This month those of us in the U.S. will be treated to an incredible astronomical event. On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will be on display. And if you miss it, it won’t happen again in North America until 2024.
A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and, depending where you are in the world, the moon will block out all or part of the sun from view for about three hours from beginning to end.
If you happen to be one of the lucky folks in one of the right places across the U.S., you’ll be treated to a spectacular view: although the moon will replace the circle of the sun, the sun’s rays will still shine around it.
What a great opportunity to be reminded that no matter how much we know in this age of information, there’s still so much magic to be experienced. Sure, unlike our ancestors we understand what’s happening in the sky and we’re not interpreting the eclipse as a bad omen or a sign of the end times. But even with this knowledge, August 21 will evoke a sense of wonder.
How beautiful to be able to pause and feel just how big our universe really is. Maybe we can all come away from it remembering that the same astonishment can be found as we adventure through every day.
My hope is that we take every opportunity to look for the wonder in our relationships and the world around us. And if we look at just right time, maybe we’ll be able to see that spectacular light shining around the darkness.
A guide to Netflix’s newest group of Marvel superheroes: The Defenders. Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Daredevil are teaming up to fight crime in New York City. Since its inception, Marvel has been a vanguard of the entertainment industry and churned out innovative superheroes, diverse teams and brilliant villains. Many of these superheroes have gained a cult following, and their appeal has built a feverish demand for these characters to be brought to life on the big screen. Blockbusting movies such as The Avengers (2012) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) have brought together many of the world’s greatest superpowers and forces to fight a common threat, and fans wanted to see their favorite superheroes on the small screen as well. In April of 2013, ABC premiered Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. In 2014, a hurricane of rumors hit the internet about the development of several new Marvel series as well …read more
How likely is it for a child prodigy to blossom into a successful adult? She-e Wu essentially became a child prodigy the day she noticed a music store. When she was three and a half years old, she and her mother walked past a store where music was playing inside. Wu heard the sounds and pressed her little face to the window. “My mother said it was time to go, and my face was stuck on the door,” Wu says, describing her earliest memory. She refused to leave. “It was the point of no return,” she says. Wu’s mother signed her up for a trial class, and the toddler advanced to percussion lessons when she was six. With a two-step stool, she could reach her teacher’s timpani. Three years later, at the age of nine, Wu booked her first professional gig at the opera. Concertos and competitions soon followed. [caption …read more
We’ve gathered expert viewing tips and a selection of nationwide events for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. The Great American Eclipse has the United States in a flurry of excitement. Rightfully so, as it’s the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States in over 38 years, and not since 1918 has one gone coast to coast. There’s a catch, though: only 14 states are in the path of totality, where the moon will completely cover the light of the sun, unleashing twilight. The other states, as well as Canada and parts of Central and South America, Europe and Africa, will experience a partial eclipse. The privileged states in the path of totality are making the most of their position with unique offerings. They’re also preparing for a massive influx of eclipse-hungry tourists. Preparing for Eclipse Tourism At least 12.25 million people live inside the 60-to-70-mile-wide …read more
The ongoing popularity of Korean dramas and movies demonstrates the power of Hallyu. In 2016 two Korean movies garnered attention at a worldwide stage. Celebrated director Park Chan-wook surprised the audience at the Cannes Film Festival with his erotic psychological thriller The Handmaiden and director Yeon Sang-ho had a summer hit in his hands with his first live-action movie, the zombie thriller Train to Busan. Since the late ’90s, the flux of Korean entertainment ensured continuing worldwide interest in the small peninsula. Hallyu (Korean word for “Korean wave”) entails k-drama, k-pop, fashion, food, beauty and movies. According to some, its popularity can even be seen as an example of cultural power “that threatens the dominance of American culture.” Let’s examine the history of Korean entertainment. [caption id="attachment_14642" align="alignnone" width="865"] Kim Min-hee and Ha Jung-woo in ‘The Handmaiden’ / Amazon Studios[/caption] The Korean entertainment industry is relatively young, and the flux …read more
‘Emotional healing starts on the trail’ for Megan Gray of Buffalo Moon Expedition, who’s traveled 25,000 miles on horseback, helping people along the way. The definition of expedition in the Oxford dictionary is “a journey or voyage undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose, especially that of exploration, scientific research, or war.” Megan Gray’s definition of an expedition: An attempt to make it from A to B. And this is what she does. On horseback. For each Buffalo Moon Expedition, Gray sets her sights on two points. Then she lets the dots connect between the two in whatever way they choose. Essentially, she sits back and watches while the dots connect themselves. Recently she decided to take a trip through Illinois, ending in Burlington, Iowa. I had the chance to talk with her about her trip, and I found out new things about horses, people, and so …read more
15 body hair questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Almost four years ago I stopped removing my body hair. At the time it didn’t feel like a revolutionary act. I wasn’t doing anything. I was choosing not to do something I no longer wanted to do. It never felt brave. It felt natural. As I’ve embraced and shared images of my body hair online over the last few years, I’ve received many questions that have made me realize my simple mind-set change is still a foreign concept to many. I’d like to shed some light on these sweet strands we’ve slashed away for so many years. When I do, you might see that they sparkle. Why did you stop shaving? Are you anti-shaving? I didn’t purposely stop shaving…at first. It started in 2012. I was sick for months and physically exhausted. Shaving was nonessential, so it went out the window …read more
When it comes to the Warrens’ universe, the devil is in the details. Based on reviews, Swedish director David F. Sandberg’s film Annabelle: Creation is a well-made, professional-grade, jump-inducing horror film that fans of the ever-expanding Conjuring universe will love. Some critics have even gone so far to say that, while they didn’t see the need for another Annabelle film, they were delightfully surprised by this prequel to the prequel, calling it superior to the 2014 film Annabelle directed by John R. Leonetti. Of course, other critics have pointed out that characters in both films have been thinly written, with scripts being hollow, if not empty. But I don’t believe screenwriter Gary Dauberman, who’s drafted both Annabelle films in the franchise, is to blame. In fact, based on the weak source material he’s been given, you could say he and the directors involved are all goddamn magicians for creating a …read more
In celebration of Gary Larson on his birthday, August 14, take a deep, dark dive into the life of the beloved creator of ‘The Far Side’ cartoons. The Far Side. The recognizable rectangle cartoon that donned so many high school biology teachers’ doors and probably still does. In 2003 Gary Larson, the cartoon’s creator, told Time, “I’m not into cartoons. That’s the irony of it.” He’s said his true love is jazz guitar, but it was his cartoons that gained enormous fandom that continues to this day. Larson’s cartoons were in over 1,900 newspapers. His work is on T-shirts, calendars and mugs. There’s an active Facebook page with over 60,000 followers. In 1986 20/20 interviewed him and had his mother read his favorite childhood book about a mean bear that inspired his work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57wcedtGpc8 But what else do we know about Larson? What’s he up to nowadays? Visit his website and you’ll feel like you’re still on dial-up in …read more
For centuries, artists have warned about the dangers of creating consciousness. From Greek mythology to ‘Frankenstein’ to ‘Westworld,’ here are some of their cautionary tales. There was once a lonely and isolated sculptor by the name of Pygmalion. He knew no women and had no wife. His entire life had been dedicated to his art, and the only beauty he knew was what he created through stone: lifelike figures of beautiful women. One day he formed perfection: a sculpture of a female of unparalleled beauty. The artist was overwhelmed and soon fell madly in love with his creation, giving her the name Galatea. Every day and night he admired her and prayed to the goddess Aphrodite to give Galatea life so that they might be married. Hearing his desperate prayers, the goddess descended from Mount Olympus, determined to judge this great beauty herself. Of course, when Aphrodite finally saw Galatea, she too was …read more
Vintage rock and roll posters have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Take a closer look at the ingenious, mesmerizing, mysterious art form. In the mid-1960s the world, America and, more specifically, San Francisco were undergoing a renaissance of culture, music and art. The Summer of Love unofficially began on a day in January 1967, with a call to arms in Golden Gate Park known as a “Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In.” Not a call to bear arms, but rather a raising of arms in unity where the actions of the thousands who attended, and the millions who would learn of it, would change the course of history. [caption id="attachment_14766" align="alignnone" width="865"] Rick Griffin / Human Be-In[/caption] A teenager named Rusty Goldman had seen a poster advertising the event and was in the crowd that day. Now with 50 years in the rearview mirror, Rusty Goldman is …read more
Airbnb’s not just about temporary lodging anymore. With Airbnb Experiences, you can try all kinds of amazing things, from hang gliding to hiking with wolves. Who doesn’t love Airbnb? For years, their website has offered access to some of the most beautiful, quirky, convenient, creepy, and absolutely breathtaking private homes in the world. It’s always a personal experience, with renters working directly with property owners to create the perfect vacation. Recently, though, Airbnb has really upped their game. Since last November, the company has made some quirky, unforgettable opportunities available through Airbnb Experiences. Currently offering activities in only about 20 cities worldwide, the company promises 50 more throughout this year. In the USA, Airbnb connects customers with countless activities in seven cities, from Oregon to Florida and a few stops along the way. Airbnb Experiences may be in its infancy, but we thought we might do the hard work for …read more
In honor of International Left-Handers Day on August 13, here’s a look at how left-handed people have been treated throughout history. When I was five, the lead librarian repeatedly removed my crayon from my left hand and placed it in my right. I was miffed and a little confused. How’s a girl expected to color with the “wrong” hand? She nervously approached my mom at the end of the day and said, “I think there’s something wrong with Caitlin.” My mom laughed it off and explained that I was left-handed. My problem was solved and I was allowed to color in peace — but little did I know that, if I’d been born not too long before I was, I may have been in for a rough future. Approximately 10% of the world population is left-handed, and left-handedness remains a source of interest among scientists, sociologists and historians. Based on …read more
Jorah’s incurable disease in ‘Game of Thrones’ reignites the debate over physician-assisted dying. Characters in HBO’s series Game of Thrones, based on the series by George R. R. Martin, are in a constant battle for survival. In fact, Game of Thrones fans should know and follow one basic rule: avoid liking any character, because there’s a pretty solid chance that character will die — probably within the series, possibly within the season, maybe within the episode you realized you liked them. Viewers are used to bloodshed: in the scene of the Battle of Hardhome, Karsi tells her children she will see them soon while putting them on a boat to safety. Savvy fans would guess immediately that this is pretty much a guarantee that she, or they, or everyone involved, will not make it to the next episode. Many characters in the show have been around season after season and …read more
Identical twins have piqued curiosity for centuries: secret twin languages, ESP, twin trickery. Let’s dig into some twin facts as we attempt to tell the world’s most infamous pair apart: fact and fiction. “They like the same clothes. They like the same food. They like the same boys. But they need different doctors.” This was the 1990 Health Chicago ad campaign that my identical twin sister and I posed for at age 12. It was in some business magazines and on a few Chicagoland billboards. While the ad included cute phrases and identical curly-haired girls, it is clichéd with one of the most common misconceptions about twins: that they like the same things (though it does accurately point out that twins may have different health concerns). [caption id="attachment_14834" align="alignnone" width="865"] Another Health Chicago ad featuring the author and her twin sister. Courtesy of Joy Thomas[/caption] Growing up, my twin sister …read more
From Jerry & George to Amy & Tina, we’re celebrating some of TV’s most iconic duos in honor of National Friendship Day. August 6 is National Friendship Day — so it’s the perfect day to go all out for your platonic other half. The best part of this holiday is there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to celebrate. In addition to giving some extra love to our friends, we’re also taking this opportunity to honor some of our favorite iconic duos from TV shows. The following seven pairs have made us laugh, cry and everything in between. And, perhaps most importantly, they’ve taught us a whole lot about what it means to be a good friend. Whether it’s eating an obscene amount of chocolate just to prove a point, remaining steadfast BFFs both before and after a romantic relationship, or starting your own business together when all else fails, the …read more
Try to look away from the freaky, rubberneck-worthy toy art sculptures of Australian artist Freya Jobbins. Freya Jobbins will definitely leave a lasting impression with the amazing craftsmanship and inventiveness her toy art displays. Jobbins, you see, dismembers dolls and uses discarded toys to create sculptures. While doll parts and toys may seem like cute and fun materials to work with, in her hands they transform into the unexpected. The Touchable Becomes Untouchable Jobbins primarily uses recycled materials for her sculptures. It’s her own “little contribution to recycle-and-reuse” that also keeps costs down. “Very expensive toys I can get for a dollar or two dollars. It’s incredible. Some people paid $36 for this doll ($36 initially), and then I get it for a dollar,” she told Crixeo. “And the materials aren’t hard to come by… [They’re] easily accessible because we are all so materialistic. We overindulge our children, so new toys are generally …read more
Get ready for the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Here’s a brief primer on the books before you sit back with your popcorn. Over the past 40-plus years, Stephen King has published a staggering 56 novels. Perhaps the most recognizable American author, King is best known for his contributions to horror, including modern classics like The Shining and It. But one of his most ambitious works is The Dark Tower series. Not exactly mainstream King, it’s a rather strange amalgamation of genres, and its eight books make it a daunting read compared to his more popular one-offs. In the foreword to recent editions of The Dark Tower, King admits its relatively low recognition among fans: At readings, he often asks audience members to raise their hands if they’ve read one of his books. Most hands shoot up, but when he asks for those who’ve …read more
With internet-facilitated crimes on the rise, the Snap Map increases the vulnerability of social media users, especially young people. At times it’s hard to remember life without the constant beckoning of the internet, whether by computer or cellphone. Today we’re more “connected” than ever, cultivating personal relationships with the help of Facebook, professional networks with LinkedIn and our social networks with Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook (again) and more. This couldn’t be truer for today’s youth, who are growing up in an increasingly tech-saturated world. It’s more normalized to share Instagram stories or Snapchat “snaps” than to pass handwritten notes in class. The world is literally at their fingertips, both the good and bad parts, and with unlimited access, it’s scary to think what they can access, or who is trying to access them. The technological landscape is advancing, and internet-facilitated crimes, like sextortion, are on the rise. Sextortion is a …read more
Use this savory sauce recipe to add flavor to anything! (Well, almost anything.) Welcome back to my Mad Science lab, where I’m stirring up delicious recipes that anyone can master and customize to their own tastes. This savory sauce recipe will kick up the flavor of your main dish. Simply grill, broil or otherwise cook a delicious single serving of any protein, such as chicken, fish or beef. Meanwhile, whip up this savory sauce recipe and then pour it on top. The magic will happen. Once you master this basic recipe, use your own Mad Science to make it your own. Your kitchen is going to smell so good, and you’ll love the bold flavor of this savory sauce. Are you ready? Let’s do this! Savory Sauce Recipe Turn up the flavor with this savory sauce recipe 1-2 tablespoons of oil 1-2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms Salt and pepper to …read more
Celebrate International Beer Day and the woman who achieved goddess status when she discovered the frothy beverage — by accident. The world loves beer. So much so that it’s celebrated yearly on International Beer Day. Whether it’s grocery store classics Budweiser or Coors, a locally brewed craft beer, or one of the many Belgium creations that will knock you off your feet with their alcohol percentages, beer is a global treasure. It’s been that way for centuries (when water wasn’t safe to drink, humanity guzzled beer). More often than not, in modern times beer is stereotypically considered a man’s drink — 44% of women surveyed by AB InBev said as much. And 54% of male drinkers in the United States told Gallup they prefer beer over other alcoholic beverages; only 23% of women said the same. There’s a funny thing, though, about beer history: this frothy beverage that’s become synonymous …read more
A beast commonly known as Bigfoot has called Whitehall, New York, home since before settlers arrived in the Adirondack Mountains. A cryptid is a mythical or legendary animal, monster or creature yet to be accepted by mainstream science. Most beasts of folklore go by several names in several locations, and Bigfoot is no different. In southeastern Canada, northwestern U.S. and the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, he’s called Sasquatch. In the Himalayas, he’s the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman. In pockets of southeastern U.S., including Florida, he’s the Skunk Ape. He’s the Yowie of Australia, the Yeren of China and the Ban-manush of Bangladesh. While an overabundance of people claim to have seen Bigfoot, the vast majority of witnesses request to remain anonymous. Their sightings are shrugged off, as perhaps they should be. Yet several intelligent, logical people have reported seeing something they couldn’t explain that drew the name of …read more
Evan Puschak, aka the Nerdwriter, has gained a massive YouTube following with his videos showcasing what makes great art. I’m in a YouTube wormhole. And I don’t want to leave. First, I’m on Omaha Beach, watching bullets zip through the air to strike American soldiers in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. A voice-over explains how Spielberg expertly mimicked war footage to ensure the fictional film felt as realistic as possible. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFpki7v4xiI&feature=youtu.be And then I’m clicking on a related suggested video, which dissects how Jack Nicholson uses anger to highlight other emotions his characters feel. The same voice-over reveals, through various scenes from Nicholson’s impressive catalogue, the many ways the actor lets anger express feelings we might not see right away in his outbursts, such as fear in The Border. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK7TiA9qmuU&feature=youtu.be I couldn’t resist going deeper into this YouTube session, once again hearing that familiar voice guide me through the genius …read more