This is my window. Or my windows—the view from my living room, where I sit and write. Might not seem very inspiring. I wish I could offer green mossy lava, roaring waves, a glacier mountain top. I do have other spaces—in an abandoned powerstation, a favorite fisherman’s cafe by the harbor, a summer house on the arctic circle—but this is my honest view, what I really see most of the days. This house was built in the 1960s when people were fed up with lava and mountains; they were migrating to the growing suburbs to create a new view for themselves. The young couple who dug the foundation with their own hands dreamed of a proper garden on this barren, rocky strip of land. They dreamed of trees, flowers, shelter from the cold northern breeze. What is special depends on where you are, and here, the trees are actually special. They were planted fifty years ago like summer flowers, not expected to live or grow more than a meter. The rhododendron was considered a miracle, not something that could survive a winter. It looks tropical, with Hawaiian-looking pink flowers; Skúli, the man who built the house and sold it to me half a century later, took special pride in it. I am not a great gardener. We are thinking of buying an apple tree, though they don’t really thrive in this climate. I would plant it like a flower, not really expect it to grow, and hope for a miracle. —Andri Snær Magnason [more inside]
Instant Google Street View. Type something (slowly) and teleport around the world.
This link will create a polar panorama of any Google Street View location.
MapCrunch, which transports you to a random location in Google Street View, has been featured on the blue before, but now it sports a selection of geographically refining tools and almost two thousand strange, lovely, and occasionally moving views submitted by users and curated by the shadowy "Nick." [more inside]
A crew from Google is capturing images of the Vail and Beaver Creek mountains for its Google Maps' Street View with its own snowmobile mounted with a special camera. Shortly before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February, Google decided to branch out to ski resorts, using a snowmobile to capture images of Whistler ski area. Vail and Beaver Creek are the first American ski resorts to be included in Street View.
The ultimate Eamesian (previously, twice) expression of systems and connections, Powers of Ten explores the relative size of things (previously) from the microscopic to the cosmic. The 1977 film travels from an aerial view of a man in a Chicago park to the outer limits of the universe directly above him and back down into the microscopic world contained in the man's hand. But in 1977, this view of the world in leaps and bounds was already 20 years old. Kees Boeke, Dutch educator and pacifist, wrote the essay Cosmic View, which provided the source for Powers of 10. The whole essay was put online 41 years later, and it's still online, if you can't find a physical copy around.
Talk about a sexually uncomfortable working environment. Oh my.
Photo gallery of houses in some pretty spectacular places. Some of these might be photoshopped (or not-- who knows...) but they're still pretty amazing to look at. [more inside]
The Third View project is a fascinating presentation of "rephotographs" of over 100 historic landscape sites in the American West that presents original 19th-century survey photographs, photographed again in the 1970s, then once again in the '90s - from the original vantage points, under similar lighting conditions, at (roughly) the same time of day and year. [Flash, and you'll probably need to allow pop-ups; a little more info inside...]