British Couple Runs the Entire Length of South America

woman running on nature trail...
Shutterstock / Warren Goldswain

If running a marathon seems like an exhausting prospect, then spare a thought for the British couple that ran a marathon every single day for 15 months. The mammoth feat was part of an epic plan to run the entire length of South America- ,504 miles to be precise.

Katharine and David Lowrie became the first people to ever run the length of the continent when they crossed the finish line in Venezuela last week. But their arduous journey began way back last year on the first day of the London Olympics when they set off from the southern tip of Chile.

The intrepid pair was determined to complete the journey and strode on despite all sorts of unpleasant conditions, be it hurricane-force winds, knee-deep mud or slippery ice. The temperatures they faced were no better, ranging from one extreme (14 F) to another (113 F). And if running miles in these conditions wasn’t bad enough, the couple did it all while they dragged their supplies behind them. There wasn’t much reprieve at night either, with the couple hunkering down in wonky tents as they tried to gather their energy for the next grueling day of running.The Lowries say they went through 10 pairs of shoes during the trip, although they ran a significant portion of their journey barefoot, kind of brave when you consider the Amazonian insects that were swarming them and the snakes that assaulted them. Those critters did come in handy a few times, however, with the couple admitting to eating termites for breakfast when they ran out of food at one point.

The pair says they made the record-breaking run to raise awareness about the importance of the planet’s forests and ecosystems and to raise money for conservation.

‘Living Rocks’ Could Be The Strangest Local Delicacy Ever (VIDEO)


From the outside, it resembles a rock or coral. But on the inside, pyura chilensis is a gooey mass of blood red. This immobile, hermaphroditic sea creature survives on microorganisms and produces vanadium, a rare mineral also found in crude oil and tar sands. But despite safety concerns, it’s a delicacy on the coast of Peru and Chile.

Local fisherman search the coast for these sea squirts, as they are known in English, which can be found in large concentrations or alone (the latter is happening more, as Pyura banks are being heavily fished). At fish markets, they are typically cut open with a carpenter’s saw before the insides are scooped out.

Stéphane Batigne, Wikimedia Commons

Daring tourists should look for piure on South American menus. The creatures are served raw, in stews, over rice or fried. Here’s one marine biologist’s reaction to trying the food when she was in Chile:

We took a guest speaker, Kevin Lafferty from UC Santa Barbara, to eat lunch after his presentation.He told us that he wanted to try piure. People from the lab grimaced at the suggestion and recommended he get a half portion. … Then the waitress brought out this bowl of red lumps in a red broth. When I asked what it was, that’s when they told me it was sea squirt. I then told Kevin to go first. … He really disliked it, but actually I didn’t think it was that bad. It was true that it had a weird iodine flavor that I had never experienced before in my life.

That iodine-like flavor has been described as “bitter and “soapy,” with another visitor saying the famed South American cocktail, a Pisco Sour, “helps it go down.” Not sure if that sounds appetizing, but at least now we can argue it is possible to get blood from a stone.

[via Grist]

Antarctica Continues To Heat Up, As A Cruise Destination

Crystal Cruises

Antarctica is the southern most continent on Earth and can reach temperatures as low as −129°F (−89°C). But to cruise travelers, the home of the South Pole is one of the hottest new destinations around and cruise lines are sending them there in ever-increasing numbers. Once seen as a place of treks for hearty explorers, burly men of substance and adventure travelers, luxury cruise lines are finding Antarctica a popular choice, offering a variety of itineraries.

In ‘Antarctica For Sissies? Hardly, As Luxury Cruise Line Turns New Page‘ Gadling reported luxury line Seabourn refitting Seabourn Quest to make 21- to 24-night expedition sailings later this year. The 450-passenger ship will sail from Buenos Aires, Argentina, stopping by Montevideo, Uruguay, then the Falkland Islands before spending five days in Antarctica, running Zodiac landings to a variety of ridiculously amazing places.

Now, Crystal Cruises is sailing to Antarctica for a Christmas/New Year’s cruise beginning December 21, 2013. The Buenos Aires-Valparaíso voyage aboard 922-passenger Crystal Symphony sails through Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Falkland Islands, Drake Passage, Cape Horn, and the Chilean Fjords, going ashore on the Antarctic continent multiple times.Unique to the Crystal version of Antarctica, passengers can fly, hike, and zodiac over and on the icy continent and overnight at the Chilean Eduardo Frei Antarctic Base (INACH). Neither are cheap rides though, prices start at $7,450 per person.

Ice Melting in Antarctica From Underneath

Irish Gaelic, Rapa Nui And More Endangered Languages From Around The World

Mariano Kamp, Flickr

There are nearly 7,000 languages spoken throughout the world today, the majority of which are predicted to become extinct by the end of this century. Half the world’s population speaks the top 20 world languages – with Mandarin, Spanish and English leading the charge, in that order – and most linguists point to globalization as the main cause for the rapid pace languages are falling off the map.

The problem is, when a language dies so does much of the knowledge and traditions that were passed won using it. So when Mental Floss used data from the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity to post a list of several at-risk languages, we here at Gadling were saddened by the disappearing native tongues and decided to use data from the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity to highlight some in our own list.

Irish Gaelic: Despite the fact that the government requires Irish students to learn this language and it currently has an estimated 40,000 native speakers, it is still classified as vulnerable.

Rapa Nui: The mother tongue of Chile’s famous Easter Island has fewer than 4,000 native speakers, and is quickly being taken over by Spanish.

Seneca: Only approximately 100 people in three Native American reservation communities in the United States speak this language, with the youngest speaker in his 50s.Yaw: Most young people living in the Gangaw District of Burma understand but do not speak this critically endangered language that has less than 10,000 native speakers.

Kariyarra: Although there are many people who have a passive understanding of this aboriginal language, only two fluent Kariyarra speakers are left in Western Australia.

Francoprovençal: There are only about 130,000 native speakers of this language, mostly in secluded towns in east-central France, western Switzerland and the Italian Aosta Valley.

Yagan: This indigenous language of Chile purportedly has only one remaining native speaker. Others are familiar with the language, but it will likely disappear soon.

Patuá: Derived from Malay, Sinhalese, Cantonese and Portuguese, less than 50 people in Macau, China and their diaspora speak this language. It is now the object of folkloric interest amongst those who still speak it.

Harvey Milk Likely Honored With Terminal, Not Airport

A proposal to rename San Francisco International Airport after Harvey Milk has been scrapped by a California lawmaker, the Associated Press is reporting. Instead, there is a possibility one of the airport’s terminals will be named after the politician and gay rights leader who was assassinated in 1978.

David Campos, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, told the news outlet that public opposition to re-naming the airport caused him to cancel plans to put a question on the city ballot. It seems the city’s daily newspaper and Mayor Edwin Lee are not thrilled about the idea, as well as other politicians, businesspeople and locals.

Moving forward, Campos now plans to establish a committee that would recommend which of the airport’s four passenger terminals should be named for Milk, as well as additional airport landmarks that could potentially be named in honor of other prominent San Franciscans. Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, who is also a gay rights leader, said he believes the airport’s international terminal would be most appropriate – especially since Milk is already recognized abroad, with a gay rights celebration observed in his honor in Chile and a gay community center named for him in Italy.

[Via USA Today]

[Photo credit: Flickr user Håkan Dahlström]