World’s Largest Underground Flood Water Diversion Facility

You are looking at the world’s largest underground flood water diversion facility. The Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel, also known as the G-Cans Project, is an underground water infrastructure project in Kasukabe, Saitama, Japan. It was built to prevent overflow of the city’s major waterways and rivers during heavy rain and typhoon seasons.

Work on the project started in 1992 and was completed by early 2009. It consists of five concrete containment silos with heights of 65 m (213 ft) and diameters of 32 m (104 ft). It is connected by 6.4 km (4 miles) of tunnels, 50 m (164 ft) beneath the surface. There is also a large water tank (shown above) with a height of 25.4 m (83 ft), a length of 177 m (581 ft), and a width of 78 m (256 ft). There are 59 massive pillars connected to a number of 10 MW pumps that can pump up to 200 tons of water into the Edogawa River per second.


ABC’s of Animals

Way back in 1931, a convention of ecologists in Florence, Italy, decided that there should be an annual World Animal Day to pay tribute to all animal life and the people who love them. It is also a way to highlight the precarious situation of endangered species worldwide. It was decided that October 4, the feast day of Francis of Assisi, a nature lover and patron saint of animals and the environment, should be chosen as World Animal Day. Some churches will bless animals on the Sunday closest to October 4. We love animals and the environment, and decided to salute animals via an ABC’s of wildlife.

Celebrating World Animal Day with salute to animals via animal ABCs. A is for Alligator. This is not an albino alligator but leucistic alligator, one of the ‘famous’ white gators in Black Pearl, New Orleans. The photographer called this shot, “Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

B is for Bears as in these grizzly bears play fighting.

C is for Cheetah hunting in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, as seen during a safari.

D is donkey and her nursing foal.

E is for elephant, in this case — an elephant in the room.

F is for Fennec Fox, or a whole family of Fennec Foxes.

G is for Giraffes. These two giraffes are ‘fighting’ in Ithala Game Reserve, northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

H is for horses. These wild horses are located in the Erlebnispark Tripsdrill wildlife and theme park near Cleebronn in Southern Germany.

I is for Iguana. This Marine Iguana is at Espanola Island, Galapagos.

J is for Jaguar. This bored jaguar was found yawning at the Toronto Zoo.

K is for Koala. The conservation status of these cute marsupials are listed as vulnerable.

L is Lemur. This ring-tailed lemur is holding her twins that were born the night before the photo was taken.

M is for Moose, as in this moose in Denali National Park, Alaska.

N is for Narwhals. These medium-sized whales live year-round in the Arctic. Narwhal males have a long, straight tusk, that is actually an elongated upper left canine.

O is for Owl as in this Barn Owl in flight.

P is for Penguins, such as this family of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica.

Q is for Quoll. This is a black morph of the Eastern Quoll, a carnivorous marsupial which is native to mainland Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania.

R is for Rhinoceros; this one has oxpecker birds along for the ride.

S is for Seal. This young and silly Southern Elephant Seal is located on the island of South Georgia, a part of the South Sandwich Islands.

T is for Tarsier. The photographer noted, “What’s cuter than 1 tarsier in a tree? 2 tarsiers – the world’s smallest primate.”

U is for Uakari. This is the Red Uakari, a primate that is small and has a short tail, but is best known for it’s naked face which most commonly ranges from pink to deep red in color. It lives in the tropical rainforest of South America.

V is for Vulture. This is a Cape Vulture in flight at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng, South Africa.

W is for Wolf. A big, bad, beautiful, wolf with a vicious snarl.

X is for Xanthareel, a yellow eel.

Y is for Yak, as in this Yak near the sacred Yundrok Yumtso Lake, Tibet.

Z is for Zebra. This zebra herd stopped off at a watering hole at Etosha National Park in Namibia.


Top 10 Prehistoric Cave Paintings

After visiting the Altamira cave paintings in northern Spain, Pablo Picasso famously exclaimed “after Altamira, all is decadence”. He wasn’t kidding. The art in this cave and in many others that dot parts of France, Spain and other regions in the world are among the greatest pieces of art ever created. Like all great art they provide an insight into the way that people thought, even though it was tens of thousands of years ago.

10. Magura Cave

The Magura Cave is one of the largest caves in Bulgaria located in the northwest part of the country. The cave walls are decorated by prehistoric cave paintings dating back about 8000 to 4000 years ago. More than 700 drawings have been discovered on the cave walls. They are painted with bat guano (bat excrement) and represent hunting and dancing people as well as a large variety of animals.

9. Cueva de las Manos

Cueva de las Manos is a cave located in an isolated area in the Patagonian landscape of southern Argentina. It takes its name (Cave of the Hands) from the stencilled outlines of human hands, but there are also many depictions of guanacos, rheas and other animals, as well as hunting scenes. Most of the hands are left hands, which suggests that painters held a spraying pipe with their right hand. The paintings are thought to have been created between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago.

8. Bhimbetka

Located in central India, Bhimbetka contains over 600 rock shelters decorated with prehistoric cave paintings. Executed mainly in red and white with the occasional use of green and yellow the paintings usually depict the lives and times of the people who lived in the caves. Animals such as bisons, tigers, lions, and crocodiles have also been abundantly depicted in some caves. The oldest paintings are considered to be 12,000 years old.

7. Serra da Capivara

The Serra da Capivara National Park in northeast Brazil is home to numerous rock shelters that are decorated with cave paintings. The paintings include scenes of rituals and hunting, trees and animals capivaras. Some scientists believe that the oldest cave paintings in the park are created 25,000 years ago. This is disputed by several geneticists however as this would conflict the currently accepted date of human settlement in the Americas.

6. Laas Gaal

Laas Gaal is a complex of caves and rock shelters in northwestern Somalia that contain some of the earliest known rock art in the Horn of Africa and the African continent in general. The prehistoric cave paintings are estimated to be between 11,000 and 5,000 years old. They show cows in ceremonial robes accompanied by humans, domesticated dogs and even a giraffe. The cave paintings are excellently preserved and retain their clear outlines and strong colors.

5. Tadrart Acacus

Tadrart Acacus form a mountain range in the Sahara desert of western Libya. The area is known for its rock paintings dating from 12,000 BC to 100 AD. The paintings reflect the changing environment of the Sahara desert which used to have a much wetter climate. Nine thousand years ago the surroundings were green with lakes and forests and with large herds of wild animals as demonstrated by rock paintings at Tadrart Aracus of animals such as giraffes, elephants and ostriches.

4. Chauvet Cave

The Chauvet Cave in southern France contains some of earliest known prehistoric cave paintings in the world. Based on radiocarbon dating the oldest paintings in the cave may be up to 32,000 years old. The cave was discovered in 1994 by Jean-Marie Chauvet and his team of speleologists. These paintings contain images of animals such as the ibex, mammoth, horses, lions, bears, rhinos and lions. Advanced techniques such as the use of perspective is clearly demonstrated in the ‘panel of horses’ which shows several animals on the same plane.

3. Kakadu Rock Paintings

Located in the Northern Territory of Australia, Kakadu National Park contains one of the greatest concentrations of Aboriginal art sites in Australia. Approximately 5000 art sites have been discovered in Kakadu along the escarpment and on rock outliers. The Aboriginal painting are estimated to range in age from 20,000 years to the recent present although most of the paintings are less than 1500 years old. The site at Ubirr has some of the finest examples of “X-ray art” in the world. The Aboriginals not only painted the outside but also the bones and internal organs of the animals.

2. Altamira Cave

Discovered in the late 19th century, the Altamira Cave in northern Spain was the first cave in which prehistoric paintings were discovered. The paintings were of such an astounding quality that the scientific society doubted their authenticy and even accused it’s discoverer Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola of forgery. Many people simply did not believe prehistoric man had the intellectual capacity to produce any kind of artistic expression. It was not until 1902 when the paintings were acknowledged as genuine. The charcoal and ochre images of horses, bison and handprints in the Altamira Cave are among the best preserved cave paintings in the world.

1. Lascaux Paintings

Nicknamed “the prehistoric Sistine Chapel”, the Lascaux Caves are a cave complex in southwestern France decorated with some of the most impressive and famous cave paintings in the world. The Lascaux paintings are estimated to be 17,000 years old. Most of the cave paintings are situated quite a distance away from the entrance and must have been created with the aid of candles. The most famous cave painting is The Great Hall of the Bulls where bulls, horses and deers are depicted. One of the bulls is 5.2 meters (17 feet) long, the largest animal discovered so far in any cave.

Due to the damage resulting from too many people visiting the caves, the Lascaux paintings have been permanently closed to the public. The French government has built Lascaux II near the site where tourists can see a copy of the original cave.


Salmon Run in Adams River

The Adams River is a tributary of the Fraser River in British Columbia, Canada. During mid-October millions of sockeye salmon run through this river and concentrate near the river mouth for breeding, an event that occurs once every four years. As many as 10 to 15 million salmons battle the Fraser River and the Thompson River to reach the 12 kilometer Adams River - the final stop to their 4,000 kilometer journey - where they spawn and die. While the sockeye return every year, the migration that occurs every fourth year (2010, 2014, 2018...) dwarfs the others.

Adams River sockeye travel from their spawning grounds to the South Thompson River, then into the Fraser River, and enter the Pacific. From the Strait of Georgia, they spend three years in the open ocean following Arctic currents to Alaska and the Aleutian islands. They then retrace their route to the Adams, completing a round trip of over 4,000 kilometers. At this point their numbers are reduced to about 2 million. They complete the arduous trip upstream, including navigating the swift waters and rapids of the Fraser Canyon, in just seventeen days. Unbelievably, the salmons do not eat during this period, instead relying on fat reserves stored up from heavy feeding in the Strait of Georgia in the late summer. It is at this point that the salmon take on their distinctive red hue, with the male fish also developing large humped backs and aggressive hooked mouths.

When a suitable location is found, the female digs a nest from 10 to 40 cm deep while the male hovers nearby, fending off all intruders. The female deposits approximately 3,500 pinkish eggs to which the male adds a whitish milt to fertilize them. The sockeye pair then cover the eggs with loose gravel as protection against marauding fish and birds.

Within the next 10 days, the crimson pair will turn a chalky gray as their tired and battered bodies slowly give up life, passing on the task of the continuation of the species to the tiny pink eggs that lay beneath the gravel.

The Adams River salmon run is patiently waited upon by grizzly bears, black bears, fishermen as well as tourist. Native fishermen, commercial fishermen and sport fishermen pursue the sockeye salmon from California to Alaska, both in the North Pacific Ocean and the rivers where the salmon enter to spawn and die. In 1913, more than 31 million sockeye were harvested from the run, a catch total that has never been repeated.

The best place to view the run is at the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park. This is located between Adams Lake and the Shuswap Lake, about a 40 minute drive from Kamloops. The crimson salmon are easily seen in the river at the Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park where viewing platforms and walking paths have been established for many visitors to enjoy this natural attraction.