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/

 

 

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.

 

Ed Fairburn – Human Geography

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Artist  Ed Fairburn has some very odd habits. Once as a bored 15-year-old, during a long school break, he glued a stamp on a slice of toast and mailed it as a postcard. Since then, he has used the postal system as an alternative gallery space, although his talents have outgrown the mailbox. His most current work has him bringing new life to a series of maps. Fairburn seems to prefer the kind of art that’s easy to fold away, possibly because it makes them easier to put into a mailbox.

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Ed Fairburn is a Welsh artist, who has the ability to combine the geography of facial features with the geography of the earth. Combining the two has a completely natural feel. built and natural echo the human form. Like a sculptor, Fairburn uses patterns to cut away unnecessary details showing form in a new way.

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Today we’re living in a new age of map making, with interactive, electronic mapping technology that gives us real time detail. But it is nice to be reminded that, despite the benefits of this Google-era reality, maps can speak to more than how to get from one place to another.Ed-Fairburn-Retratos-Cartográficos5

Mate, The Drink Of Argentina

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Mate is the national drink of Argentina. “Maté” literally means “I killed” in Spanish. Later the word was used by people who colonized the region of the Río de la Plata to describe the natives rough and sour drink, always consumed with nothing added to soften the taste. Traditionally the beverage is prepared in the same gourd cup, also called mate or guampa.

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The initial preparation involves an arrangement of the yerba within the gourd before adding hot water. In this method, the gourd is first filled half to three-quarters of the way with yerba The mate is then shaken very gently in a side-to-side motion. Now the mate is ready to receive the straw.mate bombilla

Some people pour warm water into the mate before adding the straw, while others say that the straw is best inserted into dry yerba. If the straw was inserted into dry yerba, the mate must first be filled once with cool water, then be allowed to absorb it completely (which generally takes no more than two or three minutes).Gaucho Drinking Mate, Fiesta de la Tradición, San Antonio de Areco, Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mate is traditionally drunk in a social setting, like a family gathering or among a group of friends. The same gourd (cuia) and straw (bomba/bombilla) are passed around and used by everyone drinking .

Showmen’s Rest Circus Cemetery

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Here the clowns have stopped laughing, the acrobats no longer fly, and the music has quit playing. Everything is quiet here, but now in immortal life, the show must go on. The small town of Hugo, Oklahoma,  the winter home of the traveling circus since the 1930s, has become the eternal home for some who have spent their life under the big top.

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A section of Mount Olivet Cemetery called Showmen’s Rest, is bordered by sculptures of elephants on granite pedestals and each grave is designed to show the circus skills of the performer. Here they will remain forever performing under a timeless Big Top.

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While these lie in quiet slumber, the rest of the city celebrates their legendary past with clowns, elephants, and death defying stunts. Children watch with delight as performers practice their impossible feats. Adults are held spellbound by the show overhead.  This small Oklahoma town has a history more unique than any other in the state.

http://www.okgenweb.org/~okchocta/cemetery/showmans_rest.htm

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/