Cartography of Extremes

Maybe it’s the instinctual part of humans that makes us obsessed with the biggest, the strongest, the highest, the illustrious measurements that dazzle. Whether it’s the highest mountain, the broadest lake, the longest river, we look for inspiration in extremes. Whether it’s justified or not, we do the same in societies. The biggest economies, the…

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All Abuzz

A friend challenged me to take nature photos for a week, and it resulted in several very nice shots of our garden, if I do say so myself. But one of the most enjoyable aspects of the exercise took place when I went to take pictures of the two lavender bushes in front of our…

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Heating Up, Cooling Off

It’s a paradox of life that what gives us pleasure in moderation often gets us into trouble when we get greedy. I’m not talking about food, alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate, or any of the other things that might come to mind. Because the second-highest heat index ever recorded in a city was marked today in Bandar…

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Abundance of Sun

June 21 marks the longest day of this year in the northern hemisphere, and thus, it’s officially summer. Happy Summer Solstice! At least here in south-eastern France, the dog days have already begun – hot and sunny and cloudless and dry. We’re in the midst of the year’s first proper heat wave, with the temperatures…

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A Part of It

So many of us live in cities these days that when we think of The Environment, we think of it as something separate, elsewhere, an entity apart from our daily lives.  We see slogans like Save The (Insert habitat or animal name here) and it’s not a place or creature we know like we know…

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Felling Heritage

People used to intimately know places like the¬†Bialowieza Forest, the last primeval forest in Europe, the wild places that made us what we are. Now these place are relegated to small corners. They mainly inhabit our stories, little bits of baggage we carry with our culture through the millennia. Spanning the border between Poland and…

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Enduring Collection

The image below, of bottles and some kind of a collection, immediately made me think of marine life. Maybe it’s the small, irregular pieces carefully arrayed beneath each bottle. Maybe it’s the size of the bottles and their tidy alignment, paired against the sandy randomness of their spilled contents.   I thought it might be…

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Stone Cold Facts

Switzerland just experienced its coldest winter in thirty years; back in October, several meteorologists predicted this winter would be Europe’s coldest in a century. From my vantage point on the Franco-Swiss border, where temperatures didn’t get above freezing and were further chilled by a strong northerly wind, I can testify that January was desperately cold…

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Beneath the Sea

It always counts as a surprise when we find out that unexpected networks have been operating right under our collective noses. We use the word ‘discovery’ to describe the newness to our understanding, even if, in retrospect, it might be a bit like describing a city’s take-out food delivery system as a ‘discovery’ just because…

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Radiant Sun – So Long, 2016

This piece of mine came out on Medium’s Midcentury Modern right after John Glenn passed away in early December, but it seemed a fitting way to send off 2016 as a whole. Not because it was as great as John Glenn, but because we all need a little something to get us through the hard…

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