Strange structures in the Middle East


First discovered in 1927 by British Royal Air Force fliers, the strange wheel-shaped structures in the middle east are gaining new attention thanks to Google Earth. Researchers have discovered thousands of them in Peru, Jordan, and other nearby countries.



Some believe that the structures were used to contain animals, but there is no consensus about that. According to an article on

In Saudi Arabia, (David) Kennedy’s team has found wheel styles that are quite different: Some are rectangular and are not wheels at all; others are circular but contain two spokes forming a bar often aligned in the same direction that the sun rises and sets in the Middle East.

The ones in Jordan and Syria, on the other hand, have numerous spokes and do not seem to be aligned with any astronomical phenomena. “On looking at large numbers of these, over a number of years, I wasn’t struck by any pattern in the way in which the spokes were laid out,” Kennedy said.

The function of the wheels may also have been similar to the enigmatic drawings in the Nazca desert.

“If we consider, more generally, the stone circles as worship places of ancestors, or places for rituals connected with astronomical events or with seasons, they could have the same function of [the] geoglyphs of South America, the Nazca Lines for instance. The design is different, but the function could be the same,” she wrote in her email.

Kennedy said that for now the meaning of the wheels remains a mystery. “The question is what was the purpose?”


Beyond that, what do you think the purpose of these wheels was for? Practical, religious, astronomical, or something altogether different?

Index of Potential Unrest

Richard Florida’s Index of Potential Unrest attempts to predict “unrest and revolutionary activism” in the Middle East and elsewhere:

With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, we pulled together statistics from 152 nations and sorted them according to eight key variables: human capital levels in combination with percent of the workforce in the creative class, life satisfaction, GDP per capita, perceptions about local labor market conditions, Internet access, freedom, tolerance, and honesty in elections. The data comes from the World Bank, the International Labor Organization, and the Gallup Organization. The map below shows how these nations stack up.

Index of Potential Unrest

Video Street View

Immersive 360° videos of streets have been around for a while now but I am always very excited when I have a chance to view new and “exotic” locations. Now site has integrated video content with Google Map to show routes and direction of the currently screened content. Available for viewing are numerous Swiss towns and several locations in the Middle East and South-East Asia.

Google had an option to adopt similar technology for its version of StreetView but settled for a much simpler solution based on static images. I have written about immersive video technology and Google in greater detail in my earlier post from 2009. Immersive 360° video streaming technology is making a progress but at a slow pace. The videos are always fun to watch and interact with – enjoy!