The endurance cyclist racing 20 hours a day in the wilderness

Lee Craigie has just scratched out of the Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile mountain bike race that starts in Canada and finishes at the Mexican border.

It requires covering around 20 hours and 140 miles a day with everything you need to eat or sleep strapped to the bike.

But one week into that challenge, Lee’s body began to swell up. “I noticed I was getting shorter and shorter of breath but I was like, ‘Come on, Lee. You’re just tired, push through it.’”

By the time she reached Wyoming, however, her lips were turning blue, her face grey. It was an inexplicable allergic reaction.

Determined not to let a year of preparation go to waste, she hitched a ride to the nearest hospital, took a rigorous … Read the rest

The Building That Was Built From Top to Bottom

At Plaza de Colón in Madrid, Spain, there is a twin building that is known locally as "El Enchufe" or "The Plug" for it is said to resemble a giant electrical plug. Its formal name is “Torres de Colón” or the Columbus Towers. Some say it is the ugliest building in Madrid. Its green art deco-style top, and copper and smoked glass façade doesn’t inspire much pride among the city’s inhabitants. Nevertheless, Torres de Colón has been an icon of Madrid’s skyline since it went up in 1976. It harbored great curiosity while it was being built, for Torres de Colón was built from top to bottom.

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Construction stages of Torres de Colón. 

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The Tumuli Lava Blisters

In the relatively flat Harman Valley, located between Wallacedale and Byaduk, south of Mount Napier in Victoria, Australia, are peculiar rocky mounds, like blisters on land. Some of them are up to 10 meters high and 20 meters in diameter. These mounds are known as tumulus or lava blisters.

Tumulus are formed in slow-moving lava fields. When lava flows, the surface often cools to form a thin crust, but underneath the lava is still viscous and molten. If the advancing lava underneath becomes restricted it may push up on the hardened crust, causing soft spots in the crust to rise up like a bubble. Generally, these structures grade into elongate forms called pressure ridges, but occasionally, they creates smaller, steep-sided domes called a tumuli. Usually, the … Read the rest

The Kauri Driving Dams

The Kauaeranga Valley in New Zealand's North Island was once covered in vast kauri forests. The trees were immense with thick, straight trunks. When the first Europeans came to New Zealand, they discovered that kauri trunks made excellent replacement masts and spars for sailing ships. Soon Kauri became the preferred local timber by carpenters and ship builders because the wood was durable, strong, straight and evenly grained. They had relatively few knots, and were easy to work and nail.

Initially, the settlers cut the kauri trees that grew in isolation near the sea. But as kauri’s fame as a timber tree grew and demand increased, teams of pit sawyers moved into the forest interior to cut logs into boards for the local and export markets. The … Read the rest

Martin Parr’s visual ode to Scotland

Martin Parr has been taking pictures of Scotland for over 25 years now. As a result, the much-loved photographer has built an incredible body of work; capturing surreal scenes from all throughout the country.

Now, for the first time, these previously unpublished images are being shared in a new book. The publication, titled Think Of Scotland, aims to offer a new perspective on Scottish life, with Parr looking back affectionately at his travels through Glasgow, Orkney and Edinburgh.

Like much of Parr’s work, the book adds a twist to the country’s classic visual iconography – such as highland games and stunning landscapes – with the photographer reframing each image in a dry, dreamlike way. “I just explore people and things in society, not just in … Read the rest

The grit and glamour of cinematic Los Angeles

Julian Caldwell had a pretty fixed idea of what to expect from the city of his dreams: Cadillacs, palm trees and picture-perfect sunsets.

The 19-year-old British photographer saved enough money to spend a week there on a solo visit: half of that time changing bed sheets in youth hostels, half of it hitting the streets with a camera in hand.

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“It’s a place almost everyone feels familiar with on some level, from memories of films growing up or the music they listen to now,” he says.

“You quickly get the sense, however, that locals have to deal with this constant stream of visitors all searching for the stereotypical signifiers of the city, skimming over anything that doesn’t sit within their preconceived version.”

Those things were hard … Read the rest

Signal Hill: The Birthplace of Modern Communications

Overlooking the harbour of St John's, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, is a massive piece of rock towering 140 meters above the Atlantic Ocean. The rock, known as Signal Hill, stands on St John's eastern shore across a narrow waterway that leads into the harbour. To the north lies Quidi Vidi Lake, and to the west lies the city towards which the hill descends gently in ridges and valleys. It was on top of this hill, in December 1901, that Guglielmo Marconi stood to receive the world’s first wireless transatlantic transmission.

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Cabot Tower on Signal Hill. Photo credit: Michel Rathwell/Flickr

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Asia’s first major LGBTQ exhibition is opening this week

In a historical move, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei will be the first major-scale public institution in Asia to host an art exhibition entirely focused on the history and struggles faced by the continent’s LGBTQ community.

Spectrosynthesis – Asian LGBTQ Issues and Art Now has been in the works for over two years, and will showcase 51 creations by 22 artists hailing from Taiwan, Singapore, China and Hong Kong, as well as Chinese-American artists based in North America.

The MOCA Taipei website explains: “The exhibition represents the life stories and related issues of the post-war Chinese LGBTQ community as the artworks on view touch upon a profusion of subject matters such as identity, equality, exploitation by mass media, social predicaments, comments on individuals/groups, human desire, … Read the rest