Tag Archives: Central America

Top Podcasts: Alexander Von Humboldt – “The Last Man Who Knew It All”

Smithsonian Sidedoor PodcastAlexander von Humboldt might not be a name you know, but you can bet you know his ideas. Back when the United States were a wee collection of colonies huddled on the eastern seaboard, colonists found the wilderness surrounding them scary. 

It took a zealous Prussian explorer with a thing for barometers to show the colonists what they couldn’t see: a global ecosystem, and their own place in nature. In this The Invention of Nature Alexander von Humborldt's New World Andrea Wulfepisode, we learn how Humboldt—through science and art—inspired a key part of America’s national identity.

More fascinating Humboldt facts:

  • He strongly opposed slavery in the early 19th century, calling it the “greatest of all the evils which have afflicted mankind.”
  • He was the first to theorize human caused climate change by changing how water flows through a landscape, on a local level, and warned about deforestation.
  • He invented isotherms, the lines on a weather map that we still use today. He used them to show which parts of the world were experiencing similar temperatures.
  • He made the world’s most detailed map of Mexico and the American west.
  • He nearly summited what was then thought to be the world’s tallest mountain (while wearing 18th century wools, no less.).
  • Another thing Humboldt and Jefferson bonded over? Mastodons. Humboldt was the first to discover remains of a species now known as Cuvieronius hyodon in Ecuador, which were similar to the “giant elephants” being found in Ohio. The teeth Humboldt found were the clue that these weren’t modern elephants; they looked pretty different. And because these teeth looked sharp, Jefferson and some American scientists thought they were for meat eating! Eventually Georges Cuvier, a French scientist who was friends with Humboldt, proved that these were different from Indian and African elephants, and even woolly mammoths—and the species eventually ended up renamed after him. One of the few eponymous misses for our friend Humboldt!

If you’re interested in learning more about the life and times of Alexander von Humboldt, I’d recommend reading Andrea Wulf’s book The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World.

Top Science Podcasts: A Greater Mayan Empire & Costs Of Illegal Fishing

But was this new ruler of a Maya city really from a separate culture? New techniques being used at the Tikal and Teotihuacan sites have revealed conflicting evidence as to whether Teotihuacan really held sway over a much larger region than previously estimated.

Sarah also talks with Rashid Sumaila, professor and Canada research chair in interdisciplinary ocean and fisheries economics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. You may have heard of illegal fishing being bad for the environment or bad for maintaining fisheries—but as Sumaila and colleagues report this week in Science Advances, the illegal fishing trade is also incredibly costly—with gross revenues of between $8.9 billion and $17.2 billion each year.

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Home Design: Flexible, Eco-Friendly Modular Homes In Costa Rica By ÚBÁLI TROPICAL LIVING

The proposal is inspired by the experiences lived in the mountains of Costa Rica. The intimate nest form comes into communication with nature so that guests have privacy and dialogue with the space around them. Its flexible structure allows it to adapt to sloping terrain, dense forests and humid tropical climates.

Ubali Costa Rica Modular Home Model 1.0 Kabek
Ubali Costa Rica Modular Home Model 1.0 Kabek

The cabin includes all the electro-mechanical installations, the septic tank and the facilities necessary for its operation. The modulation of the cabins allows to make certain adjustments to shorten or enlarge the cab according to changing needs. The structure is lightweight in metal construction with an external lining in industrial zinc and internal walls in gypsum and densglass.

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New Travel Books: “Epic Bike Rides Of The Americas” From Lonely Planet (2019)

From inside the book as seen on Amazon.com:

Epic Bike Rides of the Americas Lonely Planet Finger Lakes Ride inside book

Epic Bike Rides of the Americas Lonely Planet coverThis definitive companion for cycling enthusiasts showcases 200 of North, Central and South America’s best and most celebrated routes, from epic adventures off the beaten path to shorter urban rides. Go bikepacking in Baja, road riding in Colombia, mountain biking in Canada and gravel riding in Pennsylvania.

Each ride is accompanied by stunning photos and a map and toolkit of practical details – where to start and finish, how to get there, where to stay and more – to help you plan the perfect trip. Suggestions for similar rides around the world are also included.

Rides in Canada include:

  • The Cabot Trail (Nova Scotia)
  • Whistler Bike Park (British Columbia)
  • The Whitehorse Trails (Yukon)
  • Banff to Whitefish (Alberta)

Rides in the USA include:

  • Mountain Biking in Moab (Utah)
  • Great Allegheny Passage
  • Colorado Beer Ride
  • Glacier National Park Loop (Montana)
  • The Covered Bridges of Vermont

Rides in Central America & Caribbean

  • The Baja Divide (Mexico)
  • Oaxaca to Zipolite (Mexico)
  • Cuba’s Southern Rollercoaster (Cuba)

Rides in South America include:

  • The Trans Ecuador Mountain Bike Route (Ecuador)
  • Mendoza Wine Ride (Argentina)
  • The Lagunas Route (Bolivia)
  • To the Tip of Patagonia (Argentina)
  • The Peru Divide

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=epic+bike+rides+of+the+americas&i=stripbooks&crid=191XU7O536M9Y&sprefix=Epic+Bike+Rides+of+the+%2Cstripbooks%2C192&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_23