I don’t know why, but I’m channeling Attenborough at least once a month lately; It’s my own romantic period. Imagine his voice when reading this post and see if it makes more sense. I almost guarantee it.
Rachel Sussman has photographed the oldest living organisms that we know of, and the pictures are available here. The pictures themselves are unassuming, and even though one might be disappointed with the blandness of some of the flora, perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned there; To not judge a book by its cover, or something equally profound and boring. [Via Wakaba, who just got back to Japan]
While working in London I tried to occupy my time thinking up websites and community projects. One of those ideas that never took off was Tree of the Month, a website where I imagined that people would document a particular tree that they had a relationship to. While researching the subject I stumbled upon a book by Thomas Pakenham called Meetings with Remarkable Trees, wherein he tells stories associated with 60 trees in the UK. It’s a fascinating book if you have a penchant for contemplating the vastness of the universe and the short span of human life. In other words, if you’ve ever found yourself staring at a yew, crying because you’ll be dead and buried before it will grow out of childhood, you might like that book. Apparently, there are plenty treehuggers about since he’s published two more books in the series. You are encouraged to buy Remarkable Trees of the World and send me a copy.
By the way, seeing as the domain for Tree of the Month is still available, does anyone know of an arborist who’d be interested in working on this? The idea needs to be fleshed out, but still. Trees, dude.
In the same vein of “the universe is wicked, yo!” NASA and MTU has been publishing Astronomical Picture of the Day since 1995, and if you read space fare (Like Peter Hamilton, Iain M. Banks or the brilliant Ursula K. Le Guin) you’ll have no trouble whatever imagining yourself in them, the laptop screen a porthole onto the galaxy. Some of the colours might be false, but look at the size of those space clouds! I’m a huge space weenie, as explained previously.
While on the topic of future: Why not learn Esperanto instead of farting into your chair? Or are you happy to make do with Europanto, the hodgepodge language that all Europeans speak whenever we’re talking to someone we don’t understand? Willen you vielleicht desert haben efter food oder vamos to playa direct?
Although meant as a pisstake on Esperanto, the idea of a common language that you grow aggressively by using what little you know of your listeners vocabulary is interesting. It’s easily dismissed as nonsense, and much of it reads like gibberish, but instead of looking at every language that you need as a discreet set of rules, you take a modular approach and just use words in whatever syntax you think is appropriate. Adaptive tourist linguistics.
Closer to home, there’s plenty to be fascinated by. WTF Nature! is a Livejournal dedicated to crazy stuff that surround us. Again, reading science fiction or fantasy you grow accustomed to descriptions of strange creatures and places, but if you take a detached look at your surroundings you might cultivate some wonder at how bizarre yet together our planet is. Why don’t you nip outside and ponder a bush or fondle a beetroot, hmm? Let that inner hippie out and feel as one with the cosmos for a bit. It’ll do you good.