The beautiful, yet menacing, blue lakes of Antarctica

Wednesday, 24 August, 2016

Meltwater pond, Antarctica. Photo by DigitalGlobe, Inc

Thousands of quite picturesque blue lakes have been appearing on the Langhovde Glacier, in East Antarctica, since the turn of the century. In short, they are meltwater ponds that form as warm air comes into contact with the glacier’s surface. While they may be easy on the eye, they evidence the presence of global warming.

Such ponds have been observed in Greenland for sometime, where ice sheets are now melting at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, it looks like that process is going to start increasing in parts of Antarctica.

Photo by DigitalGlobe, Inc.

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The flag of the United States, the way it might have looked

Wednesday, 24 August, 2016

US flag design proposal, circa 1950s

The current flag of the United States of America, that features fifty stars, one for each member state of the union, flew for the first time on Independence Day, 4 July 1960. During the 1950s however, much thought had been given to how the flag should look once Alaska and Hawaii became fully fledged states, which they did in 1959.

This prompted US citizens to send their – often unsolicited – design ideas to the President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Of the three thousand submissions, one by then high school student Robert G. Heft, was chosen. And the rest is history, as they say. But now, a selection of ideas that were rejected, have been published in a book, Old Glory.

There were certainly some interesting proposals put forward, that’s for sure.

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A trailer for Kenobi: A Star Wars Story. Wait, is that even a thing?

Tuesday, 23 August, 2016

Even though it was introduced as a fan-made clip, as I watched I thought, no, this must be an official trailer, for a Star Wars Anthology, or spin-off, film about Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi. But, no, it is not official, it is a labour of love by Canadian filmmaker Rich Williamson, for a would-be film that might be titled Kenobi: A Star Wars Story.

I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if this went on to spawn an actual film. Or trilogy of films, a prospect that has been on the cards for sometime, from what I can gather. Ewan McGregor, who played Kenobi in the Prequel Trilogy films, is said to be interested in reprising his role, if production were to proceed.

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The dreams and aspirations of the homeless, by Horia Manolache

Tuesday, 23 August, 2016

The Prince and the Pauper is a poignant photo series by San Francisco based photographer Horia Manolache. He took two photos of homeless people, one of how they look today, and one of what they once saw themselves becoming.

There is always the hope that his subjects may yet come to realise their dreams and aspirations.

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Night surfing (sort of) at Norway’s Lofoten Islands in the Arctic Circle

Tuesday, 23 August, 2016

Last month I linked to a short documentary about a night surfing competition that is held at Cornwall’s Fistral Beach, in Britain. Surfing in the dark must be challenging enough, to say nothing to trying to do so in a competitive environment.

So, what about night surfing in the Arctic Circle? What sort of difficulties might that present? Well, it depends. If you are surfing in the waters off Unstad Beach, located on Norway’s Lofoten Islands – which are just north of the Arctic Circle – during the summer months, it would be a pretty normal experience.

It may technically be night time, but thanks to the Midnight Sun, there will of course be sufficient daylight. A beautiful spot, by the way, for surfing or otherwise.

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Could there be a habitable planet orbiting Proxima Centauri?

Tuesday, 23 August, 2016

The closest star to Earth is Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf that may, or may not, be part of the Alpha Centuari binary star system. If Proxima Centauri were found to be gravitationally bound to the binary star, then Alpha Centuari would become known as a trinary, or triple, star system.

Just some trivia for you there.

Proxima Centauri, however, has been making headlines, as unconfirmed reports suggest it may host an Earth like planet, within its habitable zone, meaning the presence of life may be possible.

But in what may prove to be the most exciting find to date, the German weekly Der Spiegel announced recently that astronomers have discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, just 4.25 light-years away. Yes, in what is an apparent trifecta, this newly-discovered exoplanet is Earth-like, orbits within its sun’s habitable zone, and is within our reach. But is this too good to be true?

As an aside. With the Sun halfway through its ten billion year lifespan, we’ll be on the look out for a new home eventually, and it’s thought that relocating to a planet orbiting a red dwarf might be a good move. Red dwarf stars live for trillions of years, so our descendants wouldn’t need to think about moving again for a long, long, time.

If a habitable planet were found to be orbiting Proxima Centauri, might it one day become our new residence?

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The cook, the writer, and the food photographer, Flora Shedden

Monday, 22 August, 2016

Photo by Flora Shedden

Nineteen year old Scottish art history student Flora Shedden has led an eventful life. According to the about page on her website, she has already worked as a gallery assistant, a researcher, a photographer, a costume seamstress, and also a waitress. Though not all at the same time. Presumably. Unless this was an instance of extreme slash careerism.

Photo by Flora Shedden

Now writing can be added to that list, even though Sheddon’s not entirely on unfamiliar ground here, she was once the editor of her primary school’s newspaper. As if that’s not enough, it’s also obvious she is a dab hand at photography as well. Something that becomes apparent after looking through her website and Instagram page.

Photo by Flora Shedden

It was the food photography that caught my eye though. Here her work varies a little from others in the same field, in that she often prepares the food in question herself. I only say that, because in the course of writing this post, I discovered she is also writing a cookbook. Taking photos as she goes. It won’t be long then, until she can add author to that list of occupations.

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There aren’t too many lift operators in the world, but here’s one

Monday, 22 August, 2016

Today it might seem strange that the elevators, or lifts, in many buildings once had human operators, whose job was to drive it. Open and close the doors. Push start and stop buttons. Be prepared to announce the floor the elevator had arrived at, and what might be there.

It makes me wonder, did operators require a drivers license, before they could take charge of a lift? Of course, elevators weren’t quite as automated as they are today, so some level of skill was required to work one.

But seventy-five year old Ruben Pardo, who has been driving the elevator in a high rise on Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard since 1976, could tell you more about that. His work may have been made redundant by technology just about everywhere else, but I doubt that the people who use his lift mind that there is still a human driver.

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Valerio D’Ospina, painting the motion of the city streets

Monday, 22 August, 2016

Artwork by Valerio D'Ospina

The blurred lines of the sometimes brooding artworks of Italian artist Valerio D’Ospina, give the viewer a sense of being in motion, as if they were running, or a driving a car, along a city street that he has painted.

Their proportions might also aid this illusion, some of D’Ospina’s canvases are up to two metres in height. Here is footage of him working on a generous sized painting of a docked cargo ship, over the course of a day.

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Hi, I’m an illustrator and graphic designer, here’s my latest record

Monday, 22 August, 2016

Design by Rocco Dipoppa

London based illustrator and graphic designer Rocco Dipoppa certainly knows how to make an impression on clients, he presents them with a vinyl record, one that plays, that comes in a hexagonal shaped sleeve.

It’s just one part of his adept identity branding, that also includes business cards, letterhead, and project agreement forms.

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