Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Earth at Night

This is what the Earth looks like at night.
Surprisingly, city lights makes the task finding a particular city or country quite possible. Human-made lights highlights particularly developed or populated areas of the Earth's surface, including the seaboards of Europe, the eastern United States and Japan.
Many large cities are located near rivers or oceans so that they can exchange goods cheaply by boat.
Particularly dark areas include the central parts of South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The above images is actually a composite of hundreds of pictures made by the orbiting DMSP satellites.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Nameless Hurricane (South Atlantic Ocean)

This is not hurricane Katrina, but rather Cyclone Catarina, one of the informal names of a South Atlantic tropical cyclone that hit southeastern Brazil in late March 2004. Although not the first southern Atlantic tropical cyclone, it was the first positively identified cyclone-strength system in the basin. The storm killed at least three people and caused an estimated $350 million in damages.

Brazilian meteorologists named the storm Catarina for its proximity to (and eventual landfall near) the state of Santa Catarina, although government forecasters initially denied that the storm, which clearly had an open eye and various other tropical morphologies, was a hurricane at all. More than a year after the storm made landfall, Brazilian meteorologists finally classified the storm as a tropical cyclone.

Like normal tropical cyclones, Catarina brought heavy flooding with it. Because Brazilian government meteorologists refused to acknowledge the tropical characteristics and potency of Catarina, many people did not take shelter, increasing the threat for damage. In the end, the storm damaged around 40,000 homes and destroyed 1500; 85% of the banana crop and 40% of the rice crop were also lost. Total damages were estimated at $350 million. It also killed at least three and injured at least 75.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The First Photograph (France)

Joseph Niépce was born on 7 March 1765 in Chalon-sur-Suane, France. He created the first permanent photograph, of the exterior of his home, around 1826. The photograph was made using a camera obscura and a sheet of pewter coated with bitumen of Judea, an asphalt that when exposed to light, hardened permanently. This first photograph was captured during an eight hour exposure, taking so much time that the sun passed overhead and thus illuminating both sides of the courtyard.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Nagasaki (Japan)

Nothing like the mushroom cloud had ever been seen, not by the general public. It was a suitably awesome image for the power unleashed below. On 6 August 1945 the first atomic bomb killed an estimated 80,000 people in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
There was no quick surrender, and three days later a second bomb exploded 500 meters above the ground in Nagasaki. The blast wind, heat rays reaching several thousand degrees and radiation destroyed anything even remotely nearby, killing or injuring as many as 150,000 at the time, and more later.

As opposed to the very personal images of war that had brought the pain home, the ones from Japan that were most shocking were those from a longer perspective, showing the enormity of what had occurred.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Muhammad al-Durrah (Palestine)

Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah (1988 - 2000), was a Palestinian boy who became an icon of the Second Intifada when he was filmed crouched behind his father during a violent clash between Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the Gaza Strip on 30 September 2000.
The two were sheltering during a crossfire between troops at an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) outpost and Palestinian police and gunmen shooting from a number of locations.
After a burst of gunfire, the two slumped into prone positions.
Al-Durrah was reported to have been killed and his father severely injured by Israeli gunfire.

The footage, which was filmed by Talal Abu Rahma for French television station France 2, was re-broadcast around the world and produced international outrage against the Israeli army and the government.
Images from the footage became an iconic symbol of the Palestinian cause and al-Durrah himself was portrayed as an emblem of martyrdom; the footage was shown repeatedly on Arabic television channels and al-Durrah was publicly commemorated in a number of Arab countries.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Unknown Rebel (China)

This is the picture of a student, The Unknown Rebel, who tries to stop the tanks in Tiananmen Square by standing in front of them.
The tank driver didn’t crush the man with the bags but shortly after, the square filled with blood.

The ananymous man stood alone in the middle of the road as the tanks approached. He held two bags, one in each hand. As the tanks came to a stop, he appeared to be trying to wave them away. In response, the front tank attempted to drive around the man, but the man repeatedly stepped into the path of the tank in a show of nonviolent action.
After blocking the tanks, the man climbed up onto the top of the lead tank and had a conversation with the driver. Reports of what he said to the driver vary, including "Why are you here? My city is in chaos because of you"; "Go back, turn around, and stop killing my people"; and "Go away."
Video footage shows that anxious onlookers then pulled the man away and absorbed him into the crowd and the tanks continued on their way.

This image was photographed during the Tiananmen Square Protests on 5 June 1989 by Stuart Franklin and shows the Chinese that there is hope, and even though China is still controlled by a communist regime, there are many people who are fighting for their culture and human rights.
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