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Back from the Future: Jet Lag!

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Good morning, everybody -- or is it good night? I'm finally back from my sojourn to the land of kiwis and bungee jumping, where, being on the "other side" of the international date line, it's frequently tomorrow. (It was a little surreal leaving Auckland at 10pm and flying for 12 hours only to arrive in Los Angeles at 3pm, but that's just the crazy modern world we live in, I suppose.) Needless to say, I've got tons of kiwi-flavored floss to share with y'all this week, but right now I wanted to meditate on that thing which is most occupying my brain space: jet lag.

I thought I'd be OK. Going over was easier: we left at 10pm, popped an Ambien each (no sleep-driving/eating/sex occurred on the plane, I'm happy to report), and when we woke up the plane was landing, and it was 5am -- two days later. No matter; it felt at least psuedo-natural to us. After one freaking long day, during which we were lucky to have an Auckland-based friend to keep us entertained and awake (thanks, Doug), we hit the sack and were more or less adapted.

Coming back has been a different story. I feel like my brain is swimming in a thicker-than-usual soup, and strange things, like doing my laundry, have taken on a heavy, new, almost spiritual importance. It's a bit like being under hypnosis and realizing it: you feel the urge to tell strangers about where you've been, and if asked the right way, you're in danger of confessing to almost anything. Jet lag is like truth serum that way; perhaps part of it has to do with the nature of traveling itself -- even when I'm with a group, I find myself striking up conversations with other travelers and with locals whenever possible, out of a need to engage more deeply with the places I go. So it's hard to suddenly come back to America and normality where I'm not supposed to have deep conversations with my neighbors or say hi to everyone I see on the street!

Anyway, hopefully I'll be myself tomorrow; in the mean time, we'd love to hear about some of our well-traveled readers' experiences -- good or bad -- with jet lag!

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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]


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