Since moving to the East Coast of Canada, I've always been intrigued by Sable Island - a crescent shaped patch of sand about 300km South-East of Halifax. Since 1583, there have been over 350 shipwrecks on this small sand bar hidden by storms and fog. It's hard to imagine a map with more stories to tell than the one below.
The island is also known for its incredible fragility - as well being home to about 300 wild horses who have called the island home since the 1700's. Their contact with humans is protected - only 5 people live on the island, and special permission is needed to visit. One approved visit was by fashion photographer Robert Dutesco. His evocative and emotional photos are currently on display in New York.
There's also a feature length documentary about his journey to Sable Island and his amazing passion for the horses. The film is truly magical - there is just something so pure, untouched and free about the animals and the setting. As he says during the film - "some places in this world are being left untouched - just like Sable Island. I hope the Sable Island Horses will roam forever free." We can only hope.
The very talented and popular Malcolm Gladwell has been in the news of late promoting his latest book Outliers.
However, in this recent debate with University of Toronto philosophy professor and author Mark Kingwell, he's discussing the challenge of social change, and how to achieve it. As always, Gladwell uses some interesting and surprising examples to demonstrate his point, providing much food for thought. He focuses in particular on the subject and value of awareness. I was especially intrigued by his description of the efforts to promote the wearing of seat belts in the US decades earlier, and what finally resulted in lasting change. Not that it matters, but I think he was the clear "winner" on the night.
I've just discovered a great Australian singer called Sia via one of my favourites blogs, The year in Pictures. A great song and an awesome voice (love her fun website too). I think she's been around for a while - so I guess that means I'm losing touch with Aussie music too.
I've always been loyal to ASICS shoes - although I can't remember why. I guess it was the first brand I purchased when I started running, and I've just kind of stuck with them ever since. But after stumbling across this video over at The Inspiration Room, I think I'll stick with them a bit longer (and maybe start using them again)
Narrated by Kihachiro Onitsuka, it's beautifully produced and has a cute ending - and the use of Origami is not only stunning, but connects nicely to the precision of the ASICS brand.
I'm a bit late to this story, but I was listening to the NPR Fresh podcast, and they told the wonderful story of Alex the Parrot. It wasn't his talking that made him special, but more the fact that his trainer could communicate with him, and that he could actually process information and think. He was able to demonstrate behaviour that was more complex than simply repeating words. His trainer (Dr. Irene Pepperberg) talked about how Alex helped to debunk the "birdbrain" theory. Personally I think it's another example of how animals are far smarter than we give them credit.
Sadly, Alex the Parrot died last year aged 31 (which apparently is not that old for a parrot). One of the more emotional anecdotes as told by Dr Pepperberg was the time she had to take him to an animal hospital when he was sick. As she was leaving him, he kept saying "I wanna go back". In this short video demonstrating his talents, you can hear Alex using that line.
RadioLab replayed a wonderful podcast recently called Emergence. It's all about how nature can sometimes find order in the strangest places - and often without a leader. It kicks off with an awesome story about fireflies in Thailand, blinking in perfect unison. Something I'd love to see. (Image credit)