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The warming properties of greenbacks

Money may not buy you happiness, but burning it might help keep you from freezing to death. A snowshoer who became lost in a blizzard on Mount Rainier told The Seattle Times that he survived by digging a snow tunnel and then burning everything he could find, from socks and Band-Aids to his toothbrush "and lastly, $1 and $5 bills from his wallet." Yong Chun Kim, 66, an experienced mountaineer, said he became separated from the group he was leading after slipping and then sliding down the mountain. Though he radioed the group that he was OK, he became disoriented in the rough terrain. For two days, Kim, a cancer survivor, kept himself going by praying, eating a little and dreaming of his wife and a warm sauna. He also moved around vigorously and took cover in several deep holes around trees. He tried to keep walking, he recalled, but "the snow was so deep, I couldn't breathe." He found that dollar bills burned the best, though he worried that "in a national park, you're not supposed to have a fire ... but I want to stay alive." It took rescuers nine hours to bring Kim down safely to a visitors' center at 5,400 feet. Afterward, he was in such good shape that he skipped a hospital checkup and went right home to his family.

What's risqué in Fargo, N.D.? Flirting. A new ad on the state tourism website featured two young men in a downtown bar smiling out the window at three wholesome young women, one of whom is shyly waving "hi." This is just "sickening," said one critic, though maybe it was the caption he was referring to: "Drinks, dinner, decisions. Arrive a guest. Leave a legend." Another person wondered exactly what you needed to do in order to "leave a legend." Dozens of complaints later, the ad vanished. "It really just takes one or two (negative comments) and then people jump on the bandwagon," said Sara Otte Coleman, director of the state's tourism division. Though a mite cheesy, she said, the ad was merely supposed to convey a sense of fun.

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Tremendously good

"If you don’t read the High Country News, you should: it is a tremendously good independent source for environmental news, particularly news affecting the Intermountain West. And particularly given the collapse in a lot of good journalism, it is important to support it."  -- Jonathan Zasloff, LegalPlanet

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