The Artwork of Rigo 23

One Tree painting by Rigo 95

Painting by the numbers

When it comes to art, I have very particular (and, often, unpopular) tastes. I’ve been to many of the world’s largest and most famous art museums, and I’ve seen and read enough to be able to talk fairly intelligently about what I’m looking at. But I must be brutally honest: of the many thousands of paintings, sculptures, photographs, multimedia installations, and other sorts of art I’ve seen in my lifetime, I have only actually enjoyed a tiny handful of pieces. My criteria for art enjoyment are quite narrow, having nothing to do with the time period in which something was made, the nationality of the artist, or the piece’s genre. If I had to deconstruct my art evaluation mechanism, I’d probably say I care about just three things: Is it visually appealing? Is it skillfully done? And is it interesting?

Needless to say, evaluating these three questions is a completely subjective matter, but in any case my answers tend to be “no” to all three more often than for most people. I don’t need art to be beautiful or evocative or metaphysically meaningful, but I do need it to flip those ineffable emotional switches in my brain that mean “this works for me.” Whatever else can be said about a piece of art, if I can’t grasp it in some basic way without reading a detailed treatise by the artist or some art expert on what it supposedly means, I don’t like it. In my book, the appreciation of a piece of art should be automatic, spontaneous, and immediate—not dependent on the knowledge of external facts.

Writing on the Wall

I say all of this to put today’s topic in perspective. Improbable though it may be, some of my favorite works of art are painted on the sides of buildings in unlikely places all over San Francisco. I’m not talking about graffiti, though. San Francisco is the proud home of a number of strange, gigantic paintings, many of which resemble traffic signs. These huge murals are just a sampling of the work of an artist who went by the name Rigo 82 in 1982, Rigo 83 in 1983, and so on up through Rigo 02 in 2002, after which he settled on Rigo 23 as a (presumably) permanent moniker. Others of his works appear in respectable museums in this city and around the world. But as you might infer from Rigo’s unusual surname(s), it’s hard to say whether the art or the artist is the more interesting subject.

The artist with the given name Ricardo Gouveia was born in Portugal in the late 1960s, making him about my age. In high school he was involved in a controversial underground magazine, and to disguise his identity he combined the first two letters of his first and last names to make the alias “Rigo.” He then went a step further and adopted the surname 82, reflecting the year at the time. Every year thereafter for 20 years he changed his name accordingly; he also said that his reasons for changing his name changed over time. Rigo came to the United States at age 19, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1991 and a Master of Fine Arts at Stanford in 1997. He has been creating his large-scale outdoor paintings since the mid-1980s.

Sign Me Up

The first of his paintings I recall seeing is also my favorite: One Tree, by Rigo 95. Right next to a freeway on-ramp, the painting, which looked just like a giant One Way sign, pointed directly at the single tree that just happened to occupy the tiny wedge of undeveloped ground between the building and the highway. It was simple, elegant, funny, and so obvious it was profound. (A couple of years ago, sadly, the painting was removed when the building changed ownership and then replaced—inexplicably, behind the tree it was supposed to be pointing at.) Rigo has used the One Way template in several other places. On one building is a large pair of arrows, one pointing upward that says “Birds” and the other pointing down that says “Cars” (Rigo 97); similarly, an abandoned building near downtown had a huge upward arrow that said “Sky” on one side and a downward arrow on the other side that said “Ground” (Rigo 98). Among his other works have been a painting in the shape of an interstate road sign on the side of a public housing building that says “Innercity Home” and the word “Extinct” superimposed on a black-and-yellow warning pattern behind a Shell gasoline station. Some of his works have been lost due to construction that blocks the view (or eliminates the building entirely), but for Rigo, this sort of impermanence is just an intrinsic feature of the urban landscape.

Not all of Rigo’s artwork is based on street signs. His work ranges from the decidedly representational to the utterly conceptual, and he works in media ranging from paints to pushpins to ceramic tiles. Some of his pieces are strictly intended for (the insides of) galleries and museums; others are made for a variety of public places. But all of them are bold, unusual, and accessible to ordinary people—even those with fairly picky (or rudimentary) ideas about what constitutes meaningful art. That’s what I enjoy about it so much: it’s art anyone can appreciate without having to be told why you should.

Note: This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared on Interesting Thing of the Day on September 6, 2003, and again in a slightly revised form on October 25, 2004.

Go to Source
Author: Joe Kissell

National Drink Wine Day

A glass of red wine

As I’ve said numerous times, devoting a special day of the year to activities that ought to be performed every day seems odd, but then, the world is full of odd people. Today is National Drink Wine Day, so just a normal Monday here, but I suppose there are some people whose beverage of choice is, I don’t know, beer or grain alcohol or something, who should be encouraged to branch out a bit today and drink some fermented grape juice. It’s good stuff, and has numerous health benefits (as usual, when consumed in moderation). Bonus points if you can multitask while consuming your wine.

Image credit: Davide Restivo from Lenzburg, Aarau, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Go to Source
Author: Joe Kissell

Image-Stabilizing Binoculars

The U.S. Army's M25 Stabilized Binocular

Complex solutions to a simple problem

When I got married, my wife gave me a wonderful wedding present: a pair of binoculars. I don’t recall ever having said, “I sure wish I had binoculars,” but I couldn’t have been more delighted at her choice. I remember having two distinct thoughts about the gift: first, that this woman must know me awfully well to discern that this is the kind of thing I’d think is not merely cool, but perfectly appropriate as a wedding present; and second, that I now had the ability to see things at a distance. This latter point is not as trivial as it sounds. I have pretty good eyesight, but whether I’m at a concert or play, or on a street corner in a strange city trying to get my bearings, it seems that I’m always about 20 meters too far away to make out the significant details of whatever I’m looking at. For some reason, it had never seriously occurred to me to solve this problem by investing in a pair of binoculars, but now that I unexpectedly had the ability to see things farther away than normal, I found myself excited by the possibilities it would open up.

I am not exactly the target audience for most binoculars—which is to say, I’m not into hunting, boating, bird watching, professional sports, amateur astronomy, or voyeurism. That said, I do find it quite handy to be able to get a closer look at a variety of things on occasion, and looking through binoculars has the curious effect of always making me wish I could see just a little closer still. In other words, if the binoculars reveal that the blur in the distance is in fact a bus, I inevitably wish they magnified the image slightly more so that I could read the number that would tell me if it’s the bus I’m waiting for. Unfortunately, if my wife had bought me binoculars with higher magnification, it actually would have worked against me. The facts of geometry being what they are, small hand movements are amplified dramatically when you’re looking at something far away, so that in most cases, magnifications of greater than about 8x require a tripod to steady the binoculars if they’re going to be useful.

Holding Steady

This problem did not go unnoticed by the military and the space program, both of which had excellent reasons for needing high magnification, and both of which tended to use binoculars in intrinsically unstable locations where a tripod wouldn’t have done much good—on a rocking boat, a moving truck, or a spacecraft, for instance. And so a solution was developed, in typical military style: robust, but heavy, expensive, and awkward. The solution was basically to outfit the binoculars with a gyroscope, whose centrifugal force kept the entire unit relatively steady. Although this did in fact provide a more stable image at greater magnifications, it added significant bulk and weight, used a lot of power, and also required a bit of time for the gyroscope to spin up before the image steadied.

Meanwhile, an entirely different industry was working on a solution to a similar problem. As consumer video cameras became smaller and lighter and turned into camcorders, and as camcorders acquired ever-longer zoom lenses, it became increasingly difficult to create quality home movies of things far away using a handheld device. Clearly, consumers who want a lightweight, pocket-sized device are not going to accept a gyroscope any more than bouncy images, so a different tactic was needed.

You might be thinking: big deal; my smartphone has been able to do this for a long time. Sure, but between your smartphone’s camera and digital display is a fancy microprocessor, along with software that can digitally compensate for shaking in real time. Since binoculars are (generally) optical, not digital, those tricks can’t be used. So how do they do it in purely optical devices?

Let’s Do the Twist

The innovation camcorder makers came up with was this: instead of stabilizing the entire device, simply stabilize the portion of the optical system inside that actually mattered. A number of different and clever solutions to this problem were developed and later modified further so they could be applied to binoculars as well. The result is that several different manufacturers now make high-power binoculars that will give you, at the touch of a button, a frighteningly rock-solid image.

One approach was simply to shrink down the gyroscopes that had been used to steady the entire binoculars of early designs, and use them just to steady the prisms (the parts of the optical path that flip over the image so that it’s right-side-up). This is reasonably effective, but still requires a fair amount of power and adds considerable bulk and weight. This method is used by Russian brands Peleng and SIB. Fujinon uses a variation on this approach, which instead of stabilizing the prisms directly with gyroscopes, incorporates much smaller gyros along with solid-state vibration sensors to feed data to a microprocessor, which then directs tiny motors to reposition the prisms.

An even higher-tech approach by Canon does away with gyroscopes altogether. Early Canon models used a set of motion-sensing devices called accelerometers to measure the unit’s movement, and then handed the data to a microprocessor that determines whether it was intentional movement or not; based on the processor’s decision, it adjusted the angle of the glass faces on a unique, water-filled flexible prism. Later Canon designs instead adjust the angle of a single element within the lens barrel on each side, which has the same effect but requires less power, size, and weight.

All of these approaches, while roughly equal in effectiveness, still require batteries, which may last as little as two to six hours in constant use. An alternative design is all-mechanical. It basically mounts weighted prisms in a special gimbal—a mechanical assembly that allows them to tilt freely in any direction—without any help from gyroscopes, motors, or microprocessors. Carl Zeiss stabilizing binoculars use this approach.

The Cost of Stability

Image-stabilizing binoculars (also known as “image stabilization” or “image stabilized” binoculars) can give you a steadier image at up to 20x magnification than ordinary binoculars will give you at 7 or 8x. But this marvelous technology doesn’t come cheap. A quick survey of a number of different models showed prices ranging from as little as US$300 for an 8x Canon model to $9,000 for a top-of-the-line 20x Zeiss. They are also, without exception, quite a bit heavier than their conventional counterparts—regardless of which technology they use. But apart from their obvious utility to lovers of nature, sports, or live music, they are just plain cool. When I tried a couple of models out in a store, I was simply amazed at the nearly magical effect. Alas, my gadget budget cannot currently accommodate such a luxury, but give me a nice solid 16x model with a built-in compass, rangefinder, night vision, and hi-res digital camera for about $500 and I’ll be happy to hand over the plastic. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Note: This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared on Interesting Thing of the Day on June 6, 2003, and again in a slightly revised form on November 9, 2004.

Image credit: Program Executive Office Soldier [CC BY 2.0], via Flickr

Go to Source
Author: Joe Kissell

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Random acts of kindness sign

This is what the world has come to: the best we can seem to manage is a hope, a wish, a plea that just one day a year some small percentage of us will be nice to other people without expecting anything in return. Well, I guess it’s a start. Be kind to someone, or better yet, several someones today. See how it goes. Remember how it feels. And you know what, you are totally allowed to do the same thing again tomorrow. Honest! The kindness police will not cite you for being nice on other days of the year. And if it turns into a habit, well, there are much worse habits.

Image credit: Heath Brandon [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

Go to Source
Author: Joe Kissell

Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden

Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden

Mining salt in Bavaria

Nowadays, we take salt for granted. Sold for a pittance, the most common of spices, we think of it as an everyday thing, when we think of it at all. It wasn’t always so. In fact, great empires and fortunes rose and fell according to its supply. It is hard to imagine a modern war being fought over salt. But consider these historical events, as recounted in Margaret Visser’s Much Depends on Dinner:

Morocco fought Mali in the sixteenth century for the mines of Taoudeni; the Venetians, whose salt interests are an historical study in themselves, destroyed Comacchio in the tenth century and the salt gardens of Cervia in the fourteenth; pirates throughout the centuries ambushed and raided the slow heavy convoys of salt ships.

There are plenty of other examples—all of which seem outlandish to us today, considering that the biggest battles fought over salt have to do with whether it should be spread over icy roads in winter. Salt has lost its nobility, its historical power—but from the salt-starved Vikings to the salt-greedy Romans, salt has played an important role in human history.

The Saltman Cometh

Nowhere does this seem more obvious than in the salt-rich environs of eastern Bavaria and western Austria. The de facto capital of the region, Salzburg (or “salt town”) was built by its first archbishop in the eighth century with profits from salt mining, but the practice of salt mining goes back even further, to the civilization of the early Celts. In his book Salt: A World History, Mark Kurlansky describes the discovery by local salt miners in the 1600s of a “perfectly preserved body, dried and salted ‘like codfish,’” believed now to date to 400 BCE. Dressed in colorful fabrics, this “saltman” and two others like him were found with the tools of their trade near them, proof of an ancient salt mining culture.

Salt of the Earth

This salt mining tradition continues in the modern salt works along the German/Austrian border, and it’s possible to experience some of what those ancient miners might have felt, deep in the mountains of salt. Founded in 1517, the Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden (“Berchtesgaden salt mine”)—located near Salzburg but on the German side of the border—once entertained only aristocratic visitors, but now welcomes the public to its underground facilities and caves. Berchtesgaden, linked in the public imagination with Hitler’s southern headquarters (although they were actually located at Obersalzberg, a small settlement further up in the mountains) is a town that developed in proximity to the Augustinian monastery that owned the Salzbergwerk. In the early 1800s the monastery was converted into a palace for the Wittelsbachs, rulers of Bavaria at the time, and the entire area became associated with this colorful family.

Mine Games

Still operational, the Salzbergwerk is a fascinating place to visit. When I was there years ago, we were given the traditional leather vests and helmets of the miners to wear (now visitors sport sturdy coveralls), making you feel as if you are a miner yourself. This sensation is heightened when, after a short train ride, you are asked to slide down a wooden chute into the mine itself, just as the miners would do.

The most memorable part of the tour for me was gliding across a large underground lake on a wooden platform boat, an experience that was both beautiful and eerie. I was wowed by the size of the lake, and also slightly disconcerted by the oppressive nearness of the stone “ceiling.” It was definitely not something you see everyday, unless you happen to be a Bavarian salt miner.

Worth Its Salt

Returning from the depths of the mine, it was hard to think of salt the same way again. It is, after all, the only rock that we eat, and with thousands of tons of it looming above your head, you don’t immediately think, “pass the salt.” Vital to the functioning of our vital organs, we would die without salt, yet we live in a salt-glutted world, so much so that we are told to reduce our intake, for the sake of our health.

In their song “NaCl (Sodium Chloride),” folk singers Kate and Anna McGarrigle make a case for the worthiness of salt. Describing the meeting, mating and melding of a sodium atom and a chlorine atom in the primordial sea, they ask us to “Think of the love that you eat, when you salt your meat.” Silly, meant to be taken with a “grain of salt,” yet it expresses the mystery of salt, the serendipitous compound that protects our cells, and fills the ocean.

Note: This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared on Interesting Thing of the Day on August 28, 2003, and again in a slightly revised form on November 28, 2004.

Go to Source
Author: Morgen Jahnke

National Almond Day

Roasted almonds

Almonds are, without a doubt, my favorite tree nut. I eat at least a few almost every day. I think I’ll eat more than a few today, since it’s National Almond Day. I’ve read that my home state of California produces about 80% of the nation’s almonds, and nearly half of all almonds in the world. You’re welcome. Almonds are rich in nutrients and high in fiber, making them (in moderation) a good part of a balanced diet. (Almonds covered in dark chocolate are pretty much the food of the gods.) Enjoy a handful today!

Image credit: Pxhere

Go to Source
Author: Joe Kissell

Tax and divorce: what you need to do before 5 April 2019

As we head ever closer to the end of the current tax year, it is vital that all divorcing and separating couples seek professional advice if they are considering a transfer of assets.

For most divorcing couples, tax issues are way down on the list of things to be considered, however, the impact of the tax on the eventual settlement should never be underestimated.  By carefully planning the settlement, it should be possible to minimize the tax cost of any transfers between the parties, thus leaving the maximum amount possible for distribution.

Whilst the impact of both income and inheritance tax must be considered, there is no immediate charge under either tax upon the transfer of assets under a divorce settlement.  However, there are immediate Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’) implications.

Spouses are treated as ‘connected parties’ for most purposes in CGT, and this remains the case throughout any period of separation or divorce proceedings until Decree Absolute is pronounced.  The basic rule is that up to and including the tax year of permanent separation, the transfer of assets between spouses (eg shares in the family business, investments or property) takes place on a “no gain, no loss” basis because they are ‘connected’.  Hence, there is no immediate CGT liability arising on either the transferee or transferor.

However, gains arising on any asset transfers made following the tax year of separation but before Decree Absolute are assessed on the transferor spouse. Therefore, wherever possible, a transfer of assets between spouses, particularly those assets where a CGT liability may arise, should be made before the end of the tax year in which separation takes place.  

For those couples who do not separate until after 6 April in any year, they will have up to twelve months to arrange their tax affairs in the most efficient way.  However, the tax current tax year ends in just under eight weeks so, for those who have already separated, the opportunity to make the best use of the “no gain, no loss” rule is fast disappearing.  

It is worth remembering that post Decree Absolute, former spouses are no longer treated as ‘connected’ and transfers between them are no longer deemed to take place at market value.  Gains (or losses) in that scenario are then calculated based on actual consideration received.

Professional advice on this matter should be sought by all divorcing or separating couples as soon as possible.

Suzanne Grant is a member of the firm’s forensic team and has many years of expertise in advising on complicated financial matters arising upon divorce and separation.  She can be contacted at our Harrogate office on 01423 532600.

The post Tax and divorce: what you need to do before 5 April 2019 appeared first on Stowe Family Law.

Go to Source
Author: Suzanne Grant

A Week In Family Law: Cafcass figures, Three Cases, and more

It’s been a fairly quiet week for family law news, following the excitements of last week. Here are the highlights:

I’ll start with the latest figures for care applications and private law demand, for January 2019, which have been published by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (‘Cafcass’). In that month the service received a total of 1,051 new care applications. This figure is 10.2% (120 applications) lower than January 2018. As to private law demand, Cafcass received a total of 3,636 new cases during January 2019. This is 3.6% (127 cases) higher than January 2018, and third highest January on record. So once again we have better news on the public law front, but worse news in relation to private law.

Next there were three cases that made the headlines this week:

Firstly, a public law case that carries a message to anyone involved in any family proceedings, especially if they are not represented. A judge has been criticised by the Court of Appeal for ‘bullying’ a mother into agreeing to interim care orders for her two young children, against her wishes. Lord Justice Peter Jackson agreed with the mother that her consent or non-opposition to the interim care orders “was not freely given, but was secured by oppressive behaviour on the part of the judge in the form of inappropriate warnings and inducements.” He went on: “Regardless of the fact that the mother was legally represented, she did not get a fair hearing.” Accordingly, the mother’s appeal against the orders was allowed. You can read the full report of the appeal here.

Secondly, a case that I wrote about here on Tuesday. A High Court judge has praised lawyers who act ‘pro bono’ (i.e. without charge), saying that: “So far removed from the stereotyped ‘fat-cat,’ the legal profession in cases such as this are more akin to Boxer in George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ always telling themselves “I will work harder.” “Without such public-spirited lawyers”, asked Mr Justice Williams, “how would those such as the father and mother in this case navigate the process and present their cases?” He went on: “How judges manage to deliver justice to the parties and an appropriate judgment for the child without such assistance in cases like this begs the question. It is a blight on the current legal aid system that cases such as this do not attract public funding.” It is indeed a blight and, as I pointed out in my post, one that it seems the government is going to do little about, if its recent review of the effects of the legal aid cuts is anything to go by.

Thirdly, another public law case, this time with an unusual outcome. A court has ruled that a young girl whose parents cannot care for her should be brought up by a stranger, rather than her grandparents. District Judge Graham Keating decided that the girl, who was born in 2017, would be better placed in the care of a friend of the girl’s mother, rather than her father’s parents, despite the fact that the friend had never met the girl. Making a special guardianship order in favour of the woman, he said that although the strength of the blood relationship was “very powerful” it was “not definitive”. You can read the full judgment here.

And finally, it has been reported that a group of private backers has agreed to fund the problem-solving Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (‘FDACs’). For those who don’t know, FDACs are specialist courts that help parents deal with drug or alcohol addiction, so their children are not taken into care. FDACs have been extremely successful, with research indicating that families receiving FDAC are significantly more likely than families in standard care proceedings to be reunited with their children, and for the parents to have ceased misusing substances. Unfortunately, the national unit set up to support the courts shut down last year, due to lack of government funding. It has now been reported that a group of private backers and philanthropists has pledged £280,000 to fund a new national partnership to support and extend the model, and seek long term government funding. This is extremely welcome news, although it is an utterly remarkable (though sadly unsurprising) sign of the times that such a successful and highly regarded service should have to rely upon private funding for its existence. What next, judges with sponsorship on their gowns?

Have a good weekend.

The post A Week In Family Law: Cafcass figures, Three Cases, and more appeared first on Stowe Family Law.

Go to Source
Author: John Bolch

Skara Brae

House 8 of Skara Brae

House of sand and rock

The 2001 documentary Rivers and Tides showcases artist Andy Goldsworthy, who creates ephemeral works of art out of the natural materials around him. Whether it’s leaves, twigs, or icicles, Goldsworthy crafts them into breathtaking constructions that add to the beauty of the landscape while still remaining part of it. Although Goldsworthy invests significant effort in each work, after its completion he leaves it at the mercy of the natural processes of wind, rain, sun, and water, only taking a photo to document its momentary perfection.

Some of Goldsworthy’s most arresting works are the ones he creates out of stone. The film follows the progress of a few such projects, including one in which he creates an egg-shaped structure out of split pieces of stone, and another where he works with stonemasons to create a long serpentine wall in a park in New York state. While the wall is meant to be a permanent installment, the egg-shaped structure Goldsworthy creates in the film is destined to be carried away by the rising tide, showing the vulnerability of a material that most people would take to be among the most solid.

Although originally from England, Goldsworthy has lived for many years in southwestern Scotland, finding inspiration for his work in the local landscape. At the other end of the country, in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland, once lived a people who similarly worked in stone, but whose work has lasted over 5,000 years. Miraculously protected from the elements for millennia, the settlement of Skara Brae is Europe’s best-preserved Neolithic village.

Midden Earth

The ancient settlement of Skara Brae is currently located on the edge of the Bay of Skaill, on the west coast of the largest Orkney island (called the “Mainland”), but at the time of its construction (thought to be around 3100 BCE) it was situated far inland. Over thousands of years extreme erosion brought the coast to Skara Brae’s doorstep, and also created sand dunes that covered it and kept it hidden until relatively recently. In 1850, a severe storm removed some of the grass covering the mound of sand, revealing the existence of Skara Brae to the modern world for the first time. Some excavation work was done on the site at that time, but it was left untouched after 1868.

In 1928 an excavation of the site showed the full extent of the discovery. Skara Brae had remained remarkably intact, providing an incredible glimpse into the daily lives of its ancient inhabitants. Besides the protection of the covering sand, the fact that a lack of wood in the area had forced its builders to use stone instead contributed to Skara Brae’s longevity. Most other Neolithic structures, created out of wood, have not fared as well.

One of the fascinating aspects of Skara Brae is how it was constructed. To shield themselves from the cold, and to provide a stable foundation, the inhabitants of Skara Brae built their homes into a mound of midden, that is, the waste products of their community. While this may seem distasteful, their garbage was most likely similar to modern compost, made up of completely organic materials. Stones were laid on top of this foundation, creating an insulated and weather-resistant structure.

The settlement consists of eight houses connected by covered alleys, which allowed the inhabitants to remain inside during cold weather. Another notable aspect of Skara Brae is that seven of these houses are strikingly similar, with features common to all of them including a central hearth, two stone box beds (meant to be filled with heather), a dresser/shelf, and a waterproof enclosure built into the floor which might have held fish for bait or for eating.

Time and Tide

Because it gives such a clear picture of what life was like for its ancient residents, Skara Brae has become world-renowned, and is part of the “Heart of Neolithic Orkney” UNESCO World Heritage site. While Skara Brae is being maintained and protected as much as is possible, ironically it is now threatened by the wind and water that once helped to preserve it, because of its proximity to Skaill Bay and the fact that it is exposed to the elements. It may have withstood the ravages of time for the last 5,000 years, but like the ephemeral stone sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy, it remains vulnerable to change and the destructive power of nature.

Note: This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared on Interesting Thing of the Day on November 20, 2006.

Image credit: Wknight94 [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Go to Source
Author: Morgen Jahnke