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Pop Culture

60-year-old walks for hours on end to create epic snow art with just his feet

The photographs are truly something to behold.

60-year-old walks for hours on end to create epic snow art with just his feet

Simon Beck didn't set out to become a world-renowned snowshoe artist, yet here he is. The former cartographer was trained in engineering at Oxford, but has spent the past ten years making jaw-dropping art in the snow and sand using only his feet.

Beck uses geometrical and geographical tools to plot out his designs, but it's still baffling to see him walk exactly where he needs to to create them. His designs can take 12 hours of walking or more, and he'll take around 40,000 steps for an average-sized piece. It's beautiful, it's creative, it's exercise—and it's fleeting.



Being made out of snow and sand, which are constantly being blown or washed away, Beck's artwork doesn't last. Such is the nature of creating art in nature, but that doesn't bother him in the slightest. "Most people will only ever see most of the world's artwork as photographs," he said in an article in Artsy. "Even with the Mona Lisa—probably only a minority of people have actually seen the real thing, but everyone's seen a photograph of it." As long as Beck gets a photo of his massive designs, it's all good.

And the photographs are truly something to behold. Check out some of his snow creations on Facebook and Instagram.

One of the challenges of working in the snow is that conditions can change throughout the creation of a piece. Snow might melt or become exceptionally icy.

Or, other people might not realize what is happening and inadvertently mess up your work. For instance, there's nothing to stop a skier from plowing right through a design.

Beck's sand drawings offer a different kind of challenge. Timing out the tides and dealing with the wind—as well as other beachgoers—makes sand art tricky, but the final product is totally worth it.

On occasion, Beck even uses his art to make statements about issues in the world. For instance, there are 81 triangles in this drawing, but he says he left 77 unshaded to represent "the 77 countries where LGBT people are given a hard time."

Beck has created most of his 300-plus land drawings in Europe. However, he will be spending two weeks of January 2020 in Silverthorne, Colorado, where he will create between five and 15 of his iconic works of snow art.

ABC News did a segment on Beck and his work, where he explains a bit of his process and how he uses a ski pole to measure parts of the design. Watch and enjoy:

Simon Beck has become a global sensation for his installations made by stepping through snow with snowshoes and a ski pole.


This article originally appeared on 01.01.20

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.

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The young Mealy family was blown away by the instant kindness of their new neighbors.

If you're looking for a reminder of the good in people, we've got some sweet evidence for you.

Madison Mealy and her husband Blake recently moved to a rural area in the Blue Ridge Mountains and are new to country living. Mealy shared a video on TikTok showing her husband mowing the lawn with their baby in a backpack.

Cute, right? The only problem is they have a humongous lawn and her husband was mowing it with the teeniest push mower.

To be fair, if you've never had a big lawn, you may not realize how long it takes to mow and that not all lawn mowers are created equal. (They make riding lawn mowers for a reason, and it's not because of laziness.)

Mealy shared her amusement at having sent her husband out to buy a mower and seeing him come back with the tiny mower. It was going to take him hours to mow their grass.

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Health

Interesting video explains why people looked a lot older in the past than they do today

Were people unhealthy? Did they spend too much time in the sun?

Norm was only in his 30s?

Ever look at your parents' high school yearbooks and think people looked so much older back then? All of the teenagers look like they’re in their mid-30s and the teachers who are 50 look like they’re 80.

When we watch older movies, even those from the 1980s, the teenagers appear to be a lot older as well.

Why is it that they looked so much older? Was life harder? Did people act more mature? Did they spend more time outdoors and less time playing video games? Is it their sense of fashion? Were they all smokers?

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Fabrizio Villari Moroni shares his story of getting apprached by scammers

Tourists often fall prey to scams, hustles, and pickpockets in major cities because they don’t know the local customs or language and may be too trusting. They’re easy marks for experienced scammers, so everyone should take precautions while travelling abroad no matter how street-smart they think they are.

Fabrizio Villari Moroni, who goes by describes himself as the “Italian in Paris,” recently fell victim to the “Friendship Bracelet Scam” at the Montmartre stairs in Paris, France and he took to TikTok to warn other tourists visiting the City of Light.

“I see this man coming up to me and it was very intimidating because he was a very big, tall man. He came to me and he said: ‘Take it, take it.’ And I was like ‘No, thank you. No, thank you. No, thank you.’ Until he grabs my arm aggressively, like, it hurt me,” Moroni said in a video that has received over 800,000 views.

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Science

Reusable cloth Christmas bags are all the rage, saving wrapping time, money and the planet

They're also way cozier than the 2 million pounds of wrapping paper that ends up in landfills every year.

People are moving to cloth gift bags as a lot of wrapping paper can't be recycled.

Wrapping paper is a delightful invention, with all of its fun patterns and colors and wrapping methods, all in service of keeping gifts a surprise.

It's also a total environmental blight, unfortunately. Most wrapping paper is one-time use only, as what makes it pretty and shiny and durable are usually plastics that can't be separated from the paper for recycling. So into the landfill it goes, to the tune of 2.3 million pounds a year, according to Popular Science.

You can try to reuse wrapping paper, of course, but have you ever seen a kid tear into a Christmas present? You can try wrapping with simple brown paper, which is recyclable, but doesn't feel particularly festive. You could buy eco-friendly wrapping paper, shelling out a pretty penny for something that's still going to have to be purchased again and again.

OR you can go a whole new route by ditching the paper altogether and going for the truly old-fashioned, easy peasy solution of cloth gift bags that you either purchase or make yourself. If you think that sounds like a bit of a stretch, hold the judgment until you see how utterly adorable these bags are.

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Education

Mother of 7 stunned to learn the ‘Alphabet Song’ has been changed to get with the times

There's a good reason for the update. But it's jarring, to say the least.

Jessica Skube can't believe that they changed the 'Alphabet Song.'

The oldest published version of the melody to the “Alphabet Song” was in 1761. However, because it’s the same melody as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” it's hard to trace it to its original composer.

The “Alphabet Song” is so deeply entrenched in American culture that it almost seems sacrilegious to change a piece of music that’s one of the first most of us ever learned. But after all these years, some educators are altering the classic melody so that there is a variation when the letters L-M-N-O-P are sung.

This change shocked popular TikTokker Jessica Skube, who documents life raising 7 children with her 2.6 million followers. Nearly 10 million people have watched her video revealing the significant change, and it’s received over 56,000 comments since first being published in late 2020.

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