Meet the Workers Risking Their Lives to Rebuild the Great Wall of China

Teh Eng Koon // Getty Images
Teh Eng Koon // Getty Images

Repairing centuries of damage to the Great Wall of China is no easy task. (Which, of course, makes sense when you consider that the wall took more than 1800 years to erect.) Since 2005, workers have carried out grueling—and often, life-threatening—physical labor to see that the World Wonder is restored to the same tiptop shape it was in during the Ming dynasty.

Most recently, restoration efforts have been focused on the Jiankou section of the wall. The re-bricking process requires that workers dangle from a single rope, held by their teammates, while they coat the wall in cement. The faintest slip of the hand could cost them their lives.

As if the physical demands weren't enough, the laborers are also burdened with the responsibility of maintaining historical accuracy. Last year, preservationists were outraged by the "botched" repairs made to the Great Wall in northeast China. "A once unkempt, haunting 700-year-old stretch of the wall now looks like a cement skateboarding lane dumped in the wilderness," The New York Times wrote at the time.

New video footage from Live China—and spotted by National Geographic—gives an up-close view of this physically demanding work, as well as the process of transporting bricks via donkeys and mules. You can watch it in full below:

17 Signs That You’d Qualify as a Witch in the 1600s

YouTube
YouTube

Are you a woman? Do you have a birthmark? Do you enjoy spending quality time with friends without a chaperone? You might just be a witch! At least that's how the thinking went in the 1600s, when now completely normal behaviors could have seen you accused of witchcraft.

Grab your broom and the pointiest black hat you can find, and join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she shares 17 signs that might have branded you a witch during the 17th century in this week's all-new edition of the Mental Floss List Show. You can check out the full episode below:

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

Driver Captures Avalanche Crashing Down Colorado Mountainside on Video

iStock.com/wakr10
iStock.com/wakr10

Aside from being attacked by a mountain lion, getting caught in the middle of an avalanche is probably a Coloradan's worst nightmare. As Mashable reports, that became a reality for multiple people who were driving down a highway near Denver on March 3.

On Sunday, two separate avalanches ripped down a mountainside in Summit County's Ten Mile Canyon. The first one sent plumes of snow across Interstate 70 between Copper Mountain and the nearby town of Frisco, Colorado. Later that evening, a second, heavier avalanche caused the same highway to shut down for three hours.

No one was injured and no cars were buried in either instance, but video footage of the phenomenon shows just how bad it could have been. In one video posted to Twitter by Jeremy Hubbard, an anchor with local Fox affiliate KDVR, a driver puts his or her car in reverse and starts backing up as the snow rushes towards their vehicle. Further ahead, one truck seems to disappear into the snowy mist. However, according to Hubbard, the bulk of the snow never reached the road in the first avalanche.

The second avalanche was also a close call for many people. One driver named Will captured the action in his side view mirror, which you can watch in the video below. (Warning: He uses some adult language.)

Avalanches are not an uncommon sight at Colorado's Berthoud Pass and Red Mountain Pass, but they seldom occur along I-70. In this particular instance, "heavy snow across the high mountains created conditions favorable for avalanches," The Denver Post explained. Sometimes, when there's a build-up of snow, the Colorado Department of Transportation will proactively shut down highways and conduct controlled avalanches in order to prevent potentially dangerous incidents like what happened on Sunday.

For skiers and snowboarders, safety precautions are especially important. Avalanche beacons (devices that send your location to rescue crews) can be lifesavers. Read up here on some of the other guidelines you can follow to save yourself should disaster strike.

[h/t Mashable]

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