View full size image Ultra-strong spider silk, one of the toughest known natural fibers, could one day protect soldiers on the battlefield from bullets and other threats, one company says.
Spider silk is light and flexible, and is stronger by weight than high-grade steel. Its potential applications span a wide range of industries, from surgical sutures for doctors to protective wear for the military. But producing and harvesting enough spider silk to make these types of products commercially available has posed a challenge.
“Spider silk in nature has truly unique properties. If you think about a spider’s web, it’s designed by nature to intercept an airborne missile — a fly or another flying insect,” Kim Thompson, CEO of Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, told Live Science.
The silk naturally elongates and absorbs the energy of the captured prey, he added. “If you do the mathematical calculations — the weight of the fly, its speed, and the size of the individual fiber you capture it in — the strength-to-weight ratio is off the scale,” Thompson said.
For soldiers in particular, spider silk could provide a new type of protection beyond than the traditional, solid Kevlar vest.
A close-up of the gloves made out of spider silk produced by genetically engineered silkworms.
Credit: Kraig Biocraft Laboratories
Thompson has been working on this idea for about 10 years, since he watched other companies try, and fail, to make silk a viable material for armor.
He said that past projects, including one that used goat milk to enhance the spider silk, lacked a key ingredient: repeatability. By contrast, if one silkworm could be genetically engineered to make spider silk, its descendants could carry on that trait forever, Thompson said. Unlike spiders, silkworms are able to assemble silk proteins that are already being used for mass production of silk fiber for clothing.
Here’s how the process works today: Scientists take a DNA sequence from a spider, zeroing in on a protein that produces spider silk. Proteins are molecules constructed from amino acids (biological building blocks) that perform functions in cells, such as healing wounds.
The protein is modified, then “coded” chemically to have a type of biological on and off switch. When the silkworm reaches a certain point in its development, the protein switches on, and the silkworm is ready to spin silk.
The new gloves (created in collaboration with Warwick Mills, a New Hampshire-based firm that develops protective textiles and coatings) represent a big step for Kraig, Thompson said. The engineers weren’t sure if the machinery they had constructed to knit the gloves would work.
“This was a real nail-biter for us,” he said. “If it didn’t work, we’d need all new machinery to process this material. It would set us back several years.”
Silkworms have been genetically engineered to produce spider silk, which could lead to bullet-resistant clothing one day.
Credit: Kraig Biocraft Laboratories
Once production is up and running, Thompson estimates it will cost less than $68 per pound ($150 per kilogram) produced to make the silk. A competing method using E.coli bacteria costs more than $61,800 per pound ($130,000 per kilogram) of silk produced.
The company’s first target is the consumer silk market, which Kraig estimates is worth $5 billion each year worldwide. Consumer clothing using a stronger silk could be available as soon as 2015, Thompson said.
While Thompson said he couldn’t yet speculate on when the military might start using bullet-resistant garments, he said a natural first step would be to provide undergarments for the military made from material that is stronger and tougher than silk.
Kraig is already trying to identify what weaves could serve that purpose, with the ultimate goal of looking at the ballistic market. In fact, the company plans to first showcase underwear and other garments where stronger silk would likely be a benefit because it is less likely to tear.
Eventually, however, Kraig hopes to outfit soldiers with this modified spider silk. “There is no question we have our eye on the potential for ballistic projection,” Thompson said. “It’s a huge market, and a sexy market.”
Over the last 15 years, every embassy that the U.S. has built around the world looks like a fortress—an eyesore in cities and a not-so-friendly message to foreigners. So, architects who are building our new London embassy hope to prove that aesthetics and security can co-exist. It’s an idea that’s sparked some controversy.
I’ve visited a number of these embassies myself, and I can vouch for their dismal, almost bunker-like appearance. And, while that’s good for security and a pending zombie apocalypse, it’s not so good for American diplomacy.
With a string of embassy disasters culminating in the East Africa bombings of 1998, fears of terrorism outweighed other concerns. In 1999, the State Department adopted a standard model of construction, which embassy historian Jane Loeffler describes as an “isolated walled compound.” These spiritless shells are epitomized by the designs of PageSoutherlandPage, who have built 21 such embassies and consulates since 2001. From inside the walls of these fortified villas, you might mistake our embassies for social science buildings at a rural college. They are squat, unremarkable structures surrounded by green lawns; totally anti-urban, and, planners hope, totally secure. As Senator John Kerry put it in 2009, “We are building some of the ugliest embassies I’ve ever seen…I cringe when I see what we’re doing.” Harvard International Relations professor Stephen Walt wrote that our embassies were like the “vivid physical symbol of a powerful Empire striving to keep the outside world at bay.”
This design presents practical problems as well. Enhanced security requirements—such as the rule that embassies must be set back at least 100 feet from city streets on all four sides—has made it very expensive or simply impossible to find real estate in most city centers. That already has pushed many embassies to suburbs, making matters difficult for both visitors and diplomats.
In 2010, the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations began a new initiative, Design Excellence, which emphasized security, good architecture, environmental efficiency and urbanity. (“Whenever possible, sites will be selected in urban areas allowing the U.S. embassies and consulates to contribute to the civic and urban fabric of host cities.”) The initiative quoted the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynahan, who once served on President Kennedy’s ad hoc committee for Federal Architecture: “Architecture is inescapably a political art, and it reports faithfully for ages to come what the political values of a particular age were. Surely ours must be openness and fearlessness in the face of those who hide in the darkness.”
The manifestation of this approach is the new embassy being built in London:
The 581,251-square-foot building includes a consular section, support spaces, a U.S. Marine residence, and access pavilions….The landscape design follows the English tradition of urban parks and gardens surrounding municipal buildings with limestone paving surrounding and within the embassy, similar to many London walks. The lot will include six interior gardens, an event lawn, and a pond. The project features a landscape without visible walls, or fences to open the interior space to the surrounding city yet conceal the required security barriers.
Some pundits, though, are not pleased. The most recent attack is an editorial that appeared in the Washington Times:
An embassy must be secure against foreign spies and terrorists, and building one entirely of glass is style over function….The new embassy in London might have been meant to compensate for how badly American diplomacy has gone over the past decade or so, but spending hundreds of millions of dollars to make ourselves feel better is an expensive and ultimately useless exercise. The Obama administration would better focus on examining its failure overseas and working to regain moral authority and lost respect. Elaborate state-of-the-art embassies won’t do it.
Putting up a front is a cheap temptation, and dangerous when the front is revealed to be false. Only when America protects her citizens, beginning with embattled ambassadors, will the nation impress its friends and intimidate evil, and be recognized as the great force for peace and freedom in the world.
The editorial has prompted a response from Aaron Betsky, a famous architect and director of the Cincinnati Art Museum:
I am a member of that federal agency program’s review panel, and have experienced first-hand both how incredibly complex it is to design buildings for the state, and how thorough the design process has become. I thought I understood security concerns, but the lengths to which we go to protect our personnel abroad are now beyond anything you can imagine.
The critics claim that the current process is so lengthy that it puts those who are not yet in new structures at risk while they wait for new buildings. Yet I have seen no evidence that the process actually takes longer. The critics also claim massive cost overruns, which the State Department categorically denies.
The crux of the argument is that we are sacrificing security and cost to make the buildings “pretty.” That is such a dumb and reductive notion of good design I almost don’t know how to answer it. The Design Excellence program is about making the structures work. Part of that mandate is to represent our nation in a manner that does not make the people of those countries want to throw Molotov cocktails at us, and that both those seeking visas and those serving them have a pleasant place to work. But those concerns are so embedded in a process that seeks to make these places work in every sense of the word that to reduce them to a call for a certain kind of aesthetics is absurd.
The most obvious reason this has happened is that the new embassy building in London looks so striking…. Its high-performance glass skin allows the users to make the most of the often-dreary weather, while still meeting strict environmental standards and all blast tests.
“But once again,” Betsky concludes, “this seems to be a case of, ‘If a building looks good, the public thinks there must be something wrong with it.'”
View full size imageA teen girl involved in a car accident in Michigan didn’t even have time to blink before the airbag deployed, and the bag left an imprint of its canvas on her eyes, according to a new report of the case.
The case should remind people that airbags can directly strike the eyes, experts said.
The 17-year-old girl was sitting in the front passenger seat when the car she was in rear-ended another car in front of it, and went to the emergency room feeling pain and burning in her eyes. To examine her eyes, doctors used a special florescent dye that highlights any scratches or tearing of the cornea, or eye’s surface layer, when a blue light is shone on it.
“When we looked at her under a magnified view, we could see that there was this very unusual imprint on the surface of the cornea … a rather dramatic-looking picture of the imprint of the nylon mesh pattern of the airbag cover,” said Dr. Jonathan Trobe, an ophthalmologist at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, in Ann Arbor. [Image of the girl’s eye]
“It’s quite interesting to see that the airbag deployed so quickly that she didn’t have time to close her eyes,” Trobe told Live Science. [16 Oddest Medical Cases]
Besides leaving an imprint on one eye, the airbag also tore the surface of the other eye, but the injuries healed in 24 hours. The girl also had a small amount of bleeding in the eye, which resolved in two weeks, according to the report published June 25 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Although airbags can prevent head trauma and save lives, they have sometimes caused severe eye injuries, doctors say.
“I have seen this a lot,” said Dr. Jules Winokur, an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who wasn’t involved with the case. “Actually, this case report is a really mild case of the damage that airbags can do.”
Even with eyes closed at the time of impact, the force of an airbag can cause nerve problems, make the retina detach or rip apart eye tissue, sometimes with life-long consequences.
“I was just involved, over the weekend, on a patient here in the hospital who was in a car accident with an airbag injury, and now is completely blind in one eye,” Winokur said.
The doctor said his father also sustained serious eye injury from an airbag. After the accident, Winokur’s father developed glaucoma and a cataract, and needed surgery. “Even to this date, he doesn’t see well out of an eye because of the accident,” Winokur said.
Still, most eye injuries from airbags are mild and temporary, and the outcome is probably better than the alternative, doctors say. Without an airbag, injuries can range from broken facial bones and eye damage, to head trauma and death.
“The thing to keep in mind here is that if you didn’t have the airbag and hit your head, it would be much worse,” Trobe said. “This is almost like an exchange. This is a little bit of small price to pay.”
Decorative Contact Lenses Get ‘Horror Story’ Warning from FDA
By Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer | June 26, 2014 02:32pm ET Actress Sarah Paulson in the television show “American Horror Story,” wearing especially designed contact lenses.
View full size imageThe gruesome eye injuries depicted on the TV show “American Horror Story” are being used to warn consumers about the dangers of wearing decorative contact lenses, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today (June 26).
Decorative contact lenses can cause eye injuries, including tears on the eye’s surface, which may lead to infection, serious eye damage and even blindness.
In a joint campaign, the FDA, the American Optometric Association and the Entertainment Industries Council are releasing two videos to inform consumers, especially teenagers, about the safety of these contact lenses.
The videos contain clips from the popular television show “American Horror Story,” which has frequently used decorative contact lenses to depict eye injuries. The clips include interviews with professional makeup artists and optometrists, who walk viewers through the process that happens behind the scenes, before actors are given the green light to wear the lenses. This includes getting comprehensive eye exams and a prescription for contact lenses, and purchasing lenses from a reputable source. LauLaura Butler wore over-the-counter contact lenses for just 10 hours. She ended up with a severe eye infection, a scar on her cornea and damaged vision.http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/eye-health-news/scary-lenses.cfm
“Our intent is that when young people see the lengths professional makeup artists go to, to make sure actors get and use the lenses safely, they’ll take the message to heart,” said Dr. Helene Clayton-Jeter, an optometrist and health programs coordinator at the FDA.
In the eye exams, doctors first make sure an actor’s eyes are healthy, for example, that they produce enough tears to allow oxygen to flow to the eye while wearing contact lenses.
To make the lenses, makeup artists go through several steps, including creating the lenses’ design, and sterilizing them, as well as fitting them to the actors, because everybody’s eyes are different.
For consumers, to use contact lenses safely, the FDA recommends firstgetting an eye exam and a prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and an expiration date. After getting the lenses, consumers should carefully follow directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing them, the agency says.
The FDA also recommends against buying contact lenses from a seller that doesn’t ask for a prescription. Moreover, the agency noted that some decorative lenses, including anime, or circle, lenses are bigger than normal lenses, and have not been approved by FDA.
People watch as smoke fills the sky, after an explosion, at a shopping mall, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo) People watch as smoke fills the sky, after an explosion, at a shopping mall, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo) Nigerian emergency officials work on the scene of a bomb blast in Abuja, Nigeria, 25 June 2014. The explosion in Nigeria’s capital Abuja hit the Wusa district close to a shopping complex. According to police reports at least 21 have been killed and 17 injured. (EPA/STR)Nigerian emergency officials work on the scene of bomb blast in Abuja, Nigeria, 25 June 2014. The explosion in Nigeria’s capital Abuja hit the Wusa district close to a shopping complex. According to police reports at least 21 have been killed and 17 injured. (EPA/STR)Destroyed vehicles on the scene of bomb blast in Abuja, Nigeria, 25 June 2014. The explosion in Nigeria’s capital Abuja hit the Wusa district close to a shopping complex. According to police reports at least 21 have been killed and 17 injured. (EPA/Deji Yake) A Nigerian soldier, left, stands guard, at the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga) Nigerian police and fire officials work on the scene of a bomb blast in Abuja, Nigeria, 25 June 2014. The explosion in Nigeria’s capital Abuja hit the Wusa district close to a shopping complex. According to police reports at least 21 have been killed and 17 injured. (EPA/DEJI YAKE)Rescue services work at the scene of an explosion at a shopping mall in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga) A Nigerian soldier, center, walks, at the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga) An injured person is assisted, after an explosion, at a shopping mall, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo) Nigerian troops, right, stand at the scene of an explosion in Abuja, Nigeria, Wednesday, June 25, 2014. An explosion rocked a shopping mall in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Wednesday and police say at least over 20 people have been killed and many wounded. Witnesses say body parts were scattered around the exit to Emab Plaza, in the upscale Wuse 11 suburb. (AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga)
From Iguazu Falls to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, there are some breathtakingly beautiful places in Brazil. Ilha da Queimada Grande, located about 90 miles off the São Paulo coast, seems like another one of those beautiful places—at first glance. Almost every Brazilian knows about the island, but most would never dream of going there—it’s infested with between 2,000 and 4,000 golden lancehead vipers, one of the deadliest snakes in the entire world.
These vipers’ venom can kill a person in under an hour, and numerous local legends tell of the horrible fates that awaited those who wandered onto the shores of “Snake Island.” Rumor has it a hapless fisherman landed onto the island in search of bananas—only to be discovered days later in his boat, dead in a pool of blood, with snake bites on his body. From 1909 to the 1920s, a few people did live on the island, in order to run its lighthouse. But according to another local tale, the last lighthouse keeper, along with his entire family, died when a cadre of snakes slithered into his home through the windows.
Although some claim the snakes were put on the island by pirates hoping to protect their gold, in reality, the island’s dense population of snakes evolved over thousands of years—without human intervention. Around 11,000 years ago, sea levels rose enough to isolate Ilha da Queimada Grande from mainland Brazil, causing the species of snakes that lived on the island—thought to most likely be jararaca snakes—to evolve on a different path than their mainland brethren. www.saveanimals.se
The snakes that ended up stranded on Ilha da Queimada Grande had no ground level predators, allowing them to reproduce rapidly. Their only challenge: they also had no ground level prey. To find food, the snakes slithered upward, preying on migratory birds that visit the island seasonally during long flights. Often, snakes stalk their prey, bite and wait for the venom to do its work before tracking the prey down again. But the golden lancehead vipers can’t track the birds they bite—so instead they evolved incredibly potent and efficient venom, three to five times stronger than any mainland snake’s—capable of killing most prey (and melting human flesh) almost instantly.
Because of the danger, the Brazilian government strictly controls visits to Ilha da Queimada Grande. Even without a government ban, though, Ilha da Queimada Grande probably wouldn’t be a top tourist destination: the snakes on the island exist in such a high concentration that some estimates claim that there’s one snake for every square meter in some spots. A bite from a golden lancehead carries a seven percent chance of death, and even with treatment, victims still have have a three percent chance of dying. The snake’s venom can cause kidney failure, necrosis of muscular tissue, brain hemorrhaging and intestinal bleeding.
The Brazilian government requires that a doctor be present on any legally sanctioned visits, in the event of an unfortunate run-in with the island’s native population. The Brazilian navy does make an annual stop on the island for maintenance of the lighthouse, which, since the 1920s, has been automated. The island is also an important laboratory for biologists and researchers, who are granted special permission to visit the island in order to study the golden lanceheads. deskarati.com
Ninety percent of snake bites in Brazil come from lancehead snakes, a close cousin of the golden lancehead. (Both are members of the Bothrop genus.) Biologists hope that by better understanding the golden lancehead and its evolution they can better understand the Bothrop genus as a whole—and more effectively treat the numerous snake-related accidents that occur throughout Brazil. Some scientists also think that snake venom could be a useful tool in pharmaceuticals. In an interview with Vice, Marcelo Duarte, a scientist with the Brazilian Butantan Institute, which studies venomous reptiles for pharmaceutical purposes, described the medical potential of the golden lancehead. “We are just scratching this universe of possibilities of venoms,” he said, explaining that the golden lancehead’s venom has already shown promise in helping with heart disease, circulation and blood clots. Snake venom from other species has also shown potential as an anti-cancer drug.
In a world that is full of overcrowding and overpopulation, it’s hard to believe that there are places that, once populated, now sit unoccupied. Whether it be abandonment due to war, economic collapse or disaster, these locations offer a look into a place where time stopped. Once thriving locations are now modern day ruins, sitting in decay.
Take a journey to 17 abandoned places throughout the world.
In 1995, the capital city of Plymouth on the island of Montserrat was evacuated due to an impending volcanic eruption. In 1997, the volcano erupted burying the city in 40 feet of ash. An exclusion zone was created, eliminating access to over one half of the island and banning residents from coming back.
On Saturday, April 26, 1986, a catastrophic power increase occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant’s Reactor No. 4, resulting in several explosions within its core. The explosions released radioactive materials into the atmosphere, which has been widely regarded as the worst accident in the history of nuclear power. The entire town of Pripyat (population 49,360), three kilometers from the plant, was completely evacuated. In total, more than 200,000 evacuations are a result of the accident.
Michigan Central Station
Michigan Central Station was Detroit, Michigan’s passenger rail depot from 1913 to 1988. The building began operating as Detroit’s main passenger depot in 1913 after the older Michigan Central Station burned on December 26, 1913. It was planned as part of a large project that included the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel below the Detroit River for freight and passengers.
At the time of its construction, it was the tallest rail station in the world. The station served as a central hub during World Wars I and II. After the second World War, passenger attendance declined such that multiple attempts to sell the building occurred from 1950-1970. In 1971, Amtrak took over as the nation’s passenger rail service, and a major renovation began in 1978. In January of 1988, the last Amtrak train departed and the station was closed. Multiple attempts to renovate the building to date have failed.
A former diamond-rich town that once housed a hospital, school, theater, casino, ice factory and the first x-ray station in the Southern Hemisphere. After World War I, the diamond supply slowly decreased, and by 1954 the town was abandoned. Many abandoned buildings are filled with sand that is knee-deep. Tourists are required to have a permit to enter the town.
Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria
The Buzludzha Monument was built near the location of the final battle between Bulgarian rebels and the Ottoman Empire. It was built to commemorate the 1891 formation of an organized socialist movement that resulted in the founding of the Bulgarian Socialist Democratic Party – a predecessor of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
The monument was built in 1981, but shortly afterward, no longer maintained by the Bulgarian government. It has since fallen into disrepair and is consistently vandalized and damaged with no plans to restore the abandoned structure.
Hashima Island near Nagasaki, Japan
Populated from 1887 to 1974, Hashima Island served as a coal mining facility founded by the Mitsubishi company. The island was purchased in 1890 for the purposes of extracting coal from undersea mines. The island boasted Japan’s first large concrete building, specifically built to withstand a typhoon.
As petroleum replaced coal, the mines slowly closed, and in 1974, Mitsubishi closed the last remaining mines. Since all were stripped completely, the island is often referred to as “Ghost Island.” In the intervening years, it has fallen into disrepair, and many of the concrete structures have collapsed. A partial re-opening in 2009 allows some tourism opportunities, but a full re-opening would require significant funds to make the island safe to tourists.
Maunsell Sea & Air Forts
During World War II, the Maunsell Forts were built to be small fortified towers in the Thames and Mersey estuaries to help defend the United Kingdom. The sea forts were designed to protect the international shipping channel from German air raids and mine setting.
Air Forts were used for anti-aircraft defense, shooting down 22 planes and 30 flying bombs.
The forts were decommissioned in the 1950s, but were re-occupied in the 1960s by British Pirate Radio stations. They are occasionally visited, but mostly remain unoccupied.
SS Ayrfield in Homebush Bay, Australia
The SS Ayrfield is one of many abandoned and decommissioned ships floating in the Homebush Bay, just west of Sydney. Originally named the SS Corrimal, the steel ship was built in 1911 in the United Kingdom. It was registered in Sydney in 1912 and initially used to provide supplies to American troops in the Pacific during World War II.
In 1972, the SS Ayrfield was retired and sent to Homebush Bay – which served as a ship breaking yard. The bulk of the ship was removed, but the hull was left floating in the bay. The Syrfield is the most enveloped by nature, housing a rich supply of mangrove trees.
Uyuni Train Cemetery, Bolivia
Uyuni is located in southern Bolivia and home to the world’s largest salt flats. It is also home to one of the most comprehensive train cemeteries. The town once served as a distribution hub for trains on their way to Pacific Ocean ports. The train lines were built from 1888 to 1892 by the British. The hopes for the rail line to flourish Bolivia as a transportation hub were consistently dampened by local saboteurs who saw it as an intrusion.
The trains were mostly used for mining, but by 1940, were abandoned when the mining industry collapsed due to mineral depletion. Today, the train cemetery is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region.
Oradour-sur-Glane, Limousin, France
The original Oradour-sur-Glane was a town in Western France. On June 10, 1944, most of its population, 642 inhabitants including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. The town was the partially razed and left to burn for days. Roughly 20 survivors remained, and after a few days, were allowed to return to bury the dead.
After the war, a new Oradour-sur-Glane was built northwest of the original town. The ruins of the original village remain as a memorial to the dead and as a reminder of a dark time in France’s history.
Kayaköy was a former village in southern Turkey inhabited mostly by Greek-speaking Christians. During the Greco-Turkish War, the village’s population slowly left. The village was completely abandoned after a population exchange agreement was signed between Turkish and Greek governments. Many of the standing structures were damaged in a 1957 earthquake. Today, the village is classified as a World Friendship and Peace Village and remains a tourist destination as a museum and historical monument.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 34
Launch Complex 34 (LC34) was used by NASA as part of the Apollo moon program. It was designed to launch Saturn I and IB rockets, that would lay the groundwork for the Saturn V rockets that would send astronauts to the Moon. Launches took place from 1961 through 1968, with the first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, launching on October 11, 1968.
On January 27, 1967, it was the site of the fatal Apollo 1 fire, which claimed the lives of astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.
After the Apollo 7 launch, LC34 was razed, with only the launch platform remaining, along with a memorial for the Apollo 1 astronauts.
Wonderland Amusement Park, Beijing, China
Wonderland Amusement Park was an abandoned theme park about 20 miles outside of Beijing, China. Original plans were to create the largest amusement park in Asia, spanning 120 acres.
Construction stopped in 1998 due to financial issues, and a planned re-attempt in 2008 also failed. The land was soon reclaimed by farmers to tend to crops while the land was unoccupied. In 2013, all structures were demolished and the land reopened to new development.
ew York World’s Fair, Flushing, Queens
The New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair is located in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park in Flushing, Queens. Its primary construction was three reinforced concrete and steel components.
The “Tent of Tomorrow” once touted the largest cable suspension roof in the world. The second structure consisted of observation towers that were used for views over the event, and the third structure, “Theaterama”, was used for performing arts events, and is to this day.
Some of the complex is actively used, but other parts are completely abandoned and in ruins.
Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, North Wales
Hafodunos Hall was built between 1861 and 1866 and initially was developed to be a single-family home. The hall remained private property until its sale in 1930. In the 1940s, it reopened as a school for girls, an escape from World War II. The school closed in 1969 and reopened in 1970 as an accountancy college.
Upon the closing of the college, it was turned into a home for the elderly until 1993, when it was closed for failing to meet safety requirements. The building changed hands a handful of times, with no clear plans for its use. In 2004, it was severely damaged by arson. Plans as of 2010 were to restore the property to a single-dwelling residence.
Kaserne Krampnitz was a Nazi military compound consisting of 50 buildings. It was initially used as a training center for the cavalry. It was occupied by German soldiers until the end of World War II. A day after it was abandoned in 1945, Russian soldiers claimed the complex and used it for a driving training center. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1992, the complex has been left abandoned.
Macassar Pavillon, Western Cape, South Africa
Built as a tourist destination, the Macassar Beach Pavilion was one of Cape Town’s most popular summertime destinations.
Due to a series of financial mishaps, the resort is left decaying in ruin. Sand dunes have overrun much of the area and what is left of the beach pavilion is faded and chipped paint.
Once prominent gazebo, water slides, and swimming pools now cast strange shadows, providing a unique backdrop for visiting photographers.
This ghost town of a beach can be accessed through a 30 minute drive from Cape Town, in the Western Cape.