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Vimeo / Sandy Patch

The Last Ice Merchant

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Vimeo / Sandy Patch

67-year old Baltazar Ushca has been mining ice from Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador since he was a teenager. He brings the ice down the mountain on donkeys, and sells the ice (which he says is the freshest, sweetest ice around) through a shop that has been selling that mountain ice for generations. He is the last ice merchant in town, now that his two brothers have given it up. The family business dies with Baltazar. One of his brothers (a former ice miner) now makes ice cream -- using manufactured ice.

In this 13-minute documentary by Sandy Patch, we get a glimpse of a hard, cold job that is melting away.

The Last Ice Merchant (El Último Hielero) from Sandy Patch on Vimeo.

And here's a bonus feature showing a local ice manufacturer. His business is also threatened by the fact that most people have access to refrigerators and freezers:

Ice Factory Owner Discusses the Ice Business from Sandy Patch on Vimeo.

And one more bonus -- another of Baltazar's brothers used to run a snow cone truck using the Chimborazo ice. Now it's just not worth the gas to drive the truck around:

Juan's Snow Cone Machine from Sandy Patch on Vimeo.

For more on ice harvesting and commercial ice production, see our 2009 feature The Surprisingly Cool History of Ice.

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iStock
China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall
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iStock

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
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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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