Archive for 08/03/2012

CBS News –

Scuba diving takes you underwater, and parasailing lets you float above the water.

But how about flying in and out of the water ?

The latest extreme water sport that uses jet packs lets you do just that.

It’s the kind of thing that only existed in James Bond movies.

But now, those once futuristic jet packs are taking off for real. On the harbor in Newport Beach, Calif., basically anyone can now take flight.

The “jet lev,” short for jet levitation, took a decade to develop. A year ago, there was just one jet pack operation in the U.S. Now there are there are 12.

The cost to face your fear of flying ? Just $160.

Dean O’Malley, president of Jet Lev Southwest, told CBS News, “One of the biggest challenges we have right now is getting people to realize that it’s actually accessible, available.

It is truly a jet packs for the everyman. And everywoman.”

It takes just 30 minutes of instruction before you’re in the water.

A pod with a motor follows behind you, shooting water up a hose that’s 33 feet long.

Five hundred pounds of thrust and 1,000 gallons of water per-minute push you up in the air.

Full story…

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David Chanatry – 

A one-two punch of municipal waste and industrial dumping gave Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., the reputation as one of the most polluted lakes in America.

But after years of cleanup efforts, the lake has undergone a transformation, and now the final phase of its cleanup is set to begin.

Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., has often been called the most polluted lake in America.

It was hammered by a one-two punch: raw and partially treated sewage from the city and its suburbs, and a century’s worth of industrial dumping.

But now the final stage in a $1 billion cleanup is about to begin.

Standing in his office amid stacks of reports, scientist Steve Effler glances at an old front-page headline of the Syracuse Herald-Journal: “Divers find goo in Onondaga Lake.”

Goo was just part of the lake’s problem. Effler, who created the Upstate Freshwater Institute, knows more about the 4.5-square-mile lake than anyone.

But back in the 1950s, before he began studying the lake, he was a kid riding by in the backseat of his parents’ car.

“The lake [smelled] so bad [from the pollution] that you had to roll the windows up,” he recalls.

By then, swimming had already been banned for more than a decade.

Because of mercury contamination, fishing was banned in 1972, although there were not many fish in the lake.

Effler says there was so little oxygen that fish often swam right out of the lake.

Full story…

Oceanus – 

The best-laid plans of scientists often go awry when they actually get into the field.

“That’s when designing an experiment becomes adapting an experiment,” said Peter Traykovski, an oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Traykovski had to adapt earlier this year when he confronted one of the most dynamic places on Earth—the New River Inlet in North Carolina.

The inlet is a narrow, meandering chokepoint where the river and the Atlantic Ocean collide, where waves, winds, tides, and currents constantly jostle one another in unpredictable ways.

Traykovski and WHOI colleague Rocky Geyer had planned on using an underwater robotic vehicle to survey the sandy seabed.

But shoals in the inlet proved too shallow and dynamic at low tides to accommodate the vehicle, so Traykovski had to improvise.

He bought a commercial catamaran kayak, rigged scientific gear onto it, and navigated himself into the inlet to get detailed sonar images of the rippling sands.

Traykovski was among researchers from several institutions who have converged on New River Inlet in a five-year project funded by the Office of Naval Research to study the complex dynamics that move water and sand in inlets and river mouths.

Full story…