If Australia really is the lucky country then it will come as no surprise to learn that Utopia is to be found here. Literally. It is located some 350 kilometres north east of central Australian town Alice Springs. Unlike its fabled counterpart however, this Aboriginal homeland is far from the paradise the name might otherwise suggest.
Its residents, indigenous Australians, live in makeshift shacks, that are bereft of running water and electricity. Disease is rampant, and life expectancy is low. For Australian documentary maker John Pilger, in Utopia, trailer, the settlement exemplifies the deplorable living conditions of many Aboriginal people in present day Australia.
As contentious as it is informative, “Utopia” casts the spotlight onto a side of Australia few people care to give much thought to. It points to the policy failures of successive governments, of all stripes, racism, injustice, and apathy among non-indigenous Australians, as part of the problem. Big questions are asked, but there are no simple answers.
Despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) three years ago, US high school student Kayla Montgomery, also a member of her school’s distance running team, was determined to improve her running times.
Because M.S. blocks nerve signals from Montgomery’s legs to her brain, particularly as her body temperature increases, she can move at steady speeds that cause other runners pain she cannot sense, creating the peculiar circumstance in which the symptoms of a disease might confer an athletic advantage. But intense exercise can also trigger weakness and instability; as Montgomery goes numb in races, she can continue moving forward as if on autopilot, but any disruption, like stopping, makes her lose control.
Orogenesis is the name given to the force of nature that creates mountains. Denudation is the process that gradually erodes them away.
And with sun, rain, frost, wind, gravity, animals, and of course, people, all taking their toll, the odds almost seem to be stacked against mountains, as this almost… ethereal short documentary, filmed in Iceland, goes to show.
Tensions in Ukraine have prompted fears of a global conflict, of the scale of World Wars I and II, breaking out, but John Aziz, writing for The Week, argues that nations have become too interdependent on each other for something like that to actually happen again:
Today consumer goods like smartphones, laptops, cars, jewelery, food, cosmetics, and medicine are produced on a global level, with supply-chains criss-crossing the planet. An example: The laptop I am typing this on is the cumulative culmination of thousands of hours of work, as well as resources and manufacturing processes across the globe. It incorporates metals like tellurium, indium, cobalt, gallium, and manganese mined in Africa. Neodymium mined in China. Plastics forged out of oil, perhaps from Saudi Arabia, or Russia, or Venezuela. Aluminum from bauxite, perhaps mined in Brazil. Iron, perhaps mined in Australia. These raw materials are turned into components – memory manufactured in Korea, semiconductors forged in Germany, glass made in the United States. And it takes gallons and gallons of oil to ship all the resources and components back and forth around the world, until they are finally assembled in China, and shipped once again around the world to the consumer.
I’ve linked to a number of pixel based scale scrolling type visualisations of the solar system, and beyond, before, but this representation, titled If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel, by Josh Worth, has a way of putting the planetary family we are part of, into an all too alluring perspective.
Look out for the witticisms, and awe inspiring thoughts, as you scroll between the planets.
It may be a challenge to reach, being located about halfway between Australia and South America in the South Pacific Ocean, but a stay on Pitcairn Island, population forty-eight, would doubtless be an unforgettable experience.
Although the Pitcairn economy relies partly on tourism, usually the island can only be reached about four times a year, by way of a supply ship that visits every three months. One person who is clearly not deterred by the difficulty in reaching the remote British overseas territory is Tony Probst, who has been to the island four times in the last three years.
He also takes photos, pretty good photos, while in town, which is a good thing, as it offers a glimpse of the island, and some of its inhabitants, to those of us who may not ever have the opportunity to travel there.
The Queen’s Gambit, the English Opening, and the Dutch Defence. Cocktail names? They could well be, but they are also the titles given to common opening moves in games of chess. If you’re a chess player you probably know of them through use thereof, but it could be you didn’t know them by actual name.
There’s not quite as much to Montreal based photographer JJ Levine’s alone time photo collection, of young couples, as meets the eye, but then again there is so much more… the images are in fact of the same person, dressed as both a man and a woman.