Saturday 17 November 2012

Whilst relaxing with my housemates a while ago, someone put this video on the television and we were all transfixed. Something about Neil DeGrasse Tyson's voice is so wonderful and enchanting that I wish I could employ him to audio-record every book I'll ever have to read for my degree, at which point I would be set for a first class honours because I'd spend every waking moment listening to my books. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a pretty special guy: renowned astrophysicist, owner of a magical voice, and the subject of the now-infamous badass meme (which, despite being a bit creeped out about at first, he thinks is actually all right). After beginning to give lectures at age fifteen, he was scouted for Cornell by Carl Sagan himself; he studied at Harvard, gained a fair few degrees, held positions at University of Maryland, Princeton and the American Museum of Natural History and served on the 'Moon, Mars and Beyond' commission. He is currently the director for the Hayden Planetarium. He was fundamental in the changing of the classification of Pluto as a planet, was awarded a Distinguished Public Service Medal by NASA and even has an asteroid named after him. In summary, he's awesome (and he posts great stuff on his Twitter too.)

One of his responses to questions from Time Magazine - 'What is the most astounding fact that you can share with us about the Universe' - is encapsulated in this short put together by Max Schlickenmeyer, using one of my favourite songs 'To Build A Home' by The Cinematic Orchestra and footage from videos from many different sources including BBC programmes, the Hubble telescope and 'The Tree of Life' directed by Terrence Malick. It fits so perfectly with the audio and Tyson's words, and it never fails to cheer me up in my more nihilistic moments.

In keeping with the theme of the Earth and Space, another recent find of mine on Vimeo was this beautiful film put together by Michael Konig from images taken by crew on board the International Space Station in August to October 2011. It's amazing to see our planet from a perspective usually so shut off to most of us, and I'm so thankful that we have technology like this for us to be able to see viewpoints like this; even the cameras which shot the first moon landing show an incredible view (I posted about the Hasselblad used by Neil Armstrong and crew here). This video was a finalist in the Lyrical category in the Vimeo Awards this year, and pretty deservingly so in my opinion:

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