G'day folks,

Time to check out some brilliant work by worldwide photographers. You might see a few familiar faces.

Clancy's comment: I just love the black and white photographs.
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16 December 2018 - ORESHEK FORTRESS - 1323 to 2018

 - 1323 to 2018 -

G'day folks,

Oreshek Fortress is an abandoned 14th-century castle and prison complex on a small island in the Neva River. 

The Oreshek Fortress, also called Shlisselburg, was first built in 1323 as a fortified outpost of Veliky Novgorod, one of the earliest cities in Russia. In 1478, it was incorporated into to the state of Moscow. Now abandoned, this island fortress situated at the head of the Neva River has played witness to some of the most important events in Russian history.

Over time, the initial 14th-century wooden structure was replaced by heavy stone walls. The bastion towers were also widened and rebuilt. The fortress, guarding the Baltic Sea, changed owners many times with the wars over the years, belonging first to the Russians, then to the Swedes. In 1702, Tsar Peter the Great captured the area once again and Russians regained access to Baltic. A year later he founded the city of St. Petersburg as the new capital of Russia, and the front line of defense was moved to the Finnish gulf.

The island fortress was deemed a perfect place for a political prison, and insubordinate solders, or on occasion, more famous personalities, were sent to the penitentiary cells in Oreshek. Most famously, the brother of Vladimir Lenin was imprisoned here and later hanged for treason. The complex was expanded year after year and by 1911 it could hold about a thousand prisoners.

 The fortress was abandoned after the Russian Revolution in 1917, and barely survived the Second World War. The island was defended by Red Army soldiers during the siege of Leningrad and the structure was badly damaged. Today only 6 of the original 10 towers remain in tact. The historic site and castle remains are now open to visitors as a museum. 

To get to the fortress take a train from St. Petersburg, Finlandsky railway station to Petrokrepost. The lake and ferry dock are short walk away from the railway station (the way is not marked with any signs). You can take a ferry to the island from there. Plan your time; it's better to arrive early than late. Within the complex is a memorial to its defenders and a prison museum.

Clancy's comment: Mm ... I don't think I'd want to be an inmate back in 1323. 

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15 December 2018 - A BUNCH OF TOP QUOTES


G'day folks,

Yep, time to be inspired.

Clancy's comment: There ya go. I hope one of these was inspirational.

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14 December 2018 - Massive Guatemalan Sinkhole




G'day folks,

Guatemala City has had experience with sinkholes before: In 2007, three people and a dozen homes here suddenly disappeared into the earth. But no one was prepared for anything like this.

On Sunday, May 30, 2010, an enormous hole, 60 feet wide and 30 stories deep, opened up in the middle of Guatemala City, swallowing a three-story building, a home, and local reports claimed that one man was killed when the building was swallowed.
Generally, sinkholes are caused by underground rivers or stores of water which erode bedrock and cause the ground above to collapse. Guatemala City is largely built on weak materials such as volcano pumice, however, and as such its sinkholes open extraordinarily quickly, leaving little time for escape.

 Most geologists are chalking the new sinkhole’s opening up to Tropical Storm Agatha. At least one specialist thinks the sinkhole may have been caused by broken underground pipes gushing water underneath the building, and Guatemalan officials are rushing to find the pipe, stop the leak, and fill in the hole, or else risk the hole widening. But getting construction crews to fill in a hole this large could take years, especially in the slums of Guatemala, where transportation is slow at best.

With the risk of other sinkholes opening in the city “high,” according to National Geographic, Mayor Álvaro Arzú may have his hands (if not his sinkholes) full for awhile.

 The sinkholes have largely been filled in.


Clancy's comment: Gulp!

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