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tv   Atlas Obscura  CSPAN  January 2, 2017 2:00pm-2:50pm EST

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so, the first night she did night riders, cannot watch the film and that's when the pointy hats and masks happened. but, that rebirth of the ku klux klan was still three years in the future in 1912, so it's simply impossible that the campaign of terrorism. who then were the the persons unknown responsible for the purge? i found a letter written by 80-year old reese jordan after a lot of searching when suddenly there is something significant. he would-- she was a 14-year old girl in 1912 and had been a classmate of may crow and at the end of her letter after recalling how all hell broke loose on the night of the funeral, jordan wrote, it was the klan done this, it was just ordinary people of the county. >> you can watch this and other programs online on a book tv.org
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>> here's a look at some of the current best-selling nonfiction books according to the "wall street journal". topping the list is fox news host bill o'reilly. tim ferris is a book on success tips his next. followed by a ggt v-chip and joanna gaines, the magnolia story about their life together. best-selling author michael lewis details but nobel prize in a witty relationship between is really psychologist and the nobel prize-winning three of the theory they developed in the undoing project followed by the daily devotionals, jesus always. our look at the "wall street journal"'s best-selling nonfiction book continues with guinness world record 2017. next on the list is the food network's item and garden who
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shares her family's favorite meals and cooking for jeffrey. fox news is megyn kelly's about settle for more is number eight on the list. the tv recently covered megyn kelly talking about her book and you can watch that online at book tv.org. bruce springsteen's autobiography born to run his number nine on the "wall street journal" nonfiction bestsellers list and at 10:00 p.m. hillbilly elegy, a memoir of growing up in a poor rust belt town of ohio. many of these authors have or will appear on book tv on c-span2. you can watch them on our website, book tv.org. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> the best-- book festival has been going on now, for 11 hours. we have done 35 events at a total of 73. that 36th event is ella morton for "atlas obscura". if you have not seen this book you must've been out of the country or something because she is everywhere. "atlas obscura", i need-- incredible website. things that happen in your backyard that you may or may not know about. has anyone in the room seen the john mayer clock? we can all see that tomorrow.owu ella has been working on "atlas obscura" for five years and has put this book together, more than 700 different out-- entries of amazing things that has a happened around the world. ladies and gentlemen, ella morton. f
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[applause]. ge >> thank you.ef on delighted to be here. i can't think of anywhere i would rather be on a saturday night then on a light-- in a library with a bunch of book lovers, so i'm excited you're here and i'm particularly jazzed to be in madison, home of the mustard museum, wonderful to be here. as has been mentioned i am one of the co-authors of "atlas obscura", which came out in the book form a few weeks ago. to give you a bit of background on how "atlas obscura" began ano what it's all about, it's started as a website in 2009 is a collaboration between my two co-authors. the goal was to assemble a databases of places that inspire wonder, that are fantastic and a magical, but that you might not
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know about. what gives you an example of what might constitute it intu wonder, the eiffel tower is not a hidden wonder, batch the secret apartment near the top of the eiffel tower that thomas edison visited that has nice carpeting and a grand piano is a hidden wonder and of those are the types of things that we are looking for in "atlas obscura", so this website began seven years ago now and justin started assembling these places by opening it up to the public and people around the world and said show us what you have got and they weren't quite sure what to expect or how many submissions they would receive or if people would really understand the w whole hidden wonders thing. thig we are now up to 10000 places,
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so it's taken off somewhat. people seem to get it. people get the hidden wonder thing. we get so many submissions frome people who remember something from their childhood, oh, down the road wears a guy who built back hassle and i wonder if it's still there and there is this real sense of hometown pride with people showing off the things they have discovered and that's what we are cultivating. so, as a way of showing you some examples of what is inside this book because we have collected about 700 and done a sort of greatest hits album sampler platter of places we have collected for the website. i just want to take you on a quick world to her that showcases some places in the book. let's get started. all right. this is one of the first places that was submitted to the website within the first few
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months of it launching.. mont it was submitted by someone who lived in chair pangaea in the north of india and this is one of the wettest most humid regions of the world and one of the problems with reading of the structure in such a places that it disintegrates quickly. road lots-- rots and metal, rusts, so some of the people there have come up with a ingenious and visually stunning solution to this problem. these are the root bridges of terror pudgy and there are a few, but this one in particular is especially spectacular because it's a double-decker want, but the way they are made is that the villagers build a truffle over the river and then they guide the aerial roots of these trees across those trestles. it takes about 15 years for the
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bridge to grow and it can continue growing for centuries, so when we received this we thought okay, yeah. this could work. this is incredible. to continue with the theme of bridges, this is also a bridge. it's a land bridge that unites the islands in south korea. buds, this bridge only appears for about an hour or so twice a year and there is some mythology associated with this bridge. it involves what is basically the south korean equivalent of moses and the story goes that a tiger had descended upon the island of jindal and everyone managed to escape apart from this elderly woman and the tiger was menacing and encroaching
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upon her and she looked at it and thought, not on my watch. so, she prayed for a bridge to open up for the waters to reseed so she might safely escape to the island.ght safe according to mythology, this did happen, so every year once in may and once in a june this bridge opens up and the people from the islands and visitors who want to join the fun walk from their separate islands along the bridge, meet in the middle and turn around and go back home.home. this is a fascinating place. 's about 100 miles north of los angeles and in 1958, and the centric urban planner purchased about 80000 acres in the mojave
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desert. he had a grand plan. the plan to establish this giant sprawling automobile -based metropolis that would rival la and be this utopia.uld rival l. so, he bought up this land. he laid out all of the streets and gave every street a name. that's as bad as far as the project got.he he vastly overestimated people's willingness to move to the mojave desert and establish a utopian metropolis.etropolis. that's a sort of a shame for him, but this still exists, all of these roads that have been named are still there and we have events, real world events where we go out and of skewer with a skier societies and a various chapters around the us and a few years ago we organized
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this convoy of people to go out to these streets in what was going to be called california city and they went exploring and walked along these streets that are now being reclaimed by the sand. i have not been there yet, but i so much want to. it looks from the air like a giant circuit board. it's incredible. this is like the greatest hits of the greatest hits. this is a classic. this is the result of an industrial accident, essentially. this is in the desert and referred to locally as the gates of hell or the door to hell.refd in 1971, a soviet team of soviet geologists were drilling for natural gas in the desert and they found some. unfortunately, this gas was located in a giant subterranean
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cavern and as they began drilling this hole opened up in their drilling rig fell in and so they reacted perhaps slightly panic driven by setting the whole thing on fire and i suppose the mentality was give it a few days, may be a few weeks in this thing will burn off and it will be fine. 45 years later it's still burning and the gates of hell, 200 feet wide, you can visit them as this brave chap on the left here is, yeah. this man in the other subterranean cavern, slightly less hampered it-- hazardous. his name is rob and he is one of many creative driven visionaries , many of whom are rather eccentric that we
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celebrate. there is a former map-- monk in madrid who woke up one morning and decided he had to head to build a cathedral for the next 50 years of his life and he's still doing it. he is somewhat similar, but eat he uses the medium of the-- sand since the 1990s he has been walking to the new mexico desern and digging the incredible caves at. he takes commission, but it's not really about that it's aboup him expressing himself through the way that he digs. people say wheelbarrow on barrel on his back, carries a shovel and he just listens to the muse and he's made about a dozen of these caves since 1992.92. this fellow, who looks rather the worse for wear, but not when
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you consider that number one, he died in 1783, and to, it was at the age of 96. three, he mummified himself. his name was-- he was one of many monks in northern japan, part of buddhism. for a few centuries these monks of northern japan were engaged in the art of self modification you might be thinking, well, i studied ancient egypt in school and i know how to mummified someone else in theory once they
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are dead. you do the old hook up the nostril into the cranial cavity type of procedure, but how do you mummified yourself? surely that is impossible. as you can see it happened. it was a 10 year process and it began with a very strict diets that was undertaken for a thousand days and basically nuts and seeds and a lot of exercise because the idea was to strip your body of that in its initial stage. once that was done he doesn't really get a respite diet to lies. it just became more strict in the next stage was to feast upon bark and the sap from the trees, which is ordinarily used to lacquer wood and the idea behind that issue lacquer your internae organs. it's just that easy.
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[laughter] >> once this stage was compete-- complete the monks were generally very close to death, so they went into a two and sat in this position and chanted mantras and every day they would ring a bell to signal they were yet living and when the bell stopped ringing the tomb was sealed. after they had been left and therefore a while the monk woul be retrieved and put on display and then traded. several hundred monks attempted this procedure. about two dozen succeeded. ther there are about 16 is still on display in northern japan. of the practices actually outlawed at the end of the 19th century by the emperor, who i imagine was putting much like come on guys. g
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we need some limits here. this is a charming sort of local ministry that is a lot closer to home in minnesota. it's on the north shore of lake superior. this is called devils cattle and as you can see it's a waterfall that splits into two and on the right side waterfall keeps going and on the left side the water goes into this what is known as the devils cattle and emerges no one knows where. it's not for lack of trying people have tried to solve this mystery. they have thrown thousands of ping-pong balls in their. and they have tried to die the water and thrown gps devices in there and nothing yet has yielded an explanation.so it is it's just a fun little mystery. try to solve it if you want to journey to minnesota.
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this looks like an idyllic place to go, perhaps on a pleasure cruise like vintage postcard here. i would not recommend going there, however. of the reason why is in the name it's called snake island. islan. i like that murmur in the crowd. indeed, warranted. this places off the coast of são paulo in brazil and its named steak island because it is home to a vast quantity of golden lance head of vipers that are endemic to this island and exist only on this island and given half the chance they will kill you. of their venom is not a good kind. if they don't kill you they will cause a lot of damage, but what's remarkable about this island is the density of the
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snakes. estimates have varied over the years, but rough guides, there's about one snake per square mete i'm from the commonwealth and work in the metric, but if you don't remember that on snake island you are never more than about 3 feet from potential death. also, when little tidbit, the snakes are not just terrestrial. they are also a boreal, so you might walk along and feel one drop right beside your feet. terrifying. you are not actually allowed to go to snake island. you had to convince the brazilian navy that you have eight legitimate scientific reason to visit. if it sounds enticing, start thinking of some reasons. so, in florence, the museum that everyone wants to go to is the home of a bunch of botticelli
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artwork, michelangelo, da vinci, but the lines get really long particularly in the summer. you could wait for hours to just get inside.be there is a museum around the corner that is less visited, a science museum. among all of the scientific instruments you will findeum. ao galileo's middle finger. [laughter] >> classic. his figure was swiped from his corpse about a hundred years after his death while it was being moved at. it's been in various places since then, but since 1927, it has been at these museum which was recently renamed the galilet museum.
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there are various ways to interpret this object. i mean, galileo had a complicated relationship with the church. you can see it as he is merely indicating the heavens above or you can view it as a more pointed message. the interpretation is up to you. there was a period of a few decades in between when aircraft started to be used as part of a military weapon and prior to the development of radar for detecting on incoming bombing raid. d during this period there was ingenious creative approaches for how to know when you are about to be attacked. these three concrete objects on the south coast of england are known as listening ears because with the british did was to
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build these little palaver's-- i don't know what to call them, semi circles as a means of trying to amplify incoming aircraft noise. they built them, pointed them towards a journey and they helped for the best. you can see on the right here there is-- a little hard to see in that, but there is a stand where a microphone would have been mounted, so the idea was te amplify the sound that the microphone picked up. a guy with a device that was sort of like a stethoscope with tubes here that united here would also sit there and listen really hard. they sort of worked. no one-- nowhere near as well as radar. these were established, devices like these were built in 1920s, 1930s, but as aircraft
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moved the faster the benefits became negligible. probably give you a ever so slight edge, but not a lot of time to prepare.so slight this is known is that last inca rope bridge and bridges like these which are woven from the grass that you see on the bottom right used to be all over the andes, but as far as we have been able to tell this is the last one. it stands a valley in peru oruy québec guy on the bridge is actually one of my co-authors, josh. what makes it so special is every year because the bridge is it used so much it starts to sad and look a bit dicey for walking upon, so the villagers come together, they cut down the
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existing bridge, let it fall into the valley and sometimes burn it if they are feeling dramatic and they weave another one. of the villagers bring all of these grasses together and they weave them, plat them, they play them again reestablish this bridge, so this is the last surviving one of what used to be a whole network. this just looks like a kind of old school church organ in a cave, which has its merits in terms of strange and wondrous, but you are not seeing the whole picture here. these are the-- a cave in virginia and this instrument is there because of a man with an incredible name, leyland sprinkle. [laughter]e. >> in the 1950s he went spelunking in the caverns and
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decided they would make the perfect backdrop of what would become the world's largest musical instruments. what you see here is the core of it, but what you don't see the pipes of this church organ. the pipes are actually solid pipes and what he did was spend ears searching these caves for what would make the exact-- exact right sound when he struck them, so once he had found them he wired 5 miles worth of cables from this central console to each individual one. it's called the stolid type organ and leyland, mr. sprinkley used it to play the organ. it is now played in an automated way, but cds with music from thh
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organ are still on sale at the t gift shop in the cavern. i believe they are marketed as musical gems from solid rock. this wonderful device, which resembles a tiny carousel is actually an attempt at a weather prediction device. it was first exhibited at the 1851 london exhibition.1851 lono it was graded by a man with another great name, a name perfect for meteorology, doctor george meriwether. doctor meriwether who was a surgeon had come to decide or perhaps imagine that when there was an approaching storm, freshwater leeches seemed to get a little agitated, so he thought how can i harness this meteorology wise and what he
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does was built a device called the tempest prognosticator, which is the very device you ser before you. befor there is this circle of little jars into which a freshwater leech would be placed in each one. the jars would be connected a little wires to bells purely similar to the self mummified monks, i think about it, but the idea was that once a storm wasas approaching these leeches would shimmy and the little ropes with jingle and the belts would ringg and you would think i better take the washing in. [laughter] >> it did not so much work, which is why we have thermometers and barometers instead of tempest prognosticator's, which is a bit sad because look at this thing, but there is still a model in a
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museum that is exactly the kind of museum that we love to celebrate called barometer world it's in the north of england and it's all about barometers.it go if you can. this is a place i first went to as a child and as such it has made an indelible mark on my brain and soul. it looks like-- a little hard to see, but it resembles a nebula or a galaxy if you don't know what it is. each of these little glowing lights is, in fact, a fungus gnats in its larval stage. the story is these are the caves in new zealand on the north island, which is where i was born. it's a big network of caves and you go in there and the final
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moments of wonder is that you get into this bodes that rose along a subterranean river and you can close your eyes. it's very dark and all of a sudden this feeling of what looks like a universe opens up before you with all of these amazing little glowing things and they are fungus gnats. they are bio fungus gnats. they don't last in this stage four lung, but there are millions of them and we at atlas obscura adore bioluminescence. this is one of the places in the book and if you have been to the smokey mountains the right coming year you get these synchronized fireflies. .. et synchronized fireflies. the same thing happens in a part of malaysia. and in japan there are the firefly squid that light up the bay.
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so this is a particularly magical example. another place for my part of the burld.wa this is near my neck of the woods. it's off the southeast coast of australia. it's a volcanic shard --metimeso volcanic spire, and it's about 1800 feet tall, known at bold pyramid, and it is signature significance comes from in 2001, two scientist were scaling these treacherous sides because they were looking for a creature that the world had given up on, the creature is known by many names. some call it the walking sausage.
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its name is more scientifically the lord island stick insects and it looks like a stick insect but it's the size of your palm. that's it. it's this big. so, these scientists in 2001 had gotten a tip from some climbers they had found the remains of the insects at that time had long been thought extinct. these exit on an island, and set and by 1930 they were thought extinction, but because the walking sausage bid were discovered, there was reason to search.
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in 2001 the two scientists, 2255 feet up the spire and found this little next of about two dozen walking sausages. and having made this discovery, the next thing to ask themselves was, what do we do with enemy? it's such a small, fragile population of a creature thought extinct. so they spent two years trying to decide what to do with the creatureszz creatures and in 2003 they decided to take two pairs to melbourne zoo. unfortunately one of the pairs died, but the second pair became the basis for what is now a thousand strong walking sausagee population at the melbourne zoo and their names were adam and eve.adam ne.
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this one is disturbing. we have some fans in audience. so glad. their infamy proceeds them. this object is located at the museum -- the ice ice landic museum. this a replica garment but the curator there, these actually existed in 17th century. they are called the necker centur pants. and this story goes as follows. so the proceed our of the he canner pants, which are spendded to bring you luck and wealth, begins with a simple request. you approach a friend who is male, a dear friend, an
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acquaintance would be an awkward conversation -- you say, when you die, may i have your skin? only from the waste waist down. let's not be unreasonablesonabl. ideally the person would say yes, and you would wait for them to die or become involved somehow, but not ask questions.t and exhume their corpse, take the skin from the waste -- waste down and then don the skin as trousers. then the next part, which i find unreasonable, you're supposed to steel a coin from a poor -- steal a coin from a poor widow, which seems excessive. but snatch the coin and place ie in the pocket of the necker
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pants and the idea is that the coin in the groin will attract more coins, that it will bring you luck and wealth, and -- once these pockets is replete with coins, or it bins to achieve, s whichever comes first, you pass the necker pants on to in the next lucky wearer and you're supposed to do it one leg at a time, like museum three-legged race. we have not been able to confirm the voracity of the necker pants report but the thought the story was so good we had to include it. b so you're welcome. these are the gokter falls, located located outside a
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village in peru, and until 2005, nobody beyond the people in this village knew of their existencey and in 2005, a german explorer, tourist, traveler, was venturing in this area, and saw these falls, and thought, they're really tall falls, like really tall, like top ten in the world tall. and he spoke to the villagers, and the villagers sort of said, well, we know they're tall but there are so many things our there in the world. so many waterfalls. we got used them to. when the waterfalls were measured it became a parent -- there are different wives measuring waterfalls that cause controversy. found out because of the internet, but by some measure, these fall or the third tallest
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in the world, 2500 feet tall. my co-authors, visited the falls about five years ago, and when a they spoke to the people of the village, it was really fascinating what they said. they reiterated these pointsthey before about, well, yes, we knew the falls were incredible, but we were just so accustomed to them and forgot they were there. and this is something that we see a lot. that it is art've at the philosophy. you don't ha have to go to peru or see the necker pants. there are things in our own backyard that's incredible and it's just matter of opening your eyes and not becoming complacent about what is around you.
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so, to that end, i wanted to talk about one more place very briefly which is right here in wonderful state of wisconsin.thu is -- the graviton -- how many of you have been the? this what i was talking about hometown pride, wanting to share the e the specialing you found that are in your neighborhood with the world. because the evitorn was incredible. created in the 1980s by a retired wrecking and sal vamp expert, and -- salvage expert,t and the idea out this sued to of victorian space machine its he blast into the heavens in a lightning beam, and this is
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right here. just north of madd disson off highway 12. we love for you all to good out there and explore, and be an explorer. so, we hope we use -- you use our book as your guide. so that's about it for my formal presentation. i would love to take questions if you have any. my only disclaimer is if you ask me about a specific detail in one of the 700 places in book i may not immediately remember ity but i will try my best. anyone have any questions -- and that a microphone in the center. i'll give you time to good the
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microphone. want to see the neck are pants again? >> so, i gather that this started as web site and i would imagine that the book is constantly in need of updating. do you anticipate future editions? >> yes, definitely. we would definitely want to put future updated versions of the specific book out into the world, but we also already looking at what other books can we write? because condensing the world's wonders into 480 pages is very, very difficult. we're looking at putting out books a little bit more specific anywhere focus, whether that's gee eagree geographically and
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any category could be an entire look. our editor gave us feed back about the fact we had too many museums that had wax mod. another of diseases. we would love to put future updated editions of the book and other books. >> thank you. i also wanted to say that -- well, dr. evermore's site is a great example of what your investigating around the world. wisconsin is full of those places, and i -- there's any number of other candidates. i don't know if you have other examples in the book, but -- >> we have a lot on the web site. one in the book which i'm -- all
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of probably familiar with is house on the rock. one that you all know but people around the world don't. so it is -- yes. it's something that is worth sharing with the world and i hope you don't mind sharing its. >> for sure, the painted forest and the concrete park and dickyville grotto. thank you for doing this. >> thank you. >> this is for tall people. we're actually going to new zealand for the first time, and what would you recommend or should i just buy the book? >> that would be the main version. there are so many things. there's -- if you go to a museum
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in wellington, you will see an, giant squid that has been -- huge squid. it's wonderful. what else in the book? there's -- if you go to rota ryu a, kind of a lunar landscape. and then you have places like -- if you want to note and it you're interested in the economy, there is a machine called the aammoniaic machine which shows how the economy works, which is at the university of artaga? it's in the book. i would definitely recommend
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that. a magical experience, where is university of -- >> on the south island.rs i should know this. denita. >> okay. thank you. >> was there a wonder that you wanted in the book but didn't make the cut? >> there were so many. the problem with narrowing down -- we started out with a giant spreadsheet, we tried to have a balance in terms of geography and the types of places. and the problem was we all had -- three of us had certain predilections and things we adored northed all of -- not all of it which made into it the book.
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we really love medical museums. a think we all like. and one problem with that is some of them are quite similar to each other. these places that by themselves are so incredible but when you have one that is similar in book, we had to take one out, but it really want to keep it so medical museums, and bone churches, we tried not to make the book too defy, we -- there's a lot of death in there but death its treated in various interesting ways. things like coffins that look like tigers them merry cemetery, great loss. >> thank you. >> thank you.
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[i [inaudible question] >> the question is how many places i or the authors have gone to. we have been to as many places as possible that are in the book. we're up toadish started -- there's a way on the web site te log places you have beening to and we got up to about 100 ands then stopped counting. the book is very much a crowd sourced project. we definitely rely on our wonderful community of atlas obscura explorers who are finding things for us. so way have been to as many places as time and bug would allow -- budget would allow. we did as much as in person, fact checking. i went to the cathedral and licked the wall.
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it it's a collaborative project. >> another question coming up. fit filled with suspense. >> do you often get asked by people not to put stuff up because they don't want people too know about it? they want it to be their own secret, and secondly, where there are issues or have there been issues about cultural sensitivity, people being concerned about you sort of maybe making light of something they see as a very spiritual place?ou >> good question. the question is about people maybe not wanting places to be included in book. that is a big concern of ours. re we don't want to oversuppose a place or make people annoyed by the fact they have a line of people out the door with what was previously special small place. we have found thus far, i think without exception, that the
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places we have highlighted are places that in some cases were struggling to survive, and bringing attention to them and has been a good thing. that's been our experience so far but definitely a concern of ours, that -- it a bit strange to be called atlas obscura and then if the book does well, then maybe these places won't be so obscure. like the caves that people in new zealand know about. and bring in more people from outside so they know about.pl in general that is a concern of ours, and we -- if someone asks us to take place off our web site we would. it in terms of cultural sensitivity, again, this is a big concern of ours with never
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want to point 'otoe something and said, that's weird. we include things in the book because we want to celebrate them, and we want to show -- get a sense of what is out there in the world. one one of the prime reasons for us doing this is to say how to people see the world? what perspectives can we view this from? and so that was definitely something that we thought about when -- in terms of language, the tone, speaking to people who are part of these groups or who are in these museums, not trying to represent them without talking to them. and i mean, even the concept of exploration and discovery is loaded. it's kind of the images of some white guy on a ship or like

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