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Showing posts from December, 2016

The Electronic Ears That Listen to Secret Nuclear Tests

Twenty years ago, the world's first Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) of 1996, that prohibits nations from conducting any kind of nuclear tests, either for civilian or for military purposes, was approved by the United Nations. At that time, more than two-thirds of the General Assembly's members supported it. That number has now grown to 183. Although the support was strong, some doubted whether the treaty could actually be enforced. After all, what prevents a nation from signing the treaty and then secretly conducting underground nuclear tests?

Gilmerton Cove of Edinburg

Just a few meters beneath the streets of Gilmerton, an ex-mining village on the southern edge of the city of Edinburgh, in Scotland, lies a series of underground passageways and chambers hand-carved from sandstone. The Gilmerton Cove, as it is called, has been known for centuries, but its age and purpose has been baffling people for generations.

Gävle Goat: The Christmas Goat That Vandals Can’t Keep Their Hands Off

Every year for Advent, about a month before Christmas, the town of Gavle, in Sweden, builds a giant Christmas goat out of straw. And every year, arsonists do their best to bring it down.

The Pout Of A Red-Lipped Batfish

Named after Charles Darwin, Ogcocephalus darwini, or the red-lipped batfish, is an unusual looking fish. It is a type of anglerfish, the same kind Marlin and Dory had a narrow escape from while searching for Nemo in Finding Nemo, but instead of a fearful thorny mouth, it hangs a pair of bright, red lips, probably in a bid to disguise its predatory behavior. If not for its permanent natural pout, it might have been called cute even. But the red-lipped batfish is anything but.

Nagoro: The Japanese Village of Dolls

The village of Nagoro on the south-western island of Shikoku, in Japan, was once home to hundreds of residents. But over the years, Nagoro’s population had fallen dramatically as the village's young inhabitants left to find work and better lives in cities, leaving the very old —the pensioners— as Nagoro’s only residents today.

11 Foot 8 Inches: The Infamous ‘Can Opener’ Bridge

At 11 foot 8 inches, the Norfolk Southern–Gregson Street Overpass, located in Durham, North Carolina, United States, is a bit too short. The federal government recommends that bridges on public roads should have a clearance of at least 14 feet. But when this railroad trestle was built in the 1940s, there were no standards for minimum clearance. As a result, trucks would frequently hit the bridge and get its roof scrapped off.

The Moment

A stranger asks an artist to draw his portrait and the moment becomes pivotal to her life.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit China, You Will after You Watch This

China from Above is, as you have probably guessed, drone footage. Using a DJI Phantom 4, traveling videographer Stef Hoffer has captured some truly awesome landscapes as he crossed the country. This video takes us from the northern 'rust belt provinces' to the beautiful mountain landscapes of national parks like Zhangjiajie (often named as an inspiration for the Avatar movie) and Jiuzhaigou.  Sit back and take it all in and then, if it not there already, put China on to your list of places to visit!

The Island Where Donkeys Wear Pyjamas

The Island of Rhea, or Île-de-Ré in French, off the west coast of France near La Rochelle, is a popular summer destination known for its gently sloping, sandy beaches, cool waters and constant light breeze, which are a real treat for families and tourists. The island’s other famous attraction are its donkeys.

The Sewer Gas Destructor Lamps of England

In Victorian England, gas build-up in underground sewers was often a problem for the city dwellers. Old sewers were not always laid on sufficient grade or on true line resulting in the accumulation of dangerous and highly inflammable methane gas that increased the chances of explosion. To prevent the build-up of stagnant gases, holes were poked into the sewer and free-standing vent pipes were installed to allow the foul gases to escape over the heads of pedestrians and the levels of adjacent homes. But some of these problematic sewers were located in areas where homes were multi-storied making vent pipes ineffective.

Intricately Detailed Floating Cube Casts Stunning Shadows

We have always been big fans of Pakistan-born artist Anila Quayyum Agha’s mesmerizing art. In 2014, we raved about Intersections, a captivating wooden cube that cast dreamy shadows with a single light bulb. Fortunately for us, Agha is still creating intricate installations in this style, with her most recent, radiant piece being All The Flowers Are For Me.

The Ghosts of St. George’s Church in Lekova

For nearly fifty years, St. George’s Church in the village of Lukova, in Czech Republic, lay abandoned. The last congregation held in this 14th century church was in 1968, when a funeral service was in progress and the ceiling and part of the roof collapsed sending everyone running outside. The terrified locals took it as a bad omen and never ventured inside. The church slowly crumbled away while sermons and services were held outside. The communists looted everything of value that was inside —paintings, statues, the church bell and the clock tower. The church organ was damaged.

Pozzo di S. Patrizio

Pozzo di S. Patrizio, or the St. Patrick's Well, is a historic well in Orvieto, Umbria, central Italy, built between 1527 and 1537 at the behest of Pope Clement VII who had taken refuge at Orvieto during the sack of Rome by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Fearing that the city’s water supply would be insufficient in the event of a siege, the Pope assigned the task to architect-engineer Antonio da Sangallo, who had worked extensively in Rome during the Renaissance.

The Toxic White Beaches of Rosignano Solvay

The dazzling white sand of “Spiagge Bianche”, or “white beaches”, in the town of Rosignano Solvay, in southern Tuscany, has been luring tourists by the thousands for years. But this beautiful stretch of shoreline by the Tyrrhenian sea and its uncharacteristic Caribbean-look hides a dark secret that very few of the sunbathers and swimmers who flock to Spiagge Bianche every summer seem to be aware of. The stunningly white sand here is not natural. It’s chemical waste, and its source stands right next to the beach —an enormous complex of towering chimneys and cooling towers spewing smoke and steam into the air. This is the Solvay chemical plant.

This Rocky Wall Was Created By The New Zealand Earthquake

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that stuck the South Island of New Zealand on November 14, 2016, have changed the geography of the region, particularly around the epicenter. In the countryside around Waiau, about 30km east of Hanmer Springs, where the shaking was the highest, a section of the earth has lifted vertically forming a long rocky wall, fifteen foot tall.

Tehachapi Loop

The Tehachapi Loop is an iconic spiral loop, 1.17 km long, that passes over itself as it gains height on the railroad main line through Tehachapi Pass, in south central California. The loop was constructed in the latter half of the 19th century as part of Southern Pacific's main line through southern California, which had to cross the Tehachapi Mountain range. More than 3,000 Chinese immigrant laborers toiled for two years cutting through the solid granite with blasting powder, and then clearing the debris using picks, shovels, and horse drawn carts, to lay the Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line. The line, which climbs out of the San Joaquin Valley and through the Tehachapi Mountains to Mojave in the Antelope Valley, was part of the last and final link of the first railroad line connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles.