High Resolution Image of Earth

A high resolution image of Earth taken from a Russian weather satellite. While watching this, it’s hard to image that I’m somewhere on that planet, sharing it with 7 billion other people who are going about their little lives. It makes me feel so insignificant, yet I hardly mind. There is something beautiful, even liberating, about realizing and accepting that fact.

See more breathtaking videos from this satellite here.

How Architecture Can Impact Society

I don’t think most people realize the significance of city planning and construction on social and economic development. Obviously, good infrastructure promotes prosperity by linking people to one another and two resource, facilitating industrialization and trade, and so on. But even the way we design neighborhoods and buildings, and how we utilize the space they’re built, can have larger consequences down the world.

The video below features a TEDx Talk by architect Mark Hammond, who discusses some of the subtle but profound ways that city design can help or hurt a given community. His discussion couldn’t be more topical, given that more people in the world are living in cities than ever before (a threshold that was only recently passed). How we accommodate this influx of people will be vital to the fate of billions. Like it or not, cities will be undisputed center of human activity and civilization, so it’s best that we learn how to best develop and run them.

As always, feedback is welcome.

A Beluga Whale Meets a Mariachi Band

Whales are incredibly intelligent creatures, known for having individual personalities and even distinct cultures (such that there is even a serious movement to grant them an equivalent to human rights). If the following video doesn’t attest to their remarkable development, I don’t know what will.

I could never watch that video without smiling. It’s definitely something to bookmark in the event of a bad day.

The Inspiring Story of Patrick Henry Hughes

This is one of the most touching narratives I’ve seen in some time. You need to see it to believe it.

I wonder if I would turn out any better if I were in this young man’s shoes. It takes an exceptional person to make due with such difficult circumstances, let alone achieve greatness.

Hat tip to my good friend Javier for sharing this with me.

Rare Whale Ahoy!

The Australian Broadcasting Network (a pretty reputable news source) recently posted footage of an extremely rare marine animal known as theShepherd’s beaked whale, which had been spotted off the southern coast of Australia.  This is the first video ever taken of this species, our knowledge of which is limited to only six sighting and 29 beached specimens.

You can access the video in the first hyperlink, since I can’t embed it here. Its well worth the attention, as it represents a beautiful and intimate glimpse into a very mysterious creature (which appears to be joined by many other different kinds of marine life).

As to be expected, we don’t know much about this enigmatic creature, other than that it’s quite small for it a whale, and seems to be a deep-water feeder found only in the Southern Hemisphere, near Antarctica.

It’s amazing to think that with our technological intrusion into seemingly every inch of this planet, there is still so much that remains unknown. Who knows what else is waiting to be found in this great expanse of blue. We often talk of space as a frontier, but I think our own oceans will remain quite untamed for years to come.


John and Joe

This is another tear-jerker from StoryCorps, from where I previously posted an equally affecting video, Germans in the Woods. Like that one – and all the narratives the group collects – this story is brief but very emotive, as you’ll hopefully experience when you watch it below.

 
His closing statement had some of the truest and most beautiful words I’ve heard in a while. Ultimately, he and his sons got to exchange something many of us treat as perfunctory, if not bothersome, for the very last time. Yet as is always the case, these feelings come to have the greatest significance once the person is gone. It was a very raw deal, but I could think of no better silver lining.
 
Don’t hold back your expressions of love. You’ll never know if it’ll be the last time for either you or your loved ones. For that matter, don’t let petty grudges fester, as every second on this Earth is too precious and fragile to be wasted wallowing in negativity. It’s easier said than done, but its well worth the effort.
 
This may be a morbid thought to keep in mind, but that’s just the nature of the world we live in. All we can do is work around. All each of us have is one another and the tenuous moments we briefly share just once. Please make the most of them all. You just never know.
 

A Great Defense of Gay Marriage

This is probably one of the best pleas for marriage equality I’ve heard yet, and it comes from a Republican State Representative in Washington State. The video has recently gone viral, perhaps as much because it’s coming from a member of the more conservative party, than for fact her words are very compelling. Judge for yourselves.

Mrs. Walsh was one of only two Republicans to break ranks with her party and vote in favor of Washington’s marriage-equality bill, and that was her impassioned explanation. Sure enough, the state legislature passed the bill shortly after.

Despite heavy opposition, both public and political trends are moving favorably towards gay-marriage rights, if only because more people are empathizing, as this lawmaker did, with the driving force of marriage equality.