The world is an odd place, we think we know so much yet we know so little. The fact is, there are many places on the planet virtually inaccessible to 99% of the human population. Whether for reasons of military secrecy, religious preservation, or national safety, these 40 places are just the tip of the ice berg. Let’s take a look at some of the places we’ll likely, never get to enter during our lifetimes.
If you weren’t already thinking it, then perhaps now you’ll wonder why this image seems like it was taken during WWII. The reason is that it is a restricted area, comparable to that of Area 51. Located in Australia, Pine gap is the combination of boundary surveillance and control. Enter this area by land, sea, or air, and you will be signing your death wish. Actually, they’d probably detect you coming miles before you arrive. As one of the acting extensions of U.S. surveillance, this facility is operated by appointed government security personnel only. At one point, a CIA operative was the president of this facility. Of course it goes without saying that anything to do with Pine Gap, is strictly off limits to regular folk like you and I.
The Svalbard Seed Vault
Like a scene from a sci-fi film, we see the marrying between the human and non human. Though it looks like a facility which engages in questionable research, it may actually be the future of the planet as we know it. The Svalbard Seed Vault, was constructed as a large storing space for seeds in the event a large scale disaster (man made or natural) were to befall our planet. The goal for these seeds is to bring new life to a dying planet in case of emergency. The variation of crops within this vault is the largest recorded in history and in one location. Of course, in hopes of maintaining national security, only a few top-tier individuals are allowed to have access to this place. At least we have this wonderful image to remind us of frontier yet untapped.
Have you ever heard the controversial articles which come from WikiLeaks? Well Bahnhof, is the Swedish home to this journalist organization as it provides server space for WikiLeaks to operate. An interesting fact about WikiLeaks is that it has access to government information which should be heavily restricted, clearly illustrating their access to insider informants. A second interesting fact is that Bahnhof currently, can’t face prosecution/investigation under Swedish law by hosting such a controversial client on their servers. The servers are located in a bunker known as Pineon which is both heavily guarded and top secret. As for the location of WikiLeaks, it remains elusive, and only available to trusted volunteers who aim to support the movement of ‘opening governments’.
The Tragic site of nuclear disaster, Chenobyl. On April 26, 1986, catastrophe struck atomic reactor number 4 in Chernobyl. As the degree of the blast turned out to be clear, the Soviet military set up an official Exclusion Zone, an approximately 18-mile range around the power plant. Thirty years after this incident, a significant part of the Exclusion Zone—now enveloping 1,000 miles and furthermore called the Zone of Alienation—is still completely off-limits. Without an official tour guide, access to this area is strictly prohibited. There are military checkpoints set up every few kilometers to ensure safety for all those who do receive entrance into this zone. Your name and international ID must be submitted to controlling specialists within a 10 day time frame. Even with all that access, your id and passport numbers are checked each checkpoint. Definitely a site to learn more about, however a risky place to be for not just the public, but also the personnel who risk their lives to restrict the area on a daily basis.
What’s this article without yet another military hub; the well known Area 51. It stands as one of the many secretive and heavily guarded locations in the world. Located in Nevada, this research facility is aimed at R&D focused on weaponry and aircraft experiments. It wasn’t until recently (2013), that the government admitted to the existence of Area 51 to the public. It begs us to ask the questions: (1) what were researching before area 51 became public knowledge, for whom would this research benefit/detriment, and why did they choose 2013 to make this location public? Needless to say, though we may know of its existence now, it is only accessible to appointed government personnel.
Iron Mountain’s National Data Center
For those who work in office settings, this insignia should be quite familiar as it is normally located on the boxes used to store file folders. The elusive company, Iron Mountain, secretly operates the American National Data Center. Carved 60 meters underground into what once was a limestone mine, it houses an underground water basin. This lake isn’t for swimming or leisure, it’s there to cool the extensive and complicated data systems which operate the Data center. Another interesting fact is that Room 48 (a facility within this complex), is used to detect conditions of geothermal activity, which stabilizes the area to keep electronic documents. Would you believe that remains of Flight 93 is found there, in addition to a few of Bill Gates’ private photos? The importance of this facility, restricts any regular person from entering. Entering without permission could quickly become an issue of American National Security.
The Queen’s Bedroom
Ahh Buckingham Palace, possible the most well known structure in the world, comparable to the Unites States’ White House. Why select this place as an area off limits to the public? Well the palace may be one thing, however the Queen’s bedroom is another. In 1982, a man named Michael Fagan scaled the Buckingham Palace’s 4.3 meter high wall, disregarding the rotating spikes and security fencing. Eventually he moved up a drainpipe and happened upon Queen Elizabeth’s room in the wee hours of the morning. Since this episode, security at the royal residence has been increased and the edge of the ruler’s room is furnished with refined alerts, movement sensors and round-the-clock security monitoring. This increased security will ensure that no one enters the Queen’s room without a ‘royal’ invitation, literally.
Not the typical trench that you might hear about in war stories and history textbooks, but what can be one of the wonders of our planet. The Mariana Trench is recorded to be the deepest point on earth. How do you visit? Well with a highly protective submarine which is built to withstand pressures of up to 1090 bars. To put things into perspective, for every 33 feet a human body goes below sea level, an extra 15 pounds of force per square inch is exerted on the human body. The Mariana trench is 36, 070 feet which works to about 16, 395 pounds per square inch. That there is the equivalent of having 400 blue whales stack themselves on top of you. So, if you have any plans of visiting the world’s deepest point, make sure you get a submarine that can stand up to the weight of 400 whales.
Air Force One
Perhaps the most popular aircraft in North America, Air Force one is the aircraft famously known to carry the President of the United states on international business. What should be clarified is that there a 2 aircrafts which carry this name. The term “Air Force One” is assigned to aircraft which are equipped and armed to carry the president safely to and from destinations. This means that if you ever do get the chance (the very slim chance) to see this aircraft in the air, there’s a 50% chance the president is actually on board. Hey, at least that’s a higher chance than you getting anywhere near its launch site. To further excite your inquisitive minds, it has been said that Air Force One has 4000 square feet of flooring, containing an on board gym, bedroom, and personal office just for the President. Maybe one day you’ll get to work on this ‘home-away-from-home’.
Looking at this ‘helicopter landing pad’ you don’t see much, but would you believe this a sovereign state? That’s right, small state called Sealand, was run a by a self declared prince who instituted HavenCo as a self sustaining have of data. This reminds me of those smart cities that can do things for themselves without much human intervention. Interestingly enough, the internet service provided by HavenCo had little to no restrictions when it came to copyright infringement policies. This means that anyone who accessed data from HavenCo could freely copy and take intellectual property which was hosted on its servers. As for being physically accessible to the public, you’d need royal permission by the current prince to have access to HavenCo let alone Sealand.
Hebi, Serpente, Nathair, Gyvatė, and the list goes on. What do these names have to do with the island above? They are different ways of saying ‘snake’, which is the name of this island. Why is it called Snake island, you ask? Well, for one it is populated (or should I say, overly populated) by pit vipers. To put things into perspective, picture walking, and every 10 or so meters, running into approximately 10-50 snakes. Yep, and to make things more interesting, they grow to lengths of over a half a meter, each armed with venom that melts flesh and skin cells quite quickly. Even if you aren’t afraid of snakes, the Navy of Brazil has restricted all access to the public. Only a handful of experienced scientist are allowed to enter this island of the snakes. Next time you want to tell a horror story, tell your friends about Snake Island.
Standing as what we’d call ‘the cliché government building’, Room 39 is definitely more than meets the eye. Room 39 is one of the largest monetary bases funding the North Korean government (specifically the Kim Dynasty). Built upon a framework of alleged illegal activity, this organization rakes in almost $1 billion USD per year, yet no history is present of corrective action. On a more interesting note, if you take half the yearly salary of United States president ($400 million USD), you’ll come to the same amount Kim Jong-un gains from Room 39’s meth trafficking infrastructure. The reclusive nature of the North Korean government, renders this place inaccessible to anyone who doesn’t exist within the Kim Dynasty’s inner circle.
At first glance you see a vault, appropriately labeled “The Vault” with the word “Secret” on the inside. Humorous as this may be, the Coca-Cola Vault is home to what is believed to be the most protected secret in the world. Another interesting fact is that on Cola’s 125th anniversary (2011), the location of the secret recipe was unknown to the public. Though it functions as a vault to protect Coca-Cola’s legacy, this structure also serves as the main attraction for Cola’s museum exhibit open to the public. It seems the phrase “it seems so close but yet so far” would be appropriate in this instance, as only those at the very top of Cola’s ranks have access to this public (but oh so private) vault.
Secret Archives of the Vatican
Resembling a maze of epic stories and tales, the Vatican archives contain within them, massive amounts of information that any scholar would dream of accessing for their personal knowledge. Containing a lifetime of histories, religious texts, royal letters, and so on, this archive belongs to one singular man: The Pope. If the image doesn’t do its size, justice perhaps knowing that it contains >80 kilometers of shelves and. How ironic that one of the world’s largest personal libraries, is housed in the world’s smallest country. Though the public can access some of the literature contained within this space, they can only access content as recent as 78 years ago, anything more recent, is completely off limits.
Gold Vault – Bank of England
Gold seems to be in high security these days. The Gold Vault, located in the Bank of England is home to approximately 5 million kilos of gold and items of value. Tours are available for the public to engage in, however they are virtual, meaning your eyes are the only parts of you which can remotely access this area. Protected by a vault which can resist explosive-grade forces, the only way to enter is through a highly advanced, voice recognition apparatus. If your voice isn’t in the security database, then you wont be able to smell, let alone enter, this room of riches.
Granite Mountain Records Vault
You may be thinking “this is a creepy hallway from one of those shows like “The Walking Dead”, however this is quite the opposite of what you may be thinking. This is the world’s most extensive gathering of genealogical records housed in secure vault situated in the mountains close Salt Lake City, Utah. The ‘Congregation of Jesus Christ of Modern Holy’ people, fabricated the Stone Mountain Records Vault in 1965 to safeguard and secure records of significance to the Congregation. Shielding more than 3.5 billion pictures on microfilm, microfiche and computerized media, pictures inside this Vault, are gathered through concurrences. Along with documents, libraries and houses of worship this vault is home to, artefacts from more than 100 nations. For security reasons, there is no free entry to the Rock Mountain Records Vault, we’ll just have to settle with online visits.
What would this article be without throwing in a mountain sized soup pot of microbes, fire, ash, and molten carbon? Surtsey is a captivating island off the bank of Iceland that was shaped by a progression of volcanic emissions. Researchers have been considering watching the advancement of the island from an infertile volcanic scene, to a place abounding with flora and fauna. As a result of the island’s significance to established researchers, absolutely no one, is permitted to visit this island. This is partially due to the inspired paranoid and fear of disturbing the characteristic procedures surrounding the volcanic activity. Aside from a couple of research scientists, the island is fundamentally without any human interaction. Be that as it may, numerous types of winged creatures, marine life, mammalian, and various types of vegetation call this volcanic island — and the waters around it — home.
Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant
The whereabouts of the Ark of the Covenant are one of archaic exploration’s most noteworthy riddles. A popular belief among numerous researchers state that it was demolished or lost hundreds of years prior. Nonetheless, various sincere Christians are convinced that the Ark of the Covenant was taken right around 3,000 years prior to Aksum, in northern Ethiopia. They also firmly believe that it is protected within the confines of the ‘Saint Mary of Zion’ church. In any case, since entering its halls is entirely forbidden, to all people — including the priests entrusted to guard it — its whereabouts remain a mystery. An interesting fact is that within biblical scripture, a man touched the Ark of the Covenant without permission from the God of Israel, and dropped dead immediately. Perhaps this is why the home for this artefact is off limits to everyone.
Cheyenne Mountain Complex
This reminds me of the cave of wonders from the Disney Movie, “Aladdin”. Based in Colorado this secretive cave is known as the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. It is a nuclear bunker as well as a military structure, home to the United States Space, the Aerospace Defense, the Air Force, and the Federal Emergency Management Command systems. About 200 feet underground, protection is its policy being virtually impenetrable to the natural elements. This configuration is self-sustaining having its own power and water resources readily available. Being well architecture, it has the ability to withstand explosions, and radioactivity. Though restricted to public access, perhaps a nuclear explosion will have the U.S. government using this area as a means of protection for its citizens.
The old mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, was once home to more than 1,000 individuals. Presently it’s simply a seething apparition, continually burning, 50 years later. It began with a fire deliberately set to wear out a landfill before Labor Day in 1962. The issue was that the landfill was additionally a former mining area containing an underground labyrinth brimming with coal. Despite the town being able to abase the fire on the surface, a substantially greater inferno consumed the mining area, spreading under Centralia’s central area of residence. Growing beyond human control, it is said that the coal can fuel a burning fire for an additional century or two. In 1980, a $42 million movement design boosted a large portion of the townspeople to migrate (a large portion of the homes were devastated), leaving just around twelve holdouts behind. It’s safe to say that it would be unsafe to visit this area, as the excessive smoke alone would inhibit breathing to dangerous levels.
RAF Menwith Hill
No these aren’t golf balls, they are actually the hub of intelligence and surveillance worldwide. It is home to multiple satellites operated for reconnaissance purposes for the United States of America. To think that a large chunk of U.S. intelligence depends on these round structures would be an understatement. It also takes the prize for being arguably, the best hidden, and elusive configurations in Europe. That other characteristics enable to heightened comms and intel to a large chunk of the first world. What does this say for public access? Well you can’t sneak in, because there’s a chance that you’d be detected by one of many (if not multiple) satellites this hub is in direct control of.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone
For all you computer whiz’ out there, the abbreviation DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) which can be found in most Wi-Fi router settings, is inspired by the Korean DMZ. Standing as a symbol of the Korean War’s end, this zone is about 250 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide. As for fortification, the term ‘heavily fortified’ is an understatement. It stands as one of the most heavily guarded areas on the planet. An interesting fact is that a village of truce “P’anmunjom” is the only living space for humans within this area. The rest is inhabited by wildlife and vegetation, marking it as one of the most pure (untouched by human activity) areas on earth. How ironic that a Zone for peace, also meant peace for life outside of human constructs.
Disney’s Club 33
Have you ever been to Disney Land? Experienced all its wonders? Do you feel like you’ve experienced everything at least once? Well you probably haven’t. Club 33, is a private and exclusive club available only to presidents, powerful business individuals, and select actors/actresses. It isn’t militarized like many of the examples above, so what makes this club off limits to the public? Well the fee for one, may dissuade the regular person as it is a $40k USD entrance fee. To sustain further membership is another $27k USD each year. There are two stories detailing how this club got its name, (1) that the first club was located at 33 Royal Street, and (2) that 33 corporate sponsors were present during the building of this club. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that it is only meant for select individuals on the wealthier side of life.
This sea is famous for not just its name, but its incredible high salinity. Having a density of 1.24 kilos per litre, one can literally lie on the dead sea without being able to sink. So why is this area off limits? Well, one can float, but not for too long. The dead sea is a trove of concentrated chemicals, having a salt concentration of 31.5% — our salty oceans have an average concentration of 3.5%. This means that swimming is not only off limits, but nearly impossible since the high concentration would literally force anyone’s limbs back up to the surface. To make matters worse, if you were to consume any of this sea water by accident, it would cause very detrimental effects to special organs like the heart, liver etc due to salt intoxication! Though it is openly accessible to the public, they are only allowed to float, with close supervision, near the shallows, as all forms of swimming is prohibited.
Of course, you can gather from the name that Nemo references yet another aquatic endeavor. The term ‘alien ocean’ does this place justice as it is known to be the furthest point (in the ocean) from any land structure. You’ve heard of the North and South poles, well point Nemo is known as the pole of inaccessibility. Given that name it is extremely infeasible to sail to the point, or even fly there as risks of running out of fuel are imminent. If that’s not enough to illustrate public inaccessibility, this is also the point that world powers coordinate their satellites to drop debris when they’ve expired due to its remoteness. Aside from being extremely far, it is also the center of raining space-matter.
Crystal Cave of Naica
Known to be the cave home to the largest crystals in the world, this Giant crystal cave, is in Chihuahua, Mexico. The discovery of this cave was made in the year 2000 by miners seeking to excavate a new tunnel. Shaped like a horseshoe, this combination of stalactites, and stalagmites, form an arch-like cavity with temperatures averaging 60 degrees Celsius. To top that off, with humidities that are 90% and over. Hard to believe that this cave which looks like it is shooting ice, can get so hot. To be frank, a person can only go in the cave for about 10 minutes, and this is including the heat pumping efforts of the mining company. Were those efforts not present, you’d literally be in hell on earth.
We’ve explored the lowest point on earth let’s look at the tallest points. Mount Everest is a mountain that many people know to be the tallest point in the Himalayas between Nepal and China. Though about 3000 individuals have successfully climbed this mountain, at least 1 in 10 climbs result in death every year. This may be due to the excessive frostbite, limited ration supply, falls during the rock climbing, limited air supply, or even loss of direction during flash blizzards nearing the peak. One thing is certain, to be considered for the climb, you’ll have to go through rigorous physical, pressure and air training to ensure you’re ready to embark on this bucket list adventure.
The Drowned Church of Potosi
I know you’re thinking, “ahh this church is on the list because it is completely submerged under water”, but that’s where you’re wrong. Previously inaccessible, individuals were not able to go inside the church itself, as it was 98% submerged in water. The fact that it was drowned, made it a site of public attraction. Things changed over the years, and by 2010, severe droughts, and shortages of water, drained the surrounding reservoir completely. Now the public, can walk into this church freely without limitation, but they will never be able to see it as the ‘drowned church’. The only way that will happen is if the area receives sufficient rain to completely submerge the church once again. For now, we’ll be able to take in the remnants of what once was.
This small country located in the Caribbean is typically associated with its larger counterpart, Antigua. Due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, in September 2017, Barbuda was declared uninhabitable due to the devastation. Countless people lost their homes and had to migrate either to Antigua or fellow neighboring countries for support in education, and work. Until support efforts can restore the country back to qualities able to sustain life, this country is now restricted to public access. Only relief management, and infrastructure experts, and government bodies can enter the country at this time. It’s daunting to think about the ways nature can completely transform a place for accessible to inaccessible.
Java and Sumatra
Not to be confused with programming or mixtures of coffee, this is a place located in Indonesia. Consisting of about 145 million residents, why would this place be on the list of restricted access? Well it has nothing to do with military involvement, but natural involvement yet again. This place is home to natural disasters and over the last century has experienced 20 natural disasters. Ranging from earthquakes, tsunamis, eruptions, floods, and landslides, this Indonesian area, is home to devastating upheavals. Some examples include: the Nias Tsunami of 2004 killing 170,000, the Padang earthquake of 2009 killing over 1,115, the Sinabung eruption of 2014, killing 16 people, with over 30, 000 evacuees. Needless to say, the number of affected individuals since the year 2000 is recorded to be 300,000. If you’re planning to go there, be prepared for what nature has in store.
Jiangsu National Security Museum
Located in China, this museum brings back memories of 007 movies and the advanced spy technology James bond would use on his secret missions. The types of items at display at this museum are exactly that, fine spy gear and gadgets developed for espionage purposes. They have a variety of gadgets ranging from audio recording calculators, to lipstick disguised pistols. The only section of the public allowed to view the items in this museum, are citizens of China, as it details some of the country’s spy tactics. Even then, these citizens are still forbidden from taking pictures, which is why this wonderful image of bullets contrasted with lipstick was used as an alternative.
Eerie and mysterious, this organization is internet based and is only known for its recruitment practices. What they are known for is posting a message in 2014, stating their search for highly intellectual people. They further stated that it would be rare for anyone to go through the full intonation process. Interestingly enough, it hasn’t been recorded that anyone person or institution has joined this organization. Being a secretive organization, it recruits members using difficult puzzles and elaborate mind games as a part of its recruitment process. One of the few people to solve the puzzle (Joel Eriksson) claims that this is most likely an ideological underground organization created for some as a form of antiestablishment. Their purpose is only revealed to members who successfully join.
In the 1970s this town was a bustling tourist attraction with between 35 and 45 thousand individuals moving within and throughout its gates. After a while, it became a hub for the rich and famous, resulting in the construction of many high-rise structures. The Turkish invasion is what changed the future of this town. In 1974, their invasion forced all citizens had to abandon it to fell for safety; it remains abandoned to this day. Military occupants have received strict orders to ‘shoot on sight’, for anyone who attempts to enter this restricted area. Like a town frozen in time, you’re still able to see remnants of its past, embodied in car dealerships fully stocked with vintage (back then) top of the line cars for those who could afford it.
The Amber Room (Crystalinks.com)
Possibly the most beautiful slide in this article, the Amber Room is also described to be the 8th wonder of the world. Why is it inaccessible? Well the last time it was seen publicly was during World War 2, when the Nazi’s stole the room, to dismantle and move to the Baltic Coast. Questions on whether the room was completely dismantled or preserved swirl around the scholastic, and Treasure hunting community as they desperately seek to know its fate. If this room is ever found, it’s safe to say it may be ranked the most valuable work of art worldwide. It is currently inaccessible because no one knows where it is located. Those who know of its whereabouts are either dead, or dying.
The ADC Florence Prison
This U.S. prison is a high security prison designated to house the most notorious criminals. A notable example would be the mastermind behind the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. To make matters more concrete, these are the criminals who are the closest to receiving the death penalty, but are kept alive for information and intelligence purposes. As far as human contact goes, these inmates are not allowed to see each other, to go outside, or to interact with anyone other than the enforcing officers assigned to them. Throughout its 20 years of operation, the only means of escape for any inmate thus far, has been to commit suicide. The external view is the closest anyone will be, to entering this prison (as a free person), without any form of high level security clearance.
Volkel Air Base
This one is most interesting, as you can gather from the image, it is pixelated, and this isn’t in error. This Air base is said to be home to 22 nuclear bombs, B61 thermonuclear devices, and a bomb 4x as strong as “FatMan” used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War 2. The reason why this is even public news was due to a post WikiLeaks publishes in 2010, which illustrated evidence of its existence, even after the worldwide disarmament agreement following WWII. One thing is certain, Google maps, has pixelated this area purposely to avert attention from that location. It begs the question, if a powerful company like google is willing to phase out the existence of such a place on all its maps, how safe is it for us to consider seeing or even entering a place like that?
North Sentinel Island
The final area on our list, is quite unique as it has nothing to do with geographic or military components, it’s a cultural limitation. This island is home to roughly 400 natives and is completely isolated. Declaring this island off limits, the Indian government took this action for safety and preservation purposes. To comment more on safety, it is said that the natives are very strict towards outsiders and will express hostility (most times fatal) towards anyone who isn’t local to their Island. For anyone brave enough to sale to this island, they will be met with a barrage of arrows and rocks. On top of that, there is also the threat of prosecution from the Indian Government. This just like our other slides, shows many of the places restricted to the public. Perhaps thinking about these places can allow us to do more research on what we think we know.
The Lascaux Caves. Breathtaking artwork that allows one to dive into their imagination, and relive histories long past. These caves are an important part of history as they depict paintings which are dated back to the Upper Paleolithic (Or Late Stone Age) Era. After a discovery made by a teenager, the cave was openly accessible to the public until the year 1963. The reason was that, continued human intervention opened the paintings up to degradation and exposure to the elements. The now restricted caves, are only accessible to scientists and experts in preservation. Fret not though, a Lascaux II was erected to replicate the original, generating a space where one can marvel in similar ways to the originals.
Ise Grand Shrine
If you’re into tranquil landscapes, calm environment, and soothing company, the Ise Grand Shrine is the place to marvel at. Being home to more than 90 shrines, the Japanese sun goddess, Amaterasu-Omikami, these shrines are devoted to worshipping. Stories say that she chose this space millennia ago, to abide in peace away from external forces. Though a religious site, it is also a historical one, housing a multiplicity of sacred objects. This sheer spiritual and historical importance of this begs the forces of the Japanese military to stand guard. Alas, only priests and priestesses with connections to royalty, are allowed safe passage within its gates.
Now we’ll take a look at Fort Knox. Reminiscent of cartoon shows (like DuckTales) where the rich characters find themselves swimming in money and gold, Fort Knox is metaphorically, a giant pool of gold. Surrounded by substantial granite walls and a roof of superior (bomb proof) plating, Fort Knox is said to house about $170 billion USD in gold bars. That’s about the same value as Apple’s brand! Entrenched within protective fencing and a network of alarm systems, one must keep note of the Apache gunships which traverse the airspace in search of potential threats. The contrast between the grey monotonous exterior, and the gold vibrant interior may be inviting, however, the defenses on the outside dissuade any notions of entering the property altogether.