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lake louise, alberta

11/20/14 2 Comments


canada’s natural beauty reflected through wan mekwi‘s lens. via natgeotravel.


an underwater waterfall?



just off the coast of mauritius (former home of the dodo) is what appears to be an underwater waterfall.  background & more pics via exposure guide:

A fascinating illusion can be found at the Southwestern tip of the island. When seen from the air, a runoff of sand and silt deposits makes the illusion of an underwater waterfall. The visually deceiving impression is absolutely breathtaking when seen from aerial shots. In fact, the illusion can even be seen on Google Maps. Satellite views are dramatic, as an underwater current seemingly appears off the coastline of this tropical heaven. Viewed from other perspectives, the ocean appears to be a spectacular gamut of greens, blues, and whites, creating the false impression that it plummets down just like a raging waterfall.

Causing the visual magic here is the sand, which is the fair-colored part of the water. The current caused by waves smashing against that specific part of the island causes the sand to be dispersed in a natural, waterfall-like manner of the receding waves’ downward pull. In a manner of speaking, it is in fact an underwater waterfall, but more akin to an hourglass, rather than a typical cascading water.

related: the 8 most beautiful water landscapes in the world | the real reason bodies of water are different colors | idyllic noise | great blue hole

foundations like make-a-wish do a great job making the dreams of terminally ill youth come true.  in the case of nkaitole, a 4-year old boy from kenya, the urgency to accomplish his goals isn’t because of any specific life-threatening disease.  instead, it’s due to water.

according to water is life, 20% of children won’t reach the age of 5 in part due to unsafe drinking water.  with this in mind, the group helped nkaitole complete his bucket list.  it’s cute to see him do things like play soccer at the national stadium & get his first kiss.  however, this doesn’t come without a degree of sadness knowing that people’s lives are at risk for something that many of us take for granted every day.

you can watch some of nkaitole’s journey in the video above (via corinne bailey rae).  if so moved, click here to donate to water is life.

related: see where you rank on the global rich list | i couldn’t mention bucket lists without directing you to lesley carter’s great site bucket list publications

bonus: yasiin bey focused his song “new world water” on the world’s water problem.  you can listen to it below (lyrics here):

watch a 4-year old complete his bucket list

08/12/13 2 Comments

the 8 most beautiful water landscapes in the world

08/04/13 3 Comments

via my modern met.  have you visited any of these places before?  can you think of any other water landscapes that could’ve cracked the list?

related: the real reason bodies of water are different colors | great blue hole | dark side of the lens

in 1963, jim whittaker became the first american to climb to mt. everest.  50 years later, he linked up with director eric becker to discuss that experience and what it means to have a life well-lived.  for whittaker, part of it is an appreciation for nature and living life on the edge:

“Being out on the edge, with everything at risk, is where you learn and grow the most.” 

after watching the video, think about your own idea of a well-lived life.  what are some characteristics that define it for you?

a life well lived

07/18/13 2 Comments

classroom portraits from across the globe


classroom-2012 for the photo suite classroom portraitsjulian germain traveled to schools from england to argentina to japan with the hope of providing an intimate look at education around the world.  as you visit each class through germain’s lens in the gallery below, pay attention to:

  • the nuances of the classroom.  room size, # of students, dress code, decorations, etc.  think about the portraits both independent of each other as well as juxtaposed against the others/your own school experience.
  • the students’ expressions.  while germain painstakingly positioned each kid in clear view of the camera, he didn’t tell them how they “should look.”  interesting then to think about how much of the looks/mannerisms are in response to the long-exposure photo experience or to some other aspects of the students’ lives.

for more pics + some background on the students & their country’s education system, check out the book.  spotted @ brain pickings.

related: see what a week’s worth of groceries looks like around the world

the real reason bodies of water are different colors

06/17/13 2 Comments


written by will mcgough for mental floss:

When I saw the Caribbean Sea in person for the first time, my eyes metaphorically popped out of my head. As a kid who grew up in South Jersey, I was used to the dirty, almost brown, kinda-sorta blue color of the coastal Atlantic Ocean. But this was different. Staring at that bright, vibrant, and seemingly crystal-clear water, I had many questions. Where did that color come from? And why can I see my feet here, but not at home? Is the Caribbean water cleaner? Is the sun stronger down south? And how come it’s green-blue near the shore, yet navy blue a mile off shore?

Having traveled quite a bit since, I’ve heard all kinds of explanations from common folks, some chalking color differences up to pollution and others to salinity. While I’m certain that many factors, including those two, play some small role, the biggest influencers are the floor, depth, and microorganisms of the body of water.

First off, let’s tackle why water, in most cases, appears blue to begin with.


If you’ve ever taken a cruise, you know that the farther offshore you sail, the deeper and bolder the blue becomes (navy blue). That’s because there are no reflections off the sea floor in very deep water, meaning that a majority of the sun’s rays are absorbed by the water itself. Water molecules, by nature, absorb reds, greens, oranges, and yellows, but spit out blue.

“When sunlight hits the ocean, some of the light is reflected back directly but most of it penetrates the ocean surface and interacts with the water molecules that it encounters,” explains NASA’s Oceanography Division. “The red, orange, yellow, and green wavelengths of light are absorbed so that the remaining light we see is composed of the shorter wavelength blues and violets.”


As the water depth decreases and the light is able to penetrate all the way to the bottom, the makeup of the floor becomes a factor in determining water color. For example, the coarse Caribbean coral is going to reflect light differently than the fine sand found in the Northeast. These differences in absorption and reflection affect visibility as well as color.

Whatever light is not reflected back from the top layer of water or the bottom of the sea floor is absorbed by something in the water. As we saw above, lots of light is consumed by the water molecules themselves, but microorganisms living in the water also “eat” their fair share. The final major players in determining color are the particles and organisms found and suspended in the water. Phytoplankton, for example, harbors chlorophyll that absorbs red and blue light and reflects green. If a high concentration exists in one area, the water will take on a green hue. The more there are, the greener the water will appear.

Those three factors—depth, floor makeup, and life (plus intangibles, like pollution, as mentioned above)—will interact to produce whatever color we happen to see. The same principles apply to other bodies of water, like lakes, craters, and rivers. It’s all about what’s in and under the water.

And, despite our focus on the oceans, it’s not all about being green, blue, or brown. Check out these uniquely colored tourist attractions found in different parts of the world as examples. If you thought the greenish-blue of the Caribbean was impressive, the red and black volcanic lakes should knock your socks off.



Courtesy of Flickr user Valdiney Pimenta

Red sediments and algae pigmentation produce the unique red color of this salt lake in Bolivia, which is further contrasted by the white borax islands that are spotted throughout it. Located at more than 13,000 feet above sea level, the lagoon is part of the Andean Fauna National Reserve and is a common roosting spot for a variety of flamingo species.



Courtesy of Flickr user NeilsPhotography

This volcano harbors three crater lakes at its summit that are strikingly different from one another in terms of color. Typically, Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) appears blue, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) green, and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) either black or red, although they all are known to change shades quite frequently and unpredictably. The latter two are separated by a crater wall, creating a stunning distinction when viewed side-by-side, especially when they are green and black, as seen in the photo. Thus far, research has revealed no official explanation for the differences and changing colors, but the general consensus is that chemical reactions are being triggered by volcanic gas activity that drives nutrient-rich water to the surface.



Courtesy of Flickr user Peter Nijenhuis

Glacial erosion fills this body of water with glacier flour, or finely-ground rock particles, resulting in a frosty, cloudy-blue color (this mixture is sometimes referred to as glacial milk). Lake Pukaki has a surface area of approximately 111 square miles and was formed when glacial debris known as moraine dammed up the valley. There are glacier lakes in at least a dozen countries throughout the world that take on this “milky” appearance. While they are not abnormally colored, the Great Lakes are the largest glacial lakes in the world.

20 unusual homes from around the world

05/24/13 3 Comments

reuters compiled a gallery of homes that stand out based on their “weird” location, design and/or size.  the inspiration for these unique structures included political protest, cultural traditions, social status and basic survival/necessity.

click on the pics below for a closer look + backstory (via reuters).   also, let me know which homes resonate with you the most and why.

related: 14 exciting architectural moments in 2012

see what a week of groceries looks like around the world

05/05/13 1 Comment

faith d’aluisio & peter menzel took a look at food consumption in 24 countries.  check out some photos from their travels below (click pics for a closer look + country).  some things to think about as you scroll through the gallery:

  • how the amount of food compares across countries/your household
  • common staples across countries
  • processed/packaged vs. organic/grown
  • any favorite items from your home country

for more on the project, check out their book “hungry planet: what the world eats”.  via fstoppers.

it’s the holiday season and you’re about to fly cross-country to see the family. while people-watching near your gate, you notice a guy explaining the “prestige” of the mile high club to his girlfriend, a freckled kid who you hope won’t be kicking your seat in the next hour, and a elderly woman, who probably smells like your grandmama’s bread pudding, videochatting with her only favorite nephew. a breaking news report on the tv snatches your attention for a bit. as the stern newscaster warns viewers about a suspect on the run, the dangerous person in question is revealed to be you. with probable shock/confusion welling up inside and people now starting to watch you, what would you do?

nivea put some travelers through similar situations to help promote a product. see how the travelers handle their “stress test” in the video above. spotted at mashable.

related: is this the best (or the worst) interview ever?

this would be a great april fools’ joke


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