails database develops hyperlocal and video features

OTTAWA, July 27, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - Trailpeak.com Canada's premier interactive trail mapping network, has unveiled two features to support hiking, biking, climbing and paddling enthusiasts who visit the site for information on trails across Canada and the U.S.

Trailpeak's innovative " hyperlocal widgets" feature allows visitors to customize their individual outdoor-adventures webpage, according to location and preference of the user. The gallery of hyperlocal widgets to choose from includes new and popular local trails, outdoor events, weather conditions, Craigslist, and Google maps.

"Our hyperlocal widgets feature has been designed to simplify information-gathering," said Kurt Turchan, founder of Trailpeak. "Instead of searching different pages of our site for trail, event or member information and browsing external sites such as Craigslist and YouTube, we bring it all together on one page."

The Trailpeak widgets page can be adapted by the user to include information and locations of particular interest to them. For example, a user in Calgary can track events in that city and can also go to the widget gallery and add the events or classified advertising widgets for Banff.

Trailpeak has also developed a video feature that allows members to upload video content by simply copying and pasting the embed code from any YouTube or Vimeo video. "We can't wait to see the footage that our members will be providing for the benefit and enjoyment of their fellow adventurers," said Turchan.

Next month, Turchan, and four Trailpeak editors will embark on a 10-day tour of Newfoundland and Labrador to explore some of the world's most breathtaking scenery. The team will be equipped with hands-free, high definition head cams, allowing them to capture the landscape and trail conditions of a variety of adventures such as shipwreck survivor trails, sea kayak routes and hikes on Fogo Island and Terra Nova National Park. Video footage and trail data collected by the team will be added to Trailpeak's database of over 10,000 outdoor trails and GPS logs across Canada and the U.S.

Monday, 12 July 2010

World Cup's Soccer City Shows Scale of Mining Waste in South Africa

from TreeHugger.com
by Jaymi Heimbuch, San Francisco, California

All eyes were on Soccer City yesterday as the World Cup played out. However, few eyes were seeing it from above, which is the perspective that reveals the neighboring mountains of waste from gold mines. While Soccer City (circled on the image above) can hold 97,400 people -- a sizable stadium by any standards -- it is minuscule compared to the three slag piles shown in the NASA satellite image above. Those big brown patches to the left of the stadium are massive mounds of left-over crushed rock from gold mining. The companies that make up the gold mining industry in South Africa are going for deposits as tiny as 0.015 ounces of gold per ton of excavated rock. This desperate reach for microscopic flecks of gold spells environmental disaster.

Our Amazing Planet brings our attention to the image of the slag piles, or mounds of crushed rock. It points out that such destructive efforts yield so little product that "a single wedding band, at this rate, would need 20 tons of gold-flecked rock."

While South Africa is a leader in gold mining, it comes at a frightening cost. It takes roughly 3.3 tons of ore, 5,440 litres of water, 572 kilowatt hours of electricity, 12 cubic meters of compressed air, along with dynamite and chemicals to produce a since fine ounce of gold.

Cyanide is used to extract the gold from the ore, and slip-ups in its use have killed wildlife, contaminated drinking water supplies, and wiped out nearly all wildlife in stretches of river. Beyond that, there is the issue of altering the landscape beyond recognition or repair... read more story at TreeHugger.com

Saturday, 10 July 2010

PGA Tour

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The PGA Tour is an organization that operates the main professional golf tours in the United States. It is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, a suburb of Jacksonville. Its name is officially rendered in all-capital letters as "PGA TOUR".

The PGA Tour operates the following three tours, all of which are primarily contested in the U.S.:

PGA Tour, the top tour

Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. possession of Puerto Rico host one event each year. Note, however, that the events in Mexico and Puerto Rico are "alternate" events held opposite one of the World Golf Championships tournaments and therefore have weaker fields than a regular tour event. In addition, one of the four annual major championships is held in the U.K.

Champions Tour, for golfers age 50 and over

One regular tournament is held in the Dominican Republic, and one of the senior majors is held in the U.K. Tournaments in Canada and South Korea will be added in 2010.

Nationwide Tour, a developmental tour

In terms of tournament locations, the Nationwide Tour actually has a greater event presence than either of the other tours. Canada, Mexico, and Panama host one tournament each, and the tour co-sanctions two events on the PGA Tour of Australasia—one each in Australia and New Zealand. A tournament will be added in Colombia for 2010.

The PGA Tour also conducts an annual Qualifying Tournament (known colloquially as Q-School), a six-round tournament held each fall; the top 25 finishers, including ties, receive privileges to play on the following year's PGA Tour. Remaining finishers in the top 75, plus ties, receive full privileges on the Nationwide Tour.

The top 25 money-winners on the Nationwide Tour also receive privileges on the following year's PGA Tour. A golfer who wins three events on that tour in a calendar year earns a "performance promotion" (informally a "battlefield promotion") which garners PGA Tour privileges for the remainder of the year plus the following full season.

At the end of each year, the top 125 money-winners on the PGA Tour receive a tour card for the following season, which gives them exemption from qualifying for most of the next year's tournaments. However at some events, known as invitationals, exemptions apply only to the previous year's top 70 players. Players who are ranked between 126–150 receive a conditional tour card, which gives them priority for places that are not taken up by players with full cards.

Winning a PGA Tour event provides a tour card for a minimum of two years, with an extra year added for each additional win with a maximum of five years. Winning a World Golf Championships event or The Tour Championship provides a three-year exemption. Winners of the major championships and The Players Championship earn a five-year exemption. Other types of exemptions include lifetime exemptions for players with twenty wins on the tour; one-time, one year exemptions for players in the top fifty on the career money earnings list who are not otherwise exempt; two-time, one year exemptions for players in the top twenty-five on the career money list; and medical exemptions for players who have been injured, which give them an opportunity to regain their tour card after a period out of the tour.

Similar to other major league sports, there is no rule limiting PGA Tour players to "men only." In 2003, Annika Sörenstam and Suzy Whaley played in PGA Tour events, and Michelle Wie did so in each year from 2004 through 2008. None of these three made the cut, although Wie missed by only one stroke in 2004.

The LPGA like all other women's sports, is limited to female participants only.

There is also a PGA European Tour, which is separate from either the PGA Tour or the PGA of America; this organization runs a tour, mostly in Europe but with events throughout the world outside of North America, that is second only to the PGA Tour in worldwide prestige. There are several other regional tours around the world. However, the PGA Tour, European Tour, and many of the regional tours co-sponsor the World Golf Championships. These, along with the major championships, usually count toward the official money lists of each tour as well as the Official World Golf Rankings.

Charity fundraising

The PGA Tour places a strong emphasis on charity fundraising, usually on behalf of local charities in cities where events are staged. With the exception of a few older events, PGA Tour rules require all Tour events to be non-profit; the Tour itself is also a non-profit company. In 2005, it started a campaign to push its all-time fundraising tally past one billion dollars ("Drive to a Billion"), and it reached that mark one week before the end of the season. However, monies raised for charities derive from the tournaments' positive revenues (if any), and not any actual monetary donation from the PGA Tour, whose purse monies and expenses are guaranteed. The number of charities which receive benefits from PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour events is estimated at over 2,000. In 2009, the total raised for charity was some $108 million.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Solar Powered Airplane Flies for 26 Hours Straight

from TreeHugger.com
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York

A solar-powered airplane piloted in Switzerland has just made a landmark achievement: It flew for well over 24 hours straight, continuing on its journey well after the sun went down. The story is making headline news all around the world, and for good reason -- it's a powerful example of the vast potential held by renewable energy.

Here's an excerpt from the New York Times' front page story about the flight:

Slender as a stick insect, a solar-powered experimental airplane with a huge wing span completed its first test flight of more than 24 hours on Thursday, powered overnight by energy collected from the sun during a day aloft over Switzerland.

The organizers said the flight was the longest and highest by a solar-powered craft, reaching an altitude of 8,564 meters, just over 28,000 feet, above sea level, at an average speed of 23 knots, around 25 miles per hour.

The craft, called the Solar Impulse, boasts 12,000 solar cells, and does indeed have a massive wingspan: It's 210 feet from tip to tip. One of the primary aims of the project was to prove that the plane can feasibly stay in the air indefinitely -- charging the batteries during the daytime, and using stored energy for travel at night. They hope to one day fly around the world in a solar plane. And indeed, the successful test flight goes a good ways towards meeting that goal... read more story at TreeHugger.com