4 December 2016

The Century Old Color Photographs of Prokudin-Gorsky

In 1909 a remarkable project was initiated by Russian photographer Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky. His mission was to record – in full and vibrant color – the vast and diverse Russian Empire. Here, with his story, is a selection of his amazing century old full color pictures.

Just over one hundred years ago a Russian photographer, began a remarkable project. With the blessing – and funding – of the Tsar, Nicholas II, he embarked on an extraordinary journey to capture the essence of Russia in full color photographs. Many of these pictures look as if they could have been taken yesterday, with only the costumes worn by the people captured in their moment of time betraying the age of the work. The first shows two men crossing a small river.

26 November 2016

Fungtopus? The Incredible Fungus that Looks Like an Octopus

This is Clathrus archeri.  Looking every inch the result of a GM experiment gone wrong, it resembles a strange cross between a toadstool and an octopus.

Yet this is not the result of some subterranean gene-splicing enterprise to bring the world a spore-bearing cellaphod (for whatever reason that might be).  This is exactly how nature intended the Octopus Stinkhorn.  The shape and form you see here is an integral but short-lived part of its life-cycle.

A Drone through Africa


This short film was three years in the making and was created by Cape Town based Cinematographer and Photographer Naudewashere.  It is, simply put, visually stunning and an absolute joy to watch.

If like me you are forced to do most of your traveling from the comfort of your armchair then this is an opportunity to experience Africa in a new way.

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Nine to Five Ned


I think this may have happened to me more than once.  Ned is just a normal guy with one of those jobs that does not involve much imagination.

However, that is not going to hold Ned back and one day something extraordinary happens to him.  Perhaps.

Directed and animated by Lisa and Brandon Ray, you may find a little bit of Ned in yourself.

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Breakdance in Lederhosen


Some things simply make the eyebrows rise in an almost Vulcanesque involuntariness.  Mr Spock would possibly have a few ironic words to say here but for simple joie de vivre there isn’t much that could beat this.  German dance group DDD (Dancefloor Destruction Crew) go baths to their roots (at least costume wise) and perform a spectacular routine which may have your jaw on the floor as often as these young men have their legs in the air.

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20 November 2016

Fly Geyser – Not Quite of this World

They look as if they were taken on another planet, or at least on the set of a new and very expensive science fiction movie. Yet these pictures are of the Fly Geyser which is very much of planet earth (Nevada, US to be exact). However – and herein lies the surprise – it is effectively man made.

Watch this Beautifully Choreographed Dance to Adele’s All I Ask


There are times when you just have to sit back and watch as things come together.  This is one of them.  Take one amazing track – All I Ask by Adele and add two superlative dancers in to the mix (in this case, Dj Smart and Zola Williams.  Then sprinkle choreographer Will B Bell lightly and mix it with the talents of film-maker and editor Jose Omar Hernandez.  You have the perfect recipe for just under four minutes of perfection.

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If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Madrid, You Will after You Watch This


Truth be told I have always felt sorry for Madrid – what with Valencia and Barcelona also in Spain it is almost like being a woman with two younger, more beautiful sisters always around to remind you… My own personal opinion aside, we have featured a number of hyperlapse and timelapse videos by Kirill Neiezhmakov on Kuriositas in the past – and for one very good reason: his work is always superlative. So, older sister Madrid, step out of the shadows in to the light!

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Water Hunters


In 2034 there is a global water shortage and things are getting a little Darwinian to say the least.  People are constantly thirsty and many go to extremes to ensure their survival. A young man and woman, lonesome water scavengers are forced, through circumstance, to work together.  Yet is their coming together something more than pure accident?  This dystopic animated short was created by Italian animation studio IBRIDO, written and directed by Salvatore Centoducati and Massimo Ottoni.

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16 November 2016

Leviathan's Blood: Modern Fantasy Writing at its Best


Australia doesn’t have a reputation for producing fine novelists which is nonsense really. Even if you place just two in the frame, Peter Carey (author of the sublime Oscar and Lucinda) and Markus Zusak (who wrote The Book Thief, the last novel to reduce me to tears) then there is ample proof that the country punches above its weight when it comes to literary masters.

As such it’s great to introduce you to another Australian author - Ben Peel whose new novel, Leviathan’s Blood, has just been published. It is part of a trilogy so there is plenty to explore in this new world. And what a world! Peel takes you to a place where the gods have died: their bodies have become the foundations of mountains.

Among the corpses men and women live their lives but something is stirring in some. What made the gods divine is trickling in to the earth and infecting people. A curse or a gift, this has given them immense powers: some can see the dead, others are able to walk through fire. The earth itself can be shattered by their power.

A new god arises and resolves to reclaim that which once belonged to her progenitors. Add a former mercenary, a cartographer’s apprentice and a saboteur in to the mix, together with an ancient man who can communicate with the dead and you have what is arguably one of the best modern fantasies to come out in years.

So if you want something epic and unputdownable (if that wasn’t a real word then it is now), take a peak at the teaser above or click here for more information. A new world awaits.
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12 November 2016

Fishing with Cormorants

It is partnership between man and animal which has lasted over a millennia. A fisherman needs to catch enough fish to sell and feed himself and his family. Sometimes that means that he needs an assistant.  The Ark in Space takes a look at the fascinating relationship between the cormorant and the fishermen of China's inland rivers.

Image Credit Pathos Photos
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Leh Palace: Abandoned Bastion of the Himalayas

In the early years of the seventeenth century the Lion King of Ladakh, Sengge Namgyal ordered the construction of a great palace.  Situated atop the Himalayan city of Leh, now in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, it was the home of his dynastic descendants until their overthrow and exile in 1834.  Once the world’s highest building, Leh Palace has been abandoned since then.  Yet it remains a majestic presence in this area of India often referred to as Little Tibet.

If it seems familiar that is because it is thought to be modelled on the more famous Potala Palace in neighboring Tibet which was the home of the Dalai Lama until his flight from the country in 1959.   Some say that it is the other way around but the similarities are remarkable. It is smaller than Potala but nevertheless Leh Palace is hugely impressive in its own right.  Towering nine storeys high, its upper floors once echoed to the sounds of Namgyal royalty and their throngs of courtiers.  The lower floors were used for storage and to accommodate the precious horses of the army.

If You Want It


Si tu le veux translates as if you want it – and this remarkable short piece directed and edited by Grégoire Thiry, screenplay written by Lou Bruston and starring Nathan Cohen shows that you should not let things get in your way either particularly when it comes to self-expression.  You may be surprised by the moves that Nathan is able to produce but their message is more profound that simply look what I can do – it’s a signal to us too to go out and excel at what we enjoy.  As the end title says – if you want to dance, then dance.

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Dear Mr Shakespeare


If you haven’t heard of Phoebe Boswell now is perhaps time to take note of this remarkable visual artist.  In this piece created by director Shola Amoo for The Guardian, she explores Shakespeare's intentions when writing Othello, analysing through poetry the play's racial themes in a historical and contemporary setting and drawing wider parallels between immigration and blackness in the UK today - with Ashley Thomas as Othello for good measure.

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8 November 2016

Five small Steps for Big Change


It is rare these days, when so much information is thrust under our noses, that a simple statistic can stagger. This is one of those: over the next year over three million children will die from infectious diseases. That is over eight thousand a day – or 300 an hour. If it took you a minute to read this paragraph, then during that time five children will have died from disease. The greatest shame of it all is that often these diseases could have been prevented.

The Global Hygiene Council wants to change that – and the good news is that to reduce these appalling numbers is quite straightforward. The answer lies – as it invariably and inevitably does with most things – in education. Poor personal hygiene and home hygiene practices are widely recognised as the main causes of infection transmission for colds, influenza and diarrhoea. If people can be taught a few basics of hygiene then the Global Hygiene Council predicts that death can be avoided for many of those three million children.

As such the council has released the video above which outline five ways that people can help to reduce disease. Although you might take each and every one of them for granted many people in the world are still unaware that these simple steps can help reduce child mortality. Please take a look and help pass the message on - #FiveStepsForBigChange.
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6 November 2016

Shirley Colllins: Pretty Polly


There have been any number of cases, over the centuries, of women donning male attire to join the armed forces.  This song dates back to the 1840s and is sung here by Shirley Collins.  The animation by Trunk is not quite what it seems to be – in as much as it’s not an animation!  It was actually filmed in camera on real film with no edits. At times it involved 18 people moving sets and operating puppets, lights, clouds, hills and other elements in real time.
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