Burning Man Festival

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Originally held in 1986 at San Francisco’s Baker Beach, the week-long Burning Man Festival now takes place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The festival is a week-long event that starts on the last Monday in August, and ends on the first Monday in September. Up to 68,000 people from around the world gather at the festival and spend a week in the remote desert isolated from the outside world.Burning_Man_Swar_16x9_992

The festival gets its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set ablaze on Saturday evening. The event is considered an experiment in self-expression, art, and self-reliance. It’s become a gathering for hippies, artists, musicians and dancers who can for a week explore artistic expression. Money is never exchanged at the event, instead the participants gift each other to get what they need. The main attractions of Burning Man include massive art installations, all-night dance parties, marathon kite-flying sessions, unconventional fashion shows, and classes where festival goers can learn things like Hula Hooping.

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They head off one week later, having left no mark whatsoever and wait for the next Burning Man.

http://www.burningman.com/

 

 

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Son Doong Cave, Vietnam

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Son Doong Cave the world’s largest, is located in Vietnam. It was originally found by a local man who discovered the entrance in 1991. He was afraid of the 300 foot drop and the roar that came from below. For 18 more years, it stayed unexplored until it was re-discovered in 2009 by British cave explorers. The name Son Doong means “mountain river”. The cave was created 2-5 million years ago by a river whose source is still unknown. The cave is so big it contains a jungle and you could fit a 40 story building inside.

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Where the limestone was weak, the ceiling collapsed creating huge skylights. Thousands of “cave pearls” sit untouched in Son Doong. These were formed over hundreds of years when dripping water created layers of calcite that build up around grains of sand.

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Vietnam has a very difficult terrain, and the cave is far out of the way. It’s totally covered in jungle, and you can’t locate anything on Google Earth.  A team from the British Cave Research Association, who first explored Son Doong, will be returning to find out more of the cave’s mysteries.

Camp inside Hang Son Doong

A tour company called Oxalis, is running trial tours of the cave and accepting sign-ups for real six-day tours to take place next year. Ropes and harness are needed to get inside Son Doong, and any visitors will need to rappel 260 feet to reach the cave floor. Tourists will explore the cavern by day and sleep on the cave’s sandy beaches at night.

 

Snow Cave in Kamchatka

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This surreal-looking ice cave is located on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. With very little snow, and a hot summer huge snow melts occured. As a result, a passage was formed in the snow was leading to the cave formed underneath.

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At the entrance, the ceiling is thin enough for light to break through giving unique effects. The colored lights aren’t a computer trick, but are the result of sunlight streaming through the ice into the hidden world below. When you get further away from the entrance, the arch of the cave becomes thicker, and less sunlight comes through it, but you can still see unreal spans of form and color.

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The snow caves of were formed by hot springs flowing from a volcano. The Kamchatka Peninsula, in the far east of Russia, is a region of extraordinary natural beauty with  large symmetrical volcanoes, lakes, raging rivers and breathtaking coastline.

(photos by Denis Budko, Marc Szeglat, Michael Zelensky and xflo:w)

Paper Anatomy by Lisa Nilsson

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American artist Lisa Nilsson creates anatomical cross sections of the human body using rolled strips of paper, a technique known as quilling or paper filigree. Quilling is a time consuming process in which paper is wound tightly into small rolls of different colors and then positioned to become works of art.  Nilsson is able to choose exactly the right material to imitate the organic structures making each piece appear as real cross-sections of humans and animals.Quilled-Paper-Anatomy-1

The construction is done with  Japanese paper and the gilded edges of old books. Quilling was first practiced by Renaissance nuns and monks who made artistic use of the gilded edges of worn out bibles, and later by 18th century ladies who made artistic use of lots of free time.QUILLL

http://lisanilssonart.com/section/282102_Tissue_Series.html

Indian Bullfrog

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The Indian bullfrog is known for its large size, up to 6 inches in length, and dramatic coloring. It’s found in the wetlands of South and South East Asia and inhabits holes and bushes near permanent bodies of water.

During most of the season, both sexes are olive-green in color. Once the mating season comes around, the males skin turns bright yellow and their vocal sacs turn bright blue. Breeding takes place during the monsoon season and large numbers of eggs are laid in pools. There is a high mortality rate among tadpoles mostly from other predators.

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When they are frightened they jump over the surface of the water in much the same way as they would over land. Normally a nocturnal creature, the diet of an Indian Bullfrog consists of insects, small animals and small birds.

Shell Grotto Of Kent

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The Shell Grotto, an English tourist attraction in Margate Kent,  is a 70-foot underground passageway, decorated with around 4 million seashells. According to the story, in 1835 James Newlove lowered his son Joshua into a hole in the ground that had appeared during the digging of a duck pond. When he came out, he told his father about this underground tunnel covered entirely in seashell mosaics. He had discovered the Shell Grotto.

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Actually, many different stories about the discovery have been told and may not have involved duck ponds and small boys. By whatever means he did find it, James Newlove clearly saw the potential of his find. He installed gas lamps to light the passageway and three years later opened it to the public, coming as a surprise to the locals , as the place had never been marked on any maps, and nobody knew about its existence.

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Debate of its origins has raged ever since the first paying customers went down the chalk stairway. Everything from an ancient temple, to a meeting place for a secret society or a wealthy family’s “folly”, that they were known to build for their amusement. At first glance the Grotto’s design just adds to the confusion, with shells creating swirling patterns and symbols. There are any number of explanations as to the meaning, trees of life, phalluses, gods, and something looking like an altar. However, there’s only one fact about the Grotto that is indisputable, that it is a unique work of art that should be preserved, whatever its origins.

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Despite the multiple theories going around, no one has been able to solve the mystery of the Shell Grotto. Today, shell mosaics once again cover the entire 2000 square feet of the grotto and a team of conservationists is making sure this unique tourist attraction will be around to amaze and astonish visitors for years to come.

http://shellgrotto.co.uk/