Carrier Access Codes are a largely dated*, though still functional service to select your long-distance telephone carrier per phone call. In the United States, these "dial-around codes" reached a (commercial) peak in the late 1990s, as seen with ads featuring such semi-notables as Marla Gibbs, Christine Taylor and Reginald VelJohnson, Harry Anderson, John Lithgow, Tony Danza, Doug Flutie, and even Alf and some well-known friends. [more inside]
The Self-Transcendence race starts today. It's a run around the block, 5,649 times around the block. Runners cover 3,100 miles, running 6 am to midnight over 52 days, at least 60 miles a day over concrete. The best runners average 75 miles a day. All the runners seem to have the same mantra. The first race was in 1997, “The first couple years, the kids threw things at us.”
Prior to their southward migration, the godwits eat up large, until up to 55 per cent of their body weight is fat. They then reduce the size of their gut, kidney and liver by up to 25 per cent to compensate for the added weight. Godwits are amazing migratory shorebirds who travel many thousands of miles at a go. Here's a brief documentary of people studying them (12 minutes on youtube + ad, shows invasive surgery). Here's some science on their flights (creative commons). [more inside]
News from the world of ultramarathon cycling: 1. Peter Heal recently rode the ~15,000-km perimeter of Australia in 48 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes; 2. The 3005-mile Race Across America recently concluded, with veteran Jure Robic winning the men's solo in 9 days, 1 hour, 1 minute, and Barbara Buatois winning the women's solo in 11 days, 19 hours, 48 minutes. [more inside]
The Big Africa Cycle. Peter Gostelow is cycling from Dorset, England to Cape Town to raise funds for The Against Malaria Foundation. And it's not his first big adventure. [more inside]
Damn that pacific! Can anyone help these lovebirds cross the pacific?
Dial a CEO: Every month, Working Assets Long Distance, a phone plan managed by a progressive San Francisco-based citizen-action group dedicated to environmental and social-justice issues, highlights on its customers' phone bill two issues currently under debate (violence against women, gun control, road-building in national parks, etc.), plus the telephone numbers of the top corporate or political people involved in the issue, whose cage you can rattle at no charge. Targets have included senators, congressmen and the US president, as well as CEOs like Exxon/Mobil's Lee Raymond and Home Depot's Arthur Blank. "It's important to target the CEOs directly because they have ultimate responsibility for these issues," says Working Assets citizen action director Janet Nudelman. "They don't like it when they receive four or five thousand calls, but it certainly gets their attention"