birdseye view

Posted by Ellen

It's gotta be that shredder sitting by the windowsill, just to the right of the desktop.

This is Ted's new office in Washington, DC.

Posted by Ellen

Actually, it's a nesting Falcon. I do not pretend to know what this is all about, except that I understand the bird and almost certainly also the tree are Australian.

Go ahead. Laugh, all you kookaburras. Gay your life must be.

Posted by Ellen

This camp at Zaatari in northern Jordan just marked its first anniversary. Refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war have flooded in so fast that attempts at accurate headcounts have been abandoned. Back in March and April, when the fighting was especially intense, the influx from Syria was estimated at 5,000 to 10,000 new refugees every day.

The current camp population is believed to be approximately 144,000, making Zaatari the fourth largest community in Jordan.

Posted by Ellen

Looking out over Philadelphia through the window of a restaurant on the 37th floor of 2 Liberty Place, a downtown skyscraper.

Posted by Ellen

Trees from above, waiting for the sun.

Posted by Ellen

On a cold night in January, more than two hundred firefighters from all over Chicago battled a huge blaze in the Harris Marcus warehouse in the city's Bridgeport district. The job was complicated by extreme cold, as hydrants froze and ladders iced up; the water department was called in to de-ice the ladders with steamers.

The next day, embers in the smouldering ruin reignited, and firetrucks had to go back there and spray even more water.

Posted by Ellen

Grand prize winner from the 2012 international SkyscraperCity photo competition.

Meanwhile, here in Pennsylvania, Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow, foreshadowing an early spring, and the winter weather continues to compare favorably to the conditions suggested in the photo.

Posted by Ellen

It does seem like we don't make anything in America any more, but that's not completely true. Right here under this roof in Easton, Pennsylvania, Americans make Crayola crayons and . . . Silly Putty. Not only that, but up the road a few miles they've got a factory outlet store and a Crayola Discovery Center, which is basically a crayon-themed theme park.

Still and all, this factory doesn't look quite right. You can't make a lot of crayons without heating up a lot of wax–shouldn't they have some serious smokestacks here?

Posted by Ellen

From the rooftops, here on Kater Street, you can see most of Philadelphia's gap-toothed skyline, such as it is. This is a city that had no tall skyscrapers at all until the late 1980s and does not yet have a critical mass of them, skyline-wise.

From a few fortunate vantage points around town, the buildings of Center City appear to clump together more or less like a proper downtown. But from most places, including the roofs of Kater Street's two-story row houses, the skyline looks raggedy and disorganized.

Actually, from the roof of our own house up toward the end of the block, you can't see the skyline at all on account of the trees–or at least that was the case last week, when we climbed up there and shot this picture. Since then, the leaves have yellowed and dropped quite suddenly, and we would imagine the view is now only partially blocked, by a lacework of tree branches.