Looking out the window of the Hateful Eight’s field office in Boston
Kiitella collaborated with artist Carlo Trost of Italy to create the awards for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships – happening now at Vail-Beaver Creek. Trost dipped racing bibs in resin and placed the Kiitella plaques (“gold, silver, bronze” and 4th-6th) in the centers. Shown here: Ladies’ Super G winners – Tina Maze, Anna Fenninger and Lindsey Vonn – on the podium.
The Trip Treatment
Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results.
BY MICHAEL POLLAN
Psilocybin may be useful in treating anxiety, addiction, and depression, and in studying the neurobiology of mystical experience.
CREDIT ILLUSTRATION BY STEPHEN DOYLE
On an April Monday in 2010, Patrick Mettes, a fifty-four-year-old television news director being treated for a cancer of the bile ducts, read an article on the front page of the Times that would change his death. His diagnosis had come three years earlier, shortly after his wife, Lisa, noticed that the whites of his eyes had turned yellow. By 2010, the cancer had spread to Patrick’s lungs and he was buckling under the weight of a debilitating chemotherapy regimen and the growing fear that he might not survive. The article, headlined “HALLUCINOGENS HAVE DOCTORS TUNING IN AGAIN,” mentioned clinical trials at several universities, including N.Y.U., in which psilocybin—the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms—was being administered to cancer patients in an effort to relieve their anxiety and “existential distress.” One of the researchers was quoted as saying that, under the influence of the hallucinogen, “individuals transcend their primary identification with their bodies and experience ego-free states . . . and return with a new perspective and profound acceptance.” Patrick had never taken a psychedelic drug, but he immediately wanted to volunteer. Lisa was against the idea. “I didn’t want there to be an easy way out,” she recently told me. “I wanted him to fight.”
Patrick made the call anyway and, after filling out some forms and answering a long list of questions, was accepted into the trial. Since hallucinogens can sometimes bring to the surface latent psychological problems, researchers try to weed out volunteers at high risk by asking questions about drug use and whether there is a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. After the screening, Mettes was assigned to a therapist named Anthony Bossis, a bearded, bearish psychologist in his mid-fifties, with a specialty in palliative care. Bossis is a co-principal investigator for the N.Y.U. trial.
After four meetings with Bossis, Mettes was scheduled for two dosings—one of them an “active” placebo (in this case, a high dose of niacin, which can produce a tingling sensation), and the other a pill containing the psilocybin. Both sessions, Mettes was told, would take place in a room decorated to look more like a living room than like a medical office, with a comfortable couch, landscape paintings on the wall, and, on the shelves, books of art and mythology, along with various aboriginal and spiritual tchotchkes, including a Buddha and a glazed ceramic mushroom. During each session, which would last the better part of a day, Mettes would lie on the couch wearing an eye mask and listening through headphones to a carefully curated playlist—Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Pat Metheny, Ravi Shankar. Bossis and a second therapist would be there throughout, saying little but being available to help should he run into any trouble.
I met Bossis last year in the N.Y.U. treatment room, along with his colleague Stephen Ross, an associate professor of psychiatry at N.Y.U.’s medical school, who directs the ongoing psilocybin trials.
NASA says this “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date.
There’s something majestic, even awe-inspiring about the sight of planet Earth as a blue disc, hanging in the vastness of space.
The three astronauts aboard Apollo 8 were the first to get that view; if all goes well, later this year everyone will be able to get it on a daily basis over the Internet.
The images will come courtesy of a spacecraft called Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). It’s a mission with an unusual history.
Al Gore first proposed the idea for DSCOVR back in 1998, when he was vice president. Gore was so smitten with the view of Earth from space that he put an enormous print of a picture taken by Apollo 17 on the wall of his West Wing office. “Wouldn’t it be nice,” Gore asked in 1998, “to have that image continuous, live, 24 hours a day?”
So he proposed sending a probe to a spot a million miles from Earth — a place known as the L1 Lagrange point, where the gravity of the Earth and the sun cancel each other out. The space probe, originally dubbed Triana, would point a telescope with a color camera back at our planet from L1, and send images down to Earth.
NASA was game to build and launch Triana, but Roger Launius says the space agency officials weren’t crazy about the idea of a satellite that only had one instrument on board. Launius, now associate director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, was NASA’s chief historian when Gore proposed Triana. “They certainly wanted to make it a more scientifically viable project than, maybe, was envisioned initially by Mr. Gore,” Launius says.
So NASA added instruments to measure the solar wind and radiant energy coming from Earth.
Wyoming climbing guide Kim Schmitz received a prestigious award from the American Alpine Club that recognized his ground-breaking ascents in Pakistan’s Karakoram Range. During his alpine career, he’s had two serious accidents, including one in the Tetons that nearly killed him. (Angus M. Thuermer Jr/WyoFile)
by Angus M. Thuermer Jr. | FEBRUARY 5, 2015
Kim Schmitz, one of the country’s top climbers, has ascended some of the steepest, most remote granite towers in the world, but his challenge today is learning how to walk again.
A Jackson Hole resident, Schmitz, 68, was on small teams that pioneered dizzying routes in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountains in the late 1970s, setting new climbing standards along the way. His decades-long career in the hills, however, included far more than sunny summits.
He’s been flattened by an avalanche, nearly crippled in a devastating fall in the Tetons. He helplessly watched the life fade from a companion’s eyes. Rescuers and friends twice pulled Schmitz from death’s threshold. Lingering effects from injuries and more than 30 surgeries, plus the ravages of addiction, pneumonia and cancer have left him bent and slow. He can’t stand up straight, has to walk with a cane.
His etched face reflects the thousand glacial crevasses he’s crossed. His blue eyes appear to see beyond the horizon.
American climbers honored Schmitz for his pioneering Karakoram climbs on Saturday when they gave him the American Alpine Club’s Robert and Miriam Underhill Award created and designed by lisa Issenberg of Kiitellä, a recognition steeped in Wyoming outdoor history. For the coat-and-tie affair in New York City, Schmitz had no coat. Friends bought him one for the occasion and he accepted the award, proud to be wearing a clean pair of running shoes.
In a Manhattan banquet hall stuffed with the fittest athletes in the world, Schmitz arrived as a wan counterpoint, just days out of treatment. “It was a good experience,” he said of his recovery a few days before traveling to New York. “I hope it’s my last.”
Alpine club members recognized the many years Schmitz spent on top of the world. A Portland, Oregon, native, he grew up in an outdoor community surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes. As a kid he got a job washing pots on Sierra Club trips and, just entering high school, earned an invitation to climb Canada’s Mount Robson, an imposing ice-clad monarch. Handicapped by a pair of old-school 10-point crampons that had no purchase at the toes, he nevertheless clambered to its 12,972-foot summit.
“I remember getting to the top,” he said. “I had tears in my eyes.” Schmitz had found his calling.
Within a few years, Schmitz was on his own expeditions, a full member of a team that climbed remote Mount Waddington, British Columbia. It was the first entry on what would become an impressive resume. To flesh it out, Schmitz needed to venture beyond the northwest. An image of sun-baked cliffs in California inspired him.
“I saw a picture of Royal Robbins standing in front of this incredible exposure,” Schmitz said. Robbins, a venerable rock pioneer, was on the edge at one of America’s premiere national parks and Schmitz yearned to be there too.
“At that moment I decided I wanted to go to Yosemite,” he said. “I didn’t even think about it at all. It took me by storm.”
1.31.15 Tonight at the American Alpine Club‘s Annual Dinner in New York City, Kiitella‘s custom awards land in the (still healing) hands of some of the best climbers and mountaineers in history. Featured here: Tommy Caldwell & Kevin Jorgeson receiving Honorary Member awards. Also honored this evening for their outstanding achievements: Jeff Lowe, Kim Schmitz, Cody J Smith, Ken Yager, Fred Beckey and Sasha DiGiulian.
The storm for the next few days is an upper-level trough hovering along the California coast. A closed-low will form along the Mexico/Arizona border tomorrow night. It will then move down south along the Baja Peninsula before lifting and moving east into Texas.
Before the storm travels south it will draw good subtropical moisture into the southern part of Colorado, resulting in widespread rain and snow in the 4-Corners and into the San Juans ~ (6 to 10″ possible). Snowfall will favor our mountains with most of the precipitation happening Friday night through Saturday night. By Sunday the storm will be moving east and we’ll dry out under northwesterly flow.
It’s our great pleasure to announce the launch of a new enterprise- Adventure Partners Ecotours. AP has partnered with Ted Turner on his 1,000,000 acres of pristine wildlands throughout New Mexico. Stay tuned for more details. Pictured here, yesterday’s ribbon cutting ceremony at the Sierra Grande Lodge in Truth or Consequences, NM. AP Managing Partner, Mike Friedman on the far left, Ted Turner at the podium…
Snowstorm’s Forecast Was Mostly Right, Even if It Felt Wrong~~A good view of the perils of trying to forecast weather…JR
In the wake of the blizzard that wasn’t, New Yorkers on Tuesday were asking how the weather forecasters could have been so wrong.
The answer, the forecasters say — and they are backed up by atmospheric scientists who do not have any reason to be defensive — is that they were not so wrong. Computer models predicted that the storm would become extremely powerful, which it did, but the intensification occurred 50 to 100 miles east of where the preferred model predicted it would.
The models “were all on board with this idea that parts of the Northeast would get this wild storm,” said Todd Miner, a meteorologist with AccuWeather in State College, Pa. “But as always, the devil is in the details.”
“There was always a question of how far west blizzard conditions would extend,” he added. In this case, the model that was favored by most forecasters showed New York City falling within the western boundary, when actually it ended up outside it.
The nation’s forecaster in chief, Louis Uccellini, the director of the National Weather Service, acknowledged that there were problems with his agency’s forecast but said that was not unusual. “There were aspects of this forecast that were very good,” he said at an afternoon news conference. “There were aspects of this forecast that were not good. The point is, that’s true with any system.”
Since the 1980s, the amount of perennial ice in the Arctic has declined. This animation tracks the relative amount of ice of different ages from 1987 through early November 2014. The oldest ice is white; the youngest (seasonal) ice is dark blue. Key patterns are the export of ice from the Arctic through Fram Strait and the melting of old ice as it passes through the warm waters of the Beaufort Sea.
A blocking pattern where there is an upper level high located directly north of a closed low.
We are seeing the usual “January Thaw or Drought” because of the high-pressure dome that stretches from the left coast to Colorado. Storms are often split north and south or are just blocked from moving into the southern rockies. This Rex Block is currently the blocking pattern preventing storms from reaching our mountains.. but this pattern may break down by week’s end with a second Baja closed-low punching through the high parked in our backyard. Rōbert