12 November 2017

The Dandelion - Whimsical World-Wide Weed

The humble dandelion. From your garden to almost the ends of the earth this small but conspicuous plant flourishes. Gardeners do not appreciate its presence, considering it a weed, even though its flowering usually indicates the beginning of the honey bee season and could be seen as a welcome sign. Its simplistic looking structure hides a few surprising secrets and its cultural resonance, especially in Europe is strong. Here is a short but sincere homage to one of the small wonders of our botanical world.

Let’s start with the names, both common and scientific. In English, dandelion is a corruption of the French. Originally it was called ‘dent de lion’ and the name came over in 1066 with a certain William and his Conquerors. It means ‘lion’s tooth’ and many people mistakenly believe it refers to the orange colored flower head, confusing the words beard and tooth.

Sprout


A woman decides that she wants a child and goes about getting one in quite an unconventional way.  She decides to go mail order and grow one in a plant pot.  Although this is not quite what one might expect to have delivered using Amazon et al, this animated short by Anne Breymann could prove one day to be a cautionary tale!  Be careful if you were going to click the play button expecting a happy ending!

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Polaroid


Is it the things that you can’t see that terrify you the most?  Perhaps you had better not watch this, then, for there are ways to see behind the corner of your eye in to a different world.  Written, produced and directed by Joey Greene this is not for the faint-hearted especially if you are not a big fan of those made me jump and I’m still clinging to the ceiling by my fingernails moments.

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5 November 2017

Spain on the Edge

For many, Spain is and forever will be associated with its beautiful coastline and beaches and that is certainly where most tourists head.  However, there is an altogether steeper side to this larger than you might have thought country on the Iberian Peninsula.  This is Spain on the edge.

Our first stop is Malaga to the town of Ronda which dates back to Neolithic times.  The town of over thirty thousand people is built either side of a dizzying ravine.  There are three bridges which span the gap between the sides.  First there is the Puente Romano or Roman Bridge. There is the Puente Viejo or Old Bridge, and then comes the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge – which is the name it was given when it was completed in 1793).

I Am Here


Alone in an aging cosmos, a traveler's pilgrimage comes to an end.  He has a story to tell but who to tell it to at the end of time and space?

This enigmatic animated short was created by Eoin Duffy, whose work we have featured a number of times on Kuriositas.

Stick with it to the end…
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The Last Time


Have you just quit smoking or are on the verge of giving up? Then this is for you.  One woman struggles with trying to finish with cigarettes forever but, like some sort of destructive relationship, she is just drawn towards them again and again (and includes some strong language).  The Last Time, directed by RCA graduate Christine Hooper and narrated by Charlotte Ritchie of Fresh Meat fame, captures just how hard it is for smokers to stub out love’s flame.

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4 November 2017

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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Hollywood Zombies


This new movie imagines a Hollywood overrun by a zombie virus, where all of your favorite stars are turned in to the living dead and stalk the world in search of flesh. Well, sounds like a great idea but this is a fake trailer by the super-talented Fabrice Mathieu.

Once more, Fabrice has put his very clever film editing techniques in to full-throttle – I for one would pay to see this movie!

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Mistletoe – Festive Favorite on the Decline

Kissing under the mistletoe has been a tradition since Victorian times in England and before that in other countries. When the railway arrived in the UK, this yuletide habit spread from southern England to the north and beyond. The chances are if you are offered a seasonal kiss then the person making the offer may well be waving a bunch of it over your head.

The legends around mistletoe go back further than a few centuries – it has always been associated with fecundity and the winter solstice. The white fruit has a parallel with human reproduction which is impossible to avoid – and one of its favorite hosts, the apple tree, is also a favorite among people.

29 October 2017

The Devil in the Cathedral: the Lucifer of Liège

Cathédrale Saint-Paul (Liège 2017)
The Cathedral of Saint Paul in the Belgian city of Liège was founded in the tenth century.  As one might expect from a Catholic place of worship it is full of representations of the men and women from the history – Biblical and otherwise – of Christianity.  Yet as the pulpit is approached, a striking white marble sculpture arrests the eye: a beautiful young man in an agony of thought. Which venerable icon of the church might this be?  A martyr? A disciple? Or even an angel? It is the latter but this angel is notorious, despised, fallen. It transpires that there is a sinner – and a significant one at that - in the midst of the saints.

The Lucifer of Liège

28 October 2017

Amazing Aerial Tramways of the World

Highest
Let’s start with the highest. To do that we must go to Venezuela and the Cableway of Merida. This is a system of four aerial tramways that connect the city of Merida with Tip Mirror. The tramway itself goes from 1640 meters to 4765 meters and that makes it both the highest and longest tourist aerial tramway in the world. The views from the cabins are almost like being in a plane.

Strange how most people do not mind being enclosed in what, according to physics, is not much more than a navigated catapult – that is a passenger plane. However, a good percentage of those who will blithely escape to the sun in a 747 will not step on to an aerial tramway, suspended at most a few hundred meters above the ground, for fear of their lives. However, even though aviation is much safer than many other forms of transport, being a passenger in an aerial tramway is, in turn, safer than being taking a flight in a plane.

27 October 2017

Mont Saint-Michel as Seen by a Drone is Amazing


More than 3 million people visit Mont Saint-Michel each year yet none have seen it quite like this.  The island in Normandy, France is famous for the magnificent abbey which overlooks the town below.  It’s a stunning sight but this video by Freeway Productions goes one step further.  Using a NHK Tokyo drone their team captured Mont Saint-Michel in a way that has never been done before.  You even get close up and personal with the golden statue of Saint Michel at the very top of the abbey’s spire.  Simply amazing.
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Beyond


Here’s something that is visually stunning but so open to interpretation you can make of what you will (and I love it when storytelling is clever enough – or perhaps vague enough – to allow for that).  This is a self-initiated project by EGYD Studio.  The visuals are amazing and I have to add that my speakers had a lot of fun with the sound design too.  Altogether, Beyond is something to watch with the lights off and the sound up!

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The Laws of Symmetry Explained


Symmetry is vital to understanding and predicting how our universe works. The relationship between symmetry and the mechanics of the universe is fundamental to physics. From Noether’s theorem to the new and exciting world of local symmetries being revealed by modern day physics, Tara Shears explores the physics of symmetry. This animation was produced by Rosanna Wan, part of the 2016-17 animator-in-residence programme at the Royal Instutition, supported by the Sfumato Foundation.

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26 October 2017

The Most Unique Casinos in the World


Casinos with a unique design catch the eye

With over 4,000 registered casinos across the world aiming to offer their patrons the ultimate gambling experience, luxury is the main attraction for many visitors. However, it's often the most unique establishments that stand out from the crowd, rather than the most opulent. There are a few casinos off the beaten track that allow gambling fans to experience something completely different to the usual look and feel of slot games, roulette wheels and poker tables. Casinos are constantly becoming more quirky, inventive and ultimately different to try and create a unique selling point for new customers, one of the key attractions is often the design and layout.
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