Seven Wonders of the Shrinking Planet

Speaker's Corner: Jim Benning and Michael Yessis unveil World Hum's seven wonders: places, things and people that embody ways the planet is shrinking and cultures are colliding

07.06.07 | 12:04 PM ET

The world has seven new wonders, to be added to the seven old wonders and, naturally, to the seven wonders of Canada. All this talk of wonders got us thinking about the planet’s wonders from a World Hum perspective: places, things and people that embody intriguing ways the globe is shrinking and cultures are evolving and colliding. In short, it prompted us to put together our own list of wonders that are not timeless but entirely of our time, a list of the seven wonders of the shrinking planet.


O'Hare ChicagoIn his 2001 novel Up in the Air, Walter Kirn describes “Airworld” as a “nation within a nation, with its own language, architecture, mood and even its own currency.” It’s an apt introduction to a Jet Age phenomenon familiar to anyone who has ever set foot in an airport: the vast, fluorescent territory beyond the security checkpoint, a place of crowded airport bars and moving walkways and hard seats, as well as a psychic landscape. It’s the place where nobody lives—well, almost nobody—yet it’s a limbo that, every once in a while, we all call home.

Related on World Hum:
* Adventures in ‘Airworld’
* ‘Airworld’: As Seen Via Cellphone Video
* Greg Lindsay on In-Flight Magazines and ‘Airworld’

Photo of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport by Idle Type, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

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Jim Benning

Jim Benning is the editor and co-founder of World Hum.

Michael Yessis

Michael Yessis is the cofounder and coeditor-in-chief of World Hum.

7 Comments for Seven Wonders of the Shrinking Planet

travelina 07.06.07 | 1:37 PM ET

The Airworld photo reminds me of the futuristic train station in Zug, Switzerland, designed by visionary architect James Turrell:

robmeyer 07.06.07 | 4:02 PM ET

A different kind of list, I really like it.  I especially like how you have the opening of the Northwest Passage on there, which is actually a huge deal for the international shipping industry, though I have not heard very much about it on the news.  Good catch!

Eva 07.09.07 | 10:24 AM ET

Great list! I love the picture of the Starbucks in Forbidden City - nice of them to try to blend in…

If we can add moments to the list then I’ve got one - seeing a huge contingent of Taiwanese baseball fans at the 2004 Olympics, cheering on their national team by doing the Atlanta Braves’ tomahawk chop.

ps: The Northwest Passage may not be getting much coverage in the US or globally (yet), but it is a hot topic in Canada these days - here’s today’s update, which also has links to previous news stories and background info on the topic:

Rachel 07.10.07 | 8:55 PM ET

Thanks for the list. The Northwest Passage pick is a little scary, though. I like the idea of the world becoming more of a global village, but it’s sad that it has to be because of global warming.

Eva 07.16.07 | 11:03 AM ET

Jim Benning 07.16.07 | 11:18 AM ET

Thanks, Eva. I was adding an update to the list as you were commenting.

Stay tuned for our search for our seventh wonder!

Mala@traveling-stories-magazine 09.18.07 | 5:12 PM ET

The Channel Tunnel connecting UK and France will open up international rail routes from London from mid-November 2007.The high speed line will definitely shrink a lot of travel time.
Mala Mukunda

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