Beneath the red hot sand of an Indonesian island something stirs. A large egg is hatching and soon the newborn creature will dig its way out to the surface and take its first gulps of fresh air. Yet no parent watches over it. This sounds as if it should be a young turtle, thrusting its flippers sideways as it makes its desperate lurch towards the ocean. It is not, however. This is a bird. More remarkable still is that when it emerges the chick will already be able to fly.
This is the Maleo. You can read more about its extraordinary way of life over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space.
The Minshan Mountain Range is situated in the north of China’s Sichuan Province. An area of outstanding natural beauty it is home to a four kilometer stretch of travertine landforms and pools. Even in its home country the place is relatively little-known. Yet Huanglong, literally Yellow Dragon, is a place of wonders.
Over the millennia the springs around this small crease in the mountains have deposited limestone which has built up to create a series of pools – over 3,000 of them - which extend to almost four kilometers in length. The chain of pools are said to resemble a huge golden dragon, which gives the place its name.
I’ve been a Disney fan from a very early age so immediately I saw the title of this compilation by Jorge Luengo Ruiz I had to take a peek and, of course, stayed on till the very last second. It is easy to forget all of the magical moments in these movies (I’m getting a little maudlin now!) but this makes it easy to revisit many of them. Perhaps we can become a little worn-out when it comes to re-watching some of the older films but seeing such short excerpts rekindles the love.
Arthur may be young but he has an over-developed imagination which, together with his obsession with death and disease, leads him to ask questions beyond his years. While his sister responds with the self-assured glibness her teenage years demand, Arthur may well find the more profound answers he is looking for from one who lived and suffered long ago. Written and directed by Eddie White, Upside Down Feeling has won a number of awards, including Best Drama at the 2016 South Australian Screen Awards.
This is the Jaçana. A fairly unprepossessing wading bird, but take a look at those feet and claws! This really is the big foot of the bird world! Above is the African Jaçana, one of eight species which inhabits the world's tropical zone from Asia to the Americas. Our sibling site, the Ark in Space has the story of this unusual bird as well as some incredible photographs. Go take a look!
A group of students at the Columbus College of Art & Design were recently given a rather neat assignment. Under the guidance of their tutor Adam Osgood they were asked to create an animated short visualizing various elements from the periodic table. Each student was given six seconds to animate their chosen elements and the most compelling were included in the finished piece above. Like I said, neat (now there’s a word which needs to be brought back fully in to the language!).
As visual metaphors go, this is rather lovely. A lonely street light finds purpose when its light encourages growth through the winter. Created by Yuta Sukegawa, the story is very simple – yet as is often the case, profundity can be found in an uncomplicated tale. When you ‘translate’ this in to the human universe it shows us the extremes that are visited in ordered to protect those which we have nurtured and love. One of the nicest animations I have seen for a long time!
What do you call a Star Wars movie set before A New Hope? That question has recently been answered (Episode 3 ½) but here’s another. Who would you get to play a young Han Solo?
My vote, after watching this short but very well made fan film is Jamie Costa.
Not only does he look a little like Harrison Ford he has obviously spent a long time studying the nuances of the character: from the facial expressions to the delivery of lines, Costa is spot on. Han Solo:
A Smuggler’s Tale was written and directed by Keith Allen.
Every age has its bogeyman. If you grew up in 1950s and 60s America you would have been bombarded with anti-communist propaganda. In hindsight it is perhaps easy to raise a wry eyebrow. Yet at the time the threat was taken very seriously indeed. Here, hysteria intact, are a few of the stranger messages delivered to the American people.
“Employees lose their respect for a company that fails to provide decent facilities for their comfort” goes the by-line for this advertisement. Yes, quite possibly, but does that really mean that they are going to turn into rampaging Bolsheviks because the paper towels at work are rough on their hands? This apparently was a real danger back in the fifties and sixties. Fortunately the introduction of soft tissues on a massive scale helped to avoid the commie takeover of the western world.
High up in the Ethiopian mountains lives the Gelada. It lives nowhere else and, isolated in these remote Ethiopian Highlands, the primate has developed a way of life all of its own. To begin with there is that patch of red skin; one might guess something with which to attract the opposite sex, but why there? Moreover the gelada exhibits behavior that has led scientists to believe that deceit, crime and punishment are not simply human traits after all.
The Ark in Space has a photo-filled feature on this amazing primate in the wild.
Afghanistan has never been filmed like this before so the unique landscapes of its valleys are here now for us to see – and they are quite an eye-opener. Whatever your preconceptions of this country, this will probably do something to change them. Short earlier this year by Afghani director and filmmaker Khyber Khan, this was created as a ‘passion project’ by him to show his homeland in a new way, one which has never been seen before.
The history and roots of anthropology can be difficult to trace but if you want to know how the methodology evolved then this video is for you. It traces the study of various aspects of humans within past and present societies to its modern roots when the question what does it mean to be human was first asked in a particular way.
This entertaining and educative animation was created by Visual Effects and Motion Graphics compositor Glyn Jenkins for the School of Anthropology of the University of Wales.
If you happen to be two things today then this will amuse you. First, you would probably have to be something of a Star Wars fan and secondly you should really be in a slightly silly mood as well. This song was created by writer, filmmaker and video editor Rohan Francis for his students in an after school program he used to work for. Well, that’s his excuse, at least but I think you will agree that this doesn’t really need one!
History shows us that the vast majority of assassins are male. Every now and again, though, the fairer sex let the side down (or not, depending on your perspective).
However, there is a lamentably short list of female assassins in the annals of history and – more often than not – they fail to kill their intended target. Perhaps that is nothing to be ashamed of, after all.
Here, though, are 10 of history’s female assassins and their intended victims.
1935, Tianjin, China. Sometimes the only way to kill someone is when they have their defenses down. So it was when Shi Jianqiao slipped in to a Buddhist temple and fired three shots in to Sun Chuanfang’s head while he was praying. She then threw the gun down and explained her act to terrified and astonished onlookers.
She had even taken the time to print up and copy a document explaining her actions. Chuanfang was not mourned. He had been involved in the repression of strikes in Shanghai, opium trafficking and was a well-known collaborator with the Japanese. Jianqiao was opposed to all of these actions.
Moreover, he had had her father executed by decapitation and had ordered his head put on a pike outside a railway station for all to see. So, quite rightly she was angry – very angry. She was put on trial with three different courts handing out contradictory verdicts. With public opinion resoundingly on her side she was eventually released and was given a full pardon. She died in 1979.
It is difficult to catch the spirit of a city on film especially one as enigmatic as the capital of Italy, Rome. However, cinematographer Alex Soloviev achieves just that in this short portrait of this most energetic of cities. If you like to people watch as much as sight-see then you should thoroughly enjoy this as Soloviev not only captures the places but that which brings them alive - the people.
In another time, another place, a young woman is surplus to requirements and so subject to elimination by a death squad. Yet she was given time till sundown to redeem herself – something gave her a second chance. This multi-award winning short by Dennis Peterson is hopefully to be made in to a feature film, so catch the original while you can!
The song lyrics have never been truer. Oh You better watch out, You better not cry, You better not pout, I'm telling you why. Yet it isn’t Santa Claus that you have to watch out for – it is his sinister and somewhat sadistic sidekick – Krampus. He has a whip – and he is going to use it.
What on earth has this creature of the night – more orc than elf – to do with Christmas? If you have children you may well be aware of the mantra – if you don’t behave then Father Christmas won’t bring you anything. The idea behind Krampus is similar – only the threat is not that Santa won’t bring them anything but that Krampus will whip them in to the New Year.
There have been a lot of grammar memes over the last ten years and when you see them on social media they are beginning to look their age. So, Teaching and Learning Resourcesfor Me on YouTube has decided to have a little fun (well, it’s Christmas, I guess) and has put 15 of the funniest in to a new video. It may not completely satisfy your inner grammar nerd but it’s a start! You can decide for yourself whether the title of this post is ironic, sarcastic, both or neither.
You have all seen them – you may have even appeared on one yourself – posters proclaiming the loss of a dear pet or relative. Although some disapprove of them for their intrusion on public space most would not dream of removing them in the hope that whatever was lost will be found. And then there are those who embrace them as a form of alternative art. Their alternative lost posters amuse and irritate with, quite possible, equal measure. We prefer to see the funny side – and so here are some of the best on the net.