Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bike to Work

Bought a cycle... something I was looking forward to and dreading at the same time.

It's been over 25 years since I have ridden a bike... in and around gullies near my home in Bangalore. When I grew older I got too scared to ride around in India. The traffic, the total lack of lane disciple, the utter chaos in streets, and lastly... the soot in the air.

So the past couple of weeks, I have been riding all over London like a total noob. Crossing roads only if I don't see cars up to a mile away. Causing long traffic pile ups behind. Inviting stares, glares rather.

In India I would have been yelled and cussed at. I used to drive a car back in Mumbai. I hated people who held up traffic, couldn't decide on a lane, and blocked both lanes. Idiots who drive in slo-mo. All my frustrations released through loud incessant honking.

Today, I have become the same idiot I used to hate. I am probably annoying everyone on the road, and I do feel for them, they don't even honk!  People here just too polite. I appreciate that now.
I seem to be the slowest even among fellow cyclists. But hopefully as I gain confidence and stamina, I would get faster, and ride beeter as well.

I bought a Trek, under the biketowork scheme. It takes me a good 30-35 minutes one way from Islington to Aldgate. Fairly good exercise, (the only exercise I get). I'm really enjoying the experience, I like to ride in a leisurely pace, look around at all the houses and the parks. Quiet and leafy neighbourhoods, with only the birds chirping.

Seems like I get excited by little things, but these are what I missed back home.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Look down at these paintings

Are these paintings? At first glance.

But so unbelievable are these landscapes shot from up above.

Stumbled upon this beautiful collection of photographs on this very interesting website: Daily Overview

The people behind this project write: 

"From our line of sight on the earth's surface, it’s impossible to fully appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the things we’ve constructed, the sheer complexity of the systems we’ve developed, or the devastating impact that we’ve had on our planet. We believe that beholding these forces as they shape our Earth is necessary to make progress in understanding who we are as a species, and what is needed to sustain a safe and healthy planet.

As a result, the Overviews (what we call these images) focus on the the places and moments where human activity—for better or for worse—has shaped the landscape. Each Overview starts with a thought experiment. We consider the places where man has left his mark on the planet and then conduct the necessary research to identify locations (and the corresponding geo-coordinates) to convey that idea. 

The mesmerizing flatness seen from this vantage point, the surprising comfort of systematic organization on a massive scale, or the vibrant colors that we capture will hopefully turn your head. However, once we have that attention, we hope you will go beyond the aesthetics, contemplate just exactly what it is that you're seeing, and consider what that means for our planet."

Their website, for more breathtaking images.

Here are some of my favourites.

Agricultural Development
Loxahatchee, Florida, USA
26.678379, -80.433557

Salina Santa Maria salt evaporation ponds
Cadiz, Spain
The Salina Santa Maria salt evaporation ponds are located in Cádiz, Spain. Water from the Bay of Cádiz is fed into the pools and is drawn out through evaporation, leaving the salt to be harvested.

Gordons Well, California, USA
The Brock Reservoir, located near Gordons Well, California, is used to supply water to nearby farmers via the All-American Canal. 2013 and 2014 have been two of the driest years on record in California, with more than 80% of land experiencing severe to exceptional drought. 


Barcelona, Spain

Elsdorf / Niederzier, Germany
Tagebau Hambach is an open-pit mine in Niederzier and Elsdorf, Germany used to extract lignite. Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is a soft combustible sedimentary rock that is formed from naturally compressed peat and is used almost exclusively as a fuel for steam-electric power generation.