World traveler and filmmaker Dylan Thuras (one of the creators of the amazing Curious Expeditions website) and science journalist Joshua Foer are guest blogging at BoingBoing, where they announced the launch of their new website, Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World’s Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica:
The Atlas is a collaborative project whose purpose is to catalog all of the “wondrous, curious, and esoteric places” that get left out of traditional travel guidebooks and are ignored by the average tourist. Anyone can enter new places into the Atlas Obscura, or edit content that someone else has already contributed.
What kind of places are we talking about? Here are a few that were recently added to the Atlas:
– A hidden spot in the Smoky Mountains where you can find fireflies that blink in unison
-A 70-year-old house made entirely out of paper
– A giant hole in the middle of the Turkmenistan desert that’s been burning for four decades
– A Czech church built of bones
– The world’s largest Tesla coil
– A museum filled with the genitals of every known mammal in Iceland
– Enormous concrete sound mirrors once used to detect aircraft off the English coast
– The self-built cathedral of an eccentric Spanish ex-monk
– A museum of Victorian hair art in Independence, Missiouri
– An underwater sculpture garden off the coast of Grenada
– Galileo’s amputated middle finger
The site certainly sounds interesting (I haven’t been able to really explore it yet, as their server keeps crashing from all of the BoingBoing traffic), but it raises an obvious question, which was already asked by a commenter to their post:
…if this is all obscure information, how is any of it verified? Specifically, what’s preventing trolls at 4chan or the jokers at Uncyclopedia from deciding that there is wonderful, fertile soil available for them at Atlas Obscura, and start posting articles about a gingerbread house in the Black Forest, a place off of Cyprus where all the dolphins wink in unison, or the Bermuda Triangle-like effect near Dick Cheney’s house?
I certainly hope they have more safeguards in place than Wikipedia does.
While waiting for Atlas Obscura to come back online, treat yourself to more porn for book lovers at Curious Expeditions’ “Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries” page. Here’s a hint of what awaits you there:
Real Gabinete Portugues De Leitura Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
George Peabody Library, Baltimore, Maryland