Issue



You can take it with you - work, that is


07/01/2006







Vacations are supposed to be about disconnecting from work, finding that downtime to recharge, and experiencing that outside world which you ordinarily don’t have the chance to see.

In this day and age it can be difficult to get away from reminders of civilization. Fast food, paved roads and cell phone service seem ubiquitous. But a trip to the northern region of Argentina should have done the trick. No fast food, no paved roads, no cell phone service (well, truth be told, some service in towns with satellite dishes). Enough to disconnect from work?


It may look like another planet but it’s here on Earth. Salinas Grandes - the great salt beds - of northern Argentina sport a pattern reminiscent of the arrangement of atoms in fullerene structures.
Click here to enlarge image

Yes, until I laid my eyes on Salinas Grandes, an extraordinary natural salt flat a little over two miles up in the Andes. It’s remote, exotic, and beautiful. And one look at the pattern that ranges for miles across its surface - and its resemblance to the pattern of atoms in a fullerene structure - brought me right back to the workday world. Oh well.

The question of what exactly forms the geometry of the salt flats remains an open one, however. Odds are that at least one of our readers knows. Kudos to the reader - as well as a mention in Small Times’ weekly e-mail newsletter - who can accurately explain what forms this pattern in the salt. E-mail me at davidforman@smalltimes.com.

- David Forman