It’s always good to learn a new word every day, and today’s word is fatberg. A fatberg is exactly what it sounds like–a giant mass of fat. In this case, a giant mound of fat blocking up one of the world’s largest sewer systems. So what does a fatberg look like? Watch this video to find out, but don’t blame me if you can’t ever bring yourself to eat a kebab again.
The fatberg in question was discovered in Kingston, southwest London. A congealed slab of oil, fat, food and other trash such as cleaning wipes, the 15-ton monstrosity was the size of a double-decker bus and had reduced the main sewer line to only 5 percent capacity, preventing locals from flushing their toilets.
They should be grateful. Thames Water officials say if they hadn’t caught it in time, the toilets would have started backing up and raw sewage would have spewed out, a bit like that barbershop scene in the remake of The Blob.
The brave workers at Thames Water have slain the fatberg with high-pressure hoses, but more fatbergs may be lying in wait to attack innocent toilet sitters. Now’s your chance to help. Many cities offer sewer tours. Brighton has one, as do Paris and Vienna. The closest thing you can get in London is tracing the underground Fleet River, which was used as a sewer for much of its history.
What the world really needs are overnight sewer camping tours where each person is equipped with a high-powered hose. Brave adventure travelers could venture forth into the Stygian darkness, ready to do battle with malevolent fatbergs. Forget glamping, you overpaid bank executives, and give something back to society for a change. Go hunting fatbergs!
Trafalgar Square in London has a new statue — a giant blue cockerel. It’s the latest work of art to adorn the Fourth Plinth, a nineteenth-century base flanking Nelson’s Column. The other three plinths all have statues but the Fourth Plinth never got one, and so in recent years it’s become home to a series of temporary sculptures.
The giant blue cock, as the British media can’t resist calling it, has caused a bit of a stir. The cockerel and the color blue are both symbols of France, and this is a square dedicated to one of the British Empire’s greatest victories over Napoleon. German artist Katharina Fritsch, who created the sculpture, said she wasn’t aware of the symbolism. As London Mayor Boris Johnson says (he’s the blond guy with the awful haircut in this video) it could mean a lot of things, such as the British victory in the Tour de France. At the very least, the royal blue hue ties into London’s recent baby boy mania.
The Huffington Post has more photos of the giant rooster.
Even cycling amateurs have a thing for the Tour de France; if you like travel and have even an inkling of desire to ride a bike, it’s hard not to at least watch a stage or two. The Tour de France is one of those classic events that’s as much a sporting event as it is a cultural one, attracting people from far and wide to come and watch in person (or even ride some of it), and thousands more turning on their computers to live stream it around the world.
So how exactly did the Tour come to be and why is it popular? Everything you ever wanted to know about this iconic race is in this animated video. For example, did you know that the first year of the race, in 1903, riders rode fixed gear bikes? The original hipsters.
Don’t worry; it’s narrated in a French accent.
Gabriel Cordell rolled into his hometown of West Hempstead, New York, Monday night, becoming the first person to travel across the United States in a manual wheelchair. The 42-year-old’s journey began 99 days earlier in Santa Monica, California.
The Malverne-West Hempstead-Lynbrook Patch was there at the finish of his 3,100-mile quest. Cordell said: “I want to bring inspiration to people around the world … that people can do whatever they aspire to do.”
Cordell was accompanied by seven people for most of his journey, including Lisa France, the director and producer of Roll With Me, an upcoming documentary about the trek. Cordell acknowledged a debt to France.From Patch:
“I didn’t have one penny, just my will and my wheelchair,” Cordell said. “She believed in me and dropped everything in her life to make his happen. I am indebted into her greatly and she is forever my second sister.”
“This has been a really tough journey on my family,” Cordell said. “But I can finally say that, mom and dad … your son made history baby!”
If this inspires you, check out this video of the world’s first underwater wheelchair.
The Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland offer an amazing variety of things to do, from visiting prehistoric monuments to bird watching and traditional music in cozy pubs. Orkney is also a popular spot for scuba diving thanks to it being the site of the sinking of the Imperial German Navy in World War I.
After the Armistice ended World War I, 74 German naval vessels were taken to the bay of Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands. The ships were moored in the bay under the command of skeleton crews of German sailors under the command of Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter. Reuter decided he didn’t want his fleet to be reused by the British so in defiance of the Armistice agreement he scuttled every one.
Since the German sailors were already prisoners of war, there was little the British could do but fume. In later years most of the ships were salvaged for scrap but there are still several impressive vessels on the bottom of the bay to explore. Several dive shops in Orkney offer tours.
This video is a compilation of several dives along with some cool music. Sit back and enjoy!