By looking at ourselves from a new angle.
Christmas Eve marked the anniversary of the most famous photo of our modern era, Earthrise. In National Geographic's recent article
, photographer Brian Skerry calls it "the most famous image ever made" and compares it to "humanity seeing itself in the mirror for the first time." The Apollo 8 astronauts came to think of the unscripted image as their most valuable contribution to the mission of mankind's survival. Scientists credit this view of the Earth with the rise of the environmental movement and giving us all a way to understand ourselves as a global community.
[Following this story, our Facebook page has been lost in space this last week.]
By using color and models to make facts easier to see
. Census data is nothing new but a clear pattern emerged when researchers added color to the data. Looking at the "Racial Dot Map
," you can see how our cities are segregated. Again, that is probably something we already know about the cities we live in but scrolling through the same pattern in each of our biggest cities is bound to leave you speechless. There was, however, an unexpected pattern in our rural areas. In areas sparsely populated with blue dots (white people), the researchers found, "random collections of green dots (black people) in weirdly delineated, concentrated areas." That's how the segregation of our correctional facilities showed up.
[These facts follow the conversation in our Learning Studio about the "Costs of the Confederacy"]
Another research project used color and immigration statistics to show that 200 years of immigration data looks like rings of a tree
, expanding with welcoming factors and staying narrow during years of war or economic upheaval. The effect is that the data and the country it represents looks like a living organism.
By making new inquiries into the stories we think we know.
At the top of the Aspen Institute's "Nine Ways to Take Action in 2019
" is reading. More specifically, the suggestion is to challenge ourselves to continue to learn more about the world around us by reading. As an example, they point to Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, "imagines a world in which a narrow isolationism becomes untenable, and the global community must find a more just way of welcoming the displaced." The story is fiction but it changes the way you see the world around you.
If you haven't yet seen the trailer for Peter Jackson's film, "They Shall Not Grow Old
," make time for it today. By adding color and sound to film from World War I, he has brought the faces of the battlefield back to life. The uncertain purpose, the loss of life and the people locked in that story all look familiar again. They even look like us.
The ways we understand the stories that confront us shape what we expect of ourselves and how we approach others.
[As part of our daily conversation in the Learning Studio, we recently shared a story about how sci fi authors are helping us imagine the future of work.]