Chinese Students Descend a Half-Mile Cliff to Get to School 

It's time to tell your grandpa to stop complaining about walking uphill both ways to school. Last week, the state-run Beijing News ran a series of shots by photographer Chen Jie that showed 15 school kids in the country’s mountainous Sichuan province traveling to class. To get there, the students have to leave their tiny rural village of Atuleer, and climb over 2500 feet down a sheer, half-mile cliff using a chain of 17 bamboo ladders secured to the rock, CNN reports.

The trip is so arduous that the schoolchildren, ages 6 to 15, board at the school and only return home once every two weeks. As for the so-called “sky ladders," they're nearly as old as the rural village. "We replace a ladder with a new one when we find one of them is rotten," Chen Jigu, a resident of the Atuleer village, told China Daily.

These preventative measures aren’t always enough. Aluteer’s chief, Api Jiti, told Beijing News that seven or eight villagers have died after falling from the ladders, and that plenty more have been injured.

According to the Associated Press, following the circulation of Chen Jie's pictures, local government officials are now taking steps to ensure the province’s residents a safer journey. Last Friday, they issued a news release stating Atuleer’s residents will be provided with a new set of steel stairs until they think of a more permanent solution.

Not only are the sky ladders unsafe for kids, they've also been detrimental to Atuleer’s 400-some residents, who are members of China’s Yi minority group and earn less $1 a day as farmers. According to the statement from the Liangshan prefectural government, traders knew that the villagers couldn't carry unsold goods back up the cliff. This knowledge was used to exploit the farmers for lower prices.

“The most important issue at hand is to solve the transport issue," county Communist Party Secretary General Jikejingsong reportedly said in the news release. “That will allow us to make larger-scale plans about opening up the economy and looking for opportunities in tourism.”

Officials are also considering building a road to the village, the Global Times reports. However, the proposed project might end up being too expensive. Experts want the villagers to relocate, but also acknowledge that they face the risk of losing their livelihoods if they move.

While China has large cities filled with stunning architecture, high-speed trains, and countless other technological innovations, millions of people live below the poverty line—particularly farmers, herders, and members of marginalized minority groups in rural inland areas.

According to The Guardian, president Xi Jinping aims to dramatically reduce the country’s poverty rates by 2020. “Although China has made remarkable achievements seen across the world, China remains the world’s biggest developing country,” Xi said at a conference last fall. Xi says the government plans to provide financial support to China’s estimated 70 million rural residents. Experts say that the plan doesn’t take China’s “new urban poor” into account and that officials need to come up with a better solution to address the nation’s income gap.

Watch a video of the children's cliff journey above, courtesy of ABC News.

[h/t CNN]

Banner image courtesy of iStock

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]

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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