1. Japan’s Ongoing Nuclear Clean-Up, Five Years Later
Five years after a catastrophic earthquake and its resulting tsunami hit Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, workers continue to tirelessly clean up radiation. Ahead of the disaster’s 3.11 anniversary, National Geographic traveled to Fukushima to document remediation efforts. Where fertile farmlands once produced many of the regions crops, mountains of black sacks filled with contaminated soil now lie piled up, and citizens that once inhabited the area are now replaced by workers in HazMat suits.
2. NYC’s Public Transit System Expands to the Waterways
Tourists and locals rejoice: New York City is expanding its public transit system to the waterways, all for the same price as a subway ride. The new ferry system could begin operations as early as summer of 2017, with boats crossing the East River to transport passengers between Brooklyn and Manhattan. “It’s going to be a commute like no other: fresh air, harbor views, and a fast ride on the open water,” stated the mayor of New York.
3. How a Nigerian Hyper-Realist Artist Went Viral
After sharing images of his newest works, Lagos-based artist Oresegun Olumide went viral. His hyper-realistic oil paintings have been shared tens of thousands of times across various social platforms, including Instagram, where his follower count exploded from 800 to 27,000 in just a week. Now, Olumide has been offered opportunities to host his next exhibition in the United States and the UK.
4. A Drone’s View as It Flies Through a Racecourse
Drone racing is set to become the sport of the future, and the World Drone Prix (WDP)—which offers a generous $1 million in prizes—is already staking its claim as the sport’s Superbowl. A dizzying video of the event’s most recent race has popped up, displaying the masterful piloting skills of UK teenager Luke Bannister—who won the $250,000 top prize along with his 43-person team.
5. The Bizarre Branding of America’s Early Secret Societies
During their golden age, America’s secret societies produced some of history’s most remarkable branding materials—from symbols to signage, lithographs, costumes and more. In their new book “As Above, So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850-1930” art collectors Bruce Lee Webb and Lynne Adele uncover these elaborate creations and dig in to the impact they had on early American society.
6. Transforming Wind Turbines Into Light Art
Dutch artist and inventor Daan Roosegaarde has transformed a set of wind turbines in the Netherlands into a large-scale light show. Titled “Windlicht,” the project connects a row of turbines with a green laser, creating a set of mesmerizing, swinging beams as the fans hit high speeds. According to Roosegaarde, he “wanted to bring some poetry to windmills and to wind energy” as more and more Dutch citizens refuse the construction of the bulky turbines in their backyards. Windlicht will be on view on select days during March at St. Annaland in Zeeland.
7. The Original Sketches of Super Mario Bros
In a video shown at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Super Mario Bros co-creators Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka revealed the way they designed the now legendary video game: using graph paper. Digging through old documents, the two show off hand-drawn designs for various characters, levels and interfaces. After finalizing sketches, the duo handed them off to programmers who translated them into code.
8. A Photo Series Following a Chinatown Family for 13 Years
Nicknamed the “Boyhood” of Chinatown, a photo series by Thomas Holton traces the 13-year growth of a young family living in New York City. Officially titled “The Lams of Ludlow Street,” the collection of images begins with the tender moments of family life—a mom watching her kids take a bath, everyone setting up for dinner. But by the end of the series, the family has drifted apart—the Lams are now divorced and the kids are off at college. Holton still keeps up with them, and he plans to publish the photos in a new book by the same name.