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Architecture & Design Space Travel

Mysterious metal monolith found in remote Utah desert

As if 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, the Utah Department of Public Safety stumbled upon a mysterious shiny monolith among red rocks in the remote Utah desert. 

The crew spotted the “unusual object” during a routine flyover to survey the area for bighorn sheep. 

In a public statement issued on Tuesday, Utah officials announced that they’re keeping the exact location of the 12-foot-tall silver monolith a secret. 

“The exact location of the installation is not being disclosed since it is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue. We are encouraging anyone who knows the location of the monolith to not attempt to visit it due to road conditions.”

Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety
Mysterious metal monolith found in remote Utah desert
Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety
Mysterious metal monolith found in remote Utah desert
Photo: Utah Department of Public Safety

Note, however, that the object purportedly existed on Google Earth for more than five years. It is firmly planted in the ground with “human-made rivets,” after all. 

While the artist behind the sculpture remains unknown, the David Zwirner Gallery claims its the work of the late minimalist sculptor John McCracken.

Though McCracken never mentioned anything about the avant-garde piece to his family, friends, or business partners, he was an avid science-fiction fan. It’s no surprise that internet sleuths have already proclaimed the installation alien and compared the monolith to the scene depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey

Categories
Animals Architecture & Design Travel

Topiary sculpture of a sleeping baby bird

Here’s a bird you’ll never get tired of looking at.

Children’s author and illustrator Claude Ponti’s gigantic topiary named Poussin Endormi or Sleepy Chick resides in Jardin des Plantes’ botanical garden in Nantes, France.

The outdoor installation relaxes nearby Ponti’s zany other works, the sleeping koala. Who wouldn’t want these in their front yard?

Check out some of Ponti’s surrealistic books below. What a wild imagination!

Categories
Culture & Society Science Travel

Two ash-covered bodies from Vesuvius eruption uncovered at Pompeii

Archaeologists uncovered the body of a wealthy 40-year old man and his young slave in Pompeii, 2,000 years after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. 

Excavations at the suburban villa Civita Giuliana, a suburb outside Pompeii, discovered the bodies covered in a bed of 6.5-foot ash.  

Researchers believe that the two men survived the initial eruption from Mount Vesuvius, only to succumb to a massive and more destructive cloud of scorching ash while seeking shelter in a cryptoporticus

The skeletal remains follow last year’s discovery of another Ancient Roman man crushed by a flying rock during Mount Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 A.D. 

Photo: Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico, via AP
Photo: Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico, via AP
Photo: Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico, via AP

Photos: Luigi Spina/Parco Archeologico, via AP

Categories
Architecture & Design Nature Travel

Daisugi: Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees

The Japanese forestry technique for growing trees, daisugi, goes as far back to the 14th century.

The 600-year-old technique involves pruning a tree’s branches to construct a stable platform that supports producing perfectly straight lumber on top.

The ancient method, therefore, creates wood without cutting down trees. However, the ingenious forestry technique is no longer in use.

Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/TaganiPH 
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/StevenGParker
Daisugi:  Ancient Japanese technique for growing trees out of trees
Photo: Twitter/HooaFury 
Categories
Nature Travel

Rock salt formations in Iran

There are mountains of rainbow rock salt formation in Jashak salt dome, in the Zagros mountains of Iran.

The beautiful rainbow rock formations are a result of rock salt and other evaporites that rose upward through overlying layers of rock millions of years ago in the Persian Gulf.

Thanks to the monstrous salt accumulation that transpired when the ocean turned to mountains, ocean life has flourished.

Photo: Reddit/imtisalshah3
Photo: Twitter/PlanetCustodian
Jashak salt dome
Photo: Flickr/sipos.szandra
Categories
Architecture & Design Travel

Jatayu: The world’s largest bird sculpture

Jatayu Nature Park in Kerala, India, holds the largest bird sculpture on Earth.

Opened in 2018 as a tourist destination, the 70-foot tall giant sculpture pays tribute to the famed divine bird, Jatayu, from the Hindu epic Ramayan.

According to the mythology, Jatayu once fell and injured his left wing at the location in an attempt to save Sita from the clutches of evil Ravana.

Photo: The Ganesh Shivaswamy Foundation, Bengaluru

The stone cut statue now serves as a symbol for the protection of womankind. View more of the sculpture in the videos and images below.

Categories
Nature Travel

The beauty of Slovenia’s Bled Island

Bred Island is a small tear-shaped island floating in the middle of Lake Bled in northwestern Slovenia.

On the island sits Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary, a Baroque church established in 1534.

The mountains and forests surrounding the lake add to the picturesque view of the church. During the winter, the frost over the island looks like a scene from a Disney movie. Tourists enjoy hiking around the lake and rowing in its peaceful waters during the summer.

Bred island is the only natural island in Slovenia. It’s also the country’s most popular destination. Straight out of a fairy-tale, we can all see why.

Categories
Travel

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

There are two hands at the Cau Vang (Golden Bridge) on the top of Da Nang’s Ba Nang Hills in Vietnam, one to pick up the people, the other to hold the bridge together. 

Suspended nearly a mile high above sea level, the 500-foot long bridge was designed by TA Landscape Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City. Said one of its principal designer Vu Viet Anh, the Instagramable scene intends to look like “giant hands of Gods, pulling a strip of gold out of the land.”

In fact, the stone hands have been on top of the mountaintop for centuries and have aged beautifully over time.

The Golden Bridge is quite simply, the apotheosis of where nature and great architecture collide. See more about Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge in the video below. 

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge
Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

Images via Nguyen Huy Kham / Reuters

Categories
Nature Travel

The Rock: Urup Island, Russia

Here’s the last island you’d ever want to be stranded on. 

This uninhabited volcanic rock formation is part of a 552 square mile Russian island called Urup, which means ‘salmon trout’ in Ainu. 

Urup island sits south of the Kuril Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk in the northwest Pacific Ocean. 

One can imagine this upstanding volcanic plug off the coast of Urup appearing in a future James Bond film. 

Photo: Twitter/travelfoxcom
The Rock: Urup Island, Russia
Photo: Twitter/travelfoxcom
The Rock: Urup Island, Russia
Photo: Twitter/amitripstravel

According to the Neatline antique map collection website, Urup used to be known as “Company’s Land” as discovered by Maarten Vries of Dutch East India Company in 1643. Vries map (see below) is considered the westernmost region of America, a widely held view in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The Rock: Urup Island, Russia
Photo: Twitter/Neatlinemaps
Categories
Nature Technology Travel

The rise and tragic death of Sweden’s Broccoli Tree

“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” said Andy Warhol. That was certainly true for the “broccoli tree” in Sweden.

In March 2018, the once anonymous broccoli-shaped tree on the shoe of Sweden’s Lake Vättern disappeared due to the popularity of its Instagram account of over 30,000 fans.

The tree became a tourist attraction and a host for various photography exhibitions during the time photographer Patrik Svedberg started documenting the broccoli tree.

But according to a heartless individual, the tree overstayed its welcome. Some loveless person sawed off one of the tree’s limbs and the tree suffered a tragic death.

“To share something is to risk losing it,” narrator Seth Radley notes in the tribute video. “You can’t unsaw a tree, but you can’t unsee one either.”

The broccoli tree may be gone, but its fame still lives on through calendars, prints, its nostalgic Instagram feed, and a website dedicated to its name.

What a harsh world for something that seemed so untouchable.