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5 Curiously Shaped Forests

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Most forests aren't shaped like anything much. Natural blobs, usually. Squares, perhaps, if they were designed by architects or urban planners. But these forests are forests with a purpose.

1. A Heart

In 1995, Janet Howes died from heart failure at the age of 50. Her heartbroken widower, Winston, decided to pay tribute to his wife by planting a forest of 6,000 oak trees, leaving a heart-shaped meadow in the middle. Situated in the middle of a six-acre field near Gloucestershire, England, the massive love letter remained a secret until a hot air balloonist spied it from the air a few years ago.

2. Minnesota

Someone must be a really proud Minnesotan. In Lake of the Woods County, there lies a massive forest shaped exactly like the North Star State. After an article on the oddly shaped woods ran on Minneapolis’ City Pages site, a commenter replied with the backstory:

"I was a forester in northern Minnesota for some time and I can tell you this. This is state forest land, managed by DNR Division of Forestry. The state employs foresters to design timber harvests to meet many objectives including ecological and economic ones. The forester who designed this timber sale is a veteran at his craft and created this boundary line without the use of gps [sic], but with map and compass instead. The forest type is jack pine, which is an early successional species that colonizes sites after a major disturbance and needs full sun to thrive. This species occurs in fire dependent forests.  Modern timber sales mimic the effect of fire in these landscapes. As such this large opening was created to encourage it's [sic] regeneration. Loggers are contractors of the landowners/land managers, and as such do not have discretion as to the layout of the harvest or other design features. They perform the contract. This forester must have an artistic side.”

3. A Guitar

Across the globe, another romantic husband in mourning wanted to do something big to memorialize his wife, who suffered a cerebral aneurysm while pregnant and died at the age of 25. Graciela Yraizoz loved the guitar, so her husband plotted out a replica on their Argentinian farm that stretches nearly 2/3 of a mile long. The outline is made mostly of cypress trees, while the “strings” are formed by blue eucalyptus.

4. The word "Studebaker"

There’s a Studebaker in this forest near South Bend, Indiana—and I don’t mean a car. It’s been there since 1937, when the company planted 5,000 pine trees at their proving grounds. The park is apparently publicly accessible now, with signs on the ground helpfully explaining which group of trees is which letter.

5. A Swastika

A forest about 60 miles north of Berlin used to reveal a terrible secret every fall. It seems a Nazi sympathizer once planted a cluster of larch trees in the shape of a swastika. When the trees turned yellow every fall, they stood out against the evergreen forest, showcasing their message of hate. Once the trees were discovered, Brandenburg state authorities removed some in the hopes of disrupting the design. They eventually grew back, and in 2000, the larch trees were cut down entirely.

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Amsterdam is Turning Plastic Trash Into 3D-Printed Furniture
PrintYourCity
PrintYourCity

The city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is taking a unique approach to waste management, Inhabitat reports. Under the direction of The New Raw, a Rotterdam-based design studio, recycled plastic is being used to make public benches that capture a lot of the area’s charm while providing solutions for the 51 pounds of plastic refuse each Amsterdam resident tosses away each year.

The initiative is called Print Your City! and encourages those materials to be repurposed via 3D printing to make new, permanent fixtures. The New Raw calls it a “closed loop” of use, where the plastic is used, reused, and materialized in the same environment. The bench, dubbed XXX, seats two and rocks back and forth with the sitters' movements, offering a metaphor for the teamwork The New Raw is attempting to cultivate with the general public.

A plastic chair is surrounded by trash
Print Your City!

“Plastic has a major design failure,” says Panos Sakkas, an architect with The New Raw. “It’s designed to last forever, but it’s used only for a few seconds and then easily thrown away.”

The goal is to collect more plastic material in the city to use for projects that can be designed and implemented by citizens. In the future, 3D printing may also support bus shelters, waste bins, and playground material—all of it recyclable.

[h/t Inhabitat]

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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iStock

Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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