Your outdoor news for March 21, 2013:New Routes Go Up in the New River GorgeIn a great post on DPM Climbing, Mike Williams reports that new trad routes are going up in the New River Gorge. Focusing on popular Thunder Buttress of Beauty Mountain, Williams tells the tale of how Pat Goodman claimed the first ascent of Gun Control, a variation off of the established Gun Club. It’s great to see new things being done in a place like the New, where folks have been climbing since the 80’s; refreshing to know that there still remains undiscovered and unconquered territory out there. One of the things I love about climbing pieces is the names of the routes. Some highlights from this post are: The Thundering Herd, The Golden Bullet, In Gold Blood, and That’s What She Said. I also love stories written by climbers for all the climbing jargon and especially this one because it tells the story of a first ascent through the history of the place and the lives of the people who climb it.Snowboarding Industry SummitSo reports from this winter indicate that the snowboard industry is in decline, while the ski industry is ticking up, meaning that young peoples in general are picking up skiing and sticking with it longer than snowboarding. When those in the industry learned this, some flew off the handle, but most took the news calmly enough even if they were tearing out their eyeballs in private about the death of snowboarding AS WE KNOW IT! A decline in snowboarding interest is especially important on the East Coast where the sport has traditionally been as popular – if not more popular- than skiing because it was cool and different. But now that the two styles/attitudes/punks have leaked into each discipline, the lines are blurred and snowboarding is losing out. The leaders of the industry met in Deer Valley last week at the TransWorld Conference to hash out what the sport has to do to keep growing and stop retracting. This was no emergency Situation Room type of thing – it happens every year – but the emphasis this year was definitely on the sport as a whole and not just the brands behind the curtain. We’ll see what the big players come up with next season to reflect this trend. This past season we saw Burton launch a huge “Learn to Ride” program for the kids, so expect more of that. Get ’em hooked young.You can read the full recap of the conference here.Public Support for Keystone WaningAccording to a new poll for the Center of Biological Diversity by Public Policy Polling, 61 percent of those who voted for President Obama in the last election would be “disappointed” or “betrayed” if he goes ahead with the Keystone XL Pipeline. Almost 75 percent of the general public thought the Keystone XL is not in the U.S.’s “best interest.” Plenty more numbers in this story from the Sierra Club.
The latest—and possibly last—salvo in a long-running debate over the merits of the influenza-fighting drug Tamiflu was fired off today, but it seems unlikely to quell skeptics or nurture unanimity around the drug’s effects. For years, members of the Cochrane Collaboration, an international network of scientists who review medical evidence, have charged that Tamiflu’s benefits are overstated. They agree that if taken soon after symptoms surface, the drug reduces by about a day the length of time someone feels sick. But they dispute that the evidence—including 12 randomized trials conducted by Roche, which makes Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir—shows that it cuts down on serious complications, hospitalizations, and deaths. The Cochrane group has also put a focus on transparency in science: It argued that publication bias had left Tamiflu looking better than it really was.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The dispute prompted Roche and some influenza researchers to pledge to reanalyze the data—and that’s what’s being released online today. Writing in The Lancet, four flu experts describe blending data from nine clinical trials of more than 4000 patients to assess Tamiflu. Pooling data makes it easier to discern the drug’s effect on rarer outcomes, such as pneumonia. And, the authors report, Tamiflu makes a meaningful difference, reducing the risk of hospital admission by 63%. The actual numbers are small: Nine of 1591 participants who took Tamiflu were admitted to the hospital, and 22 of 1302 those not taking the drug ended up there. The drug was also associated with fewer cases of lower respiratory tract infections that called for antibiotics, the authors say, such as bronchitis or bacterial pneumonia. Patients on the drug had a 4.9% risk compared with an 8.7% risk if not on the drug. “Significant risk reductions were detected,” the authors note, acknowledging that Tamiflu also had side effects, particularly nausea and vomiting, which must be balanced against its benefits.The Lancet paper may be unlikely to compel many people to switch sides, however. “There are no new data presented here on complications or hospitalizations that we did not already know of,” says epidemiologist Peter Doshi of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore, a critic of Roche and part of the Cochrane group that reviewed Tamiflu studies. The differences, he says, stem from how complications are interpreted: For example, were all those cases recorded as pneumonia really pneumonia? Clinical study reports, examined by Cochrane reviewers such as Doshi, suggest they weren’t always, he believes. More troubling, Doshi says, is that the new analysis was funded by Roche through a foundation called MUGAS that it helps support. That detail was not shared in The Lancet’s press release—which Doshi says is “disappointing”—though it does appear at the end of the paper. “This is not independent science,” Doshi asserts.Others suggest that the new report doesn’t change much about our understanding of Tamiflu, though they praise Roche for supporting it and agree with its finding that the drug reduces hospitalizations. “The important thing about this study is that it shows that Roche [was] not hiding skeletons in its cupboards,” said Peter Openshaw, director of the Centre for Respiratory Infection at Imperial College London, in a prepared statement. “Oseltamivir is not a perfect drug, but it does what you might expect,” especially when given after the flu has taken hold and is harder to beat back.