Thursday, 25 September 2003
Pix Of The Day: Vast Biomes Made Of Bubble Wrap
CREDITS: © Martyn Button/CalvertonCAM
MAPS: Calverton, Nottinghamshire and St. Austell & Fowey, Cornwall.
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.
Another misleading headline created from our sense of wonder at the world about us. These are 'biomes', which is not a word coined to mean 'biological domes' as we guessed, but is a word with a proper definition as a scientific discipline: 'the world's major communities, classified according to the predominant vegetation and characterized by adaptations of organisms to that particular environment'; and they are certainly not made of bubble wrap.
These structures are big enough to contain the Tower of London, and are engineered buildings of advanced design and materials. The source for the picture was Martin Button's CalvertonCAM, from the northern English county of Nottinghamshire. Like so many of the CAM site owners recently, Martin was on vacation for this feature; his destination for the day was the Eden Project, near St. Austell in Cornwall, in the far southwest of England. Visit Martin's web site to see the giant bee that dwarfs the visiting children! There are other shots inside the biomes, and a site panorama.
Also available is a page of images recorded in nearby Fowey, and a pulldown menu that links to Martin's galleries on the Pbase service. We chose a picture of our faraway homeland, the Langdale Pikes taken from Hawk Rig.
On This Day In 2002: Men of Action - Wed, 25 Sep 2002
This picture, courtesy of Philip Greenspun, was shot during a 1999 re-enactment of Major John Wesley Powell's epic exploration of the great river that drains the arid Southwest United States. A superb higher resolution version of the picture is also available if you have a big monitor, showing the boat shooting the Lava Rapids in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. Philip is a modern day adventurer in the Powell manner: his Travels With Samantha is an Internet classic (winner of a Best of the Web '94 award), the story of an extended journey through America with a laptop computer, seeing places and meeting people. The web site eventually became a lavish book that arouses in me the sin of covetousness. You may check out the progress of Philip's current adventure, which is piloting a small airplane on a route from Boston to Alaska and back again… the long way.
The Grand Canyon expeditions, there were two of them in 1869 and 1871, established Powell's reputation. He was the first man to navigate the vast river system, and the first man to sail through the Grand Canyon: an earlier claimant, if in fact he managed to succeed, did so by floating down the river to escape capture. There are several excellent web resources available if you want to read summaries of Powell's life and achievements. Check out the John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum in Page, Arizona at the foot of the reservoir that was created when the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado was built, and named Lake Powell in his honor.
The Smithsonian has a page with other details, a picture of Powell's life preserver worn on the first expedition, and details about Powell's later fight to establish the now world famous USGS (United States Geological Survey). Canyon-Country.com has another biographical summary, with details of Page, Lake Powell, and the surrounding area. GrandHikes has the story of the passage through the Grand Canyon illustrated with some of the sketches from Powell's own account of the journey. The John Wesley Powell River History Museum, in Green River, Utah, has an excellent reputation, so may be worth a visit if you are in the area.
There is such an abundance of information about Powell on the web that I found it difficult to marshall it all into a readable account. One web site stands out as a way to get a sense of how the explorer went into the last uncharted territories of the new country that had become the United States: Bob Robokas' Grand Canyon Explorer details the journey in way that is succinct yet brings the story vividly to life. This is a very rich site, worthy of extended exploration, much as Powell himself would have done. For regular readers of this weblog the photo gallery is of special interest.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)