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kottke.org posts about this is a metaphor for something

This haggard-looking eagle is a metaphor for American democracy right now

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2017

Haggard Eagle

This eagle represents how many of us feel about the repeated attempts on the freedom and well-being of American citizens by the majority Republican Congress and the current Presidential administration: victimized but still resolute and proud. We feel you, eagle…it seems as though it’s already been years since January 20.

This photo was taken by Klaus Nigge on Amaknak Island in Alaska and has put Nigge in the running for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. (via in focus)

A metaphor for Summer 2017

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 08, 2017

Summer 2017 Fire

Amateur photographer Kristi McCluer took what will probably be one of the most iconic photos of 2017 of the wildfires in the Pacific Northwest.

“I don’t golf at all,” Kristi McCluer said over the phone on Thursday morning. Instead, she said, “I have spent a great part of my life in the Columbia River Gorge, hiking.”

So when the Eagle Creek fire began, she decided she needed to see it for herself.

“I was actually going to drive up to the Bridge of the Gods,” McCluer said. But she saw a parking lot and decided to pull in. After being told she couldn’t park there because it was actually a road, she found a real parking lot that was nearly empty.

“Around the corner was this golf course,” she said, “and you could see the fire.”

So she started snapping pictures.

I was amazed to discover that it wasn’t Photoshopped. For a similar metaphorical punch, see also Theunis Wessels mowing his lawn in Alberta, Canada while a tornado spins in the background (photo by Cecilia Wessels).

Man Mowing Lawn Tornado

2017: this is fine. (via @mccanner)

Wolf trees

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 18, 2017

Wolf Tree

I took this photo of a wolf tree over the weekend. When thick forests were cleared for pasture and farming by settlers to colonial America, single trees were sometimes left by design or accident. In the absence of competition for light and space, these trees were free to branch out and not just up. They grew tall and thick, providing shade for people & animals and some cover for predators like wolves. Being the lone tree in an area, wolf trees were often struck by lightning or afflicted by pests that had nowhere else to go, contributing to their grizzled appearance.

In some cases, they grew alone like this for hundreds of years. Then, as farming moved to other places in the country, the pastures slowly turned back into forests, the new trees growing tall and straight with an old survivor in their midst. Wolf trees often look like they’re dead or dying, partially because of their age and all the damage they’ve taken over the years but also because the newer trees are crowding them out, restricting their sunlight and space. But they still function as a vital part of the forest, providing a central spot and ample living space for forest animals, particularly birds.

More reading on wolf trees, including the possible etymology of the phrase: Wolf Trees: Elders of the Eastern Forest, the Public Land Journal, and What’s up with the “Wolf Tree” at Red Rocks Park? (specifically about the tree in my photo, which might date from the 1700s). I’ll leave any possible metaphorical meaning of the wolf tree as an exercise to the reader.

This is a metaphor for how cultural, technological, and scientific changes happen

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 01, 2017

Advances in culture, technology, and science depend on past innovations and advances. Humans become capable of more and more as the momentum of knowledge grows. Lined up correctly, a tiny domino results the toppling of a massive domino further down the line.

Endless robotic loop of a toy train

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 26, 2017

This video of robot continuously building a looped track in front of a toy train is definitely a metaphor for something. Procrastination? Living paycheck to paycheck? Life with small children? I don’t know, but it makes me SO ANXIOUS! Why does it wait so long to place the next section of track?!! I couldn’t watch for more than 10 seconds or so.

See also the chase scene from The Wrong Trousers. (via @MachinePix)

Snooooooow! Traaaiiiinnnnnn!

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 16, 2017

When the first train rolls into the station after a big snowstorm, you’d best stand well clear. This was the Rhinecliff Amtrak station in New York.

Darth Vader opens Wall Street

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 22, 2009

Darth Vader and a number of Storm Troopers from the Star Wars Saga rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

(via @kngofwrld)

Mark Twain, illuminated

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 03, 2009

From a 1895 article called Tesla’s Osillator and Other Inventions, a photo of Mark Twain with one of Tesla’s marvelous contraptions.

Twain in Tesla's lab

Overloaded truck

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 30, 2009

Speaking of, here’s another good one:

It's full of people. People!

Took me awhile to realize that truck is carrying more than just baggage.

On their way

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 30, 2009

This is a good image to formalize a new kottke.org tag: this is a metaphor for something.

Donkey Car

(via shorpy)

Another photo analogy

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 20, 2002

Inspired by the photo I posted the other day about the state of the Web, a reader sent me this photo summing up how he currently feels about software development as an industry.

Bassboat

How I feel about the Web

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 18, 2002

This photo sums up how I feel about the Web right now.