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Avalanche, Internet Nobel

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March 15, 2010
Avalanche deaths spark renewed caution
“What a weekend,” says Pascal Haegeli, commenting on Saturday’s deadly avalanche on B.C.’s Boulder Mountain, which claimed two snowmobilers. An expert on avalanches and wilderness recreation, Haegeli cautions back-country adventurers to stay away. “The current conditions are the result of several active weaknesses in the existing snow pack and the significant amount of new snow received during the latest storm,” notes Haegeli, a post-doctoral fellow in SFU’s Faculty of Environment. “Weaknesses in the snow pack developed during dry periods when we had nice and clear weather with only occasional snowfalls. The new snow has created a significant cohesive slab making natural and human avalanches likely.” Haegeli says avalanche conditions remain considerable to high--third and fourth on the five-level avalanche danger scale--in all forecast areas of B.C. except the southern Rocky Mountains. While it is still possible to find safe places in the back-country under these conditions, he cautions that doing so requires significant training, experience and local knowledge. “For recreationalists, it might be best to simply stay out of avalanche terrain and wait until conditions improve.”

Pascal Haegeli, 604.773.0854; pascal_haegeli@sfu.ca, pascal@avisualanche.ca

Should the Internet get a Nobel prize?
The Internet is one of 237 nominations received for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. “The Internet can be considered the first weapon of mass construction, which we can deploy to destroy hate and conflict and to propagate peace and democracy,” according to the Italian edition of Wired Magazine, which made the nomination. SFU communication professor Richard Smith, an expert on social media and the World Wide Web, is available to explain why awarding the prize to the Internet is a bad idea.

Richard Smith, smith@sfu.ca (reachable only by email)

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