Critics outraged by UK plan to build 1.8 mile tunnel under Stonehenge

January 16, 2017 by  
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One of Britain’s most well-known archaeological landmarks could soon have a tunnel carved below it. The government unveiled plans for a 1.8 mile tunnel running under Stonehenge as part of a $2.4 billion infrastructure investment, hoping to slash traffic plaguing the area. But not everyone is happy with the government’s plan; some experts believe a tunnel could destroy undiscovered artifacts. The British government is planning a $2.4 billion investment for the country’s A303 road, hoping to upgrade it into a “high quality, high performing route” that will improve trips for millions of people, according to the Department for Transport’s statement on the project. Part of the upgrades include a tunnel passing beneath the famous site. Officials say the tunnel would slash congestion and bolster the local economy. Related: Archaeologists reveal fresh details about 4,500-year-old “New Stonehenge” English Heritage , the charity managing more than 400 historic sites, backs the tunnel. UNESCO , which in 1986 designated Stonehenge as a World Heritage Site, say they could get behind the idea, but have not yet viewed final plans. Historian Tom Holland fears a tunnel could destroy the key historical site. He told CNN, “Recent finds show this place is the birthplace of Britain, and its origins go back to the resettlement of this island after the Ice Age. It staggers belief that we can inject enormous quantities of concrete to build a tunnel that will last at best 100 years and therefore decimate a landscape that has lasted for millennia.” Local chamber of commerce president and Amesbury Museum chairman Andy Rhind-Tutt is also against the tunnel, saying it won’t even really improve traffic and will “put a time bomb of irreversible destruction on one of the world’s greatest untouched landscapes.” The public can comment on the tunnel plan until March 5, and the government plans to announce the preferred route later in 2017. Construction could start in 2020, according to a Highways England spokesperson, and could be completed in four years. Via CNN Images via Good Free Photos and Pixabay

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Critics outraged by UK plan to build 1.8 mile tunnel under Stonehenge

Heroic dolphins could save critically endangered porpoise from extinction

January 16, 2017 by  
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Seal Team 6, a squad of dolphins trained by the US Navy to locate undersea mines and other submerged objects, may be the last, best chance of survival for the world’s most endangered marine mammal . The team of superhero cetaceans will be recruited to help locate the sixty or so remaining vaquitas in the wild, so that a small group of the porpoises may be captured and relocated to establish a captive breeding population. Distinguished by their small size and dark rings around their eyes and mouths, vaquitas are endemic to a narrow stretch in the upper regions of the Gulf of California in Mexico . The vaquitas population has been in decline for decades due to the tiny porpoise’s habit of becoming trapped in fishing nets meant for other sea creatures. While ex situ conservation , the establishment of a protected captive breeding population, is not a new idea, it remains controversial. “I don’t like this idea at all,” said Omar Vidal, director general of the World Wildlife Fund Mexico in Mexico City.”The risk of killing a vaquita while catching them is very high. With only 50 or 60 animals left, we can’t play with that.” Related: China’s ‘extinct’ dolphin may have been sighted again in the Yangtze River Despite the risks, the Seal Team 6 project, currently in planning stages, will likely commence in spring. However, the Navy and its dolphins will not be alone. “An international group of experts, including Navy personnel, have been working on two primary goals: determining the feasibility of locating and catching vaquitas, as a phase One,” wrote Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, chairman of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita. “As a second phase, to determine the feasibility of temporarily housing vaquitas in the Gulf of California .” Vaquitas have never successfully been held and bred in captivity before, so the team will be paying particularly close attention to creating holding pens, likely located in a protected bay, that meet the specific needs of the animals . While creating a net-free, safe environment for wild vaquitas in their natural habitat remains the ultimate goal, the situation is now desperate enough to merit risk. “Given the crisis we’re in, we need to explore all of our options,” said NOAA biologist Barbara Taylor. Via Science Magazine Images via Marion Doss/Flickr and  Paula Olson/Flickr

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Heroic dolphins could save critically endangered porpoise from extinction

Archaeologists reveal fresh details about 4,500-year-old "New Stonehenge"

August 15, 2016 by  
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Last year archaeologists thrilled the world when they revealed there could be a “New Stonehenge ” just two miles away from the iconic monument in England . Geophysical surveys suggested this 4,500-year-old “Superhenge” could include around 100 concealed stones. Now archaeologists digging at Durrington Walls, where “New Stonehenge” is located, have found the monument was likely built mainly with wooden posts instead, and work was mysteriously stopped before completion. The Durrington Walls monument could have been a ring around 1,640 feet in diameter of between 200 and 300 wooden posts. The archaeologists on the “Durrington Dig” excavated two large holes about five feet deep. Ancient people appear to have removed the posts and then filled the holes with chalk, and archaeologists found an ancient tool made of the shoulder blade of a cow at the bottom of one hole, suggesting there could have been a ritual surrounding the process of filling in the holes. Related: Enormous ritual stone monument discovered near Stonehenge is “archaeology on steroids” Archaeologists think the fact that monument construction was abruptly halted when the structure was almost done could offer clues into the religious and political climate of the era, as the Neolithic era slowly transitioned to the Bronze Age. The people building Durrington Walls may have changed religions, or perhaps another group came through and destroyed evidence of their religion. The abrupt change signals religious or political turmoil may have gripped the region. National Trust archaeologist Nick Snashall said , “The new discoveries at Durrington Walls reveal the previously unuspected complexity of events in the area during the period when Stonehenge’s largest stones were being erected – and show just how politically and ideologically dynamic British society was at that particularly crucial stage in prehistory.” Further evidence for the turmoil can be glimpsed in Stonehenge’s own history, as Snashall said. At around the same time as the Durrington Walls work ceased, Stonehenge was changed from a large circle with stones of medium size to a smaller circle with the humongous stones glimpsed at the site today. Via The Independent Images via Wikimedia Commons and Dr Nick Snashall on Twitter

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Archaeologists reveal fresh details about 4,500-year-old "New Stonehenge"

Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse

August 15, 2016 by  
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The treehouse sits in a garden in Limhamn, Sweden. It was built using two large plywood sheets “jigsawed into an interlocking apple shape,” and then clad with poly-carbonate sheets to fortify the treetop headquarters. According to the architect, “The interior of this stake-out is a bench, some thin plywood shelves for books and a periscope hidden inside a rotating apple twig to spy on the surrounding villa gardens.” Related: Anders Berensson unveils wooden Trätoppen skyscraper with a numerical facade Anders Berensson Architects are no strangers to creative, organic spaces. They’ve also created innovative designs like the Haystack Cafe, the mind-bending  Chop Stick swing set and the idyllic Guest Harbor House . We’d happily swap out our smartphone for a chance to play in this Apple Headquarters. + Anders Berensson Architects

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Apple Headquarters is finally complete and it’s an adorable treehouse

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