Nov 24 2008

Underwater cities

We’ve heard a lot about towns, archaeological sites and whole areas of land forced underwater by the creation of dams or nature shifting about on her own. There’s the Aswan dam in the 1960s in Egypt (which included the original location of Abu Simbel), the Kush sites in the Nile Valley, the village of Hasankeyf (great photos here) in Turkey, the list goes on…

Last spring, it worked the other way around when a drought revealed a medieval village in the Sau water reservoir in the mountains above Barcelona.

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Nov 22 2008

Think your writer’s block couldn’t get worse? Think again.

I confess: every time I open a new notebook, writing pad or agenda, I panic. How can I possibly sully that perfect white paper? Whatever I write down better be good. It better be brilliant.

I own a lot of blank notebooks.

Then along comes something new. At first you think, Okay, someone’s obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this. Then you think, Is this tasteless and disrespectful? And then you think, Oh my god I will NEVER doodle again.

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Nov 8 2008

The African continent is slowly splitting apart –

– along the East African Rift, a 3,000 kilometre-long series of deep basins and flanking mountain ranges. An enormous plume of hot, partially molten rock is rising diagonally from the core-mantle boundary, some 2,900 kilometres beneath Southern Africa, and erupting at the Earth’s surface, or cooling just beneath it, in the Afar region of Ethiopia. It is the rise of this plume that is stretching the Earth’s crust to breaking point.

In September 2005, a series of fissures suddenly opened up along a 60-kilometre section as the plate catastrophically responded to the forces pulling it apart. [ read article ]

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Nov 6 2008

Ancient trees recorded in mines

This story is amazing!

Spectacular fossil forests have been found in the coal mines of Illinois by a US-UK team of researchers. The ancient vegetation - now turned to rock - is visible in the ceilings of mines covering thousands of hectares.

… Once the coal seams have been removed (what were, essentially, the compacted soils of the forests), it is possible to go into the tunnels and look up at what would have been lying on the forest floors. [ read the whole article ]

And scroll down to the second half of this page for more incredible details like these:

… a unique snapshot of what tropical rainforests were like 300 million year ago, at a time when gigantic woodlice, several feet across, crawled on the forest floor and equally large dragonflies flew through its branches…

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Nov 4 2008

Have you ever noticed…

… that herds of grazing animals all face the same way?Images from Google Earth have confirmed that cattle tend to align their bodies in a north-south direction.

To find out why they think this happens, read the BBC article here.

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