A satellite’s-eye view

I always enjoy looking through the “Best of …” pictures at National Geographic. Today it is “THE BEST PICTURES OF EARTH: Reader Picks of NASA Shots.” Check out the cool shapes and colors of number 2, a photo of sea and sand in the Bahamas. “Twin Blue Marbles” (number 5) is another beautiful sight of the colors and patterns of our pattern, though on a vastly different scale. I’ve seen photos of the earth from space before, but never two images that together show the entire globe.

My favorite, though, is number 8, “Agricultural Patterns.” Not only are the shades of green lovely and the geometric patterns among the squares different yet somehow balanced, it also is visual evidence of how geography and history shape our way of life. And I mean “shape” literally as well as metaphorically. The text below explains how the size and shape of farms reflect not only what kind of crops are grown but also how farmland is parceled out. Large or small, regular or haphazard, rectangular or wedge-shaped, these green polygons give a satellite’s-eye view of the different patterns of agriculture around the world.

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