Posts Tagged ‘National Geographic’

Cloud Image wins National Geographic competition

August 26, 2014

See also the clouds at this post.

The Independence day by Marko Korošec 2014 NG Traveler winner

The Independence day by Marko Korošec 2014 NG Traveler winner

First Place Winner: The Independence Day

Photo and caption by Marko Korošec

While on storm chasing expeditions in Tornado Alley in the U.S. I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching a storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on May 28, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but it stayed an LP [low precipitation] storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail, and some rain.

National Geographic Traveler Director of Photography Dan Westergren, one of this year’s judges, shares his thoughts on the first-place winner:

“This winning photo of a supercell over the plains of eastern Colorado stopped the judges in our tracks. When we first saw the picture we guessed that the photographer probably had dedicated quite a bit of time chasing storms to capture such an amazing sight. But what makes the picture particularly strong is that except for the cloud, the rest of the scene is quite ordinary. The crazy UFO-looking shape gives the impression that it’s going to suck up the landscape like a tablecloth into a vacuum cleaner. The unresolved tension in the image makes me want to look at it over and over.”

Location: Julesburg, Colorado, USA
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Turney’s tourists: the heroes who weren’t

January 9, 2014

Turney’s tourists on his Ship of Fools are severely taken to task by David Roberts in the National Geographic. They see themselves as heroes. But they were just a bunch of spoilt dilettantes who were out on a frivolous lark of no scientific significance. Douglas Mawson will be spinning in his grave.

The members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 (AAE)—who intended to re-create a very small part of Sir Douglas Mawson‘s original monumental expedition of 1911-14—seemed strangely blasé—even giddily upbeat—during their ten days stranded in the ice. 

They recorded a New Year’s Eve sing-along for YouTube and chatted about yoga classes and knot-tying lessons to while away the time.

On their Spirit of Mawson expedition blog, one passenger signed off on December 28: “It’s Saturday and it’s bar-time (bar opens at 6 pm), so I am going to leave it here.”

They even seemed to relish their crisis. The BBC quoted Tracy Rogers, the team’s marine ecologist, as saying, “It’s fantastic—I love it when the ice wins and we don’t. It reminds you that as humans, we don’t control everything … We’ve got several penguins watching us, thinking ‘What the hell are you doing stuck in our ice?’ The sky is a beautiful grey—it looks like it wants to have a bit of a snow. It’s the perfect Christmas, really.”

For many seasoned adventurers, the team’s attitude was hard to swallow. It seemed to betoken a new kind of entitlement, in which folks who get into serious trouble take it for granted that other people will risk their lives to save them. ….

Perversely, for the general public, the hapless passengers seemed to emerge as the heroes of the story, even though they did nothing but twiddle their thumbs and wait for the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long to come to their rescue, which ended by trapping the much bigger vessel in the ice. The U.S. sent another icebreaker, the U.S. Polar Star, to rescueXue Long and Shokalskiy, but that mission was recently called off when the ships were able to break free from the ice. …..

…… The whole expedition, these experts implied, amounted to a “frivolous” lark that added almost nothing to our knowledge of the southern continent. …

The real heroes of the story were the 101 members of the Xue Long, the 22 crew members of the Shokalskiy who stayed with their ship, the crew of the Polar Star, and that of the Australian ship Aurora Australis that powered south to receive the airlifted refugees.

“It seems unlikely that the dilettantes who signed up for AAE 2013-14 would soon fork over the funds to pay for their perilous and expensive rescue. They’re still too busy congratulating themselves.

The Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long got free of the ice 5 days after Turney’s tourists abandoned ship. Why the tourists needed to be rescued is still a mystery. Presumably the booze had run out.

Mammoth tusks are — mammoth!

March 26, 2013

Woolly mammoths are thought to have finally become extinct about 4,000 years ago but their bones are being recovered in increasing numbers from under the Siberian permafrost.

They have been recovered for thousands of years whenever they have been found. But now with the use of aerial surveys and with the high demand for ivory, mammoth ivory is beginning to be recovered in large quantities and used instead of illegal ivory. It is promoted as “ethical” ivory and the prices are high enough for Russian entrepreneurs to expand their digging.

National Geographic carries a story about a modern-day Siberian mammoth hunter.

The shaggy giants that roamed northern Siberia during the late Pleistocene epoch died off about 10,000 years ago, though isolated populations lingered on islands to the north and east, the last dying out some 3,700 years ago. The mammoths’ tusks, which could spiral to more than 13 feet, are reemerging from the permafrost—and fueling a trade that benefits the people of Arctic Siberia, including the native Yakuts, an Asiatic ethnic group that speaks a language of Turkic origin. …..

…. The specimen that emerges is as thick as a tree trunk—150 pounds—and in near-pristine condition. Before hauling the tusk away, Gorokhov tosses a silver earring into the hole he has dug, as an offering to the local spirits. If he gets the ancient relic safely home, it could fetch more than $60,000.

Stunning photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva in National Geographic of mammoth tusks recovered in Arctic Siberia.

Photograph by Evgenia Arbugaeva (via National Geographic)

Photograph by Evgenia Arbugaeva (via National Geographic)

http://www.evgeniaarbugaeva.com/

It is not always easy to imagine quite how big the mammoths were and what would have been involved in hunting them 4,000 years ago. That humans did actually manage to successfully hunt these massive beasts cannot be put down to their stature or their weapons or their prowess with spears and can only have been a result of co-operation and strategy.

mammoth hunting

Size comparison animalpicturesarchive.com


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