Rocks that Rock: 8 Stone Giant Sites

Nature carves wonderful sculptures all over the earth. We saw some in a previous post; now let's take a little trip and see a few more of the many awesome giant rock formations suggested by mental_floss readers.

1. The Old Man of Hoy

The Old Man of Hoy is a 449-foot sea stack on the Orkney Island of Hoy off the coast of Scotland. The red sandstone formation was created by natural erosion in fast-forward, as maps of the area from as recently as 400 years ago have no indication of its existence. The relatively rapid action of wind and water might mean that the stack will not exist 400 years from now. The Old Man is a popular challenge for rock climbers, and was the site of a spectacular BASE jump in 2008. Image by Wikimedia user Finavon.

2. The Devils Marbles

The Devils Marbles are found 393 kilometers north of Alice Springs in Australia's Northern territory, or as the description reads, "in the middle of nowhere". Although most postcards show the two most photogenic, there are many rounded rocks of all sizes strewn about the area. They were formed when a layer of volcanic rock was pushed up to the surface. The layer formed cracks and split into rectangular shapes, which were worn away by erosion until some of the rocks look rather round, while others retain their earlier shape. Aboriginal legend says the rocks, called Karlu Karlu, have supernatural powers and have a sacred place in stories they do not tell to outsiders. The rocks are not to be removed from their natural site. Image by Wikpedia user Iain Whyte.

3. Turnip Rock

Turnip Rock is a formation you'll find on the shore of Lake Huron in Michigan, at the "tip of the thumb" (which makes sense when you look at a map of the state). The rock is on private property, but is seen and photographed by many who travel the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail by raft, kayak, or other boat. Turnip Rock is just as spectacular surrounded by ice in winter. Image by Dan Depner.

4. Taikhar Chuluu

A large rock stands out in the middle of a plain in Mongolia. The Taikhar chuluu is covered with inscriptions dating back as far as Turkic rule in Mongolia. Those inscriptions were followed by more in the Mongol language, then Tibetan, and even more modern graffiti. Local legend says that a hero encountered a snake at the spot, and after killing it, plugged the hole it came from with this huge rock. Image from mong?ol bi?ig & manju bithe.

5. The Sphinx

In the Bucegi Mountains, a part of the southern Carpathian range in Romania, there's a cliff that resembles a human face, which earned it the name of The Sphinx. Although the Sphinx is a popular tourist attraction, hiking to the site on foot is not recommended because of bears.

6. The 12 Apostles

The 12 Apostles are sea stacks at Port Campbell National Park, on the Victoria coast in Australia. Despite the name, there are only eight stacks in the group (there were nine before one collapsed in 2005). While the limestone in Port Campbell is 15-20 million years old, the sea stacks date back only about 6,000 years, and the stone on the bottom layer is softer than the upper layers. Like the Old Man of Hoy, the existing stacks may only last a few hundred more years -a blink of the eye in geological time. However, erosion will continue to carve new stacks. Image by Wikipedia user Richard Mikalsen.

7. Garni Gorge

The Garni Gorge at the Khosrov Nature Reserve in Armenia is framed by columnar basalt cliffs like those of the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. The rocks lining the gorge are sometimes called the Symphony of Stone because they resemble organ pipes. Image by Wikipedia user Mediacrat.

8. Cappadocia

Göreme is a town in the Cappadocia region of Turkey that is the center of many amazing rock formations. Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia together make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Two volcanoes, Erciyes and Hasan left a layer of rock millions of years ago that were later transformed by erosion into several kinds of monoliths. Fairy chimneys are columns with rock caps balanced on top. Natural caves formed in the cliff walls and underneath the ground. Image by Flickr user Nick Leonard.

But humans have also contributed to the site, as they turned the caves into homes and churches in antiquity, which are now protected as cultural as well as natural landmarks. The underground cities of Kaymakl?, Özkonak, and Derinkuyu in Cappadocia were formed from this volcanic rock and were used as homes and shelters from war and religious persecution. Image by Flickr user

See also: Nature's Stone Giants

Courtesy of Airpod
New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Afternoon Map
8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists

Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]


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