What's Your Longest Drive?

The road trip is a staple of American culture, inspiring films, books, and even albums. At some point in our lives, most of us will pack our belongings in the trunk and head off on a new adventure via road. The last time I took a major road trip was in 2000, when I traveled from Charleston, WV to Portland, OR -- a journey that Google Maps now tells me is 2,548 miles, or about 1 day, 13 hours straight through. (I took five days to do it, as I'm a wimp.) In those days I didn't have Google Maps to guide me through it -- I got a TripTik® from AAA and flipped its pages across the country.

Blogger Alan Taylor has taken it upon himself to discover the longest drives you can chart on Google Maps. The list is amazing, currently topping out with North America, Unalaska, AK, USA to Southern Newfoundland, Canada (pictured at right). That's a journey of 7,267 miles, or about 6 days, 15 hours. Some of the trips aren't road-only -- for example the Australia - Cape Bruny, Tasmania to Mardie, Western Australia trek involves getting on a Car Ferry for 3 km.

Historical note: in early 2007, Google Maps suggested that you swim the Atlantic (3,463 miles) if you plotted certain paths between the U.S. and the U.K. -- apparently as a tribute to Benoît Lecomte, the first man to complete the feat (sans kick-board) in 1998. Unfortunately the swim-the-Atlantic feature is now disabled, so you're going to have to accept "Can't get there from here" as a response for some transcontinental voyages.

So this leads me ask: what's the longest road trip you've taken? Bonus points for crazy stories about the van breaking down, "are we there yet" jokes, and stories of woe involving gas station restrooms.

(Via Anarchaia.)

China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall

The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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YouTube // Deep Look
These Glowing Worms Mimic Shining Stars
YouTube // Deep Look
YouTube // Deep Look

The glow worms of New Zealand's Waitomo caves produce light, mimicking the starry night sky. Using sticky goop, they catch moths and other flying creatures unfortunate enough to flutter into the "starry" cavern. Beautiful and icky in equal parts, this Deep Look video takes you inside the cave, and up close with these worms. Enjoy:

There's also a nice write-up with animated GIFs if you're not in the mood for video. Want more glow worms? Check out this beautiful timelapse in a similar cave, or our list of 19 Places You Won't Believe Exist topped by—you guessed it—New Zealand's Glowworm Caves!


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