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Photos - May 2010

Crumbling Wonders of the World

May 31st 2010 02:27
This article on Newsweek takes a look at various popular ancient sites around the world which for various reasons are slowly crumbling away.
Here are the top conservation concerns at some of the sites, alternatively view the full article here.
Comments are by Doug Comer, a president at archaeological management organization ICAHM, and Gustavo Araoz, who heads up ICOMOS, an association of conservation professionals working on cultural heritage sites.

crumbling ancient sites - Petra
Petra - Jordan
Petra has two main enemies: people and water. Named one of the wonders of the natural world in 2007, it now attracts hordes of tourists, up to 800,000 a year by some estimates, who sit on the steps of the theater and rub up against the walls of the Siq (the narrow gorge leading to Petra’s most famous temple), eroding inscriptions carved by stone masons thousands of years ago. “These are embellished with symbols of various deities—both from the Arab and Hellenic traditions. The ones at human height are going to be eradicated because people rub up against them and erode them,” says Comer. Without adequate toilet facilities at the site, he adds, people have been known to wander off and use the tombs to do their business, producing problematic (and unseemly) chemical reactions with the stones. On the structural front, the development of massive tourist infrastructure in the nearby town of Wadi Musa has disturbed ancient water systems, a big danger in an area prone to flash flooding. Where terraces used to carry water away to be soaked up by the soil, now the surfaces near Petra are being turned into less-absorbent parking lots. Since Petra is made of sandstone, which acts like a sponge, it soaks up the minerals in that backed-up water, which can then form crystals and ultimately push the stone itself apart.

decaying landmarks - Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal - India
The Taj Mahal is in good shape structurally, says Araoz, but has been plagued by another annoyance: Agra’s incredible traffic jams. Since the Taj Mahal was built with pristine white marble, air pollution that creates acidic rain can stain and then eventually erode the stone. Once the problem is spotted, it can be fixed with various stone repair tools, but the original can never fully be restored. At the Taj Mahal, the damage isn’t yet visible to the average tourist’s eye, but scientists have noted enough of a problem for the World Monuments Fund to put the site on its watch list.

Historical Sites in Danger - Angkor
Angkor - Cambodia
Once an imperial city, Angkor has fallen into disrepair. After the Khmer Rouge killed nearly all the country’s intellectuals in the 1970s, the country’s archeology experts were reduced from about a thousand to merely two. Without anyone to protect the site, says Comer, the jungle reclaimed it. Now humongous tree roots have overtaken entire buildings, a difficult problem to correct, since killing the tree can damage the building’s structure. In recent years, the government has put notable efforts into revitalizing Angkor, recognizing it as an asset as it builds up its tourist economy. But without the resources to manage the urban development around it--or to keep tourists from climbing all over the structure--there are questions as to whether the new attention has done harm or good. The government isn’t the only one eying the site as a cash cow. According to Comer, poor management has left much of Angkor’s invaluable antiquities wide open to looting. In the markets in neighboring Bangkok, he says, vendors have tourists select knick-knacks from a book, then send someone over the border to grab the items and sell them off. Carved reliefs are especially popular; in many cases, the faces are simply chiseled off.

Great Wall of China in disrepair
Great Wall - China
The report card on the Great Wall is mixed--by necessity, since the wall isn’t a single structure, and construction varies from place to place. The areas where tourists usually go tend to be in good shape, since they are built of solid stone. But large segments of the wall were built with earthern architecture, like adobe, and are more vulnerable to the elements. Some areas have begun to look more like a long mound than a wall. Araoz says Chinese authorities are on top of the problem, as much as they can be, given the epic length of the wall. They’re applying treatments called sacrificials, coatings that can be replaced as they wear away, preserving the structure inside from erosion. But even this must be handled with care, says Araoz, since it can defeat the purpose if excess water ends up being trapped inside.

Preservation at Giza. Great Pyramids and the Sphinx
Giza - Egypt
The pyramids at Giza are not the structures conservationists spend their time fretting about. Rather, says Araoz, the biggest issue is the urban encroachment of the city of Cairo. At one point, the Egyptian government proposed building a road that would have gone straight through the site, but UNESCO objections put a halt to the plan. “When you are at the back of Sphinx, looking in direction Sphinx is looking, you’re staring right at the edge of the city,” he says, arguing that such development destroys the spirituality of the visit. Such development can have unintended consequences, too. Three years ago, Egyptian authorities realized sewage dumped in a nearby canal was causing a rise in the water table underneath the Sphinx, reaching only 15 feet below the statue. Flakes of limestone began to peel of the surface as moisture was drawn up into the stone. Workers installed pumps to divert the water, but the Sphinx remains the top concern.


The Numbers Behind Skype

May 28th 2010 03:31
For almost 8 years now Skype has allowed users to make voice calls over the Internet. Calls to other Skype users have almays been free, while calls to both landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a small fee.

In recent times Skype has gained in popularity for its additional features such as instant messaging, file transfer, and video conferencing.

The info-graphic below sourced from MeetTheBoss details the numbers behind Skype showing just how big it has become!

Skype Information
Click to open a larger version in a new window


The pictures in this post all look like they are photoshopped, but the twist is they're actually not!
Instead these images which were sourced from WebDesignCore showcase traditional photographic techniques. See the full article here.

non photoshopped images - tight rope

traditional photographic techniques

amazing photography not photoshopped

Headless horse. Right time and perfect angle

traditional photography - large furniture


Best National Park Scenery

May 24th 2010 02:09
In this article on Travel and Leisure, an in depth look is taken into finding the best National Park Views in America. Below is a selection from the article.

best national park spots
Leigh Lake, Grand Teton National Park, WY
Rumor has it that early French explorers named these mountains for the ample bosoms they were longing for back home. An easy and rewarding way to hone in on the range, according to the park’s public affairs officer, Jackie Skaggs, is to hike the eastern shore of Leigh Lake. “You’ll get stunning views of Mount Moran—the fourth highest peak in the Tetons—and the U-shaped Paintbrush Canyon.”

national parks of the USA
Sheep Mountain Table, Badlands National Park, SD
From the southern end of Sheep Mountain Table, you’ll get a sweeping view from the highest sod table around—those are 35 million-year-old Brule (layered sedimentary rock) and Sharps (volcanic ash) formations, along with the Cheyenne River, spread out below you. “On a clear day you can see all the way to the Black Hills, some 50 miles away,” says ranger Aaron Kaye. “Walk along the south end of the table, which is marked by a nice forested area of cedars and affords views to the valley floor about 300 feet below.”

best national park scenery
Mount Herard, Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, CO
In south central Colorado you’ll find North America’s tallest dunes and one of the area’s most varied hikes—walkers might spot everything from Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep to disk-eared pikas on the ascent up the 13,297-foot mountain. From the top, it seems all of Colorado is unfolding beneath you, including the sand dunes and the Sangre de Cristo Range. “There are no crowds any time of year,” says park ranger Patrick Meyers.

Yosemite National Park Scenery
Sentinel Dome, Yosemite National Park, CA
Abe Lincoln established Yosemite Valley as public land in 1864, with good reason: the area is chockablock with misty rapids, granite monoliths, and towering sequoia trees. Crowds flock by foot and car to Glacier Point, but you can catch the same view—without the hordes of gawkers—at Sentinel Dome. It’s only a one-mile hike from the valley floor, yet earns you a 360-degree view of the park (including El Capitan, Half Dome, and Yosemite Falls, the highest measured waterfall in North America).

pictures from National Parks
Hidden Lake, Glacier National Park, MT
Daniel Fagre, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist, predicts that the remaining glaciers in Glacier National Park will have melted to a trickle by 2020—10 years sooner than earlier believed. Enjoy what remains by hiking to Hidden Lake, on the Continental Divide. You’ll pass pink and yellow monkey flowers, bear grass, and more than a few mountain goats before arriving in the midst of a 360-degree view of glacier-curved peaks, including Bearhat and Heavy Runner mountains.

High Speed Images of Rockets

May 21st 2010 02:49
In today's post we take a look at high speed imagery of rockets, tanks, ship guns and other weapons being fired.

These images are sourced from Banned In Hollywood. See the full photo set here.

slow motion rockets

Rocket weapons firing

battle ship gun firing

rocket weaponry fire testing

high speed tank firing

Biggest Oil Spills of All Time

May 19th 2010 02:21
As reported on Planet Green, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico may develop into one of the worst environmental disasters of all time. But how does it compare to the most devastating oil spills which have come before it?
Here we take a look at the current top 5 worst oil catastrophes of all time.

[ Click here to read more ]

Gulf Oil Spill

May 17th 2010 01:49
oil slick on surface of ocean
Crude oil floats on the surface of the water

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also known as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill or Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill) is a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that started on April 20, 2010. The spill followed a blowout that caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, which then sank off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven rig workers are missing and presumed dead; the explosion also injured 17 others

[ Click here to read more ]

planes grounded due to ash cloud
Planes sit on the tarmac at Gatwick airport on April 15, 2010 in London, England.

The second 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland on 14 April 2010 caused extensive air travel disruption. In response to fears that ash ejected by the volcano would damage aircraft engines, the controlled airspace of many countries was closed to instrument flight rules (IFR, flying on instruments only) traffic in what became the largest air traffic shut-down since World War II. This action caused millions of passengers to be stranded not only in Europe, but across the world

[ Click here to read more ]

Since her reign began in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II has seen no less than 12 presidents of the United States come and go.
Here we take a step back through time starting with the current president Barack Obama.

[ Click here to read more ]

Defining what makes the best jobs and the greatest companies to work for certainly isn't a simple task.
Rates of pay, growth prospects and employee perks and benefits certainly play a significant role. While job security, work stress, job satisfaction and benefit to society are equally important.
The ideal job and employer for each individual will naturally vary, but Fortune 500 have put together a list of the finest jobs in America and where to locate them

[ Click here to read more ]

Upcoming NASA Missions

May 7th 2010 02:50
As reported on Network World, in NASA's recent budget they announced funding for many critical satellite and robotic missions. These missions include a huge planned mission to Mars as well as other operations that will send spacecraft to Pluto, Jupiter, Mercury, Pluto and the Sun. New climate change research and observation satellites are also heavily funded. See a sample below or read the full article here.

[ Click here to read more ]


May 5th 2010 02:18
Kyrgyzstan (pronounced KUR-gi-stahn) is a country in Central Asia. Landlocked and mountainous, it is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the southwest and China to the east. The mountainous region of the Tian Shan covers over 80% of the country (Kyrgyzstan is occasionally referred to as "the Switzerland of Central Asia", as a result), with the remainder made up of valleys and basins.
holidays kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is divided into seven provinces administered by appointed governors

[ Click here to read more ]

Insects in Amber

May 3rd 2010 23:39
Amber is fossilised tree resin (not sap), which is appreciated for its colour and natural beauty. Good quality amber is used for the manufacture of ornamental objects and jewellery.
The discovery

Amber is formed when tree resin is subjected to high pressures and temperatures over time

[ Click here to read more ]

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