27 April 2014

What is Vertcoin?


So, what is vertcoin? The start of this year saw the emergence of a third peer-to-peer payment system – a digital currency as it were. This interesting animation by Duncan Elms looks at the (albeit short) history of this system of this new form of mining from Bitcoin to Litecoin and now to Vertcoin. It asks the question whether this third iteration of a major idea will, like others, prove to be the winner.

Indila - Dernière Danse


This is just amazing.  Indila is a French singer who released her first album at the end of last year.  This is the first single taken from the album and it’s wonderful, ethereal and enigmatic.  Lyrically it is all about her having one last dance before the pain and suffering of love overtakes her again.  Marry that to a pitch perfect video by WeKapture and you get this little slice of heaven (ok, Gallic angst but it's still fabulous because that's what it is).

26 April 2014

20 Signs That Cut Through It

We live life at an ever increasing pace. So when we see a sign we want it to get to the point, cut to the chase. We want to read it, digest the message and move on.

Here is a selection of signs that do just that. Ironic or simply sarcastic - we get the message and we get it quickly.

These signs certainly do one thing – they cut through it.

Mercury Beating Heart


If you were lucky enough to have a cool science teacher you may have seen the mercury beating heart in class. If not, here it is for you!  It is an electrochemical redox reaction which causes a drop of mercury in liquid to oscillate – and it looks (at times at least) like a beating heart.

In fact you may have guessed there is a little more to it than just mercury and liquid.  When the mercury is placed on a glass surface (in this case it looks like a watch glass or something similar) the liquid used is sulphuric acid.  This is an electrolyte (something that acquires a negative or positive charge by gaining or losing electrons when it is mixed with water).  It contains an oxidizing agent, which is something that can accept electrons from another source. 

The source in question is the slither of iron which has been placed, almost touching the mercury.  The oxidizing agent in the sulphuric acid oxidizes the mercury which forms a layer of mercury oxide. This layer reduces the surface tension on the mercury droplet which means it flattens out and comes in to contact with the iron.

The mercury sulfate oxidizes the iron to the iron and is reduced back to metallic mercury. When it is all metallic again the drop rounds back up and the contact with the iron is lost. Then the process begins all over again.

People have been having fun with the mercury beating heart since it was first observed by a no doubt startled Carl Adolf Paalzow in 1858. It’s probably just as well it wasn’t a century or two earlier – this may have looked a little too much like witchcraft for anyone foolish enough to announce their observation to have survived for long!

Still interested? Then here is an experimental sonification (the use of non-speech audio to convey information or perceptualize data) of the redox reaction.
 

25 April 2014

All the Best Picture Oscar Winners in Two Minutes


Here’s something if you like a walk down memory lane and like to make a few guesses on your way.  Richard Klein has put together this breathtakingly fast collection of each and every Best Picture Oscar Winner and at just over two minutes in length you had better not blink!  There are no names or years and I don’t think I even managed to get half of them but was surprised by some that I did – and irritated by some that I didn’t.

B-Class Cultural Heritage


An urban skateboarder comes to rest on a manhole and is informed, via his cell phone that he has broken the rules. It seems the manhole is a B-Class Cultural Heritage (B級文化遺産) object and attacks of a lethal nature will be launched against him for 3 minutes. Goodness knows what would have happened if the manhole had been A class! Starring Junya Kasuaga and written and directed by Yuji Harui this is great – if dangerous – fun.

24 April 2014

The Most Hated Sounds In The World



The Most Hated Sounds In The World – An infographic by OnlineClock.net

21 April 2014

Got Drunk, Fell Down: Lampposts Behaving Badly

It is behavior seen throughout the world on a Saturday night – in fact on every night of the week which happens to have an a in it.  There are always a few who have just that little bit too much and end up making a scene, a spectacle and often a mess in to the bargain.  Yet in Halifax, Canada, scenes of a drunken nature are not confined to its human denizens: the lampposts are at it too.

20 April 2014

London in Motion


We like to showcase and encourage new talent here at Kuriositas so here is something by tyro timelapser Lewis Symonds who is sixteen. Lewis has just spent his Easter holiday taking over 10,000 pictures of London and transforming them in to this rather good time-lapse. While it is not quite technically perfect it is a significant achievement for someone his age and bodes incredibly well for the future. What will Lewis be doing in ten years, we wonder…?

Strange Fruit


A father and son’s day is interrupted when they encounter a boy of a different color.  What happens next is an extended visual metaphor around the phenomena of racism.  Is it an acquired cultural trait or do we each have responsibility for our conscience? This powerful animation is the Graduation short film by Shimi Asresay and Hili Noy from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem.

18 April 2014

Sandbox


A group of battle worn soldiers stagger through a vast desert – a seemingly never ending, hellish sandbox.  They are lost but their enemy knows exactly where they are and soon the come under attack.  Yet nothing could have prepared them for the true nature of their mission or their adversary.  Written and directed by Daniel Carberry, Sandbox has made the Official Selection of a number of film festivals. Watch it and you’ll see why.

Honor Is Everything


A young man finds an abandoned briefcase and its contents – a pair of gloves – enable him to stop and start time.  This science fiction short, directed by Mahmut Akay was created for the Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge.

I have to say I am impressed with what is coming out of this competition, particularly as all the shorts were made in just two days…

17 April 2014

Everything's Not Lost


Sometimes life if about as desperate as it can be yet there is something about the human condition which often fails to preclude hope.

If you are having a bad time of it at the moment, this short film, written and directed by Tomasz Goralczyk may cheer you up a little. It is short and sweet, to be sure but the message is there for all of us – everything is not lost.

Life is Beautiful


Life for Anton has been marred by a thousand little cruelties dealt to him because of his tiny stature.  He calmly decides to end it all, he is done with life. Yet as you will see, life is not done with Anton.  The subject matter is such that this could have gone very wrong but Life is Beautiful is quite delightful – especially when you get to the end. This wonderful animated short was directed by Ben Brand and made with support of the Dutch Film Fund and the NTR.

16 April 2014

Versatile


A young girl receives a letter and in an instant she feels that her life is no longer worth living. Fortunately there is a handy railway line nearby and she prepares to slip off her mortal coil with something of a squelch. However, as you will see in this animated short by Margaux Lahuppe which she made during her time at Supinfocom, life is simply a question of priorities. You just have to be... versatile.

15 April 2014

The Pyramids of Egypt


A dig outside of Cairo in 1920 and a single archaeologist, whose only company is a somewhat mystified camel, makes the discovery of a lifetime.  The secret of the ancients are about to be unlocked…

This very amusing animated short was created by the team of Nicolas Mrikhi, Corentin Charron, Olivier Lafay and Lise Corriol.  It was produced as a partnership between their university, Supinfocom Arles and the Museum of Marseille.

14 April 2014

Introducing Mona Lott

What is life like if you have four kids and a husband to take care of – plus a job on top of it? Hectic to say the very least! Steam has to be let off somewhere. Mona Lott has been entertaining her Facebook friends for a number of years with her stories of the funny side of everyday family life in the north of England and she has finally (after some persuasion) decided to unleash herself on the internet.

The website is very new and needs your support – you can say you were there at the very beginning! The site will resonate with you particularly if you know the travails of bringing up children but even if you are child free (as it were) Mona has plenty to say which will make you chuckle in the weeks and months to come.  Go take a look!

The March


It’s quite amazing what people can come up with in just two days. The March, written and directed by Josh Fortune and his team was created for the Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge, telling the story of a slave forced to march across the desert of the Planet Tarsus. The team had to squeeze four features (seen at the beginning) somewhere in to the story which they did with aplomb and created this thoughtful piece of science fiction.

11 April 2014

The Legend of Dōgo Onsen 道後温泉


If you have seen Spirited Away you may not be aware that the inspiration for the bath house in the movie was Dōgo Onsen, the oldest in Japan and situated in the city of Matsuyama.  To celebrate its 120th birthday, Brad Kremer (who has been there many times) was asked to make this short film combining animation, stop-motion and real-time footage.  The result is entrancing.

The Long Game


As the world moves faster, so do our expectations.  We live in a youth centered society but this video essay in two parts by delve, looks at how, perhaps, things should really be.  In order to be a genius, do we need to achieve it while we are still youthful? Taking perhaps the genius of geniuses, Leonardo Da Vinci as an example, this may give any of you reading this who feel it is to late to achieve something more than just a glimmer of hope.

9 April 2014

Helium Harvey


Here’s one for the kids – of all ages.  It tells the story of young Harvey who, after a small accident with a helium filled balloon, gets to travel the world and see the sights like no other little boy ever has.

He gets some help from his imagination, of course, as well as writer, director and animator Daniel Savage and producers Something Savage.  I think Roald Dahl would probably have loved this!

8 April 2014

How to Make a Dragon's Egg from Game of Thrones


Ever wondered how those beautiful dragons’ eggs from Game of Thrones were made? This video, created by Rextorn Metalwork will give you a good idea – painstakingly and with great patience and craft.

The technique involves repoussé (shaping the metal from the inside out) chasing and spinning and is, quite honestly, jaw-dropping to watch. Try this at home? I think not!

7 April 2014

para l l el


What if parallel worlds exist? And what if, in one of them, humanity disappears off the face of the planet? An interesting thought here brought spellbindingly to life by Claire&Max. One by one the major cities of the world become devoid of human life – it’s fascinating yet unnerving. 

If you are scratching your head, as I did, about how this was done it’s all there at the menilmonde blog.

Hitchcock Animated Medley


Are you a fan of the films of Alfred Hitchcock? Then you will no doubt get as much pleasure out of this as I did. This Hitchcock Animated Medley, created by Tim Luecke, features nods to The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Vertigo, The Birds, North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window, and Psycho. Plus there’s a great Hitchockian twist at the end…

The High Roller: Record-Breaking Addition to the Las Vegas Skyline

Next time you’re in Las Vegas and you have half an hour to spare then you might consider its newest, record-breaking attraction.  The High Roller may not be for you if you don’t like heights but if you want a better view over the city and its environs then you have to get in to a helicopter.

Stand Out with StickOut

Most people enjoy expressing themselves with personalized items such as smartphone covers, graphic T-shirts, hairstyles, and other fashion statements.  Unless you’re driving a custom sports car, vehicles are pretty much all the same. 

StickOut Car Art is the answer for creative, easy, DIY car personalization.  Unlike car wrapping, there’s no time spent in an auto body shop.  Simply browse through dynamic artwork that’s been sourced from artists worldwide and select the position on the car. 

The unique online interface allows for a preview of the art on the customer’s car make and model.  After ordering, a sleek package arrives with the car art custom-cut and ready for an easy on application.  It’s also pretty fun to apply!  It’s printed on premiere quality laminated vinyl that allows for sliding before its final placement.  Another cool design feature is that it’s built to last, yet easy to remove with no residue or damage done. 

Check out www.stickout.com for more info, updates, and how to create a much more exciting ride. 

6 April 2014

Good Grief


Everyone has, at some point, lost something or someone precious to them and grief can take many forms.  Yet there are lessons to be learned from dealing with loss.  Written, directed and animated by Fiona Dalwood, this endearing and honest animated short has been used in educational programs as a starting point to discuss the process of grief and what some of the positive outcomes of grief can be.

The Record Keeper


At some point in the future we will take to the stars and unless we develop warp drive (or something like it) then to complete the journey those undergoing it will have to be put in to a state of suspended animation.  The Record Keeper is a talking head style slice of science fiction where a single one of these stellar sojourners tells his story.  Written and directed by Dave Bundtzen it stars Adam Venker as the melancholy record keeper.

Game of Thrones Title Sequence Re-Imagined for Skyrim


If you are looking forward to the start of Season 4 of Game of Thrones then you have probably been previewed-out (as it were) already.  So, we’ll just completely ignore the TV series and give you this – its opening sequence re-imagined for Skyrim. The video, created by Brady Wold, starts at Whiterun (where else?) and then visits Solitude, Markarth and other cities in the province of Skyrim.  If you know only neither Skyrim nor Game of Thrones this may leave you nonplussed.  If you know and love both, I think you will enjoy it!

Nosa - Just Another Guy


It’s great to see your old students doing well, even if what they are now doing is not exactly what you taught them. So it is with Nosa Igunbor, who I taught a few years ago but who is now beginning to make a name for himself in music. This is the video for his latest track, Just Another Guy, which he made with friends and collaborators Kai Smith and Shirley Atouba. I recently asked Nosa what was the story behind the song, and he sent me this explanation – rather than paraphrase it I thought I would reproduce it in its entirety.

For the longest time, Nosa was in love with one girl and turned down the opportunity to get into relationships with other girls. She was the most beautiful woman he ever laid eyes on and to him, she was THE ONE. If she didn’t feel the same way about him , she could could have shot him down but she led him on and while Nosa was feeling love, she was just playing a game. She was a pretty girl whose smile could easily be mistaken for love and whose playfulness could easily be mistaken for flirting…it must be difficult to process all these boys throwing feelings at her so to make emotions easier to deal with, she turned it into a game.

When Nosa finally realised this, he drafted a text message addressed to her but before sending, he hesitated…he plugged his microphone and sang the text message on an un-mixed track and shot a video for it while hanging out with his mates. The intent of the song is not to diss her, it’s just to say that he understands …and that he is “just another guy” captured by her beautiful smile.

Thanks for that, Nosa – and keep making the great music and videos!

5 April 2014

Cross Stitch Just Got Cool

Cross stitch is one of the oldest forms of embroidery in the world. So, it’s little surprise that its reputation is of something rather fusty that your grandmother might enjoy.  However, cross stitch has a new fan base and, led by types of Ambra. A 30 year old Italian crafter, stitcher, pattern-designer and nerd she has helped rehabilitate the ancient art and it is now - officially - cool again.  If that seems a little tongue in cheek then perhaps it is – one look at Ambra’s amazing designs, however, and you know that there is much truth in what we say.  She has created hundreds of patterns all of which can be seen and downloaded on her website, cloudsfactory.net.

Ambra is a qualified restorer and has worked in many museums.  Yet just as she opened her own restoration lab, the recession hit and the money for renovating old objects ran dry.  Not to be deterred, Ambra has turned her attention to two of her other loves, design and embroidery.  Marrying her interests in TV, movies and cartoons with her skill as a cross stitch pattern maker, she has created these very very cool designs.

One of a Kind


Yes, I know, we don’t show trailers at Kuriositas.  However, we have made an exception here because we know that you are going to love One of a Kind, by Trunk Animation director Rok Predin.  It should be ready by the end of spring but this clip gives you an idea of the delights in store.  Rumour has it that there will be 73 characters featured in the film – which for an animated short is quite staggering.  We can’t wait to see the finished product.

1 April 2014

Dinner is Served


Let’s face it, your dinner is in the dog is just so twentieth century.  Serve the meal but make it one he won’t forget.  Quite what the gentleman diner has done to provoke the ire of his wife, girlfriend or mother we cannot say, but he stays resolutely calm throughout.  Created by Craig Carson, a New York based photographer, this was evidently made simply for the sake of a great series of slowmo splatters.  And it's a joy (with a great punchline too).

A Girl Named Elastika


Elastika is not your average girl.  First of all she’s made of elastic and secondly the place she calls home is a cork board.  However, they do say that it’s not so much your environment as what you make of it and Elastika makes the most of hers.  Just how long French filmmaker Guillaume Blanchet spent creating this amazing stop-motion animation (unlike any I have seen before, too) is anyone’s guess but the results are amazing!

Shifter


Los Angeles - 2023. James Striker is on the verge of bringing down the oppressive government that has crushed all freedom in the United States in Shifter, a short live action science fiction movie by the Hallivis Brothers. But before he can take them on, Striker must get past a homicidal drone and an elite squad of EFT soldiers. His only advantage is the SHIFT, a process that allows Striker to transfer his mind into an identical clone body. New body, Same mission: Bring the whole system down.

Woodhouse


Meanwhile, in darkest South East London a little girl sees something strange in the local nature reserve.  This sets of an unexpected chain of events centered on the place, Woodhouse. There, beyond the padlocked gates some thing, some creature is living.

This very entertaining short (perhaps the first film we have presented based around cryptozoology!) was made by Flim Lonodn and Tread Softly Films, with support from Blink Productions and the Kevin Spacey Foundation. It was written and directed by Fred Rowson.
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