Sunday, 31 October 2010

10 MORE Must-try Exotic Fruits

Since our 10 Must-try Exotic Fruits was so well-received by you, our readers, we decided to look for some more healthy and delicious fruits that you absolutely must try if you ever have the chance, and here’s what we have on the menu for you:

10. Ugli

Ugli is a citrus hybrid between grapefruit and tangerine that grows in Jamaica. Its weird name may be spelled wrong but it really comes from “ugly” in reference to its unappealing, wrinkled skin. But the looks of the Ugli have nothing to do with the taste, it is incredibly delicious and juicy, it takes more from the sweet tangerine and less from the sour grapefruit.

As a curiosity, you should know Ugli is the only fruit in the world that starts with the letter U.

9. Langsat

Langsat is an egg-shaped fruit, about 5 centimeters in diameter, usually found in clusters of two to thirty fruits. The firm, translucent flesh is covered by a brown, leathery skin and has an acidic taste, resembling a grapefruit, but riper ones are quite sweet. It originated in Malaysia, but over time it has spread in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and India. It was also successfully introduced in Hawaii in the early 1900s.

8. Sugar Apple (Noi-na)

One of Thailand’s most popular fruits the Sugar Apple has a white, creamy flesh covered by a lumpy green crust that makes it look like a giant, green raspberry. The incredibly sweet pulp is eaten with a spoon after the fruit is easily broken into two halves. Sugar Apples are usually blended with coconut milk, chilled and served as a delicious, light ice-cream. This is one fruit you have to try if you’re ever in Thailand.

7. Guava

Guava is often referred to as a superfruit containing large quantities of vitamins A and C, Omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and high levels of dietary fibers. Guava is a very aromatic fruit, with a pungent and penetrating odor, with lots of seeds (from 112 to 535) but great taste. It’s native to Mexico and Central America but it’s cultivated extensively in Florida and Hawaii.

When picking out Guava fruits, check if they’re ripe, that’s when they taste the best. Just pick them up and pressure them with your fingers, if your fingers sink into the fruit a little, they’re ready to eat. Enjoy!

6. Salak (Snake-fruit)

Native to Malaysia and Indonesia, Salak is called Snake-fruit because of its brown, scaly skin resembling that of a serpent. It grows in clusters at the bottom of a palm tree and it has the size and appearance of a fig. The skin can be peeled after pinching the tip of the fruit, exposing three garlic-looking lobes, each containing a large seed. Salak tastes sweet and acidic at the same time and its consistency can vary from dry and crumbly to moist and crunchy.

5. Soursop (Guanabana)

Soursop is native to Mexico, Central America, the Carribean and northern South America but these days it’s also being cultivated in countries in South Asia. Guanabana has a white, creamy pulp, very difficult to eat because of the large number of inedible seeds, but if you have the patience, you can enjoy a flavor that has been compared to strawberry and pineapple mixed together.

Very rich in vitamins C, B1 and B2, Soursop is a very popular desert ingredient in Mexico and countries around Central America, usually processed into ice-creams, fruit-bars, sherbets or soft-drinks.

4. Lamut (Sapodilla)

Sapodilla originates from Mexico and the Yucatan peninsula but it was also introduced in the Philippines during the Spanish colonization. Lamuts look like potatoes, reaching 4-8 centimeters in diameter and are incredibly tasty when ripe. Many have compared the sweet flavor of the Lamut with cotton candy or caramel. The seeds resemble black overgrown beans with a hook at one end that can get caught in the throat if swallowed. Lamut fruit only become ripe after being picked.

3. Santol

Santol look like overgrown apples but don’t share their flavor. They are some of the most popular fruits in the Philippines, the kids especially love them, but the fruit is native to Malaysia and former Indochina. Santol is often referred to as the “lolly fruit” due to the fact that you have to suck the flesh of the seed because it’s very strongly attached to it. It has a very sweet flavor and it is used to make delicious marmalade, very popular in markets around Europe and the US.

2. Sweet Tamarind

The Sweet Tamarind is one of the signature fruits of Thailand. It’s an ancient fruit that grows pretty much all over the country, although you can find the best ones in the Phetchabun province. It is normally eaten raw but there are some who prefer to combine it with rice and eat it as an appetizer. To eat the fruit you must first crack the pod, throw it and the strings away and only eat the pulp. The seeds are put in a pan over medium flame for about five minutes, their shell is cracked and thrown away and they can be carefully chewed.

1. Rose Apple

Common around South Asia, Rose Apple, also known as Champoo is one of the most interesting exotic fruits on the planet, just for the fact that it smells and tastes a lot like roses. Unfortunately they are rarely found in markets around the world because they spoil very quickly after being picked. The bell-shaped fruits are crisp, crunchy and have a delicious fresh flavor. It can be eaten whole but as with apples, many people prefer to leave the core.

Rose Apples are also boiled in hot water to make scented Rose Water.


Thursday, 28 October 2010

This Halloween, Meet Four "Spooky" Birds

Across many cultures, certain birds have been traditional symbols of bad luck. Here are four spooky species that inhabit North America.

1. American Crow

Large, black birds found in a variety of habitats worldwide, crows have long been associated with d**th and darkness, thanks to their coloring and certain behaviors—namely a fondness for the flesh of d**d animals, including humans. During wartime, observers have reported crows swooping down to feed on fallen soldiers. The birds prefer soft tissue such as eyes or the meat inside an open wound. One superstition holds that if a crow lands on a roof, d**th or misfortune will befall the home’s inhabitants.

The American crow is a common, wide-ranging North American species that has adapted well to living near people. A familiar sight across countrysides and suburbs, the all-black birds feed on fruit, seeds, worms, insects, other small animals (including chicks stolen from nests), garbage and carrion (though their encounters with human corpses are rare these days). Highly social animals, American crows can congregate in flocks containing millions of individuals. The birds are known for their intelligence, and in scientific studies they have proved to be excellent learners and problem solvers.

2. Common Raven

Like crows, which are close relatives, ravens have long been viewed as symbols of evil or d**th. (Think of Edgar Allen Poe’s classically creepy poem, “The Raven.”) Also carrion eaters, ravens are likewise highly intelligent birds that can learn to mimic other species, including humans. In Sweden, their harsh calls traditionally were considered to be voices of murdered people who were inappropriately buried. Germans believed that ravens could locate the souls of the d**d and that witches hitched rides on the birds’ backs.

The common raven is a huge, all-black bird (including legs, eyes and beak) that inhabits both open and forested parts of northern and western North America. Pushed out of the eastern part of the continent when forests were razed during the 19th and 20th centuries, ravens are beginning to move east as woodlands regrow. In some parts of the country, the birds have become so abundant that they threaten rare species such as desert tortoises and least terns. Ravens eat practically anything—from small animals to fruit to garbage; they are particularly common around landfills. Not as social as crows, ravens most often are spotted alone or in pairs. The birds are known for following hunting parties or flying toward the sound of gunshots in hope of scoring an easy meal.

3. Barn Owl

Silent, stealthy hunters that fly about at night, owls have been associated with magic, evil and d**th for thousands of years. The Aztecs portrayed their god of d**th as an owl, Native Americans linked the birds with black magic, and Romans considered it unlucky even to catch sight of an owl. More recently, author J.K. Rowling, in her Harry Potter series, depicts owls as messengers for wizards and witches. The birds’ unearthly hoots and shrieks, and a tendency to roost in the attics of abandoned (haunted?) houses, add to their spooky reputation.

With its round, white face and dark eyes—evocative of a ghost or human skull—the barn owl in particular could give trick-or-treaters a fright on Halloween night. Indeed, nicknames for this species have included ghost owl, d**th owl and bird of doom. The barn owl is one of the world’s most widely distributed birds, occurring on all continents except Antarctica. It has excellent night vision. Still, this owl’s ability to locate prey by sound alone—demonstrated in both field and laboratory experiments—is the best of any animal species tested so far.

4. Turkey Vulture

Scavengers that feed primarily on the d**d, vultures have long been scorned, and occasionally feared, across many cultures (though people also appreciate the role the birds play cleaning up decaying carcasses). When a wild animal dies, large numbers of vultures have an unnerving knack for showing up quickly. In ancient Greece, the birds were considered bad luck, and according to Persian lore, a pair of vultures guards the gates of Hell. Vultures, except on the wing, are also considered ugly birds: dark and hulking with hooked beaks and bare heads (which keep the birds from soiling feathers when feasting on a rotting corpse).

The turkey vulture is a large bird with a 6-foot wingspan and a distinctive red bald head. Ranging throughout much of North and South America, it flies close to the ground when searching for food, maintaining stability and lift by holding its wings in a V-shape and rocking back and forth. The turkey vulture has an excellent sense of smell, which allows the bird to detect carrion hidden beneath trees and other vegetation.

Bizarre Species Found In Amazon

Amazing species unknown to the outside world are being discovered in the Amazon rainforest at a rate of one every three days, the environment group WWF said.

An anaconda as long as a limousine, a giant catfish that eats monkeys, a blue fanged spider and poisoned dart frogs are among the 1,220 animals and plants to have been newly found from 1999 to 2009, according to the report.
Among the new mammals found was a pink river dolphin.

This blue-fanged spider was among the 1200 species found. (WWF)

Pyrilia aurantiocephala - a member of the true parrot family has an extraordinary bald head.

A 4m anaconda as long as a limousine.

A ghost knifefish was among the new species found.

A 'tiger-striped' tarantula found in Rio Branco, Brazil.

A frog with an incredible burst of flames on its head.

The amazing orange-necked Gonatodes alexandermendesi.

The Ameerega pepperi or dart frog.

The species of pink river dolphin found in Bolivia .

A giant catfish that eats monkeys.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Top Ten Things You Can Do to Reduce Global Warming

Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

You can help to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely. Here are 10 simple actions you can take to help reduce global warming.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Do your part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense for you) will help to reduce waste. And whenever you can, recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn't a recycling program at your workplace, school, or in your community, ask about starting one. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

2. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning
Adding insulation to your walls and attic, and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home.

Turn down the heat while you're sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

3. Change a Light Bulb
Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat.

If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.

4. Drive Less and Drive Smart
Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Explore your community mass transit system, and check out options for carpooling to work or school.

When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

5. Buy Energy-Efficient Products
When it's time to buy a new car, choose one that offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models, and compact florescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less energy than standard light bulbs.

Avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic and other packaging that can't be recycled. If you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

6. Use Less Hot Water
Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating blanket if it is more than 5 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most households. Use the energy-saving settings on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry.

7. Use the "Off" Switch
Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, video player, stereo and computer when you're not using them.

It's also a good idea to turn off the water when you're not using it. While brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it for rinsing. You'll reduce your water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.

8. Plant a Tree
If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by automobile traffic, manufacturing and other human activities. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

9. Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company
Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

10. Encourage Others to Conserve
Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment.

These 10 steps will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and your monthly budget. And less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.


Monday, 25 October 2010

The Great Sardine Run and the Largest Gathering of Predators on Earth

Some animal events are so epic that they jolt us from our fallacious seat at the centre of the universe.

When shoals of sardines materialise containing billions of individual fish, we’re in the realm of an ocean megalopolis – except one that travels as a single biomass fifteen miles long and visible from space. This is the sublime and scarcely comprehensible story of the great sardine run, a passage fraught with risk – representing as it does the largest gathering of predators on the planet.

Our journey begins in the cold waters off the southernmost tip of Africa, where the sardines gather into hundreds of swirling, shimmering shoals in anticipation of their 1000-kilometre mass migration up the East Coast of the world’s second largest continent. But danger lies in the offing.

Sandwiched in a narrow, plankton-rich corridor of cool water, with the African shoreline on one side and the warm currents of the Indian Ocean on the other, the sardines swim straight into the waiting jaws of their adversaries.

The hunt is heralded by dolphins, mustered into a super-pod thousands strong to pursue and devour their fleet-moving prey before the current they are following leaves the coastline at Mozambique to head further east into the Indian Ocean.

It’s almost as though the sardines have a d**th wish, a kamikaze instinct that compels their behaviour, and yet they also exhibit a remarkable defence mechanism that is enough to discourage the initial forays of the enemy – if only for a short spell.

By closing their seething ranks, the sheer weight of sardine numbers minimises their chances of being picked off – with individuals more likely to be eaten than large groups – and the strategy is enough to deter many would-be predators.

Soon enough, however, the tables begin to turn. The common and bottlenose dolphins draw on their superior intelligence, utilising a clever line of attack. The dolphins work together in teams, steering the sardines apart and rounding them into smaller groups.

Stripped of their mass, which so bewildered the early marauders, the tendency of the sardines to shoal when threatened now works in their predators’ favour. Hounded by their mammalian foes, the sardines form into the confused and desperately tight clusters known as bait balls, which can measure over 10 metres across.

Swimming in dart-like bursts and gorging themselves on their hapless, silvery victims, the dolphins drive the sardines to shallower depths, and here the menaces only multiply.

Having timed their breeding to coincide with the arrival of the massive sardine shoals, gannets wait on a wing for the water to start frothing, the signal that their mating feast has arrived. The birds plunge dive, swooping from the air and breaking the surface like torpedoes to prey on the already beleaguered fish. Carnage ensues as the sardines are picked off from above as well as below.

Like fractals in motion, the short-lived bait balls form and re-form – never lasting more than ten minutes or so – as the submarine dance of d**th with birds and dolphins wages on.

It doesn’t end here either. Sharks appear in their hundreds and quickly join the fray, making the most of the feeding frenzy now in full effect. Such is the wealth of food that predators which might normally be at odds now tolerate one another, focused only on the tasty morsels of fish available for one and all.

Adding further force to the legions of predators congregating en bloc are other ocean feeders. On top of the gannets, dolphins and various species of sharks are game fish like tuna and mackerel, birds such as gulls and cormorants, and even whales and seals that follow the shoals for some way up the Eastern Cape.

This incredible event occurs between the months of May and July, but it is not always an annual phenomenon. In 2003, for the third time in twenty-three years, the sardines failed to run en masse – at least visibly close to the surface – while 2006 saw yet another non-starter. Researchers are in the dark as to why the run has become less predictable.

Photo: Alexander Safonov
Then again, why the sardines choose to migrate as they do is itself not clear. It is thought the sardines are taking advantage of a temporary extension of their habitat when the water temperature falls below 20°C or so – yet they are still making for warm water where food is scarcer. Whatever its reason, this is not only one of the Ocean's, but the Earth’s most spectacular natural phenomena.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Top Ten Most Remote Places On Planet Earth

Thanks to modern technology and air travel, the world is forever becoming a smaller place. Where journeys from one continent to another once took months, they now take hours, and sometimes it seems like there is nowhere left for a would-be adventurer to really get away from it all. Still, if you have the time, money, and know-how, there are still some places off the map—or just barely on it—that remain shrouded in mystery simply by virtue of being really difficult to reach. Whether mining camps at the top of the world, or tiny islands thousands of miles from civilization, the following are the top 10 most remote places left on planet Earth.

1. Tristan da Cunha

The single most remote inhabited place in the world, Tristan de Cunha is an archipelago of small islands located in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The nearest land to the island is South Africa, which is roughly 1,700 miles away, while the South American coast lies at a distance of about 2,000 miles. Despite its tiny size and astonishing isolation, Tristan de Cunha has enjoyed a rich history. The island was first discovered in 1506 by a Portuguese explorer, and was later annexed by the British, who feared the French might use it as a point of departure to rescue Napoleon, who had been exiled to nearby St. Helena. A small group of British, Italian, and American settlers began living on the island in the 1800s, and it is still under the U.K.’s jurisdiction today. The islands now have a total population 271 people, most of whom are descended from those original settlers and make their living as farmers and craft makers. Although the island now has some television stations and access to the internet via satellite, it is still the most physically isolated location on planet earth. The island’s rocky geography makes building an airstrip impossible, so the only way to travel to it is by boat. It was once regularly connected to South Africa by a British transport ship, but this vessel has since stopped calling on the island, and outside of the occasional cargo vessel, now the only visitors to Tristan da Cunha are deep sea fishing boats.

2. Motuo County, China

Considered the last county in China without a road leading to it, Motuo is a small community in the Tibetan Autonomous Region that remains one of the few places in Asia still untouched by the modern world. Just getting to Motuo is a Herculean task, as travelers must follow a grueling overland route through frozen parts of the Himalayas before crossing into the county by way of a 200-meter-long suspension bridge. The county is renowned for its beauty—Buddhist scripture regards it as Tibet’s holiest land—and it is said to be a virtual Eden of plant life, housing one-tenth of all flora in China. Despite its stunning geography and natural resources, Motuo still remains something of an island unto itself. Millions of dollars have been spent over the years in trying to build a serviceable road to it, but all attempts have eventually been abandoned because of mudslides, avalanches, and a generally volatile landscape. As the story goes, in the early 90s a makeshift highway was built that led from the outside world into the heart of Mutuo County. It lasted for only a few days before becoming un-passable, and was soon reclaimed by the dense forest.

3. Alert, Nunavut, Canada

Located in Canada on the tip of the Nunavut territory, Alert is a small village that lies on the Arctic Ocean only 500 miles below the North Pole. It is widely considered to be the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world (with a whopping five year-round residents), and also one of the most inhospitable. Temperatures in Alert, which also serves as a Canadian radio receiving facility and a weather laboratory, can get as low as 40 degrees below zero, and because of its location at the top of the Earth, the camp alternates between 24-hour sunlight during the summer and 24-hour darkness during the winter. The nearest town to Alert is a small fishing village some 1,300 miles away, and you would have to travel nearly twice that distance to reach major cities like Quebec. Because of its military function, Alert does have an airport, but because of weather it is often unusable. In 1991, a C-130 aircraft crashed there when its pilot misjudged his altitude and brought his plane down 19 miles short of the runway. 4 people died in the crash, and another perished while waiting for a rescue party, which took nearly 30 hours to make the short journey to the site because of a blizzard.

4. Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island is a tiny speck of land located nearly dead in the center of the southern Pacific Ocean. Its closest neighbors are the Gambier Islands and Tahiti to the West, but even these are several hundred miles away. The island, which is the last remaining British territory in the Pacific, has a standing population of some fifty people, many of whom are descended from crewmembers of the famed HMS Bounty. In 1789, the Bounty was the setting for a now-legendary mutiny, when crewmembers enchanted by the idyllic life of the native Pacific islanders overthrew their commander, burned their ship in a nearby bay, and settled on Pitcairn. Today, the descendants of those sailors mostly make their living off of farming, fishing, and selling their extremely rare postage stamps to collectors, but even with modern transportation they still remain one of the most isolated communities in the world. There is no airstrip on the island, and getting there from the mainland requires hopping a ride on a shipping boat out of New Zealand, a journey that can take as long as ten days.

5. Kerguelen Islands

Also known as the “Desolation Islands” for their sheer distance from any kind of civilization, the Kerguelen Islands are a small archipelago located in the southern Indian Ocean. There is no airstrip on the islands, and to get to them travelers must take a six-day boat ride from Reunion, a small island located off the coast of Madagascar. The islands have no native population, but like Antarctica, which lies several hundred miles south, the Kerguelens have a year-round population of scientists and engineers from France, which claims them as a territory. The islands do have something of a storied past, and since they were first discovered in 1772 they have been visited by a number of different biologists and explorers, including Captain James Cook, who made a brief stop on the archipelago in 1776. Today the island is primarily a scientific center, but it also holds a satellite, a French missile defense system, and even serves as a sort of refuge for a particular type of French cattle that has become endangered on the mainland.

6. Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

At 836,000 square miles in size, Greenland is the world’s largest island, but its tiny population of 57,000 people means that it’s also the most desolate. And of all the towns in Greenland, perhaps none is as remote (or as difficult to pronounce) as Ittoqqortoormiit, a small fishing and hunting village located on the island’s eastern shore, to the north of Iceland. The town is part of a municipal district roughly the size of England, but it has a population of only slightly more than 500 people, meaning that each person technically has more than 150 square miles to call their own. Residents make their living off of hunting polar bears and whales, which are prevalent in the area, and by fishing for Halibut during the warmer months. Ittoqqortoormiit lies on the coast, but the seas surrounding it are almost perpetually frozen, leaving only a three-month window when the town is easily accessible by boat. There is an airport some 25 miles away, but flights are rare. For the most part, the town, one of the northernmost settlements in the world, is completely isolated in the vastness of the tundra.

7. Cape York Peninsula, Australia

Australia is known both for its extremely low population density and untouched natural beauty, both of which are best exemplified by Cape York, Peninsula, a huge expanse of untouched wilderness located on the country’s northern tip. The region has a population of only 18,000 people, most of whom are part of the country’s aboriginal tribes, and it is considered to be one of the largest undeveloped places left in the world. This helps contribute to its stunning natural beauty, but it also makes Cape York about as difficult to reach as any destination in Australia. The peninsula has become a popular destination for adventurous tourists, who drive jeeps and trucks down the unpaved Peninsula Development Road whenever it isn’t closed due to flooding during the rainy season. But even with 4-wheel drive trucks, many of the more heavily overgrown parts of Cape York Peninsula are completely inaccessible, and some regions have still only been surveyed by helicopter.

8. McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Located literally at the bottom of the world, Antarctica is easily one of the most remote places on the face of the Earth. There are no native inhabitants to the continent, but there are several research centers constantly in operation there, and of these McMurdo Station is the largest. Located on Ross Island near the northern tip of the continent, the almost perpetually frozen station is a center of international research, and is home to as many as 1,200 scientists and workers during the warmer summer months. It’s one of the most desolate locations on the planet, but although McMurdo is as far from a major city as any location in the world, even it is no longer as backwater as it used to be. Trips by boat to Antarctica once took months, sometimes even years, but McMurdo’s three airstrips have helped make the region a much less remote destination than before. Thanks to this, the scientists at the station now enjoy many of the modern amenities found in major cities, including gyms, television, and even a nine-hole Frisbee golf course.

9. La Rinconada, Peru

For sheer inaccessibility, few locations in South America compare to La Rinconada, a small mining town in the Peruvian Andes. Located nearly 17,000 feet above sea level, La Rinconada is considered the “highest” city in the world, and it is this stunning geography that makes it so desolate. The city is located on a permanently frozen glacier, and can only be reached by truck via treacherous and winding mountain roads. Just reaching the city takes days, and even then altitude sickness, combined with the shantytown’s deplorable condition, means that few people can handle living there for long. Still, the town is said to have as many as 30,000 inhabitants, almost all of whom are involved in the business of mining gold, which is extracted from beneath the ice inside nearby caverns. In addition to its remoteness, La Rinconada has gained a dubious reputation as a destination for poor and desperate workers, many of whom work the mines for free in exchange for the right to keep a small percentage of the gold ore they find.

10. Easter Island

Located some 2,000 miles west of the Chilean Coast, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, is a tiny island that has become famous for its remarkable isolation in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. It is relatively small, measuring roughly seventy square miles in size, and is today home to around 4,000 people. The island has become well known for the massive rock sculptures called Moai that dot its beaches. They were carved sometime around the year 1500 by the island’s earliest inhabitants, and it has been said that the massive wood sleds needed to transport them from one place to another are a big part of what led to the almost total deforestation of Easter Island. Scientists have argued that the island was once lush and tree-covered, but today it is relatively barren, a feature that only adds to the sense of sheer isolation that is said to overtake most first-time visitors. When the first settlers migrated to the island, the journey took several weeks, but today there is a small airport (reportedly the most remote in all the world) that carries passengers to the island by way of Santiago, Chile.



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