27 July 2018

Seoul Timelapse – Watch the Seasons Pass


This timelapse of the South Korean capital is amazing – not only do you get the city in all its glory but you get it throughout the year.  I do not know the technique that was used for this but there is one thing I can say – it must have taken a lot of patience.  Plus I am not even going to guess at how the Oh Choong Young managed to get the cameras in the right position each time they shot a new season of the year in a particular place. Altogether it is a stunning piece of work and I am sure that the city has never looked more beautiful.

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26 July 2018

The Remarkable Kindertransport Monuments of Frank Meisler

Frank Meisler (above) died in March 2018 at the age of 92. An internationally renowned architect and sculptor he enriched the world with his buildings and his works of art. Yet had others had their way his life would have been savagely curtailed in his teens.  Meisler never forgot how he escaped death, those who made the journey with him and those who made it possible. He left behind a remarkable legacy so that we might remember too.

Image Credit Wikimedia
In August 1939 Frank Meisler was a frightened 13 year old boy.  As a Jew he was no longer safe in his home town, the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk in Poland), a German enclave which had embraced Nazism.  There had been anti-Jewish riots and the city’s Great Synagogue had been taken over and demolished.  Desperate, his parents requested his evacuation from the city by the Kindertrasport (German, Children’s Transport) an organised rescue that took place just before the outbreak of the Second World War.  Frank Meisler escaped to the UK.  Seventy years later in 2009 he would return to his birthplace with his memorial dedicated to the children of the Kindertransport and those who had made their salvation possible.

24 July 2018

History of Emoticons and Emojis

Any social media user has used an emoji or an emoticon at some point. The two though used for the same purpose are different and have different origins as well. One is of English origins and the other of Japanese origins. The resemblance between the two is considered to be purely coincidental.

Emoticons
An emoticon is a facial expression that is presented using various characters. Mainly, punctuation marks, numbers and letters. They are used to express a person’s feelings, mood and expression. Emoticons can also be used as a time-saving method. This is because a few emoticons can have the same meaning as words in a sentence.

History of Emoticons
The first emoticons were introduced in 1982, by Scott Fahlam. He was a computer scientist at Carnegie University. This man is also commonly regarded as the Father of Emoticons. Despite their introduction in the 1980’s, they were first used in 1972 on the Plato IV computer system.

Emoticons became more popular as the internet became popular. As a result, they became widely used in text messages and emails including Australian online pokies. They have also played a great role in communication through technology. They give a more complete expression of feeling and tone.

Emojis
Emoji are graphic symbols that represent an idea or concept regardless of language, words or phrases. They are mainly used in social media messaging. They exist to express various emotions and feelings. Emoji can also be used to sum-up messages and make text shorter. They are like emoticons, but emoji are actual pictures and emoticons are not.

History
Emoji first appeared in Japanese mobile phones around 1999. They are pictographs. A pictograph is a picture that conveys meaning and is based on resemblance to a physical object. For instance, casino game emoji’s at online casino sa or flower emoji’s on WhatsApp.

They, however, became popular after the 2010’s when they were added to several mobile operating systems. They now play a large role in the fields of social media. Popular platforms that use emoji are Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype just to mention a few.
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23 July 2018

Remember Lidice

On 2 July 1942, most of the children of Lidice, a small village in what was then Czechoslovakia, were handed over to the Łódź Gestapo office. Those 82 children were then transported to the extermination camp at Chełmno 70 kilometers away. There they were gassed to death. This remarkable sculpture by by Marie Uchytilová commemorates them. Yet what had they (and their families) done to warrant such an end?

The events leading to their death were complex but the pivotal moment had been the assassination of the Acting Reichsprotektor of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich. Czechoslovakia had been occupied by Nazi Germany since the April of 1939 and Heydrich was a greatly detested figure of oppressive authority. He was attacked by a British trained team of Czech and Slovak soldiers. From the moment of his death a week later on June 4, 1942, from septicemia caused by his injuries, the whole country knew there would be reprisals. Nothing, however, could prepare them for the horror that was to come.

22 July 2018

Running Lights


This is lovely.  Two boys discover a dead animal at the side of the road on their way home and decide to bury it.  If that doesn’t sound like a promising premise then be patient and watch Running Lights created by PetPunk.  Although you may not prescribe to the particular circle of life as represented in this animated short I do believe you will find it heart-warming at the very least!  If you don’t quite get it until at least half way through then don’t worry about that either!

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Love in Luoping


If you have never heard of Luoping before, you have now.  If you have never wanted to visit Luoping (probably because you have never heard of it) then after watching this you will probably want to get on a plane… right now.  Situated in China’s Yunan province, Luoping is famous for its gorgeous scenery and its fields of rapeseed (canola) which, when in bloom, cover the mountains in a sea of golden bloom.

The place attracts many photographers, including the folks at Perfect View China.  What makes this different to the many travel videos we include on Kuriositas is that here there is as much attention paid to the people as to their surroundings.  Although this does have the effect of making the video look as if it might have been made for the local tourist board, in my opinion it gives an interesting second layer to this particular piece.

If you need convincing any more then Luoping is the site of a recent massive fossil find.  Over 20,000 fossils make up the remnants of an ecosystem which developed after the mass extinction of 250 million years ago.
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21 July 2018

Please Help Keep Kurositas Online

You may or may not know this but Kuriositas is curated by just one person – and that person would be me! There are a number of expenses that the site incurs each month and so, with my cap in my hand, I’m going to beg a favour.

If you enjoy Kuriositas, please consider helping out with the cost of running the site.  As you can guess, it takes a lot of time and effort, too!

Below this post you will see a button which will enable you to make a contribution safely and securely. There is also a Support Kuriositas button right at the top right hand corner of the site.

You can give as little or as much as you like – I’m not going to limit your choices. Anything will be gratefully received and will help to ensure that I can carry on bringing you all the great science, art and interesting things in-between that makes the site what it is.

So, if you read or watch something that you have really enjoyed, please think about sending us a small donation. Thanks!

Best regards

Robert-John

PS: The donation page is set to US dollars as that is where we get most of our traffic from. So, if you are outside the USA please remember to calculate the amount from your currency first!

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What is a Mermaid's Necklace

If you were wandering along a beach and came across one of these, would you know what it is?  Folklore tells us that it is a mermaid's necklace.  Who knows how she may have lost it and how it came to be on your beach but it is easy to imagine many legends springing up about these peculiar objects.  Of course there is a scientific explanation and the fact that it can be found on our sibling site, The Ark in Space, might suggest that it is a biological one too...  Why not pop over and discover what a mermaid's necklace truly is?

Image Credit Dystopos
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19 July 2018

The Giant Puffball: Nature’s Orbicular Idiosyncrasy

There are worse things you can find in the woods.  As summer turns to fall, woodland and meadows the world over play host to one of nature’s more orbicular idiosyncrasies.  It is large, round, white and has a distinctly extra-terrestrial appearance.  Yet the giant puffball is very much of this world, albeit one of its stranger fungal denizens.

It can also make for a tasty meal.

Image Credit Nunzy Gareffa
As much as anything else the giant puffball is noticeable and notable by its unexpected and sometimes astonishing size.   It has a distinct lack of camouflage advantage and can become a meal – not to mention a temporary home – to any passing herbivore such as the rabbit above.  Yet although easy prey to animals its structure is immensely strong.  Giant puffballs have been seen to push up slabs of asphalt as they develop, such is the powerful forces generated by their growth.

Dancing in the Movies


If like me you are a big fan of dance then take a few minutes out to watch this – but beware! You may be a little dizzy by the end of it!  CLS videos have put together this amazing compilation of dance moments from films that span the decades.  Many you will know and a lot will leave you thinking “where on earth did that amazing looking piece of choreography come from?”  If you have a need to know you can find them all on the CLS blog.

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Grandma's Pie


Grandma hasn’t so much got early onset, she has irredeemable, completely and untterly gone onset (if there can be such a thing).  So when a dragon attacks the town she is utterly oblivious while defenders try to save their once quaint abode.  But let's face it - priorities are priorities and when a pie needs to be baked it bloody well needs to be baked - and things do get rather ensanguined during the process. Grandma's Pie was created by Camilo Castro and Ricardo San Emeterio at the Ringling College of Art.  I have to suspect that Messrs Castro and San Emeterio had perhaps a little too much fun devising the grisly demises of the various brave knights who face the dragon.  Bravo, chaps!
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A Father’s Day


So, you may know how we at Kuriositas love anything undeadish so how could we possible ignore a short film like A Father’s Day?  It is set – as so often – in a post-apocalyptic world (here it is the UK, possibly post-Brexit too!).  A father is unexpectedly reunited with his daughter among the ruins of the world as they knew it, a father is determined to make this day special, even if they are already dead. A Father’s Day was written and directed by Mat Johns with funding by Creative England and BFI Newtork.

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