Rural California Awaits Its ‘Uber’

A farmworker’s hamlet in a sea of almond trees, Cantua Creek, California sits 22 miles from the nearest grocery store, 30 miles from the hospital, and 50 miles from the courthouse. When the county bus to Fresno makes its infrequent stops in town, what would be a one-hour car ride can take three. There is no Uber here, and no official local taxi company. For the many locals who don’t own vehicles, or know how to drive, these treks can be arduous, even impossible distances.

But they’re about to get a little easier. In the coming weeks, a brand-new seven-seat Tesla Model X will be ferrying residents of this 500-person Central Valley outpost to distant towns, at what’s expected to be the cost of a bus … Read the rest

Behold Wisconsin’s Cabinet of Curiosity Corn Maze

There are a few things here at Atlas Obscura that are what you might call, “of perennial interest,” and that list includes mazes and cabinets of curiosity. So now that the University of Wisconsin’s Geology Museum has teamed up with a local farm to create a corn maze in the shape of a fossil-filled wunderkammer, you better believe we’re going to share it.

As Science is reporting, geologists from the museum worked with the Treinen Farm, some 20 miles north of Madison, to create a massive, science-themed labyrinth that pays tribute to the state’s official fossil, the trilobite (an early arthropod that crawled sea floors for 270 million years).

From the air, one can see that the maze is split up into sections like … Read the rest

Hubble Spotted a Strange New Object in Our Solar System

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In the 27 years since the Hubble Space Telescope settled into orbit, it’s returned some stunning images and fascinating discoveries. It added another to the list recently, when it trained its lenses on asteroid 288P.

It turns out that 288P isn’t your typical hunk of space rock. As the asteroid neared the sun last September, Hubble saw that 288P is not one but two asteroids, roughly the same size, that orbit each other about 62 miles apart. That may seem like a tiny gap, but for a binary asteroid system, it’s huge. Based on how the asteroid system moves, a team of astronomers think it’s only been a binary system for about 5,000 years. Before that, it was probably one asteroid, which then broke apart … Read the rest

Beirut Tries to Get Back on the Bike

Under a low moon, three dozen cyclists filed through one of the hipper neighborhoods of Beirut. The bars lining the street were filling with the Thursday-night crowd, who gawped as the bikers rolled by in oversized neon-yellow vests. Some cyclists wove skillfully between parked cars; others wobbled precariously. Drivers rolled down their windows to shout questions at the unlikely peloton. “What’s happening? Where are you going?”

Beirut isn’t used to bicycles. Thanks to its aggressive drivers, pockmarked pavement, buzzing scooters, and a general disregard for rules of the road, cycling around the Lebanese capital requires the focus and agility of a martial-arts master.

But luckily for the Thursday-night cyclists—especially those logging their first-ever minutes on a bike saddle as adults—a crew of confident stewards protected the … Read the rest