Art is Everywhere
Surreal Photos of India’s Living root Bridges
These intricate living structures take 15 – 30 years to complete
By Gulnaz Khan
Photographs by Giulio Di Sturco
During monsoon season in northeast India, rainwater gushes through the emerald valleys and deep gorges of Meghalaya, the“abode of the clouds.” The mountainous plateau between Assam and Bangladesh is one of the wettest places on Earth, and the Khasi tribes who inhabit these hills have developed an intimate relationship with the forest.
Long before the availability of modern construction materials, the Khasi devised an ingenious way to traverse the turbulent waterways and link isolated villages: living root bridges, locally known as jing kieng jri.
Tree trunks are planted on each side of the bank to create a sturdy foundation, and over the course of 15 to 30 years, the Khasi slowly thread Ficus elastica roots across a temporary bamboo scaffolding to connect the gap. A combination of humidity and foot traffic help compact the soil over time, and the tangle of roots grows thick and strong. Mature bridges stretch 15 to 250 feet over deep rivers and gorges, and can bear impressive loads—upwards of 35 people at a time.
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“It’s always nice to meet a kindred spirit. I’m delighted that Nicole is the first astronaut of the Space Shuttle/Space Station era to choose art as her next step in life. All of us that have been fortunate enough to fly in space find it difficult to describe the beauty of our universe in words alone. I am thankful that Nicole has chosen to help share these amazing sights we have all seen through her very beautiful artwork.” Alan Bean (Capt, USN, Retired)
~ Artist, Astronaut, Moonwalker (Apollo 12, Skylab 3)
Nicole has explored from the heights of outer space to the depths of our oceans. In awe of what she experienced from these very special vantage points, she has dedicated her life to sharing the beauty of space ~ and Earth ~ with others. She believes that sharing these orbital and inner space perspectives has the power to increase everyone’s appreciation of and obligation to care for our home planet and each other.
Butterfly Eggs, photographed under magnification.
From Science Friday:
In July 2012, a passenger in a commercial airplane flying across the Pacific happened to look down at exactly the right moment. From the window, they saw a gray mass floating on the surface of the ocean. It was something that many wouldn’t give a second thought.
But the mass turned out to be a giant pumice raft roughly the size of Philadelphia—a product of an eruption from an underwater volcano. The Havre volcano off the coast off New Zealand is one of over 10,000 submarine volcanoes in the world—and that’s not counting the mid-ocean ridge, an underwater mountain system and hotbed of volcanic activity. In fact, “most of the volcanism on our planet occurs in the oceans, but we know so little about it,” says Adam Soule, Chief Scientist for Deep Submergence with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
“The ocean is this sort of veil that we can’t really see through,” says Soule. He notes that the number of terrestrial volcanoes documented is somewhere in the thousands. For underwater volcanoes—where an estimated 70 percent of all volcanic activity occurs—that number is in the tens.
No, this is a Real image of the planet Jupiter.
Captured by the JUNO spacecraft. NASA / JPL
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