The Skyscraper Forest of Hong Kong, the Teapot That (Kind of) Looks Like Hitler, Another Push for a Name Change in Washington, Happiness and Aging, and Regaining Time

Photography by Romain Jacquet-Lagreze

Photography by Romain Jacquet-Lagreze

Romain Jacquet-Lagreze's Vertical Horizon, a fantastic collection of photographs, depicts the skyscrapers of Hong Kong in an intriguing way, demonstrating the massive scale of the buildings by using low-angle shots with the camera lens pointed straight up, capturing the sky above city framed by towers of glass and steel. Fast Company's article on the photographer and his recent work has a number of the photographs from Vertical Horizon (with a link to even more), and provides some of the inspiration behind the series: "Hong Kong is not a 2-D place that follows the flatness of a map, but instead a volumetric place..." In a world full of Instagrammed cats—and where "to Instagram" is a verb—it's nice to see some quality photography every now and then.

In other photograph news, JC Penny was forced to deny that a teapot on one of its billboards looks like Adolf Hitler. The Obama camp is waiting to see how Republicans will link this new "scandal" back to the administration. Hitler wasn't exactly a Kenyan socialist, but I'm sure those clever minds on Capitol Hill will find a way to besmirch the President yet again and add yet another candle to the ever-growing Scandalabra.

Speaking of the 113th Congress, ten members are urging Dan Snyder to change the name of his Washington Pro Football club. The elected officials wrote:

"In this day and age, it is imperative that you uphold your moral responsibility to disavow the usage of racial slurs. The usage of the ["R-word"] is especially harmful to Native American youth, tending to lower their sense of dignity and self-esteem. It also diminishes feelings of community worth among the Native American tribes and dampens the aspirations of their people."

Sadly, seeing as Snyder isn't known around town as the most decent or civilized of human beings, and as his stance on the issue has been made rather clear ("We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER—you can use all caps"), it's not expected that much will come of this letter, as admirable as it is. What's truly surprising about all of this, however, is that Snyder's baser qualities should be rather keen on the idea of a name change—with one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league, an up-and-coming young running back, and a fan base who finally believes in their team again, changing the name to something like the Washington Warriors spells only one thing: more jersey and merchandise sales. It would be a win-win: the team (and its owner) come out looking rather decent, get a ton of free (and positive) publicity and in many ways dictate the storyline, and then make a boatload of cash. Not sure what's unappealing about any of that. 

According to the Atlantic, the fact that I'm getting more lame with age is actually quite natural. In her article, "How Happiness Changes With Age," Heidi Grant Halvorson charts the evolving idea of happiness from her teenage years through to her current age of "just shy of forty." For social psychologists, the evolution of our concept of happiness has a lot to do with the shift from "promotion motivationseeing our goals in terms of what we can gain, or how we can end up better off, to prevention motivationseeing our goals in terms of avoiding loss and keeping things running smoothly." The article is interesting, enough so for me to take stock of where I am in my life, though it seems to apply more to successful people with families. This may lead me to write a response of some kind soon. Until then, definitely give Halvorson's article a read.

And finally, James Gleick's article "Time Regained," a review of Lee Smolin's Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe, is one of the most interesting things I've read in quite some time. I shan't spoil it for you; hell, I'm not even sure if I could as I'm rather out of my depth wading around in the philosophy of science. That said, Gleick's review is highly recommended reading. It'll make you feel smarter for having read it. And on a Tuesday night, sometimes that's exactly what you need.