Sinkhole Swallows Hiker 死海岸边的致命沙洞

The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and runs more than 50 miles in length and stretches 11 miles across its wildest point, bordering Israel, The West Bank and Jordan. Large sections of the coast are fenced off and sign posted in Hebrew and English: Warning of sinkholes.

The sea’s dropping water levels is leading to dangerous consequences. In April, an Israeli hiker wandered into an area that had no warning signs and was critically injured when he fell into a sinkhole.

“Due to the rapid drop, the ground water are now facing with the salt rock and the salt rock is undergoing a very rapid dissolution. Cavities(空腔) are formed inside and eventually the surface collapses down to these cavities and these are therefore the sinkholes.”

Geologist Eli Raz himself became the victim of a sinkhole several years ago.

“(I) just remembered that I was busy by documenting a new sinkhole, and then suddenly I found myself covered by a pile of avalanche on the bottom of a sinkhole.”

He spent 14 hours at the bottom before his rescue, and even wrote his will, not knowing he would be saved.

“I just can tell you that it was terrible, very frightened and in the first place, in the beginning, I started to write my will without knowing that somebody will find it of course.”

Now Raz is working to save others from the similar fate, leading an effort to map the sinkholes that are spreading on the banks of the saltwater lake.

The formation of the Dead Sea sinkholes are caused by a drop in the sea’s water level due to limited rainfall, the diversion of much needed water from its upstream sources, pollution, and industrial evaporation of water by the Dead Sea mineral industry. As the sea levels drop, high levels of salt are left behind in the soil. When fresh water washes in and dissolves the salts, cavities are created, causing sinkholes.

Detecting potential sinkholes is crucial because they not only damage the environment, but pose a direct threat to the tourist industry and agriculture.

These underground pits can now be better detected by a new monitoring system. The Geophysical Institute(地球物理研究所) of Israel, along with the Geological Survey of Israel, has been trying to locate sinkholes when they are being created and to follow them. The monitoring can help reveal dangerous sinkhole zones in their early stages.

“We developed a methodology of combining geophysical prediction of sinkholes appearing at the Dead Sea costal plane. What we have (as) a problem now is we need to create at least (a) few geophysical teams with the aim of the constant geophysical monitoring of the dangerous area.”

When a sinkhole is deemed dangerous, reportedly, crews can fill it in with cement or initiate its collapse before it would happen naturally.

In the 80 years that records have been kept, the water level in the Dead Sea has dropped by over 65 feet. The sea has shrunk by more than a third. And in the absence of any expensive water replenishment(补充,补给) plan, the sea is expected to shrink to about two thirds of its current size over roughly the next century.

The Secret Life of Geisha 艺伎真实生活记录(5-6)

Only one westerner has ever been allowed to become part of this closed way of life. It is now, more than 20 years since Liza Dalby, a US citizen, lived in Japan as a geisha.

A blue-eyed girl playing the shamisen / samisen, singing songs. It was the first time in geisha history. She got better at walking, sitting on her knees and wearing the kimono. She gradually became the part.

Liza had immaculate qualifications to become a geisha. She spent her teenage years in Japan, learning the language and the shamisen, the traditional geisha instrument. She then went on to make the first ever study of geisha for her doctorate before becoming a geisha herself.

I didn’t really stand out, then I would come, I sit next to someone and often he would start talking and then suddenly he’d kind of look at me, you know, noticed that my eyes were not deep brown and said, wait a minute, you are not Japanese, what’s going on here? And all the geisha would wait for that moment. I mean, sometimes they did this on purpose. They wouldn’t tell the customers that the foreign geisha was here, and then someone would notice, they would just break out, blether that was so funny.

Of course walking is something you have to give up the way that you walk when you’re wearing western clothes, because of the kimono, you know, in cases your legs are rather tightly, so you, you have to take smaller steps. And I would always forget to do this especially, if I was in a rush. And then my feet would start flapping, and one of the older geisha would scold me, you know, not to walk that way. But as if like, it’s like learning a whole new body language.

“When a woman enters the geisha community, when she decides that she’s going to make this for life, she makes a very conscious choice that she’s not going to marry, she’s not going to be a housewife, so the roads really diverge there. Geisha don’t marry, they don’t follow the, the middle-class way. They, you know, they deal them in the world of presenting themselves as works of art.

They are works of art, but they are also rented by the hour to entertain men.

Even though a prostitute’s livelihood is sex and a geisha’s livelihood isn’t exactly sex, the fact is that a prostitute can’t really determine who she is gonna spend the next hour with, and, and neither can a geisha.

Artist by day, companions by night, the image of the geisha has always been clouded by prostitution. From lowly beginnings, geisha slowly rose in stature until in time, they would reach the forefront of Japanese society. Once sweethearts of Samurai, in the Second World War they waved goodbye to their kamikaze heroes. How has a fragile world of the geisha retained its status through 400 years of turbulent history, and what became of those geisha who believed they could escape their traditions and find true love in the west?

To understand the geisha, you have to know their past. Their story begins 4 centuries ago in the days of the Shogun. Geisha first appeared in the early 1600s. After centuries of infighting among rival warrior lords, Japan became a united country under a military dictator or shogun. The government was set up in Edo, site of present day Tokyo. Under Shogun rule, Japan isolated itself entirely from the rest of the world for hundreds of years. The Shogun’s power was absolute.

One of the things this government, which was very impressive, did, was to stamp out, for example, Christianity and another was to take all of the prostitution in that kind of serve and put it into restricted licensed quarters to control it.

The pleasure quarters became places of sexual freedom. Exclusive prostitutes or courtesans would entertain Samurai warriors and merchants at lavish banquets. It was here that the first geisha appeared. Surprisingly, they were men. They assumed the role of court gesture.

These were entertainers who came into the parties that the courtesans had when they were entertaining customers at banquets, playing music, dancing, you know, telling jokes, this kind of thing, and these were originally men.