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Vimeo / Sandy Patch

The Last Ice Merchant

Vimeo / Sandy Patch
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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8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
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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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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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