Oh, I see! moments
Travel Cultures Language

Oh, Deer! Road Signs in Different Cultures

by Sheron Long on March 31, 2015

Deer crossing sign in Hertfordshire, England, shows a running deer with a huge set of antlers, illustrating how different cultures interpret the same animal on road signs. (Image © Simon Gurney)

In Hertfordshire, England, the deer on road signs have a certain regal look
with antlers fit for a bejeweled crown.
© Simon Gurney

Crossing the Road and Cultures, Too

Why does a chicken cross the road? Ponder that all you wish, but know for sure that a chicken and a host of other beasts are gonna cross the road.

Humans devised the idea of warning signs to help you avoid a bump in the road. Governments and international commissions created copious specs (669 pages in the US Manual alone) to make sure the humans got it right.

Mexico in March—Monarch Butterflies Take Wing

by Sheron Long on March 24, 2015

Students photographing monarch butterflies at their winter home in central Mexico, illustrating the impact that global citizens can have against the threats to the monarch butterfly. (Image © Carol Starr)

Documentary filmmakers meet a golden subject in the central highlands of Mexico.
© Carol Starr

Global Citizens Fly High, Too

Any day now, the eastern monarchs will leave their winter home in the Sierra Madre mountains of central Mexico and begin their epic journey across the US to Canada. Theirs is a know-no-boundaries flight pattern.

These pollinators are crucial to a continued food supply. Yet, like the honeybees, their numbers are dwindling: the 2014–15 estimate is about 56.5 million, a fraction of the 1 billion monarch butterflies that wintered in Mexico in 1996–97.

Who can help these fragile long-distance travelers? Global citizens, who work for monarch conservation with a know-no-boundaries fight pattern.

On London Streets: Gum Globs Become Art

by Sheron Long on February 17, 2015

Street art showing a surreal figure smoking with cigarette butts and dropped gum littering the sidewalk in front. (Art © Otto Schade; photo © Sheron Long)

Cigarette butts and gum litter are the bane of London’s walkways. Is there a creative solution?
art © Otto Schade; photo © Sheron Long

Ben Wilson Gives Us Something to Chew On

Gum litter is a problem you step into quite unknowingly. It’s a worldwide issue, but when in London, where 3.5 billion pieces of gum end up as litter every year, chances are you’ll sense the problem up close and personal, like on your shoe.

When this happens, most of us utter an epithet, get out of the sticky situation, and go on our way. But Londoner Ben Wilson, an outsider artist, has a more creative reaction. He transforms the disgusting gum globs into tiny underfoot paintings—spots of color that delight the eye of passersby.

Sidewalk with several gum globs, one of which has been painted by Ben Wilson, a London street artist. (Art © Ben Wilson; photo © Sheron Long)

The prettiest gum glob on the block
art © Ben Wilson; photo © Sheron Long

Two gum splotches side by side, one of which has been painted by street artist Ben Wilson. (Art © Ben Wilson; photo © Sheron Long)

When painted, litter becomes art.
art © Ben Wilson; photo © Sheron Long

Wilson’s street art highlights the problem of gum litter by juxtaposing a thoughtless act with an act of beauty.

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