If you don’t already know, at Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine we have something called the RoadShow. This is where we pack up the sweet vinyl-wrapped BRO Subarus and go to really fun events and festivals across the Blue Ridge. Yes this place is torture to work for.This weekend was The Festy Experience on the grounds of Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson County. I got to work the Blue Ridge booth for about two hours on Friday, and then was off the clock until Saturday morning. Party time, excellent!A few of my friends also happened to be festying and we all grabbed a few brews and found our ways to the stage. Trampled By Turtles, The Infamous Stringdusters, and more rocked out until midnight with foot stomping bluegrass tunes, to slow sing along jams. Despite beers being $6, I managed to get a good buzz going and was right at the front of the stage singing along with my friends. The way the stage is set up, and the amount of good people who attend, the Festy is a recipe for a great time.By the time my buddy and I set up our tent around 12:30am and got to bed, 7am came all too quickly. I had to help out with our annual Blue Ridge Burn trail run held on a great trail network close to the Festy grounds. We had almost 200 runners this year, and all proceeds were donated to the Southern Environmental Law Center. The run went off smoothly, no one got too lost, and the event was injury free. Success.The Festy Burn Experience from Summit Publishing on Vimeo.After working the BRO booth another hour or two, I hit the road and headed to Stokesville Campground for the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Festival. This event has been happening for over 15 years, and centers around two big trail work sessions and lots of great riding. The drive was beautiful and the roads seemed made for my trusty 1981 Toyota pickup. Yes that was a shameless plug for my awesome vehicle.The bike festival was a blast, and I got to catch up with a bunch of friends I had not seen in quite a while. After a delicious burrito group dinner the festivities began with mini bike slalom, dance parties, jumping kegs on bikes, and a big bonfire.The morning brought groggy heads, rain, and the cold. Luckily after a few hours of hydrating and cleanup the skies broke and we were able to get out for a 4-hour ride. We rode all of Narrowback Ridge, which is currently undergoing some amazing trail work by the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition and Trail Dynamics. After the ride I said my goodbyes, hit the road, and came home to a big plate of lasagna. My girlfriend is a keeper.Hundreds of good people, two amazing festivals, one unforgettable weekend.
The National Institute of Health’s BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) gave $19 million to the Keck School of Medicine’s Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute to help create a brain cell classification system, according to USC News. Their research will aid in understanding the human brain at a cellular level and gain insight into how brain cells and their interactions with each other aid brain function. “Once we know how these neurons interrelate, it will facilitate our understanding of what goes wrong in various diseases,” assistant research neurology professor Houri Hintiryan told USC News. Specifically, the neuroimaging institute’s research focuses on the anatomy of mouse brains, cataloging different types of mice brain cells based on how they connect with other cells in the brain, and what structures they form with each other, according to USC News. The BRAIN Initiative is a broader project launched by former President Barack Obama, which brings together federal agencies with private research institutions, like USC, to help revolutionize the study of the human brain, according to the BRAIN Initiative website.The USC team is joining the initiative’s Cell Census Network Consortium, a five-year collaboration with a specific focus on identifying and classifying brain cells, USC News said. Although the USC team is focusing on anatomy and structure, other teams in the consortium are tackling the classification through other angles, such as cell function and molecular properties.