Odessa Catacombs

The Odessa Catacombs are a labyrinth-like network of tunnels (subterranean cavities) located under the city of Odessa and its outskirts in Ukraine, that are mostly (over 90%) the result of stone mining, particularly coquina. The system of Odessa Catacombs consists of a network of basements, bunkers, drainage tunnels and storm drains as well as natural caves.

The Catacombs are on three levels and reach a depth of 60 metres (200 ft) below sea level. It is one of the world’s largest urban labyrinths, running up to 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi). Parts were used as air-raid shelters during World War II. Part of the tunnels, only under the city, were turned into bomb shelters in the Cold War. Such bomb shelters supposed to be refuge for civilians in case of nuclear strike or gas attack.

In the 19th century, most houses in Odessa were built of limestone that was mined nearby. These mines were abandoned and later used, and widened, by local smugglers,[citation needed] creating a labyrinth of tunnels beneath Odessa. Stories of smugglers are part of urban legends about treasures hidden underground. Despite fairly plausible details, such stories can hardly be proven. Many of the tunnels under living areas were filled up with earth, concrete or sand by construction companies, and are no longer available.

The approximate topography of the Odessa underground labyrinth is unknown as the catacombs have not been fully mapped. It is thought that most (95–97%) of the catacombs are former coquina multilevel mines from which stone was extracted to construct the city above. The remaining catacombs (3-5%) are either natural cavities or were excavated for other purposes such as sewerage. As of 2012, there are more than 1,000 known entrances to the tunnels.

Only one small portion of the catacombs is open to the public, within the “Museum of Partisan Glory” in Nerubayskoye, north of Odessa. Other caves attract extreme tourists, who explore the tunnels despite the dangers involved. Such tours are not officially sanctioned because the catacombs have not been fully mapped and the tunnels themselves are unsafe.

The first underground stone mines started to appear in the 19th century, while vigorous construction took place in Odessa. They were used as a source of cheap construction materials. Limestone was cut using saws, and mining became so intensive that by the second half of the 19th century, the extensive network of catacombs created many inconveniences to the city.

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, stone mining was banned within the central part of Odessa (inside the Porto-Franko zone, bounded by Old Port Franko and Panteleymonovskaya streets).

During World War II the catacombs served as a hiding place for Soviet partisans, in particular the squad of Vladimir Molodtsov. In his work The Waves of The Black Sea, Valentin Kataev described the battle between Soviet partisans against Axis forces, underneath Odessa and its nearby suburb Usatove.

In 1961 the “Search” (Poisk) club was created in order to explore the history of partisan movement among the catacombs. Since its creation, it has expanded understanding of the catacombs, and provided information to expand mapping of the tunnels.

The city has a large population of over 1 million people, which some believe would benefit from the introduction of a subway system. The tunnels have been cited as the reason why such a subway system has never been built in Odessa.

Since the beginning of the 21st century limestone mining has continued in the mines located in Dofinovka, Byldynka, and “Fomina balka” near Odessa. As the result of contemporary mining, the catacombs continue to expand.

There have been various reports of people walking into the catacombs, getting lost and then eventually dying of dehydration.

Entrance of catacombs in Moldavanka on Kartamyshevskaya street. The entrances of the catacombs have to be closed or controlled at all times to prevent children from entering.

Strange Flying Saucer Filmed Landing in Colombia

Video below.

A witness in Colombia captured some rather peculiar footage of a flying saucer-shaped UFO that appears to land somewhere off in the distance. Photographer John Vargas reportedly filmed the curious scene last Saturday in the city of Medellín. In the video, the puzzling object initially appears to simply be a dark spot hovering around in a fairly cloudy sky. However, when the camera manages to get a clearer look at the oddity, one can see that it sports the iconic flying saucer shape so often associated with the UFO phenomenon.

While Vargas and some companions watch the weirdness unfold before their eyes, they debate what exactly they are seeing. His friends argue that it could be some kind of drone, but the photographer insists that is not the case. The sighting then takes an unexpected turn as the ‘flying saucer’ begins to slowly descend from the sky and eventually it seems to land somewhere in the city. Unfortunately, Vargas’ video ends without any indication of where the UFO may have ultimately come to rest.

As for what the UFO could have been, besides some kind of alien craft, the possibility that it was merely a drone cannot be discounted, despite Vargas’ dismissing the idea, as there are UAVs that are, indeed, shaped like a flying saucer. Failing that, another explanation is that the odd object could have simply been some kind of balloon. Considering that the UFO ultimately landed somewhere on the ground and there were no fantastic reports of an alien ship arriving in Medellín.

In my humble opinion the thing landing is sort of a giveaway. It must be some type of drone as it is going back to its handler.

Russian Flagship Battlecruiser Moskva Sunk

A Russian warship that was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday has sunk, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, was being towed to port when “stormy seas” caused it to sink, according to a ministry message.

The 510-crew vessel was an important symbolic and military target, and has led Russia’s naval assault on Ukraine.

Ukraine claims it struck the warship with its missiles, but Russia has made no mention of an attack.

Late on Thursday, however, Russian state media broke the news that the ship had been lost.

“While being towed … towards the destined port, the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank,” state news agency Tass quoted the ministry as saying.

Earlier, Russia had said there was a fire on board after ammunition exploded.

Ukrainian military officials said they struck the Moskva with a Ukrainian-made Neptune missile – a weapon designed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the naval threat to Ukraine in the Black Sea grew.

Earlier in the conflict the Moskva gained notoriety after calling on Ukrainian border troops defending Snake Island in the Black Sea to surrender – to which they memorably radioed a message of refusal which loosely translates as “go to hell”.

Originally built in Ukraine in the Soviet-era, the Moskva entered service in the early 1980s according to Russian media.

The missile cruiser was previously deployed by Moscow in the Syria conflict where it supplied Russian forces in the country with naval protection.

It carries over a dozen Vulkan anti-ship missiles and an array of anti-submarine and mine-torpedo weapons, the reports said.

The Moskva is the second major Russian ship known to have been severely damaged since the invasion began.

Namesake Glory (1979–2000), Moscow (2000–2022)
Builder 61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant (SY 445), Nikolayev, Soviet Union
Laid down 1976
Launched 1979
Commissioned 30 January 1983
Decommissioned September 1990
Reinstated April 2000
Identification 121
Fate Sunk on 14 April 2022, responsibility disputed[1]
Notes Flagship of the Black Sea Fleet

Take a Look Inside a Luxury Balloon That Serves Martinis at the Edge of Space

Space Perspective’s planned $125,000-a-seat ride is heavy on the ambiance, if gazing down on Earth isn’t thrilling enough.

Space Perspective has revealed the cabin design for its upcoming Spaceship Neptune—a balloon-held capsule that, for the lofty price of $125,000, will take passengers to the edge of space.

Liftoffs aren’t slated to begin until late 2024, but newly released conceptual images of the Spaceship Neptune passenger cabin offer an early glimpse of what the experience could look like. But at $125,000 per seat, this is probably as close as any of us will ever get to actually stepping inside this thing.

The climate-controlled, pressurized interior cabin will be held aloft by a balloon as it rises to the stratosphere. Reaching a height of 20 miles (30 kilometers), passengers will have a 360-degree view of their surroundings, from which they’ll be able to see the curvature of Earth. The passengers will be able to see 450 miles (724 km) in any direction, as well as the blackness of space. By comparison, passenger jets fly at heights reaching 7.9 miles (12.7 km).

But as for actually being in space, well, that’s not going to happen. The Kármán Line—the internationally recognized boundary of space—is located 62 miles (100 km) above sea level, far from the maximum height obtainable by the disingenuously named Spaceship Neptune. That said, a refreshing cocktail or two will console you when you finally realize that you spent all that money to not go to space.

Still, the experience promises to be a good one, and at a fraction of the cost of going to bona fide space. A quick, suborbital trip on a Virgin Galactic spaceplane costs $450,000 while Axiom Space charges $55 million for a trek to low Earth orbit and a stint on the International Space Station.

For the interior design, Space Perspective aimed for a look that’s sleek and dynamic, as opposed to the “white, utilitarian environments you find in other spacecraft,” Jane Poynter, the founder, co-CEO and chief experience officer for Space Perspective, said in an emailed press release. And in keeping with its environmentally friendly message, the company plans to build the interior from sustainable and recycled materials.

Other features of the capsule include seats that can be reconfigured for intimate one-on-one dates, a spacious and unobstructed interior section (care for a dance?), floor lamps, and customizable mood lighting that includes low red LED lights to ensure that passengers “will absorb the dramatic sights of witnessing dawn, planet Earth, and stars above in space—while easily navigating their way around the Space Lounge,” according to the press release. An overhead “donut” scrolling display will convey important information as the journey progresses, and if the view isn’t satisfactory enough, passengers can peer into space or at Earth using a telescope.

Space Perspective has sold 600 tickets thus far, and the first year of service is already completely booked (in case you’re wondering, the company has approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to conduct these flights). The company is taking reservations for 2025 and beyond, but a refundable $1,000 deposit is required. The company says passengers can book the entire capsule for themselves, if they want.


Rest In Peace You Crazy Gilbert Gottfried

Gilbert Jeremy Gottfried (February 28, 1955 – April 12, 2022) was an American actor and stand-up comedian. His persona as a comedian featured an exaggerated shrill voice and emphasis on crude humor. His numerous roles in film and television include voicing the parrot Iago in Disney’s Aladdin animated films and series, Digit LeBoid on PBS Kids’s long-running Cyberchase, and Kraang Subprime in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Gottfried was the voice of the Aflac Duck until 2011. He appeared in the critically panned but commercially successful Problem Child in 1990.

From 2014 until his death in 2022, Gottfried hosted a podcast, Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, which featured discussions of classic movies and celebrity interviews, most often with veteran actors, comedians, musicians, and comedy writers. Gilbert, a documentary film on Gottfried’s life and career, was released in 2017.

Stunning nighttime photos of New York City from 7,500 high  

The photos almost look like a miniature Lego set was lit up.

Photographer Vincent Laforet captured these absolutely stunning high-altitude photos of New York City at night by hanging himself out of a helicopter hovering at a staggering 7,500 feet. Nobody has ever done this before from this altitude.

“It is both exhilarating and terrifying all at once,” Laforet told Gizmodo. “Let’s just start off by saying this was the scariest helicopter “photo mission” of my career. And the most beautiful.”

Indeed, one veteran pilot that Laforet often flew with refused to go up to the altitude they were at, saying that “helicopters are not meant to live in that realm”.


Laforet was on assignment for the Men’s Health Magazine and the photographer proposed shooting the city from an unusually high altitude so that they could capture the lines that are formed by the streets of New York at night. “It was an article about psychology and I’ve always thought that from a high altitude the streets looked like brain “synapses” – at least to me,” he said.

For the shoot, Laforet was armed with multiple Canon 1DX’s, a Mamiya Leaf Credo 50MP digital medium format system, and a huge array of glass for both Canon and Mamiya medium format system. Because helicopters vibrate pretty significantly, Mike had also brought a Kenyon 4×4 gyroscopic stabilizer, which provided stability for lower ISO, slower shutter night shots.

“I was finally able to capture some of the images that I’ve dreamed of capturing for decades,” said Laforet.