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Woman Transforms Her Brooklyn Apartment Into An Urban Jungle With 500 Lush Plants



I recently had a friend visit my beachy apartment in California from New York City — also known as “The Concrete Jungle.”

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She was mesmerized by the amount of plants I had in my home, calling them lively and elegant. I was a bit surprised by her confusion. I grew up with a garden, plants perfectly placed to ignite life throughout the home, and as an adult, surrounded by quite a bit of concrete myself (and not an acre of land to be found), I’ve resolved to fill my home with potted herbs and succulents. Plants hang from the ceiling, sit on the windowsills, accompany me at my office desk, wake me up on my nightstand in the morning.

And then I came across Summer Rayne Oakes, who lives in an “urban jungle.”

Upon researching her website, I studied her endearing biography. Oakes had an epiphany while reclaiming mine sites, researching sewage sludge, and restoring forestlands: She could create a career for herself by bridging her interest in ecological systems to industries that affect our everyday life — from what we wear to what we eat:

These are things like improving our supply chain with technology, designing more environmentally-sound products, creating entertaining media with a message, helping people eat better, and bringing back the joy of movement to a sedentary world.

The environmental scientist, plant whisperer, bug collector, and model has managed to show off just how inspired she is by bridging these two seemingly opposite worlds of nature and style outside of work as well. Oakes has crammed her 1,200 square-foot apartment in The Concrete Jungle borough of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with 500 different plants ranging from herbs and flowers to fruit and vegetables.

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“I think that the only way I’ve really been able to survive in New York is by surrounding myself with plants,” Oakes explained.

Every room in her apartment is rich with vegetation. Her bedroom beholds a living wall connected to an irrigation system; jars and pots hang from makeshift platforms made from planks and plywood; a tray of succulents brightens up her bathroom; the windowsills host magnificent miniature greenhouses that contain more “light-necessary” plants such as herbs. And while many people might fuss over the small closets that accompany their New York apartments, baffled by how they’re supposed to even fit a shoe in there, Oakes has transformed hers into an entire vegetable garden.

As a result of her keen eye for connecting nature and style, Oakes has taken cramped quarters, limited sunlight, and scant access to soil and turned it into a hospitable environment for a lush garden.

She has lived in this previously industrial building for 11 years now, and continues to find endless and inventive ways to turn it into a haven for flourishing a plethora of flora.

It’s a thoughtful reminder that, as our world continues to progress, we do not have to limit our interaction with nature.

Check out the photos of Oakes’ home below and prepare to be absolutely amazed, and hopefully inspired:

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New Images Of Jupiter Are In And They’re Awesome

Low and behold, the magnificent gas giant Jupiter in all its glory!



Earth is a miraculous being. We have lived on this planet for centuries and still haven’t learned of all its magnificent depths and crevices. Yet, beyond the mysteries of our own home, we have the beauty of the stars to consider, which inevitably leaves us wondering, what else is beyond this blanket of darkness and twinkling lights? While we have discovered much about our solar system and neighbouring planets, there is still plenty more to learn.

In 2011, Nasa launched a space probe called Juno which is currently orbiting Jupiter. Juno finally began its scientific investigation of the planet when it entered orbit on July 5, 2016. The mission aims to learn more about how the planet formed, its composition, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, and its mass distribution. It will also measure its deep winds, which have been noted to reach speeds of up to 618 kilometers per hour (384 mph), and its gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.

On July 10, Juno completed a close flyby of Jupiter and its Great Red Spot during its sixth science orbit. “For generations people from all over the world and all walks of life have marveled over the Great Red Spot,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “Now we are finally going to see what this storm looks like up close and personal.”

On Friday, September 1, the JunoCam collected more images of this magnificent gas giant from its seventh science orbit, and NASA put the raw images online. In the following photos you will see what seems to be a large storm cutting into the side of the planet, creating a rather lovely pattern, along with amazing closeups of the clouds, a shadow on Jupiter caused by one of its moons, and hurricanes making their way across the planet. As an additional treat, there is also a video stitching together images as Juno flew over Jupiter.

Juno’s missions is scheduled to end in July 2018 but the mission could be extended if all continues to go well.


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Breath-Taking Images of The Recent Full Solar Eclipse, From Space



As you probably already know, Earth experienced a total solar eclipse on August 21st. This rare astronomical event garnered plenty of attention, capturing the imaginations of people from all around the globe.

I’ve always been fascinated by such events that happen in space, as well as chronobiology, a field within biology that examines and studies phenomena in living organisms and how solar, lunar, and other related rhythms affect our physiology.

Here at Collective Evolution, based on all of our research in several different fields, we believe there is currently a massive shift in consciousness happening, and that it’s actually coinciding with the heightened activity of the Sun. Throughout all stages of human history, major events (like 9/11) have been marked by a spike or increase in solar activity.

“I believe it will be the magnetic influence produced by the sun that will usher in what is described by our ancient ancestors as ‘the transition’ bringing us to a new state-of-being.”  

– Mitch Batros, author, solar researcher

Today, we understand that the sun goes through cycles, like the sun spot cycle that lasts 11 years.

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Do these events affect human consciousness? A Soviet-era interdisciplinary scientist and biophysicist who founded “heliobiology,” the study of the sun’s effect on biology, named Alexander Chizhevsky produced a lot of great research on the subject, as have many others.

“When I first came across Chizhevsky’s research it was fascinating because you’re seeing thousands of years’ worth of human history and human events that seem to coincide almost perfectly with the cycles of the sun, and the radiation and cosmic rays that are coming down cosmologically and that are ultimately impacting human consciousness and the events that take place here on Earth.”

Joe Martino, Founder of Collective Evolution

After analyzing years of data, Chizhevsky discovered a remarkable correlation between sun spot cycles and major events in human history. We go into more detail about this in our third documentary, The Collective Evolution III: The Shift, at approximately the 40 minute mark.

It’s also important to mention the fact that an international cooperative effort to help activate the heart of humanity and facilitate a shift in global consciousness is underway, thanks to the work of scientists over at the HeartMath Institute. Science has recently shed light on the fact that what we used to perceive as ‘human’ aura is actually an electromagnetic field that all our bodies emit, a fact which plays a very important role — far beyond what is commonly known — in understanding our biology, and the interconnectedness we share with all life.

Astronomical bodies, like the Sun, also have electromagnetic fields. Perhaps we have a relationship with the stars and the planets that we don’t yet understand.

Related CE Articles:

Scientists: Earth’s Magnetic Fields Carry Biologically Relevant Information That ‘Connects All Living Systems.’

Synchronization of Autonomic Nervous System Rhythms With Geomagnetic Activity Found In Human Subjects

According to Vedic scholars, teachers, and gurus like HH Swami Vidyadhishananda, this event was a rare opportunity for meditation:

In general, eclipses indicate an interruption of the energy of the luminaries and hence are deemed as important events for life on Earth. The effect of an eclipse on each individual is different and depends on their particular position or placement of luminaries at the time of birth. . . .

Typically the effects last for three to six months if the eclipse is of particular significance to an individual, whereas it can even last for up to a year if relevant to a country. If and how an eclipse affects an individual is a specific and detailed calculation and is in itself a vast subject. An eclipse of this magnitude influences life across the entire globe to varying degrees. . . . However such effects which are out of our control can be best mitigated at the personal level by way of contemplation or meditation.

Whereas eclipses and their effects have been feared by most traditions and cultures, meditators patiently wait for such moments to come forth. This is because the depth and power of meditation increases manifold during an eclipse.

Definitely some interesting things to think on. Thanks for reading.

This composite image, made from seven frames, shows the International Space Station, with a crew of six onboard, as it transits the Sun at roughly five miles per second during a partial solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 near Banner, Wyoming. Onboard as part of Expedition 52 are: NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson, Jack Fischer, and Randy Bresnik; Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Sergey Ryazanskiy; and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Paolo Nespoli. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The Bailey’s Beads effect is seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

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Why This Photographer Shoots Real People Doing Everyday Tasks Naked



As an adult, how many times have you been nude around someone else? Friends? Lovers? Family? Strangers? Likely not very often, since being naked, other than taking off your clothes and jumping in the shower, or quickly changing, remains taboo in our culture.

In a way, I understand it. The naked body is most often associated with sex, and so, we cover up the parts of our body associated with it. But of course we dress for so many other reasons: to be warm, to be comfortable, to be fashionable, to be symbolic, and so on.

But the taboo of being naked is just that: a taboo. It’s fear-based, and so we refrain from it. Maybe it’s too much to imagine walking around the streets of a city naked, but what about doing one of your favourite things in the comfort of your own home? Would, and should, being naked really change it?

Photographer Sophia Vogel knows nudity carries this taboo, and so she sought out to prove to people that being naked should feel just as natural as being clothed. “If you think of it right, we are all naked underneath our clothes,” she said.

In her photo series “With and Without,” Vogel got intimate with her subjects, entering their homes and asking them what their hobbies included. Whether it was listening to music or playing with their cat, she asked them to perform their hobbies with and without clothing. Taking photographs during their clothed state and then again during their naked state, she gave a side-by-side comparison of what a hobby looks like in these seemingly different contexts.

Though nakedness has certainly gained more popularity in the mainstream, allowing it to slowly escape the confines of the taboo world, it is still very much a shocking, inappropriate state to many.

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“The pressure of being a sexual being is omnipresent for every human being,” Vogel said. “We are observed and judged every day, and the fashion industry lavishes beauty ideals and criticism on us. We set high standards for ourselves. I want to speak up against these ridiculous standards.”

But Vogel’s portraits show no signs of sexual connotation, despite nudity being so sexualized in modern society.

“By presenting all kinds of different body shapes and natural postures I would love to show that everybody is beautiful in their own way,” she said. “I love to present nudity in an aesthetic manner without any sexual context. Not every single nude photograph should be linked to sexuality.”

Even more intriguing about this photo series is that Vogel’s subjects are not models at all, but regular people who agreed to take part in the project by way of reaching out on Instagram, or word-of-mouth. Clearly, many others wanted to break the stigma, too, including the teachers, dentists, attorneys, and various other volunteers — most of them millennials — featured in the series.

“Right now, I am unfortunately only able to get ahold of the younger generations, but I would love to photograph a wide age range,” she said.

Photos: Sophia Vogel

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UPDATE: As of Dec 26th, 2018, YouTube has demonetized our channel for no apparent reason. More funding cut off

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