Great pictures on The Big Picture of the Nyiragongo Crater - a 1300-foot deep lava lake at the top of an active volcano in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Above is the view from the rim of the volcano.
Nyiragongo Crater: Journey to the Center of the World [The Big Picture]
During the volcano-induced airspace shutdown back in April a group of people, many of whom have never met and all of whom were stranded in various airports worked together to collaborate on a single-issue magazine:
What we’ve made of it all is an 88-page souvenir of a moment in time when a non-life-threatening crisis hit the world, one for which nobody was to blame, and nobody knew how long it would last. People scrambled to find alternative routes home, any way, any how, or tried to make the best of wherever fate had placed them. It was a moment of unplanned disruption, never to be repeated in quite the same way. The perfect subject for a magazine, in fact.
That magazine is now available for sale, and definitely looks worth the $18.95.
Stranded Takes Off [Magtastic Blogsplosion]
In an effort to get their image back after a financial meltdown and a volcano that caused the largest shutdown of European airspace since WWII, Iceland has embarked on an aggressive internet campaign. During “Iceland Hour” on Thursday, the 320 000 inhabitants of the world’s most Northerly nation were urged to go online and spread the word about how much they love their country. Not only that, they’ve uploaded videos all over the place and set up a site where you can view areas of Iceland on a live webcam (which is actually pretty cool).
The head of the “Inspired by Iceland” internet campaign, Einar Karl Haraldsson, told BBC News that tens of thousands of e-cards had been sent between 1300 and 1400 GMT.
He said half a million people had viewed the videos on the campaign website and “there have been two million hits on Twitter”, the popular social network.
“We can already say there has been an enormous response,” he said.
For what it’s worth, Iceland, I still have all the same viking, fisherman and volcano stereotypes about you I always had.
Iceland Woos World With Net Event [BBCNews]
From the New York Times, a great editorial on the volcanic-ash-cloud-induced flight cancellations in Europe by Seth Stevenson, who recently circumnavigated the globe with his girlfriend – without air travel.
Governments, businesses and most travelers, irritated by disrupted itineraries and worried about lost productivity, are delighted to see planes back in the sky. But I, for one, wish this blessedly jet-free interlude could have continued a little longer. In the eccentric, ground-level adventures of some stranded passengers — 700-mile taxi rides through Scandinavia, for instance, perhaps a horse-drawn stagecoach over the Alps if things got really desperate — I’m reminded of the romance we trade away each time we shuffle aboard an airplane.
In the five decades or so since jets became the dominant means of long-haul travel, the world has benefited immeasurably from the speed and convenience of air travel. But as Orson Welles intoned in “The Magnificent Ambersons,” “The faster we’re carried, the less time we have to spare.” Indeed, airplanes’ accelerated pace has infected nearly every corner of our lives. Our truncated vacation days and our crammed work schedules are predicated on the assumption that everyone will fly wherever they’re going, that anyone can go great distances and back in a very short period of time.
So we are condemned to keep riding on airplanes. Which is not really traveling. Airplanes are a means of ignoring the spaces in between your point of origin and your destination. By contrast, a surface journey allows you to look out on those spaces — at eye level and on a human scale, not peering down through breaks in the clouds from 35,000 feet above — from the observation car of a rolling train or the deck of a gently bobbing ship. Surface transport can be contemplative, picturesque and even enchanting in a way that air travel never will be.
Thanks to the Volcano, an Escape from the Jet Age [Seth Stevenson]
Posted in Five Kinds of Awesome, Technology, Thought-Provoking
Tagged Air, Editorial, Experience, Jet, Plane, Simple, Slow, Travel, Volcano, Voyage
The Telegraph has some more awe-inspiring photos of the volcanic eruption at Eyjafjallokull in Iceland.
Iceland Volcano: The Latest Spectacular Views of the Volcanic Eruption [The Telegraph]
Posted in Flaming Ball of Death, Nature, Places
Tagged Awe-Inspiring, Epic, Eyjafjajokull, Grim, Iceland, Imposing, Lava, Lightning, Photography, Scary, Volcano
A stunning photograph by Albert Jakobsson of Icelands Eyjafjajokull volcano erupting while Earth was experiencing the strongest solar storm in three years, hence the Aurora in the background. There are some more great shots after the link, including hotdog roasting on the volcano.
Iceland Volcano Erupts with Stunning Volcano Backdrop [Discovery]
This is a shot of the Sarychev peak, a volcano Northeast of Japan, erupting on 12 June 2009. It was taken from the ISS.
This detailed astronaut photograph is exciting to volcanologists because it captures several phenomena that occur during the earliest stages of an explosive volcanic eruption. The main column is one of a series of plumes that rose above Matua Island on June 12. The plume appears to be a combination of brown ash and white steam. The vigorously rising plume gives the steam a bubble-like appearance. The eruption cleared a circle in the cloud deck. The clearing may result from the shockwave from the eruption or from sinking air around the eruption plume: as the plume rises, air flows down around the sides like water flowing off the back of a surfacing dolphin. As air sinks, it tends to warm and expand; clouds in the air evaporate.
In contrast, the smooth white cloud on top may be water condensation that resulted from rapid rising and cooling of the air mass above the ash column. This cloud, which meteorologists call a pileus cloud, is probably a transient feature: the eruption plume is starting to punch through. The structure also indicates that little to no shearing wind was present at the time to disrupt the plume. (Satellite images acquired 2-3 days after the start of activity illustrate the effect of shearing winds on the spread of the ash plumes across the Pacific Ocean.)
Sarychev Peak Eruption, Kuril Islands, Image of the Day [NASA]