Tuesday, December 31, 2013

If You'd Like To End The Year On A High, Try The Chamonix Skywalk In The French Alps...

If you're feeling particularly brave or needing some moments outside your comfort zone and you happen to be in the Mont Blanc town of Chamonix then you might like to try this.
It's the Chamonix Skywalk, at the top of the Aiguille du Midi at a height of 3842 metres. Before you step into the void, you'll put on some special slippers so as to not damage the glass surface. The glass by the way is three layers of the toughened material and the five sided structure is capable of withstanding 200 kph winds. I feel better knowing that but you'll never get me up there.
The facility opens to the public today.
Visitors who are brave enough will be standing more than a kilometer above the next horizontal surface.
It's been a great year.
Do something to celebrate...

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Some Of Twisted Sifters Top Photo Images For 2013...

It's about now that many websites display their choices of the best photo images for the year.
Twisted Sifter is an interesting site I visit from time to time and you can see more of their top hundred images for 2013 here.
Some you might have already seen featured on The Flying Tortoise blog.
I especially like the girl holding the mirror...

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Chimu People In Northern Peru Were Making Telephone Calls More Than Twelve Hundred Years Ago...

I remember as a kid, making what we called a telephone by getting a couple of baked bean cans, putting a hole in the base of each and attaching the longest piece of string I could find to them, pulling tight and having a conversation or pretending to, with a friend holding the can at the other end.
According to the Smithsonian Institute which knows about these sort of things and doesn't tell porkies, they have a gourd and twine device they say is a telephone made between 1,200 and 1,400 years ago.
They say it's possibly still functional but is too fragile to test out.
The curator, Ramiro Matos says this telephone is a marvel of acoustic engineering. The two gourds, each three and a half inches long with stretched membranes stitched around the bases of the receivers with seventy five feet of twine stretched between them comes from the Chimu Empire centered in the Rio Moche Valley in Northern Peru.
These Chimu were evidently the first true engineering society in the New World who apart from being known for their artisanry and metalwork, were hailed for their hydraulic canal irrigation systems which transformed their arid desert into agricultural lands of plenty.
There's more to know here.
And Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, Apple et all are just new kids on the block...
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

China's Mount Haushan Is One Of The Most Terrifying And Dangerous Places In The World To Go Hiking...

China's Mount Husashan is one of the most terrifying and dangerous hikes in the world.
I get vertigo just looking at the photos so it was with much trepidation that I started this post.
I stayed sitting down with both feet firmly planted on the floor. Reading about the hiking trails that involve steep wooden staircases, vertical ascents and a walkway made out of a series of wooden planks bolted onto the mountainside scares the hell out of me.
It is not somewhere I'll be anytime soon
but if you're thinking of going there.
send me a postcard...

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Friday, December 27, 2013

The Romantic Age Of Steam...

The wonderful romantic days of steam.
And the wonderful days of steam trains in particular and yes, the wonderful days of cough wheeze gasp pollution.
But no, never ever visual pollution.
This was the age of a particular beauty that we'll never see the likes of again.
This is a beauty that can reduce grown men to tears. Or was it the smoke in their eyes.
But I digress. Welsh father and son photography duo Robin and Talieson Coombes share a passion for recording the romance of the steam locomotive. To them the steam locomotive has a particular appeal as it's almost a living breathing machine that inspires awe even in those who've never actually seen them running.
You can see more of their beautiful images of our glorious past here now...

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hair's Something To Celebrate...

There's some colourful individuals out there who're very happy trying their best to make our world a more interesting, weird and wonderful place to live in.
Here's just a few...

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Season's Greetings...

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah.
Like many, I'll again make a stand against consumerism in this somewhat silly season of conspicuous consumption.
Yesterday in this little country of New Zealand, consumers created a new retailing record by making one hundred and forty eight sale transactions a second. And in doing so, many put themselves further into a debt spiral they won't recover from.
I send wishes of love and goodwill to you all...

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ganvie. The Unusual Village Built On Stilts At Lake Nokoue In West Africa...

Just north of the city of Cotonou in the Republic of Benin, which as everybody knows, is in West Africa and home to the village of Ganvie.
Ganvie's population of around twenty thousand live with their simple houses, shops and restaurants built on stilts above the waters of Lake Nokoue.
Their's is a fascinating story and there's more about them here on Amusing Planet...

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