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The coming Hairpocalypse

COLORADO

It's been a century or so since anyone definitely saw a North American river otter in Boulder, Colo., so the town's wildlife staffers were excited recently when a motion-activated camera showed one of the animals -- very much alive -- on the banks of Boulder Creek, reports the Boulder Daily Camera. For some minutes, the otter, listed by the state as threatened, held onto a sucker fish almost as long as itself, while noshing delicately on the fishtail. "Kinda cute," commented Christian Nunes, ecology technician for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, noting that the animals, reintroduced in the 1970s, were still rare in the state, after mining and development knocked out the species 100 years ago.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Holy frozen vulture! An early April storm mixing rain, sleet and snow was so sudden and severe that a large turkey vulture actually froze in flight, then dropped like a stone onto the deck of a house in Sioux Falls, S.D. Adam Weber's wife was making breakfast when she yelled to her husband, "Adam! A large bird just fell out of the sky!" Weber found the bird covered in ice, reports the Argus Leader, but after a day spent melting and resting under a table, it recovered and apparently flew away that night. Another turkey vulture that landed on the Webers' roof, however, was not so fortunate, dying on impact.

UTAH

This is how Judy Fahys began her story in The Salt Lake Tribune regarding the "Hairpocalypse" coming because of weakened hairspray: "Up-dos that don't. Flips that flop. Bouffants that buckle." A lot of beehive dos in the Beehive State might fail if the Utah Division of Air Quality fights air pollution by limiting the amount of volatile organic compounds in hairsprays to no more than 55 percent, well below the current allowance of 80 VOCs. Matt Tribe, a marketer for Ogden Beauty Supply, says regulators would be smarter to target the massive pollution caused by cars and industry, adding that the ban insults women who will "have to wear their hair down because it just won't hold." The hair-care industry plans to fight back, and as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently learned when he attempted to ban Big Gulps, people tend to resist when they're ordered to do what's really, really good for them.

From our friends

Serious words from a devoted reader:

"I've been a big fan of HCN since a friend first donated a subscription to me...I've received piles of HCN on at least four continents at this point. So, you see, the printed magazine, in the past 20 years, has become part of the warp and weft of my life and I am unwilling to leave it behind..."

Paul Brockmann, constant traveler

HCN in the outhouses of the West

From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!

Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor