This story just popped up on NPR, but it has been reported in past years as well. The image to the left is from January 30, 2014, taken by astronauts on the International Space Station - and no, that is not the Sea of Japan - it's North Korea (the picture below demonstrates the scale of this difference better.)

Basically only Pyongyang is visible, even though over 2.5 million people live there. For comparison, 25 million people live in North Korea, while 50 million live in South Korea - even given that population difference, the discrepancy in light consumption at night is nowhere near comparable. It's interesting how the this immediately makes us think about per capita power consumption, as well as the nation's economy.

These pictures always seem to be very popular, maybe because there is something so strange and scary about it. In our current global climate, where everything is connected and reported on 24/7, what does it mean to have a country that we are (excuse my pun) literally in the dark about? This picture (and most importantly maybe, its popularity) is an interesting reflection of how this country can be perceived globally - isolated, unique, mysterious, unsettling. The public reactions are in line with that experience.

But really, my main thought is....my fear of complete darkness would not do well there (or, positive reframe, it would not last long!).