A heated winter jacket. Avoid-grip trekking poles. Gummy athletic gel. These are a few of the innovative products coming to market later in 2009 in the outdoors industry. Last week, at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show in Salt Lake City, I got a peek into this future of outdoors gear and apparel. Here’s the rundown on five items that caught my eye.Mountain Hardwear Refugium Trifecta jacket — Stay dry. Heat your core. Charge your electronics. Those are the features Mountain Hardwear promises with its new “jacket system,” a waterproof shell jacket with a battery-powered, heated liner. Plug in the Ardica battery pack and the liner pumps heat via receptors embedded in the fabric. Or, use a cable connector to charge your cell phone or music player as it sits cozy in warmth in the Trifecta’s inside pocket. All these tricks don’t come cheap, however. The jacket, available later this year, will cost $550.Leki AERGON Grip — A rounded grip atop a trekking pole that sits nice in the palm, especially for descents, was the big new from Leki. The AERGON grip incorporates an ovoid shape that can be palmed or held traditionally for several grip options. Its handle has a rubberized and dimpled top for texture, and the company’s proprietary strap-adjustment system for quick tweaks for fit. The AERGON will be come on 11 new trekking poles, including women-specific designs.TREW outerwear — This small outfit from Hood River, Ore., adds the performance of top-end outerwear to a line of ski and snowboarding jackets and pants that look most at home in a terrain park. But take the company’s jackets, pants, and bibs into the backcountry for some ski touring and the products perform with waterproof-breathable fabric, high collars (no neck gaiter required), expandable chest pockets that can accommodate climbing skins, and other neat design touches.Adventure Medical Kits Women’s Edition Travel kit — As its name implies, this is a first-aid kit for women, and it includes all the usual medical supplies — wound care implements, medications, instructional materials — plus components for women-only like tampons and meds for menstrual cramps. For international trips, a “visual card tool” can help you communicate a medical issue when a language barrier is present by simply pointing to diagrams and pictures on a card. Available in March for $60.GU Chomps Performance Energy Chews — GU Energy Labs’ latest athletic enhancer comes in the form of a gummy chew. GU Chomps cost $2.20 per packet and are made to address an athlete’s craving for solid food during training or racing while delivering nutrients and electrolytes. The company will ship Chomps in March in Blueberry Pomegranate, Orange, Cran Apple, and Strawberry flavors. Nutritionally, the chews contain complex carbohydrates from maltodextrin and simple carbs from tapioca syrup and cane sugar, as well as antioxidants in the form of vitamins C and E (to accelerate recovery from hard workouts, according to the company).— Stephen Regenold writes a daily blog on outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.
Townhall.com 22 July 2014The US Department of Agriculture conducted a large experiment with school breakfast programs in public schools from 1999 to 2003, alternately providing either universal breakfasts or breakfast-in-class programs aimed at both expanding access and eliminating the stigma associated with the school breakfast program. Policymakers have long been concerned with low participation rates in the breakfast program and these experiments were designed to combat that problem.It worked: participation in the school breakfast programs rose. The problem, a new study finds, is that the expanded participation brought largely no benefit to those it was intended to help.As authors Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and Mary Zaki of Northwestern University write:Despite the increase in breakfast consumption under BIC, we find no positive impact on most other outcomes. In contrast to the earlier, quasi-experimental literature, we find no positive impact on test scores and some evidence of negative impacts. Similarly, there appears to be no overall positive impact on attendance rates or child health. There is suggestive evidence that BIC may improve behavior and health in some highly disadvantaged subgroups, though.The authors urge that their results don’t speak against the effectiveness of the school breakfast program as constituted, but merely against efforts to expand the program. They find that the increase in participation resulted largely from students who merely substituted school breakfasts for those they were already getting at home – and that a certain percentage of the increase in participation was from some children eating two breakfasts. The authors write that “the realtively modest measured benefits suggest that policymakers should carefully consider how to trade these off against the increased program costs.”http://townhall.com/tipsheet/kevinglass/2014/07/22/study-expanded-school-breakfast-program-offers-little-benefit-to-students-n1864585?utm_source=thdailypm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl_pm
Ending the team’s longest losing streak of the season, the men’s volleyball team got back to its winning ways last week against UC San Diego. The Trojans (10-5, 9-5 MPSF) take on Penn State today and look to start a winning streak.On March 4, the Trojans took down UC San Diego (1-14, 0-11) in three sets. The Trojans won by a score of 25-19, 25-13, 25-16. Junior opposite Josh Kirchner, in his return from a two-game absence because of an ankle injury, led the team in kills with 11. Kirchner also led the match with five blocks. Senior middle blocker Robert Feathers added nine kills, and senior setter Micah Christenson had three aces along with five digs.The Trojans’ hitting percentage for the night was .427 compared to UCSD’s hitting percentage of .072. The Trojans also had six total aces while the Tritons only had one.While the Trojans took care of business against the Tritons, the last-place team in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference, the Trojans had much more trouble with the rest of the MPSF the last two weeks.After starting the season 7-0 and 6-0 in MPSF play, the Trojans best overall start to a season since 1991, the team started to hit some bumps in the road. USC dropped its first match of the season at Hawai’i and rebounded with wins against Hawai’i and BYU, but then began the four-match losing streak.After beating BYU in the first match of two matches at home, the Trojans fell to the Cougars in four sets. The Trojans then suffered surprise losses at UC Santa Barbara then and UCLA. The Trojans fell in straight sets to the Gauchos then lost in four sets to the crosstown rival Bruins. In addition to Kirchner’s absence due to an ankle injury, Christenson had to sit out against UCLA due to an acute sinus infection.The Trojans returned home on March 3, to host UC Irvine. The Trojans had previously taken down the Anteaters at UC Irvine this season in five sets, but the Anteaters would return the favor at the Galen Center. The Trojans took the first two sets against UC Irvine, but the Anteaters would take the next three and ultimately win the five-set match. The final score was 20-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-17, 15-13.Head coach Bill Ferguson gave a lot of credit to the Anteaters, specifically UC Irvine’s opposite Zack La Cavera, but said the Trojans did seem to fade down the stretch.“They did a better job passing the ball,” Ferguson said. “We were putting a ton of pressure on them early from the service line. I don’t know if they got better or if we were just less than ourselves from the line as the match went on, but there were parts of that game where we were playing great volleyball. We just couldn’t do it long enough.”The loss marked the second time this season the Trojans had lost in five sets, the previous one being the Trojans’ first loss of the season at Hawai’i. In both five-set losses, the Trojans won the first two sets but could not close out in the final three.Coming into this week, the Trojans sit in fifth place in the MPSF standings. Ahead of the Trojans are UC Irvine, Hawai’i, BYU and Pepperdine. The Trojans have split with UC Irvine, Hawai’i and BYU this season. Five of the Trojans’ six matches against the top three teams have gone to the maximum five sets, the lone exception being the Trojans’ four-set loss to BYU. The Trojans also took down Pepperdine in four sets at home earlier this year.While Ferguson said the losing streak was certainly a rough patch for the team, he believes the toughest part of the schedule is now behind the Trojans. With the exception of one remaining trip to Pepperdine later in March, all of the Trojans’ remaining eight MPSF matches are against teams below the Trojans in the conference standings.“We have one match against Pepperdine and that’s it with the top five teams in the league,” he said. “We’re done with everybody, and none of those other teams have played each other yet. In the grand scheme of things, we’re okay.”The Trojans need to finish in the top eight of the 12-team conference to qualify for the MPSF tournament and compete for the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Ferguson said if the team can avenge losses against UC Santa Barbara and UCLA down the road, the team should be in a good spot at the end of the season.“We need to hold serve and take care of business at home against UCLA and UC Santa Barbara,” he said.Before resuming the battle through the MPSF, however, the Trojans will have two non-conference matches this week. After the Nittany Lions (6-9, 4-0) visit USC today, the Trojans will host Lindenwood (5-6, 2-5) on Thursday.The Nittany Lions hail from the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association while Lindenwood represents the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association. Penn State qualified for the NCAA tournament last year as the EIVA conference champions, while Lindenwood did not make the tournament.The Trojans take on Penn State at the Galen Center tonight at 7:30 p.m.