Cows up-side down. Camera tricks reveal what the human eye cannot see.

TED Talk. In Slow-mo or Time Lapse: Awesome Wonders of Nature

4.03.2019

A Treasure Trove for Science

Surely you have seen dragonflies hover. But did you know that they were also capable of flying backwards? Or even up-side down like a vintage double-decker during a daring air show? And that they could activate each one of their four wings separately – working at varying speed and propelling in different directions, all at the same time? Today it is possible to shoot images that are thousands of times faster than our own vision. Or slower. We can see how nature’s devices work – and imitate them. Helicopters or mechanical drones pretty much simulate the congenial dragonfly’s techniques. We live in a world of invisible beauty, too subtle to be perceptible to the human eye. Louie Schwartzberg shows breathtaking images during his fascinating TED talk.

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Workers burning harmful waste at the Agobogbloshie dump in Ghana.

Electronic Waste: Intoxicating Agbogbloshie

2.03.2019

At breathtaking speed, our world is being inundated with ever more sophisticated electronic equipment. Used devices hardly a year or two old, are replaced with increasing frequency, to be cashed in or be thoughtlessly dumped for the next much fancier gadget. Most “outdated” models are added to a recycling bubble already stressed at the seams. Considering that resources are scarce and thus valuable, this sort of rotation system is still unrivaled. Yet, have you ever wondered how – and above all – where, your discarded cell phone, laptop or PC may have ended up eventually? It is estimated that more than half of the electronic waste from, e.g., the United States, is shipped to countries fairly ignorant of environmental issues - and there it is successfully buried in oblivion. Like for instance in China, India or Ghana in West Africa. A young company in Boston, Mass., sets an example of how fruitful sensible recycling can be.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
Terje Isungset playing the ice tuba during the Ice Music Festival in Geilo/Norway.

Norway: The Ice Music Festival

22.01.2019

A cool tribute to art and nature

The Ice Music Festival is a unique artistic and musical project arranged annually when the first full moon of the year occurs. It is an ovation to nature and to a resource treasured by mankind like no other: water. In its frozen state it is appreciated for a variety of purposes, from cooling drinks to posing as a temporary playground for more or less talented skaters. Here in Norway, it is even shaped by congenial creators into softly crackling, translucent musical instruments. Extravagant players elicit wondrous sounds in undependable, ever-changing acoustic colours coming from a harp, a cello, a tuba … some with clammy fingers wrapped in thick gloves protecting against the severe chill prevailing here. The festival site has recently been relocated from Geilo to Finse; the actual venue is located close to the Finse 1222 Hotel and the train station. Helpful to know that Finse is accessible solely by train during the winter months.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Dancing Tango in the street

Buenos Aires: An ageless Latin Seductress

15.01.2019

The most enchanting characteristics of Argentina’s capital may not be entirely genetic in terms of having grown from an indigenous seed – as accounts perhaps for other metropolises. Buenos Aires’s obvious charm is much rather the result of the Old World wanting to settle in the new one without abandoning their familiar ways and traditions. Immigrants arriving to the country during the nineteenth century created a fascinating mix of distinct ‘European’ style neighbourhoods by lending their foreign identities to acquired territory: Madrid is now in Avenida de Mayo, Paris in Recoleta and Alvear Avenue or Naples in La Boca. Downtown Buenos Aires exudes the atmosphere of grand colonial times to this date. Spanish, Italian and French cultures made sure to also leave their legacy in sectors such as education, art, architecture and gastronomy.

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Reading time: about 6 minutes
The Wild Haggis: Fact or fiction?

Scotland: Is the Wild Haggis fact or fiction?

3.01.2019

Bringing down the rare Haggis scotticus – the Wild Haggis – to secure the next traditional Haggis meal – requires utmost agility and perseverance by human persecutors equipped with equally-measured lower extremities. One must know that Wild Haggii vary in characteristics and that it is two different genera who roam steep and rough highlandish terrain. In both cases the legs on their left are different in length from the ones on their right – and vice versa. Either way, their unusual physique allows them to swiftly climb and scuttle around their regular habitat unperturbed by topographical challenges, albeit in one single direction only: Wild Haggii featuring longer legs on the left, move around clockwise, whereas the ones relying on extended limbs on their right, will logically proceed counter-clockwise. A refined GPS system usually prevents painful head-on collisions and all Haggii, limbed in whichever fashion, are said to lead a fairly peaceful coexistence.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes