This week was the fiftieth anniversary of the perspective-changing image of the Earth taken from Apollo 8 while in lunar orbit on Christmas Eve 1968. The iconic photograph of the Earthrise—the first color image of Earth from space—and its effects on our understanding of our home planet were the topic of many articles in the media this past holiday week. So imagine my utter surprise when I showed this photograph to a classroom of over seventy Chinese college students at […]
As a first example of a utopian gesture, I present the most beautiful and ideal collection of recycling bins I have ever seen. In fact, it seems unfair to refer to the collection of such a wide variety of objects at one location in such nicely designed containers as simply recycling. It is more like a recycling station or miniature recycling center—it collects a wide variety of things in six different major categories. Pull-top cans: soft drinks, Sprite cans, beer cans, Coke […]
The air pollution in Beijing regularly approaches apocalyptic levels many times those considered healthy by the WHO. The other day a cloud of smog so huge that it could be seen from space, blanketed the entire area. With the PM 2.5 count pushing 500, it was shocking to observe sunset conditions in the middle of the afternoon. Even the extraordinary, however, can become normalized and marketized. Case in point, the 7-11 around the corner from my hotel had a whole […]
Thanks to high levels of pollution in the air, today Beijing “enjoyed” a sunset that lasted much of the afternoon. Driving home sometime around 4pm, making our way through the clogged streets in the thick pollution, I couldn’t help imagine that I wasn’t in the present but in a not too distant post-apocalyptic future of environmental devastation. Then again, who said apocalypses have to arrive suddenly? Maybe they can creep up slowly like a car in Beijing traffic.
[I was going through some old drafts of posts-never-completed this morning and decided to delete the ones I’ll likely never complete. Others, like this one are parts of ideas or beginnings of drafts that never got finished but don’t deserve to be deleted because there is something there worth keeping. So I’ve decided to just post them as-is.] A few weeks ago when we visited Detroit, all I could think about was the Aral Sea. Why would a visit to […]
While in L.A., we stopped for lunch at a burrito place that was supposedly well known for their tasty food. I don’t remember how hungry I was when the food arrived at the table. I do remember, however, that when it arrived I was more shocked at how it looked—a lumpy, beige-white mass, sharing the plate with a handful of corn chips and some salsa. It seemed barely edible. Perhaps it was because the meal repulsed me as food, that I […]