A Blast From The Past: Episode 16

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A collection of interesting articles from the archives that you may have missed.

The Secret Life of the Harvest Mice

Photographers Jean-Louis Klein and Marie-Luce Hubert, both from the Alsace, France, spent the year snapping the elusive harvest mice in a project that ended with their release into the wild. Laying patiently in meadows and reed beds, the pair were able to capture the fascinating images. A stunning and rare insight into the secret tiny lives of adorable harvest mice is revealed in incredible pictures captured painstakingly over 12 months.

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Bagger 288: The Biggest, Meanest Machine in the World

The Bagger 288, also known as the Excavator 288, is the largest digging machine in the world. It was built by the German company Krupp for the energy and mining firm Rheinbraun. When its construction was completed in 1978, Bagger 288 superseded NASA's Crawler-Transporter, used to carry the Space Shuttle and Apollo Saturn V launch vehicle, as the largest tracked vehicle in the world at 13,500 tons.

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The Vdara Hotel Death Ray

The tall, sleek, curving Vdara Hotel at CityCenter in Las Vegas is a thing of beauty. But the south-facing tower is turning out to be nuisance for visitors at the hotel’s swimming pool. The curved mirrored surface of the hotel acts as a gigantic parabolic reflector that concentrates solar heat into a specific target area. The heat is so intense that it can singe your hair and melt your plastic drink cups and shopping bags. Hotel pool employees call the phenomenon the "Vdara death ray."

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The Modern Ghost City of Ordos

The city of Ordos, in Inner Mongolia, China, was founded on February 26, 2001. It was designed to be home for one million people, yet, the Kangbashi district remains nearly empty five years after construction began.

Ordos means "palaces" in Mongolian, and it's richer than Beijing. In fact, with a $14,500 GDP per capita, it's one of the richest in the whole country. With 1,548,000 inhabitants, Ordos is not exactly empty. But much of its modern architecture, sometimes awesomely futuristic, sometimes fantastically overdeveloped and underdesigned, remains completely empty.

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Kansas City Library’s Giant Bookshelf

One of the most unusual architecture at Kansas City, has to be the facade of the parking garage for the Central Branch of the public library. The garage wall was designed to look like a row of giant books lined up on a shelf. The book spines, which measure approximately 25 feet by 9 feet, are made of signboard mylar. The shelf showcases 22 titles reflecting a wide variety of reading interests as suggested by Kansas City readers and then selected by The Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees.

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Incredible Pumpkin Carvings by Ray Villafane

American sculptor Ray Villafane carves incredibly intricate and detailed faces on pumpkins, from the gruesome Predator to the friendly Barack Obama.

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The Amazing Human Printer

The Human Printer, founded by Louise Naunton Morgan, is a group of artists who uses markers to emulate the printing process. The group reproduces photos by painstakingly ‘printing’ images by hand - dot by dot –  in CMYK or B&W to recreate the halftone printing effect of conventional printers.

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