Visualising this Brief Anomaly

I thought a change in pace might be in order—and would keep the inquiry going in a slightly different mode while I think about how to tackle the next post.

When I first set up Beyond this Brief Anomaly earlier this year, I’d had in mind to use a photo of the Earth at night from space for the header image, such as this one from NASA. After a quick look around, I didn’t find the one that quite captured what I was after, and that was also free for non-commercial use. In the end, I settled for the current place-holder image, until I can get a better quality version of that particular view of the Melbourne city skyline (taken from a park close to where I live).

Today a friend sent me a link to a short version of the video below: time lapse footage from NASA of the Earth at night, shot from the International Space Station. I’ll mainly let this speak for itself; in short though, this captures for me at multiple levels the nature of this brief anomaly. The imagery itself is just the surface manifestation of that: for me, at once spectacularly beautiful, breathtaking in terms of what it implies about the scope and scale humanity’s impact on our shared home, and as a visual account of our fossil fuel use, impossible to ignore.

But it’s the context in which such a view of our situation is available to us that speaks loudest to me. Consider what it has taken for such video footage a) to be created in the first place and b) for its availability to now be so utterly mundane that you can be watching it here, courtesy of a few mouse clicks. This ease of access belies the immense and rapidly growing energetic consequences associated with…what you’re doing right now.

2 thoughts on “Visualising this Brief Anomaly

  1. Pingback: Post Carbon Institute’s ‘This is Our Energy Reality’: visualising this Brief Anomaly | Beyond this Brief Anomaly

  2. Josh, just revisiting this post now, with a chance to view the clip. Sitting here with Olivia, we are both so moved. You won’t be surprised to hear from me a comment on the aural context too … and in this sense, how it occurs to me as symbolic of the most wonderful of human endeavours. All of which leads me to the thought – what a shame it would be to ‘do ourselves in’ in some significant way. Olivia meanwhile, absorbing that visual representation of our scale of impact on this place, sensed a kind of ticking bomb, played into by the constant turning of imagery, on and on to a seemingly foreboding outcome.

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