The good, the bad, and the ugly of humans' impact on the Earth, in 13 aerial photos.

Ben Grant was looking for satellite images of planet Earth. Instead, he found himself looking at Earth, Texas.

Photo by Ben Grant, used with permission.

While working at a brand consulting firm in New York a few years back, Grant started a space club "as an excuse to bring people together to eat lunch," he says. For one session, he tried to pull some satellite images so the group could talk about how satellites work.


"I thought if I typed in the word 'Earth,' Apple Maps would zoom out and show the entire planet, but it actually went to Earth, Texas," Grant says.

Suddenly, his screen was filled with a strange pattern. Hundreds and hundreds of perfect circles, evenly spaced, in some kind of divine pattern. They were irrigation fields, he says, but he had never seen anything like it before.

Inspired by his accidental aerial discovery, Grant started investigating the overview effect: The idea that seeing our world in its entirety can give us a new understanding of what it means to be alive.

The term is typically reserved for astronauts who get the life-changing experience of viewing the entire Earth at once from space, but Grant wondered if he could feel the same thing by viewing the most miraculous and mesmerizing satellite images he could find.

From there, the Daily Overview was born: A project where Grant would show the world the most stunning man-made landscapes on the planet.

"I didn't know what that meant or if it'd be showing the negative or the positive or everything in between, but it just started from there," he says.

Here are some of Grant's favorite shots, painstakingly stitched together from raw satellite data and color-enhanced to give us a completely fresh perspective on human impact.

1. Irrigated fields in Earth, Texas. The photo that started it all.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

2. The Gemasolar Thermosolar plant near Seville, Spain.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

3. Tulip fields near Lisse, Netherlands.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

4. The Port of Antwerp in Belgium.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

5. The villas of Marabe Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

6. A water community in Delray Beach, Florida.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

7.  A highway interchange in Jacksonville, Florida.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

8. A community in Sun Lakes, Arizona.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

9. Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

10. Burning Man festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

11. An airplane graveyard in Victorville, California.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

12. A section of the Empty Quarter, the world's largest sand desert, in Saudi Arabia.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

13. And drainage systems around the Shadegan lagoon in Iran.

Photo by Benjamin Grant/Satellite Images (c) DigitalGlobe, Inc.

Grant says that while the pictures have gotten a lot of attention for being beautiful, he's most proud of how his project has made people stop and think.

"When people think about climate change or the way we're impacting the planet, they often think of trees being cut down or icebergs melting or heat rising off the pavement," he says. "That's kind of overdone now. People don't even see that image anymore."

The Daily Overview, he says, offers a different perspective of human impact: the good, the bad, and everything in between. It catches people's attention with mesmerizing images, then makes them ask questions and think about what they're seeing. And, at least Grant hopes, "that leads to people acting in service of the planet."

"There's something powerful in looking at the world this way, and it's changed people," Grant says. "I hope the work that I'm doing continues to change people."

Heroes
Alie Ward

Your dinner plate shouldn't shame you for eating off of it. But that's exactly what a set being sold at Macy's did.

The retailer has since removed the dinnerware from their concept shop, Story, after facing social media backlash for the "toxic message" they were sending.

The plates, made by Pourtions, have circles on them to indicate what a proper portion should look like, along with "helpful — and hilarious — visual cues" to keep people from "overindulging."

There are serval different styles, with one version labeling the largest portion as "mom jeans," the medium portion as "favorite jeans," and the smallest portion as "skinny jeans."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

In today's installment of the perils of being a woman, a 21-year-old woman shared her experience being "slut-shamed" by her nurse practitioner during a visit to urgent care for an STD check.

The woman recently had sex with someone she had only just met, and it was her first time hooking up with someone she had not "developed deep connections with."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared