National Geographic’s Found Tumblr

As a celebration of National Geographic’s 125th anniversary of being “The Most Interesting Publication in the World” they have created an ever-expanding archive their most amazing photojournalism from around the world via Tumblr.  The photos are stunning.  I’ve compiled a nice smattering here, but definitely add their site to your feed.

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tumblr_mkqkv4UMtM1s7f3fyo1_1280[All images via National Geographic Found]

Patton Oswald’s Star Wars Filibuster


 
Television is becoming so much more interesting because it has the ability to comment and contribute to popular culture, allowing it to fit into the larger spectrum of our lives in a way that films cannot. This clip, aside from being an awesome performance by Oswald is a good example of that.

Movies these days suck for a lot of reasons, but to their credit, they’re challenged with transporting us to a separate reality that prohibits the acknowledgement of seemingly insignificant cultural blips like the much anticipated screenplay for Star Wars Episode VII.

Culture is speeding up.  The stories we tell are becoming relevant for shorter and shorter periods of time and while film will always have a place in our lives, it’s far less equipped to deal with this dynamic.

Thanks for the share Dave.

Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

 

The latest iteration of Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is marketing at its best: honest, insightful and artfully delivered.

This is how rockstars write creative briefs…

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This letter has been getting a bit of press lately, due in part to it’s recent sharing at a digital storytelling conference.  Pretty self-explanatory, but Mick Jagger was writing to Andy Warhol about doing the artwork on The Rolling Stones greatest hits album Through The Past, Darkly.

[via Phaidon]

Time Lapse Earth

 

Another inspiring short compiling footage from the International Space Station.  Made my day.

[via High Snobiety]

The World As 100 People

World-as-100-People_Jack_Hagley_Infographic

Love this infographic from London-based Jack Hagley. Click to access an enlarged version.

Why food has eclipsed art as the highest form of culture

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I read this great piece from Michael Wolff at GQ UK about the trials and tribulations of New York City foodies. In the piece Michael describes how restaurants rule the social social scene for urbanites while lapping up more than their share of the cultural bandwidth, dictating the haves and have-nots through the reservations they can or cannot obtain. In summary:

I don’t think it is possible to overstate the dominance of restaurants in urban life. They are the cultural focus and reference, eclipsing sports, art, literature, entertainment, music, drugs – and sex. You likely wouldn’t have sex with someone who took you to the wrong restaurant (or at least wouldn’t be happy about it). Restaurant reviews are like theatre reviews used to be, defining a cultural consensus. Certainly people talk more often and more passionately about restaurants than they talk about politics, movies, or even real estate. Restaurant talk may be the highest form of cultural sophistication and Zeitgeist connection. You’re a bore and rube if you haven’t eaten where everybody has eaten – or at least if you’re not shaking with excitement about getting there soon.

The piece is fantastic.  You should read the entire thing.  But, what’s really interesting to me is the rise of Foodism to the top of the cultural pyramid. Didn’t the pinnacle of high culture used to belong to art?

I’m sure there’s many deep and insightful reasons to explain this progression, but the one that stands out to me is that food is a far more social endeavor than art.  It lends itself towards the broadcasting habits inherent in the digital age made known through check-ins, and the now widespread act of “foodstagraming.” Even the young couple can extract intimacy from the experience of sharing the kitchen for a few hours a week, toiling over a delicious recipe, that before sites like Epicurious and Allrecipes, was hidden to the amateur.

Innovators have taken note.  Today we have television networks boasting 24-7 programming that admittedly doesn’t suck.  Some of the most widely read books of the last decade have been about food; see: Omnivore’s Dilemma. We have food trucks, underground supper clubs, plated dinners on subways, pop-up restaurants, pop-down restaurants, event sites like EatWith, that serve as a sort of Travelocity for eating in strangers homes.

It’s almost as if food has become a gateway towards something else…

But, the real question then is, can food deliver on the same level of intellectual, expressive or emotional depth as that of the fine arts? I’m not sure I have the answer to that.  But, even as I write this, I’m struck by how fundamentally different each is and how unfair it may be to compare the two as equal components of culture.  Food or the act of dining provides a sort of forum and playing field for stimulating conversation, socialization, and the sharing of ideas.  It sets the stage and enhances the connection we have with others.  A fine Italian burrata can stir the emotional and mental faculties as well as an inspiring lecture, although perhaps in a more subtle way.

However, I think food succeeds where art fails in it’s apparent self-confidence with being the backdrop or conduit for something bigger and more substantive, namely connection with other human beings.  It would be arrogant for a chef to assume that your dinner conversation should revolve exclusively around his or her culinary works.  And, in today’s hyper-social, experience-driven world, maybe food is just a better fit.

Image via: laurenlemon via Compfight cc

Wealth Inequality in America

 

Over the past three decades, American companies have gone from below average profits to the highest in history, meanwhile paying the lowest employee salaries on record, both as a percentage of the overall economy.  Make no mistake, business is booming, but 90% of this country isn’t reaping any of the benefits [Source].

Income inequality is the central issue facing America today.  There is nothing more crucial to our future success and security; not the deficit, not gun violence, not the environment, not unemployment, nothing.

Sever the ties between our government and big business, and you deliver this problem a devastating blow that frees up politicians to pass legislation that benefits the majority rather than the minority.  It is that simple.

Shane Koyczan: “To This Day”

 

Incredible.

“By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it’s like to be young and … different. “To This Day,” his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowd-source style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious, live reprise with backstory and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson.”

[via TED]

The Overview Effect and Our Search for Truth

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.

Planetary Collective created this short documentary addressing the profound experience astronauts have when they first look down at the earth from outer space.  In 1987, author Frank White coined this The Overview Effect.  More specifically, it describes how the literal change in perspective of looking at the Earth from above can effect one’s cognitive perspective and associated belief systems.

Edgar Mitchell, astronaut on Apollo 14, eventually compared it to savikalpa samadhi, a non-dual state of awareness in which the subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still.

The result is often a shift in worldview that involves a sudden concern and appreciation for the fragility of the planet coupled with a deeper connection to mankind.

As someone with a deep and somewhat inexplicable interest in space exploration, astronomy and cosmology, I’m moved and fascinated by this.  My experience has been that we’re always chasing ourselves throughout life; our beliefs, our values and points of greatest connection to the world.  Astronauts have this incredible opportunity to move so far beyond themselves in the literal sense that I think it actually allows them to reconnect with their truths in a very immediate and inspiring way.

Space exploration, at it’s core, is a search for our deepest truths – how and why we are here.  The faithful individual searches for these answers in scripture and religious doctrine while the scientific, quite literally, looks up towards the heavens.

Ironically, the focus during the Apollo missions was always about where we were going and what was ahead of us.  This idea of, literally and figuratively, turning around to look back on ourselves, as pointed out by David Beaver could have been the most important reason for going to the moon.  It, in a sense, confirmed that the answers that we seek throughout life, were both inside and among us all along, but that it required a significant journey to reveal them.

Big thanks and congratulations to the Planetary Collective of the creation of this film and thanks to Christian for his selfless sharing of this piece.

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