Second Life is many things, but among them is an attempt to build a virtual world that works more like the web (where anyone can add a site or a page) than a finished product that can only be modified by the corporation that manufactured it.
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China's explosive growth as the world's factory powerhouse is almost impossible to overstate: the largest migration in human history took place when 80 million young women left the provinces to come to the Pearl River Delta for the new manufacturing jobs, and China began building new megacities across its landmass to serve as the hubs for new factories and industries, consuming as much cement between 2011 and 2013 as the whole US used during the whole 20th century. Read the rest
We love and celebrate the people who sneak into derelict themeparks and photograph their ruins! Beijing, Orlando, Sichuan, South Carolina, Japan, Berlin, New Orleans, even Walt Disney World! Read the rest
In 1995, after a year-long closure, Disney re-opened Horizons, the GE-sponsored original Epcot ride devoted to showcasing different ideas about the future, a kind of heir to the Futurama at the 1939 New York World's Fair; fearing the ride was likely to be shuttered soon, two Epcot superfans began covertly exploring and documenting the ride, figuring out its ways and means until they learned how to penetrate it and hide from Disney employees while sneaking in their friends and having little celebrations. Read the rest
In 1979, the Duke of Lancaster -- a cruise liner turned car ferry -- was retired from service and moored at Llanerch-y-Mor, North Wales, where it was made over as a "Fun Ship," whose car-deck was refitted as a coin-op arcade. Read the rest
In April, Geoff "BLDGBLOG" Manaugh will publish A Burglar's Guide to the City, a new book about London's rich history of heists and the network of tunnels, catacombs, sewers, and caves that London such a paradise for would-be superthieves. Read the rest
China's exuberant, weird, terrible and brilliant amusement parks sprang up like mushrooms after the Deng reforms, and now many of them have fallen on hard times -- even as Disney makes ready to open Disneyland Shanghai. Read the rest
Eledoremassis02's "manipulated photo" series Life After Disney is a series of gorgeously decayed visions for what Walt Disney World will look like long after humans have disappeared from the scene. Read the rest
The Hall Pass is a stainless steel, credit-card-sized pick designed to be slid between the door and the jamb (saving you from cracking your credit cards); the EOD is an extensive speed-pick set that is nevertheless optimized for portability and compactness. Read the rest
Redditor Heyitsnick discovered an abandoned Cleveland factory filled with rubber ducks, and that's not all: Read the rest
Tom writes, "Subterranean London is a strange and fascinating world, a labyrinth of underground tunnels that range from Victorian sewers to wartime bunkers. Among them is the famous London Underground network, known as the Tube due to the shape of its deep level tunnels. The network boasts around 40 ghost stations, from including entire stations that closed decades ago as well as disused platforms hidden behind iron gates in still operational hubs. This article looks at 13 of London's most impressive abandoned underground stations."
If you like this, check out Peter Laurie's classic Beneath the City Streets, a comprehensive list of subterranean shelters, bunkers, tunnels, and tubes (I drew on it heavily for Pirate Cinema). Read the rest
It's hard to say what's more interesting about this video in which a CNN reporter tours the New South China Mall, the largest mall in the world when it was built five years ago, now a deserted ghost-mall. On the one had, there's the "eerie urban landscape" of the mall itself, and on the other, there's the comforting, sinophobic narrative of the clip: "China's economy is huge and growing, America's is contracting, but look, it's all smoke and mirrors! The Chinese growth is just an illusion!"
The New South China Mall was once promoted as the world's biggest mall, but it's now pretty much deserted. Read the rest
Dark Roasted Blend has a beautiful gallery of Spreepark PlanterWald (originally called Kulturpark Planterwald) a Soviet-era abandoned themepark in central Berlin, which is gracefully rotting away. This is a Boing Boing/Cory Doctorow trifecta: abandoned themeparks, Soviet kitsch, and urban exploration. Yes, please!
When it opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Planterwald, it was the "only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only such park in either East or West Berlin". However, the Berlin Senate did not seem to have provided for enough parking space... which is quite silly, all things considered. Plus, the forest around the park was deemed to be doomed from the impact of visiting crowds. In any case, the socialist and then private owners were left with a bunch of debt and the place got suspended in limbo... But the story does not end there (read on).
Surreal Abandoned Amusement Park in Berlin [Avi Abrams/Dark Roasted Blend]
(via Kadrey) Read the rest
I'm very taken with James Charlick's photo, "The Grand Library," shot in an abandoned house during an urban exploration expedition.
The Grand Library Read the rest