Sunday, July 31, 2016

Tampa, Florida, USA

How well do you know your first cousins? Here's one of them. Which one of the great apes is she? (a) gorilla, (b) bonobo, (c) chimpanzee, (d) orangutan. Hint: The range of her sub species, pongo pygmaeus, is now confined to the island of Borneo, while the other three hail from Africa. Endangered? Yes. [2016]

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Washington, DC, USA

Sumatran tigers: only 400 are left on planet earth. All large mammals, other than humans, may be gone from the earth by the end of the 21st century. Humans may follow by the end of the 22nd century. What's your prediction? [2011]

Friday, July 29, 2016

Amsterdam, Netherlands

There are 30,000 species of scarab beetles in the world. This one is the African Rose Chafer, a resident of Amsterdam's Artis Zoo. You probably know one of his cousins much better: the dung beetle, made famous by the ancient Egyptians. [2015]

Thursday, July 28, 2016

London, England, UK

At 1017 feet, that shard of glass you see in the background has been the tallest building in the European Union since 2012. By next year at this time, the tallest building in the EU will be the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt which is only 850 feet tall. Explanation? Brexit. Chances are good, though, that these two didn't vote with their elders. [2015]

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Pilgrimages are usually associated with religious piety, but nationalisms all over the world have generated their share of pilgrimage places as well. Everyone in Bulgaria, for instance, must make a pilgrimage to Veliko Tarnovo, capital of Bulgaria when it was at its peak. What Bulgaria once was, it could become again. [2014]

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Amsterdam, Netherlands

The most well-known friet chain in the Netherlands is Manneken Pis. It's famous for its fries (served with mayonnaise), but the name and logo are what attracts attention. [2015]

Monday, July 25, 2016

Rosenheim, Germany

Döner mean "to turn," as meat turns on a vertical spit while cooking and searing. The original spits were swords. To Germany came the Turks, and with them came the döner kebap. Now, it's the preferred fast food all over Germany. [1994]

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cheyenne, Wyoming, USA

As the first state to give women the franchise, Wyoming likes to think of itself as the birthplace of the women's right movement. As female migrants (like this one) emerged from the train station in Cheyenne in the late 1800s, they walked into a frontier realm that was more politically progressive than the more civilized world they left back east. [2013]

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Anaheim, California, USA

Disneyland sponsors dozens of footraces every year. By 6:30 am, this one was over. It was the 5K "Dazzle at Dawn" run. These two finished and were festooned with a Mickey Mouse medallion for their accomplishment. [2016]

Friday, July 22, 2016

New York, New York, USA

The DOGNY project began after 9-11 to honor search and rescue dogs involved in emergency response operations. Over 100 appeared on city streets, each one uniquely painted  by a patron artist. [2008]

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Washington, DC, USA

Here's what you get when you cross a billboard with a Segway. Just imagine, though, if every retailer downtown decided to use this method to get its message out! [2015]

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA

On this day in 1969, man first walked on the moon. Forty-one years later, the first of the next generation was born. Happy Birthday moon princess! [2014]

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Renaissance festival or medieval faire? Something is going on here at the foot of Mont Royal. The alternative hypothesis is a time warp back to Carolingian France. [2009]

Monday, July 18, 2016

Liverpool, England, UK

The Superbowl of motorcycle racing takes place on the Isle of Man every May or June. The island's roads are closed and the the winning cyclists exceed 200 mph. Make reservations on the ferry early, though. These bikers seem experienced and well equipped. They'll be on the lookout for squids, otherwise known as organ doners. [2011]

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Larnaca, Cyprus

The reign of Pericles in Athens marks the end of chapter 1 in the evolution of democracy. Athenian governance allowed adult male citizens to vote directly on matters of state. Pericles set the stage for the vote that made Cyprus a member of the European Union in 2004 and for the British vote that withdrew the United Kingdom from the EU in 2016. [2004]

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Istanbul, Turkey

There is nothing as ordinary as this in Istanbul today. The unsuccessful military coup of the last 24 hours shows the weakness of the military and means that the President will now try to take on even more powers. [2010]

Friday, July 15, 2016

Pisac, Urubamba Valley, Peru

The village of Pisac, famous for its peirodic markets, may be only 13 degrees south of the equator, but it is almost 10,000 feet in elevation. Once you know those facts, what does not surprise you about the people in this picture? [2001]

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pisac, Urubamba Valley, Peru

Peruvian women are famous for their hats. The traditional one is the Bowlers hat, but this one looks more like a fedora. Do you think the genius loci of the Urubamba Valley like it? [2001]

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pisac, Urubamba Valley, Peru

If you follow the Inca Trail to Machu Picchi, you might start in one of the market towns along the Urubamba River, where you will can feast and stock up on provisions. What are the signs of tradition and modernity in this market? [2001]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Havana, Cuba

Ciego Montero: that's what you will be drinking in the tourist hubs of Cuba. It's a Nestle brand. Surprised? Ever since the demise of its sponsor-state, the Soviet Union, Cuba has become increasingly tied into global networks. The delivery method here, though, is definitely not underwritten by globalization. [2014]

Monday, July 11, 2016

Aleppo, Syria

The mosque of Abraham, centerpiece of Aleppo's citadel, is built on the spot where father Abraham stopped to milk his cow on the way from Haran to Canaan. That event gives Aleppo it name: Haleb. The Arabic word for milk is halib. Aleppo, or Alep, is a French corruption of Haleb.[1993]

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Zagreb, Croatia

When you think Tesla, you probably think electric car, but Nikola Tesla was one of the pioneers of AC power development who has never gotten the attention he deserves. Here's the Serb in his home country of Croatia. In 1884, he immigrated to the U.S. Today would have been his 160th birthday. [2008]

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Brussels, Belgium

In Belgium, same-sex cohabitation has been legal since 2000, same-sex marriage since 2003, and same-sex-couple adoption since 2006. How do the Belgians normalize the perception of same-sex relationships? By making them part of their cultural landscapes. And, for Belgians, that means using cartoons. [2015]

Friday, July 8, 2016

Istanbul, Turkey

A travelling salesman, clearly with a specialty! Need something to keep the house clean? Here's your chance to buy it. His ilk has been walking the world's waysides for countless centuries, but only in the age of plastics has the valuta been so colorful. [2010]

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Encamp, Andorra

You may see it as a simple street sign, but you are really seeing nation-building in action. Andorra is a Catalan nation, the world's only nació indeepndent català. The Catalan word for carrer, and one of the most revered Catalan saints is the martyred Santa Eulalia. As for the colorful quadrilaterial: It's Encamp's coat of arms. [2005]

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

San Francisco, California, USA

According to the U.S.D.A., there are now 8,566 farmers markets in the United States, including San Francisco's Heart of the City Farmers' Market at UN Plaza, with its 65 vendors. Sundays and Wednesdays: Be there! [2016]

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Trees in the Chicago region currently store about 16.9 million tons of carbon valued at $349 million. In addition, these trees remove about 677,000 tons of carbon per year. Chicago’s regional forest is estimated to reduce annual residential energy costs by $44.0 million/year. So says the U.S.D.A., and, the Morton Arboretum agrees. [2015]

Monday, July 4, 2016

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

The Fourth of July was meant to be sunny, so let's pray away the showers; just for today, of course. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have rainbows without rain on a day like this? Almost like natural fireworks in prismatic colors. [2011]

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Everybody in Montreal is recovering today. Friday was Canada Day and Saturday was Carifiesta, as in Caribbean Festival. Quebec is now home to immigrants from every island in the Caribbean. In their  adopted homeland, they both blend in and stand out. What Caribbean country is standing out by waving its flag here? [2009]

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Tsovagyugh, Armenia

Here's where the local meets the global.  Score? 2 for globalization (Snickers + Western alphabet) and 1 for local culture (Armenian script). As usual, the relationship is not is not symmetrical. As the market for Snickers grows worldwide, Meshrop's alphabet goes nowhere. [2016]

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bristol, England, UK

July 1 is the beginning of the "new year" for United Methodists in the USA. It's the day when when congregations receive their new ministers. The Methodist movement began within the Church of England with John Wesley, the circuit-riding preacher, who (like Jesus) broke all the rules of organized religion. Here he is at Wesley's Chapel in Bristol. [2015]