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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 29, 2018 8:31 am 
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The "Lord of the Forest" Is A Massive Tree Known To Bring Visitors To Tears

As you step out of the dense undergrowth, the brush and saplings around you seem to bow in awe towards the lordly presence in the center of the clearing. You look up ... and up ... and up as you take in the majesty of Tāne Mahuta, the Lord of the Forest.

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Sometimes a presence is so overwhelming that you just can't help but break down and cry. That's not an uncommon sight at Tāne Mahuta, the largest kauri tree in the world. Even an average kauri specimen is truly massive — the trees regularly exceed 16 feet (5 meters) around and grow to heights in excess of 100 feet (30 meters). There's a reason why any forest that has them is known as a kauri forest, regardless of whether they are the dominant species.

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But the "Lord of the Forest," named after a Māori forest god, puts all of his neighbors to shame. This kauri is a staggering 50 feet (16 meters) around and reaches a height of 148 feet (45 meters). That's about as tall as a 14-story building. It takes a long time for a tree to reach that height, and Tāne Mahuta is estimated to be about 2,500 to 3,000 years old. That means it was a sapling when humans were first entering the Bronze Age.

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Tāne Mahuta - Lord of the Forest

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Tāne Mahuta is not alone in the rainforest, however. While the Lord of the Forest is easily the largest kauri tree in the world, its nearby neighbor Te Matua Ngahere, the "Father of the Forest," holds the record as the stoutest. It's 55 feet (17 meters) around. Some estimates place this behemoth at 4,000 years old, older than the earliest known alphabets. It's easy to see why these trees occupy such a central place in the cosmology of New Zealand.

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Te Matua Ngahere

Besides their stunning appearance above ground, kauri trees set themselves apart with a uniquely shallow root network. Unlike many very large trees, which nourish themselves on mineral deposits deep beneath the ground, kauris extend thin tendrils along the surface and feed off of decomposing organic matter. But given their size, they also need something to hold them down, so they also have deep peg roots that don't gather any nutrients.

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Kauri trees

Unfortunately, that feeding system also leaves the giants vulnerable. In recent years, the trees have been suffering from a new disease known as kauri dieback. It's caused by outside contaminants seeping into those shallow roots, sometimes by wandering mammals and sometimes on the soles of visiting hikers. That's why, if you're going to visit either Tāne Mahuta or Te Matua Ngahere, you need to hose your shoes off first.

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kauri dieback

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 30, 2018 8:31 am 
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Who Was The First Woman In The United States To Receive The Nobel Peace Prize?

In honor of years of work as head of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Jane Addams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

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Jane Addams (b. 1860 d. 1935)

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She was the first U.S. woman to receive this honor.

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In one of her many writings on the need for worldwide peace, Addams said, “I should like to see the women of civilization rebel against the senseless wholesale human sacrifice of warfare. I am convinced that many thousands of women throughout the world would gladly rise to this challenge.”

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Addams was also well known for campaigning for social reforms and democratic freedom, and she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.

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Jane Addams died of cancer at age 74 on May 21, 1935. Her death sparked a public outpouring of grief.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 31, 2018 8:44 am 
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How Much Caffeine Does Chocolate Have And Why Is Carob Used As A Chocolate Substitute?

First of all, contrary to common belief, chocolate doesn’t contain much caffeine at all.

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A square (one ounce) of unsweetened baking chocolate averages 23 milligrams of caffeine, while a cup of coffee might contain more than 100 milligrams. An ounce of unsweetened chocolate does contain 376 milligrams of theobromine, however, an alkaloid closely related to caffeine but a milder stimulant.

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The leguminous carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), also known since biblical times as the locust bean tree, grows in relatively arid, semitropical climates such as in California, Florida, and the eastern Mediterranean region.

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Its pods have been dubbed Saint John’s bread because the Bible says that John the Baptist survived in the wilderness by eating “locusts and honey.” In spite of the Bible’s preoccupation elsewhere with locusts (the word appears twenty-nine times in the King James version), it is more likely that John munched on locust beans rather than on the insects.

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So where does chocolate come in? The carob tree makes long, edible, seed-bearing pods that can be dried and ground into a powder. Because the powder is brown, sweet (it contains about 40 percent sugars), and virtually fat-free, someone got the not-so-bright idea of using it as a substitute for chocolate. Unfortunately, because it lacks chocolate’s fat it has a sandy, gritty texture, not to mention an almost total absence of flavor.

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Carob is the Grinch who stole chocolate. Fuhgeddaboudit.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 1, 2018 8:31 am 
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Post Posted: Apr 1, 2018 8:42 am 
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The Father Of Modern Spaceflight Was Originally Mocked By The New York Times

Bold ideas are at risk of ridicule. Galileo spent his last years in prison for his support of heliocentrism. Ignaz Semmelweis went through such mockery for asking his fellow surgeons to wash their hands that he suffered a nervous breakdown. And Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry who now has an entire NASA facility named after him, was ridiculed by the New York Times for his early plans for spaceflight.

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Robert Goddard

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Et tu, NYT?

It all started with a dry scientific report to the Smithsonian Institution. As a young boy, Robert Goddard was enchanted by the H.G. Wells sci-fi novel "The War of the Worlds," and was forever taken with the desire to build a machine that could go to space. As he grew up, he began experimenting with rockets — which at that time relied on explosive gunpowder — and eventually became a physics professor. In 1914, he received two patents: one for a liquid-fueled rocket, another for a solid-fuel rocket with multiple "stages," or engines that engage one at a time to help propel the craft ever higher.

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Liquid-fueled patent drawing

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A few years later, he wrote a proposal for research funding, which was eventually published along with his subsequent research in a Smithsonian Miscellaneous Publication in 1920 under the title "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes." It's more than 70 pages of jargon, math equations, and diagrams about how he used the funding, but within it lies research that would change the world: he laid out one way a rocket might reach the moon and explode a flash of powder to let scientists on Earth know it made the journey. And then disaster struck: the press picked up the story.

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The 1920 commentary in the New York Times' "Topics of the Times" section started out nice enough.

"As a method of sending a missle to the higher,
and even to the highest, part of the earth's atmospheric envelope,
Professor Goddard's multiple-charge rocket is a practicable,
and therefore promising, device ..."


… it began. But soon, the author started laying out all of the possible problems. What about when it came down? Surely you couldn't expect it to come back to its launch point. It might land on an innocent bystander!

And then:

"That Professor Goddard, with his 'chair' in Clark
College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution,
does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need
to have something better than a vacuum against which to react — to say
that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge
ladled out daily in high schools."


When asked about his plan by a reporter, Goddard said solemnly:

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Of course, we all knew who won that one. On March 16, 1926, Goddard led the world's first successful launch of a liquid-fueled rocket, which reached 41 feet (12 meters) in the air. And, as Michio Kaku writes about the debacle in "The Future of Humanity," "Newton's third law, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, governs space travel." When you eject propellant from one end of a rocket, it moves in the opposite direction, vacuum or no vacuum.

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March 16, 1926

Goddard died in 1945, four years before the first rocket entered space. Even worse, he didn't live long enough to see the apology published in the New York Times after the Apollo moon landing in 1969:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 2, 2018 8:45 am 
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What Is The Largest Coral Reef In The World?

A coral is a small sea creature, related to jellyfish and sea anemones, that secretes a hard, stony substance to form its skeleton.

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The skeletons left behind by colonies of these creatures can eventually form islands or long ridges called coral reefs.

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One reef, or series of reefs, is so large that its more like a small continent than an island. The Great Barrier Reef, the largest mass of coral in the world, stretches along the northeastern coast of Australia and reaches almost to New Guinea.

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The Great Barrier Reef

It actually consists of about 3,800 different reefs and islands, forming a line of coral reef some 1,400 miles long. If this reef were set down with one end in New York, the other end would reach all the way to Omaha, Nebraska!

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The Great Barrier Reef is teeming with strange and colorful sea creatures, including hundreds of species of fish, eels, and rays, giant clams, huge sponges, and sea turtles that can weigh as much as 300 pounds.

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According to a 2014 report from the Australian Government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), says that climate change is the most significant environmental threat to the Great Barrier Reef, while the other major environmental pressures are listed as decreased water quality from land-based runoff, impacts from coastal development and some persistent impacts from fishing activities.

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Overfishing

The reef is also threatened by storms, coral bleaching and ocean acidification. The 2014 report also shows that, while numerous marine life species have recovered after previous declines, the strength of the dugong population is continuing to decline.

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Severe bleaching

Terry Hughes, Federation Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, wrote in a 14 August 2014 Conversation piece that harmful government policies and ongoing conflicts of interest over mining royalties are risks of an equivalent magnitude.

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Pollution

The natural and man-made threats to the Great Barrier Reef almost certainly predict the demise of this beautiful landmark within our lifetimes.

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A moment of silence, please.

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Post Posted: Apr 3, 2018 8:50 am 
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Pocahontas

Pocahontas (a nickname; her birth name was Matoaka) was the daughter of Algonquin chief Powhatan, the most powerful chief in the area the English called Virginia.

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Pocahontas

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Powhatan

She was about 11 or 12 in 1607, when the Jamestown settlement was founded.

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That same year she supposedly begged her father not to kill Captain John Smith, a Jamestown leader, after he was captured as a presumed enemy.

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Note: The rescue episode did not appear in Smith’s accounts of Virginia published in 1608 and 1612 but surfaced in his Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles (1624).

Also, doubts of a romance have been cast since there was a significant age difference between them. Whereas Pocahontas was 11 or 12 years old, Captain Smith was in his late 20s. But stranger things have happened.


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Captain John Smith

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The rescue

It is believed that John Smith was leading an expedition in December 1607 when a group of Powhatan hunters took him captive and brought him to Werowocomoco, one of the chief villages of the Powhatan Empire. Smith was taken to the official residence of Powhattan and he was tortured. It was Pocahontas who saved his life from the attack of the Indians. Smith was laid across a stone and was about to be executed, when Pocahontas threw herself across his body. Pocahontas then helped Smith to stand on his feet and Powhatan adopted Smith as his son.

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Smith leads expedition into Jamestown

In 1608, Pocahontas is said to have saved Smith a second time. Smith and some other colonists were invited to Werowocomoco by Chief Powhatan on friendly terms, but Pocahontas came to the hut where the English were staying and warned them that Powhatan was planning to kill them. Due to this warning, the English stayed on their guard, and the attack never came.

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In October 1609, after getting badly injured due to gunpowder explosion, John Smith returned to England. When Pocahontas made a visit to the fort, she was informed that Smith was dead.

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In 1613, Pocahontas was taken hostage by the British to give them more power in negotiations with Powhatan.

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The abduction of Pocahontas

Brought to Jamestown, she converted to Christianity and married the colonist John Rolfe in 1614, possibly to help keep peace between her people and the British.

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Pocahontas baptized as “Rebecca”

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Pocahontas marries John Rolfe

In the course of things, she was introduced to the king and queen of England.

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Pocahontas (Rebecca Rolfe) and husband John Rolfe
are introduced to King James and Queen Anne


In March 1617, John Rolfe and Pocahontas boarded a ship to return to Virginia; the ship had sailed only as far as Gravesend on the river Thames, when Pocahontas became gravely ill. She was taken ashore and sadly died at the approximate age of 21. It is not known what caused her death, but theories range from pneumonia, smallpox, and tuberculosis to her having been poisoned.

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In 1617, Pocahontas dies in England. Cause uncertain.

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Post Posted: Apr 4, 2018 8:35 am 
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Who Are The Aleut And Where Did They Come From?

The Aleut are the native people of the 1,400-mile Aleutian Island chain off of Alaska’s southwest coast.

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Aleutian Island chain

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Aleuts

The ancestors of the Aleut came to North America from Asia at about the same time as those of the Inuit.

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Inuits

Settling on the isolated Aleutians, however, the Aleut (who call themselves the Unangan) developed their own culture, although it had some similarities to the Inuit way of life.

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Like the Inuit, the Aleut survived in their windy and wet environment by becoming expert hunters. They were especially renowned for their sleek kayaks, from which they harpooned sea otters and other water animals. Their village life, however, had more in common with that of the Indians of the Northwest Coast.

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The Aleut grouped people into social ranks that completely determined their wealth and position.

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Unangan hunter in ceremonial garb

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Post Posted: Apr 5, 2018 8:41 am 
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This Eerie Scene Is All That's Left of Virginia's Presidential Park

America loves their icons to be larger than life. From the Lincoln Monument to Mount Rushmore, a great number of past presidents have been immortalized in towering stone sculptures. There's an unexpected place, however, where busts of American leaders stand tall, if a little cracked and weathered, to form what looks like a post-apocalyptic U.S. monument. That place is a rural farm in Croaker, Virginia, and it might be the final resting place of sculptor David Adickes' once-grand plan.

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Croaker is just the second home for Adickes' vision. He was originally inspired to create his presidential busts after a visit to Mount Rushmore. "I was overwhelmed by the majesty of it," he told the Washington Post in 2011. "Driving to Texas, the idea occurred to me to do a park with all the presidents, big enough to get in front of and look in the eyes, rather than from a quarter-mile away."

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Inspiration

He originally hoped to put his statues in Washington, D.C., but his efforts didn't get anywhere. So instead, he headed to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he struck a deal with Haley Newman, the developer of a local waterpark, to display the pieces on the outskirts of town. With that, in the year 2004, President's Park was born: a 10-acre, $10 million open-air attraction dotted with gleaming white busts of all 43 U.S. presidents at the time, each 18–20 feet (5.5–6 meters) tall.

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Then

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Now

The park never did get the kind of tourist attention it needed to thrive. Although it was close to the highway and a retail center, the park was heavily wooded and tucked behind a Day's Inn, making it effectively invisible to passersby. A lack of profits led to a lack of upkeep: the statues were sullied by weather and birds, and a lightning strike maimed half of Ronald Reagan's face. Even worse, Newman couldn't afford to update the park with a statue of the current president, Barack Obama. Adickes wanted $60,000 for it, and Newman just didn't have it. "That monument would have paid for itself in a year," he lamented to the Washington Post.

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In September 2010, the park was closed. But that's not the end of the story. In 2012, the park reached out to businessman Howard Hankins, who runs a concrete recycling business. "They called me and wanted to know if I would come down there and crush [the heads] and haul them away," Hankins told Pablo Maurer for DCist in 2015. "I said 'heck no, can I have 'em?' I'm going to preserve them." The plan was to relocate the heads to Hankins' farm in Croaker, Virginia, but considering that each statue weighs 15,000–20,000 pounds (6,800–9,100 kilograms), that was no small feat. In order to lift them onto a flatbed truck, they had to bash the heads in and expose the steel framework beneath to give the excavator something to grab onto.

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Eventually, Hankins and his crew managed to move all 43 heads to his farm, where they now sit in a hodgepodge — George W. between Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt, JFK next to Reagan, Bill Clinton cozied up to Ulysses S. Grant, all weathered, cracked, and peeling. There's no concrete plan for what to do with the heads, although Hankins told Maurer that he had a few leads. Right now, visitors aren't allowed to visit the eerie monuments. But it's strangely comforting to know they're there, and with new funding and a new location, they may see a second life.

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Post Posted: Apr 5, 2018 12:31 pm 
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Eerie, indeed! 8O

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 5, 2018 12:38 pm 
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Post Posted: Apr 6, 2018 8:34 am 
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The Gates Of Light Are A Stunning Energy-Free Lighting Scheme

The Netherlands is a place where climate change hits close to home. When you're already below sea level, the prospect that the sea might start rising becomes disastrous. So when a historic causeway needed renovations to combat the rising water, the Dutch found an elegant lighting solution that simultaneously fights energy consumption and light pollution by lighting up only when cars are driving past — no electricity required.

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Raised causeway: During daylight

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Night time view

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Basically all of Holland is an engineering marvel. It takes a lot of work and a lot of planning to drive back the ocean with a series of sea walls, known as dikes. And of those dikes, the Afsluitdijk is one of the most impressive. Built in 1932, it spans a full 20 miles (32 kilometers) from North Holland to Zurich, giving drivers a direct route over the ocean. But it's not just the causeway's length that's impressive. The salty sea to the north, once filtered through the Afsluitdijk, comes into the freshwater lake IJsselmeer on the south side.

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It's clear to see why the Netherlands are so proud of the Afsluitdijk. And even clearer what a big deal it would be if it were allowed to fall into disrepair. When the rising sea meant a full-on renovation was needed, the Dutch commissioned design firm Studio Roosegaarde to ensure the project had style and purpose. The most dramatic improvement made by lead designer Daan Roosegaarde was to bring bright light to the long, dark bridge by reflecting the headlights of drivers on the road.

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The Gates of Light are built into the massive floodgates at either end of the extra-long causeway. Their design is inspired by the iridescent sparkling of butterfly wings. They scatter cars' bright headlights over the road, illuminating their surroundings without requiring any additional energy consumption. Better still, they cut back on light pollution in one of the most light-polluted places on the planet, since the 32-mile road stays in the dark until a car drives past.

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The Gates of Light are the most prominent new eco-friendly feature of the Afsluitdijk, but it's not Studio Roosegaarde's only improvement. From November 2017 to January 2018, the Friesland bunker nearby was home to "Glowing Nature," where visitors could interact with natural bio-luminescent algae. And during the same time, "Windvogel" cast spotlights above the road using wind power from kites high above the ground. According to some estimates, the clean energy these kinds of structures produce could power up to 200 Dutch homes. It's proof that future is looking bright.

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Glowing Nature – bio-luminescence

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Windvogel


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