31 August 2020

Avalanche Fences Exposed!

For months of the year they lie beneath deep snow, trapping it so that avalanches can be circumvented.  But when the snow melts, what is beneath is exposed to the world.  In the summer months many visitors scratch their heads at the sight of avalanche fences and wonder what form of sheep or goat they might be designed to contain.

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Their real purpose is often lost to the casual observer: to help keep roads, railways and towns – not to mention the people therein - safe from a sudden, often deadly avalanche.  In places like the Swiss and French Alps, where locals have had to live alongside the threat of avalanches for thousands of years, intricate systems of artificial structures have mitigated the risk of avalanches for almost as long.

23 August 2020

The Banana Slug – Nature’s Giant Recycler

Slugs and snails and puppy dog’s tails? Well, just slugs in this case – and one species in particular. This is the Banana Slug, featured today on the Ark in Space. It is the second largest slug in the world and found on the western seaboard of North America. It gets its name for obvious reasons (even though the ones in this picture are not nearly as yellow as they can get).

You may think that slugs in general are no good garden invaders, born only to wreak havoc on your carefully cultivated plants. Yet the banana slug is a detritivore and is interested only in dead foliage. In fact it contributes to its ecosystem massively. Read more about this fascinating slug over at the Ark in Space.

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Image Credit Jurveston

Daisy Chain, Narrated by Kate Winslet


A little girl named Buttercup Bree falls victim to a gang of shadowy bullies... until she discovers that her love of daisy chains unlocks a power that will bring life to the darkness of the playground. This animated film, voiced by Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet takes us into a Tim Burton-like world.  It was produced by Protein One, and written and directed by Calvin Scott Davis.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit North Wales, You Will After You Watch This


North Wales (or Gogledd Cymru as it is locally known) is well known in the UK as a place of outstanding natural beauty but the rest of the world seems to only be half aware that this little piece of very wet paradise exists. Well, obviously, we have got to help put that right! Howard Litherland has created this wonderful homage to North Wales which showcases the spectacular beauty of this wonderful land.

The Roof of Africa: The Spectacular Beauty of the Ethiopian Highlands

Do not be uncomfortable if the first words that come to mind when Ethiopia is mentioned have negative connotations. If you live in the developed world then you may easily connect the country to its well documented recent history of insurgency, civil war and famine. Yet although Ethiopia’s troubles are far from over there is much more to the country than this. Its Highlands contain the largest continuous area of high altitude land in the whole of the continent. Little wonder then that the Ethiopian Highlands are often called The Roof of Africa. They are also, without exaggeration, simply spectacular.

The Highlands are enormous and are divided by the Ethiopian Rift. All of the pictures you will see here are from the northwestern side of the highlands. Designated a National Park in 1969 (the first of ten in the country), this portion contains Simien Mountain and Ras Dashan which is the highest peak in Ethiopia.

15 August 2020

Gargoyles – Glorious Gruesome Grotesques

Gargoyles – they are strange, bizarre, unpleasant or just plain ugly. They have been hovering around our towns and cities for centuries, for so long that it can be forgotten that they have meaning and purpose. Take a tour of the weird world of the gargoyle.

A gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque statue, and they were designed to convey water away from the roof and the sides of large buildings. We associate them mostly with medieval times thanks to a certain hunchback but they have been around much longer than that. They are more than just scary statues as if they were not there then the mortar between the stones of their buildings would, in time, erode away and the building would fall over. Many gargoyles take the shape of animals and – lost to our modern minds – these creatures were chosen for a purpose. This is why...

Atomic Ruin: The Abandoned Satsop Nuclear Power Station


Motion control shot specialist Andrew Walker and friends recently had something of an experience – a visit to a Satsop nuclear power station in Western Washington, a place abandoned before it was even completed.

The place is like some giant movie set of an eerie alien city – quite extraordinary.  The power plant was the second largest municipal bond default in U.S. history too – you don’t abandon something like this without it leaving some lasting financial sting.

2 August 2020

The Incredible Dinosaur Wall of Bolivia

Some things appear where you least expect them.  Although dinosaur tracks have been discovered the world over, climbing up a near vertical wall in a Bolivian quarry? Bolivia – yes, fine. Zooming up hundreds of feet towards the skies? Hardly.  Yet here they are.  Spread across a limestone slab a mile long and almost 300 feet high, this great wall at Cal Orcko near the city of Suvre reveals more than 5,000 footsteps, with 462 discrete trails.
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