THE 'TRIPLE CROWN' --- OF HIKING?
Thoroughbred racing has its Triple Crown, and so does the world of hiking. Veteran hiker Brian Robinson has just completed all three jewels, hiking the three major American mega-trails: Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail.
OK, so nearly 30 other hikers have done that over the years. But Robinson is the first to have ever done all three -- all 7,371 miles -- in one 12-month span. Published reports indicate he had to hike at a 30-miles-a-day clip to complete the trek. Along the way he slogged through ice and show and mud and occasionally suffered from mild palsy. His travels took him through 22 states. The worst part for him was not the weather, he says, it was the loneliness.
By the way, Robinson surpassed his goal of doing all three hikes in a year -- he completed them in less than 11 months.
(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
For the ninth year, a Canadian organization known as the Adbusters Media Foundation is advocating a "Buy Nothing Day," for Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
But the campaign against conspicuous consumption is meeting more opposition in the aftermath of Sept. 11.
"Initially, about a month ago, when we first started talking about it, we suddenly got a lot of people getting angry at us," said Adbusters director Kalle Lasn. "And we thought, 'Uh oh, things are really different this year.'"
The U.S. government has been promoting more shopping because of an economy that was slumping before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and then became worse. Consumerism is seen as the engine that will get the economy going again.
Not so, Adbusters of Vancouver says.
A statement on the organization's Web site said: "The official 'shop while the bombs drop' rhetoric is coming out of Washington and London and Ottawa without any context or caveats at all. No mention that it's a short term emergency measure that comes at a long-term expense of the planet."
The group has received the usual enthusiastic support on its Web site, but the negative response has also been spirited. One respondent said the "buy nothing" campaign showed "an utter lack of patriotism."
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
Thieving scrub jays watch their backs more than honest birds, according to research published in the journal Nature.
N. J. Emery and N. S. Clayton of the University of Cambridge in England report that the birds modify the way they hide food according to their previous experience as a pilferer of others' food stores. If they are watched caching food by another jay, birds with a criminal past then move their store to a new location. Those more innocent of the ways of the world are far more trusting: they leave their food in their original hiding place, even if they know another bird has seen them put it there.
"To our knowledge this is the first experimental demonstration that a non-human animal can remember the social context of specific past events and adjust their present behavior to avoid potentially detrimental consequences in the future," the authors wrote.
(Thanks to UPI Science Writer Jim Kling)
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
Television crime shows and legal melodramas have apparently fueled a more confrontational attitude in America's courtrooms.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that in response, the Illinois Supreme Court has appointed a special 14-member commission to study attorneys' bad behavior and recommend ways to restore civility both inside and outside court. The panel is scheduled to meet for the first time next week.
Some attorneys blame outbursts of rude behavior -- like name-calling, shouting matches and even threats among lawyers -- on television programs that give clients the impression a lawyer is not doing their job unless they intimidate the opposition.
Also, some law students got their first impressions of the legal profession from media coverage of dramatic trials on the news and Court TV.
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
The legendary Jim Thorpe -- known as "the world's greatest athlete" --- will appear on Wheaties cereal boxes.
Members of the Thorpe family and Pennsylvania Gov. Mark Schweiker unveiled the new Wheaties box recently during a ceremony at the Jim Thorpe High School football stadium in Jim Thorpe, Pa.
"My dad had a bowl of cereal almost every day for breakfast, and of course we had Wheaties," said Thorpe's daughter, Grace, now 80. "He was very modest and humble when it came to all of the attention, but he would be very honored to be recognized by 'The Breakfast of Champions'."
Thousands of schoolchildren had written to General Mills, asking that Thorpe be put on the Wheaties box. He joins a distinguished list of Wheaties champions such as Lou Gehrig, Babe Didricksen, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Walter Payton, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.