Even to the huge bummer that is glacial melting, there are bright sides: The radiant colors of Vinicunca (aka Rainbow Mountain) might have gone unseen had rising temps not melted the peak's glacial caps. Rainbow Mountain's streaky sediment layers, multicolored like a wildflower bloom, were revealed in 2015. Since then, it's become the most visited natural attraction in Peru's lofty Cusco region.
What do you get when you cross historic feats of engineering with unmatched natural beauty? This photo of a suspension bridge in a rainforest. Or more specifically: Panama, where the photo was taken.
Panama celebrates its Independence Day today—although on this strategic, ocean-straddling strip of land, independence is complicated. When Panama broke loose from Spain on this day in 1821, it became part of Colombia until, backed by the US, it seceded in November 1903 just before the Panama Canal was built. (The Centennial Bridge over the canal, shown here, was finished in 2003 to commemorate 100 years since that event.) The US spearheaded building the international waterway, and controlled it until December 31, 1999, when Panamanians finally assumed full command of the canal, one of Panama's chief sources of revenue.
If this image of New York City's Pennsylvania Station seems straight out of a classic film noir, it's for good reason. The photo was taken in the 1950s, just a few years before the city's beloved Beaux-Arts style masterpiece was dismantled and then demolished so that Madison Square Garden could be built atop its warren of walkways and train lines.
This original Pennsylvania Station opened to the public on November 27, 1910. It was built by its namesake, the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, to compete with Grand Central Station. For 50-plus years, commuters and visitors streamed in and out of the grand and imposing Penn Station to take trains to and from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and beyond. When the building was decapitated in 1963 with only its underground network of tunnels and walkways left in place, the demolition sparked city-wide and even international outrage. 'One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat,' wrote architectural historian Vincent Scully. There was a silver lining to the cloud of demolition dust: A collective sense of loss galvanized the movement to preserve historically significant buildings in the US.
Today, we celebrate the anniversary of Penn Station with more good news. On January 1, 2021, the first train left Penn Station from the new Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall. It's a $1.6B architectural masterpiece of its own, built from the adjacent US Post Office building and taking design cues from the original Penn Station building, pictured here. We'll toast to that!
今天，我们用更多的好消息来庆祝宾州电台的周年纪念。2021年1月1日，第一列火车从新的Daniel Patrick Moynihan火车站开出。这是一座耗资16亿美元的建筑杰作，取材于毗邻的美国邮政大楼，并借鉴了原宾夕法尼亚州车站大楼的设计灵感，如图所示。我们要为此干杯！
Each year as the dry season begins in late November, the green grass that covers the rolling, conical mounds in the Bohol province of the Philippines begins to turn brown, transforming the area into endless rows of what look like hills of chocolate. Because of this, the Chocolate Hills have become a robust tourist-attraction for the province. The regional government has even constructed a viewing complex in Carmen, a town about 30 miles from the regional capital of Tagbilaran.
While local legend describes the formation of the 20-square miles of hills as either being leftover wreckage from a battle between two giants, or the tears of a heartbroken giant, scientists theorize they were formed over a long stretch of time through a combination of erosion and tectonic processes.
菊石亚纲壳体的横截面 Cross-section of a fossilized ammonite shell (© Marianna Armata/Getty Images)
It's a bit of a fib that Fibonacci, the 13th-century Italian math whiz, was the first to sketch out a number sequence by adding each number to the preceding number: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on forever. In fact, Hindu scholars described the sequence centuries before Fibonacci, and they probably weren't the first to figure it out either. But in any case, each November 23—that is, 11/23—we celebrate the infinite series known as the Fibonacci sequence.
What is clear—maybe, if you can picture it: If you properly arrange squares of the areas 1x1, 1x1, 2x2, 3x3, 5x5, 8x8, etc., on graphing paper, a curved line drawn through each square will form a perfect expanding spiral not unlike the ammonite fossil cross-sectioned here. Not every spiral in nature expresses a perfect Fibonacci sequence, but nature does seem to have a thing for spirals. And in that sense the Fibonacci sequence seems especially elegant.
If you've ever wanted to learn written Japanese, a joy ride on this undulating uphill road offers an unexpected tutorial. These hairpin turns in our photo are just eight of the 48 curves you'll negotiate on your way up and down Irohazaka road, a scenic loop in the highlands outside the city of Nikkō. That's one switchback for each of the 48 hiragana symbols in an ancient Japanese writing system, with each marked by a sign showing one symbol. Not a bad visual aid for the still-learning visitor!
The Great Glen
Was this photo taken in a peppermint forest? This rare and delicate hoarfrost may look like a confectioner's coating, but it's just the ice that forms when the Scottish Highlands' fog mixes perfectly with a sharp cold snap.
We're in a storied section of Scotland—sort of a lowland of the Highlands—called the Great Glen. This deep valley runs 62 miles coast to coast—from a North Sea inlet on the east to Loch Linnhe on the west. The Great Glen's gentle slopes enclose fairytale forests like these as well as quaint villages and lochs—including nearby Invergarry and Loch Oich, respectively.
World Children's Day
For World Children's Day, we're featuring an aerial view of a larger-than-life painting next to the summit of the Moléson in the Swiss Prealps. The 16,000-square-foot fresco is titled 'Un Nouveau Souffle' (A New Breath) and depicts a child blowing clouds toward the horizon. It was created by French-Swiss artist Saype—real name Guillaume Legros—who is known for his grassy graffiti around the world. The eco-friendly artist uses biodegradable paints made from natural pigments such as coal and chalk, so by the time you read this, his land art will have already disappeared into the soil.
Saype's mountaintop mural aims to inspire childlike wonder, which is an apt message for World Children's Day. Though there are numerous Children's Day celebrations around the globe, and on varying dates, the United Nations created World Children's Day—observed every November 20—to celebrate kids worldwide and to promote their welfare.
Perhaps you can recall picking out shapes and pictures in the clouds as they drifted by when you were young. Why not turn that fuzzy feeling into action and find out how you can help build a better future for children. Just like watching clouds, all you need is a little imagination.