站在近300米高空的玻璃上 Standing on glass 900+ feet in the air
Glass footbridge in Zhangjiajie, China
Just 13 days after the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge opened in 2016 in Hunan, China, it was forced to close. Not because it was faulty but because the attendance rates far exceeded capacity. Built to hold 800 people safely, daily attendance was expected to be around 8,000. When 80,000 showed up each day after it opened, authorities needed some time to reevaluate what exactly they had. Parking, ticketing, and customer service were boosted before the bridge reopened.
Designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan, it was always meant for tourists. Spanning 1,410 feet across the canyon between two mountain cliffs in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, more than 120 glass panels allow unparalleled views 980 feet straight down. Should you feel daring, you could swing underneath the bridge or take the plunge from the world's highest bungee jump. Management touts that the bridge set 10 world records for design and construction and, at the time, it was the longest bridge of its kind in the world. That honor has since passed to the bridge at the Huangchuan Three Gorges Scenic Area in China's Guangdong province, which spans 1,726 feet.
这座博物馆使大草原着火 This museum sets the prairie on fire
International Museum Day
To mark International Museum Day, we're featuring a destination that hasn't (yet!) achieved the fame of the Louvre or the Getty or the Met, although it's as unmistakable in appearance as any of them. This relatively small wonder proves that inspiration can be found in many places, including this suburb of Kansas City. At 42,000 square feet, the Museum at Prairiefire in Overland Park, Kansas, is about 1/50th the size of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, with which it has a partnership. But to those who find beauty and truth behind its walls, Prairiefire is no less enriching.
International Museum Day was created by the International Council of Museums in 1977 to create awareness that 'museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.' It's observed annually on or around May 18 by more than 37,000 museums in 158 countries and territories. Each year is assigned a different theme. This year's theme is 'The Power of Museums,' to innovate and build community.
The Museum at Prairiefire, which opened in May 2014, is devoted primarily to natural history. It borrows displays from larger museums and hosts at least two major traveling exhibits per year. Its striking glass exterior, featured here, was designed to reference the intentional prairie fires that were an integral part of farming life in Kansas. The glass is dichroic, which means that its color changes with the light of the day. The museum is itself a work of art.
巧夺天工的印加智慧 Incan ingenuity
Salt ponds of Maras, Peru
Peru's spectacularly beautiful Cuzco region has plenty of Incan wonders waiting to be rediscovered. Take, for example, these ancient salt ponds, stepping their way down the mountainside in Maras, nestled in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You'll find more than 6,000 of the little salt pans near Maras, many of them owned and mined by local families. Salt is still harvested from the ponds through evaporation, just as it was in the 1400s when the Inca created the pools. Production is—pun sort of intended—seasonal. From May to October output is greater and of higher quality, and you'll see crystallized salt with its subtle pink hue. Maras salt is prized for its flavor and rough texture, and people swear by its healthy properties, too. The salt is sold in markets, and of course visitors are encouraged to take samples back home with them.
It's not far from Maras to Moray, another location where Incan ingenuity is on display. This time it's in the form of grass-covered stone rings believed to have been test beds for crop experimentation. The soil is from a few areas in the region, and studies show that the rings were designed to create microclimates to see what worked best for different plants.
准备迎接血月 Get ready for the blood moon
If you're lucky enough to find yourself under a cloudless sky tonight, you'll be able to see one of our solar system's great wonders, a full lunar eclipse, also known as a 'blood moon.' The spooky nickname derives from the reddish hue the moon takes on when Earth casts its shadow upon it. Featured here is a blood moon over the Swiss Alps. A full lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth and moon align perfectly with the sun, and the moon falls directly behind Earth's shadow. When Earth falls behind the Moon's shadow, a solar eclipse occurs.
While total eclipses of the sun get more attention and make a more dramatic entrance, total lunar eclipses are majestic in their own right and are much more user-friendly. For one, you can look directly at a total lunar eclipse without any worry of harming your eyes. And they're viewable by far more people than solar eclipses. That's because a total lunar eclipse can last for hours, while solar eclipses last just a few minutes. In addition, lunar eclipses are viewable anywhere on the nighttime side of the world while total solar eclipses occur only within a narrow longitude on the planet.
Tonight's lunar eclipse coincides with the Flower Moon, the full moon of every May. It can be seen from Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia, but is best viewed from North and South America. While not exactly rare, total lunar eclipses don't occur too often, and even when they do, they can be hidden by cloud cover. If you miss tonight's blood moon, you'll get a second chance this year in November. Your next chance after that will be in three years, so you might want to plan to stay up late tonight.
可靠的移水器 Trusty water-shifters
Windmills in Kinderdijk, the Netherlands
This stretch of windmills is one of the best-known Dutch tourist sites—you probably recognize them from postcards and calendars. Both iconic and historic, the windmills in the village of Kinderdijk have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The Netherlands has about 1,200 windmills, though only 300 or so are still operational. Over the years they've played a major role in pumping sea water away from the nation's reclaimed land. Keeping the water at bay is a perennial issue for the flat 'low countries,' where much of the ground is below sea level.
The second Saturday in May—today!—is National Windmill Day in the Netherlands, when windmills all over the country open their doors to visitors, letting locals and tourists alike marvel over the simple yet highly effective inner workings. And of course, though wind is a force of nature that's been harnessed for centuries, it's having a resurgence, albeit in a more high-tech form. It's a leading producer of 'green' energy and is expected to grow dramatically in the coming years. So, on National Windmill Day, let's tip our hats to these sturdy ancestors while also cheering the pioneering work of the sleek, graceful new generation.
独自在草原上 Solo on the savannah
A giraffe in Maasai Mara, Kenya
Our lonely giant is silhouetted on the Maasai Mara, or just 'The Mara' to locals. It's a large national game reserve in Kenya, and one of the world's most important wildlife conservation areas. The preserve was established in 1961 and is contiguous with the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania—together, the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, protects some 9,700 square miles. In addition to our friend the giraffe, the Maasai Mara is home to large populations of elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, wildebeest, hippos, crocodiles, zebras, and many more creatures.
While some zoologists consider the Masai giraffe its own species, most authorities recognize just one species of giraffe with nine subspecies. Masai giraffes like this one are the tallest of those, with males reaching heights of more than 18 feet. They range from southern Kenya, south through the Serengeti, and through all of Tanzania. Though not considered endangered by the Union for Conservation of Nature, all giraffes are a 'vulnerable' species, and some of the subspecies may be nearly extinct.
Until the late 19th century, giraffes were commonly known as cameleopards, due to the mistaken belief that a giraffe was a cross between a camel and leopard. But if you've ever tried to get a camel and a leopard to even go on a first date, you'd know how unlikely this is.
米诺斯人的古老家园 The ancient home of the Minoans
Officially known as Thira, Santorini is perhaps the most famous of all the Greek Islands. Located at the southern end of the Aegean Sea, Santorini is part of the Cyclades group of islands and receives about 2 million visitors a year. That's a lot of adoring attention for a small island (only 28 square miles) of 15,000 residents, and it's no wonder why. The whitewashed, clifftop villages of Santorini, like Oia featured in this image, are postcard perfect. And so are the unlimited panoramic views of the azure Mediterranean Sea.
Its tranquil beauty belies the cataclysmic eruption that formed the island as we know it today. The Minoan eruption, about 3,600 years ago, was one of the world's largest known volcanic eruptions. It destroyed what was a thriving Minoan city and created a giant caldera that sank below the sea, leaving behind the picturesque lagoon seen here. Volcanic activity has continued since then. At the center of the lagoon is the uninhabited volcanic island of Nea Kameni, which emerged from the sea in 19 CE, according to Pliny the Elder. It's had several major eruptions over the past 300 years.
With millennia of experience, people have learned to live with the volcanic activity of these islands. Tourism is now the main activity on Santorini, along with a small winemaking industry. Throw in abundant sunshine, constant sea breezes, and meandering steps through storybook villages and you'll never run out of reasons to visit.
拥有6000年历史的大森林 A large forest with 6,000 of years of history
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Today we're paying a visit to an 'elder statesman' of the United States' national forests. Seen in today's photo is Panther Creek Falls at Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. Officially, the forest was named in 1949 in honor of Pinchot, the first head of the US Forest Service. Located between Mount St. Helens to the west and Mount Adams to the east, the land was set aside as a place worth preserving as far back as 1897. But people had been living in the forest for more than 6,000 years. Archaeologists continue to make discoveries within the dense forest that teach us about the past lives of Native Americans.
Spanning 1.3 million acres, GPNF exhibits an array of natural wonders: forests, wildlife, mountains, and numerous rivers and lakes that offer excellent fishing. Goose Lake is said to be the best fishing hole in the state. The forest is known as a native habitat for several threatened species, like the spotted owl, bull trout, and chinook salmon. One of the largest known Ponderosa pines in the world rose 202 feet at the base of Mount Adams before its death in 2015. The grounds also include the 110,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, established in 1982.