Since we still have a few days left in the warm season, we thought we’d cherish the time with a clever illustration project courtesy of artist Jean Jullien. The French graphic designer creates minimalist images that combine the quaintness of vintage postcards with the sharp comedy of cartoons. Bare bottoms mingle with awkward tan lines and melted ice cream splatters near globs of sunblock as Jullien manages to capture the tiny details that make us yearn for the beach.
The series, titled “La Plage,” is on view now at Beach London until September 29, 2013. Catch a glimpse of the work below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
The animals below all play roles in the survival of the human species. Scroll through the list below to see how they can be both quite adorable (or pretty), AND help the environment in ways you may have never imagined…
Sharks help us breathe. They may be known as the killer of the sea, but there’s a good reason for that. By eating old and sick fish, they are keeping the ecosystem healthy and ultimately controlling algae buildup in the ocean. If sharks weren’t around, scientists predict algae levels would spike, sending oxygen levels off the charts and affecting all life on earth. While sharks have been known to kill humans, research has shown that humans are much more deadly to sharks than they are to us. We kill an estimated 11,417 of them an hour through “unsustainable finning.”
“Oh, hai! If I bite you, it’s not personal.”
Rats sniff out bombs. These subway critters actually have a pretty good sense of smell. It’s so good that in Mozambique, they have been used to eliminate over 6 million square miles of hidden explosives. (Photo via Flickr: liftarn)
“Get me out of this jar. I won’t climb on your foot, promise.”
Snakes eat those rats. Although rats can be helpful, they also spread a lot of bad diseases. Thankfully, snakes keep them and other vermin in check by eating them for dinner. (Photo via Flickr: lunaspin)
“Sir Hiss, reporting for duty.”
Rottweilers protect people. While the Rottweiler is controversially targeted as an aggressive breed, its defensiveness has been known to come in handy. In England in 2010, a Rottweiler named Jake saved a woman who was being raped in a park by attacking the perpetrator. (Photo via Flickr: Olga Martschitsch)
“Don’t forget, this is MY ball. But I’ll share.”
Squirrels give us trees. These little rodents are some of the biggest hoarders ever. They love to gather nuts. They gather so many nuts that they often forget where they leave those nuts. Those nuts then grow into beautiful trees. Silly squirrels, we thank you.
“I was recently electrocuted in a Christmas light-chewing accident.”
Frogs let us know if our water is clean. When frogs aren’t doing too well, we likely won’t be either. If they’re sick, it’s a sure sign that water quality is not at its best. (Photo via Flickr:doug88888)
“How you doin’? Nobody said we weren’t slimy.”
Spiders are a good for eating. Well… maybe not so much for us. But they are delicious to fish and birds. These animals eat spiders so much that if spiders didn’t exist, they may not either. Live spiders also like to feast on a lot of the insects we find annoying, like mosquitos, flies and cockroaches. So next time you see a spider, don’t scream… thank him or her. (Photo via Flickr: giovzaid85)
“I see you lookin’ at me. No squishing!”
Seals help us study climate change. While seals can be known to be a little feisty (especially to poor Buster in “Arrested Development”), their deep swimming skills help us out. Researchers at UC-Santa Cruz attached sensors to them to better figure out ocean circulation patterns. In short, seals may help save our world. (Photo via Flickr: Ian-S)
“What? I’m on break.”
Bees give us avocados. There’s sweetness in a bee’s sting. While they produce delicious honey, bees support 80 percent of human crop growth. That means that without them, you would lose a lot of things you love, like strawberries, apples, peaches and nuts, just to name a few. Also, since cows need bees to pollinate the crops they eat, we might lose hamburgers too. (Photo via Flickr: James Bowe)
“You know I die when I sting you, right?”
Bats save stroke victims. They may be creepy, but they can save lives. Bats’ saliva has been used to dissolve blood clots in stroke victims’ brains. And their guano (feces) is a great natural fertilizer. (Yes, that is a bat in the picture… a cute little baby bat.) (Photo via Flickr: kqedquest)
“I bat you’re about to run away from me.”
Beetles help regulate the ecosystem. Sure, beetles get a bad wrap for being gross, but let’s not forget about the pretty ladybug. Beetles play a very important part in our lives by eating other insects and facilitating biodiversity. Dung beetles aid in decomposition by feeding on animal waste and breaking down corpses. (Photo via Flickr: swg101)
“Don’t worry, I don’t eat poop.”
Beavers prevent floods. Yes, they’re loud, silly-looking and can be dangerous, but they are so helpful. The dams they build help to prevent natural flooding, droughts and forest fires. (Photo via Flickr: Tancread)
“Is there something stuck in my toof?”
Robotic Fish keep our water clean. Okay, so these may not actually be “living,” but they sure are beautiful (and somewhat creepy). The best part is that they are a safe and harmless solution to monitoring polluted water, ensuring that ocean life is healthy and our drinking water is fresh.
Around 1981, just before Ronald Reagan’s “trickle down” economics kicked in, finding a job down South in the U.S. was hard. I lived in North Georgia then, and the home of the big carpet mills and textile plants was already showing signs of decline because of overseas competition. Hard times dictated moving on, hopefully to greener pastures on the coast. It was on moving day 32 years ago, with $50 between me and tarnation, I learned a permanent lesson about intentions, giving, and what we take with us.
The Biggest $50 Bill In the World
Many people reading this will identify with the pain of moving across town, or across the country for that matter. However far the destination, packing up, loading, ferrying, and unloading a house of any size is just a pain. Oh, and what’s the one item there is never enough of when you move? Boxes, you guessed it. So it was on Oct. 20 of 1981 I headed down to the local Kroger grocery store in Rome, Ga., to see if the stock boys had put out any cardboard boxes I could use for packing. But, little did I imagine a box hunting expedition would do so much for understanding the world.
Pulling into the back parking lot, I didn’t notice at first the elderly black gentleman. Tall and straight he was in spite of his age. Unseen to anyone, he was rummaging around in one of the three dumpsters there. As I rounded the corner to look for good cardboard, I was startled at first by the old man, then at once calmed by his time etched, yet kind and knowing smile. Those warm eyes — I’ll never forget his kind stare.
“Good mawnin suh,” he said, in the old southern way I had not heard in years. “Good morning to you sir,” I replied, at once disarmed by the unneeded but charming colloquialism between a young white man and his senior from a bygone era. It was then, glancing down somewhat out of shame, that I noticed the cardboard box at his feet.
Following my gaze, the old man jumped down and bent over a little box of treasures, a little defensively too, I might add. With a gleam in his eye he set out to describe the contents of the box I saw neatly organized inside. “You know Suh, dey throws away some real fine froots and vejtables”, he said. I must have looked quizzical for a moment as I mentally counted the three tomatoes, one bell pepper, four potatoes, and the strangely green and un-ripened banana he had mined from the dumpster. My mind’s calculator was somehow in overdrive, “He must be 70 or 75,” I thought. I hesitate here, to include the fact, the poor old fellow had a tumor on his neck the size of a tennis ball. For fear of being accused of hyperbole, I recall as I write this down, how the poor old fellow was further encumbered with still more unfairness. I have to include this.
As I reached out to shake the old man’s calloused hand, I transferred it. Then turning sharply to avoid discomfort, and as I went to jump in and drive off, a firm hand grabbed at my sleeve. — Phil Butler
To continue, scampering a bit (and uncomfortably now) I gathered a dozen or so decent cardboard boxes into the back of my vehicle, the kind old gentleman actually stopping to help me. At last I turned to open my door when a feeling of incompleteness came over me. “I had to say goodbye,” something said, for old time’s or whoever’s sake, or for gentlemanly courtesy — that’s just me. Without even a consciousness about it, I slid my hand into my pocket and clutched that $50 bill my Mom had sent me. As I reached out to shake the old man’s calloused hand, I transferred it. Then turning sharply to avoid discomfort, and as I went to jump in and drive off, a firm hand grabbed at my sleeve.
Smiling that smile again my new-old friend said; “God bless ya suh!” Completely overwhelmed, stunned, I replied, “No, God bless you sir.” “How completely upside down,” I thought.
I wept as I drove off, wept for the utter goodness and kindness of humanity, and believe me, I was totally unscathed by the fact I was then penniless. After all, I was a strong, young man who was a tiny bit resourceful; I could always get some more money. But circumstance denies others all too often. It’s at this point my well told story coincides with Dan Pallotta’s TEDTalk on how we think about charity.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” — Charles Dickens
The nonprofit sector, even despite billions having been donated over the decades, has done very little to alleviate poverty in the U.S. Even despite all our good intentions and gift, some 12 percent of the population is where my elderly friend was, needing. Out of luck, save for a decent passerby, not everyone can maintain their dignity. Furthering the story, here’s an interesting parallel, thinking-wise.
Back when my “old man” story took shape, the first buddy I mentioned my $50 gift to — do you know what that good ole’ boy had to say? “Hell, he probably ran to the liquor store to buy some cheap wine.” This is the sort of thinking which had passed down to most of my Southern friends. But let me inform you, this thinking was wrong — wrong because I was the one with the reward, not the old man. But that’s philosophy; Pallotta speaks in solid economics terms.
We disdain charities that do not spend every dime delivering a bag of rice to that individual child in Zimbabwe or Mozambique, or wherever we’ve designated our charity pennies be pinched. Control has become the Catch 22 of giving. And then we wonder why the problems of the world are never fixed, why does everything we do and give, never seem to change the world? We cheer at Google or Amazon when stock prices climb, while the overhead and waste there has to equal charitable giving across any state. What difference does it make what the overhead is, when Google makes money hand over fist? Charity guru Pallotta would apply this thinking to nonprofits. But still our thinking about entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, win or lose on real estate is, “Who cares how much he lost to win fame and riches?” This does not apply for really changing the world, now does it? Nobody even asks how many billions Trump has thrown away; it’s where he is now that matters.
Turning to the stock market of LOVE, as Pallotta terms the charity sector, if a CEO spends anything on advertising or “unconventional” ideas to grow giving… Well, the underpaid and overworked “do-gooder” executive gets his or her feet held over the fire. Some overseer might condemn, “Those ad dollars, no child ever saw a crumb from overhead like that.” The non-profit might as well have started handing out cheap wine to the homeless, where conventional charity thinking is concerned.
WASHINGTON — Locked in a tug of war with lawmakers over spending and borrowing, President Barack Obama is pressing his case in America’s heartland that Congress mustn’t jeopardize fragile economic progress with threats of a government shutdown.
A recently expanded auto plant near Kansas City, Mo., is the venue for Obama to argue Friday that the U.S. economy is primed to thrive, if only Congress will let it. But back in Washington, the House is headed toward a vote Friday that would make shuttering Obama’s health care law the price to pay to keep the government running for a few more months.
Obama already has warned he’d veto that bill, and the Senate may strip out the health care provision anyway. But with less than two weeks left to avert a partial government shutdown, a legion of Republicans are in open revolt over the prospect of approving stopgap funding without taking a swipe at Obama’s signature law.
There’s even less certainty about how Obama and Congress will resolve a feud over raising the nation’s borrowing limit to head off a first-ever default on the nation’s debt.
So Obama, his patience tried and his leverage maxed out, is heading west for a day to a sprawling auto plant in Missouri. The nearly 1,000 jobs Ford Motor Co. has added there to build the popular F-150 pickup truck underpins his case that with the government’s help, the economy is bouncing back in American locales far removed from the political congestion in Washington.
Ironically, Ford is the only major U.S. automaker that didn’t partake in the 2009 bailout that Obama says saved the industry and buoyed the economy.
Six years and six months ago, President George W. Bush also escaped to this Ford plant, regrouping amid a storm over the firing of U.S. prosecutors and brinkmanship with Congress over whether troops should stay in Iraq. Walking the noisy assembly lines and chatting up workers, Bush touted gas-electric hybrid vehicles the plant was churning out as he plugged an energy plan that remained controversial in Congress.
“The American people expect us to work together. See, that’s what they want,” Bush said, urging Democrats and Republicans to cooperate.
Obama, whose administration on Friday was also unveiling tough new pollution limits on power plants, won’t see those hybrids on the assembly line. These days, production of that line of SUVs has been moved to Kentucky.
Dan Jowiski, the plant’s manager, said there were once 4,500 workers building autos at the site, but that figure dropped off by nearly two-thirds during the auto industry crisis at the end of the last decade. The plant expects to return to that figure by the start of 2014, when it adds 1,000 workers to the payroll to build the new Ford Transit line of vans.
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino revealed earlier in the day with Dennis & Callahan that the the team installed a “sleep room” upon a recommendation from the team’s sleep specialist.
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