No one knows the artist who scrawled white-paint outlines of sprawled bodies on the streets and sidewalks beneath Nusle Bridge. \nThe artist is a nobody -- just like most of the nearly 400 people who have died by leaping from the deck of the huge concrete span, Prague's strangely inglorious suicide bridge. \nUnlike scenic suicide bridges in other cities, such as the Golden Gate in San Francisco or the Butte Chaumont in a Paris park, the Nusle Bridge is a skeleton-grey hulk that looms over a depressed neighbourhood of dirty sidewalks and crumbling flats. \nAlmost everyone who jumps from the bridge dies on pavement from the impact of a 40m fall, and is suddenly transformed into a grotesque spectacle for those who are living in the bridge's shadow. \n"Sometimes when I go home from school, I see blood on the street," said Petr Paukert, 15, who lives with his family in a building under the bridge. \nAs he spoke Paukert glanced down at one of the painted body outlines. He flashed a nervous smile and added, "One time my neighbor took home a part of someone's brain in a cup." \nNusle's square concrete legs and wide deck were designed in communist times and tested for strength with Soviet tanks. \nIt opened in 1973 with six traffic lanes on the top deck. On the second level is an enclosed, two-track passageway for subway trains. \nAs long as anyone can remember, the bridge has been a favorite for the suicidal. It's easy to reach, and a fall is almost certain to kill. The anti-suicide fences installed some years ago will slow but seldom stop the jumpers. \nPrague's unfenced river bridges, by contrast, do not attract people with a death wish because their decks are only half as high as Nusle's. \nAlmost every week, and more often in winter, police and firefighters respond to calls from motorists who see a distraught person preparing to jump off Nusle. Or they're called by someone below who found a body. \nHundreds have died, but hundreds have been saved as well. \nOn a Friday night this August, for example, firefighters used persuasion and guts to rescue a man with a young woman standing on the bridge's edge. They had apparently planned to leap together. \nAmong those who've witnessed many less fortunate victims is Victor Maticka, whose newspaper and tobacco shop is under the bridge's center. \nHe said every year at least 20 bodies fall on the street, sidewalk or onto parked cars near his shop. "The worst is around Christmas," he said. \nMaticka talks about the experiences with a matter-of-fact grin, staring out his shop door toward the bridge. "It's just like Niagara Falls," he said. \nOccasionally a Nusle suicide makes headlines. That was the case last year when the 21-year-old son of popular Czech singer Dalibor Janda jumped to his death. \nPaukert remembers that suicide. "My father and I saw him lying on the ground," he said with a hint of pride. \n"But this," the boy said, pointing to a body outline on the sidewalk, "is just art. It's nobody."
It’s as if the outside world conspired to rob Yanshuei (鹽水) of its importance and prosperity. As waterways filled with silt, access to the ocean — which had made it possible for this little town, several kilometers from the sea in the northern part of Tainan, to become a major entrepot — was lost. The north-south railway, a key driver of economic development during the 1895-1945 period of Japanese rule, never arrived. Then, in the 1970s, the sugar industry went into terminal decline. Like Taiwan’s other old settlements, Yanshuei used to be a walled town. The defensive barrier is long
Taiwan’s history is full of three-digit numbers indicating the month and day of major events: there’s 228 denoting the pivotal White Terror incident in 1947 and 921 for the devastating Jiji earthquake of 1999. Not quite as well remembered are 823, which represents the start of the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis of 1958 or, 524, the date of an attack on the US Embassy in Taiwan by rioters the year before. One date that is now forgotten by all except the staunchest Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) nostalgists is the snappiest of the lot: 123. On Jan. 23, 1954,
We weave our way through an old cemetery in the dark, as the sound of our quarry gets closer. At the foot of an old tomb, beneath a pile of rubble, we find what we are looking for. Tonight we embark on the seventh and final stage of the Taipei Grand Trail (台北大縱走). Starting with an ascent up to Zhinan Temple (指南宮), on past the famous Maokong Potholes (貓空壺穴), we then meander through the tea plantations and tea houses overlooking Taipei city, finally ending the epic adventure back down at National Chengchi University (國立政治大學). This section was deliberately left until the end
Before he passed away in 2019, Dan Howard was a concept artist, working with major video game companies and posting his drawings online, where he had amassed a loyal fan base. Late last year, an anonymous account online started auctioning off Howard’s work as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a kind of digital asset often linked to an image or piece of artwork. Howard’s family only found out about the sales when a fan alerted them. “We felt like we’d been the victim of a high-tech grave robbery,” his brother Donovan, said. Donovan emailed OpenSea, the NFT marketplace where his brother’s work was posted, and the