A remote archipelago in the South China Sea has come under an extraordinary amount of scrutiny lately. Here, China is building up small reefs and atolls into whole artificial islands—all in hotly disputed territory. In the clearest sign yet of its military intentions, one of those islands now has an airstrip.
More than 70 percent of the surface of the Earth is covered by water: oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. Sometimes humankind just can't get enough dry land to set foot on, so we create artificial islands for our needs.
A number of seaside nations are expanding their coastlines by constructing offshore artificial islands — beautifully structured land masses that are being used for tourism, the commercial sector and even residential purposes. But rising sea levels are making this a precarious proposition at best, particularly for the…
Humans can rearrange the shape of our planet almost as easily as the furniture in your living room (or the deck chairs on the Titanic). Of course, it doesn't always work out as planned.