Eco-tourism hasn't yet taken root in Taiwan, but for the Atayal tribe of Hsinchu County's Smangus (司馬庫斯) the roots were put down some 2,500 years ago -- a grove of Formosan cypress trees that spent its first two millennia in utter isolation has become something of an economic boon for the remote Aboriginal village since being discovered in 1991.
\nThe grove stands silently beside a stream high in the mountains near Tapachienshan, the mountain sacred to the Atayal as their place of origin, which graces the back of NT$500 notes. The trees are not only among the oldest on the island, they're among the biggest. According to a 1996 report by Taiwan's Forestry Bureau, the grove is home to the nation's second and third largest trees, respectively 20.5m and 19.7m in girth.
\nNo wonder then that these giants are known in Chinese as divine trees (
PHOTO: DAVID MOMPHARD, TAIPEI TIMES
Stephen King, the famed horror writer, once observed that post-apocalypse novels are essentially impossible. Nuclear plants would melt if human civilization disappeared, while chemical plants and pipelines and other infrastructure would poison the earth. Organized life would be impossible. Could it happen here? This year the Taiwan Climate Change Projection Information and Adaptation Knowledge Platform (TCCIP), which is supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, produced its 10-year assessment of local climate research: The Taiwan Climate Change Projection Information and Adaptation Knowledge Platform: A Decade of Climate Research. The platform and numerous climate-related policies were spurred by the disastrous typhoon
Sept. 26 to Oct. 2 Members of the Japanese Diet were appalled at the ever-increasing costs to build Governor-General Gentaro Kodama’s residence in Taipei. Not only did the colonial government keep adding items to the grand complex, they also tapped into funds allocated for the Taiwan Shinto Shrine. That was blasphemy! “I can’t imagine how much they would have spent to build what kind of palace if Shimpei Goto had his way,” civil engineer Hampei Nagao recalls in Story of the Governor-General’s Office (總督府物語), a book by Huang Chun-ming (黃俊銘). Goto, the civil administrator of Taiwan, was summoned to Japan to
Anyone with the ambition to complete a cycle tour around Taiwan would do well to begin with a shorter trip to learn the ropes. Taitung County, with its pristine beaches, spectacular ocean views and mountain trails, is an ideal place to start. There is something of a magnetic draw to the glory of the Pacific Ocean. Just enjoying the sea breeze makes it worth the effort, but there are lots of other things to see and do to make a two or three-day trip a pleasure. I embarked on this adventure on an unusually hot August weekend with the mercury tipping
If an earthquake strikes in the not too distant future and survivors are trapped under tonnes of rubble, the first responders to locate them could be swarms of cyborg cockroaches. That’s a potential application of a recent breakthrough by Japanese researchers who demonstrated the ability to mount “backpacks” of solar cells and electronics on the bugs and control their motion by remote control. Kenjiro Fukuda and his team at the Thin-Film Device Laboratory at Japanese research giant Riken developed a flexible solar cell film that’s 4 microns thick, about 1/25 the width of a human hair, and can fit on the insect’s