Often times, the process of making art can be a thing of beauty onto itself. This has been beautifully conveyed by a video from the California-based American Museum of Ceramic Art, which depicts several ceramics masters creating a masterpiece as part of the 5,000-year ceramics tradition of Icheon, South Korea.
The seven-minute video is beautifully done in its presentation; it made me feel at…
Valletta is the capital of Malta, an island nation of around 400,000 people located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, about 50 miles south of Sicily. One of the world’s smallest and most-densely populated countries, Malta has been inhabited since 5,200 BCE and is brimming with historical and culture — some of the world’s oldest free-standing structures can be found here. The country’s strategic location has lead to its changing hands numerous times throughout history, being ruled and influenced by dozens of distinct cultures and nations.
This is one reason why Valletta is such a jewel. Built during the rule of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, also known as Knights Hospitaller, the city contains a rich collection of architectural styles from the 16th century onward, mostly Baroque followed by elements of Mannerist, Neo-Classical and Modern architecture. The City of Valletta is so beautiful and well preserved that is was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1980.
The official name given by the Order of Saint John was “Humilissima Civitas Valletta” — The Most Humble City of Valletta, or Città Umilissima in Italian. The beauty of the city’s churches, gardens, and palaces earned it the nickname among European elites as “Superbissima” — Most Proud. I certainly agree with that sentiment.
A Hidden Gem of the Mediterranean — Valletta, Malta Valletta is the capital of Malta, an island nation of around 400,000 people located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, about 50 miles south of Sicily.
This is Ashol-Pan, a 13-year-old Kazakh eagle huntress living in the rugged Altai Mountains of western Mongolia. The daughter of a famous hunter, she’s one of only 400 practicing eagle hunters, and the only known female to ever partake in the tradition in its 2,000-year history.
The Kazakhs of the Altai mountains are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, which are taken from nests…
Meditating Monks On Pongour Falls, Vietnam by Photograph by Dang Ngo (prints available here: http://www.dangngo.com/)
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The Danxia landform, southwest China.
Tadpoles swim through a jungle of lily stalks in Cedar Lake, Vancouver Island, Canada. Credit to Eiko Jones and National Geographic.
The enduring legacy of ancient human ingenuity.
The amount of things to see and do in the world can be overwhelming at times. Even within my hometown of Miami, Florida, USA, there is still much left for me to explore. Then there’s the state of Florida and all its varied offerings, then the entirety of the US and all its cultural and geographic diversity, and then the wider world of over 200 other countries and territories.
Even the smallest cities have so much to take in and see, let alone entire countries, continents, and the world. I’m lucky to even be able to learn about these places, given how much is out there. Every photo, article, video, or personal account only whets my appetite for more personal exploration. If only traveling and studying was a paying job.
In any case, this wanderlust will certainly spur me to get to work on pursuing my career in diplomacy and international public administration, the closest I’ll come to making the world a part of my everyday life.
What seems to be an impenetrable and immutable industry actually isn’t. Granted that changing mindsets might be hard — and you might have to strip down to your bra and panties for the occasion — but character, confidence and fortitude always shine through.
In a series of studies, Epley and Whitchurch showed that we see ourselves as better looking than we actually are. The researchers took pictures of study participants and, using a computerized procedure, produced more attractive and less attractive versions of those pictures. Participants were told that they would be presented with a series of images including their original picture and images modified from that picture. They were then asked to identify the unmodified picture. They tended to select an attractively enhanced one.
Epley and Whitchurch showed that people display this bias for themselves but not for strangers. The same morphing procedure was applied to a picture of a stranger, whom the study participant met three weeks earlier during an unrelated study. Participants tended to select the unmodified picture of the stranger.
People tend to say that an attractively enhanced picture is their own, but Epley and Whitchurch wanted to be sure that people truly believe what they say. People recognize objects more quickly when those objects match their mental representations. Therefore, if people truly believe that an attractively enhanced picture is their own, they should recognize that picture more quickly, which is exactly what the researchers found.
Inflated perceptions of one’s physical appearance is a manifestation of a general phenomenon psychologists call “self-enhancement.” Researchers have shown that people overestimate the likelihood that they would engage in a desirable behavior, but are remarkably accurate when predicting the behavior of a stranger. For example, people overestimate the amount of money they would donate to charity while accurately predicting others’ donations. Similarly, people overestimate their likelihood to vote in an upcoming presidential election, while accurately predicting others’ likelihood to vote.
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.
Abandoned fishing hut in Germany.