Tag Archives | desert

Salvation Mountain Creator Leonard Knight Dies At 82

salvation mountainThe Los Angeles Times reports the death of an eccentric visionary who assembled his own psychedelic-religious portal to another dimension out in the desert of California:

Leonard Knight, the lean New Englander who spent three decades joyously painting religious messages on a tall mound of adobe he called Salvation Mountain in the Imperial Valley desert, died Monday at age 82.

His death was announced on his Salvation Mountain Facebook page by his devoted followers who have been attempting to preserve his labor of love east of the Salton Sea near the squatter village called Slab City.

Until his health declined, Knight had lived in the back of his truck, sharing his space with a variety of cats without names, undeterred by the brutal desert heat or howling winds. To his amazement, Knight had become a favorite of folk art aficionados.

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The Architectural-Utopia Desert Commune Of Arcosanti

arcosantiVisionary architect Paolo Soleri died in April at 93. His landmark work is the domed utopian village Arcosanti in Arizona, a communal, hippie-futurist “human laboratory” created in 1970, where hundreds of people still live with the purpose of developing new ways of physically organizing human life. ArchDaily writes:

Paolo Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The urban project he founded, Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as “the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.”

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The Paradox of Fairness

Jenny Diski writes for the New Statesman:

justiceDesert, the noun deriving from the verb “to deserve”, appears to be an essential human dynamic. It is at least a central anxiety that provides the plot for so many novels and films that depend on our sense that there is or should be such a thing. Like Kafka and Poe, Hitchcock repeatedly returns to the individual who is singled out, wrongly accused, an innocent suffering an injustice. Yet consider Montgomery Clift’s priest in I Confess, Henry Fonda in The Wrong Man, Blaney, the real killer’s friend played by Jon Finch in Frenzy, James Stewart in The Man Who Knew Too Much and Cary Grant in North by Northwest; none of them is – or could be according to Hitchcock’s Catholic upbringing – truly innocent of everything, and often their moral failings give some cause for the suspicion that falls on them.

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Faulty iPhone Maps Could Kill You, Australian Authorities Warn

Is our reliance on GPS and mobile devices maps making us increasingly disoriented and oblivious? To me, the relevant aspect of this story is not that Apple’s map app is flawed, but that numerous people would drive to a remote, dangerous desert just because their smartphone told them to. Via Newser:

Apple’s much-maligned mapping system is so flawed that motorists who rely on it run the risk of ending up dead in the wilderness, Australia police warn. Over the last few weeks, six motorists have become stranded in Victoria state’s Murray Sunset National Park when following the map app’s directions to a city more than 40 miles away, CNET reports. Some iPhone users were stranded in the park for two hours without enough food and water.

Police in the area have urged drivers to rely on other forms of mapping. “Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park,” they said in a statement, warning that temperatures in the park could reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit, making the map problem “a potentially life-threatening issue.” Apple has yet to comment on the issue.

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Welcome To Yodaville: The Fake City In The Arizona Desert

BLDGBLOG on a town built by Air Force for the purpose of being bombed into oblivion, over and over:

Yodaville is a fake city in the Arizona desert used for bombing runs by the U.S. Air Force. Writing for Air & Space Magazine back in 2009, Ed Darack wrote that, while tagging along on a training mission, he noticed “a small town in the distance—which, as we got closer, proved to have some pretty big buildings, some of them four stories high.”

As one instructor tells Darack, “The urban layout is actually very similar to the terrain in many villages in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The Urban Target Complex, or UTC, was soon “lit up with red tracer rounds and bright yellow and white rocket streaks,” till it “looked like it was barely able to keep standing”:

The artillery and mortars started firing, troops advanced toward the target complex, and aircraft of all types—carefully controlled by students on the mountain top—mounted one attack run after another.

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