Category Archives: Views

Environment: The Grand Canyon Is Losing Its River

Long shadows are in the foreground of a view of the reddish canyon walls, which loom on either side and ahead. The sky is blue with ribbed white clouds.

The New York Times (June 6, 2023) – Down beneath the tourist lodges and shops selling keychains and incense, past windswept arroyos and brown valleys speckled with agave, juniper and sagebrush, the rocks of the Grand Canyon seem untethered from time. The oldest ones date back 1.8 billion years, not just eons before humans laid eyes on them, but eons before evolution endowed any organism on this planet with eyes.

The Grand Canyon, a Cathedral to Time, Is Losing Its River

Written and photographed by Raymond Zhong, who joined scientists on a 90-mile raft expedition through the canyon.

About half a dozen people with orange life jackets ride a blue raft on a murky, brownish and somewhat choppy Colorado River. Rust-colored canyon walls loom on either side and ahead of them. Three other rafts are in the distance.

Since 1963, the Glen Canyon Dam has been backing up the Colorado for nearly 200 miles, in the form of America’s second-largest reservoir, Lake Powell. Engineers constantly evaluate water and electricity needs to decide how much of the river to let through the dam’s works and out the other end, first into the Grand Canyon, then into Lake Mead and, eventually, into fields and homes in Arizona, California, Nevada and Mexico.

Spend long enough in the canyon, and you might start feeling a little unmoored from time yourself.

A spring that looks like a narrow waterfall cascades out of a hole in a canyon wall down into a calm part of the Colorado River. The canyon walls are rust-red.
North Canyon, and a spring at Vasey’s Paradise.

The immense walls form a kind of cocoon, sealing you off from the modern world, with its cell signal and light pollution and disappointments. They draw your eyes relentlessly upward, as in a cathedral.

You might think you are seeing all the way to the top. But up and above are more walls, and above them even more, out of sight except for the occasional glimpse. For the canyon is not just deep. It is broad, too — 18 miles, rim to rim, at its widest. This is no mere cathedral of stone. It is a kingdom: sprawling, self-contained, an alternate reality existing magnificently outside of our own.

And yet, the Grand Canyon remains yoked to the present in one key respect. The Colorado River, whose wild energy incised the canyon over millions of years, is in crisis.

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The New York Times – Wednesday, June 7, 2023


Destroyed Ukrainian Dam Floods War Zone and Forces Residents to Flee

The Nova Kakhovka dam in the Kherson region of Ukraine was breached early Tuesday.

Experts suspect an explosion collapsed the dam on the Dnipro River. Kyiv and Moscow blamed each other, and residents downstream were forced to evacuate to escape the cascading waves.

PGA Tour and LIV Golf Agree to Alliance, Ending Golf’s Bitter Fight

LIV began play about a year ago, building its brand on big purses and big names.

In a stunning announcement, the tour, along with the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, said the rivals had agreed to create a “new, collectively owned, for-profit entity.”

Wildfire Smoke Blots Sun and Prompts Health Alerts in Much of U.S.

The smoke was pouring across the border from Canada, where hundreds of wildfires remain unchecked, and the hazardous smoke conditions are expected to linger through Wednesday and perhaps until later in the week.

Prince Harry, in Dramatic Testimony, Says Journalists Have ‘Blood on Their Hands’

In a remarkable court scene, the prince took the stand for five hours to make his case that his phone was hacked by a newspaper group, as a lawyer for the defense grilled him about his claims.

Modern Homes: Madison Desert Club In La Quinta

The Local Project (June 6, 2023) – Inspired by the conventions of a boutique hotel, Kovac Design Studio administers an array of design elements that cater to its clients’ desires to have a modern house that celebrates the surrounds and can host friends and family.

Video timeline: 00:00 – Introduction 00:43 – A Boutique Residence 01:07 – Enabling the Feeling of Secludedness 01:41 – The Organisation of the Building 02:12 – The Element of Surprise 02:38 – Built for 2 people or 200 people 02:54 – Covered in Glass 03:09 – Matching the Materials with the Surrounds 03:32 – The Glamorous Material Palette 03:57 – Giving Each Room its own Identity 04:33 – The Oculus 05:10 – The Canopy 05:28 – Designing a Concept from Start to Finish 05:57 – Proud Moments

From the first steps inside, Madison Desert Club is deliberately designed to offer the feeling of being outside when moving from room to room. Imbued with space for the owner to entertain and unwind, Madison Desert Club rejoices in the landscape of La Quinta with an open floor plan and floor-to-ceiling windows and doors.

Additionally, unique design elements are employed to enhance the home’s connection to the outdoors, beginning with a continuous canopy-style roof that is set over parts of the modern house, offering a change of light throughout the day. Another element seen upon arrival is the Oculus – a circular shape integrated into the roof, which allows for uninterrupted views of the sky above. Spanning all three levels, the modern house tour begins at the lower level, where a sauna, spa and gym are placed.

The above two levels hold the guestrooms, kitchen, living, dining areas and private cocktail bar. Expressed by its metal mesh curtain, the cocktail bar is imbued with warm colours that reference whiskey and give the impression of being inside a sophisticated space reserved for VIP clients. On the top level, a dedicated screening room offers a rare surprise when the screen wall opens up to the entire living space below.

#Modern #House #Design

Auto Racing: The ’24 Hours Of Le Mans’ At 100 Years

FRANCE 24 (June 6, 2023) – It’s one of the most iconic motor races in the world. The “24 hours of Le Mans” race marks a centenary this year. Seven auto manufacturers will be fighting for overall victory with 16 teams represented.

The unique race tests its participants’ reliability and endurance and encourages innovation. The 13,626km track attracts hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world every year. The endurance classic is both a physical and mental challenge for the drivers; the car that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours wins.

The New York Times – Tuesday, June 6, 2023


As Ukrainian Attacks Surge, U.S. Officials See Signs of Counteroffensive

Soldiers from Ukraine’s 95th Air Assault Brigade, with a lightweight British howitzer, targeted Russian positions in eastern Ukraine on Friday.

Kyiv has not formally announced the start of operations. But on Tuesday, Ukraine said the Russians had blown up a dam on the Dnipro River, potentially imperiling residents and the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

Biden Administration Shrugs Off Ukraine’s Attacks in Russia

Ukrainian soldiers in the Donbas region of Ukraine on Friday.

For months, U.S. officials said cross-border operations risked a dangerous escalation. But those fears have ebbed.

Schools Received Billions in Stimulus Funds. It May Not Be Doing Enough.

Pandemic aid was supposed to help students recover from learning loss, but results have been mixed.

S.E.C. Accuses Binance of Mishandling Funds and Lying to Regulators

The S.E.C. said the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange mixed billions of dollars in customer funds and secretly sent them to a separate company controlled by Binance’s founder, Changpeng Zhao.

Africa Travel: The ‘Ksars’ Of Djado, Northern Niger

FRANCE 24 (June 5, 2023) – A long trek across the desert of northeastern Niger brings visitors to one of the most astonishing and rewarding sights in the Sahel: fortified villages of salt and clay built on rocks, besieged by the Sahara sands.

Generations of travelers have stood before the “ksars” of Djado,  wandering their crenellated walls, watchtowers, secretive passages and wells, all of them testifying to a skilled but unknown hand.

The now ruined city Djado is located on the southern end of the Djado Pleateau in the Sahara in northern Niger. It is not clear who built the complex of fortified mud buildings (ksars). The city was a part Trans-Saharan trading network of the Kanuri people whose Kanem-Bornu Empire was founded before 1000 CE and at its greater extent covered what is now Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, southern Lybia and Eastern Niger.

It is not clear what caused the abandonment of the city after the 1860s: increased desertification, conflict or even a mosquito infestation have been proposed as possible causes. Since then it has been used by Toubou nomads for the cultivation of dates. The site also contains rock drawings and carvings from 12,000 to 6,000 BCE, depicting the fauna that roved the prehistoric Sahara. The Djado Plateau was added to the UNESCO Tenative List in 2006.

Niger or the Niger, officially the Republic of the Niger, is a landlocked country in West Africa. It is a unitary state bordered by Libya to the northeast, Chad to the east, Nigeria to the south, Benin and Burkina Faso to the southwest, Mali to the west, and Algeria to the northwest.

#Niger #lostcity #Sahara

Travel: A Tour Of ‘Iceberg Alley’ Off Newfoundland

Two men wearing jackets and hats stand at the edge of a boat looking out over the water, where a curvaceous iceberg, about the size of a house, floats in the water.
Guests aboard a tour boat approaching an iceberg near the town of Twillingate, Newfoundland.Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Where Whales, Puffins and Icebergs Jostle for Your Attention

The New York Times (June 5, 2023) – Each spring, opalescent icebergs from the Greenland ice sheet pass through Iceberg Alley, off the eastern edge of Canada, on a slow-motion journey southward.

An enormous white-and-green iceberg floats off the coastline, its shape defined by jagged peaks. In the foreground is a white-and-brown church that sits close to the coast.

“I never trust the mind of an iceberg,” Cecil Stockley told me. He estimates its length, multiplies by five and keeps his boat at least that distance away.

Dave Boyd said his safety rules depend on which type of iceberg he’s dealing with. “A tabular is generally pretty mellow,” Mr. Boyd explained as we floated off the coast of Newfoundland, referring to icebergs with steep sides and large, flat tops. “But a pinnacle” — a tall iceberg with one or more spires — “can be a real beast.”

Two small buildings — one red, one green with yellow trim — sit among a tangle of wooden piers and catwalks, along with a large bleached-white whale skeleton.
Dave Boyd, who captains tour boats, also runs Prime Berth, a museum and heritage center in Twillingate. Credit…Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Barry Rogers doesn’t just look at an iceberg; he listens to it, as well. When the normal Rice Krispies-like pop of escaping air bubbles gives way to a much louder frying-pan sizzle, the iceberg may be about to roll over or even split apart, he explained.

In 1912, one such iceberg struck the starboard side of the Titanic on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. Over the years, plenty of others have done lesser damage to ships, oil rigs and even the occasional unlucky — or foolhardy — kayaker.

Read more at New York Times

Hiking Trails: ‘Shetland Way’ To Open In Scotland

The Times and The Sunday Times (June 5, 2023) – Seabird colonies, Viking ruins and untamed wilderness await walkers on the new Shetland Way — via a new direct flight from London Heathrow. Simon Parker explores the new hiking route.

The route covers approximately 80 miles and run through up the ‘spine’ of the islands linking Shetland’s natural, cultural and community assets, opening them up to walkers and potentially cyclists too.

Travel: An Aerial Tour Of The Oregon Coast (4K)

Rishuals Films (June 4, 2023) – The Oregon Coast is a coastal region of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to its west and the Oregon Coast Range to the east, and stretches approximately 362 miles from the California state border in the south to the Columbia River in the north.

The New York Times – Monday, June 5, 2023


Vigilante Justice Rises in Haiti and Crime Plummets

Men with machetes, part of a self-defense initiative to keep gangs from gaining control of their neighborhood, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Civilians have killed at least 160 gang members in Haiti, a human rights group says. Residents say they feel safer, but others worry that it will lead to even more violence.

Money for Show Horses, Not Work Horses, on India’s Rails

Railway workers in India on Sunday at the site of a three-train crash.

Train travel in the country has gotten much safer, Friday’s disaster notwithstanding, but the government still puts high-profile projects ahead of basic safety improvements, analysts say.

‘Everything Changed’: The War Arrives on Russians’ Doorstep

With cross-border strikes, residents of the Russian region of Belgorod are starting to understand the horrors of war being waged at their doorstep.

Two Black Members of Native Tribes Were Arrested. The Law Sees Only One as Indian.

A Supreme Court ruling barred Oklahoma from prosecuting crimes committed by Native Americans on tribal land, but some Black tribal members are still being prosecuted because they lack “Indian blood.”