This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Mediterranean Week

Atlantropa The Strait of Gibraltar is a location of extremes. On a worldwide scale, the stretch that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea is tiny, just eight miles. One might suspect that something of this size might easily fit into the schemes of modern engineering. The world’s longest bridge is over 100 miles long. The Chunnel, connecting …

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The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Mediterranean Week

The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood The Mediterranean Sea is massive, covering 2.5 million square kilometers (970,000 square miles). It contains 3.75 cubic kilometers of water, enough to fill more than 310 copies of Lake Superior. The body has nourished some of the planet’s greatest civilizations, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks to …

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The Atlantic Fall Line

The Atlantic Fall Line The United Nations estimate that approximately 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of an ocean. A Reddit user named gnfnrf performed some back-of-the-napkin calculations and determined this area accounts for somewhere between 1.5% and 12.15% of Earth’s total landmass (measurements of coastline are notoriously difficult to determine), meaning people pack …

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Mocha Dick

Mocha Dick Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure.  — Herman Melville, Moby-Dick  Instead of projecting his spout obliquely forward, and puffing with a short, convulsive effort, accompanied by a snorting noise, as usual with …

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Porphyrios Of what precise species this sea-monster was, is not mentioned. But as he destroyed ships, as well as for other reasons, he must have been a whale; and I am strongly inclined to think a sperm whale.  — Herman Melville, Moby Dick  The Gladises – a family of orcas likened to the combatants of the Roman …

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Fireworks In this age of digital wizardry, where one can conjure great feats of the imagination with relative ease, sometimes the old, analog displays dazzle us the most. Few things capture human attention more than pretty exploding ordinances. In the 21st century, even fireworks displays depend on computers and intricately plotted sequencings developed by algorithms. …

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Sakura If one should ask you concerning the spirit of a true Japanese, point to the wild cherry blossom shining in the morning sun. –Motoori Norinaga, Shikishima no Uta  Since at least the 8th century, people in Japan have practiced hanami, which translates literally to “flower viewing.” The flower in question is the sakura, also known as …

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This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series New Mexico

Trinity Batter my heart, three-person’d God  — John Donne, Holy Sonnet XIV Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. — Vishnu, Bhagavad Gita In 1938, German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman discovered the possibility of nuclear fission. Physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch realized the breakdown of radioactive elements could produce a weapon of planetary proportions. …

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An Ancient Walk to Rewrite History

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series New Mexico

An Ancient Walk to Rewrite History Since the 1970s, the predominant theory on the habitation of North America hinges on a land bridge from Asia. Approximately 13,000-16,000 years ago, near the end of the last Ice Age, climatic conditions precipitated a strip of land between Siberia and Alaska, called the Beringia land bridge. This theory …

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