Brought to you from the scenic town of Pula, Croatia — it’s an ancient Roman amphitheater, best known as the Pula Arena:
But this is no mere antiquity. The Arena is the only remaining Roman amphitheatre to have four side towers entirely preserved, and is among the six largest surviving Roman arenas in the World. Its construction started during the reign of Augustus (31 BC – 14 AD), and it was enlarged and revised until 96 AD. It was used for gladiatorial shows until the 5th century, then fell into disuse until restoration began around 1800. It’s now used for concerts, theater presentations, and other public events — it can seat some 5,000 people.
Sure, the sinking of the Titanic gets all the press — but the engineering that went into her and her sister ships in the Olympic-class was impressive for their time, and still is today. Bill (“Engineer Guy”) Hammack explains all:
Some years ago, I told you about the (very inaccurately named) Montezuma’s Castle structure in Arizona. Today, you get to see the remains of a pithouse down the road from it, just uphill from the (similarly inaccurately named) Montezuma Well:
A pithouse is a structure built partially underground, and partially above ground. Most pithouses found in the southwest were family residences — this one is large enough that it is thought to have been home to several families, or more likely, a community structure used by them. One of four pithouses in the area, this structure dates to about 1050 AD, and resembles similar structures from the same period built by the Hohokam culture near modern Phoenix. Continue reading →
February 11, 2015 was the fifth anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft. SDO captures images of the whole sun 24 hours a day, taking more than one image per second. In the process, it’s given us an unprecedentedly clear picture of how massive explosions on the sun grow and erupt. The imagery isn’t just scientifically useful — it’s also captivating, as the constant ballet of solar material through the sun’s atmosphere (the corona) carries on.
On display at the Viking World museum near Iceland’s Keflavik Airport, it’s the Islendingur (“Icelander”) — a modern-day recreation of a Viking longship:
But to be specific, this was no attempt to build a “typical” Viking ship — it’s a nearly exact recreation of what’s known as the Gokstad ship — a Viking ship built around 890 AD and uncovered in the 19th century in a burial mound on a farm in Norway. The Gokstad ship was built during the heyday of Viking expansion in the British isles, and could have carried as many as 70 men at a time on some mix of commercial and raiding trips.