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Amazing view of Earth: 3D video tour of oceans & marine mammal protected areas (Google Earth in collab. w/ French Gov. and NOAA)

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This Google Earth Tour, narrated by Dan Laffoley, Marine Vice Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s World Commission on Protected Areas, follows the migrations of whales above and below the surface and visits some of the key marine protected areas and sanctuaries for whales around the world. Join the blue whale in the US national marine sanctuaries off California and journey to the proposed Costa Rica Dome Marine Protected Area in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, one of the key areas being proposed as part of the "Homes for Whales" project of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. Follow the humpbacks on migration, from their breeding grounds to the feeding areas in the North Atlantic around the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and visit one of the most recent protected areas, the Agoa Sanctuary in the French Caribbean. This animated Google Earth Tour was first presented as part of a keynote lecture by Dan Laffoley (IUCN) at the opening of the 2nd International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICMMPA) on 7 November 2011 in the Atrium, Fort-de-France, Martinique. It was prepared with the help of Jenifer Austin Foulkes (Google), Charlotte Vick (Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue) and Erich Hoyt (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society/IUCN).

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Save Ocean, save Earth. UK: no whale meat; Germany: honor Ric O'Barry for dolphins; EU: label oil/ tar sands as carbon-intensive

importing whale meat into the UK or Europe is in breach of international law

Ric O’Barry, Campaign Director for Earth Island Institute’s Dolphin Project and star of the hit documentary The Cove, will receive the Bambi Award in Germany.

Protesters outside the White House in Washington against TransCanada's proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline would take oil extracted from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, and carry it through a pipeline cutting across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to refineries in Houston and Port Arthur, Texas.
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Do not bring whale meat home from Iceland, British tourists told - Whale meat on sale at Keflavik airport prompts the Foreign Office to issue a warning to Britons at risk of breaching international law
Up to 70,000 Britons who visit Iceland each year have been given a stiff warning by the Foreign Office not to bring home any whale meat, saying to do so is in breach of international law protecting endangered species.

Penalties of imprisonment or fines up to £5,000 could be meted out by the courts, says the Foreign Office, because importation into Britain and other EU countries is illegal under the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites).  read more »

16 mysterious sights: Salar de Uyuni, Eye of Africa, Desert Floor Drawings, Racetrack Playa, Spotted Lake, Cotton Castle...

Mysterious Sights: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
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Mysterious Sights: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni is a magical place: When covered by water, the world’s largest salt flat becomes a mirror, and anyone walking across it appears to be walking on clouds. The salt crust, which covers 4,086 square miles in southwestern Bolivia at 11,995 feet above sea level, is nearly flat, which makes it ideal for calibrating the altimeters of satellites. Salar de Uyuni's origins lie in prehistoric lakes; it is a major breeding ground for several species of flamingoes.

Mysterious Sights: the Richat Structure

Mysterious Sights: Eye of Africa, Mauritania

The Eye of Africa - whose official name, the Richat Structure, seems so mundane in comparison - was spotted in central Mauritania by astronauts on early space missions. In the expanse of the Western Sahara Desert, the formation has a diameter of about 30 miles. At first, scientists thought a meteorite had hit the Earth, causing this impression. But now it is believed to be a symmetrical uplift that erosion has revealed. No one has explained yet why it is circular.

Mysterious Sights: the Richat Structure

Mysterious Sights: Middle East Desert Floor Drawings  read more »

Disney World opened 40 yrs ago today: "family amusement park...to walk, sit...relax, stay human, stop swearing, start smiling"

Impetus for Disney World came from Walt Disney (above in 1953) who disliked all of the businesses that opened around Disneyland in California

Orlando, Florida - in the late 1960s construction began on the shores of Bay Lake..the site of the future 1,057-room hotel in Decmeber 1970.

The iconic centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom - destined to become one of the world's most photographed building - goes up at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, 1971.

Cinderella Castle at Disney World

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Disneyland, the original California park, was groundbreaking in every possible way. Prior to Disneyland’s creation, amusement parks were, by and large, dirty, dangerous places aimed almost exclusively at teenagers. Parents didn’t go on rides, they sat on benches while the kids played. As an animator, Walt Disney had already earned a reputation as a maverick, a rebel genius who was able to sell adult audiences on feature-length cartoons, something his peers had claimed would never work. Disneyland was the culmination of many of Walt’s big dreams, a different kind of park, where parents and children could have fun together. Walt Disney told stories, and Disneyland allowed guests to become a part of those stories.

Walt Disney World History Year by Year  read more »

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