Islands rise, trees fall and a Brit decides to row across the Pacific, around the world today

This cartoon, titled “Waiting for Peace,” is by Iranian cartoonist Mana Neyestani, who now lives in exile in France. It’s a comment on Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s stated desire to reach a speedy resolution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. But it’s also a comment on how fragile that diplomatic process is.

A cautionary tale from Germany has been keeping us interested today.

We all know the feeling when an innocent white lie spirals out of control. But probably not quite as well Robin van Helsum, 21, whose been sentenced to community service for a more dramatic twisting of the truth over the last two years.

Moral of the story? Don’t pretend you are a feral child raised by forest animals unless you’re really prepared to commit to the role.

Here’s what else we’ve been looking at for

Iran's man in Syria: 'The most powerful operative in the Middle East today'

"He has this presence […] Doesn’t speak, doesn’t comment, just sits and listens. And so of course everyone is thinking only about him.”

The New Yorker’s Dexter Filkins reports on the man one CIA agent describes as "the most powerful operative in the Middle East today" — Qassem Suleimani, the Iranian directing the Assad regime’s war effort.

Great British pointless journeys #2560: Woman rows the Pacific, west to east

"I started seeing things- characters from Alice in Wonderland… I just thought- they’re not there, Sarah!’

The glorious British tradition of arduous — yet ultimately pointless — global journeys is being carried on by 28-year-old Sarah Houten, believed to be the first person to successfully row across the Pacific, west to east.

More details of her uplifting and self inflicted hardship — including hallucinations and a proposal of marriage.

On the frontline of Egypt's sectarian divide

"The attacked our house- then they dragged the body out into the street"

The BBC’s Tim Whewell has filed a fascinating (and quite graphic) report from the Egytian town of Delga, where the divide between Coptic Christians and Islamists is at its most violent, and the Christian community has been fleeing. The footage of a 1,500-year-old church burnt by an Islamist mob is particularly striking.

More climate change excuses: This time it's in our brains

After yet another authorititave international scientific report confirming man-made climate change, the Guardian’s Jorg Friedrichs considers whether global inaction is in fact the fault of our grey matter.

You think your kids attract mud?

Scientists think the earthquake earlier this week in Pakistan may have created a pile of mud and debris so large in the Arabian Sea that its formed into a new island. It's not unheard of — and in fact one of these so-called mud islands lasted a year before vanishing as quickly as it came.

What we're seeing on social

Weather around the world

A family in Victoria, Australia is counting itself lucky after a wild storm moved through the area and sent a tree crashing into their car. The same storm system sank a boat in the harbor, imperiling the fisherman onboard. He managed to survive.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Sign up for The Top of the World, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.