July 26, 2011

Sampler Platter

The internet is awesome (obviously). If it were a buffet, it would be a mile long corridor of every ethnic specialty imaginable, from grilled steaks to aloo palak, paella, beef bourguignon, and a full sushi bar, of course. The problem with such an impressive spread is that an eater is inundated with deliciousness and can't possibly sample everything.

To help you out, tonight I'll give you an appetizer platter of some interesting things I've been checking out online this week.

It's an interactive treat that could take you up to 45 minutes to enjoy if you follow everything I post. I know a lot of you don't have/don't want to spend that much time. But I strongly encourage you to stay with me -- I promise you'll learn some interesting things and by the end, you might even giggle a little.

Let's start with this video. It's a fascinating project that showcases daily life on one day in every single country on the planet. The group received more than 3,000 hours of video submissions and the full film is set to come out soon.

I can't wait to see the full length film. One of the things Alex and I were in awe of right away when we landed in China was the sheer amount of energy and things that happen there while we're asleep in the US. Sure, it seems sort of childlike wonder, but it's super easy to forget about what is happening outside of your safe little locality. As long as things on the other side of the world don't directly impact you, they might as well be on a different planet, right? Not so much.

Take this next article, for example. It reads more like a war film rather than real life. It's 10 pages long (it took me more than a half hour to read), but the author brilliantly profiles what life is like in nearly lawless Yemen. 

As the title implies, the country literally is on the brink of Hell. And it receives little more attention than a brief headline here or there describing Al Qaeda's presence or their water crisis. Robert Worth elicits a horrifying picture of warring tribes, centuries old feuds, thugs who hang out with Al Qaeda elites, and fearless protesters all trying to stay alive in the crumbling nation. If nothing else (and it would be a disgrace if this is the only thing you absorb), at least this article will teach you the origin of "mocha."

Powerful storytelling, eh?

And then there's this:

I frequently took this high speed train between Hangzhou and Shanghai and snapped this photo in the Hongqiao station before returning to Hangzhou one evening in April. High speed rail lines are rapidly expanding in China, especially along the coast. The US even sent our own transportation guru, Ray LaHood, to China to see if the US could incorporate a similar rail strategy. Over the weekend one of them crashed on the Hangzhou - Wenzhou line and tragically killed 39 people. 

This WSJ article  does a good job at explaining the cause of the crash and reaction from China and abroad about the long term implications of the accident. Regardless of the criticisms, my heart goes out to all the families who lost a loved one on the train. I'm just thankful that none of my friends were heading south to nearby Wenzhou for the weekend.

On a much, much lighter note, I found this goodie that pokes at political parties in the US. Personally, I'd be an advocate for the Green Tea Party. Maybe a little diversity would do our two-party system good. After all, we're only six days away from telling the world we accidentally charged too much on our credit cards -- whoops!

Of course, every good meal deserves dessert. So here you have it, The Rainbow Sponge lady. She is awesome and I would love to see her entire infomercial. And she is definitely a comedic respite from the heavy load I burdened you with at the beginning of the post.

Sleep tight, friends. I'll check back in tomorrow.

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