Discovering India's Ancient Stepwells

A terrific gallery of pics by Victoria Lautman on CNN.

‘Victoria Lautman's travels sound like something straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. Armed with a humble little point-and-shoot camera ("Well, I'm sliding in horrible pits, I need to be able to hold it in my teeth") the Chicago-based adventure-journalist travels across India hunting for ancient, unexplored ruins.

Lautman's favorite pastime, or "obsession" as she calls it, is finding stepwells, large often cavernous wells in which water may be reached by descending a set of steps. Dating back as far as AD 600, these incredible architectural feats of design have been largely forgotten -- until now.

Over the past four years, Lautman has visited over 120 stepwells. "In its heyday there were around 3,000 stepwells throughout India. Now, there are about 1,000 left," she estimates…’

 See the full gallery here.

The Art of Nick Hiatt

Some properly stunning concept artwork by the artist Nick Hiatt.

Check out his site.

Old Russian Ships in Vladivostok

A gallery of docked ships from the ever-reliable EnglishRussia site. A treat of connoisseurs of rust-streaks and bubbling corrosion.

See the full gallery here.

Broadway & 88th St NYC - 1971

Some wonderfully evocative footage.

Crosby Street, Soho, 1978

From @HistoryDean

Mind-Boggling Traffic Jams in China

Russia Today reporting truly apocalyptic traffic jams in China.

Read the full article here.

Cobra Skeleton

From the Facebook page 'I Fucking Love Science' which has an eye-watering twenty-two million followers.

Wildlife Thriving Around Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Despite Radiation

Intriguing article by Adam Vaughan in the Guardian which suggests animal life has coped with increased radiation levels in the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl. I've heard plenty of contradictory reports that suggest there have been widespread biological changes, but it' useful to get a different perspective. (The comments at the bottom of this article are worth checking out.)

Read the full article here.

William Whiffin's London

Spitalfield's Life have some numinously beautiful photographs of the east-end of London shot by William Whiffin circa 1900.

See the full gallery here.

Inside the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooter

An absorbing article from Mark Follman at Mother Jones.
'…Ever since Columbine, the FBI has been studying what drives people to commit mass shootings. Last fall it issued a report on 160 active-shooter cases, and what Simons could disclose from its continuing analysis was chilling: To a much greater degree than is generally understood, there's strong evidence of a copycat effect rippling through many cases, both among mass shooters and those aspiring to kill. Perpetrators and plotters look to past attacks for not only inspiration but operational details, in hopes of causing even greater carnage. Emerging research—including our own analysis of the "Columbine effect"—could have major implications for both threat assessment and how the media should cover mass shootings…’

Read the full article here.

Catastrophic Floods, Unseen Nuclear Test Footage and What it Means to be Human

Three more stories that might excite your interest. The first is a ghoulish story from South Carolina. SC is currently experiencing severe flooding, which has a created a few problems in local cemetaries.

Marcus Gilmer at Mashable:
'As South Carolina deals with deadly, 1,000-year flooding caused by Hurricane Joaquin this weekend, a strange, grim effect of the deluge is being felt throughout the area: coffins are surfacing and floating in the floodwaters...'

Mad Max, John Peel and the Space Race.

Today I have three engrossing long-reads for you. The first is an excellent piece by Tauriq Moosa in which he discusses the portrayal of disability in Fury Road and the accompanying Mad Max game from Avalanche Studios.

'I noticed a small detail on the opening moments of Avalanche Studio’s Mad Max: Max was wearing his leg brace. Max first acquires it after his leg is shot and ridden over, at the end of the first film. You don’t really see the leg brace in the latest film, Fury Road, though it is there.
Though Avalanche’s game is not based on the films, it is based in the universe — and chronology isn’t exactly a central focus for the franchise ("I can’t even work out the chronology [of the original trilogy]," creator George Miller has said). But the leg brace, much like Max’s car, has become a central aspect of the character. It was important, and it is significant Avalanche included the leg brace.
It is not merely in the game for aesthetic reasons, either. While playing, I noticed Max doesn’t walk like an able-bodied person. He limps slightly when he kicks things and hops for a few seconds to reposition himself. Max leans heavily on his stronger leg when he’s in pain, his weaker leg dragging — the sound of the brace banging.
I noticed all this because this is exactly how I move…’