October 18, 2012
How does light look in slow motion? This MIT scientist shows us using a femto-camera that is able to slow down photography to less than a nanosecond.
Happy Thursday Viewing, All!
October 9, 2012
The average American spends nine years of his life watching television and two million commercials. Only two weeks of his life is spent kissing another person. Imagine if those numbers were reversed (and probably are in some countries!).
The average Joe spends 4,050 hours at a standstill in traffic (that is the equivalent of 506 nights of sleep), 4,320 hours at traffic lights, 5,365 hours talking on the phone and 122,400 hours working. He will have walked 35,000 miles in a lifetime, which is equal to walking from Paris to Shanghai and back ~ twice. At the same time, he will drive 798,000 miles: That’s 3.5 times to the moon and back.
If you look at these staggering statistics, it makes you realize how much of our time is spent with machines, not Nature or even each other. It makes me want to hug a tree and remember that we are all connected to everything: Not just through Facebook, but through our ultimate purpose in life, which is to love each other with all our might.
How will you spend your day today?
September 27, 2012
The other night I attended a Twitter party. For those of you unfamiliar with such things, it is a gathering on the microblogging social media platform Twitter to discuss a particular topic. This time we were a group of bloggers that convened on Twitter using a particular keyword to follow the conversation for thirty minutes. The topic was, of course, blogging, one of my favorite subjects.
One question the moderators posed was what’s more important: grammar or getting the point across. I have to admit I love grammar and respect all its rules because language is something I highly revere. And I am traumatized even now, thirty years later, by my English teacher Ms. Willis whose smoker’s voice and steely glare still permeate my brain when I even consider saying “There’s two things” instead of saying “There are”.
But language, like anything else, is a compilation of sounds that is fluid and ever-evolving. We bend the rules sometimes to fit the situation. Being a Southern girl, I respect rule-bending. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, ya”ll. It gives life to new possibilities and ways of expressing ourselves.
You may have noticed I bend the rules on this blog a lot. Suddenly adjectives become nouns. Slow is one example. It is this very juxtaposition that challenges the reader to think in new ways.
So while good grammar is something to be preserved, let’s leave a little room for imperfection. After all, it is in that very place that we grow the most.
P.S. To my embarassment, I wrongly attributed yesterday’s image as Lower Elk Canyon, Arizona. It’s Lower Antelope Canyon. Apologies to all wildlife that has been offended. Imperfection at its best!
September 20, 2012
Fame. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
I work with famous people on occasion when I’m on a film or TV set. And what I’ve observed is the pressure they endure on a daily basis, trying to uphold a standard that the public has set for them. It is tiring, taxing and at best, unnerving. Everyone has an opinion of you and if you aren’t in the best of moods, it somehow lands in the tabloids the next day.
My sister once said, “I’d like to be just left of the limelight. In the mix, but not in the public eye.”
I see what she means now.
The other day I had the chance to drink champagne with several celebrities, but after a day’s work in a dusty studio that smelled of manure and pyrotechnics, I was ready for a shower and some pizza with the kids instead. So I drove the hour home, racing through the door with a heightened level of excitement to see everyone again, only to find my family busy with their iPods, laptops and television sets.
Enter the feeling of let down. It’s what my friend Donald calls the moment of doom right before you enter your familiar space at home. You know it will be different than you hope it to be, but hope dies last, as they say.
It wasn’t until we had assembled at the dinner table an hour later that I realized why I had run home instead of sipping the bubbly with the stars. It was a moment of belly laughs and connection and jokes with the kids that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. It may have been slower in coming than I had wished, but the love was there all along beneath the distraction of our digital world.
Fame can’t give you that. Family can.
September 14, 2012
Swiss psychologist Carl Jung coined the phrase synchronicity, which means the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner.
So it was with my visit to the iPhone Doctor recently.
My iPhone was ill. After all that international travel, it could no longer pick up its indigenous phone signal, leaving it rather useless for someone who, well, needs a phone. I asked a local service provider if she knew something about iPhones. A few swipes on the screen told me she did not. With a solemn look, she gazed deeply into my eyes and said:
“This is a case for the iPhone Doctor.”
I could almost hear the creepy horror movie music play in the background as she spoke the words.
She carefully described how to get to his place. Take a left, then a right, then another right. I set off with great hope in my heart that the Doctor could help. But when I got to the address, that the local shop lady said several times and with the confidence of an insider, I couldn’t find a sign indicating anything about a doctor, much less an iPhone. That is, until a lady who appeared on the stoop next door gave me the same gaze the shop lady did and said:
“What are you searching for? Maybe I can help!”
I was about to tell her what I really wanted to know was the meaning of life, but stopped short as I realized perhaps asking for directions would be better.
“Ah yes, the iPhone Doctor. He’s there. Just push open the door and go upstairs. Last office on your left.”
Again, the creepy music played in my head and I swear her body language added: “He’s waiting for you.”
I climbed the stairs to be greeted by a smiling face that didn’t belong to the iPhone Doctor, but who had the same knowing look. “You’re going to see him, aren’t you?” the face seemed to say. I smiled weakly, then continued down the long corridor to the last office.
And then there he was: Jürgen, the iPhone Doctor, smiling like a Buddha as I walked into his space.
“I was on vacation, you see…” and he interrupted with a shudder. “Your phone got wet, didn’t it? Let me guess. Swimming pool? Jacuzzi?” He sized me up with a keen eye.
“None of the above! It’s simply cranky because I kept switching networks. You know. Swisscom, iWind, Orange France!”
He tooled around with it for a while, professionally swiping screen after screen, grunting quietly, then brushing away the detritus in the speaker with a toothbrush and buffing the screen with a woolly towel.
“Here you go! Good as new. But if all else fails, hit reset, okay?”
Which is what I ended up doing when I got home because my iPhone continued to act crazy. Jürgen’s backup advice worked. And that’s all I cared about.
The synchronicity of the moment made me realize there are guiding forces in our lives that show us the way when we can’t help ourselves. When we are present to them, life can be so much fun. When asked why he has no sign on his door, Jürgen revealed to me that his word-of-mouth strategy is ultimately more effective than advertising. It has more impact. He leverages the power of synchronicity because, as he says, “I want the people to come looking for me.”
What synchronicities can you find today? Look for them. They are there, waiting for you to see them so they can play too.