World’s Longest Windy Road


Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, also called Cristo Redentor, is a mountain pass in the Andes between Argentina and Chile. It is the main transport route connecting the Chilean capital city Santiago to Mendoza city in Argentina and so carries quite heavy traffic. With twenty nine hard switchbacks on an extremely steep incline, it is also one of the most challenging roads to navigate. The road begins on the Chilean side with a steep rise, approximately 31 miles from the city of Los Andes which lies 43 miles north of Santiago… The path can be closed during winter because of heavy snows blocking both ends and the threat of rockfall.” w/ photos

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Psychedelic Salt Mine


Deep underneath the city of Yekaterinburg in Russia lies the most colorful cave you have ever laid your eyes upon. The walls of this abandoned salt mine is covered with psychedelic patterns, caused by the natural layers of carnallite, a mineral used in the production of plant fertilizers, and is most often yellow to white or reddish, but can sometimes be blue or even completely colorless. A small portion of the carnallite mines remain in use, but most of the passageways are now closed and off-limits to the public without a special government permit.” w/ photos

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Origami Wheel


The wheel they created can change its radius by deforming its shape. This is a useful trick to be able to perform, since a wheel with a large radius is better at climbing over things, while a wheel with a smaller radius is better at squeezing under things, as the robot demonstrates in the video below. The wheel and hooks together can deform from a minimum diameter of 55 millimeters to a maximum diameter of 120 millimeters, which is a substantial range, especially considering that the transformation only requires one single actuator per wheel.” w/ photos + video

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Troglodyte Houses


“Les Eyzies was at one time a small hamlet tied to the Lordship of Tayac. During the 8th and 9th centuries it probably had quite a large population, as shown by the numerous troglodytic habitations and the presence of groups of buildings fortified against the Viking raiders. The cliffs are riddled with elevated look-out posts know as cluzeaux aeriens, artificial chambers cut out of the limestone cliffs so high one wonders how anyone ever got up there. There are scores of caves and grottos to visit in Les Eyzies, including numerous medieval fortresses built into the rocks, a fortified church and many museums. Les Eyzies contains some 150 prehistoric sites dating from the Paleolithic and about 25 decorated caves.” w/ photos

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Fish-Eating Spiders?


“…since these arachnids are often ‘sit-and-wait predators,’ all a spider has to do is hang around until an unsuspecting fish, or insect, touches its legs from beneath the water. Moreover, their mouths are strong enough to pierce scaly flesh, and they can inject lethal neurotoxins into a fish as they crush it. Then, once the fish is dead, the spider can drag it to a dry spot, and inject it with chemicals that liquefy its insides, making it much easier to consume.” w/ photos

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Abandoned Whaling Station


“The island of South Georgia in the South Atlantic is remote, to say the least – they are 1,390 kilometers (864 mi) east-southeast of the Falkland Islands, considered the ends of the earth by many themselves. There is no air strip and visitor must arrive on the island by boat. On the northern coast of the island is the former whaling station of Stromness, named for a village in the Scottish Orkney isles. The last time the place was used commercially was in the early 1960s. Now it is left to decay, its only company the seals and penguins native to the islands.” w/ photos

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Missile Park?


“The White Sands Missile Range Museum is located within the premises of the military facility, about 100 km south of the Trinity Site. The missile museum is crammed with information about the origin of America’s nuclear program, its pioneering ventures into space and the development of rockets as weapons, and about the accomplishments of scientists like Dr. Wernher von Braun and Dr. Clyde Tombaugh. The most fascinating display of the museum is the missile park. It’s an outdoor display of more than 60 different rockets used in combat from WWII to the Gulf War. These include everything from the WAC Corporal and Loon (U.S. version of the V-1) to a Pershing II, a Patriot and the V-2, the world’s first long range ballistic missiles and the first man-made object to reach the fringe of space. The rockets are installed outside the museum building in an acre-sized garden, with most of them pointing towards the sky as if ready to blast off.” w/ photos

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Inflatable Concrete


Architecturally, a dome is a strong, stable shape. But building a dome out of stone or concrete is a labor-intensive, expensive endeavor. Engineers Johann Kollegger and Benjamin Kromoser from the Vienna University of Technology have come up with a construction method that’s cheap and simple: inflating slabs of precisely shaped concrete that join together when they rise up. The technique could make it possible to erect strong, inexpensive buildings in impoverished areas or to quickly and cheaply build everything from concert pavilions to highway underpasses.” w/ photos

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The Blue Forest


“Located just at the boundary of Flanders and Wallonia, in the municipality of Halle, about 30 minutes south of Brussels, lies the forest of Hallerbos or Halle’s Wood in English. From late April to early May a few acres of woodlands on the edge of Hallerbos is covered by a splendid carpet of wild bluebell hyacinths. In the early spring, the forest canopy is covered with leaves, sunlight pours through the branches and turns the pale blue of flowers into a vivid bluish purple. The bluebell carpet spreads as far as the eye can see, circling around the slender trees, running into the valleys and massing around the creeks.” w/ photos

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