Abandoned Coal Mines Of West Virginia

West Virginia has been defined by the coal industry in many ways. While the industry still employs miners all over the state, abandoned coal mines are remnants throughout the area of a booming past. Exploring the abandoned coal mines is highly dangerous, but the hobby attracts the likes of spelunkers and urban explorers and it’s easy to understand why-the mines are mysterious places that provide a gateway to how life used to be in West Virginia.

According to the website for Coalwood, W.V., the number and location of the abandoned mines is largely unknown. Open shafts and horizontal openings to these abandoned coal mines are often difficult to spot amid the overgrowth. Once inside, abandoned coal mines pose the threat of rusted machinery, dangerous bodies of water and even explosives that are now defected.While the videos and photos available online of these abandoned coal mines are impressive, explorers put themselves at great risk to obtain this kind of footage. What do you think West Virginia officials should do with the abandoned coal mines?

West Virginia's Coal Mining Industry

5Pointz Destruction Delayed Due To VARA Law


I didn’t try to veil my opinion in my recent post about 5Pointz closing. I am one of the many who are disappointed in the decision to tear down the graffiti-covered building in favor of a new luxury condo. But before we all continue to mourn the giant art installation of a warehouse, it appears as though the lawyer for 5Pointz, Jeannine Chanes, may have found a loophole. According to ANIMAL, Judge Frederic Block ordered a halt to the demolition of the building by its owners in the form of a restraining order this week.The Visual Arts Rights Act (VARA) of 1990 contains a clause that prohibits the destruction or alteration of works of art that are inextricably installed on a building, unless authorized to do so, presumably by the artists behind the work or community at large. Chanes’ use of this law implies that 5Pointz may be able to stop the building’s owner from making the demolition decision in this type of case. We’ll keep you in the loop on how this develops.

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Graffiti's Unofficial Museum, 5Pointz

Vegetarian Food On Flights: Doesn’t It Just Make Sense?


It’s certainly not impossible to travel as a vegetarian, but it’s not always easy. Not only do I not eat meat, but I usually try my best to refrain from animal products of any sort. Navigating this kind of diet abroad can be tricky, but airlines could do their part to make it easier. On one of my most recent flights, my husband was literally mocked for wanting meat-free food, even if that just meant a piece of bread. All maliciousness aside, what always gets me upset about the pitiful selection of vegetarian food on flights is the pure logistics of it from an airline’s standpoint.From a purely business perspective, it seems like a no-brainer that airlines would serve vegetarian options. Everyone eats vegetables (or should). Not everyone eats meat. In fact, some of the latest estimates say that there are more than 400 million vegetarians worldwide. While both meat and vegetables can rot or become otherwise tainted, the risks of contamination are higher with meat, especially when stored for long-term use, not to mention that the meat that does have a long shelf life isn’t usually the popular choice — give me canned beans over canned Spam any day. Meat is also expensive!

I realize that passengers can usually request food that meets their personal dietary restrictions for flights in advance. What I don’t realize is why plant-based food should be a special request. It seems to me that increasing the availability of vegetarian food on flights wouldn’t just satisfy the millions of vegetarians who travel as well as many non-vegetarians who are more than happy to eat plants, but it would be good for the bottom line, too.

Travel Tip: Vegetarian Food That May Not Be Vegetarian

U.S. National Parks Try New Ways To Appeal To Minorities

Cesar Chavez monument - national parks
Flickr, Sam Garcia for the City Project

While U.S. national parks see millions of annual visitors, only 1 in 5 are non-white, and Hispanics (the fastest-growing demographic in America) account for only 1 in 10 visitors. The New York Times just reported about programs hoping to increase visitor diversity by engaging minority audiences with targeted blogger content and highlighting American Latino and African American contributions to park history.

Non-profit organizations are working with the Parks Service and adventure outfitters to market the fitness benefits of the parks, create new attractions, and recruit more minorities to work in the Parks Service. Blogger Carol Cain was selected for one of the American Latino Expeditions and wrote on her blog about making the parks part of her (Latina) heritage, but also warned about the sense of “isolation” she felt as one of the few people of color in the parks.

The National Parks will be free to all on September 28 for National Public Lands Day, and again in November for Veterans Day weekend.

‘Diana, Huntress of Bus Drivers’ Takes Vengeance In Ciudad Juarez

We’ve been hearing about crime near the Mexican border for years now, but one of the most recent spates of crime is a bit different from the rest. A blonde woman who wears all black has allegedly been killing bus drivers who have sexually assaulted female passengers. Ciudad Juarez has long set the scene for brutal crimes against women and some women’s advocates aren’t surprised by the avenger’s actions. Two bus drivers were killed over the last week and the killer sent a message to news outlets claiming responsibility for the deaths.

“You think because we are women we are weak, and maybe we are, but only to a certain point,” states the message, according to the Los Angeles Times. The message goes on to say, “We can no longer remain quiet over these acts that fill us with rage. And so, I am an instrument who will take vengeance.” Bus drivers in Ciudad Juarez are terrified of the woman, who signed the letter “Diana, Huntress of Bus Drivers.”

[Thanks, Los Angeles Times]