Tag Archives: US

The Humongous Fungus

Beneath the soil in the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon, the United States, lurks a very large fungus that has been slowly weaving its way through the roots of trees for centuries to become the single largest living organism known to humans.

The fungus, Armillaria solidipes, remains mostly underground, hidden from sight, but every autumn just after the rains it sends up clusters of small yellow-brown mushrooms from the bases of trees it has infected. These mushrooms, commonly called “honey mushrooms”, are the most visible part of the fungus seen by the casual observer. The bulk of the fungus lies underneath the forest floor—a vast network of black filament-like structures called rhizomorphs, that creep through the soil, feeling out new root systems to colonize. The … Read the rest

Kissimmee’s Monument of States

Back in 1941, after Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a retired physician and president of a local tourist club, Charles W. Bressler-Pettis, devised an idea to erect a unique monument in Kissimmee, Florida, that he hoped would inspire American solidarity in response to the attack. He wrote to the governors of each state and requested them to send him local rocks. Soon rocks of every shape, size and type began to arrive. There were native granite, quartz, small boulders, fossils, and pieces of old buildings. These were collected by local government and civic organizations, as well as area businesses and individual residents. President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself donated a rock from his estate in New York. Pettis also added is own collection of rocks from … Read the rest

The Bottlecap Alley

For years, boozers from the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and elsewhere, have been paving a short alley located between the pub Dry Bean and the restaurant Dixie Chicken, with used bottle caps. The alley, about 50 meters long and 2 meters across, is today filled with hundreds of thousands of weathered metal bottle caps. It’s a curious little attraction.

The alley periodically receives “donation”, in the form of bottle caps, from the surrounding bars and individuals who collect them for the purpose. 

The Bottlecap Alley is located at the north edge of the Texas A&M campus. The Alley entrance is on the north side of Hwy 60/University Drive, midway between College Main and Boyett St.

Related: Bubble Gum Walls: America’s Stickiest Attractions

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Lahaina Noon: When Shadows Disappear

Notice anything odd about this picture? The sun is out as you can tell by the shadows under the cars and on the walls. But why aren’t the yellow poles casting any shadows?

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It appears as if someone cut out the poles from another picture and pasted it here. That, or it’s a screenshot from a badly rendered videogame where the developer forgot to turn on the shadows. But I can assure you it’s a real picture, and it was taken in Hawaii.

The reason why there are no shadows is because the sun is directly overhead. The Hawaiians call this phenomenon the Lahaina Noon.

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Mark Twain’s Study at Elmira College

On the campus of Elmira College in upstate New York sits a small octagonal wooden cabin with a writing desk and chair, a brick fireplace and a few other memorabilia related to Mark Twain. It was inside this cozy cabin where the celebrated American writer produced some of his best works, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, Life on the Mississippi, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

Now if you are picturing Mark Twain striding across the grass campus of Elmira College every morning to lock himself up inside a tiny room to write while students peer at him through the glass windows, and think that’s odd, you are right—because … Read the rest

The Fluorescent Rocks of Sterling Hill Mining Museum

The Sterling Hill Mining Museum in New Jersey, United States, is known for its variety of immersive and educational exhibits, but is best known for its massive collection of fluorescent minerals.

The fluorescent exhibits are displayed along the walls of the so-called Rainbow tunnel that was excavated in 1990. The walls of the tunnel are lined with rare minerals that glow bright green and red under ultraviolet light.

The museum was originally an old zinc mine, and one of the oldest in the country, having opened in 1739. When the mine closed in 1986, it was purchased by Richard and Robert Hauck and opened as a museum in 1990.

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Photo credit: noaamichael/instagram

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The Wild Burros of Oatman, Arizona

Positioned in the ancient part of old Route 66, in the US state of Arizona, Oatman is full of wild burros —an old Spanish term which means donkeys— roaming the streets. This town with an old western appearance has been an enjoyable place and a tourist attraction for the burros wandering around with springiness. The wild donkeys can be hand-fed with ‘burro chow’, naturally known as hay cubes, which are readily available in the town. Although they gently behave with tourists, still you will find several signs posted in the town which asks the public to maintain caution.

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Photo credit: Joshua Noble/Flickr

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Agloe: A Fake Town That Became Real

In the 1930s, a small town named Agloe suddenly began appearing on the maps of New York. It was positioned near an unmarked dirt road that led from Roscoe to Rockland, and near to Beaverkill. That road was neither visited by anyone nor was it popularly known, and very few people, if any, outside of the mapmakers’ company, knew that the town of Agloe didn’t even exist.

Agloe was a copyright trap—a century old trick mapmakers and dictionary makers have been using to catch copycats. When companies create a map, they perform all the hard work on it, including examining the right spellings, placing the cities in the right spot on the map, etc., and they need to protect their work. So they add small traps … Read the rest