The Romantic Tale Of The Chicken Farmer Rock

Verona might be the birthplace of the most famous love story in literature, but the small village of Newbury, in the state of New Hampshire, the United States, is home to the most enduring one of recent times. Although very few have heard of the story of the chicken farmer, it is New Hampshire’s favorite legend.

The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou

The town of Ait-Ben-Haddou, located on the southern slopes of the High Atlas Mountains, is one of the most spectacular manmade sights along the valley in Morocco’s rocky desert. The town is best known for its kasbas —the tall earthen buildings that crowd together behind defensive walls, reinforced by corner towers. Such a town is known as a ksar, or a fortified town, and Ait-Ben-Haddou is said to be one of the best examples of a ksar with South Moroccan architecture.

Checkerboard Forest

If you pull up Google Maps and look at the forested areas of Western United States, you’ll notice strange checkerboard patterns, like the one below.

Alert: The Most Northern Settlement in The World

Located just over eight hundred kilometers away from the North Pole, the community of Alert, on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island, in Nunavut, Canada, is the most northerly permanent settlement in the world. The nearest populated place is another 540 kilometers south, in Greenland, while the nearest Canadian city is over two thousand kilometers away. The place is so close to the North Pole that it can’t connect with communication satellites because their orbit lies below the horizon.

The Sunken Lanes of Europe

Appearing as trenches dredged through the earth or tunnels cleared through forests, these ancient pathways called holloways or sunken lanes are found all across the European countryside. They originally began at the ground level, but over the centuries, under the tread of a million feet and hooves encompassing thousands of journeys, the floor of these roads have worn away and eroded down to the bedrock, creating ditches that lay beneath the level of the surrounding landscape. With high banks on either side, many of these ancient thoroughfare then became temporary waterways during rains, which further deepened and widened the paths making them permanent features of the landscape. Some of these paths are twenty to thirty feet deep, and look more like gorges than roads.

Glass Beach on Ussuri Bay

Just a 30-minute-drive away from the city of Vladivostok, Russia, lies a stunning bay surrounded by impressive cliffs. Not very long ago, the beach here was used as dumping ground of unwanted glass by a local porcelain factory, or so the story goes. According to another version, the waste glass products were washed away by the river and then swept into the sea.

A Spotlight Of Snow

The other day, NASA’s Earth Observatory posted some interesting pictures about localized snow in the Netherlands. Several fields in Heensche Molen, a hamlet in the western Netherlands, glowed white as though a spotlight had been shone over them, leaving nearby areas untouched. According to their interpretation, the snowfall was caused by a drop in temperature that led to the condensation of the tiny droplets of water in the fog over these areas into ice crystals, which fell as snowflakes.

The Oil Rig Graveyard of Cromarty Firth

In a remote sheltered harbor guarded by two precipitous headlands, in the North of Scotland, dozens of oil rigs are sitting idle, some for more than a decade, quietly waiting for offshore oil drilling to become profitable again.

The Zion Curtains of Utah

A source of confusion among many first time visitors to the US state of Utah are the bars. Like any regular bar, there are stools lining the shiny counter, but instead of facing the bottles and the bartenders, they look straight at a wall of clouded white glass that rises from the middle of the counter, obscuring both on the other side. These barriers are nicknamed Zion curtains, a dig at the Church of Mormons that hold a large influence over the population of Utah.

The Chemical Valley of Sarnia

These tall chimneys billowing thick, toxic smoke stand on the banks of the Saint Clair River, on the outskirts of the Canadian city of Sarnia, in Southwestern Ontario. Stretching for over 30 kilometers along the riverbank from the southern tip of Lake Huron to the village of Sombra, this region has been nicknamed the Chemical Valley, because of the large concentration of petroleum and chemical factories that are packed together here, elbow-to-elbow, within an area the size of a hundred city blocks. Sarnia’s Chemical Valley is home to sixty-two chemical plants accounting for nearly 40 percent of Canada's chemical industry. These industrial complexes are the heart of Sarnia's infrastructure and economy, creating —directly and indirectly— more than fifty thousand jobs in the area.

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