Remember when time was one of the most limited resources anybody could have? Juggling our agendas, we rushed between work meetings, weekend trips, shopping, dinners and countless other social obligations, as business gurus built an entire industry around time management.
Of course COVID-19 lockdowns and curfews have pushed us into a new, suspended period that Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot calls "hypertime," where some have kept calm and carried on by baking bread as others sink deep inside the Netflix catalogue.
But with our collective cabin fever now over the one-year mark, the number of at-home pastimes to occupy us seems to be dwindling. That leaves us time (eternity?) for the internet's ultimate time suck and virtual link to the outside world: the livestream. From watching zebras gallop in South Africa to terrible driving in Salem, Massachusetts, here is a round-up of some of the most random real-time feeds from around the globe.
WHERE: Salem, Massachusetts, USA
WHAT: A Twitch channel devoted to one camera hanging at a street intersection in Salem, Massachusetts, where viewers watch cars as they approach a stop sign. What makes the livestream enthralling to viewers is the astounding number of vehicles that roll right on down the street, blatantly disrespecting driving etiquette.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: Road rage, an unexpected predilection for rules and order.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Las Vegas Cams, another outlet for watching people make scandalous decisions as the livestream includes a view of the famous Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel.
WHERE: Gondwana Namib Park, Namibia.
WHAT: A camera located at a waterhole where the local fauna, from zebras to ostriches, refresh themselves.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: The feeling your household pets are slightly subpar.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Brooks Falls Brown Bears webcam that records these Alaskan beasts in their native habitat.
Edit: This part originally featured the Naledi Dam Webcam, which is no longer live streamed.
WHERE: Florida, USA
WHAT: A whimsical couple have installed a backyard bubble machine that is not only hooked up to a livecam, but can be turned on by viewers with the click of a button.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: Giddiness, an exaggerated sense of control.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Watching Grass Grow Live Webcam, which provides more garden and demands less interaction.
WHERE: Queensland, Australia
WHAT: The University of Queensland's school of physics and mathematics holds the Guinness World Record for longest running experiment: the Pitch Drop experiment, started in 1927 by a professor seeking to prove that pitch, a derivative of tar, can act as a fluid at room temperature. Only six drops have fallen from his pitch funnel in 86 years — all while no one was watching. This livecam aims to change those odds.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: Excruciating impatience.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Bulbcam, where you can watch a lightbulb that's been glowing for 120 years. Brilliant.
• Crystal Bay Yacht Club Livestream
WHERE: Koh Samui, Thailand
WHAT: A camera sitting on the small, serene private beach of the Crystal Bay Yacht Club. The soft white sands, mesmerizing ocean ripples and palm trees gently swaying in the light breeze make for some hypnotic viewing.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: An overwhelming sense of tranquility. Or aggressive wanderlust.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The famous Copacabana beach in Rio De Janeiro, where the city, mountains and water meet.
WHAT: A YouTube livestream set in Skarsvåg, North Cape. According to the channel, it is the northernmost fishing village in the world. The camera pans across the town, from evening scenes of the tranquil harbor to daytime panoramic views of where the mountains meet the sea.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: An urge to slip into some fishing boots and book a flight to Norway.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The livestream of the main street in downtown Telluride, a quaint historic town in Colorado.
• International Space Station on UStream
WHERE: Outer space
WHAT: Real-time footage of brave astronauts floating about their daily lives at the International Space Station.
POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS: The sudden realization that you are but a finite speck in a vast and senseless universe, and that astrophysics is much more fun in practice.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: The Northern Lights Webcam, which monitors the aurora borealis live from Churchill, Canada.