My wife and I are sitting in Sydney International Airport, getting ready to return to Europe – where all sorts of interesting things are scheduled for the next month or so, including the ASAE 2009 conference in Lund, Sweden, and Digital Architecture London, organized by Ruairi Glynn.
But we spent the day yesterday touring an underground commercial mushroom farm south of Sydney, walking past endless racks of shiitake mushrooms growing under fluorescent lights, all of it deep inside a disused railway tunnel cutting through the hills of Mittagong (some photos and notes coming soon) – and having gone "adventure caving" through the limestone hollows of New South Wales the day before that. It's an unexpectedly underground ending to our time here in Australia.
It's almost impossible to believe, though, that this trip really is over – but six weeks can pass with surprising rapidity. Such is the calendar. (Sorry, again, by the way, for the lack of anything resembling regular posting while I was down here).
In any case, some interesting things to read while we fly 22 hours and 45 minutes back to London:

Smithsonian magazine takes a look at ancient cities lost to the seas – in the process, reminding us all that underwater archaeology is easily one of the most interesting things in the world.

—Is there an "enormous system of caves, chambers and tunnels... hidden beneath the Pyramids of Giza"? Discovery asks. "Populated by bats and venomous spiders, the underground complex was found in the limestone bedrock beneath the pyramid field at Giza."

—The Seasteading Institute will be hosting its second annual conference next month in San Francisco.

—A simulated mine roof will allow engineers to predict mine collapse more accurately; you might not be surprised to learn that it is "the only mine roof simulator of its kind." "Using up to 3 million pounds of vertical force and 1.6 million pounds of horizontal force, it offers researchers the chance to test integrity, stability, and performance under simultaneous loads in the vertical and horizontal directions." A simulant underworld.

Danny Wills, whose recently uploaded travel photos appeared in the previous post, has also documented his visit to Mike Tyson's abandoned mansion in Ohio.

—There is a tunnel down here in New South Wales that is illuminated inside only by glowworms.

Hadrian's Wall was apparently first built from wood. It only later became the earthwork that it remains, in ruined form, today.

—A 6,000-year old building has been discovered in London, on the shores of the Thames, due to the excavatory expansion of Belmarsh Prison.

Archinect's Michael Jackson Monument Design Competition is now underway and looking for your participation.
    What is the appropriate scale to remember a man who operated on everything possible - from the studied renovation of his own human form to the creation of an architectural-scale wunderkamer at Neverland Ranch? What design proposal can top his own unrealized plans to construct a 50-foot robotic replica of himself that roams the Las Vegas desert shooting laser beams out of its eyes?
The impressive judges' panel includes Sam Jacob, Michael Bierut, and Christopher Hawthorne. You have till August 22 to submit.

—Is farming a cure for addiction? An experiment in agricultural reform takes root in upstate New York.

—Complete with several odd – and quite loud – musical choices, deep-caver and professional engineer Bill Stone describes his underground adventures... which segues into his intention to build a "gas station" on the moon. Many of his subterranean explorations take him several days – and nearly two miles – beneath the surface of the earth.

More links soon! The plane is boarding.

(A few of these links were found via the excellent Archaeological News service of Archaeology magazine and via twitter.com/johncoulthart).

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Blogger MarioGee said...

Awww, you needn't apologize, Geoff. The posts about Cockatoo Island were all intriguing; "Excavatory Improv" one of my favs. And if I get bored, I just go back and read the Canadian sewers or the subterranean machine posts (or others) again; there is always something new to notice and learn in your posts.

August 18, 2009 11:26 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

"farming a cure for addiction?"
Burroughs suggested this in Junky.

August 25, 2009 5:55 AM  

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