A Blast From The Past: Episode 23

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From the archives of Amusing Planet.

Tashirojima - The Cat Island of Japan

The Cat Island, officially called Tashirojima, is a small island in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, that is inhabited by more cats than people. The island has become known as "Cat Island" due to the large stray cat population that thrives as a result of the local belief that feeding cats will bring wealth and good fortune. The cat population is now larger than the human population on the island.


Rocky Attractions of Norway

Norway’s rocky coastlines is home to three very spectacular rock formation that draws thousands of rock climbers and adventurous tourists world over each year. Apart from the thrill of climbing, these places offer a view that words cannot describe.


The Great Banyan Tree

The Great Banyan Tree located in Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Howrah, near Kolkata, India, is the widest tree in the world in terms of the area of the canopy it covers. It is estimated to be about 200 to 250 years old and occupies an area of about 14,500 square meters (1.5 hectares).


Garden of the Fugitives: Fossilized Victims of the Vesuvius Eruption

The eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD is one of the most catastrophic and famous eruptions of all time. The explosion of the eruption threw deadly cloud of stones, ash and fumes to a height of 20.5 miles, spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. The city of Pompeii was obliterated by pyroclastic flows and an estimated 16,000 citizens perished in the event.


Where Children Sleep

American journalist Chris Booth and photographer James Mollison toured the world and took photos of children's' bedrooms and compiled them into a book Where Children Sleep. The differences between the sleeping spaces of children from different regions is striking.  "I hope this book will help children think about inequality, within and between societies around the world," says Mollison in his introduction, "and perhaps start to figure out how, in their own lives, they may respond."


Goat Dragging Festival

Goat Dragging or Buzkashi is a popular Afghan sport played on horseback in central Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, northern Pakistan, India and Kazakhstan. Buzkashi can be compared to the game of Polo – there are two teams and players ride on horses, just like in Polo, but instead of the ball is used a carcass of a headless goat or calf.

The goal of the game is to grab the carcass and then get it clear of the other players and pitch it across a goal line or into a target circle. Competition is typically fierce, as other players may use any force short of tripping the horse in order to thwart scoring attempts. The riders will carry a whip, often in their teeth, to fend off opposing horses and riders.


Storseisundet–The Bridge to Nowhere

No, this is not a ramp to launch spaceships. It is a bridge on one of Norway's most scenic and popular tourist roads - the Atlantic Ocean Road (Atlanterhavsveien in Norwegian). The bridge named Storseisundet makes a sharp bend as it jumps over a number of small islands and waterways. The approach to the bridge looks scary as the bridge seems to end abruptly and as if any attempt to proceed would result into the vehicle flying out and dropping into the waters below.


Trees Cocooned in Spider Webs After Pakistan Flood

An unexpected side-effect of the flooding in parts of Pakistan last year has been that millions of spiders were driven up into the trees to escape the rising flood waters. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, spiders have built massive webs on trees turning them into ghostly cocoons. Such a phenomenon has never been seen before.

On the flip side, people in Sindh have reported fewer mosquitoes than they would have expected given the amount of stagnant water in the area. It is thought the mosquitoes are getting caught in the spiders' webs, reducing their numbers and the associated risk of malaria.


Eye Deceiving Wall Murals by John Pugh

California based artist John Pugh specializes in the art of in ‘trompe l’oeil’, which means 'to deceive the eye’ in French. Pugh uses his skills to create huge 3D scenes on the side of buildings that fools the eye. Take for instance the wall mural painted on a wall in Los Gatos, California. It looks as if an earthquake had shaken away the walls of these buildings to reveal Egyptian architecture hidden inside. And that woman peering into the ruins? She is not real either.


Photographs of Television Screens the Moment They’re Turned Off

German photographer Stephan Tillmans took photos of old Cathode Ray Tube television screens the moment they are switched off and produced a fantastic art project called Luminant Point Arrays.

Unlike in movie theatres where the whole image is projected on a screen at once, a video image produced on television is composed of rapidly scanning lines across a screen starting at the top of the screen and moving to bottom. When the television is switched off, the scanning lines decays and for a fraction of a second, a bunch of gradually thinning scan lines appear on the screen. Stephan Tillmans has captured these lines.


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