Tuesday, 31 July 2012


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Rare Look at Nemo 33, the World's Deepest Indoor Pool
TechEBlog, 30 July 2012.

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Located in Brussels, Belgium, Nemo 33 is currently the world's deepest indoor swimming pool. Its "maximum depth is 34.5 metres (113 ft). It contains 2.5 million litres of non-chlorinated, highly filtered spring water maintained at 30C (86F) and holds several simulated underwater caves at the 10 meters (33 ft) depth level" [Source]. Watch the video below:

Source: YouTube via TechEBlog
There are numerous underwater windows that allow outside visitors to look into the pools at various depths. The complex was designed by Belgian diving expert John Beernaerts as a multi-purpose diving instruction, recreational, and film production facility, 2004.
Visit Nemo 33 Official Website and see more images from their photo gallery.


Top image: An underwater house at Nemo (left) and Nemo33 deep view (right)

[Source: TechEBlog. Edited. Top image and some links added.]


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The Most Bizarre Water Parks in the World
By Claire Cottrell,
Flavor Wire, 30 July 2012.

Having spotted this once-glorious Olympic venue re-imagined as a Wonka-fied water park dubbed the Happy Magic Water Cube, giving a second life to an international showpiece that had quietly fallen into disuse by bringing a fantastical variation of a day at the beach to the landlocked residents of Beijing, we couldn’t help but wonder what other wet, wacky parks exist in the world.

The original Imagineer and creator of the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney, once said that “it’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Surely the bizarre water parks of the world are testament to that statement. From a giant King Cobra water slide meant to mimic sliding down a snake’s slippery back to the most crowded wave pools in the world to lazy rivers in a land before time, click through to check out the strangest feats of aquatic, pleasure-seeking imaginations around the globe. Let us know in the comments which you’d like to visit, if any! [Note: Click also the image source links for more information]

1. Happy Magic Water Park - Beijing, China

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Image credit: CRIEnglish via Inhabitat

It’s pretty bizarre that a revered Olympic venue designed by a world-renowned architect would be turned in to a rainbow-coloured water land adorned with giant suspended fake jellyfish. Whatever works, right?

2. Six Flags Hurricane Harbour - Jackson, New Jersey, USA

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Image credit: Theme Park Review

This giant King Cobra water slide looks pretty great, but we’re wondering, why would anyone want to experience what it might feel like to slide through the slippery innards of a giant reptile?

3. Seagaia Ocean Dome - Miyazaki, Japan

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Image credit: SuperTightStuff

The largest indoor water park in the world boasts a sizable, faux-sandy “beach” and waves you can surf. It might be more wonderful than weird if it didn’t happen to be about half a mile from the actual beach. [More information]

4. Tropical Islands Resort - Krausnick, Germany

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Image credit: extravaganzi; HolidayCheck

A massive indoor reproduction of a tropical paradise, complete with a white-tent camp in - wait for it - Germany.

5. Suoi Tien Park - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Image Credit: Battlefield Heroes; GADLING

If Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss were to collaborate on a life-size water-themed pinball machine, it would look like this. Cool but weird.

6. Summerland - Tokyo, Japan

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Image credit: Michael Yamashita via My Modern Met

So, obviously indoor water parks are a thing, but what’s bizarre about this one is how crowded it is. Even more bizarre is it actually looks like a lot of people are enjoying it.

7. Beach Park - Fortaleza, Brazil

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Image credit: Gadgoz

At first glance, this probably doesn’t look that strange, but take a closer look at the slide. Dubbed the Insano, it’s the steepest water slide in the world. Apparently you can reach speeds up to 105 miles an hour riding down it. Scary weird. [Related Post]

8. Kalahari Indoor Water Park - Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, USA

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Image credit: 10000Likes

In the grand scheme of wacky water parks, this is definitely the least bizarre of the lot, but that giant water-spewing lion of a totem pole qualifies it for a mention.

9. Cacheuta Water Park - Mendoza, Argentina

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Image credit: Ana Lisa Alperovich via Inhabitat

This is definitely the most bizarre water park we would like to visit. Built out of natural hot springs in the mountains of Argentina, its prehistoric vibes are entirely manufactured. There’s decidedly something slightly off about floating down a fake natural hot river in a pseudo land before time.

10. World Waterpark at the West Edmonton Mall - Edmonton, Canada

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It’s a giant water park in a mall in Canada. Shop and float. In Canada. Bizarre. [More information]

[Source: Flavor Wire. Edited. Top image and some links added.]


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When Rainbows Embrace Metropolises
By Yohani Kamarudin,
Environmental Graffiti, 30 July 2012.

Of all meteorological phenomena, from puffy white clouds to dramatic lighting strikes, probably the most universally loved is the rainbow. And really, what’s not to love? Coming as it does on rainy days, the rainbow can be seen to represent a promise of better times after adversity or hardship. The many beautiful shades of a rainbow have also come to stand for the wonders of human diversity.

The rainbows in these pictures are certainly diverse, standing as they do over some of the greatest cities in the world - from Sydney (top image) to Istanbul. So let’s take a look at a few more metropolises, framed by one of nature’s most beautiful creations.

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Photo: Audrey

Slashing through the sky like the trail of a colourful superhero, this rainbow descends into the skyline of mid-town Manhattan. You’ll notice the buildings look almost as if they're lit up against the dark clouds behind them. That’s because when you look at a rainbow you always have your back to the sun, so the sun will be illuminating whatever you are facing - in this case the city skyscrapers.

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There’s no mistaking Sydney Harbour, with its iconic Opera House and green-and-cream coloured ferry boats. The rainbow in this picture so beautifully frames the harbour, it almost looks like the rounded glass of a souvenir snow globe!

The rainbow's end, in this case, seems to be on the shiny apartment block known as “the Toaster” - a moniker that's not always meant in an affectionate way. In fact, it's even been described as the part of Sydney Harbour that many Australians would like to see blown up!

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We can’t help but see the allegory in this photograph, with the rainbow ending just below LA's famous Hollywood sign. Lots of people have certainly chased a dream to find their pot of gold there...

The band of colours is pretty wide in this shot, too - great for seeing just how many shades you can spot, alongside the 7 well-known ones.

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If you look carefully at this graceful curve above Singapore, you'll see that it is, in fact, a double rainbow! The second is just outside of the first, and slightly fainter. Second rainbows aren't all that unusual, it's just that because they are lighter than the main rainbow so we rarely notice them.

These extra arches appear when light is reflected from water drops at an angle of 50° to 53° (from the sun) rather than just the usual 42° for primary rainbows. So next time you’re admiring a rainbow, look closely and see if it has a ghostly twin shimmering away nearby.

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Here’s a close-up look at the double rainbow effect, this time over Seattle. Theoretically, light can refract through raindrops at even more than two angles, but double rainbows are the most we generally see.

For the residents of Seattle there is a plus side to their frequent drizzles with sunny patches - it’s the perfect condition for rainbows.

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Photo: Tom Raven

This stunning rainbow, which looks like it has a bit of cloud draped over it, spans the New Zealand city of Auckland. In this case, it really does look like the coloured arch brings sunnier times with it - judging by the bright blue sky you can see peeking through!

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Photo: Jacob Johan

Rain showers can happen any time in Amsterdam, and so can rainbows! This one looks like it's bringing a bit of colour to what is otherwise quite a grey, drab-looking day. Although we think of rainbows as being divided up into seven colours (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) they are actually much more complex. The rainbow contains every shade your eye is capable of seeing - plus a few more!

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Ireland is, of course, the origin of one of our favourite rainbow myths - the one which tells of a pot of gold guarded by a leprechaun at the rainbow’s end. So we felt we had to include a rainbow in Ireland, and this one was snapped in the grand city of Dublin. Finding that tricky elf doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the treasure though. According to the tales you have to nab him before he sees you or he'll disappear... As elusive as the lovely rainbow itself, it seems.

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The Turkish capital of Istanbul sprawls beneath this colourful crescent - or two if you look carefully. The Mesopotamians believed the rainbow was both the goddess Ishtar’s necklace and a bridge to heaven.

Actually, the colourful arches are regarded as a supernatural bridge in several mythologies, including the Norse who called it the ‘Bifröst’ - a road between men and the gods.

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Photo: Audrey

We thought that first image of the rainbow over New York was so magical it was worth another picture! At first glance it looks like the dazzling arc disappears behind the Empire State building, but look closely: you can just make out the colours crossing over in front. But that’s not the only thing to look out for! Check out the right hand corner above the skyline and you can see, very faintly, a double rainbow.

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Photo: Danhe

Pink shades stand out perfectly in this rainbow over Rio de Janeiro, adding some more colour to what's already a colourful place. The Arawak Indians of South America believed that seeing a rainbow over the sea was a good sign. Unfortunately, we don’t know what they’d say about one over a city (but we're sure it can't be bad).

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Photo: Erik Ebeling

Here’s another perfect dome rainbow, this time seen over San Francisco. Look how there is a slight contrast between the colour of the sky on the inside of the rainbow curve and the sky on the outside. That’s because if you really analyze rainbows they are actually disks of light, not just coloured arches. The light reflecting off the water drops which form rainbows is directed not only towards the outside rim of this disk but also - more faintly - inside it.

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These buildings in Seattle are being bathed in colour! At least, that’s how it appeared to this photographer and their camera lens. Because a rainbow is the result of the way light is distributed by the raindrops and hits each eyeball from a different angle (everybody viewing it will be standing in a slightly different place), no two people will ever see a rainbow in the exact same way. Which makes seeing one just a little bit more special, we think.

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Photo: Cocktail Tea

Here’s a second rainbow over Singapore, standing out against the stormy sky behind it. In Chinese legends it is said that the sky is supported by a giant pillar. One day, this pillar collapsed and tore a hole in the heavens. The goddess Nüwa repaired this rift by sealing it with five (some versions say seven) coloured stones, which is the rainbow that we see today.

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Vancouver looks like a city of glass and steel under the rainbow in this picture. The photographer who took this shot said it had been raining all day before the sun, and this amazing rainbow, came out to play. We’re certainly glad he was there to capture it.

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This rainbow is truly monumental. Or standing over one, at least! We're talking, of course, about the Washington Monument, seen here looking especially bright in the late afternoon sun. It really does make a pretty picture as it arcs through both clouds and sky.

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Photo: Maxim Mihai

Here's an ominous looking sky if ever there was one, but it just makes the rainbow depicted here that bit more striking. This storm over Bucharest in Romania definitely makes for an interesting picture, with the sunlight on the houses contrasting with those dark, gunmetal-grey clouds.

Single or double, against dark skies or light, nothing decorates a sky like a rainbow. We hope you've enjoyed these gorgeous pictures of rainbows from around the world, and perhaps learnt just a little more about this wonderful natural phenomenon.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Top image: Photo: Gary Hayes

[Source: Environmental Graffiti. Edited.]


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Bolivian Salt Flat Creates Amazing Walking on Water Illusion
By Pinar,
My Modern Met, 23 July 2012.

Located at 11,995 feet above sea level, Salar de Uyuni is a mystifying salt flat in Altiplano, Bolivia that has a reflective nature when covered with water. The briny layer of land, created through the rainy season, transforms the otherwise plated pockets of dry salt into a giant mirror, giving the illusion of walking on water. Though the salty desert is quite beautiful when left alone, the introduction of water leads to an unbelievably surreal result. It is especially exquisite on cloudy days where it looks as though visitors are taking a stroll in the sky.

The miraculous metamorphosis of the 4,086 square mile expanse of salted terrain, which happens to be the largest salt flat on earth, is all at once mind-boggling and breathtaking. There's an inexplicable beauty to the infinite presence of a blue sky filled with puffy, white clouds. Travellers find it hard to shy away from documenting the remarkable and heavenly scene, choosing to feign a balancing act, jump for joy, or skate across the lustrous surface that mimics a sheet of ice.

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Top image: Panoramic view of Salar de Uyuni. Source: top image, bottom image.

[Source: My Modern Met. Edited. Top image and information links added.]

More information:
1. Salar de Uyuni