Info overload: 10 newsy bits too good to miss


Filed under TMI: Every week, there’s just too much information on the web, and a lot of stuff just gets lost in the shuffle. But it’s cool stuff, intriguing stuff, beautiful stuff, amazing stuff. Ooh..aah stuff, even. Occasionally, we find some of it and post links to it in our “Occasional bits” department, up there at the top of the right-hand column on our Occasional Planet home page. And even more occasionally, we scoop up some of the best bits and mash them together in a best-of-the-bits post. Like this:

1. 20 amazing years of Hubble. NASA has released the best of the jaw-dropping, thought-provoking and just plain beautiful photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched 20 years ago. The truth really is out there.

2. One day on Earth. On 10/10/10 people all over the world documented the day in video. Click on the hot spots on this site’s world map to spend hours of your own day looking at the amazing, diverse results.

3. Volcano webcams. For people who think about magma 24/7 [what? You don't?], here’s a complete list of webcams that are keeping an eye of volcanoes all over the world. They’re clickable, so you can see what’s up at Mauna Loa or Etna or that impossible-to-pronounce Iceland volcano, or any of them.

4. You can’t do/say that on the internet. Is the internet free? It depends on what you mean by “free,” and where you are. Infographics show who’s censoring and why. The reasons are a story in themselves.

5. What’s next? Palm trees in New York? Climate change has altered America’s Hardiness Zones in just the past 20 years, bringing warmer temperatures farther north. Side-by-side maps show the changes. So that’s why the daffodils bloomed in February this year!

6. Mommy, what’s a book? Before we all forget, here’s a vintage school film showing how a book [remember them?] was made in 1947. For a true, mid-20th Century, grade-school ambience, turn off the lights, shine a lamp on the wall and make shadow rabbits while watching.

7. We’re…gulp…not number 1. Not even close. A New York Times Op-Chart shows which countries are the best and worst in specific societal/economic areas, based on recent info from several official sources. Maybe people should put away those giant, foam. We’re Number 1 fingers and think twice, or more, before yelling, “USA! USA!”

8. Egypt, Tunisia & the Pale Blue Dot What would astronomer Carl Sagan say about Middle Eastern uprisings? A video mashup of Sagan’s words with news videos makes a cosmic point.

9. Cargo-tecture. What can you do with a leftover cargo container? Or a new one, for that matter? How about building a house, or a school, or an office building. Here are 13 massive container-architecture projects, proving that engineers are, indeed, very creative people.

10. Bamboo reaches new heights. A Colombian architect has built an amazing array of structures using bamboo as the primary material. Beautiful for the eyes and the earth.

[Image credit: Andy Mercer, Red Bubble]

About Gloria Shur Bilchik:
Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of progressive values as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.