1/?? reasons to love Basti: his joy after winning Champions League 2013

We are all tasked with building the Republic of Heaven here on earth, and it’s a philosophy that ends The Amber Spyglass and fits well into my view of life. Heaven as a term is re-appropriated here to mean something entirely different than its traditional definition. The Republic of Heaven exists in what you and I choose to do with our every waking moment in life. Do we choose to fight for those who are marginalized and left behind? Do we choose to further the pursuit of knowledge of our own world, whether through science, art, literature, music, or even the most personal and private discoveries? Do we cherish the land we live on? Do we cherish the interactions we have with the fellow humans who thrive alongside us? Do we instill values in our friends, our families, our siblings, our offspring, the strangers we pass on busy streets or in subway tubes or in bustling airports by treating one another not as disparate enemies, but with the knowledge that we are all Dust, all chemicals and particles that swirl into existence and fill the leaves, the trees, the lakes, the streams, the birds in the air and the beasts of the land? Do we stretch out our arms to accept the ferocious and unending beauty that does exist in the experience of being alive? Do we learn to embrace the desires, the loves, the emotions, and the sometimes fickle forces that bring our bodies joy and completeness and give us glimpses of something larger than ourselves but never better than the worth of a single life? Or do we turn our eyes to a world in the sky and simply hope that one day, things will be better than they are now?

I bid goodbye to the world of Lyra and Jordan College and dæmons and witches and mulefa and Will and Mary and the gyptians and I accept that it’s time the Republic of Heaven came to earth. And I type that with tears in my eyes, much like when I ended the Harry Potter series, but these are not tears of grief or loss. I have felt something in my heart that is rare and burning and loving for these characters, for this message, for this world, and I am merely in awe that I have had the honor of experiencing all of this. I want to avoid the usual end that I give to these series-ending reviews because I almost feel silly at this point doing such a thing. The profound respect and joy I feel within me for Philip Pullman almost hurts because I have found a soul in the world who knows how I feel without ever having lived a second of my life. That doesn’t happen with me, and the more I think about His Dark Materials, the more prepared I am to state that this is the best series of books I have ever read, and the more I wish that they could never end. But these things do end, and that’s why I know that I have to bring the world of these three books here to where we live, in this time we exist.

If I will take anything from this trilogy (and I do take a lot of things away from it), I will end this final His Dark Materials review with this: There is no experience quite like being alive, and I will continue to do what I can as one person to assure that everyone I meet can find the joy in this very fact. I hope you find the Republic of Heaven here on Earth.

Mark Oshiro, review of the final chapter of The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman.

I can think of no more perfect summary of these books, and what they meant and continue to mean to me.

(via dolorosa)

“Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.”


aldelie penguins spend their (austral) winters in the seas surrounding the antarctic pack ice - about 4,000km from their southern spring breeding grounds - where they fatten on krill. the krill feed on phytoplankton beneath the icebergs, but warming waters due to climate change has reduced their numbers by up to 80 percent.

adelies are the most southern living penguin, but head north as the summer ends to escape the protracted darkness of the winter. a warming climate, however, has meant a reduced northern icepack, and has seen the the encroachment of other penguins onto their southern summer territory who previously found it too cold. the adelie population northeast of the ross sea, for example, has declined by 90 percent.

as one adélie expert put it, these penguins face possible extinction not merely by a loss of habitat, but by an unshakable fear of darkness; adelies need light, if only twilight, to forage and navigate, and as comfort against predators. but as they are pushed further south they may ultimately find themselves trapped behind a curtain of polar night for which they have no hardwired strategy.

photos by (click pic) justin hofman, maria stenzel, david doubilet, tim laman, sergey kokinsky, and ralph lee hopkins

“…So please, be tolerant of those who describe a sporting moment as their best ever. We do not lack imagination, nor have we had sad and barren lives; it is just that real life is paler, duller, and contains less potential for unexpected delirium.” 

Tick, tock.