NPF: BARREN LANDSCAPES

Posted in No Politics Friday on December 17th, 2010 by Ed

Three things that are pretty to look at in a very similar way.

1) At long last I got around to watching the Edward Burtynsky documentary Manufactured Landscapes. I can't recommend it highly enough. The movie begins with a 10 minute long panning shot of a Chinese factory that appears to be about a mile long and in which nearly every iron on Earth is made. It goes uphill from there. Despite taking place almost entirely in China, the footage from the "breaking yards" for old ships in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The film is a refreshing reminder of how overblown the "China's taking over the world" rhetoric is. Sure, it's a big country with growing political, economic, and military power. It also has problems that are staggering in both number and magnitude, and it will be a minor miracle if they have any potable water in 20 years let alone dominion over the western world.

2) The Daily Mail has a magnificent set of previously unseen photos of Niagara Falls…dry as a bone. In the same year that American astronauts first landed on the Moon, the Army Corps of Engineers diverted the flow around the falls for several months to clean up the remnants of two massive rock slides. "Eerily calm" doesn't begin to describe it. Wicked video of the flow coming to a halt is available as well.

3) In honor of Voyager 1 – still transmitting after 33 years and from 10 billion miles away – reaching an astronomical milestone as the first man-made object to reach the heliopause, check out this sweet-ass gallery of photos taken by V1 and its sibling Voyager 2. It includes what I believe is the single most incredible image from the era of interplanetary explanation – the sulfur dioxide plume of a volcano in mid-eruption on Io:

Shit, dude.