Happy Festival of Numerical Coincidence! Dogs & Cats in Weddings [25 PICS]

November 12th, 2013 Permalink

Happy Festival of Numerical Coincidence! In the United States and Belize, we do dates differently than the rest of the world by using a month/day/year format. Believe it or not, there’s a mad rush to get married on 11/12/13. For example, San Francisco City Hall is all booked up. David’s Bridal compared the date to the Superbowl but for weddings. There’s a psychology surrounding numerical sequences, other than setting a wedding anniversary date that neither couple should forget. For couples who desire such a date, the next sequential date will be next year in December 12-13-14. Since it’s a big day for marriage-seekers, we thought we’d look at weddings featuring dogs and cats while discussing magical calendar dates that set marriage records. [25 Photos]

The Bride and Groom, dog wedding

The Bride and Groom, dog wedding. Sequential dates, such as 11/12/13, have been called the “perfect” date to get married. For math or number lovers, a couple could try to time their increasing number wedding ceremony for 11/12/13 at 14:15:16 seconds. Photo #1 by geckoam

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Tiny Lego-like Military Masterpieces: Tribute to Veterans [52 PICS]

November 7th, 2013 Permalink

How do you say thank you to a U.S. veteran? For starters, being thankful for our vets one day a year is not nearly enough. We wanted to honor veterans this Veterans Day with a Lego-like military tribute. It seemed to us that the creators and photographers of these tiny military masterpieces were showing their appreciation of our veterans through art. We mixed in some of the photographers’ description with some quotes to honor veterans, some words of wisdom from Combat for Dummies and some Murphy’s Laws of Combat. So if you are veteran, then kick back, relax and hopefully be entertained by this unique expression of our appreciation. If you know a vet who you’d like to thank, maybe share this with him or her? Happy Veterans Day! [52 Photos]

Under fire

We honor those Americans who have so bravely served this country. “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave,” ~ quote by Elmer Davis. Photo #1 by leg0fenris

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Fantastic Fall Season in the Great Smoky Mountains [38 PICS]

November 2nd, 2013 Permalink

Between North Carolina and Tennessee is a spectacular chain of mountains known as the Great Smoky Mountains, commonly called the Smoky Mountains or simply the Smokies. Although they are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Smokies encompass over 500,000 acres of beautiful scenery and are the home of America’s #1 most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. People travel from all over globe to the Smokies during autumn to see ridge after ridge of forest bursting with fall foliage. There are 16 peaks that rise more than 6,000 feet, more than 270 miles of roads, and over 800 miles of maintained trails were visitors can see lush forests, breathtaking waterfalls, rushing streams, and abundant wildlife. Due to the different elevations, the fall leaf colors can last for weeks, meaning the Great Smoky Mountains are especially beautiful in autumn and extremely busy during the last three weeks of October. Here’s a look at the fantastic fall season in the Smokies, the Land of Blue Smoke. [38 Photos]

Mt. Cammerer Sunrise, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mt. Cammerer sunrise showcases an amazing autumn as far as the eye can see. The photographer added, “Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Mt. Cammerer, looking north 10 minutes before sunrise.” Photo #1 by Michael Hicks

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Waverly Hills Sanatorium: 1 of the Scariest Abandoned Hospitals in America

October 24th, 2013 Permalink

This former tuberculosis hospital has been called one of the most terrifying, most haunted, places in America. At least 6,000 people died there, many taken out through a ‘death chute’ tunnel, and Waverly Hills reached urban legend ghost status. Built in 1926, the massive Gothic architecture housed TB patients suffering from the “White Plague” with no antibiotic cure on the horizon. It closed in 1962, then became a facility for the elderly, but was shut down for patient abuse by Kentucky state officials in 1982. Here’s a ‘spooky USA’ armchair visit to a place of history and mystery, Waverly Hills Sanatorium. [66 Photos, 6 Videos]

Patients of Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Patients of Waverly Hills Sanatorium. You’re looking at it, the most modern, most advanced and well-equipped tuberculosis hospital at the time…in 1926. There had been a horrible outbreak, the “White Plague,” sweeping across America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It’s been said that thousands afflicted with tuberculosis checked in, but some never checked out. And nowadays this abandoned hospital is known as “one of the most terrifying places in America.” Photo #1 by The Owl / University of Louisville Libraries

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Eerily Beautiful Underwater Sculptures: Art Transformed into Artificial Reefs [PICS]

October 12th, 2013 Permalink

Our coral reefs are dying, but forward-thinking eco-minded artists are helping nature by creating stunning life-sized sculptures . . . and then sinking them. Man has been creating artificial reefs for thousands of years, starting with the Ancient Persians who wanted a military advantage by blocking off an area of the sea. As mankind has evolved, so too have our artificial reefs. The most amazing consist not of our trash or out-dated ships, but of incredibly detailed sculptures created to be placed underwater and slowly but surely undergo a metamorphosis under the sea. While it may look like abandoned statues starting to decay, it is actually art being rebirthed into living, breathing reefs. If you haven’t had a chance to dive or snorkel such locations, then you are missing out. So here is a look at the eerily beautiful process of spectacular art, underwater sculptures, transforming into artificial reefs. [52 Photos]

August 2011 Silent Evolution

More than 400 life-sized sculptures, collectively as The Silent Evolution, form a massive artificial reef in the shallow waters off of Cancun, Mexico. Slowly but surely, in an eerily beautiful process, the art changes; nature transforms the underwater sculptures from concrete, to covered with algae, and then coral, creating new reefs and new homes filled with a wide variety of marine creatures. Photo #1 by © kozyndan

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America the Beautiful in Autumn: Peak Fall Foliage Dates for 48 States [50 PICS]

October 3rd, 2013 Permalink

America the beautiful in autumn. Here are the predicted peak fall foliage dates for the 48 contiguous states, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. Enjoy! [50 Photos]

Autumn mountain peak foliage colors, West Virginia

America is always beautiful, but especially so in autumn when fall foliage is reaching peak colors. All sorts of people and sites make prediction for when the colors will be the best, but here are the peak fall foliage dates for the 48 contiguous states, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. Photo #1 by ForestWander

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From Beach Resort Paradise to Rotting Ruins: Crumbling Mediterranean Ghost Town

September 13th, 2013 Permalink

Imagine yourself on an island in the Mediterranean with beautiful white sand beaches, warm weather, fantastic places to shop, fine dining, and modern luxurious hotels that are frequented by the vacationing rich and famous. Then boom, the island is invaded and you must flee for your life from that slice of paradise. From tourist hotspot to ghost town, it’s a No Man’s Land with ruins that are rotting away. This happened: the island is Cyprus, the year was 1974, and the area was known as Varosha, a section of Famagusta. The crumbling vacation resort is a “forbidden zone” that has been stuck in time and slowly decaying for nearly 40 years. Sure, you could cross the “Buffer Zone” to see what that moment in time looked like when people fled and Varosha was abandoned, but if caught . . . trespassers will be shot on the spot. [36 Photos]

Varosha is a beach paradise and crumbling vacation resort where trespassers will be shot

Varosha in Cyprus is a both a beautiful beach paradise and a crumbling vacation resort where trespassers will be shot. Wait, what? You read it right. The photographer explained, “Perhaps the most haunting and downright weird tourist attraction on Cyprus, the abandoned Maras district (known in Greek as the ‘Varosia’) really is a sight worth seeing. The Varosia is a lingering reminder of the relatively recent year of 1974, when the Turkish invasion took place and this whole area was barricaded off with barbed wire, becoming something of a no-man’s land. The beach and crumbing high-rise tower blocks remain unused and make the Varosia area of Famagusta appear rather like a ghost town, with just a tiny portion of this former leading beach resort being still occupied.” You can see both in the “postcard” above. Photo #1 by bass_nroll

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Outstanding Natural Beauty of World Heritage Sites in Africa [36 PICS]

August 27th, 2013 Permalink

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated 129 World Heritage Sites in Africa, but these 36 are listed as Outstanding Universal Value for natural heritage. As you might expect, there is a wide diversity of flora and fauna in each. Sadly, some of these have also been placed on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites in Danger, most often due to poaching of endangered wildlife. The UNESCO committee may inscribe new sites on the list, or it may delist sites if the area no longer meets the criteria, but this is UNESCO’s current list for Africa in 2013 as of the time of publishing.
[36 Photos]

Lion at Serengeti National Park, Masai Mara, Tanzania

Lion at Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. It is one of many UNESCO World Heritage Sites for natural and outstanding universal value in Africa. This vast savanna has 3,648,000 acres (1,476,300 ha) and is world-renowned for its annual herd migrations in search of water and pasture. Two million wildebeests, hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles, and all their predators make it “one of the most impressive nature spectacles in the world.” Because there is so much prey, it contains the “Big Five.” Serengeti is believed to hold more than 3,000 lions, the largest population of lions in Africa, about 1,000 African leopards, African Buffalo, African Elephants and Black Rhinoceros — but few rhinos are said to remain due to “rampant poaching.” It was designated as a natural site by UNESCO in 1981. Photo #1 by Anita Ritenour

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Hidden Gems: 25 Least Crowded U.S. National Parks [50 PICS]

July 23rd, 2013 Permalink

National Park Service sites receive approximately 280 million visitors each year and it publishes a ‘Ranking Report for Recreation Visits’ every year. This public usage list includes all NPS properties, not just National Parks, but also National Monuments (NM), National Historical Parks (NHP), National Seashores (NS), National Military Parks (NMP), National Recreation Areas (NRA), and so on as listed on the ranking report for 2012. The National Park Service says it has one mission, to “care for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.” There are a total of 367 places on this list, but when it comes to only national parks — some with and without a preserve — what are the hidden gems among national treasures, the least crowded U.S. National Parks? If you want more of nature, and less of people, then you might be interested in visiting one that is less popular. Here’s a list starting at #25 and working down to the #1 least-visited, therefore least-crowded national parks in all of the United States during 2012. [50 Photos]

Virgin Islands National Park, Trunk Bay and the beach on Saint John, called the most beautiful beach in the world

#25 of the 59 U.S. National Parks: Virgin Islands National Park had 483,341 visitors in 2012, coming in with a rank of #119 of the #367 on the list. It is the 25th least-crowded national park in the U.S. This is Trunk Bay and the beach on Saint John, called the most beautiful beach in the world. It is continually listed in the top 10 beaches worldwide to visit. Photo #1 by Iliyan Gochev

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Endearing, Endangered Gentle Giants: Marvelous Manatees [44 PICS]

July 12th, 2013 Permalink

Massive yet gentle, manatees are endangered marine mammals. Sometimes called “sea cows,” they were once thought to be a bit dimwitted, but now are known to have a similar intelligence to dolphins. We fell in love with them while we were in Florida, so here’s look at these endearing, endangered gentle giants. [44 Photos]

Kissing manatees in Georgia

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (.pdf), “Christopher Columbus was the first European to report seeing a manatee in the New World. To Columbus, and other sailors who had been at sea for a long time, manatees were reminiscent of mermaids—the mythical half-fish, half-woman creatures of the ocean. Manatees are not fish, however, but marine mammals.” When you think about manatees, you probably think of those living in Florida. However, these West Indian manatees traveled to Georgia in late spring and early summer. Photo #1 by Michael Gilbert, Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex / USFWS

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America’s Most Iconic Statue: Lady Liberty [55 PICS]

July 6th, 2013 Permalink

For 127 years, she’s watched over and welcomed people to the USA. Officially, her name is ‘Liberty Enlightening the World,’ but most call her the Statue of Liberty or Lady Liberty. She is surely America’s most iconic statue. Lady Liberty is made from 300 copper sheets, suspended from a steel framework, which have naturally oxidized over the years making her appear green. She is 151 feet tall, standing on a 65 foot concrete and granite pedestal upon a courtyard shaped like an 11-pointed star. Located on Liberty Island, Lady Liberty calls out, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.” On July Fourth, America’s 237th birthday, Lady Liberty reopened to the public. Here are some rare and historic photos and fun facts, mixed in with stunning shots of the Statue of Liberty. [55 Photos]

Lady Liberty, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886

Countless millions have been awed by visiting America’s most iconic statue. Lady Liberty, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. After the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, the Statue of Liberty “reopened” on July 4, 2013. Photo #1 by Mr. Nixter

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Fireworks: Celebrating Happy Independence Day America! [21 PICS]

July 4th, 2013 Permalink

July Fourth, the day Americans celebrate their independence from that place across the pond. God bless America. Happy Independence Day! [21 Photos]

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day, America! “May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!” ~ quote by Daniel Webster. Photo #1 by Jeff Krause

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