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Alex Honnold scaling Yosemite's El Capitan. @AlexHonnold / Facebook

Alex Honnold Completes 'Greatest Free Solo of All Time' After Scaling Yosemite's El Capitan

Alex Honnold has added another gravity-defying accomplishment to his list of historic climbs. The legendary free solo climber from Sacramento, California has scaled Yosemite's 3,000-foot El Capitan in a little less than four hours with nothing more than a chalk bag.

"So stoked to realize a life dream today," the 31-year-old wrote on Facebook on June 3.

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McKinley Elementary School's Eco-Team.

10 Oregon Schools Expand Classroom to Include the Great Outdoors

By Cindy Hudson

Winter and spring in Oregon can be cold, wet and muddy, but thanks to seed grants from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), 10 schools in the Portland area are learning the joys of getting outside and getting their hands dirty despite weather conditions.

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Photo credit: Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association

Incredible Super Bloom Turns Desert Into Enchanting Wonderland

By Breena Kerr

March marked the first time in a drought-parched decade that Anza-Borrego Desert State Park—located in the Colorado Desert about two hours outside San Diego—saw 10 inches of rain. This is according to Norb Ruhmke, acting district superintendent for the Colorado Desert District. In a normal full year, he said, the Anza-Borrego desert gets six inches.

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Photo credit: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life, Visitnorway.com

And, the Happiest Country in the World Is ...

By Andrea Germanos

Norway now holds the title of the world's happiest country, according to a new report that also outlines how Republican proposals to gut safety nets, enact tax windfalls for the rich and attack public education—as well as bipartisan failures in terms of the global war on terror and campaign finance—are making happiness further out of grasp for those in the U.S.

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15 Lawmakers Plotting to Privatize America's Public Lands

The U.S. holds more than 600 million acres of stunning public lands in trust for the American public. These beloved places, ranging from the granite spires of the Black Hills National Forest to the mystical Mojave National Preserve, are home to diverse native wildlife, inspire wonder in people from around the world who visit them and provide clean air, clean water and unsurpassed recreation opportunities to our communities.

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Photo credit: Quadrum

Gorgeous Hotel Constructed From Shipping Containers Leaves Landscape Untouched

By Amanda Froelich

From transforming shipping containers into homes to reassembling them into vivacious greenhouses, there is a lot one can do with the apparatuses. But construct a gorgeous hotel? Why not.

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SpaceX to Fly Two Tourists to the Moon in 2018

By Sydney Robinson

Private space exploration company SpaceX has announced its most ambitious mission yet—a plan to orbit the moon in 2018.

The company headed by scientific and tech mind Elon Musk claims that their mission is on-target, including having recruited two astronauts that have elected—and paid a hefty chunk of change—to have the privilege of going into space.

If everything goes as planned, the two space tourists would launch in late 2018 in a Dragon 2 capsule launched by SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket. They would float past the moon before being pulled back in by gravity and returned to the Earth's surface.

If SpaceX is successful in their venture, the two volunteers will be the first of humanity to take the trip in more than 40 years. Since the successful trips around and on the moon more than 40 years ago, no man (or woman) has made it anywhere close to the big cheese in the sky—mostly due to the fact that scientists felt they had gathered enough information and could not justify another expensive and dangerous trip around the moon just for the sake of doing it.

Still, SpaceX clearly has something to prove and taking a trip around our small orbiting crater is an important next step. SpaceX has announced plans in the past to take humanity all the way to Mars in the next few years, so this trip will be considered a vital prerequisite for that ambitious project.

Meanwhile, some are skeptical that SpaceX is attempting too much too soon.

Mary Lynne Dittmar, executive director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, said in the New York Times:

"It strikes me as risky. I find it extraordinary that these sorts of announcements are being made when SpaceX has yet to get crew from the ground to low-Earth orbit."

While the tourists would be trained, they would mostly be relying on automated systems during their trip, meaning that they would have nowhere near the survival training that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronauts experience. If something were to go wrong, they wouldn't be much help in saving themselves or their spacecraft.

This new venture of private companies tackling the space race is a test for the government and society. If SpaceX can prove its worth by safely transporting these tourists and returning them back home, safe and sound, it will go a long way in proving that the private tech and space company has what it takes to get us to Mars.

Reposted with permission from our media associate The Ring of Fire.

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Kelly Slater Is Not an Enemy of Sharks

What caused Kelly Slater to so radically change his views about sharks?

Or perhaps he did not change his views after all.

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Stand-Up Paddler Breaks 3 World Records, Completes Solo Atlantic Crossing

It's official! Chris Bertish has completed a journey of a lifetime—a world-first to cross the Atlantic Ocean unaided on a paddleboard.

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