Yann Arthus-Bertrand's Earth From Space book is pretty amazing - who doesn’t love to see pictures of our little blue planet in ways we’ve not seen before? There are a few of the familiar shots that even many people who aren’t obsessed with this kind of imagery may recognize, like deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon, the wild growth of urban Las Vegas and the creeping shrink of glaciers. But there are so many more of places you’re probably never seen: mangroves in the Gulf of Bengal, pre-and-post disaster Chernobyl, shrimp farms in Vietnam, an extinct volcano in Algeria, among others.
The author, an environmental activist who also published the book Earth from Above, arranged the scenes into themes including pollution, desertification, urban sprawl, farming and natural disasters. Often, trying to support themes with imagery requires including images that may be relevant and descriptive but aren’t also beautiful. Not so here.
If you have read this far, it’s time for you to stop and check out a few of the amazing images in this book. You won’t be disappointed.
My brother, Jacob de Wilde, is 7’2”. He had this amazing Chewbacca costume altered and extended for a Star Wars themed wedding in Las Vegas recently. I shot portraits of him in my parents back yard for my show:
FAKE MOON FAKE CHEWBACCA
Up for the next two weeks at Alias Books East in Atwater, California
A little love for Autumn de Wilde because this is totally fantastic.
Simon Menner’s new book Top Secret: Images from the Stasi Archives examines the vast collection of information and photos once gathered by the East German secret police. While coincidental, the timing couldn’t be better as news about the NSA surveillance program continues to dominate headlines.
During the Communist era, East Germany employed 300,000 spies to observe its own citizens; more per capita than any other totalitarian government in recent history. First opened in 1992, the archives of the Stasi contain 1.4 million photographs and over 50 miles of documents (For a comparison of data storage for the Stasi and the NSA, see this graphic).
“I had come to realize that the public has very limited access to pictures showing the act of surveillance from the perspective of the surveillant,” says Menner, who spent two years pouring through the Stasi’s archives. “We rarely get to see what Big Brother sees.”
In his new book, Beautiful LEGO, Mike Doyle has curated more than 200 pages of the world’s best Lego art. From museum-ready sculptures to indulgent geek references, the book highlights the impressive evolution of the legendary toy.
“Every year this stuff gets more and more intricate and the technique gets better, so I thought it would be great to celebrate the merits of the medium,” says Doyle, who is also a Lego artist and includes some of his own work in the book.
A graphic designer by day, Doyle re-discovered Legos four years ago after visiting Legoland with his two sons and then cruising around the internet to see what other people were doing.
After a lot of research on technique, he tackled his first project. It was 2009 and the housing crisis was in full swing, so he decided to make an abandoned and decaying house. It took him hundreds of hours to complete, but he was hooked. Now he spends months building larger and larger houses that have an increasing amount of detail and several hundred thousand pieces.
The appeal for Doyle is the ability to “go beyond the medium.” At some point, he says Legos stop being the subject, and instead just become a tool. Like a painter seeing beyond the paint to envision the painting. He calls it a kind of “transcendence.”
Physicists wonder if there are other universes, but biologists have already found them. Just look through a microscope and there you are, in a different world of life.
Igor Siwanowicz, a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, visits often. Acclaimed for his macroscopic photography of insects (like the jumping spider above) and other small animals, he uses microscopes to explore ever-smaller realms.
"I first laid hands on my microscope only three years ago, when I changed fields," said Siwanowicz. "I used to work as a biochemist, but I decided that neurobiology was more in tune with my naturalist approach. Plus they have these cool toys: confocal laser-scanning microscopes."
[MORE PHOTOS: Under the Microscope, Some Things Look Too Crazy To Be Real]
Jesse Angle is homeless, living on the streets of Pensacola, Florida. Sometimes he spends the night at a local church. Other nights, he sleeps behind a building in the heart of the city, underneath a carport that protects him from the rain.
Each morning, he wakes up, grabs some food, and makes his way to Martin Luther King Plaza, a downtown park built where the trolley tracks used to run. He likes this park because his friends hang out there too, and it’s a good place to pick up some spending money. But he doesn’t panhandle. He uses the internet.
The park offers free wireless access, and with his laptop, Angle watches YouTube videos in exchange for bitcoins, the world’s most popular digital currency.
For every video he watches, Angle gets 0.00004 bitcoins, or about half a cent, thanks to a service, called BitcoinGet, that shamelessly drives artificial traffic to certain online clips. He can watch up to 12 videos a day, which gets him to about six cents.* And he can beef up this daily take with Bitcoin Tapper, a mobile app that doles out about 0.000133 bitcoins a day — a couple of pennies — if he just taps on a digital icon over and over again. Like the YouTube service, this app isn’t exactly the height of internet sophistication — it seeks to capture your attention so it can show you ads — but for Angle, it’s a good way to keep himself fed.
Angle, 42, is on food stamps, but that never quite gets him through the month. The internet provides the extra money he needs to buy a meal each and every day. Since setting up a bitcoin wallet about three or four months ago, he has earned somewhere between four or five bitcoins — about $500 to $630 today — through YouTube videos, Bitcoin Tapper, and the occasional donation. And when he does odd jobs for people around Pensacola — here in the physical world — he still gets paid in bitcoin, just because it’s easier and safer. He doesn’t have to worry as much about getting robbed.
Photo: Michael Spooneybarger/WIRED
It’s a lavish book of eye-popping images from the telescope camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), called HiRISE. All the images are in black and white and consistently cover areas of the planet that are just over three miles across, with no enlarged segments included.
“This camera equals a naked-eye view of the planet at a flight level of approximately one kilometer,” says astrophysicist Francis Rocard. “All of the images in the book retain their original range, an editorial decision having been made to not present images that have been artificially zoomed.” Even so, the variety of surfaces represented can be overwhelming.
Northern flank of Diophantus crater. LROC NAC M124797072L, 0.56 m/pixel, image width is about 678 meters. Illumination is from the bottom of the image, downslope direction is from top to bottom of the image. This image from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) reveals the upper slopes of Diophantus crater, located on the western edge of Mare Imbrium. The upper dark area of this image corresponds to the flat mare surface, outside of the crater. The most striking feature here is the dark material that flowed down the crater wall. The reflectance of surface materials is controlled by various factors such as sunlight direction, grain sizes and surface textures, and composition. In this picture, the dark materials are most likely a different composition (relatively bright materials also flowed down-slope next to the dark flows).
Hey, moon, your mascara’s runnin’.
Photos of the world’s most famous offices are typically staged like an episode of MTV Cribs. Photographer Polly Brown asked herself, what ordinary decoration does every office have? The answer: plants.
Wonder how many of those are plastic?