You might be surprised to find a statue of Bon Scott, AC/DC’s iconic lead singer, in this small town in Scotland. But the rock star was born in Kirriemuir and spent the first few years of his life there.
Born on July 9th 1946, Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott lived in Kirriemuir until he was six years old. His father, Charles, worked in the family bakery and was a member of the local pipe band. Scott’s family emigrated to Australia in 1952, settling in Fremantle, just outside of Perth. It was there that Bon started to pursue his interest in music, joining the local Scots pipe band. It was also at this point that he earned the nickname “Bonny” Scott from schoolmates, which he would later shorten to “Bon.”
After leaving school at 15, Scott spent a number of years drifting through casual jobs and various bands. His luck radically changed in 1974 when he was asked to join AC/DC by the Glasgow-born Young brothers, Malcolm and Angus. Over the next six years Bon became an international rock star, fronting the band for seminal releases such as “Let There Be Rock” and “Highway to Hell.”
But success came at a heavy price. The near-constant touring and recording fueled Scott’s already renowned hard-drinking habits to dangerous levels. Tragically, on the morning of Feb 19th 1980, 33-year-old Bon was found dead, slumped in the back seat of a friend’s car in London. While out partying the night before, Scott had become extremely drunk and was fatefully left in the car to sleep it off.
But Scott’s memory remains alive and well in Kirriemuir. An annual music festival, appropriately named BonFest, pays tribute to his musical legacy. Bands from around the world converge on the town to play AC/DC covers and pay homage to their hero.
Out of the festival arose the idea of a more permanent memorial. Artist John McKenna was contacted to create a statue of Bon. The life-sized bronze figure was unveiled in 2016, at the 10th anniversary of BonFest by former AC/DC bass player Mark Evans. The £45,000 cost of the sculpture was paid for by a crowdfunding campaign. Two scrolls containing the names of all who donated money are sealed at the bottom of the statue.
Now Bon Scott watches over all who enter Kirriemuir, with a microphone in one hand and bagpipes in the other
audiobooks becoming soon more popular than e-books
L'évolution parallèle des chiffres de vente des livres audio et numériques mène immanquablement à une réflexion : au rythme actuel, les premiers finiront par dépasser les seconds. Au Royaume-Uni, l'institut d'études Deloitte estime que cette bascule interviendra dès 2020, soit l'année prochaine, déjà. À moins d'un soudain tassement des ventes, la prédiction n'est pas trop difficile à faire.
(photo d'illustration, ActuaLitté, CC BY SA 2.0)
Les revenus du livre audio, au Royaume-Uni, devraient atteindre les 115 millions £ l'année prochaine, assure le cabinet d'étude Deloitte, qui s'appuie sur le taux de croissance observé ces dernières années. Ainsi, par rapport à 2018, le chiffre d'affaires des ventes de livres audio devrait encore croître de 30 % en 2020, pour allégrement dépasser les revenus de l'ebook.
Deloitte explique la passion pour les livres audio par un équipement performant, que nombre d'utilisateurs possèdent déjà : les smartphones. Ces derniers permettent en effet, pour peu que l'on s'abonne au service adéquat, d'écouter rapidement et simplement des ouvrages lus. La possession d'écouteurs, un préalable aux conversations en mode mains libres, conforte un peu plus l'accessibilité de ce format.
Les sceptiques rétorqueront, à raison, que le livre numérique peut aussi être lu sur un téléphone, et sans manipulations trop délicates ni équipement supplémentaire. Certes, mais le livre numérique s'adapte particulièrement aux usages, qui privilégient un peu plus l'écoute sur la lecture dans des situations de mobilité où l'attention est néanmoins requise, comme les transports en commun. Et plus encore, la hausse des tarifs enregistrés suite au procès contre Apple pour entente a laissé les consommateurs un brin sceptiques.
Le développement des enceintes connectées aurait aussi participé à cet engouement pour le livre numérique, outre-Manche : à ce titre, les services liés, comme Audible avec l'enceinte Alexa pour Amazon, profitent sans doute amplement de la manne.
Quelques mois suffiront pour vérifier la prédiction du cabinet Deloitte, mais un autre territoire pourrait rapidement voir les ventes de livres audio dépasser celles de livres numériques, les États-Unis. Les résultats des six premiers mois de l'année 2019 indiquaient ainsi des revenus de 493 millions $, en baisse de 3,8 % par rapport à la même période de 2018, pour le livre numérique, contre 279 millions $ pour le livre audio téléchargé.
Ici aussi, la même situation pourrait se présenter, avec l'audio devant le numérique. À moins que l'expérience du livre numérique ne se reproduise : une croissance à deux chiffres pendant quelques années, avant un ralentissement très net de la hausse. Voire, du côté des éditeurs traditionnels, une baisse du poids de ce format dans les ventes...
One night in August 2011, long after the last visitors had left the galleries, a man slipped into the Natural History Museum at Tring in Hertfordshire, England. He entered some time between the cusp of midnight and the very early morning—when the only creatures around were the stuffed specimens peering out from glass cases.
The museum is claustrophobic, in the Victorian wunderkammer way: narrow corridors and tall cabinets, lined with perched birds, sprawled lions, and a polar bear with a dopey grin. This man had a mission, and no time to dawdle. He headed for the stuffed rhino.
When he reached it, he used a hammer to loosen the horns, the BBC reported. He snatched them and then fled.
Real rhinoceros horns are made of keratin, the same stuff that makes up human hair and nails, and the thief at Tring had good reason to assume that these horns were, too. But Tring, and many other natural history collections, have been on their guard. They’d taken stock of their holdings, and were thinking ahead.
Rhinos have struggled in the wild, in the sights of poachers’s weapons, and at the time museum workers around Europe and beyond saw that taxidermy specimens and isolated horns in museum displays were at risk, too. The thefts first began ramping up around 2009, says Jack Ashby, museum manager at the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge, and a trustee of the United Kingdom’s Natural Sciences Collections Association, after an unnamed Vietnamese official circulated an unsubstantiated rumor that rhino horn vanquishes cancer. Rhino horn has long been prized for its alleged and unproven medicinal benefits and as a luxury item. In traditional Chinese medicine, for example, it is said that it can be used to treat fevers, gout, or rheumatism. In several countries, horn is also a status symbol. The market wasn’t new, but the rumor accelerated demand. “We’re pretty confident that [it] started the spate of thefts,” Ashby says.
Just a month before the incident at Tring, thieves had targeted the Ipswich Museum, about 100 miles away, and pried a horn off of a rhino that visitors had affectionately named Rosie, a museum mainstay for over a century. (The museum installed a condolence book nearby for people to scribble “get well soon” wishes for the unfortunate ungulate.) Tring had already seen thieves go after its bird collection a few years prior in pursuit of brilliant plumage, so when the staff heard about the rhino horn break-ins, they took steps to safeguard the collection. The man who stole the horns—and would be caught and sentenced to 10 months in jail—had taken resin replicas.
There are many reasons a museum curator, conservator, or staff member might put a replica on display. Because the fossil record is fragmentary, many skeletons are incomplete, so rather than install a quagga teetering on three legs, museums often craft missing pieces out of wood, plaster, resin, or 3D-printed plastic to help visitors get a sense of a creature’s full form. Replicas can also lessen some of the stress and strain that a fragile, fossilized skeleton might encounter. And a big, bonafide tusk might require unsightly supports, unlike lighter papier-mâché and resin.
Rhino horns fall into a different category: Because they’re alluring to people with illicit plans, many museum professionals believe that putting them on display is just too dicey.
Since the rhino horn heists, the Natural Sciences Collections Association has issued guidelines for what museums can do to keep their horns safe. It starts with a security audit, explains Paolo Viscardi, a zoology curator at the National Museum of Ireland, and the chair of the association. Security begins with the display case and moves out from there. Is the horn behind bulletproof glass and multiple locks? Are security staff roving the galleries around the clock? Are there cameras? Do police officers hang out nearby? If the security can’t be brought up to snuff, the guidelines suggest loaning or donating the specimen to another museum.
The guidelines also encourage museums that do have authentic rhino horns to keep mum—or at least not holler about it. “The very first line of security you have is, don’t tell people about it,” Viscardi says. “TheLord of the Rings sums it up: ‘Keep it secret, keep it safe.’” If museums post images of their rhino horns on Twitter, Viscardi adds, they should only use fake ones and make that as clear as they can. Ashby’s museum in Cambridge has extended this idea to the label text. Next to their rhino displays, small signs read, “All rhino horns on display at the museum are replicas.” This is to discourage anyone from even trying. Though a stolen fake is less devastating than a real pilfered horn, the act can still damage the museum, the display, and—most importantly—the preserved animal.
Museums with rhino horns will sometimes prepare themselves for the worst by collecting DNA samples from the horns, in case they ever go missing. They take these samples by, for instance, drilling a one-millimeter hole in the base of the horn and collecting the powder, Viscardi says. There are also international projects, including the Rhinoceros DNA Database Project, run by the Scottish government, that invite museums to contribute the genetic information to a single repository that can help police or customs agents trace seized horns.
At this point, packing away authentic rhino horn is “pretty much universal” across museums, Ashby says. It’s “not a decision that museums make lightly,” he adds. “Changing a historic specimen is rarely done.” But safety often comes before the impulse to leave old specimens be. Viscardi says that pretty much every museum he knows has taken their horns off display, tucked them into secure storage, and fitted synthetic replicas. The average visitor will likely never be able to tell the difference, unless label text trumpets the swap.
Several museums contacted for this story declined to comment about horns in their collections at all, citing security concerns. In rare instances in which museums do keep the originals on display and are willing to talk about it, they make it clear just how tight security is. The Field Museum in Chicago has real rhino horn on display on a taxidermy specimen from the early 1900s. Because the horn is affixed to the original mount, removing it would involve potentially damaging the specimen, which the museum wants to avoid, says Adam Ferguson, collection manager of mammals. But that’s not to say that horns are just sitting out in the open. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with our stuff on physical display if we didn’t have a physical barrier and then added security,” Ferguson says. Talking about the precautions, he says, “highlights that we take this stuff seriously. Like, ‘Damn, that’s hard to get that stuff.’”
All of the museum’s rhino horns are behind glass, and the cases are outfitted with alarms and surveillance cameras, Ferguson says. (The same goes for convincing fakes, attached to an entirely unnatural specimen fashioned from cellulose acetate, which yields an uncannily lifelike impression, down to the wrinkles of the skin.) Another rhino horn and other objects with temptingly high black-market appeal are sealed up in storage facilities behind biometric locks. There, rhino horn sits alongside narwhal ivory, and priceless type specimens—the definitive and diagnostic examples of a given species—are clustered with pangolin scales in locked cabinets, only accessible with badges. The museum doesn’t want to hide stuff away, Ferguson says, but it’s tricky to find the right balance between sharing and safeguarding these items. “You lose the ‘wow’ factor of having it out and on display,” hen says, “but you’ve got the balance the risk versus the gain.”
Demand for rhino horn may wax and wane, but the replicas and security probably aren’t going anywhere. “I could see security practices changing slightly or becoming lax, but it’d be hard,” Ferguson says. “It would take such a long time—it’s not something I could see in my generation or lifespan, someone saying, ‘Let’s get rid of that security altogether.’”
If anything, high-quality fakes might get even more use. A recent paper in the journal Scientific Reports made the case for trying to flood the rhino horn market with imitation horn made from horsehair. (Speaking to Wired, many conservationists voiced concerns that such accurate knockoffs might just fan the desire for the real thing.) There are good scientific reasons for keeping rhino horn on hand, but fewer for putting them at risk on public display, at least until security is locked down and demand fades. “No one thought it was an issue until they started smashing and grabbing horns,” Ferguson says. Now it’s just safer to keep them out of sight.
Hiding in plain sight, you’re looking into the eye of the last remaining example of the magnificent private mansions that once lined the Champs Élysées in Paris. Hotel de la Païva was built by a famous 19th century courtesan who came from humble beginnings in the ghetto of Moscow. Esther Lachmann, aka La Païva, became one of the most infamous women in mid-19th-century France, at a time when there was a bewildering array of categories of prostitutes that ranged from street-walkers and sex workers in brothels to courtesans and kept women. La Païva, was one of the very lucky ones indeed…
The story of her rise to become the “the queen of kept women” is still as juicy and shocking as it was then, well over a century later.
Freshly squeezed orange juice is a welcome sight at cafes worldwide. The machines often showcase about-to-be-squeezed oranges with pinball machine-esque wire loading racks and clear cases that allow the consumer to see their juice being made in real time. International design firm Carlo Ratti Associati (previously) takes the immediacy of the experience to another level. ‘Feel the Peel’ is a prototype machine that uses orange peels to create bioplastic, shaping bespoke cups to hold the juice made from the cups’ own innards.
In a press release about the project, Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) explains that the approximately 9-foot tall machine handles 1,500 oranges, and the peels accumulate in the lower level. The peels are dried, milled, and mixed with polylactic acid to form a bioplastic, which is then heated and melted so that an internal 3-D printer can form each recyclable cup. CRA shares that they will continue to iterate, and are considering creating clothing from orange peels as a future functionality.
At many a world-class museum, food and drink aren’t allowed near any of the artifacts. To be fair, it’s for good reason: Insects drawn by crumbs can damage displays, and curators are wary of rogue splashes of Mountain Dew.
But many museum collections actually contain food. In galleries showcasing mummies and priceless art, you can also find seeds, biscuits, and even ancient cuts of beef on display.
That preserved shoulder of beef, which is nearly 3,500 years old, can be found within Gallery 109 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Found at a pharaonic site near Luxor, Egypt, it was likely a funerary offering meant as a provision for a journey to the afterlife, perhaps for the young prince Amenemhat.
Similarly, the British Museum owns an array of broken pastries that look like cookies left at the bottom of a pink pastry box. In fact, they date from the eighth century. Found in a cemetery in China’s Xinjiang autonomous province, where the arid climate preserved them for 1,500 years, they’re considered some of the world’s oldest surviving pastries.
“The early collectors collected all sorts of things,” says Diana Craig Patch, the Curator-in-Charge of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Egyptian Art. As they swept up remains of long-gone societies, collectors and excavators acquired innumerable artifacts, including ancient food objects. Because of what they reveal about those times and places, curators, in turn, sometimes place them under gallery lights. According to Patch, the “beefcase” is a bit of a bit player in the Met, a museum that contains famous Egyptian antiquities. But tour guides often point out the desiccated beef, since food offerings are essential to understanding ancient Egyptian culture. “That piece of beef guaranteed to someone that they would have food forever,” she says.
While archeologists have dug up foods that survived for centuries, an increased interest in documenting folklore and local foodways has led curators to seek food objects closer to home. The Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford, for example, has a set of Victorian-era potatoes donated from the surrounding countryside. These spuds were carried around in the hope that they could cure rheumatism. The caveat was that the potatoes had to be stolen.
At UC Berkeley’s Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology in California, a precious food collection is even more contemporary. Curators there have assembled hundreds of food samples from Native American groups, which range from acorn meal of the Maidu people to a whale tail cured by the Tolowa people in Crescent City, on the California border with Oregon. The collection’s origins date to the early 1900s, when Berkeley’s first anthropology professor, Alfred Kroeber, made a mission of the “cultural documentation and salvage” of what he considered the fading of local Native American lifestyles, writes Ira Jacknis, a research anthropologist at the Hearst Museum.
Beyond explaining past societies, food catalogs can be resources for future research. Recently, a professor from UC Davis, Kat Anderson, received federal funding to review and identify the edible plants in the Hearst Museum's collection. From the decades-old plants may come all kinds of insights about Californian ecology, which is especially vital as the climate rapidly changes. According to Jacknis, “We need collections like this to tell us what the local environment was once like and may be again, with proper restoration efforts.”
Sharing shelf space with dozens of artifacts in an out-of-the-way gallery, the Met’s beefcase exemplifies how food objects and (once-) edible antiquities have tended to play second fiddle to mummies, art, and other higher-profile artifacts. But over the past few decades, food has aroused both popular and academic interest, and museums have increasingly displayed their food offerings to a fascinated public. In the ‘90s, Jacknis himself curated an exhibition, “Food in California Indian Culture.” The exhibition included one of his favorite artifacts, a handful of dried smelt (small bony fish) given by Minnie Franks, a Yurok woman, to Barrett in 1960. “We enclosed these little fish in a plexiglass tray, lying on a bed of sand,” he says. Almost two decades later, local indigenous California cuisine is back in the news, as Berkeley’s own Cafe Ohlone is receiving rave reviews as an establishment sourcing and serving Native American cuisine.
As for the British Museum’s Chinese pastries, a decade ago they toured the country as part of an exhibition on China. They aren't on display currently, since they are breathtakingly fragile. But according to Dr. Yu-Ping Luk, the British Museum’s curator of the Central Asian collection, guests are amazed when they see them. “It is remarkable to think that they [survived] from the eighth century,” she writes in an email. “They look like little treats that we could imagine eating today, especially the jam-filled tartlets or the one rolled like a pretzel.”
These reactions likely stem, in large part, from the improbability of something edible lasting several millennia past its expiration date. In a blog post, conservator Bronwen Harries pointed out that at the Horniman Museum in England, many food items in their collection, from their Polish cheese horse to their adorable bread eagle, were dried out and not meant to be eaten in the first place.
As for the Hearst Museum’s collection, notes Jacknis, preservation of organic materials boils down to keeping them in glass jars and monitoring them for pests. Patch, quoting mummy expert Salima Ikram’s book Divine Creatures, says that it’s unclear if meat mummies such as the Met's beefcase were cooked in advance or preserved raw. Regardless, the meat has been around for 3,500 years, and it’s not going anywhere, seeing as it’s completely dried out and the climate-control system inside the Met is optimized for long-term preservation.
In the end, though, “it’s difficult to predict how long objects will last,” she says. That goes for any artifact, edible or not. But as long as these foods stick around, objects as simple as pastries can, as Dr. Luk notes, “bring us close to the lives” of the people who made them long ago.
The Leith neighborhood of Edinburgh has been the site of many urban redevelopment initiatives in the last few decades, to the degree that one such proposal played heavily into the plot of the movie T2: Trainspotting, which was partially set in Leith. Alien Rock is one of the most peculiar real-life developments in this area.
Alien Rock is a unique indoor climbing center housed in a historic house of worship. Construction on the church began in 1843 and was completed 40 years later. The church was known by various names such as Newhaven Free Church and Newhaven St. Andrew's Parish Church before being vacated in the 1970s. Two decades later, it was sold and remodeled into Alien Rock, which opened in 1994 as one of Scotland's first indoor climbing spaces.
With assistance from the United States-based organization Xhurches, which deals with the transformation of church buildings into various other uses, most of the church's interior structures were removed to accommodate the climbing walls, which reach all the way up the building's high ceilings. Xhurches also supported a similar church-to-climbing gym transformation in Sherbrooke, Quebec, called Vertige Escalade. The projects are a creative example of repurposing heritage places into new spaces by making use of their existing infrastructure.
This summer, a brown bear named Claverina has been the talk of the Pyrenees, the mountains that form a natural border between Spain and France. She has been busy, killing eight sheep on the Spanish side of the mountain range. Along the way, Claverina has stoked the fires of a decades-old European debate about shepherds and bears, as well as the people and parties that seek to protect the bears, Phys reported last month. And while the answer might seem simple—stop bears from killing sheep—the reality is much more complicated.
The Pyrenees aren’t really facing a conflict between people and bears, says Guillaume Chapron, a wildlife ecologist at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences who studies human relationships with large carnivores. The conflict is between people who do not tolerate the bears and other people who want to conserve them. The issue is local, Chapron says, but it has global implications. “As soon as we have some species that some people don’t want to preserve and we let those species go extinct, we accelerate the biodiversity crisis,” he says. “That means preserving brown bears even if that makes some people unhappy.”
Hence Claverina. Eurasian brown bears remain common in Northern Europe and Russia, but in the Pyrenees they were hunted nearly to extinction in the 1990s, according to The New York Times. So last October, an anesthetized Claverina and another female bear, Sorita, were helicoptered in from Slovenia as the most reintroduction of wild bears to the Pyrenees. It was the latest in a string of French-led reintroductions over the last 20 years. Recent estimates suggest the Pyrenees support a population of around 40 to 50 bears, compared to Slovenia’s booming population of over 500.
After their release, the bears wear tracking devices so conservationists can monitor where they go and what, if anything, they attack. Claverina is the more adventurous of the two, while Sorita stayed on the French side of the mountains and gave birth to two cubs, the BBC reported. Angry farmers staged a protest in August with signs that read “Bears, the ruin of the rural world,” Phys reported. According to Chapron, this contingent is “small but very vocal.”
France has a legal obligation to protect the bears because of the European Union Habitats Directive, Chapron goes on. Bear hunting has been illegal since 1962, putting shepherds in a bit of a bind. There is only so much they can do to protect their flock from prowling bears, as acquiring additional fences and guards (both human and mastiff) gets expensive. The bears are omnivores by nature, feeding mostly on roots, fruits, or various prey, Chapron says. But dry summers leave the bears with scant options to build up fat sources for hibernation, which may be why Claverina went after the sheep.
More often than not, though, the bears are not harming sheep by devouring them. In June, more than 250 sheep died after running from a bear and over the edge of a cliff, according to Phys. As of August 22, more than 600 sheep have died, mostly as a result of similarly ill-fated cliff escapes, Phys reports. (Exit, one might say,pursued by a bear). The deaths over the past two years have increased “exponentially,” sheep farmer Olivier Maurin told Radio France Internationale.
The French government, which compensates farmers who lose sheep to bears, recommends keeping sheep locked up in pens overnight. But farmers say this compensation is not enough, and locking up the sheep would put an end to the herds’ traditional summer migration across mountain pastures.
Chapron sees an inconsistency between France’s reluctance to protect its brown bears and the high conservation standards the country calls for other countries, such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Mozambique. In 2015, for example, France banned the import of lion hunt trophies in an attempt to stanch poaching in Zimbabwe. In those countries, humans live alongside carnivores much more dangerous to people, such as lions and leopards. “France is the fifth economic power in the world, but it is not able to live with 40 brown bears?” he says.
According to Chapron, the largest threats to Europe’s shepherds are economic, not ursine. In the 1980s, France tried to protect its sheep farming industry with boycotts of lamb imported from New Zealand. But after the French secret service sank Greenpeace’s ship Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand, which had planned on protesting French nuclear tests in the Mururoa Atoll, the United Nations ordered France not to interfere with New Zealand's trade negotiations. As a result, France had to keep its homegrown sheep farming industry afloat with subsidies, according to a 1986 story in The New York Times.
For now, at least, Claverina isn’t going anywhere. In the eyes of Chapron and other conservationists, the best possible future for farmers, bears, and sheep in the Pyrenees is one of coexistence. It's a middle ground between resurgence and disappearance. “The notion of coexistence implies some level of conflict,” he says. “The challenge is to make sure that we keep coexisting, and this does not drift toward the eradication of farming or toward the eradication of bears.”
Having access to a computer, be it mobile or stationary, is essential to most people's everyday lives. People often tend to forget just how far we've come in terms of technological prowess when paying bills, listening to a '60s psychedelic rock playlist, or buying last-minute toilet paper from an online service.
Visiting the Computer Museum of America is an illuminating experience into the history of the technology. You'll discover how past generations processed information, early forms of computers, and just how humanity managed to land a person on the Moon.
With its enormous—and growing—collection of vintage supercomputers, personal computers, computer peripherals, and general computer memorabilia, you're sure to find something truly impressive. Whether it be the revolutionary original Pong cabinet, the world-famous Apple II, or if you're into some of the more deep-cuts, the large selection of Cray high-performance computers, perhaps you'll have a better understanding of just how important the world of computing is.
In 2002, Heatherwick Studio was commissioned to design a bridge as part of the redevelopment of Paddington Basin. The new bridge would need to carry pedestrians across a narrow inlet of the main canal, while also allowing the passage of boats when necessary.
The studio, founded by acclaimed English designer Thomas Heatherwick, could have gone with a more traditional option, such as a swing bridge, a lifting bridge, or a rigid retractable bridge. But instead, they designed a structure that, as far as we know, is the only bridge of its kind in the world.
Opened in 2004, the Rolling Bridge uses a curling motion to extend and retract across the span of the canal. It’s a wonderfully organic motion; think of a leaf unfurling, or a caterpillar curling up, or the fingers of your hand closing to form a fist, and you’ll have a good idea of how the bridge opens and closes.
The Rolling Bridge is about 39 feet long and consists of eight triangular sections. When extended and lying flat across the canal, it looks like a fairly nondescript rigid bridge. But it is only attached to one bank. When put into action, hydraulic rams set into the bridge’s balustrade cause the triangular sections to lift up and close in together. As they do so, the bridge curls up as it moves towards the bank. The two ends eventually meet, forming an octagon once fully retracted.
The bridge closes in near silence, which adds to its elegance, and can also be stopped at any point during its extension or retraction. Once fully retracted, it looks like a sculpture rather than a bridge, and not dissimilar to an old water wheel.
Seeing it in motion, however, requires some planning. The bridge was initially scheduled to unfold across the canal every Wednesday and Friday at midday and every Saturday at 2 p.m. At the moment, however, its operation seems to be limited to Fridays at noon.
The world is home to more lighthouses than you probably ever imagined. Tall ones, short ones, new ones, old ones, shining bright or long dark, they really do have an undeniable, enduring appeal. It could be their lonely mystique, or the seaside vistas they command—or of course, their continued usefulness as maritime beacons—but whatever it is, lighthouses continue to be a source of fascination. We recently asked Atlas Obscura readers in our Community Forums to tell us about their favorite lighthouses, and the responses were nothing short of incredible.
“My favorite true lighthouse is probably the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.” — sontaron
Koh Lanta Lighthouse
Mu Koh Lanta National Park, Thailand
“On the southern tip of the island of Koh Lanta in Thailand, there's a lighthouse in a sensational setting. On either side of it are a rocky beach and a sandy beach. With a magnificent forest surrounding all of this.” — liverpoolpreetu
Fastnet Rock, Ireland
“A fave since childhood, as I saw it blinking in the nighttime. Shipping forecasts use it to reference the region. An amazing feat of granite construction from the 1890s, that was manned until 1989.” — philipbee
“I’m a big fan of ‘Terrible Tilly,’ the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse on the coast of Oregon, U.S.A.” — tuckeredpup
“Three great lighthouses I have seen include the Kjeungskjær and Landegode Lighthouses in Norway. There are wonderful lighthouses all along the Norwegian coast. Also, the Peggy’s Cove Lighthouse in Nova Scotia, Canada.” — kld123
“Not one of the world’s greatest perhaps, but it's the oldest [continuously operating] lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States.” — Martin
St. Augustine Lighthouse
Anastasia Island, Florida
“I lived and worked under the beam of this beacon for almost ten years. It gave a genuine sense of calm at night to see it glowing over the neighborhood, despite its reputation for being haunted by a little girl. I’ll never forget the ruckus one morning when a wacko climbed to the roof in a tiger costume to promote his anti-pedophilia children’s book. I can’t make this stuff up.” — Ssshannon
Wind Point Lighthouse
“The Wind Point Lighthouse, near my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin, was built in 1880 and is still operating on Lake Michigan. On July 6, I got to climb to the top for the first time in my life! That’s what happens when you move away and become a tourist in your hometown.” — leahkorn
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse
Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
“I spent many hours playing on the rocks in Peggy’s Cove as a child. Now there are many tourists there during cruise ship season. A few inattentive ones still get washed off the rocks by rogue waves most years.” — darbyfish50
“The small island used to be a place where slaves would be held in quarantine before being brought to other islands. It is now uninhabited, and there are multiple shipwrecks littering its shores (no doubt because of the lack of functioning lighthouse).” — kateelizabethbauer
Heceta Head Lighthouse
“I am very partial to the Heceta Head Lighthouse near Florence, Oregon. They have a terrific bed and breakfast that is part of the property. You stay in the Keeper’s Cottage. They serve a fine multi-course breakfast that is well-loved and impressive… yeah, but THAT LIGHTHOUSE!” — caliboy
Cape Finisterre Lighthouse
“Finisterre, at the end of the Camino de Santiago (and the westernmost point on mainland Europe), in Galicia, Spain. Great sunsets!” — dwilkinsboise
“This is Abrolhos Lighthouse, in Bahia, northeastern Brazil, some 36 miles offshore, and signaling the largest coral reef bank in the South Atlantic. It was built in the late 19th century as many along the Brazilian coast, and boasts a beautiful Fresnel lens.” — josepalazzo
Point Arena Light
Mendocino County, California
“For anyone who is a fan of lighthouses, a visit to the Point Arena Lighthouse in California is a bucket list item. It sticks out about two miles into the Pacific, about 150 miles north of San Francisco, and has several houses for rent. It’s great for whale watching and for general chilling out and getting away from everything. We’ve been there three times and can’t wait to go back.” — predsontheglass
Cape Canaveral Light
Cape Canaveral, Florida
“Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, Florida. Erected in 1868. Once very isolated, it is now located among the missile launch pads at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The lighthouse is now owned and maintained by the U.S. Air Force. The light itself is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard.” — jacksonmcdonald
“Reykjanes Lighthouse on the southwestern point of Iceland, arguably the easternmost lighthouse in North America, as it is sits to the north and west of the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates!” — thudson3055
“Currituck Light in North Carolina is interesting, being all brick. I always like that.” — davidkk260
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Buxton, North Carolina
“My favorite lighthouse has got to be the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Not only is it the tallest brick lighthouse, it was also moved 200 feet, 20 years ago!” — meltingknight
“Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula the most westerly point of the U.K. mainland. Very isolated by British standards. Stunningly beautiful area.” — srgreen13
Chantry Island Lighthouse
Chantry Island, Ontario
“Chantry Island Lighthouse on Lake Huron! Travel up the stairs to the top of the lighthouse, turn slowly around, and look at the back half of the small island. Shock! Desolation! Black, dead trees, so many! Commodore birds in all tree branches. Creepy AF.” — kimberly
Sidi Ifni Lighthouse
Sidi Ifni, Morocco
“Not the tallest, but an unusual Art Deco–style lighthouse in the former Spanish enclave of Sidi Ifni, Southern Morocco.” — jethro247
Rathlin West Lighthouse
Rathlin Island, Rathlin
“Check out the Rathlin West Lighthouse, on the north coast of Ireland. Not only is it red rather than white, but it is built upside down! The light is at the bottom of the tower.” — kevinlowe1502
Minot's Ledge Lighthouse
“I grew up off Minot’s Ledge upon which the lighthouse stands. It is not the original lighthouse, it’s the second one. The current lighthouse is haunted, and blinks a lovely message, ‘1-4-3,’ based on the romantic lore. The base of the lighthouse could only be built during a super low lunar tide, the only time the ledge is actually exposed.” — 143chicago
“Pottawatomie Lighthouse on Rock Island, Wisconsin, is my favorite. It stands on the site of the oldest lighthouse in Wisconsin (1836) and was rebuilt in 1858. It can be toured from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.” — blz68
Tulipe ou Vache-qui-rit, je ne sais pas quel est le nom de ce sympathique animal, mais c'est une des deux vaches que l'on peut découvrir en ce moment dans le parc de la Villette (Paris 19e) et ce jusqu'au 1er août 2019.
Ce site amusant recense plusieurs images minimalistes qui représentent des personnages, à l’aide de bandes colorées. Il s’agit de deviner grâce aux couleurs, parfois aux citations associées de quels personnages il s’agit.
Librement inspiré de la campagne Lego « imagine » de 2014, le designer Jean Baptiste Bouleau sous le pseudonyme de Jybe a réalisé plusieurs autres de ces compositions triées par thème allant du cinéma à la bédé en passant par les jeux vidéos ou les super héros.
On peut retrouver d’autres images du même genre sur ses pages Twitter et Facebook.
My head chef, Spasia Dinkovski, and I were able to get the most amazing, very small, box of the best tomatoes one day at our sandwich shop, Bodega Rita’s. When tomatoes that good come along, you need to let them take centre stage. They need minimal support – but the most delicious bread helps. (Also, don’t keep tomatoes in the fridge!) There are a few bits of cooking involved here but everything must be at room temperature when building the sandwich.
Let's be thankful that the world (and life, amirite?) is full of valleys, chasms, rivers, and streams that need to be crossed, because otherwise we wouldn't have so many incredible bridges. From towering railway spans to crumbling historic foot crossings, bridges manage to be both awe-inspiring monuments to human ingenuity and essential geographic connections. We recently asked Atlas Obscura readers over in our Community forums to tell us about the most incredible and memorable bridges they've ever encountered, and the response was staggering.
Take a look at some of our favorite submissions below, and if you have a beloved bridge of your own that you'd like to recommend, head over to the forums and keep the conversation going. Bridges make it easier to get from here to there, and they also make it hard not to stop and stare.
“If you’re after bridges, you need to check out Ohio. There’s the Zanesville Y-bridge, the Ashtabula, Ohio bridge, which is the longest covered bridge in the U.S., and the Germantown covered bridge, possibly the only one of its type still standing in the world.” — sontaron
Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge
“I’m going to pass on the more popular targets and go with a semi-local one for me. The Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge opened in 2005 in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the third longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere. It replaced two old bridges that were well past their respective expiration dates. In addition to its eight lanes of traffic, it also has pedestrian and bike lanes. She’s also quite photogenic. We’re all very proud of her here in South Carolina.” — Bacon_McBeardy
Sydney Harbor Bridge
“I did the BridgeClimb eight years ago. Remember it like yesterday! They don’t let you bring anything loose with you up there, in case you drop it on the road below. But they do take a group picture standing at the very top. I still have the ball cap that you get with a lanyard at the back that attaches to your special jumpsuit. But I do have a few pictures from the bridge pylon which you can also go up to get a great view. You can see the groups climbing up and all the ladders and catwalks from pretty close.” — Fly_Ted
“Here’s Panama’s Centennial Bridge crossing the Panama Canal. Opened in 2004, it is one of only two permanent spans across the canal, the other being the Bridge of the Americas, which opened in 1962. The Centennial is a cable-stayed bridge with 128 cables stretching over a span of 430 meters (1,400 feet).” — NJK
Lions Gate Bridge
Vancouver, British Columbia
“Well, you’ve hit on my unabridged passion. I could nerd out on bridges for hours (and often do…). I even have a reputation in my family: my brother once biked the West Coast to California and on the way he sent me a postcard of the bridge in Newport, Oregon, having written on it, ‘for my bridge-lovin’ bro.’ I’ve always had an interest in engineering and big civil projects. It’s fun to learn about these structures and figure out how they were built. Bridges in particular are usually so iconic and impressive, not to mention crucial. I’ll always go out of my way to check out a cool bridge. [I like the] Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver. It’s one of those bridges that ends up seeming a lot smaller and kind of dinky once you’re there in person. But fortunately that doesn’t take away from the beauty.” — Fly_Ted
“Swarkestone Bridge in Derbyshire, England is nearly a mile long, made of crumbly sandstone and is 700 years old. It’s an impressive sight, winding its way across a marshy flood plain on the River Trent, and still carrying two lanes of heavy traffic!” — Capemarsh
“I also love the Malleco Viaduct Railway in Chile’s Araucania Region, it looks like a giant, bright yellow Meccano set, and was once the world’s highest railway bridge. The fact that it has withstood some of the world’s largest earthquakes in its 125-year history is pretty impressive!” — Capemarsh
“[This] suspension bridge in Punakha, Bhutan.” — Max_Cortesi
Puente del Rey
“At the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s Puente del Rey (the King’s Bridge), built between 1617 and 1634 to replace a previous wooden structure, in the historical site of Old Panama.” — La_Belle_Gigi
“I have been awed by the New River Gorge Bridge near Fayetteville, West Virginia. It replaced a long, switchbacked descent down one side of the gorge, a short, low bridge crossing, then a switchbacked ascent up the other side. It replaced what probably took 15-20 minutes with a few seconds crossing at highway speeds.” — pnorloff
Bixby Creek Bridge
Big Sur, California
“The Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur, California, is the closest notable bridge to me at about 15 miles (24km) south of where I live. I gained a new appreciation for it a few months ago when, by pure chance, I met a man whose grandfather was the construction superintendent on the bridge when it was built in 1932.” — Martin
“How could I have forgotten my own city’s Lake Pontchartrain Causeway? It is the longest bridge over water in the world. There’s a point in the middle when you can’t see land on either side that always make me feel a little weird.” — kermitforg
“Undisputed king of all bridges (or queen?) is in my mind the Puente Nuevo in Ronda, Spain. Aside from its striking scale, the height of the striking white walls of the buildings in the city compared to the countryside full of olive trees and sunflower fields is breathtaking. Bonus waterfall.” — aliceweintraut
“Probably my favorite bridge ever is the Puente de Vizcaya/Puente Colgante/Bizkaiko Zubia that spans the Ibaizabal River/Nervión Estuary in the Basque Country of Spain. It’s actually the oldest transporter bridge in the world, and one of the few that’s still functioning and transporting passengers to the other side of the river. It opened in 1893, designed by Alberto Palacio, along with Ferdinand Amodin, both of whom studied under Gustave Eiffel, in order to connect the baths that were on both sides of the river so that the bourgeois who lived in the Getxo side of the river could also visit the baths on the working-class side. It was built with the transporter cables in the style it is so that ships and boats could pass through, as Bilbao was a capital of the European shipbuilding and iron working industry up until the 1970s or so. It’s really an incredible monument, and it fascinates me every single time I go back to visit.” — spanishevenstar
“I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the Forth Rail Bridge crossing the Firth of Forth just outside Edinburgh in Scotland. One of the most iconic bridges in the world, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking…” — andrewcraven
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
“I didn’t see anything about the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam. It is an impressive structure across the New Meuse and designed by Ben van Berkel.” — feathrd1
“In Washington state , we have three floating bridges; the Governor Albert D. Rossellini Bridge (also called the Evergreen Point Bridge) is the longest in the world. It and another one go across Lake Washington from Seattle to Bellevue and other former bedroom communities. The third spans the Hood Canal northwest of Seattle, bridging the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula. On the other end of the successful bridge spectrum is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge just south of Seattle. It’s now a beautiful double span, but many of you know it as ‘Galloping Gertie’ from the footage of it collapsing in 1940. I cross it twice a day from Gig Harbor to Tacoma, and the galloping part is never far from my thoughts.” — SMRichmond
Montalto di Castro, Italy
“Northwest of Rome, but still in Lazio is the stunning medieval bridge at Vulci, with Etruscan stonework at the base of the supports. A small castle overlooks the bridge and houses an Etruscan museum, since Vulci was originally the site of the ancient Etruscan city of Velzna.” — Velthur
Seven Mile Bridge
“Seven Mile Bridge, from Miami to Key West. Not famous for soaring heights or impressive trestles, Seven Mile Bridge is just that… just miles and miles of tropical paradise.” — kfidei
San Diego–Coronado Bridge
“I love driving over the Coronado Bridge from San Diego to Coronado (not as good driving in the other direction). It is also beautiful to see from the left seats of an airplane when landing at nearby Lindbergh Field airport.” — kld123
Victoria Falls Bridge
“My favourite, and you can call me biased if you like, is still the Victoria Falls Bridge straddling between Zimbabwe and Zambia. An engineering marvel, especially in 1905 when it was completed. Large pieces were built in the U.K. and brought in to be assembled from both sides of a 100 meter gorge (with the Zambezi River roaring below— known for class 5 rapids). The story of its construction and the little town is fascinating. Oh, and the view from the bridge is of the deep gorge below on the one side, and then part of the Victoria Falls on the other side. Not bad. And if you feel like a little adrenaline rush, you can bungee jump from the middle of the bridge.” — fanichido
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
“The Python Bridge in Amsterdam is my favorite for the moment, but there are many awesome bridges around, judging from the photos I’ve seen of others. I managed to cross this bridge! As I have vertigo, that is a major accomplishment, even if I do say so myself…” — bee9
English women reclaim bricks from a building bombed by the Nazis. This photo was published by The New York Times on June 1, 1941, shortly after the Blitz finally ended. At the time, the British government was eager to promote images of resilience like this one, which ran with a small note reading “passed by British censor.” England’s resolve in the face of the relentless nightly bombings would become legendary, and Hitler, surprised and vexed, would turn his attention to invading Russia. Photo Credit: The New York Times. #nytarchives
I don't know if you've ever heard about this sentence: in France we don't have oil but we have ideas. It was very popular in the 70ies. Although we have caviar too, near Bordeaux (caviar d'Aquitaine). And now we grow caviar in Africa. We are kings!
One of the rarest, most luxurious crops in Madagascar is isolated in one artificial lake deep in the country’s highlands. Located about 40 miles from the capital, Antananarivo, and home to a burgeoning community of farmed sturgeon, the picturesque Lake Mantasoa has become Africa’s first and only source of caviar.
The farm, called Rova Caviar Madagascar, is the brainchild of three French entrepreneurs: Delphyne and Christophe Dabezies and their partner, Alexandre Guerrier, according to Agence France-Presse. Rova joins a growing number of sustainable caviar farms that have emerged in response to shrinking wild populations and the 2006 ban on worldwide trade in wild caviar, according to New Scientist.
In 2013 Rova’s first batch of fertilized sturgeon eggs imported from Russia hatched in a special nursery facility by the lake, according to the company site. But because sturgeon take years to mature Rova didn’t sell its first crop of caviar until June 2017.
Rova farms five varieties of sturgeon, each of which produces a distinct kind of caviar. That first batch came from the commonly farmed Siberian sturgeon, which can mature in just five years—relatively fast for a sturgeon. By comparison, most species of the fish take anywhere from eight to 20 years to produce eggs. Rova also farms Russian sturgeon, Beluga sturgeon, bare-bellied sturgeon, and Persicus sturgeon, though none of these species will mature for several more years.
When the fry grow to a quarter of an ounce at the Mantasoa farm, they’re moved from the hatchery building to nearby freshwater ponds. When they reach one pound, they’re moved again, this time to one of 30 cages in the lake itself.
Madagascar has yet to make a splash in the global caviar market, which is dominated by China, Italy, and France. But Mantasoa caviar is enticingly affordable, at just $144 for 100 grams. By comparison, Calvisius Caviar, one of the leading Italian caviar companies, sells 100 grams of Siberian caviar for $250; its most expensive caviar, Beluga, runs around $570 for 100 grams.
Much of Rova's first crop was sold to luxury shops and restaurants on Madagascar and the neighboring islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, and Reunion, AFP reports.
Madagascar, an extraordinarily biodiverse island-nation, may seem like an unusual place to import new species. But as a lake-bound fish, the sturgeon do not pose a threat to the surrounding terrestrial ecosystems. And the human-made Lake Mantasoa is filled only by rainwater, so there’s no way for the sturgeon to escape into a natural freshwater system.
“Madagascar has an exceptional environment that produces rare crops such as cocoa, vanilla, organic shrimp, and lychees,” Delphyne Dabezies told AFP. “We thought we could add caviar.”
Elsewhere in the world, the lucrative market for caviar continues to threaten wild populations of sturgeon, according to a new report published in February by TRAFFIC, a nonprofit that monitors wildlife trade. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies 16 of the world’s 27 sturgeon species as critically endangered. Many are threatened by illegal poaching.
To help preserve their crop’s wild counterparts, some caviar farms, such as the Florida-based Sturgeon Aquafarms, release farm-fertilized eggs into the wild to help bolster endangered populations.
“A lot of people laughed at us,” Dabezies told AFP. “But we took the time to prove that this is serious.”
On February 8, 1969, at 1:05 a.m., a meteorite fell in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, lighting the sky with a brilliant fireball and falling to the ground in pieces. It’s the largest carbonaceous chondrite ever found on Earth. Today, the chunk of space rock it is known as "the most studied meteorite in history."
The meteorite, dubbed the Allende meteorite after the location near which it fell, was the size of a car and traveled a speed of more than 10 miles per second. After gathering bits of the fallen meteorite, scientists determined it contains materials that are 4.567 billion years old—30 million years older than the Earth itself.
Some pieces of the meteorite are displayed in the meteorite room of the Museo de Geología de la UNAM (the Museum of the Institute of Geology). Though the meteorite is a magnificent specimen to view, it isn’t the only object worth admiring.
The museum also houses a crystal fragment from the Naica Mine; examples of Legrandite and Vanadinite, two unique minerals discovered in Mexico; samples of ash and volcanic rock from Paricutín, the first volcano modern scientists were able to document the full life cycle of; and a clock with a dial made with meteorite dust.
The museum’s most-visited room is the Fossils Hall, which shows insects preserved in amber and megafauna remains. The crown jewel of this room is the duck-billed dinosaur, a beast first discovered in Mexico. A fragment of its femur is displayed next to a reconstruction of the dinosaur; the rest of its bones remain in conservation within the museum.
The building itself has its own history, too. It was built in the 19th century to house the Institute of Geology and was made with volcanic rocks. Its facade shows dinosaur skeletons carved in stone. The lobby recalls the mosaics of Pompeii and features stained glass and oil paintings with themes from the Positivist school of thought.
The first New York Pride March wasn't called Pride: It was the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, held on June 28, 1970 — the 1st anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Our photographer Michael Evans captured some of the thousands of people who marched from Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village up 6th Avenue to Central Park, where the parade ended with a "Gay-In" in Sheep Meadow. At a time when being gay was still officially categorized as a “mental disorder,” the parade was a rare opportunity for LGBTQ people to publicly express the love and strength of their community. “We have to come out into the open and stop being ashamed, or else people will go on treating us as freaks," the activist Michael Brown told #nytimes. "This march is an affirmation and declaration of our new pride.” Link to story in bio. #nytarchives
we ll have an ikea inside paris soon won t sell big objects only things you can bring back by tube an urban ikea
In a blue-and-white building in the trendy Meatpacking District of Copenhagen, next to Neo-Nordic seafood bars, fika-forward cafés, and a former Noma chef’s taqueria, lies Space10, a research and innovation laboratory. Inside, scientists, architects, designers, and culinary professionals collaborate on vertical farming domes, open-sourced designs for sustainable micro-homes, and burgers made with worms and beetroot. Housed in a former fish market, this is IKEA’s laboratory of futuristic invention.
Space10 was co-founded in 2015 by Carla Cammilla Hjort, a former professional dancer, DJ, and designer, and Simon Caspersen, a former documentary filmmaker. In 2014, IKEA invited Hjort to do a presentation attended by Inter IKEA’s CEO, Torbjörn Lööf. Hjort’s talk led to a successful collaboration between her design studio, ArtRebels, and IKEA. Together they launched Bråkig (Swedish for brat), a limited-release furniture collection for young urbanites. According to Hjort, in an interview with Startup Guide, Lööf was so impressed that he asked her to start a project to “create a better IKEA for the future.”
“The fact that the CEO of one of the biggest retailers asked me if I wanted to make the world a better place … I was so happy,” she said. She got Caspersen on board, and the duo brainstormed what they now call a “future-living lab.” After a six-hour pitch to Lööf, Space10 was born. Hjort and Caspersen asked for (and received) three years of initial funding to conduct market research and trend analysis before having to come up with a deliverable.
IKEA’s stated mission is to improve people’s everyday lives. If affordable furniture is a small step in that direction, Space10 aims for the giant leap. The lab’s projects include SolarVille, a working prototype of a miniature neighborhood powered entirely by solar energy, open-sourced furniture designs that would allow anyone to furnish a workplace by using reclaimed materials and local production, and surveys that explore the future of co-living. But just as IKEA is invested in expanding their food business, and known for their Swedish meatballs, Space10 has prioritized projects that explore the future of food.
If breaking down and building is at the core of IKEA, at Space10, this driving force was unleashed in a reconception of the meatball. In a 2015 project titled “Tomorrow’s Meatball,” Space10 envisioned a lab-grown artificial meatball, a 3D-printed meatball, and a crispy bug ball, among others. Key environmental statistics spurred the re-vision. A third of the food the world produces goes to waste, and the UN reports that we need to produce 70 percent more food by 2050. In 2016, Space10’s Chief Innovation Officer, Guillaume Cherny-Brunet, unveiled the meatballs at a pop-up exhibit in a fashionable, low-lit event space in New York City.
While projects such as "Tomorrow’s Meatball" remain experimental, IKEA is actively launching new food products that aim to reduce carbon footprint and recognize public health and animal welfare as interlinked concerns. The company has pushed for better animal welfare standards, introduced plant-based prepared foods (including veggie meatballs and hot dogs), and, this month, launched a line of vegan strawberry soft serve for the European market. The vegan ices, made with fruit purees, have half the carbon footprint of ice cream containing dairy, IKEA says.
Other projects at Space10 follow this decarbonizing agenda. There’s the Growroom, an open-source, food-producing architectural dome that functions as an urban farm—a bid to grow food closer to the point of consumption. The Growroom has a Creative Commons license, and within weeks of its launch, urban farmers were setting up growrooms in Helsinki, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Seoul, and Sydney. Another dome, which looks like it belongs in a children’s playground, is devoted to fast-growing algae that could serve as livestock feed or address malnutrition. Conveniently, protein-rich microalgae reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen.
In the lab’s test kitchen, chef Simón Perez has turned to spirulina, a microalgae that was common in Aztec cooking, to make algae chips, bouillon, and a meat-less hot dog topped with pickled mustard seeds and chives, a beetroot-black currant ketchup, curried mayo, and a garnish of crispy onions and microgreens. Other creations include a bug burger made of beets, mealworm, parsnips, and potatoes, and a “Holy Mole Taco” made with perch, a fish the lab staff raised using aquaponics, an indoor-farming system in which the fishes’ waste fertilizes herbs and vegetables in a separate but connected tank.
Is this a culinary moonshot, or a prescient look at the future of food? Space10’s redesigns have precedents in the form of, say, Soylent—the meal-replacement drink. But the Space10 concept of fast food seems more accessible and certainly more marketable than a sludgy, beige liquid. Trust IKEA to make eating worms feel woke. As for Space10’s algae domes and urban-farming infrastructure, there remain technical concerns (a fear of waterborne infections wiping out an entire harvest) and the question of whether they can scale to feed entire cities.
In the meantime, though, Space10 test kitchen inventions are being documented in a cookbook, Future Food Today, which will be released in Europe in May, and internationally in June.