Sep 25, 2012

World's Most Gorgeous and Beautiful Castle Moats

1. Bodiam Castle - East Sussex England 

Photograph by Unknown

Bodiam Castle is a magnificent 14th century stone quadrangular fortress, founded by Sir Edward Dalingridge. The ashlar curtain wall, with its substantial towers, stands perfectly symmetrical in the middle of its wide moat and is the picture book example of a castle. At the four corners are four-storeyed cylindrical towers, with square interval towers on the east and west walls. On the south wall is a square postern tower, while the north front has a formidable twin-rectilinar towered gatehouse, with gunports. The original bridge across the moat, was at right angles to the octagonal outwork, which had a drawbridge connecting it to the barbican. The ranges of buildings around the central courtyard, are little more than foundations, after the castle was partly dismantled during the Civil War

2. Matsumoto Castle, Japan

 Photograph by MIRAI

Matsumoto, situated almost right in the center of Nagano and known as the gate to the Northern Alps' climbing routes, prospered as a castle town at the foot of Matsumoto Castle. The castle's tower, a 5-story, 6-layer tower built in the Bunroku Period (1593-1594) is Japan's oldest existing castle tower and is designated as a national treasure. In summer, the Taiko (Japanese drum) Festival and the Takigi-Noh (Noh play under torchlight) are held at the castle and attract many visitors

3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Photograph by CHARLES J SHARP

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is the world's largest complex of Hindu temple. Built in the 12th century, this temple is epitome of Khmer architecture. Dedicated to lord Vishnu, this temple created by King Suryavarman II, has a design derived from the Chola architecture of Tamil Nadu in India. The exteriors of the temple have a intricate relief design and the interior walls have detailed carving of Apsaras, male demi-gods, and scenes and narratives from Hindu mythology. Angkor Wat is one of the most visited tourist destinations of Cambodia and the entire complex is listed in the UNESCO's world heritage site list.

4. Burg Gudneau, Germany

Photograph by RHEINPFEIL

Gudenau castle is located in the town of Villip in Wachtberg, Germany. It is the largest castle in Wachtberg. It was first built in the 13th century and was expanded around 1560.  Its remarkable garden was created under an Italian influence in the 17th century. The elements of many different periods come together to become a charming castle.

5.Caerphilly Castle,United Kingdom

Photographer Unknown

Caerphilly castle is one of the largest castles in the UK.  It was built from 1268-1271 by the Anglo-Norman lord, Gilbert de Clare. This mighty fortress was erected to defend his areas under threat against Llywelyn the Last, Prince of Wales. Several factors give it this pre-eminence - its immense size (1.2h), making it the largest in Britain after Windsor, its large-scale use of water for defence and the fact that it is the first truly concentric castle in Britain. Of the time of its building in the late 13th century, it was a revolutionary masterpiece of military planning

6.Forbidden City – Beijing, China

 Photograph by SHARON BEALS

The Forbidden City, located in the center of China's capital, Beijing, displays an extraordinarily harmonious balance between buildings and open space within a more or less symmetrical layout

7.Beloeil Castle, Belgium

 Photograph by HENRI @ Webshots

The word “Beloeil” literally means Beautiful eye.  Founded in the 13th century as a medieval fortress, it is one of the biggest and most beautiful castles in Belgium.  It later became a residential palace in the 17th and 18th century.  Since 1394, the castle has belonged to the Princes of Ligne, one of Belgium’s highest ranking noble families.  Every year for one week in the spring the castle holds a floral show. Various rooms in the castle filled with around 2000 amaryllis and 600 orchids are open to the public.

8.Egeskov Castle, Denmark

  Photograph by Flemming Christiansen

Egeskov Castle was an island fortress, built over 600 years ago in the Southern Funen region of Denmark. It is one of the best preserved examples of a moated castle. Surrounded by award winning gardens, many of which were first planted nearly 300 years ago, you will be awed by the series of hedges, mazes, lawns, shrubs, trees, and other flora.

9.Vadstena Castle, Sweden

Photograph by RIGGWELTER

Vadstena Castle was built by King Gustav Vasa in 1545 and was originally intended to shield Stockholm from possible attacks by the Danes and the Smålanders. However, the plans changed, and the castle was turned into a Renaissance palace for Duke Magnus, the King’s son. It was not fully completed until 1620.

10.Bodiam Castle – East Sussex, England

Photograph by PHIL LAYCOCK

Bodiam Castle is arguably the finest example of medieval moated military architecture in Britain. It was built between 1385 and 1388 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a veteran of the 100 Years War.

11.Chateau de Chambord, France

Photograph by Church of Emacs

At the heart of Europe’s largest enclosed wooded park (around 19 mi² enclosed by a 20 mile-long wall), Chambord, the dream of a young king and a marvel of the Renaissance period, is the largest château in the Loire Valley. It boasts a pleasure garden and a hunting park both listed as Historical Monuments. In 1516, François I, king of France since 1515, came back from Italy with Leonardo da Vinci with a desire to create a large structure in the Italian Renaissance style.

12. Château de Chenonceau, France

Photograph by RA SMIT

Château de Chambord is a special place. As the largest château in the Loire Valley, and most likely designed by Leonardo da Vinci, Château de Chambord was once the pinnacle of the French Renaissance.

13. Muiderslot Castle, Netherlands

Photograph by P BRUNDEL

 Muiden Castle is probably the castle that receives the most visitors in all of the Netherlands. This is not only because it's a popular destination for a lot of school trips, due to its importance in Dutch history, but also because of its proximity to Amsterdam which attracts most foreign tourists. The first castle on this site was built around 1280 by Count Floris V of Holland, to control the estuary of the river Vecht into the former Zuidersea. And undoubtedly it would also have been used to raise toll from passing ships on the river Vecht, as this river flowed through the territory of the bishops of Utrecht; opponents of Floris.

14. Oerebro Castle, Sweden

Photograph by MR BULLITT

The construction of Vadstena Castle was started in 1545 by the King of Sweden, Gustavus Vasa. However, it was not completed until 1620. It was built to protect Stockholm from enemies from the south.  This castle is one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture with its three 31 meter wide ramparts, a courtyard, a moat and 4 circular cannons turrets.

15. Leeds Castle, England

Photograph via

Leeds was named after Led, the Chief Minister of King Etelbert IV, of Kent. Originally the site of a manor house owned by the Saxon Kings it was built in 857 AD. The original castle was an earthwork enclosure with a timber palisade and two timber towers along the perimeter. It is mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086. King Edward the Confessor granted the Manor to the powerful house of Godwin. Over the next several hundred years the castle was the center of sieges and fighting resulting in many changes of ownership.

16. Bodelschwingh Castle – Dortmund, Germany

Photograph by SHARON BEALS

History Link 

17. Frederiksborg Palace, Denmark

Photographer Unknown

18. Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (National Assembly Building), Bangladesh

 Photograph via Skyscraper City

19.Fagaras Castle, Romania

Photographer Unknown

20. Home of Charles Sieger – Miami, Florida

Photograph by FLORIDAPHOTO

Sep 23, 2012

10 Most Extreme Places on Earth

1. Highest Point Accessible by Vehicle
photo source
In Tibet, the stark Semo La road is over 20,000 feet (6.100 m) high and takes you through hauntingly beautiful vistas and a treacherous mountain pass. Word has it thatMarsimik La is the highest road on earth; but it all comes down to what one might consider an accessible road. Semo La can be used by vehicles. Authorities believe there may be other, higher roads, even more remote, but so far they have not been documented.

2. The Northernmost Forest 
photo source
Lukunsky grove is the northernmost forest extension in the world. Ary-Mas to the west from Lukunsky grove is the northernmost isolated forest island, though located approximately 6 kilometres more to the south. The only tree-form species of Lukunsky grove is Dahurian larch, but in total there are 268 species of plants78 species of birds, and 16 species of mammals. The species composition shows that Lukunsky grove is rather a part of taiga and not tundra. Separate Dahurian larch trees grow up to 5 - 7 metres tall. The Lukunsky grove forms a northern part of wider forest massif extending for hundreds of kilometres to the south.

3. Deepest Ice on Earth
photo source
The Bentley Subglacial Trench in Antarctica is phenomenally thick ice, going 8,383 feet (2.555 m) deep. It’s the lowest point on earth that isn’t covered by ocean (-2,555 meters (-8,383 ft)) , but the honor still goes to the Dead Sea for lowest point, as the Dead Sea is technically “on” land and the Bentley Trench is technically covered with water (ice). The trench is the same size as Mexico.

4. Greatest Vertical Drop
photo source
Mount Thor, in Auyuittuq National Park on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, presents a 4,100 ft (1.250 m) pure vertical drop. Mt. Thor is Canada’s most famous peak, and it’s made ofpure granite. It’s a favorite of thrill seekers and climbers. There have been a few recent rappel expeditions, with one fatality in 2006.

5. Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility
pole of inaccessibility marks a location that is the most challenging to reach owing to its remoteness from geographical features that could provide access. The term describes a geographic construct, not an actual physical phenomenon, and is of interest mostly to explorers. The oceanic pole of inaccessibility (48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W) is the place in the ocean that is farthest from land. It lies in the South Pacific Ocean2,688 kilometres (1,670 mi) from the nearest landsDucie Island (part of the Pitcairn Islands) in the north,Motu Nui (part of the Easter Islands) in the northeast, and Maher Island (near the larger Siple Island, off the coast of Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica) in the south. Chatham Island lies farther west, and Southern Chile in the east. This location is also referred to as "Point Nemo", a reference to Jules Verne's Captain Nemo. 

6. Officially Highest Permanent Settlement
photo source
La Rinconada is a city in the Peruvian Andes located near a gold mine. It is considered to be the highest city in the world. The city is located in the Ananea District, San Antonio de Putina Province. It lies at a height of 5,100m (16,732.28 feet) above sea level. Near La Rinconada there is the Laguna La Rinconada. The population has grown from the year 2001 to 2009 by 235% to 30,000 inhabitants. But, unofficially, highest permanent settlement isKungi village in India (5.219 meters or 17.122 ft).

7. The Windiest Place on Earth
Commonwealth Bay is officially listed in the Guinness Book of World Records and the Eighth Edition of the National Geographic Atlas as being the windiest place on Earth – and to make matters even worse, it’s located in Antarctica. Forget about the occasional gust, the winds at Commonwealth Bay are strong, steady, and blow at 150 mph (240 km/h) – or more.
photo source
Australian antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson established the main base of the 1912 Australasian Antarctic Expedition expedition at Cape Denison, at the mouth of Commonwealth Bay. Presumably he did this on a rare windless day; otherwise he must have been insane.

8. The Flattest Place on Earth
photo source
Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni was formed from several prehistoric lakes that converged and dried, leaving a salt pan several feet thick or more over a 4,086 sq mi (10,582 sq km)expanse. Think of Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats multiplied by 25 and you’ll get an idea of how large the Salar de Uyuni is. Certain rare elements are concentrated in the various salts that make up the Salar, especially the strategic metal Lithium – up to 70 percent of the world’s lithium reserves are locked in the Salar’s salts!
photo source
Normally dry and virtually lifeless, the Salar de Uyuni comes alive each November when summer rains attract flocks of pink flamingos, who feed on red algae and brine shrimp. At these times, the Salar becomes even flatter – in effect, it becomes a virtual mirror orbiting satellites use to calibrate their distance measurements.

9. Highest Navigable Lake
photo source
Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It sits 3,811 m (12,500 ft) above sea level, making it the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. By volume of water, it is also the largest lake in South America (Lake Maracaibo has a larger surface area, but it is often disregarded as it is directly connected to the sea).  
Uros Islands - Titicaca Lake  photo source
Titicaca is notable for a population of people who live on the Uros, a group of 44 or so artificial islands made of floating reeds (totora, a reed that abounds in the shallows of the lake). These islands have become a major tourist attraction for Peru, drawing excursions from the lakeside city of Puno. Their original purpose was defensive, and they could be moved if a threat arose. Many of the islands contain watchtowers largely constructed of reeds.

10. Hottest Place to Live
photo source
At a thermal vent 3 km below the surface in the equatorial Atlantic, Census researchers found shrimp on the edge of fluids billowing from Earth’s core at this unprecedented marine recording. This is a temperature that would melt lead easily. Although the species resemble those around other vents, scientists want to study how, surrounded by near-freezing 2ºC water, their chemistry allows them to withstand heat bursts that approach the boiling point – up to 80ºC. Pre-cooked for your convenience!

Sep 22, 2012

Artist Creates Miniature Motorcycles Using Vintage Watch Parts

Canadian artist, Dan Tanenbaum is an avid watch collector, who has the knack for turning his vintage timepieces into amazing miniature motorcycle sculptures. 

He uses gears, dials and other parts of the watch in the construction of his sculptures—that are all based on existing bike designs. 

To view his entire collection of miniature motorcycles, please visit his Facebook page, Watch parts motorcycles

Sep 8, 2012

Amaging Transparent Animals

Transparent Frog
Native to Venezuela, the Glass Frogs belong to the amphibian family Centrolenidae (order Anura). While the general background coloration of most glass frogs is primarily lime green, the abdominal skin of some members of this family is transparent, so that the heart, liver, and digestive tract are visible through their translucent skin. (Photo by Heidi and Hans-Jurgen Koch)

Transparent Head Fish

This bizarre deep-water fish called the Barreleye (Macropinna microstoma) has a transparent head and tubular eyes. It has extremely light-sensitive eyes that can rotate within his transparent, fluid-filled shield on its head, while the fish's tubular eyes, well inside the head, are capped by bright green lenses. The eyes point upward (as shown here) when the fish is looking for food overhead. They point forward when the fish is feeding. The two spots above the fish's mouth are not eyes: those are olfactory organs called nares, which are analogous to human nostrils. (Photo by MBARI)

Transparent Butterfly
Found in Central America, from Mexico to Panama, the Glasswing Butterfly (Greta Oto) is a brush-footed butterfly where its wings are transparent. The tissue between the veins of its wings looks like glass. (Photo by Hemmy)

Transparent Squid
Found on the southern hemisphere's oceans, the Glass Squid (Teuthowenia pellucida) has light organs on its eyes and possesses the ability to roll into a ball, like an aquatic hedgehog. It is prey of many deep-sea fish (eg goblin sharks) as well as whales and oceanic seabirds. (Photo by Peter Batson)

Transparent Zebrafish created by scientists
This see-through zebrafish was created in 2008 by scientists so they can study disease processes, including the spread of cancer. The transparent fish are allowing researchers at Children's Hospital Boston to directly view fish's internal organs and observe processes such as tumor growth in real-time in living organisms. (Photo by LS)
Transparent Icefish

Fund in the cold waters around Antarctica and southern South America, the crocodile icefish (Channichthyidae) feed on krill, copepods, and other fish. Their blood is transparent because they have no hemoglobin and/or only defunct erythrocytes. Their metabolism relies only on the oxygen dissolved in the liquid blood, which is believed to be absorbed directly through the skin from the water. This works because water can dissolve the most oxygen when it is coldest. In five species, the gene for myoglobin in the muscles has also vanished, leaving them with white instead of pink hearts. (Photo by uwe kils)

Transparent Amphipod

Called Phronima, this unusual animal is one of the many strange species recently found on an expedition to a deep-sea mountain range in the North Atlantic. In an ironic strategy for survival, this tiny shrimplike creature shows everything it has, inside and out, in an attempt to disappear. Many other small deep-sea creatures are transparent as well, or nearly so, to better camouflage themselves in their murky surroundings, scientists say. (Photo by David Shale)

Transparent Larval Shrimp
Found in the in the waters around Hawaii, this transparent larval shrimp piggybacks on an equally see-through jellyfish. (Photo by Chris Newbert/Minden Pictures)

Transparent Salp

This jellyfish-like animals known as Salps feed on small plants in the water called phytoplankton (marine algae). They are transparent, barrel-shaped animals that can range from one to 10cm in length. (Photo by DM)

Transparent Jellyfish

Jellyfish are free-swimming members of the phylum Cnidaria. They are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. Many jellies are so transparent that they are almost impossible to see. The one above is from the Arctapodema genus, with a size of an inch-long (2.5-centimeter-long). (Photo by Bill Curtsinger)