Category: Environment

New NASA Book Explores Beauty of Planet Earth

There is a lot of beauty in the world, and NASA has found a way to make it easier to see.

With pictures taken from various NASA satellites, the government agency has released 168 pages of photographs covering various remote landscapes and compiled them into a new book titled Earth.

The main version of this book is interactive and can be found here. There are four sections: atmosphere, water, land, and ice/snow. Clicking on each section will open up a slideshow of photos along with stories about how these locations came to be.

The book is also available in a hardcover version for $53 for those who want to take a physical version home as well as a PDF version for download.

Here is a preview of some of the photos you will see on the site.


A Trio of Plumes in the South Sandwich Islands

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Bowknot Bend

Iceberg off Mertz Glacier Tongue

Images Via



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Zadie Smith

“We’ll Be Back Out Tomorrow,” Says Zadie Smith After NYC Terror Attack

English novelist, essayist, and short story writer Zadie Smith has written an essay called “Under the Banner of New York” about the tragic event that grieved the city last week.



Image Via CNN


Smith shares her thoughts on how New Yorkers, in our “elastic social arrangement,” respond to such events, and how we faintheartedly carry on with our week unsure of what to do or how to help. In the moment, however, we do all come together and assist in any way we can. 


Like many a New Yorker right now I talk a good game but my mind is scattered, disordered. To me, the city itself feels scattered, out of sorts; certainly carrying on like London, like Paris, but also, like those places, newly fearful, continuing with its routines while simultaneously wondering whether it still wants to, considering decamping to the countryside while being repulsed by that same thought—oh, and a ragbag of other random thoughts and anecdotes.


Despite the subject matter, Smith maintains a hopeful tone, essentially musing on New Yorkers as first responders.  Alluding to two anecdotal stories of accidents that happened at the same curb on the same street corner in the same week, Smith recounts an old lady tripping and a stroller breaking apart. Common to both memories was a “community of strangers” gathering to help in any way they could, then swiftly vanishing afterwards. New Yorkers always need to be urgently elsewhere. Smith then gives thought to the victims 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov’s act of terror.


None of us deserve to be killed in the street. We are a multiplicity of humans in an elastic social arrangement that can be stretched in many directions. It’s not broken yet. I have no idea if it will break soon – but its not broken yet. And here comes the rain, clearing the streets, for an hour maybe, even for a whole afternoon. We’ll be back out tomorrow.


 Feature Image Via The Times

Sarah Dessen and Once and for All cover

Sarah Dessen Brings Light To Hurricane Victims

The South stands strong. And so does the world of books.


Hurricane Harvey

Image Courtesy of CNN


With Hurricane Harvey hitting this past week, many Texans have been struggling to survive. Thousands are evacuating and they’re lucky to be making it out with their lives, let alone their belongings. Harvey is the first hurricane to hit landfall in 12 years, and things are getting serious. Fast.


Twitter has become the hub for sending thoughts, prayers, and generous donations to those who are now struggling and homeless. Everyone is expressing their sorrow for the profound devastation, including New York Times best selling author Sarah Dessen.


The North Carolina mother and YA fiction writer has recently taken to Twitter to send her love to effected Texans. She encouraged her followers to donate what they can, from money to diapers. She even tweeted an update from her friends at a local bookshop in West Houston. Click below to see their heartfelt thanks.





Unfortunately, due to Blue Willow’s location, they’ll undoubtedly experience some flooding and destruction. 


Blue Willow Bookshop

Image Courtesy of Michael Scott


The bookshop first opened its doors in 1996 and has become a cozy, familiar nook for West Houston natives and visitors alike. They offer book lovers a variety of read-alouds, signings, book clubs, and even British-inspired tea time. Who would want to lose a place like that?!  


With Dessen’s recent book release for her novel ‘Once and for All, there is no doubt her following will continue to grow. From tweets to donations, any awareness could help save places like Blue Willow Bookshop and bring relief to the people of Texas.



Feature Image Courtesy of Bustle and Goodreads


5 of the Best Post-Apocalyptic Novels

Post-apocalyptic novels may not seem like much fun, but when we explore what might happen when everything we know comes crashing down, it can be incredibly interesting. Will the new societies that form help establish a better way to live or a worse one? Explore the possible future in five of our favorite post-apocalyptic novels.


1. The Road



You won’t be able to put this book down despite how sad the story. Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel tells the story of an unnamed father and son who walk through the main road of a wasteland. They have nothing to do except constantly flee danger and look for any semblance of hope. Great stories are made by great characters and the attachment you’ll feel for the father-son duo will push you through the depressing and terrifying parts of the novel, even thinking of them often after you finish.


2. The Stand



Stephen King’s magnum opus depicts a world where biological warfare has destroyed 99% of the world’s population. Following this setup, two survivor groups are created, one led by Mother Abagail and the other by fan-favorite villain, Randall Flagg. The two groups start begin a battle to decide whether good or evil will reign in this new world.  


3. Oryx and Crake



Margaret Atwood is the master of the dystopian tale which she proves again in Oryx and Crake. This story is a study of character as we see how the apocalypse deeply affects our protagonist, Snowman. The book uses flashbacks to show Jimmy’s (Snowman) relatively normal life to his more depressed present existence as the only human after the extinction event.


4. The Day of the Triffids



This science-fiction classic shows what happens when the environment bites back. After a meteor shower causes everyone who watched it to go blind, the vicious triffid plant rules the earth. Survivors have to scavenge for food while trying to escape from the wandering triffids. A fun environmental science-fiction journey awaits you in the pages of The Day of the Triffids.


5. World War Z



In the era of zombie stories, World War Z stands out due to its realistic human reactions. As one could imagine, humans react very slowly, even somewhat ignoring the massive zombie growth. Once they do start to realize they have the virus, they must fight this great attack. Their attempts start out weak but humans never surrender.


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5 Books to Start Your Obsession with Sci-Fi

Science Fiction has been dazzling audiences since the 1800s with its futuristic predictions and societal critique. These books are escapes to distant planets or futures, yet reminders of what is wrong with the way things are in our current world. They scare and intrigue us because while they look foreign at first, these great writer’s predictions are rarely farfetched. Here are five books that are great beginner novels if you are looking to enter the world of Science Fiction. 

1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This is the best intro book to get into Science Fiction because on top of having everything that makes this genre great, this book is just so much fun! Douglas Adams’ Monty Python-esque humor and wit blend beautifully with galaxy exploration for this journey through the cosmos with Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect. You’ll laugh until it hurts while also reading this clever satire and learning the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. 


2. Fahrenheit 451

Any book lover’s worst nightmare: the government bans books and independent thought. This is a story that reminds us why we love books: they expand our minds, expose us to different views and are the best way to pass the time. We root for Montag as he starts to discover this power and joy that he himself used to try to destroy.


3. Slaughterhouse-Five

Like most Science Fiction, this book is so many things in one. Vonnegut’s voice is always very strong in his writing: his jokes, views on war, and thoughts on narrative structure come up strongly throughout this short funny novel. What sounds better than an anti-war novel mixed with time travel and a backward way of storytelling? Similar to Hitchhiker’s Guide, Vonnegut mixes humor with Sci-Fi and the depressing images of war that he experienced firsthand in World War II.



4. The Island of Doctor Moreau

H.G. Wells’ story about a man who becomes stranded on an island with a strange doctor and weird screams in the night. Different from most Sci-Fi novels, this story deals with the ethics of scientific experimentation on animals and where humans stand compared other forms of life. When you’re done exploring the planets, you can deal with an ethical problem we often ignore.


5. The Handmaid’s Tale

Atwood’s female dystopia is a thrilling, yet sad read as women in the world of Gilead have lost all agency. Our protagonist, Offred, must survive a totalitarian government that forces her to birth babies for the Commander. We are excited to finally see this literary masterpiece on TV, so be sure to read it before the Hulu series airs.


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