Meet the Workers Risking Their Lives to Rebuild the Great Wall of China

Teh Eng Koon // Getty Images
Teh Eng Koon // Getty Images

Repairing centuries of damage to the Great Wall of China is no easy task. (Which, of course, makes sense when you consider that the wall took more than 1800 years to erect.) Since 2005, workers have carried out grueling—and often, life-threatening—physical labor to see that the World Wonder is restored to the same tiptop shape it was in during the Ming dynasty.

Most recently, restoration efforts have been focused on the Jiankou section of the wall. The re-bricking process requires that workers dangle from a single rope, held by their teammates, while they coat the wall in cement. The faintest slip of the hand could cost them their lives.

As if the physical demands weren't enough, the laborers are also burdened with the responsibility of maintaining historical accuracy. Last year, preservationists were outraged by the "botched" repairs made to the Great Wall in northeast China. "A once unkempt, haunting 700-year-old stretch of the wall now looks like a cement skateboarding lane dumped in the wilderness," The New York Times wrote at the time.

New video footage from Live China—and spotted by National Geographic—gives an up-close view of this physically demanding work, as well as the process of transporting bricks via donkeys and mules. You can watch it in full below:

20 Weird Clubs That Actually Exist

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

Groucho Marx once famously quipped that he'd never "want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members." Most people would probably say the same about the Martin-Baker Ejection Tie Club—a very exclusive, 63-year-old organization created specifically for individuals who have had their lives saved by an ejection seat. Currently, the club boasts more than 6000 members.

That's just one of the weird and wonderful clubs you'll learn about in our latest edition of The List Show. Join Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy as she hunts down the world's most unusual clubs (Extreme Ironing Bureau anyone?). You can watch the full video below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

Video Captures Fiery Eruption of Mexico's Popocatépetl Volcano

RobertoVaca, iStock via Getty Images
RobertoVaca, iStock via Getty Images

Mexico is home to 48 active volcanoes, but few can compete with Popocatépetl. Located around 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, it's one of the most active volcanoes in the country, and on January 9, the extent of its power was caught on camera.

The video above, reported by NPR, shows the Popocatépetl stratovolcano—also known as a composite volcano—spewing lava, ash, and rock in a fiery plume that reached 20,000 feet above its cinder cone crater. CENAPRED, Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention, filmed the volcanic eruption as it unfolded early Thursday morning. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also recorded the explosion from space using its GOES 16 satellite.

No one was hurt by the incident last week, but CENAPRED is warning people to avoid the area as debris continues to fall from the summit. The center has set its Volcanic Warning Light to Yellow Phase 2, which indicates there's no immediate threat of danger.

Since it emerged from dormancy in 1994, Popocatépetl, or "El Popo," as it's known by locals, has become one of the most active volcanoes in Mexico. Tremors and showers of ash are now regular occurrences for residents of nearby towns. Given its volatility, there are currently 20 devices monitoring the volcano 24/7.

[h/t NPR]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER