20 August 2017

10 Amazing Recently Discovered Facts about Spiders

Spider threesome anybody? This is just one of the strange (and possibly disturbing) recently discovered facts about spiders you can read about on our sibling site, Ark in Space.  Yes, one species of spider does engage in the occasional ménage a trois but the reason why neither of the boys loses out might make you go ‘ew’. As a number of facts are about the wild thing, if you are of a sensitive nature you may wish to look away!
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19 August 2017

The Strange History of the Sunflower

You may not think that there is much to know about the sunflower. After all, the plant is virtually everywhere. Yet it has something more than a simple, straightforward history and is more of a globe trotter than you may imagine.

Its story has the historical and continental sweep of a Hollywood epic, from the pre-European Americas to Tsarist Russia and back again. Here is the tale of the peripatetic sunflower, accompanied by some stunning photography.

18 August 2017

The Lottery – From Novelty to Tradition to Media Frenzy

In the very beginning, the lottery was something unheard of for modern society. Getting the chance to win enormous prizes for a minute contribution to the prize pool was a novelty of epic proportions. In addition, the social aspect of the lottery draws was something worthy of praise and attention.

The game drew people together and it created a great deal of excitement. Having tickets in the lottery meant being part of this new movement, so everybody who mattered had to have one. As for the lottery draws, these were regarded as glamorous events.

Back then, people were interested in the ceremonial part of the draw because the event in itself was of great social value. Nowadays, players just want to find out the results, but in the beginnings of the lottery, people were genuinely excited about the technology, the glamour, and the novelty of lottery draws.

The first ever lottery barrel was applauded by players far and wide, and they’ve been updating the technology ever since. Lottery draws went from being a high-class activity of the socialites to being a TV sensation.

The National Lottery draws became an instant success and people tuned in every single time to see Noel Edmonds make millionaires. He became the face of the lottery in the UK and he turned the lotto draw into a smashing hit.

The British have been in love with the lottery for many years now, and it is a love story that is still going strong today. The UK EuroMillions have had some staggering special events, such as the 100 Millionaires Raffle, where there were as many as 100 prizes worth £1,000,000 aside from the jackpot.

But the EuroMillions lottery is not the only game offering such enormous prizes. The American lotteries have taken jackpots to an entirely new level and they are now the undisputed leaders of the market.

It was a historic moment when lottery jackpots got past the $1,000,000 threshold, but the game has come a very long way since then. The Mega Millions had the whole world in awe of its $656,000,000 prize in 2012, which became the world record for jackpots.

But in 2016, its main contender in the US, the Powerball managed to break that record in the biggest way possible. On January 13th, 2016, everybody was a lottery fan because the Powerball had a jackpot worth a whopping $1,580,000,000.

This legendary jackpot changed everything in the lottery business because it raised the bar for the prizes in the game. As lotteries work to outshine their competitors, the prizes get bigger and bigger and they have snowballed to never-before-seen proportions.

As jackpots got bigger, the demand for playing the lottery also became much higher, which eventually made the special barriers of the game disappear into thin air. When people started playing the lottery online, it opened them to a brand-new world of possibility. People are no longer tied to playing the games in their own countries because the biggest games in the world are now available on computers, tablets, and phones.

As you can see, the lottery has succeeded to stay relevant all of these years. From novelty, it quickly became a tradition because people loved the thrill of the game. Then, it was reinvented as a TV sensation, which kept it close to people’s hearts throughout the years.

And now, it has gotten to the point where the prizes are simply larger than life, which makes the game impossible to ignore. It remains to be seen what the chameleonic lottery will come to be in the following years, but considering the crazy ride it’s been so far, we expect nothing less than fireworks!

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
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Imagine if we lived in a world where, when we took shine to someone, a flame would light up in a chest cavity.  It might lead to some awkward situations or, conversely, it might also make things a lot easier for those of us with a shyer disposition.  Our hero in this story falls in to the latter category but he doesn’t seem to be having much luck (at least to begin with) in this lovely animated short by Jacob Mann and Ashley Anderson, who created this at Ringling College.

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The Greatest Cats In Movies. Ever.

As the internet seems, largely, to have been created to accommodate pictures and videos of cats it seems only fair that Kuriositas gets in on the act.  This video by Burger Fiction features the greatest cats to have appeared on film – both live action and animated.  Think about it, cats in movies. People love movies and people love cats. So here they are together on the internet. What a purrrrrrfect combination, don't you think?
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16 August 2017

Dignity: The Statue America Needs Right Now

Ask anyone to name a famous American statue and the chances are they will reply with the Statue of Liberty.  A symbol of global enlightenment representing the freedom to live a life unhampered by oppression there was and still is irony there for those peoples who did not fall in to the innate and historical Euro-centricity of Lady Liberty’s promise.  So perhaps a new monument in South Dakota will do something to redress this balance, at least in terms of statuary.

Image Credit
Dignity – for that is her name – stands on a bluff near the Missouri River, arms outstretched and holding a star-quilted blanket, offering shelter to one and all who might seek her protection.  She is 50-feet high and is made from stainless steel – supported by a huge steel rod in her interior to protect her from the high winds which often whistle across the plains.

15 August 2017

Sahara el Beyda: The White Desert of Egypt

The word sahara means desert in Arabic so when you hear the name Sahara el Beyda you could be forgiven that it means one thing – sand, sand and more sand.  Yet the sight of Egypt’s Sahara el Beyda belies the traditional way one imagines a desert.  Are those icebergs on the horizon?

14 August 2017

Bingewatchers Anonymous

Are you a bingewatcher? Do you promise to yourself that you will only watch one, perhaps two new episodes of your favorite TV drama when it goes online and then sit through the entire season? Then perhaps you need to enroll with Bingewatchers Anonymous, like Jeff, who has been advised by a friend to go along to one of their meetings.  Written and directed by Kody Cunningam, you might recognize yourself among this motley crew but how long before you – and they – fall off the wagon?

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Although not necessary this is a perfect excuse to feature some Bulgarian folk music on Kuriositas.  I came across this wonderful, enigmatic animated short by Nina Paley today and as well as being entranced by her work I was further transported by the ethereal, other-worldly singing of the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir which I first came across in my 1980s university days.  The combination is simply… well, why don’t you watch it and put your own adjectives in place?

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12 August 2017

The Pont du Gard Aqueduct Bridge – Masterpiece of Ancient Building

The question what have the Romans ever done for us? Was famously asked in the Monty Python film Life of Brian and certainly you might think that a few thousand years later that question is potentially redundant.  However, a one look at the Pont du Gard aqueduct bridge may put paid to that idea.

They certainly made things to last.  Although the Pont du Gard is no longer a functioning aqueduct bridge, the very fact that it isclose to two thousand years old and still standing is testament to the skills of its builders (although of course it has had renovations over time).  The fact that it has gone from being useful to simply decorative is neither here nor there.

Crystalapse: Frozen in Timelapse

Iceland never ceases to cause wonder and this beautiful footage, captured in March 2014 is no exception.  You will witness both the Northern lights and the phenomenon of the ice caves in their surreal beauty thanks to brothers Patrick and Henrick Shyu who make up Blue Eden.  Plus if you are something of a hopeless romantic then hang around till the end for something that may not make the ice melt, but almost certainly your heart.
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