Archive for the ‘reddit’ Tag

And Now You Know   Leave a comment

I was browsing Reddit and came across this little ripper of an image that I wanted to share.

Japan's Tectonic Plates. ~Wikipedia

The image is literally too long to post to my blog, so please check out the link if you’re interested. If you didn’t click the link, here are the Cliffs Notes:

Did you know that the altitude of Everest is higher than the “death zone”? That’s the altitude (26,000 ft) at which air no longer contains enough oxygen to sustain human life. Yet Everest towers above that height at 29,029 ft. How are these mountaineers coping with that last 3,000 ft?

Pop quiz: How long does it take to boil an egg at your house? About 5 or 6 minutes if you live at or just above sea level. On Everest it takes about 18 1/2 minutes. Talk about a waste of time. I’d rather be taking panoramic photographs and focusing on my breathing.

If you scroll down the image to beneath sea level, you’ll notice another tidbit of information:

Once the ocean depth reaches “Deep Sea” – about 5,900 ft – it’s referred to as “The Midnight Zone” because there’s absolutely no sunlight penetrating that far down. Isn’t that cool? Interestingly enough, this depth also coincides with the lowest point of the Grand Canyon (about 6,000 ft below sea level). It’s so fascinating that sunlight can reach a mile below sea level to the bottom of a canyon, but not a mile below the sea itself. Once the depth reaches about 26,000 ft below sea level, you’re in “The Hades Zone”. At temperatures less than 39°F, this area confuses me. I thought the saying was “hotter than Hades.”

Finally, the deepest crevice of the ocean: The Mariana Trench. Approximately 35,814 ft deep.

This trench is a subduction zone for two large tectonic plates – the Pacific and the Okhotsk. A subduction zone is where two tectonic plates move towards each other: The older plate moves under the younger plate, creating earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. When a subduction event is particularly violent, a “megathrust” earthquake can occur. These are earthquakes with magnitudes over 9.0 on the Richter scale. During a megathrust earthquake the seafloor also becomes deformed from the subduction, which leads to gigantic tsunamis at sea level. To the right is an image of the tectonic plates near Japan. As you can see, the country is surrounded on all sides and even dissected by fault lines. It’s a proverbial hotbed for tectonic activity, especially earthquakes.

On March 11th, 2011, Northeast Japan experienced a megathrust 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami. The NOAA image below shows the wave height of the tsunami as it spread across the Pacific Ocean. The eastern coast of Japan experienced waves in excess of seven feet. Amazingly, as you can see, the west coast of Japan experienced absolutely no waves at all as a result of the earthquake.

2011 Tsunami Wave Height. ~NOAA.

The way our Earth works is fascinating to me. I find it beautifully orchestrated, yet terrifying and deadly all at the same time. Sometimes I forget I’m on a moving, living, changing planet: Some geological events happen over hundreds of years without being noticeable to most humans. But earthquakes that literally rupture highways, and tsunamis that wipe out entire cities are both instantaneous and devastating to humanity. They remind me that this Earth is not a place to take for granted. I’m lucky to have a nice home located in a relatively stable geographic and geologic environment. If the worst of my problems boil down to stressing about a midterm exam, and worrying about whether or not my dog’s broken paw is healing properly, then I guess I’m doing okay. I hate to get all sentimental and mushy, but take ten seconds to put your life in perspective. Are your problems really that bad?


Lucidending   2 comments

“On Tuesday I’ll finally end my battle with cancer thanks to Oregon’s Death with dignity act. As part of my preparations I’ve ended my pain medication and am trying to regain what little dignity and clarity I can. Who I was doesn’t matter. I’m in pain, I’m tired and I’m finally being granted a small shred of respect. Feel free to AMA if you’re so inclined.” – Lucidending

These words were written on Saturday, March 5th, about 13 hours ago (and counting) on one of Reddit’s subreddit streams. This man has been battling cancer for eight years. Thanks to a law in Oregon that allows medically assisted deaths to terminally ill patients, the man is finally being allowed to end his pain. Normally, I must imagine that these occurrences are quite personal, but with 51 hours to live (as of today, this man is still alive), he decided to create a Reddit account – “Lucidending” – and broadcast the words quoted above to this social community”.

The incredible response to his statement can be seen here: “51 Hours Left To Live“. The post has skyrocketed to the top of Reddit’s list of highest voted threads of all time (up and down votes combined), at almost 38,000 unique votes. His comment count has crested 8,000 and it keeps growing. If you log into Reddit, you can comment too. People from all over the world are posting thoughts, feelings and questions to Lucidending, who is responding to as many as he can from where he sits in his Oregon hospital bed. He’s unable to go anywhere, but (in his own words) the past 13 hours have allowed him to live and “see” the world in ways he never imagined were possible. His only regrets? Not proposing to his high school sweetheart, and never traveling to see the Northern Lights.

The power and reach of social media has delivered the world to this man’s hospital bed the only way it can: Through the online sharing of words, pictures, videos, and community support. People from different cultures and religious background around the world are coming together with words of hope, thanks, and amazement. Cancer charities are receiving donations because of his post. Art projects have been uploaded to the thread depicting Lucidending’s last words. Lucidending’s advice is giving other Redditors the inspiration to simply go outside and enjoy the quiet falling snow, or the rising sun.

For this man, social media is making his last hours on earth a time of interacting with others, a time to share his wisdom and feel loved. I really urge you to check it out. It will move you.

UPDATE: I just found a YouTube video dedicated to Lucidending. It’s short, fun and happy and totally beautiful:


Posted March 6, 2011 by Elfawin in Social Media

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Cement Fabulous   2 comments

I was browsing Reddit earlier this morning, coffee in hand, and came across this amazing blog entry about a man who purchased and subsequently renovated an old cement factory in Barcelona, Spain. Here is the original article from Check it out. Now.

Ricardo Bofill purchased this dumpy, forgotten old place in 1973 and devoted two years to doing it up. The architectural and interior design transformation from cold and ugly to modern and beautifully unrecognizable (as a cement factory) is absolutely amazing. The Babylonian style garden has to be my favorite feature. Ivy can really do wonders for ugly gray cement.

It makes me wonder how much liquid income and free time this guy had to devote to his project. And I also wonder where he mustered the epic, visionary inspiration to accomplish such a feat. I know, I know, the average dude on the American city street doesn’t have Antoni Gaudi as a constant inspirational muse everywhere he looks, but seriously! This Bofill guy is not your average house flipper! HGTV, eat your heart out.

On top of trying to complete a master’s degree and keep a part time job, I’m also currently in the middle of renovating my bathroom. I barely have time to think about what color I want to paint the trim, let alone figure out how to install a vanity and attach the plumbing. And I’m talking about maybe a five by seven square foot area. I find that the easiest way to deal with being overwhelmed like I am is to simply ignore the “want” projects until the “need” projects are safely out of the way…maybe I could hire this Bofill guy to come and finish the job for me? He apparently has the mad skillz and the decorating flare!


Posted March 1, 2011 by Elfawin in Random

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Cyclone Yasi Hits Social Media   Leave a comment

This morning I made myself a coffee, grabbed my laptop and settled down on the couch to check my favorite news and social websites. If this was 1990 I would have reached for the local newspaper, or maybe turned on the television. Oh, how times have changed. At least good coffee is a generational constant.

As I was browsing, a satellite picture of a cyclone off the coast of Australia caught my eye. It took me about 37 seconds to read the comments and discover that a) this was not a historic archive, because b) Cyclone Yasi hit the northeast coast of Australia about four hours ago, and is currently wreaking havoc. It’s also nighttime in Queensland right now, which make events like a category five cyclone all more the frightening for local residents.

Satellite image of Cyclone Yasi hitting the coast of Queensland ~ The Australian

I then checked out The Australian online to confirm the news. NEWS CONFIRMED. In the image above, you can see the cyclone’s eye about to touch down on Aussie soil. Towns up and down the Queensland coast are in a state of emergency.

Wanting to share this news with my American friends here in Tennessee, I logged into Twitter and checked the latest world trends for a useful hashtag reference. #tcyasi was listed in the top 5. Perfect. Less than four hours, and the entire world is already privy to a currently-in-action natural disaster on a fairly isolated continent. By localizing the Twitter trend region from “world” to “Australia”, Cyclone Yasi took over seven of the top ten listings.

Reflecting on the three minutes it took me to find and process this news, some noteworthy points arose:

One: Younger generations do not rely on traditional news sources as their primary source for information. These days, news quickly spreads from one medium to the next, exponentially expanding reach and readership. Social networks are rapidly becoming the bedrock for news dissemination.

Two: With the ability to “upvote,” “downvote,” “retweet,” or “hashtag,” users of these social networks are absolutely setting the agenda of what issues are important, and what issues rise up to the front page of search engine lists.

Three: Trained journalists are skilled writers who (hopefully) abide by a code of ethics and morals, but in 140 characters or less,  anyone can share any experience or thought. If, in the case of a natural disaster, enough people do the same, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of everyday people become pseudo-reporters.

The impact social networks are having on all levels of the news media is irreversible. Social networks are here to stay, and will continue to grow and develop as more global citizens begin to harness the power of instant, digital communication.

Finally, please keep Australia and its northeast residents in your thoughts, and donate to the cause if you can.


Posted February 2, 2011 by Elfawin in Environment, Social Media

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“The narwhal bacons at midnight”   Leave a comment

reddit alien from

Reddit. Have you heard about it yet? If you haven’t, you’ll probably hear someone talking about it sooner or later. You can find it here:

UPDATE: If you’re wondering what the phrase “The narwhal bacons at midnight” means, you must be a Reddit n00b. It’s a meme that redditors have come up with to make themselves sounds awesome. Just…start browsing Reddit and give yourself a few weeks. If you haven’t figured it out by then, you’re not trying hard enough. N00b.

Reddit is a growing global online community of user-posted original and aggregated items. According to one source, Reddit gets 110 million page views per day. Not too shabby! Reddit has pictures, news articles,  videos, comics: If something is either new or trending on the web right now, chances are you’ll find it at reddit. It’s a motley crew of Internet gold, trash, random pages, and more.

Other users review and then vote on submissions, sending items up or down the reddit popularity ladder. The posts with the most “up” votes float to the top, ensuring a constant stream of popular, interesting content for people to check out.

People can also leave comments on posts. These comment streams can turn into lengthy discussions about a topic. To leave a comment you must become a registered redditor (a free and swift process).

Sub-reddits are micro communities within the greater reddit community. If you want to find out if there’s a subreddit on, say, bacon, here’s what you type: MMMM, bacon. Did you know there’s a Bacon Of The Month Club? I just discovered it, thanks to reddit!

I asked my boyfriend John (a self-proclaimed “heavy social media user”) why he uses reddit: “It’s a time killer and there’s just so much content. Funny pictures, funny stories, interesting people. There’s a Knoxville sub-reddit too, so it’s geared for local communities as well.” He’s right: Currently, the most recent Knoxville reddit post is a YouTube video detailing the Henley Street Bridge detour.

I’m just now discovering what reddit has to offer. I like the idea that redditors are ordinary people. It’s like a social craigslist: Instead of sale items, you get to read content and discuss it with others.

Reddit is simple to use and extremely accessible. Thanks to people purchasing reddit gold (the premium version), the site is no longer ad-supported! Hurrah for clutter-free websites!

Seriously, check out reddit today. Just make sure you’ve finished that homework assignment or any household chores first.


Posted January 15, 2011 by Elfawin in Social Media

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