“The shafts of light in this canyon were one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen,” says Peter Lik, who took this photo in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and submitted it to the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. “It was a surreal feeling being surrounded by the towering cliffs.
The only way I could capture this special moment of weeping walls was after an incredibly torrential rain.
I knew I had to get to a shallow portion of the river to unfold my tripod. I was drenched from head to toe by the falling water.
Mist and rain covered the camera, but I fired a few shots.
As I stood in awe of the scene, the sun broke through for a few seconds and cast God’s rays into the side-lit waterfall.”
This photo and caption were submitted to the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.
The much-maligned deep-fried Mars bar is coming under attack again. Photograph: PA Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA
by Chitra Ramaswamy
Birthplace of the World Famous Deep Fried Mars Bar,” the banner announces. It’s vast, proud, and under threat.
Welcome to The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, where 20 years ago – so the legend has it – two pupils from the local academy challenged each other to eat a load of random battered stuff, resulting in the Scottish delicacy (or culinary embarrassment, depending on who you talk to) known as the deep-fried Mars bar.
Aberdeenshire council refuses to share The Carron’s pride and has demanded the banner’s removal. Lorraine Watson, the Carron’s owner, remains unapologetic and tells me the deep-fried Mars bar tastes “like a warm millionaire’s shortbread” and is going nowhere.
The Carron currently sells 150-200 bars a week. “The council are now saying it’s the banner that’s the problem, not the fact that it’s about deep-fried Mars bars,” she says. “Well I’m sorry, but there are thousands who come here from all over the world to buy one. It’s an icon for Stonehaven.”
Does she think the deep-fried Mars bar, which boasts its own Wikipedia page and has been featured on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, has been unfairly blamed for Scotland’s record on obesity and ill-health?
“Yes,” she says. “It’s really for tourists.
And everything is bad for you if you do it enough. People come here to go to Dunnotter Castle and then have a deep-fried Mars bar as a wee treat. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”
Photo: World’s Longest Pencil, 65 Feet in Length, (Kuala Lumpur).
1 There is no risk of lead poisoning if you stab yourself with a pencil because it contains no lead—just a mixture of clay and graphite. Still, pencil wounds carry a risk of infection .
2 Graphite, a crystallized form of carbon, was discovered near Keswick, England, in the mid-16th century. An 18th-century German chemist, A. G. Werner, named it, sensibly enough, from the Greek graphein, “to write.”
3 The word “pencil” derives from the Latin penicillus, which means strangely enough “little tail.”
4 Pencil marks are made when tiny graphite flecks, often just thousandths of an inch wide, stick to the fibres that make up paper.
5 The average pencil holds enough graphite to draw a line about 35 miles long or to write roughly 45,000 words. Who was the lunatic who tested that?
6 French pencil inventors include Nicolas-Jacques Conté, who patented a clay-and-graphite manufacturing process in 1795; Bernard Lassimone, who patented the first pencil sharpener in 1828; and Therry des Estwaux, who invented an improved mechanical sharpener in 1847.
7 French researchers also hit on the idea of using caoutchouc, a vegetable gum now known as rubber, to erase pencil marks. Until then, writers removed mistakes with bread crumbs.
8 Most pencils sold in America today have eraser tips, while those sold in Europe usually have none.
9 In 1861, Eberhard Faber (picured) built the first American mass-production pencil factory in New York City.
10 Pencils were among the basic equipment issued to Union soldiers during the Civil War.
11 The mechanical pencil was patented in 1822. The company founded by its British developers prospered until 1941, when the factory was bombed, presumably by pencil-hating Nazis.
12 More than half of all pencils come from China. In 2004, factories there turned out 10 billion pencils, enough to circle the earth more than 40 times.
13 Pencils can write in zero gravity and so were used on early American and Russian space missions—even though NASA engineers worried about the flammability of wood pencils those concerns inspired Paul Fisher to develop the pressurized Fisher Space Pen in 1965.
14 The world’s largest pencil is a Castell 9000, on display at the manufacturer’s plant near Kuala Lumpur.
Made of Malaysian wood and polymer, it stands 65 feet high.