Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
If you wanted to sum up what people mean when they toss around phrases like “class war” and “the 99 percent” and “WTF,” you might put it all down to this: $39,000 backpacks. Sold out.
It’s been four years since the entrepreneurial Olsen sisters, Mary-Kate and Ashley, launched their luxury fashion line, the Row, and three months since they debuted their stylish and exorbitantly priced black crocodile bag. But it was the news this week that at the Paris launch of the handbag line, Ashley Olsen bragged that the backpack “was the first thing that sold off the shelf” that really took the let-them-eat-cake. Olsen added that luxury brands do well in hard times, noting that “During our last economic crisis in the U.S., the only thing that went up was Hermès,” before, in the words of Women’s Wear Daily, “returning to sip Champagne with guests including Michelle Harper and Christian Louboutin.” As a commenter on CNN observed of this news, “This is what’s wrong with America. The income inequality in this country is outrageous, we are well on our way to becoming a 3rd world country.” Or, as another more aptly expressed it, “That’s cray cray.”
Of course, it’s not as if piles of supple ostrich skin are flying off shelves like some end-of-days scene out of the Missoni for Target debacle. For perspective, it should be noted the New York Daily news reported last summer that a whopping two people had pre-ordered the bags. And back then, Barneys fashion director Amanda Brooks told Fashionista.com that “They truly are classic bags – and I think you also might be the only one who has it.” I happen to think that if you’re paying almost 40 G’s for something 7-year-olds usually carry their lunch to school in, it had better be unique. I also think it should come with the deed to a house in the Catskills inside of it.
The rich will always be with us. There will always be big diamond rings and oversize mansions and $10 million weddings and impossibly priced accessories. Times are not equally tough on everybody, and Ashley and Mary-Kate are not the ones responsible for this economic pickle we’re now in.
But it takes a special kind of out-of-touchness to boast, while sipping champagne, of selling out of an item that costs about as much as a year’s tuition at an Ivy League university. To blithely say, as Amanda Brooks has, that “If you were ever going to spend $39,000 on a bag, that’s the bag you should buy,” when the average American annual income is, coincidentally, $39,054.62. If you’re going to spend $39,000, you could also employ a person for a whole year! Wealth does not equal social obligation. And you can spend thousands on your purses and still be a decent, generous person. But these are not times for ostentatious displays of having, when far too many have not. And if you think the bag is so classic, you could always get it in the leather version. It’s only $3,900.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.