This week we're checking out 10 beautiful sunsets you should absolutely travel to see, talking about how the internet manages to span entire oceans and keep you connected and looking at how far you can get away from any other human being.
Welcome to Lifehacker's Thinking Cap, a series where we round up interesting, informative and thought-provoking podcasts, interviews, articles and other media that will teach you something new, inspire you and hopefully cap off your week nicely.
How Far You Could Really Get Away from Every Other Human on Earth
If you've ever wondered how far you could possibly get away to get a little peace, quiet and solitude without leaving the surface of the Earth, well, this video from Real Life Lore will explain. In fact, speaking of the surface of the Earth, in many of these places, the closest other humans to you will be in the International Space Station, which, while still dozens of kilometres away, will be closer to you when the ISS is above you than any other human on the planet — even though there'd be no way for them to interact with you.
The video is called "The Loneliest Place on Earth", but in reality it's a tour de force of some of the most impressively isolated places on Earth, many of which I had no idea were even inhabited. [via Real Life Lore (YouTube)]
Things Your Parents Did that You Would Never Do with a Child
This Quora thread brings up an interesting topic:
What are some things your parents did that you'll never do to your own kids, or to your future kids?
Some of the responses are super heavy, and tell some pretty intricate stories of how some people cope with abuse — and their own commitment to never repeating the cycle of abuse with their own children and families — and a number of them tell long tales of neglect or specific cultural upbringing that wound up harming more than it helped, so the whole thread is worth skimming.
However, one answer caught my eye:
I will ensure that my child gets regular medical care. My own mother believed wholeheartedly in pseudo-scientific philosophies, including her deep belief in her own considerable psychic abilities. As a child, I displayed symptoms of high-functioning autism, what used to be diagnosed as Asperger's Syndrome. Instead of taking me to the doctor for treatment upon noticing these autistic symptoms, my mother came to believe that I was part of a pseudo-scientific group called the Indigo children and considered the matter closed. Unfortunately, using the Indigo Children phenomenon as an alternative medical diagnosis has been known to cause both children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and autistic children to not receive needed much-needed medical care and therapies. I was not diagnosed with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder until I was nearly 30 years old, after a massive amount of damage had already been done. I'm now struggling mightily to therapeutically reconcile the parts of my life where I have difficulty functioning due to my Asperger's Syndrome- such as interpersonal communications, organisation, difficulty interpreting social cues such as body language, difficulty with changes in routine, and hypersensitivity to external stimuli. Undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome and it's symptoms dominated my childhood, teens, and twenties, and caused a great deal of havoc in my life. Armed with my diagnosis, access to a library of knowledge on neurodiversity, and a decent counselor, I am now able to learn techniques to control my symptoms, interact with my environment, and effectively communicate with other people. I now have the ability to choose how my thirties and beyond play out. I have control over my life again.
Yet another story of why proper, evidence-based, expert-delivered and participatory health care is so important, not just for individuals, but for entire families. [via Quora]
10 Beautiful Places to Watch the Sunset
Make no mistake, every sunset has its own beauty, but if you're looking for specific places to go enjoy the sunset and see something really breathtaking — maybe a view that's uniquely lit or rare, or that's difficult to see again — this list from the folks at Oyster runs down 10 beautiful places you need to watch the Sun go down.
The Scottish Highlands is one of those places (shown in the photo above), along with the famous Manhattanhenge in New York City and the absolutely glorious Goa in India, even though it's a bit of a tourist cliche at this point. Check out the whole list, complete with photos from each location. [via Oyster]
How Internet Access Spans Entire Oceans
If you've ever wondered how the internet works so well across entire continents, or how you're able to load web pages from Europe so quickly, how your VPN can pretend you're actually browsing from Japan or how you're able to download files from servers around the globe at super high speeds, this episode of The Media Show explains.
Long story short, it's all thanks to undersea cable, but those cables aren't just any type of cables, and they aren't just laid down by dropping them off the back of a boat. Well, they kind of are, but not so unceremoniously. The full story is really interesting, and the redundancies those undersea cables get are also interesting — but at the same time, so are the vulnerabilities inherent in essentially a network of huge cables at the bottom of the sea. [via The Media Show (YouTube)]
240 Consecutive Green Lights
I'm pretty impressed when I catch two green lights in a row, especially when I'm driving through the city, but then there are those blissful moments when you're driving at night and all of the lights seem to go your way.
Of course, I've never experienced anything like this video, where Noah Forman managed to catch 240 consecutive green lights without stopping. It's almost trance-inducing to watch, and a fitting video to get your weekend off to a great start. Catch many green lights yourself, and have a great weekend. [via Vimeo, thanks Boing Boing!]
That's all for this week. If you have thought-provoking stories, interesting podcasts or eye-opening videos, share them in the comments below!
Title illustration by Nick Criscuolo. Additional photo by john mcsporran.