You may have heard that Mount Agung, an active volcano in the Indonesian island of Bali, started erupting Saturday.
It just so happens that my friend Kyle Kesterson is currently traveling there. He's staying in Ubud, about two hours away from the volcano.
On Wednesday, he shared his experience of getting to and witnessing the eruption, alongside some really stunning photos:
Read the rest
While I appreciate the concern for my safety as messages have been pouring in about Mt Agung’s current eruptions the last few days, FEAR is the common underlying theme.
Those who know me, know that even the slightest whiff of fear must be faced head on and transformed into excitement.
So at 2am, my fearless friend Valeria and I found a bold and curious taxi driver to drive us 2.5hrs in the direction of Mt. Agun, cameras in hand. As we pulled up around 4:30am, we saw the glow from the magma lighting up the slow billowing ash entering the atmosphere. Underneath it, our entire horizon was made up of the ghostly shape of this restless, commanding, all powerful giant.
We sat, stunned in the deepest sense of awe, underneath the clearest Milky Way and longest shooting stars I’ve ever witnessed. Instantly, I was small. Weak. Absolutely nothing against the formidable nature of nature. Nothing, but a spectator and participant in this collision of living energy.
Fear would have kept me tucked warmly in my sheets with the illusion that I was safe to begin with. But stepping through it, with complete reverence and heightened to the situation and ready to act, I am forever changed and more alive.
A sharia court in Indonesia’s ultra-conservative Aceh province has sentenced two gay men to public caning. Read the rest
Ewan writes, "In Septempber of last year, American YouTube musician Kina Grannis embarked on a tour of Asia. As usual, her social media presences detailed the process beautifully (I've interviewed Kina myself and have called her the gold standard among YouTube musicians on more than one occasion). Read the rest
NOAA just released this awesome NASA image of a volcanic eruption in action. Read the rest
All From Boats is a furniture maker that uses lumber recycled from decommissioned wooden boats as raw materials. The individual wooden pieces are each distressed in their own way, and are purchased from sailors on a fair-trade basis. They don't do any direct retail (the minimum wholesale order is $2000), but have a number of retailers around the world, including Tokyu Hands in Shibuya, Tokyo. They also sell raw planking for floors. The boats themselves come from around the Pacific Rim, mainly Bali and Indonesia. I saw a bunch of this stuff in person today and it's absolutely beautiful -- very well made and well designed. Read the rest
A new Snowden leak, "SUSLOC (Special US Liaison Office Canberra) Facilitates Sensitive DSD Reporting on Trade Talks," details how the NSA mentored and oversaw Australian spies, and sanctioned their surveillance a of US law firm representing the nation of Indonesia in a trade dispute with Australia. The NSA and their Australian counterparts have captured the master keys for Telkomsel, the Indonesian carrier, and have total access to its communications. It's more evidence that mass surveillance and Internet wiretaps are about economic espionage more than national security -- and more evidence that the NSA is a lawless organization with no respect for foundational principles like attorney-client privilege. Read the rest
The wonderful Jon Singer has a weird sort of problem, and you are the sort of people who might help him. He is custodian of a traditional Javanese gamelan (~1.5t worth) and it needs a home. From Patrick Nielsen Hayden:
As some of you are aware, the small non-profit research institute that has employed Jon Singer for the past thirteen years is folding its tents, and he’s looking for a new situation. With luck he’ll find something that will make good use of his famously wide-ranging and eccentric talents.
Meanwhile, for reasons too complicated to explain—and yet perfectly Jon Singerish—he is currently spending over $200 a month to store a full-size gamelan, which is to say, a complete set of the instruments played by a traditional Javanese ensemble in both scales. Essentially, we’re talking about a ton and a half of bronze, plus various wooden bits and parts.
Fond though he is of traditional Indonesian music, Jon does not actually foresee having a constant need for this assemblage, and he would like it to find a good home. Interested parties should be prepared to either pick it up in person (Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC) or arrange for its carting and shipping. Inquiries should go to Jon Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Patrick mentions, Jon also needs a job. He's a pretty amazing dude.
(Pictured: Part of Emory University’s gamelan, near-twin to Jon’s. Not pictured: Jon Singer’s friends’ complete lack of surprise upon hearing that his current logistical problem entails having become responsible for the storage of a one-and-a-half-ton set of highly specialized musical instruments.) Read the rest
In National Geographic, a rare moment of marine nomadism, as a sea nomad child called Enal hitches a ride by holding onto the tail of his friend, a tawny nurse shark. The picture is by James Morgan, submitted to the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest (Top prize: Photo expedition for two to the Galapagos with a National Geographic photographer).
Enal, a young sea nomad, rides on the tail of a tawny nurse shark, in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Marine nomadism has almost completely disappeared in South East Asia as a result of severe marine degradation. I believe children such as Enal have stories that could prove pivotal in contemporary marine conservation.