Tag Archives: society

The Great Raft of The Red River

Before the arrival of the Europeans, “log jams” formed by the accumulation of fallen trees and driftwood on rivers and streams were a common phenomenon across North America, but none was as enormous as the one that existed on the Red River. At its peak, this log jam—known as the Great Raft—extended for 165 miles (265 km) clogging the lower part of the river in what is now Northwest Louisiana and Northeast Texas.

The Great Raft began forming sometime around the beginning of the last millennium. Periodic flooding of the Red River dislodged great number of trees from the river’s flood banks that was made up of easily erodible soil. The trees filled the river and formed a series of intermittent log jams that stretched for … Read the rest

How Bermuda’s Chronic Water Shortage Shaped The Islands’ Iconic White Roof

Bermuda’s brilliantly white rooftop houses are iconic of the islands, but they aren’t just for show—they serve an important purpose. Without these terraced limestone roofs life in Bermuda would not have been possible.

There are two things Bermuda is famous for—hurricanes and the lack of fresh water. Bermuda is situated directly in the path of hurricanes, although their impact is less severe compared to what the Atlantic Coast experiences. Also, owning to Bermuda’s small size many hurricanes miss the islands entirely, but as they pass they lash the islands with gale-force winds.

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Photo credit: Craig Stanfill/Flickr

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Osaka Stadium’s Housing Expo

Where the magnificent Namba Parks stand today at Naniwa-ku, in Osaka, Japan, once stood Osaka’s baseball stadium. Opened in 1950 with a capacity of 32,000 people, the stadium was home to the Nankai Hawks baseball team, but when the Hawks moved to Heiwadai Stadium in 1988, the stadium was sold to Fukuoka City. For the next two years, Osaka Stadium became the temporary home of the Kintetsu Buffaloes, who played about a dozen games here. The last official baseball game was held on August 2, 1990. Despite being a weekday, some 29,000 visitors came to watch the final game.

Long before the stadium was sold to Fukuoka City, it had been decided that the sporting venue had to go as part of the Namba district redevelopment … Read the rest

Project Riese: The Secret Nazi Tunnels in Poland

Eighty kilometers to the south of Wroclaw, underneath Poland’s oldest mountain range, the Owl Mountains, lies a massive underground complex and tunnel system built by the Nazis. The exact purpose of these tunnels is not known, nor is its true size because the complex was never completed. More than nine kilometers were excavated, but only a small section was reinforced by steel and concrete before the Nazis were driven out of the region by the arriving Red Army. Some say the tunnels were meant to serve as the Führer’s headquarter, while others believe it was supposed to be used as an underground weapons factory.

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Photo credit: Przykuta/Wikimedia

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The Monument That Was Also A Science Lab

The Monument to the Great Fire of London that stands near the northern end of London Bridge is a pretty well known landmark. It’s a tall Doric column decorated with dragons near the base and topped with a golden orb. Its height—202 feet—corresponds to the distance from its base to the bakery in Pudding Lane where the fire started. On the inside of the hollow column is a spiraling staircase that stretches all the way to the top, and out on to a viewing platform.

Completed in 1677, the Monument was designed by the celebrated British architect Christopher Wren, and the famous scientist Robert Hooke. At that time, Wren was the Surveyor of the King's Works, and as such he was widely involved in rebuilding the … Read the rest

Why is Water Pouring Out of This Tree in Montenegro?

The Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty recently shared a video about a unique natural phenomenon in a village called Dinoša, located in southeastern Montenegro—a small country on the Adriatic coast. There is a mulberry tree standing in the meadow there that turns into a fountain whenever it rains heavy. From a hollow on the tree trunk water can be seen gushing abundantly.

Apparently, the rains had flooded the underground springs and the additional pressure created pushed water up the tree trunk through cracks or hollows on the trunk, until it poured out of a hole a few feet above the ground. As you can see from the video, the ground is quite sloppy indicating the amount of groundwater there is in the soil and below. You can … Read the rest

Alexander Fleming’s Microbial Art

Alexander Fleming is widely known as the brilliant microbiologist who gave the world the miraculous life-saving drug called antibiotic. But he also had an artistic side that is perhaps less well known. Fleming was a member of London’s Chelsea Arts Club, where he tried his hand at watercolor and created compositions that were amateurish at best. But his artistic talents didn’t lie in watercolors or pencil sketches but in another medium—living organism.

Fleming was one of the first scientists to use microbes to create works of art. He painted ballerinas, houses, soldiers, mothers feeding children, stick figures fighting and many other scenes on petri dishes using microbes. Fleming produced these artwork by culturing microorganisms having different natural pigments on petri dishes to create colorful patterns. He … Read the rest

Striking snapshots of 1970’s New York

In 1970, Daniel Patrick Moynihan convinced the Nixon White House to support a policy of “benign neglect,” wherein basic government services were systemically denied to cities across the United States with large African-American and Latinx populations.

New York City quickly became the nation’s most famous victim of “urban blight” at the hands of the state. The city teetered on the edge of bankruptcy as manufacturers fled en masse, while landlords hired arsonists to torch their buildings knowing they could get more money from insurance than they could from resale. The city fell into desolate and desperate straits. Yet within this horrific landscape, New York maintained its dignity and strength, becoming the site for the most explosive cultural movements of the late 20th century.

The city’s landmark … Read the rest

Portraits of the East’s monks, pilgrims & wanderers

First published back in 2011, Steve McCurry’s Looking East is a breathtaking showcase of the photographer’s best portrait work. The images, which were shot during his extensive travels across Southeast Asia, focus on the region’s outsiders: from monks and children to pilgrims, wanderers and migrants.

Like much of McCurry’s work, the collection teeters between the edges of cutting-edge photojournalism and fine art – presenting people from all walks of life in a beautifully unified way, and breaking the boundaries between race, language and culture.

Now, the book is making a return, with Phaidon opting to publish it in paperback for the first time this week. “[Looking East is] regarded as one of the most iconic publications of contemporary documentary photography,” a spokesperson said of the … Read the rest

The complicated relationship between food & race in the UK

There’s no doubt that the food industry has a complicated relationship with race. Staples in kids of immigrants’ diets growing up in the West – like kimchi, turmeric and medjool dates – were once derided for being strange in school canteens. Yet now, they’ve been repackaged as trendy superfoods for the masses.

While foods that PoC once hid or swapped in favour of ‘acceptable’ Western dishes have now become wellness buzzwords, PoC still remain sidelined from the mainstream food industry. In one round-up of the most significant food books published in 2017, not one featured a non-white author. Meanwhile, back in 2015, people of colour were found to be paid 56 per cent less than their white counterparts in the U.S. restaurant industry.

The … Read the rest