Oddorama

March 7, 2008

The World’s Largest Natural Mirror

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Imagine a nearly perfect mirror surface spread across the Earth stretching out miles in every direction. Sounds like something right out of Alice’s Wonderland but Salar de Uyuni is very very real. When covered with a thin sheet of water, this 4,000+ square-mile salt flat creates a stunning reflection of everything above it.

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Over 40,000 years ago this part of Bolivia was a prehistoric lake. Today, the area is home to a smattering of flamingos, some tourist hotels (including a salt hotel) and and an estimated 10 billion tons of salt. Just imagine getting lost in this surrealistic environment! More below and at Neatorama, Sarifb and Fogonazos

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February 25, 2008

The World’s Weirdest Engineering Disaster

Didn’t anyone ever tell you that salt mines, shallow lakes and deep-earth drills shouldn’t mix? What started as a seemingly minor miscalculation resulted in a billion-gallon flood, unbelievable property damage and the upheaval of an entire ecosystem. Amazingly, this catastrophe cost no lives though it remains one of history’s most devastating engineering disasters.

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On a fateful day in 1980 a group of oil drillers were working in a shallow lake in Louisiana probing for oil. A miscalculation sent their drill straight into a large salt mine shaft below the lake’s surface. The hole started at just over a foot in diameter but rapidly widened as the water from the lake above washed away the salt around it. What started out quite simply ended in disaster that no one could have predicted.

oil-rig-disaster.jpgWorkers above on the oil platform recognized something was wrong and ‘jumped ship’ before the entire platform disappeared below their feet in a growing whirlpool – all in what was supposed to be a shallow lake! Meanwhile, in the salt mines below, workers made their way through flooded tunnels and all managed to (in some cases narrowly) make it out alive. Despite all of the chaos, no one died above or below ground.

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Before it was through, the surface whirlpool managed to suck down islands, barge docks, barges, trees, trucks, an entire parking lock and 3.5 billion gallons of water. The flow of water normally leading from the lake into Vermilion Bay was reversed as the lake refilled itself, and also created the largest waterfall in Louisiana history (over 150 feet) as water poured back into the lake. In the process, what started as a ten-foot-deep freshwater lake became a thousand-foot-deep saltwater lake!

More Sources: 1, 2, 3

February 4, 2008

Baby Saved From Fire by Being Thrown From Building

Filed under: Bloody Bizarre,Interesting Images,World of Weird — Tags: , , , , — Odds n Ends @ 10:42 pm

Baby Thrown Clear

Ludwigshafen, Germany – If there weren’t pictures to prove it, people might have a hard time believing a loving father threw his child multiple stories to waiting rescuers below. This dangerous gamble was taken against an almost certain death in a smoke-filled burning building where, in the end, nine other people perished. The baby, however, survived. Rescuers managed to catch and save the baby from below.

Baby Thrown Multiple Stories

The wreckage is still too unsafe to check for further survivors, police say, and the cause of the fire has yet to be revealed. The building had over 50 residents and more than half either died or were taken to the hospital in critical condition. Many of those who did escape were force to follow the infant’s lead and leap from windows as staircase escape routes were choked with flames and smoke.

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The damage could have been far worse had rescue workers not been nearby at a celebration. Multiple rescue workers were also hurt while trying to rescue people from the building and put out the fire though none sustained serious injuries.

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In Other News:

The Ongoing Attack on Scientology

Chimps Are Not People

January: Month of Strange Animal Stories

This Week in Theft

January 24, 2008

The Ongoing Internet War on Scientology

Filed under: Bloody Bizarre,Loads of Links — Tags: , , , , — Odds n Ends @ 5:42 am

Well, it had to happen eventually: the seemingly mighty Church of Scientology finally upset the wrong people and those people have responded in force. Here’s a breakdown of the latest news in the war between Scientology and hackers:

A hacking group calling itself “Anonymous” has posted a chilling video on the internet, announcing that it plans to “dismantle” the Church of Scientology.

Wired.com reports that Anonymous has flooded Scientology servers with a distributed denial of service attack, is choking the Church’s phone lines with prank calls and sending looped faxes of solid black pages.

“Over the years, we have been watching you — your campaigns, your suppression of dissent, your litigious nature. All of these things have caught our eye,” a synthesized voice on the video tells “leaders of Scientology”.-= Anonymous

And from Gawker Media:

Tom Cruise has personally, PERSONALLY, been pwned. This weekend, an anonymous Internet group (named Anonymous

January 22, 2008

As it Turns Out, Chimps are Not People

Filed under: Bloody Bizarre,World of Weird — Odds n Ends @ 4:26 am

Despite the protests of animal rights groups Austria’s Supreme Court ruled that, in fact, a chimpanzee cannot be legally considered a person. In a play to ‘give’ the chimp known as Matthew Hiasl Pan monetary gifts of support said groups attempted to have him declared a person.

This chimp and others have been living in a shelter since being released from medical experimentation. Being granted rights as a person would have allowed Matthew to accept donations and thus have a funded life outside of his shelter.

The court’s decision is similar to one made last fall in which a judge dismissed the case, ruling the Association Against Animal Factories has no legal grounds for advocating for the chimp in question. The group attempted to file on behalf of the chimp for bankruptcy protection.

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