The Blue Marble

blue marbleI came across this stunning photograph today on a pretty exciting website called TwistedSifter but although it is a stunning image and is of the views that never cease to amaze me (those of our mother Earth from space) its tag annoyed me- “The Precious Blue Marble“. Why? Thisbluemarblemay go some way to explaining why. Get it? Well, for one thing, to caption a photo as one thing and to show another gets my goat. Unfair? You may think so but the second picture might fairly be captioned “The Blue Marble” while the first would much better be called “The Blue and Brown Marble”, or “The Marble With The North American Continent On It”, or even “The US From Space”, but no, TwistedShifter (or  NASA whose photograph it is) chose to call it “The Blue Marble” (2012). And this goes to what really ‘got my goat’, that so often we see stunning images from space of our fantastic planet that are centred on the North American continent, or even more likely the United States of America. The North American continent is not the world any more than the US is, and you could do worse than taking a minute or two (well, about seven and a half actually!) to hear Aaron Sorkin’s words from the TV series ‘Newsroom’ go somewhat to explain why we shouldn’t necessarily be fixated on the US. OK, they put most of the hardware up there that supplies us with the stunning images, but they fly that hardware over my country, they spend 50% of their skytime in my hemisphere (Eastern or Southern, take your pick!) and as their cameras are clicking away almost continuously there are plenty of other views of the world to highlight, not necessarily of ‘my’ country, ocean or quadrant. I am aware, of course that there are hundreds of options open for me to find such images, and I do, but I will continue to be irked by the US being representative of US!

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