San Francisco’s Cascading Fog

This stunning time-lapse video shows Frisco’s famous fog banks cascading over the rolling hills around the bay like a waterfall. It is probably the coolest thing you’ll see all day.

Thanks to Leslie at Gizmodo for posting this video.


The Origins of Father’s Day

We would like to take this opportunity to wish our father, and all fathers out there, a very happy and special Father’s Day.  Of course, we cannot let this day pass without looking back and wondering how the celebration started and who the brilliant individual was that kickstarted the idea.  In just another shining example of why Washington is such a great state, credit for Father’s Day is officially given to Miss Sonora Dodd of Spokane, WA.  Dodd was one of six children raised by her single father and Civil War Veteran, Sgt. William Jackson Smart.

While listening to a sermon at church on Mother’s Day, she thought about all her father had done for her and her siblings and decided fathers should have a day, too. Because Dodd’s father was born in June, she encouraged churches in her area, Spokane, Wash., to honor fathers that month.

– Library of Congress

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The Greatest Bridge That Never Was – Paris’ Trampoline Bridge

We Americans give Frenchies, and Parisians in particular, a fair amount of flak, and mostly deservedly so.  Their au natural ways, ineptitude at war (post-Napoleon of course), obsession with baguettes, and general snobbish disposition rub us the wrong way and make them easy targets.  However, we should also give credit where credit is due – they have gotten A LOT of things right in their time: French food, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre (full of artwork commadiered by Napoleon), baguettes, the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and Brigette Bardot.  They also came so close to creating the most awesome bridge in the world – a trampoline bridge over the river Seine.

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The Five Colors River

For most of the year Caño Cristales, located in central Colombia, looks like any other nice, pure mountain river flowing with crystal clear cool water over smooth river rocks and brilliant beds of green moss and algae.  Then, for a couple weeks of the year, Caño Cristales turns into undoubtedly one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. During a brief period between the Colombian wet and dry seasons (from Sept. – Nov.), the water level evens off and allows its unique Macarenia Clavigera plant to bloom like gorgeous fields of underwater red roses among golden wheat.  The bloom accentuates the yellows and greens of the algae, moss and sediments on the river bottom and the deep browns and blacks of the river rocks and shelves that have formed over the ages.  The result is an array of colors that looks more like an artistic swirl of Skittles or melted Crayola Crayons than a naturally occurring event below a few feet of river water.  It is truly stunning.

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Successful Failures – Albert Einstein

This is part five of a series by *AT* contributor Emily Thomas. When we think about people whose lives we would like to closely emulate, more often than not we think of people who have accomplished great things and led successful lives. However, not everyone who is on top has experienced success after success, and some of the most memorable people in history have faced great obstacles to reach their full potential. Not only is this list informative, but it serves as a great self-esteem booster for any time you are feeling as though you can’t strive to become the next Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, or Steve Jobs.

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We the People Wants to Start Replying to Less Bull&@%!#*$

In a move that I am sure was inspired by too many petitions calling for Death Stars and such, the White House’s online petition site We the People has raised the threshold for getting an official response from the Obama Administration from 25,000 signatures to 100,000 signatures. At the time of this writing, only one out of the 273 petitions on the site has hit this mark – a petition with well over 300,000 signatures calling for the Westboro Baptist Church to be officially designated as a hate group. This makes sense, because anybody with a soul would support that.

Ultimately, I think this move is justified; the White House has had to pen 96 responses to petitions so far, including the really ridiculous ones. For example, one asks for Obama’s impeachment for four reasons that are basically just completely false. The White House responded as such, and in a very civil manner at that. Now, this change does not mean that the White House won’t be monitoring all the petitions that are put up, but hopefully it means that they will be able to dedicate much more time to organizing and creating effective responses to the petitions that actually cross the 100,000 signature threshold.

Sure enough, there is also a petition to lower the threshold back down to 25,000. Read the White House’s official justification after the break. In the mean time, check out Obama’s direct response to the WTP petition concerning gun violence below. No matter where you stand on the issue, it is nice to know that this website is actually paid attention to.

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The Bluff that Won the Northwest

Everyone can find the United States on a map, and every American can find their home state, but few can explain how their state – and the land of the United States – came to be. The US is currently the fourth largest country in the world by land area, but it all started with just a few settlements on the Atlantic coast. It took several centuries of politics, economics, and war to draw the borders which we currently know and love today. In this series, America the Huge-ful, we look at some of the most interesting stories about how our map came to be.

If you played The Oregon Trail in elementary school, then you know that the Oregon Territory was one of the most desirable places to relocate to during the 1800’s: a vast, utopian valley where milk and honey flowed in rivers and the trees stayed green all year round. While it was a nice place to live, this image was actually far from the truth. For much of its history the Oregon Country was a territory disputed by several nations and devoid of much of a central government. However, that would change when America would make one of the most daring land grabs in history.

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