World’s Largest Cave Passage
There’s a jungle inside Vietnam’s mammoth cavern. A skyscraper could fit too. Hang Son Doong, or “mountain river cave,” is in a remote part of central Vietnam. Hidden in rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park near the border with Laos, the cave is part of a network of 150 or so caves, many still not surveyed, in the Annamite Mountains. You can read the full story of the cave explorers expedition here.
Stunning Landscape - Cappadocia, Turkey
The mysterious rock formations and underground cities of Cappadocia make this region of Turkey one the most beautiful in the world. The rich history of this site can be told through the villages, subterranean churches and fortresses that have been carved straight into the soft, porous, eerily eroded rock.
Popular activities in the region include visits to the underground cities, viewing the ancient Christian cave art, seeing the “fairy chimney” rock formations, and taking sunrise hot air balloon rides for a view of the breathtaking landscape from above.
The Wave consists of 200 million year old sand dunes that have turned to rock. These large sandstone formations are located on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in Arizona. The spectacular ribbons of various colors, called Liesegang Bands, were formed by the movement and precipitation of oxidizing materials such as iron and manganese in ground water. The Wave is accessible only on foot via a three-mile hike and is highly regulated.
Armored Diving Suit, France c. 1878 (via Xerposa)
Basket Jim does his thing in Covent Garden, London in 1930.
World’s Largest Diamond - The Cullinan
The celebrated Cullinan Diamond, also known as the Star of Africa, is the largest diamond ever found. Weighing 3,106 metric carats in its rough state (picture 1) and measuring over 10 centimeters in length, it is notable for its size, extraordinary blue-white color and exceptional purity.
The Cullinan Diamond was discovered in January, 1905 at the Premier Mine in South Africa and named after the chairman of the mining company, Thomas Cullinan. In November, 1907 the diamond was bought by the Transvaal Government and presented to King Edward VII and, by February 1908, was ready to be cut (picture 5).
The Cullinan I (picture 2), which is 530.20 carats, was set in the head of the Sceptre with the Cross. The Cullinan II (picture 3), which is 317.40 carats, was set into the Imperial State Crown.
The Cullinan Diamond produced nine major diamonds of exceptional beauty. Only Cullinan I and II are part of the Crown Jewels; the rest, known as ‘the chippings,’ (picture 4) are set into pieces from the Queen’s personal jewelry collection.
Strange and Rare Vintage Armour Helmets, 19th Century
- Khula-khud, Indo-Persia
- War Mask, Iran
- Grotesque Helmet, Europe
Glass Beach, Northern California
From 1950 to 1967, residents of Fort Bragg, California chose to dispose of their waste by hurling it off the cliffs above a beach. No object was too toxic or too large such as household appliances, automobiles, and all matter of trash were tossed into the crashing waves below, eventually earning it the name The Dumps. Then in 1967, city leaders closed and reclaimed the beach. Various cleanup programs were undertaken.
Over the next several decades, the pounding waves cleaned the beach by breaking down everything but glass turning the sand into a sparkling, multicolored bed of smooth glass stones. The California Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the land and incorporated it into MacKerricher State Park in 2002.
(Source: Los Angeles Times)
Disney’s Classic Animated Films and Rotoscoping
While Disney has made some of the most popular animated features of all time, they had the good sense to use the most advanced animation technology available at that time - rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is a technique in which animators trace over footage, frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films. The recorded live-action film images were projected onto a frosted glass panel and re-drawn by an animator. This projection equipment is called a rotoscope, although this device was eventually replaced by computers. It is the vintage predecessor to the computer simulation techniques James Cameron used for his Avatar characters.