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Loch Etive

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Loch Etive (Scottish Gaelic, Loch Eite) is a 30 km sea loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It reaches the sea at Connel, 5 km north of Oban. It measures 31.6 km (1934 miles) long and from 1.2 km (34 mile) to 1.6 km (1 mi) wide. Its depth varies greatly, up to a maximum of 150 m (490 ft).

The name Etive is believed to mean “little fierce one” from the Gaelic goddess associated with the loch. It heads east for half its length alongside the main road and rail link to Oban, before heading northeast into mountainous terrain. A road along Glen Etive makes the head of the loch accessible from Glen Coe. The narrow mouth of the loch results in its most unusual feature, the Falls of Lora. Part of the north bank has been designated a Special Area of Conservation in particular due to old sessile oak woods. Surprisingly, a small colony of around 20 common seals is resident in Loch Etive.

Just seaward of the mouth of the loch is Dunstaffnage Castle. This was a stronghold of the kingdom of Dál Riata until the 9th century, and possibly it’s center at one time. It is believed to have held the Stone of Scone before its transfer to Scone Palace. The current ruins date from 1275. Cruises up Loch Etive followed by carriage trip to Glen Coe were started in 1881 as Oban developed as a fashionable resort.

Connel Bridge, a cantilever bridge over the loch at the Falls of Lora, was built in 1903 for the Connel to Ballachulish railway. A rail bus ferried foot passengers across from 1909 until 1914 when the bridge was converted to allow for rail, road, and passenger traffic (on the same track). Since the railway line closed in 1966, the bridge has been solely for road traffic.

In the parish of Ardchattan, on the north shore, stands the beautiful ruin of St. Modan’s Priory, founded in the 13th century for Cistercian monks of the Valliscaulian Order. It is said that Robert Bruce held within its walls the last parliament in which the Gaelic language was used. On the coast of Loch Nell, or Ardmucknish Bay, is the vitrified fort of Beregonium, not to be confounded with Rerigonium (sometimes miscalled Berigonium) on Loch Ryan in Wigtownshire town of the ancient Novantae tribe, identified with Innermessan. The confusion has arisen through a textual error in an early edition of Ptolemy’s Geography. Wikipedia
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An image from Loch Etive

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Glen Etive

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Glen Etive (Scottish Gaelic: Gleann Èite) is a glen in the Highlands of Scotland. The River Etive (Scottish Gaelic: Abhainn Èite) rises on the peaks surrounding Rannoch Moor, with several tributary streams coming together at the Kings House Hotel, at the head of Glen Coe. From the Kings House, the Etive flows for about 18 km, reaching the sea loch, Loch Etive. The river and its tributaries are popular with whitewater kayakers and at high water levels, it is a test piece of the area and a classic run.

At the north end of Glen Etive lie the two mountains known as the “Herdsmen of Etive”: Buachaille Etive Mòr and Buachaille Etive Beag. Other peaks accessible from the Glen include Ben Starav, located near the head of Loch Etive, and Beinn Fhionnlaidh on the northern side of the glen. The scenic beauty of the glen has led to its inclusion the Ben Nevis and Glen Coe National Scenic Area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland.

A narrow road from the Kings House Hotel runs down the glen, serving several houses and farms. This road ends at the head of the loch, though rough tracks continue along both shores.

The River Etive is one of Scotland’s most popular and challenging whitewater kayaking runs. It provides a multitude of solid Grade 4(5) rapids with a variety of falls and pool drops. It is home to a herd of Scottish red deer that have become accustomed to the presence of humans.

In the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, Deirdre and her love Naoise founded Glen Etive after fleeing Ulster.

The Fachen is also known as the Dwarf of Glen Etive.

Glen Etive has been used as the backdrop to many movies, among them Braveheart and Skyfall. The resulting influx of visitors has led to concerns about the spoilage of the glen through littering and fly-tipping. Wikipedia

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An image from Glen Etive

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Ennedi Plateau Chad

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The Ennedi Plateau is located in the northeast of Chad, in the regions of Ennedi-Ouest and Ennedi-Est. It is considered a part of the group of mountains known as the Ennedi Massif found in Chad, which is one of the nine countries that make up the Sahelian belt that spans the Atlantic Ocean to Sudan. The Ennedi is a sandstone bulwark in the middle of the Sahara, which was formed by erosion from wind and temperature. Many people occupied this area, such as hunters and gatherers (5,000-4,000 cal BC) and pastoralists (beginning 4,000 cal BC). The Ennedi area is also known for its large collection of rock art depicting mainly cattle, as these animals were the main source of financial, environmental, and cultural impact. This art dates back nearly 7,000 years ago. Today, two semi-nomadic groups, mainly of the Muslim religion, have permanent villages in the Ennedi during the rainy months and pass through the area during the dry season. They rely on their herds of camels, donkeys, sheep, and goats to survive.

The Ennedi makes up an area of approximately 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi), as large as Switzerland, and its highest point is approximately 1,450 m (4,760 ft) above sea level. The Massif is composed of sandstone overlaying a Precambrian granite base. In the Ennedi, there are at least twenty perennial or semi-perennial springs, gueltas (desert ponds), and pools, but they rarely reach greater than a few dozen meters in the dry season. It is considered part of the Sahelian Acacia savanna, which extends across the entire continent which once contained diverse ungulates whose population has since been reduced. The landscape has geological structures, including towers, pillars, bridges, and arches, which serve as major tourist attractions. Interestingly, much of the sand found in the Sahara is due to the generation of dust in the Tibesti-Ennedi triangle.

Evidence of a change in climate occurred between 6000 BP, with a savanna region with ~250 mm annual rainfall, to ~150 mm annual rainfall 4300 BP.[] It later reached an annual rainfall of 50  mm around 2700 BP, similar to the amount of annual rainfall observed today. There are also monsoons common in the area, generating around 50–150  mm of rain per year. These natural disasters create a diverse mixture of vegetation within the area. However, precipitation allows for greater moisture in the thin soil during the winter months, with lower run-off. The mountains are also known to have a north-Sahelian climate in the southern region, with greater amounts of precipitation between the months of May and September. The rainfall is subject to the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

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An image from Ennedi Plateau Chad

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Yoshino-Kumano National Park

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Yoshino-Kumano National Park is a national park comprising several non-contiguous areas of Mie, Nara, and Wakayama Prefectures, Japan. Established in 1936, the park includes Mount Yoshino, celebrated for its cherry blossoms, as well as elements of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.

Notable places of interest include the Dorokyō Gorge, Kumano Hongū Taisha, Kushimoto Marine Park, Mount Ōdaigahara, Mount Ōmine, Mount Yoshino, and Nachi Falls.

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An image from Yoshino-Kumano National Park

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Hashigui-Iwa Rocks Wakayama Japan

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Rock towers line up for as long as 900 meters in a straight line that looks like a bridge pile. The magma that flowed from underground about 14 to 15 million years ago had penetrated the Kumano strata to make a quartz porphyry dike.

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An image of Hashigui-Iwa Rocks Wakayama Japan

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Kumamoto Prefecture Scenery

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Kumamoto Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyūshū. Kumamoto Prefecture has a population of 1,748,134 (as of 1 June 2019) and has a geographic area of 7,409 square kilometers (2,861 sq mi). Kumamoto Prefecture borders Fukuoka Prefecture to the north, Ōita Prefecture to the northeast, Miyazaki Prefecture to the southeast, and Kagoshima Prefecture to the south.

Kumamoto is the capital and largest city of Kumamoto Prefecture, with other major cities including Yatsushiro, Amakusa, and Tamana. Kumamoto Prefecture is located in the center of Kyūshū on the coast of the Ariake Sea, across from Nagasaki Prefecture, with the mainland separated from the East China Sea by the Amakusa Archipelago. Kumamoto Prefecture is home to Mount Aso, the largest active volcano in Japan and among the largest in the world, with its peak 1,592 meters (5,223 ft) above sea level.

Historically, the area was called Higo Province; and the province was renamed Kumamoto during the Meiji Restoration. The creation of prefectures was part of the abolition of the feudal system. The current Japanese orthography for Kumamoto literally means “bear root/origin”, or “origin of the bear”.

Kumamoto Prefecture is in the center of Kyushu, the southernmost of the four major Japanese islands. It is bordered by the Ariake inland sea and the Amakusa archipelago to the west, Fukuoka Prefecture and Ōita Prefecture to the north, Miyazaki Prefecture to the east, and Kagoshima Prefecture to the south.

Mount Aso (1,592 m (5,223 ft)), an extensive active volcano, is in the east of Kumamoto Prefecture. This volcano is located at the center of the Aso caldera.

As of 31 March 2019, 21% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as natural parks: the Aso Kujū and Unzen-Amakusa National Parks; Kyūshū Chūō Sanchi, and Yaba-Hita-Hikosan Quasi-National Parks; and Ashikita Kaigan, Itsuki Gokanoshō, Kinpōzan, Misumi-Ōyano Umibe, Okukuma, Shōtaisan, and Yabe Shūhen Prefectural Natural Parks.

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An image from Kumamoto Prefecture Scenery

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Lake Peten Itza

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Lake Petén Itzá is a lake in the northern Petén Department in Guatemala. It is the third largest lake in Guatemala, after Lake Izabal and Lake Atitlán. It is located around 16°59′0″N 89°48′0″W. It has an area of 99 km2 (38 sq mi), and is some 32 km (20 mi) long and 5 km (3.1 mi) wide. Its maximum depth is 160 m (520 ft). The lake area presents high levels of migration, due to the existence of natural resources such as wood, chewing gum, oil, and agricultural and pasture activities. Because of its archaeological richness, around 150,000 tourists pass through this region yearly. The city of Flores, the capital of the Petén Department, lies on an island near its southern shore.

Several streams flow into Lake Petén Itzá, but it has no surface outflow. Although it loses water mostly by evaporation, it is not a salt lake.

There are at least 27 Maya sites around this lake and the archaeological remains of Tayasal, located across the lake on a peninsula close to the former Itza Maya capital, the last to be conquered in Mesoamerica in 1697. This lake and its surroundings have more than 100 important indigenous species such as the cichlid fish Mayaheros urophthalmus, Petenia splendida, and Vieja melanurus, crocodiles (Crocodylus moreletii and Crocodylus acutus), jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), Central American red brocket (Mazama temama), and several bird species, including parrots such as macaws, and toucans. On its northeast shore is the Cerro Cahui Protected Biotope, a natural reserve for butterflies that covers 1,600-acre (6.5 km2) and is home to toucans, Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), Guatemalan black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra), and many other rainforest species. Wikipedia

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An image from Lake Peten Itza

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Iceland

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Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic Ocean and the most sparsely populated country in Europe. Iceland’s capital and largest city is Reykjavík, which (along with its surrounding areas) is home to over 65% of the population. Iceland is the biggest part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that rises above sea level, and its central volcanic plateau is erupting almost constantly. The interior consists of a plateau characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, and most of its islands have a polar climate.

According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin.

The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the native parliament, the Althing, one of the world’s oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway’s integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden seceded from the union in 1523. The Danish kingdom forcefully introduced Lutheranism to Iceland in 1550.

In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland’s struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 with the establishment of the Kingdom of Iceland, sharing through a personal union the incumbent monarch of Denmark. During the occupation of Denmark in World War II, Iceland voted overwhelmingly to become a republic in 1944, thus ending the remaining formal ties with Denmark. Although the Althing was suspended from 1799 to 1845, the island republic has been credited with sustaining the world’s oldest and longest-running parliament.

Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture. Industrialization of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity, and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. It became a part of the European Economic Area in 1994; this further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries, as well as the highest trade union membership in the world. It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in democracy and equality indexes, ranking third in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2020, it was ranked as the fourth-most developed country in the world by the United Nations’ Human Development Index, and it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy.

Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation’s Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is closely related to Faroese. The country’s cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a lightly armed coast guard. Wikipedia

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An image from Iceland

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Divorce Lawyers Know Why Relationships Fail. Here’s Their Dating Advice.

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Divorce lawyers have seen it all.

With an average of nearly 2,000 divorces a day in the US, those practicing family law have witnessed every possible way a marriage can dissolve. Ask a divorce lawyer about some of their most memorable cases, as I did, and you’ll hear stories that will make you want to delete every dating app off your phone.

There was the woman who hadn’t seen her husband’s home before they got married and found out after the wedding that he was a hoarder. There was the couple who froze embryos together with the plan to put off having children until they were married, only for the husband to leave his wife for another woman shortly before her 40th birthday and demand that the remaining embryos be destroyed. Or the mom who believed herself to be a vampire and who slept in a coffin every night, and her ex-husband had to file for emergency custody. Another woman ran over her soon-to-be-ex spouse with her car, putting him in the hospital for two days, and when asked to explain her reasoning, she responded simply that she hated him.

Leaving a bad marriage is a positive thing (just ask Nicole Kidman), but going through a divorce is something most people would like to avoid. It’s expensive (one Forbes article estimates the average cost is between $15,000 and $20,000, though they can often run into six figures). It’s stressful (one study found higher blood pressure in the recently divorced). It can bring out the worst in people. It would be perfectly understandable that those in the business of observing the end of love would caution people away from it altogether.

And yet, love persists. People continue to get married and remarried (including 58% of divorced people in the US). For many, the risk is still worth it.

So BuzzFeed News reached out to some of the top divorce lawyers for dating tips. This is not legal advice, and it’s also not a guarantee of a happily ever after; humans are always going to be messy. But it may be a useful framework for avoiding some of the most common conflicts down the line.

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https://documents.buzzfeednews.com/_NewsDesign/packages/2022_08XX_Dating/Buzzfeed_Divorce_B.jpgSimon Abranowicz for BuzzFeed News

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Yuanyang County Rice Terraces

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Why Visit Yuanyang Rice Terraces?

1. Core Area of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces: Among the 5 rice terrace sites in the world recognized by UNESCO as a collective World Heritage Site, Honghe Hani Rice Terraces in Yunnan, with Yuanyang Rice Terraces sited at its core, is the only one you will find in the vast China.

2. Splendid Rice Terraces Scenery: Yuanyang Rice Terraces has a long history of more than 1,300 years. Till now, there are more than 3,000 flat and evenly spaced terraces. They are all carved following the mountains’ original contour lines, forming a splendid landscape!

3. Photographer’s Dream: Thanks to its unbeatable size, gorgeous colors, and unique shapes with a strong three-dimensional effect, Yuanyang Rice Terraces has long been a dream for photograph lovers. And its mesmerizing sunrise and sunset can easily occupy your camera storage. chinadiscovery com

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An image from Yuanyang County Rice Terraces

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