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Spring Walk

Spring has finally graced us with her presence here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest! I thought I would share a few snaps of the amazing spring day today, may there be many more beautiful days to come!!

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My Neighbor’s Beautiful Tulips

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A Happy Squirrel Enjoying The Sunshine

 

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A Creek In The Park And Some Dandelions

 

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So Happy To Have Some Sunshine In The Park!

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A Cute Patch Of Daisies

I hope you are enjoying some spring weather as well!

3 Reasons Why I’m In Love With Postcrossing (And You Can Be Too!)

I started Postcrossing about a month ago, and I am so happy that I did! I have been having so much fun with it. Not only is getting postcards from all over the world a one-of-a kind experience, but sending postcards is also rewarding, knowing you are connecting with someone across the world.

If you aren’t sure what Postcrossing is, it is an online project that allows its members to send and receive postcards all around the globe. The project’s tag line is “send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!” Here are three reasons why I am in love with Postcrossing, and you can be too!

A New Experience

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A Beautiful Postcard I Received From Hong Kong

First of all, Postcrossing adds a different type of experience to our regular day-to-day routine. It allows us to connect with people across the world who are in different types of communities, and have different hobbies, different family structures, and different likes, dislikes and social experiences than us. These are people that we would never come in contact with otherwise, and connecting with them can help expand our worldview. We also get to discover new cities, islands and locations that we have never heard of! Getting a postcard from a country you never knew existed is an experience in itself.  It is a little like traveling, and gives us a sense of discovery.

Each Card Is Unique

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A few postcards from this month, from Belaras, Germany and France

I read a few gripes about Postcrossing when I started, such as: “I receive way more mail from Russia, Germany, and China then I receive from anywhere else!” and “Sometimes I receive cards that are blank, or just say, “Happy Postcrossing!” Its true, not everyone has the same dedication to Postcrossing, but the pros outweigh the cons. And yes, there are some countries that are more heavily involved in Postcrossing than others, so you will be receiving more cards from Germany than you will be from Christmas Island. No matter where you receive from, each postcard is different, and coming from a new, unique person who thought of you especially when the they picked the postcard, wrote on it and mailed it. Every card is special! This month, I received two postcards from Russia, two from Germany, one from France, Belarus, Hong Kong, India, and Turkey. Every card was different and so exciting to receive. I also sent 24 postcards, to Canada, China, Czechia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Taiwan, Australia, Belarus ,and Belgium. It is always fun to read each Postcrosser’s bio, choose a postcard that you think they would like, and write a note to them personally. Pen-pals and direct swaps (sending postcards back and forth between two people) can also be arranged through messaging on Postcrossing if you make a new friend and want to correspond directly with them!

It’s Free

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My Postcrossing Box (And My Co-Pilot, Archer)

Ready to have your mind blown? Signing up at http://www.postcrossing.com its absolutely free. I’m actually still blown away by this. Most pen-pal websites have a signup charge, and some even have a monthly fee. Postcrossing is supported by donors, and has over 670,000 members worldwide.  There are individual expenses that have to be covered with Postcrossing, such as postcards and stamps. The cost of international mail differs by county, but postcards are always cheaper in bulk. This animal box of 100 postcards was $4.98 on clearance at http://www.Amazon.com, and I bought a ton of these beautiful postcards of my home state for nine cents each on sale at Walgreens.

So are you interested? Sign up! Like I said, its free. If you don’t love it, you can stop anytime. You can always deactivate your account, even if you just want to take a break for awhile! Also, it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. If you only want to send one or two a month, that’s okay! As many as you send out, that’s as many as you’ll get back! Its as easy as that!  So, what are you waiting for?

5 Real Life Events That Could End Us All Tomorrow (Or Today)

Our day-to-day lives seem pretty routine sometimes. Going to work, going to school, watching TV and sleeping, day in and day out. Nothing out of the ordinary ever seems to happen. Well, if you’re looking for something to shake up your routine, check out these five real-life horror movie scenarios that could potentially end us all tomorrow. Or, well, today, for that matter.

A Supervolcano Eruption

Rescue workers seach for survivors in the ash after Japan’s 2014 Mount Ontake eruption

 Volcanic eruptions are categorized on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) scale that goes from 0-8, with zero being non-explosive, to eight, which is a “mega-colossal” eruption. The last level eight supervolcano eruption was Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia, and according to geologists, happened about 75,000 years ago. This eruption caused a global volcanic winter for a decade, and coincided with the onset of the last glacial period, where the earth’s temperature fell to about 35 degrees F, and remained this way for the next 1,000 years.
Estimated ash cloud spread from a modern-day Yellowstone Caldera supervolcano eruption
There are six active supervolcanoes the world today, The most worrisome is the Yellowstone Caldera in Yellowstone National Park. So what would happen if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted today? According to geologists, the magma shouldn’t flow much farther then the park boundaries, however it is the ash and debris propelled into the atmosphere that would be the problem. The ash and sulfur dioxide cloud would cover the United States and parts of Canada, and could take up to a decade to dissipate. This would cause a change in rainfall patters, cause severe frosts, and induce famines. This occurred in 1816, after Mount Tambora’s volcanic eruption, and was called “The Year Without A Summer.” Mount Tambora was rated as a 7 on the VEI scale, and the entire global climate was affected due to its eruption. The ash and sulfur in the atmosphere killed crops, thus induced famine, global dimming from the ash cloud caused frost and an extreme drop in temperature, which caused illness and the inability to farm. Thousands died due the severe changes.
Although a supervolcano would not wipe out the entire world, (reports and movies exaggerate this) it could devastate North America for years to come.

A Large Asteroid Impact

Asteroids hit the earth a few times a year. But what would happen if an extremely large, unavoidable moon-sized asteroid was coming? We have seen the devastation an event like this would cause demonstrated in many movies, such as Armageddon, and Deep Impact. Most likely, it would kill a lot of people and cause worldwide panic. In 2013 there was the meteor impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia, which was the most destructive asteroid impact in our in modern times. The 49 foot asteroid entered the atmosphere, broke into pieces and crashed down around Russia, leaving one 26 foot crater in the ice. Its impact in an urban area caused millions of dollars worth of property damage and resulted in more than 1,000 documented injuries. In 1908, The Tunguska event was an explosion over a sparsely populated Siberian forest, and it flattened over 770 square miles of trees. It is known as an impact event, however no crater was found. The meteor, estimated to have been somewhere between 200 and 600 feet wide, is thought to have disintegrated about 3-6 miles off the ground. It produced about 185 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb (with some estimates coming in even higher). Seismic rumbles were even observed as far away as the UK. This was this biggest impact event of all time, however, no one was injured.
Insurance Quotes put together this chart of what it would really look like if there was such an event in New York City:
Along the same vein, what would happen if an asteroid hit the moon? Meteors hit the moon often, creating new craters. It would take a moon-sized asteroid to destroy the moon or knock it out of orbit. If this happened, it could send chunks of the moon hurtling toward Earth, which would be a problem. It would also threaten life on earth with disruptions to the ocean tides. Fortunately, we haven’t seen an asteroid that large, yet.

A Gamma Ray Burst

Gamma Ray Bursts are brief, intense explosions of light that for a moment, give off as much energy as the sun has given off in its entire lifetime. Some scientists believe that gamma ray bursts may have been the cause of extinction of life on earth in the past. If a gamma-ray burst exploded inside our galaxy while pointing at earth, it could do extreme damage, even from thousands of light-years away. Although gamma rays would not penetrate Earth’s atmosphere well enough to burn us, the rays would damage the ozone layer, which protects us from dangerous ultraviolet rays. Without the ozone layer protecting us, we could easily be killed by the hazardous UV rays. It’s also possible that gamma-ray bursts may produce cosmic rays, which create an experience similar to a nuclear explosion, causing radiation sickness to those on earth exposed. There is no way to predict or prevent these bursts, so lets just hope they don’t happen.

Spontaneous Human Combustion

 The remains of a woman after she mysteriously caught fire and died in her home
Spontaneous Human Combustion refers to the death of a person by a fire which has no origin, and is believed to begin within the individual. This phrase was recently coined, however people have been talking about this since even the 1800s, and it is popular in works of fiction and in movies. How and why spontaneous combustion happens is still a mystery. The burning often seems to begin in the chest or stomach, and often leaves the furniture, floors, and clothes of the victims mysteriously unburned. In the past, this was said to be an “Act of God,” as there was no reasonable explanation for it. Only about a dozen real-life cases of spontaneous combustion have been investigated, and it is still an unexplainable event.

A Huge Storm

In 1362, there was a storm so big, they called it ” Grote Mandrenke” which means, “The Great Drowning of Men” (much cooler than “Hurricane Cindy.”) The windstorm decimated the British Isles, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. The coinciding storm in the North Sea broke up islands, swept part of the mainland out to sea, and pushed water so far inland it forever changed the shape of the shoreline. Entire cities, like the port hub of Rungholt were wiped off the map forever. The storm is estimated to have killed anywhere between 25,000 and 100,000 people.
We can do nothing to prevent these storms. For example, check out the 1958 Lituya Bay Megatsunami. This was the highest wave ever recorded, with a wake at 98 feet. Its splash removed trees up to 1,720 feet and forever altered the landscape in the Gulf of Alaska. This was in an isolated part of Alaska, so there were only two fatalities. However, what if this megatsunami, had happened in the Gulf of Mexico instead, or New York Harbor? We are completely at the mercy of the universe.

A graph showing the estimated height of the Lituya Bay megatsunami compared to well-known skyscrapers.

Sometimes we get too caught up in the routine of life. Maybe knowing that there are things that we cannot control in life makes life worth living. What do you think? What are some things that you believe could end us all tomorrow

Worth The Hype: A ’90s Kid’s Reaction To Steven King’s ‘IT’ Remake

I’m a ’90s kid. Steven King’s It miniseries in the ’90s was part of my childhood, and one of the first flicks I ever saw. When I heard they were remaking this horror classic I was pretty stoked.

After this trailer, I can’t wait for September:

The entirety of the IT story will be split into two movies, which take place in a Derry, Maine. Part one begins in 1958, with the mysterious disappearances and murders of children in Derry. A group of kids, known as “The Losers Club” find themselves going up against the evil entity known as Pennywise the clown, who’s been stealing and murdering children for hundreds of years. The second would take place in 1985, and bring these characters back together as adults. When the disappearances in Derry begin again, the “Losers Club” must stop Pennywise once and for all. Not much else has been released on the storyline yet, however, Bill Skarsgård, who plays Pennywise the Clown, promises the movies will feature a fresh new take on Steven King’s beloved horror .

The "Losers Club"
The “Losers Club”

Playing alongside Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise will be Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special),Sophia Lillis (37), Finn Wolfhard (Netflix’s Stranger Things), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy), Nicholas Hamilton (Captain Fantastic), as well as Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs and Jack Dylan Grazer.

Related: Check out this “Lost In Space” reboot coming to Netflix in 2018!

According to director Dan Lin, IT will have an “R” rating. Here’s what Lin had to say about his cast and the movie:

The kids are amazing. You very much get a “Stand by Me” vibe as far as their camaraderie and the way they joke with each other and that they really care for each other. They do have a scary clown that’s taken over the town of Derry, so it’s going to be rated R.

Check out the poster below! New Line currently has this set to release September 8, 2017.

We all float down here.
We all float down here.

15 Astonishing Natural Disasters You’ve Never Heard Of

There is something that captivates us about natural disasters. Is it the power nature holds, or perhaps the intrigue? The elements that sit with such beauty every day of our lives, such as the sea, the mountains, and the snow, also carry the potential to destroy us. They are one of the only things in the world that we can never control and hardly predict. We all have studied some of the most well-known natural disasters in history, such as the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Hurricane Katrina, and The Black Plague. Lets take a look at 15 other astonishing acts of that are less well known.

1958 Lituya Bay Megatsunami

All vegetation was removed up to 1720 feet above sea level.
All vegetation was removed up to 1720 feet above sea level.

On the night of July 9, 1958, an 7.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded along the Fairweather Fault in Alaska. The earthquake triggered a rockfall at Lituya Bay, and about 40 million yards of rock plunged 3000 feet down into the waters of Gilbert Inlet, generating a local tsunami. The wave that traveled across the bay following the rockfall was reported to be 98 feet high at the crest. The wave crashed against the southwest shoreline of Gilbert Inlet, and swept completely over the land that separates Gilbert Inlet from the main body of Lituya Bay. The wave then continued down the entire length of Lituya Bay, over La Chaussee Spit and into the Gulf of Alaska. The wave removed all trees and plants from the land, even as high up as 1720 feet above sea level. Millions of trees were uprooted and swept into the Gulf of Alaska. This is the highest wave that has ever been recorded.

“The wave definitely started in Gilbert Inlet, just before the end of the quake. It was not a wave at first. It was like an explosion..” – Howard Ulrich, Survivor

1815 Tambora Eruption

An estimated 10,000 people died instantly in the eruption.
An estimated 10,000 people died instantly in the eruption.

1816 was often called “The year without a summer.” This was due to the largest and most deadly volcano eruption in 10,000 years, which happened in April of 1815, Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. Tambora erupted and spewed 12 cubic miles of gases, dust and rock into the atmosphere and onto the islands in the surrounding area. Rivers of ash and magma poured down the mountain, burning grasslands, forests and homes, sending tsunamis racing across the Java sea in every direction. Debris from the volcano clouded the atmosphere and affected the entire planet for months, contributing to crop failure in North America and illnesses in Europe. The eruption killed more than 100,000 people, directly: through tsunamis, magma, and ash, and indirectly: through famine, illness and severe weather changes, which people were unprepared for. Floating islands of pumice up to 3 miles long were observed in April 1815, and many years after the eruption these islands still hindered travel.

1707 Hōei Earthquake

An artist describes the Hoei Earthquake.
An artist describes the Hoei Earthquake.

The 8.6 magnitude Hoei Earthquake struck Japan on October 28th, 1707. It was the biggest recorded earthquake in Japan’s history until 2011. This earthquake caused severe damaged, and ruptured all the segments of the Nankai megathrust simultaneously; the only earthquake in history that has done this. There was a following landslide and destructive tsunami, about 30 feet high, which resulted in 5,000 casualties. The earthquake may also have been responsible for the last eruption of Mt. Fuji, which happened only 49 days later.

1931 China Floods

Hankou city hall in 1931 flood.
Hankou city hall in 1931 flood.

Known as the one of the greatest natural disasters ever recorded, the China Floods estimated a death toll range between 145,000 and 4 million people in 1931. In this year, three of China’s biggest rivers: The Yellow, The Yangtze, and The Huai all flooded. The flooding was due partly to weather conditions: heavy rains and unexpected snow, as well as seven cyclones. The lands next to the rivers were also overused due to farming, with dams built incorrectly and forests and wetlands that are naturally used to control the river destroyed. When the unexpected weather of 1931 happened, the rivers overflowed and dams broke and waters flooded central China. 100,000 people were killed in immediate floods, but the floods also killed crops, destroyed storage facilities, homes, and roads, leaving survivors without shelter, food or aid. Many starved to death, with the inability to find food or plant crops, and disease swept through communities with no aid or shelter.

1871 Peshtigo Fire

"Refuge In A Field" painting depicts refugees of the Peshtigo fire.
“Refuge In A Field” painting depicts refugees of the Peshtigo fire.

The Peshtigo Fire was the deadliest wildfire in recorded history, which happened on October 8th, 1871. The fire was in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and burned over 1,200,000 acres, with anywhere between 1,000 and 2,500 casualties. Unfortunately, this happened on the same day as the Great Chicago fire, so it is largely forgotten. On the same day as the Peshtigo and Chicago fire, there were also fires in Holland and Manistee, Michigan, and Port Huron, Michigan, which makes some historians believe the fires were all connected.

1970 Peruvian Earthquake

Some people were saved by from the avalanche by climbing Cemetery Hill (pictured above.)
Some people were saved by from the avalanche by climbing Cemetery Hill (pictured above.)

On May 23rd, 1970, an 8.0 magnitude undersea earthquake occurred off the coast of Lima, Peru, lasting 45 seconds. The earthquake did immense damage to buildings, roads and bridges, however, it was the avalanche that came next that had the most devastating effects. The earthquake had destabilized Mount Huascarán, causing over 300 million cubic feet of rock, ice and snow to break away and tear down its slope at more than 120 miles per hour, towards the cities of Yungay. It picked up more rock, snow and debris as it thundered down the hill, and by the time it reached the valley only three minutes later, it was a 3,000 foot-wide wave of ice, mud, and rocks. Within moments, the town of Yungay and its 25,000 inhabitants were crushed beneath the landslide. The smaller village of Ranrahirca was buried as well, making this the most devastating natural disaster in Peru’s history.

1755 Great Lisbon Earthquake, Fire and Tsunami

An artist's depection of the Great Lisbon Earthquake and Tsunami.
An artist’s depection of the Great Lisbon Earthquake and Tsunami.

On All Saints Day, November 1st, 1755, There was an 8.5-9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Portugal. The effects of the earthquake were felt down into North Africa, up into Switzerland, Italy and France.The town that was most effected was Lisbon. The initial destruction from the earthquake was beyond description, where the great cathedrals, all full of worshipers on the sacred holiday, collapsed, killing thousands. The exquisite buildings along the Tagus disappeared into the river. Several fires broke out immediately following the earthquake, from candles and cooking fires. Within minutes the fires had spread, turning Lisbon into an inferno. Two thirds of the city was destroyed by the fire which raged for five days. Following the earthquake and fire, an enormous tsunami swept through the harbor and downtown area, rushing up the Tagus river. Many people died from wandering out into the ocean while the tide pulled back to look at the shipwrecks and lost cargo, not knowing that a tsunami is usually two or three waves, not only one. The three tsunami waves struck various towns along the west coast of Portugal, and damaged towns in Spain, Moroccco and Tangier, as well as many islands. In the city of Agadir, the waters passed over the walls of the city, killing many inhabitants. The tsunami took just over four hours to travel over 1000 miles to the United Kingdom. Galway, on the west coast of Ireland, was also hit, resulting in partial destruction of the “Spanish Arch” section of the city wall. This event was one of the most destructive natural disasters in history, killing more than a third of the entire population of Lisbon. Tens of thousands of Portuguese who survived the earthquake were killed by the tsunami triggered by the earthquake. The tsunami was accountable for about 70,000 deaths in Portugal, Spain and Morocco.

1925 Tri-State Tornado

Ford "Model T" destroyed by the tornado.
Ford “Model T” destroyed by the tornado.

The Tri-State Tornado was the deadliest tornado in US history, occurring on March 18th, 1925. This was part of a deadly “tornado outbreak” which occurs when several tornadoes happen at the same time. The Tri-State Tornado was an F-5 tornado, and lasted for 3-1/2 hours, traveling through three states, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri before dissipating. There were 700 fatalities, and 15,000 buildings destroyed. Winds around it averaged 300 miles an hour, and the tornado traveled with an average speed of 65 miles-per-hour, with anywhere between a 3600 feet and mile-wide path of destruction.

1986 Lake Nyos Disaster

A survivor looks over his dead livestock after the explosion.
A survivor looks over his dead livestock after the explosion.

On August 21st, 1986, Lake Nyos in Cameroon erupted in what’s known as a limnic eruption, sending a fountain of carbon dioxide and water over 300 feet into the air and creating a small tsunami. Hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide flowed down the mountain into the surrounding towns, suffocating over 1700 people and 3500 animals up to 15 miles away. It is still unknown what caused this.

1556 Shaanxi Earthquake

The loss of life in this earthquake was mainly attributed to houses such as these
The loss of life in this earthquake was mainly attributed to houses such as these

What has been called the deadliest earthquake on record occurred on January 23rd, 1556. A 520 mile area in China was destroyed, killing over 800,000 people, many being crushed by their homes, which were at that time primarily stone caves. Over 60% of the population of two provinces were killed. Crevasses as deep as 60 feet opened up in the earth, paths of rivers were altered which led to flooding, mountains were leveled and fires started from candles and cooking fires, which raged for days. Following this earthquake, stone buildings were abandoned, and buildings made of wood and bamboo became popular housing, as they were more flexible and made from more earthquake resistant material.

1972 Iran Blizzard

The most deadly blizzard in history
The most deadly blizzard in history

Iran’s Blizzard in February 1972 is known as the most deadly blizzard in history. Between February 3rd and February 9th, over 10 feet of snow was dropped on rural areas in Northwest and Central Iran. Southern Iran received no less than 26 feet of snow, killing over 4,000 people. Small outlying villages were the hardest hit, wiping 200 small villages completely off the map.

1792 Unzen Earthquake And Megatsunami

The damage from the Unzen tsunami and landslide can still be seen today.
The damage from the Unzen tsunami and landslide can still be seen today.

The Unzen earthquake, landslide and tsunami first began with volcanic activity on Mt. Unzen, on May 21st, 1792. There were first two earthquakes that came from the volcano. The earthquakes triggered a tremendous landslide, as the eastern flank of Mount Unzen’s Mayuyama dome collapsed. The landslide swept through the city of Shimbara into Ariake Bay, triggering a great tsunami, with a wave between 33–66 feet tall. The tsunami struck Higo Province on the other side of Ariake Bay before bouncing back and hitting Shimabara again. There were an estimated 15,000 deaths, around 5,000 are estimated to have perished in the landslide, around 5,000 by the tsunami across the bay in Higo Province, and 5,000 by the tsunami returning to strike Shimabara.

1868 Arica Earthquake

A man looking over the ruins of the city
A man looking over the ruins of the city

The Arica earthquake happened on August 13th, 1864, in Arica, Peru (now part of Chile). It was estimated to be an 8.5 or 9.0 magnitude earthquake, and multiple tsunamis were reported due to the earthquake, in Japan, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Australia. The earthquake devastated Southern Peru, and drove three ships in the harbor almost half a mile inland. There were over 25,000 reported casualties overall.

1977 Andhra Pradesh Cyclone

Citizen wading down the flooded street
Citizen wading down the flooded street

The Andhra Pradesh cyclone formed on November 11th, 1977, and was known as India’s first super cyclonic storm. The island of Diviseema, was hit by a 19 foot high storm surge, which instantly killed thousands, and left bodies floating in the water along with the debris. Landslides ripped off the railway lines in the Waltair-Kirandal route, and crops were wiped out by tsunamis. Thirteen ships went missing in the storm. About 100 villages left without aid, or were completely washed away by the cyclonic storms and the ensuing floods. A total of 10,841 people were reported killed or missing, however According to the Janata party, at least 50,000 people were believed to have been killed by the storm, substantially higher than reported by the government. In the wake of the disaster, officials in India were accused of covering up the scale of damage and loss of life and claimed that the cover up was to hide criminal negligence which resulted in tens of thousands of fatalities. Following these accusations, five high-ranking government officials resigned from their positions.

1999 Vargas Tragedy

A man digs in the mudside, looking for survivors
A man digs in the mudside, looking for survivors

On December 15, 1999, The Vargs state of Venezuela was struck with torrential rainstorms, flash flooding and mudslides, which killed 10,000 people. The unusually wet December poured 36 inches of rain in just a few days, which triggering soil instability and debris flow. The neighborhood of Los Corales was buried under nine feet of mud, and countless homes were simply swept away to the ocean. Whole towns like Cerro Grande and Carmen de Uria completely disappeared. Ten percent of the population of the Vargas state perished during this event.

The of nature is captivating. As modern society advances, we feel as we control more and more every day. Perhaps having an element in our lives that we cannot control will give us more purpose and meaning to our lives, and keep us balanced. No matter how hard we try to control everything, nature is one thing that is always bigger than us.

Is This The Future Of Tabletop Gaming?

Everybody loves a good tabletop game. From huge RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, to classics like Monopoly and Yahtzee, nothing can compare to an evening spent with good friends and a board game. As our modern lives get busier, it is often hard to make time in our schedules for tabletop gaming with friends. Well, here’s a place that has done all the arrangements for us. Check out Guardian Games.

Guardian Games is an enormous game store in Portland, Oregon. It has thousands of tabletop games to purchase, and tons of games to try out free in the store, with plenty of tables set up to be used for gameplay. And that’s not all. What about coffee, beer, and pizza to keep you energized while you play? Their on-site bar, called “The Critical Sip,” sells tap beers, ales, and the like. You can show up with your friends, or meet some new pals. There’s no better way to start a new friendships with like-minded nerds than with a good tabletop match.

Is this the up and coming future of tabletop gaming? Will a store like Guardian Games be coming to your town soon? I surely hope so. Imagine a place where anyone could go and buy any game on a whim, or just hang out with fellow nerds and enjoy games, drinks and quality time. Not only would this be fun, but playing tabletop games is healthy and engaging for the mind, and spending real time with friends creates tangible community and lasting connections.

What do you think? Do you see a future for the tabletop community in places like this?

The Lost City Of Rungholt, And The Storm That Killed 25,000 Men

There are few things in life that inspire us as much as a good mystery. That’s why phrases like “lost city”, “buried treasure” and “vanished” are so enticing. They keep us wondering, knee deep in childlike inquiries. Legends and myths, such as Atlantis, Pompeii and El Dorado, cities that slipped into the sea or were devoured by volcanoes, fill us with questions. What were the cities like before? What would they look like if we found them now? Are the legends true? Germany has one such myth: the city called Rungholt.

Rungholt on a 1636 map
Rungholt on a 1636 map

According to legends, Rungholt was a bustling port city, trading in agriculture, cattle, and amber. Ships were coming out and in daily, ferrying goods from the city to other parts the world. Merchants sold fresh fish, nets, and oysters on the bustling boardwalk, while taverns, brothels, street musicians, temples and inns were abundant downtown, hosting all types of weary travelers, soldiers, and traders. Located in the North Frisian coastal range, Rungholt was a hub for commerce and trade. It is said to have had between 1,000 and 3,000 permanent citizens. The people in Rungholt did well for themselves. The port made the city wealthy, and there was enough income, guests, and amusement to keep the town lively. Everything was right in the world.

It was January 16, 1362, when the storm came. Known as the “Grote Mandrenke” in German, or “the great drowning of men”, the storm decimated the Netherlands, England, Denmark and the German coast. The Chronicle of Anonymous of Canterburyrecorded it like this:

“around the hour of vespers on that day, dreadful storms and whirlwinds such as never been seen or heard before occurred in England, causing houses and buildings for the most part to come crashing to the ground, while some others, having had their roofs blown off by the force of the winds, were left in the ruined state; and fruit trees in gardens and other places, along with other trees standing in the woods and elsewhere, were wrenched from the earth by their roots with a great crash, as if the Day of Judgement were at hand, and fear and trembling gripped the people of England to such an extent that no one knew where he could safely hide, for church towers, windmills, and many dwelling-houses collapsed to the ground.”

An immense storm on the North Sea swept far inland, greatly changing the shape of coastlines, and rearranging islands. The water came so far in, it completely redesigned the shoreline, flinging mainland out to sea, creating new land masses, and erasing islands, towns and districts off the map. Rungholt, the port city, and all of its inhabitants, were swallowed by the sea, never to be heard from again. This storm, “the great drowning of men” is estimated to have killed at least 25,000 people in one night.

The North Frisian coast, before the storm of 1362, directly after and today

This Rungholt legend has entranced people for decades, sometimes even being called “The Atlantis of the North Sea.” It was written about in the ballad “Trutz, Blankenhans“, in 1882, by the poet Detlev von Liliencron:

Over the centuries the legends around Rungholt have grown. It is said now that the downfall of the city was a punishment of God for their sinful choices and disrespectful life towards the Church. The wealth of the city has also gotten more and more extravagant as the story has grown, as has the size of the city. Some say it is a ghost city, and during the times when the tempests are appeased in the North Sea, it is possible to hear the bells of the church rise up from beneath the waves. While research has yielded actual insights into the existence of this mystical place since the last century, the legend continues to exist today in movies, novels, and songs.

Scientist and Archaeologist have tried to reconstruct the existence of Rungholt based on some less-than-concrete evidence. In 1636, a cartographer named Johannes Meyer made a map featuring Rungholt, however, he had not seen this fabled city, he had only only referenced another map, from 1240. An agreement between two traders from Rungholt and Hamburg was also found, dated 1361. There were also several artifacts pulled from the Wadden Sea between Between 1880 and 1940, including bricks, swords, pottery, bones, and even a skull. It is believed these are connected to the lost city from so many years ago.

Items found in the Wadden Sea, maybe from the lost City?
Items found in the Wadden Sea, maybe from the lost City?

These and other indications, such as wells and a lock discovered in the Wadden sea, suggest to the investigators that Rungholt was a real city, and a thriving port up until the storm of 1392, however, the legend of Germanic Atlantis survives. There is not enough concrete evidence to verify scientifically the existence of this mysterious city; At the same time, the existing indications are signs that it is not just a local legend. For now, Rungholt remains a true mystery.