28 June 2015

The Underwater Billiard Room of Witley Park

Whitaker Wright was a very rich man. He had made his fortune in the mining industry and so when it came to the creation of a billiard room on his new estate perhaps it was only fitting to build it underground. Not only that, this eccentric millionaire decided to build it underwater too. With windows.

21 June 2015

Help Shine a Light on Child Mortality


All over the world children continue to die in such numbers that it is sometimes difficult to believe that we are all living in the same century.  Charity Human Appeal has recently released this video to raise awareness not only of the shocking numbers of children who are dying but what causes these awful child mortality rates too. It forms part of their #shinealight campaign to end child mortality and global poverty.

The release of the video has been timed to coincide with the beginning of Ramadan when Muslims throughout the world reflect on their relationship with those less fortunate than themselves (amongst many other things, of course).

The video shows two children but the shadow of one of them freezes.  When the camera pans to what is making the shadow we do not see the child but the many causes of child mortality around the world.  Rotting food, damaged medical equipment, dirty water, weapons and ammunition all come together to make this an extremely powerful visual metaphor for the things that kill children each and every day.

To focus on just one aspect of this shadow sculpture – the food that is crawling with insects represents the 3 million young lives lost to malnutrition each year.  However, this can be stopped.  Human Appeal’s activity in Syria alone over the last two years benefited over 2.7 million people.

There are ways you can help.  You could share this post through your social media channels.  You can also share directly from the video on Facebook or retweet it on Twitter.
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20 June 2015

Alien Communications


How do you finally bond with the boy that you have crushed on for years? By discovering an alien probe in the woods and making sure that he’s the first person you call about it.  Yet even then the course of true love never does run smooth.  This charming and funny coming-of-age short was created by Pennsylvania based Something's Awry Productions and stars upcoming actors Evangeline Young and Luke Baxter.
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The Maijishan Grottoes - Artistic Treasure of China’s Past

China has four major Buddhist cave complexes - by far the most visited being the Longmen caves. Less well known are the Maijishan Grottoes. Situated in Gansu Province in the northwest of China, this astonishing example of cave architecture hewn from rock consists of over 7,000 Buddhist sculptures not to mention almost 1000 square meters of murals.

14 June 2015

Fish Friend


Every child should have a pet or at least one that does not have too many murderous intentions.  Yet for ten year old Sally, the goldfish that she chose at the pet store is not quite what it seems.  The neighbourhood may never be quite the same again. Combining live action and animation, Fish Friend is inspired by 1950s Americana, Tim Burton, and the shorts of Pixar.  It’s a great combination and this short film certainly makes a splash.
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Bog Bodies


Bog bodies have been found throughout Europe, the cadavers of people preserved in peat bogs some of which are thousands of years old.  Ritual sacrifice has long been suspected as a reason for a number of these deaths and this fantastic animation by Plazma for Mummies Alive (a six part documentary series) imagines the fate of just one bog man.  It is chilling but fascinating dramatic reconstruction of how a man may have died many centuries ago.
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Da Vinci Project


For some reason these lines from Edgar Allan Poe sprang to my mind as I watched Alain Escalle’s visually ravishing Da Vinci Project: All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.  As a visual diary of the Renaissance world it evokes a time when knowledge made a return to Europe and with it new visions for humanity.  It is a fantasy within a reverie – and is completely spellbinding.
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Calbuco: A Volcano Erupts


If you are a timelapse photographer, like Martin Heck, you must dream of something like a volcano erupting when you just happen to be in the vicinity with all your equipment.  I wouldn’t like to calculate the odds but that is exactly when happened. Located in southern Chile the volcano picked April 22 2015 to pop off, just when Heck was traveling away from the neighboring volcano Osorno.  The footage he captured is simply stunning.
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Boogers


Sometimes life is no fun.  When you are a young girl with a host of allergies it often becomes miserable.  Such is the case with Boogers who is constantly producing industrial amounts of snot.  Yet there may be help at hand, perhaps through her grandmother’s home made remedies but undoubtedly through the strength of her imagination.

This charming Colombian animated short, directed by Pavel Molano Rincón captures the resourcefulness possessed by so many children with difficulties as well as an insight in to how they come to terms with their condition.
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Kumbhalgarh – The Great Wall of India

Long overshadowed by its lengthier neighbor to the east, this is the second largest continuous wall on the planet. Some call it by the name of the fort it surrounds – Kumbhalgarh. Others simply refer to it as The Great Wall of India. Yet bewilderingly, it is still little known outside its own region.

8 June 2015

Death by Chocolate


When fame has fled adjusting to your new position in life can be traumatic. Unable to adjust to rejection after rejection, jaded movie star Anne has hired a contract killer to, well, do what he does best.  However, she has second thoughts and meets with him to cancel the contract.

A wonderful short film which shows how much drama – not to mention black comedy, can be extracted from a great script and just two actors.  Written, produced and directed by REZ (Robin Veret & Dimitri Gochgarian), Death by Chocolate will have you on the edge of your seat till the end.
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Tiny Tunes: Singing Songs about the Important Things in Life


Stop what you’re doing and watch this because it will probably change your life. OK, it absolutely won’t but I think you might become an instant fan of Tiny Tunes, a new band singing songs about the important things in life such as gas, size, the future, style, food and that’s it really.   They prove, finally, that you really don't need a twenty minute Muse epic if you are searching for profundity in your music.

Created by Andy Martin these tiny little songs could last you a lifetime and contain vast amounts of sensible advice.  My favourite I think is “when I’m dead, I’m gonna freeze my head.” Perhaps, the song about food is probably more accurately me at the end of the day.
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Canned


If you are a regular reader of Kuriositas then you know that we like two things (among others) – street art and animation.  Imagine our delight then when we came across Canned which combines both beautifully.  A young artist gets more than he bargained for when he creates his own latterday Venus – as do the police!

Made by students Ivan Joy, Nathaniel Hatton and Tanya Zaman at Ringling College, this is great fun – and has an ending that will make you go “aaah”.
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7 June 2015

Doctor Who Classic Series Mega-Quiz: How Many Monsters Can You Name?

If you are a little bored and just happen to be a fan of the TV series Doctor Who (or the part of it now called the classic series) then this might just alleviate your situation. We have taken forty of the old-time monsters and wrapped them up in to a picture-based multiple choice quiz. How many will you get out of forty? Please don’t forget to share this quiz on Facebook if you enjoyed it!

If the answer you choose goes GREEN, then you got it right.  If it goes RED then you got it wrong.  You will also see how many other people chose the different answers (in terms of a percentage). Ready? Let's go!


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The Fermi Paradox vs The Great Filter


The Fermi Paradox wonders why we have not encountered intelligent extra-terrestrial life as statistically it must exist. However, once you throw the concept of the Great Filter in to the mix the (possibly) sad reality of why ET has never coming a’ knocking becomes clear.  This is a personal project by Alex Verlan inspired by Dan Carlin's 'Hardcore History' series.  So, where is everybody? Oh. Oh dear.
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Hola Llamigo

Down on the piñata farm, things are looking a little bleak for one young boy and his best friend.  They live on what can only be called a factory farm. As their friendship grows so does the danger until one day things, inevitably, come to a head.  This lovely, funny and utterly daft animated short was created by Charlie Parisi and Christina Chang during their time at Ringling College of Art and Design.

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Blur: Ong Ong


Blur’s Ong Ong is accompanied by a great video thanks to the guys and gals at Blink.  Mr OK has lost his girlfriend so he goes in search of her.  In the spirit of games such as Donkey Kong and Mario Bros, our hero has to defeat an enemy at each level in order to be reunited with his love. It’s amazing to think that all of this only took seven days to complete (including one almighty all-nighter) but the results are fantastic.
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Astrolabe – Magnificent Computer of the Ancients

It is an ancient tool, created over two thousand years ago when people thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. They are often referred to as the first computer and however debatable that statement might be there is one thing for sure without a doubt.  Astrolabes are objects of immense mystery and beauty.

So what does an astrolabe do and how were they useful in the ancient world? Firstly they are problem solving instruments – they compute things such as the time of day according the position of the sun and the stars in the sky. Like a computer, you input information and then you receive output.  They were typically made of brass and had a 6 inch diameter, although as we will see much larger ones were made.

6 June 2015

The Caterpillar with Penguins on its Back

Over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space, there is a feature on one of nature’s oddities. If you look at the caterpillar of the forest tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma disstria) with a little imagination you can see something remarkable. Found throughout North America, along the top of this caterpillar is ranged a set of what looks like dancing penguins. It looks as if his grandma knitted him a sweater for Christmas but decided that one motif simply wasn’t enough.

Click on the links or the picture to read the full feature and see a host of other photographs of this remarkable creature.

Image Credit
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