28 January 2018

The Goat Tower - A Caprine Condominium

What do you do when you own a group of Swiss Mountain Goats but there isn’t anywhere for them to climb? The answer that South African farmer Charles Back came up with was to create a domicile for his goats that would help keep them fit as well as giving them an altogether butter kind class of goat shed.

The Animal That Wouldn't Die


You know that person, the one you don’t really like and you try to make your feelings as obvious as possible without being rude, yet they still come back to annoy you? Well, the hydra is the equivalent when it comes to death. Although it should have got the message that it will die, it doesn’t pay any attention. This animated short produced by Robert Krulwich and Adam Cole tells the story of this amazing animal.

An Injured Soldier Encounters a Magical Creature with Good but Misinformed Intentions


The allies are landing to liberate Europe but for one soldier, the Second World War is going to take a bizarre twist.  When his parachute lands him miles off course and injured he encounters a strange forest dweller.

Yet, despite the best intentions, when two very different worlds collide, the results are not always what we would prefer.  Murphy was created by students at Isart Digital.

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Turkey, You Will After Watching This


Take a trip to Istanbul, passing the Black Sea Coast, to the vastness of Eastern Anatolia, then returning over otherworldly Cappadocia and enjoying the sun at the Turquoise Coast. It’s all here in this amazing video by Vincent Urban who should really be paid by the Turkish Tourist Board!  Three of our favorite Turkish destinations are here: Love Valley, Mount Nemrut and the unforgettable Pamukkale (follow the links to read our features on these amazing places).

It’s a Plastic World


It was hailed as the miracle material but plastic – and the places it ends up thanks to our inability to clean up after ourselves – is one of the biggest threats to life on the planet. It's a Plastic World, an animated short film lifts the lid on our consumption of plastic, shows various problems associated with plastic (including how sea mammals try to eat tons of it each year) and looks at possible solutions.

26 January 2018

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!

Image Credit

24 January 2018

The Sedlec Ossuary - The Art of Human Remains

The suburb of Sedlec is a quiet, everyday place, just another part of the small but historic town of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic.  The town has never had a huge population – even today the number of souls there number just over twenty thousand.  Yet this calm suburb is home to the Sedlec Ossuary a place which could well send a shiver up your spine.  This small chapel under the Cemetery Church of All Saints houses the skeletons of around 70,000 people.  And they are not exactly tucked away in a crypt, either.

When a Cartoon is Called Kung-Fu Crab, You Just Know You Have to Watch It


I make no apologies – the minute I saw the title Kung-Fu Crab I knew it was pretty much inevitable that it would find its way on to Kuriositas.  This little crustacean believes that his owner is just about to make him in to crab cakes.  Cue a metamorphosis in to the new martial arts superhero – Kung-Fu Crab!  This entertaining animated short was created by Kim Newman at Ringling College of Art and design (yes, them again!).

Vienna Moves


This is Vienna in winter – perhaps not quite how you expected but captured by Alex Soloviev in a way that you will remember for quite a while.

Be an armchair tourist for a few minutes (although you will be in an armchair that moves around at some speed!) and take in the sights and sounds of this remarkable city.

Cautionary Tales


“If the wind changes direction your face will be stuck like that!”  I heard that warning many times from my grandmother when I was a child so I guess I must have taken heed (wish I had listened to her about the chewing gum though).  So, I was heartened to watch this short film which features a help group for people who just didn’t listen when the finger wagged and grandmother nagged. Created by Us Films, it centers around Aaron whose misfortune has left him without friends or, more importantly, love.  Altogether, now – say aw. Oh and watch the credits in case you didn't quite get one or more of the afflictions suffered by these poor folk...

21 January 2018

Where Do Fish Come From? This Animated Short Explains All


When the harvest of the sea fails, a fisherman goes in search of the origin of fish.  What he discovers is something quite magical.  This hugely enjoyable and beautifully crafted animated short is the work of five students who studied at – you guessed it – Supinfocom.  This marvelous school continues to produce world class animators and animation fans like myself greatly anticipate the release of the films each year. Enjoy!

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit Arizona, You Will After Watching This


This film by Mike Olbinski is something different and something quite special.  Potential visitors to Arizona might imagine it a dry and barren place – after all that is how we often see it in the media.  Yet there is a monsoon season and Mr Olbinski beautifully captures the majesty of the Arizona landscapes as the rains come down while still giving us the dust storms we might expect too. Some of these shots are staggering.

The Sand Dollar – the Animal that Can Clone Itself

This somewhat strange looking specimen is a Sand Dollar and it is featured today over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space. It is a sea urchin which burrows and comes from the order Clypeasteroida – and you can see why it gets its name, as it resembles a coin.  Some joke that it is the only stable dollar in the world at the moment.  Humor aside, it does have one trick up its sleeve that we can only wish would apply to real money.  It can clone itself – creating a perfect copy.  Read more about the how and why over at the Ark.

Image Amanda Dague

The Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno

One of the largest cemeteries in Europe, the Cimitero monumentale di Staglieno in Genoa, Italy covers more than a square kilometer.  It opened in 1851 and since then has gained a reputation for its monuments to those buried there. And what monuments they are.  It is a place for contemplation, for reflection on human frailty and the short-lived nature of our time on earth. Today we will let the pictures speak for themselves...

20 January 2018

The OceanMaker


The seas have gone.  The little water left is in the sky – in the form of occasional, wispy clouds.  Yet one young pilot has a plan to try and restore the oceans, but she must get to the clouds before the sky pirates, who will stop at nothing to retrieve the last drops of water on Earth.  Amazingly, this animated short by Martell Animation was made using nothing but laptops during a 7-week artist retreat on a small Caribbean island.

Vote for the National Animal of Wales


The status of national animal for Wales is currently shared by two animals – one real and one mythical. We have the red kite (in Welsh barcud or barcud coch), beautiful bird of prey common in the country. Then we have the red dragon (in Welsh, ddraig coch), awesome mystical creature from the depths of Welsh folklore. Yet if Wales could only have one, which would you vote for?

PS - It’s OK – you don’t have to be Welsh to have a say - this is just for fun!

Under the Rope


Under The Rope is a short documentary about inspirational female Muay Thai fighter Sylvie Von Duuglas-Ittu.

It is also the story of how a feminist from the USA fell in love with a foreign community that has gender inequality at the core of its values.

Under the Rope is a film by Simon Mulvaney.

15 January 2018

Snow Rollers: Nature’s Winter Treat

If you live in one of world’s colder, snowier regions you may have seen them – but even then the chances are remote.  A rare and seemingly mysterious treat of nature, the snow roller is a natural phenomenon created without human intervention.  They are known by other names too: snow donuts, snow cylinders or even snow bales. Whatever you prefer to call them, it seems that nature, at least, is trying to make the most of the snow and have a little fun.

14 January 2018

Einstein-Rosen


One reviewer has called this short an enjoyable blend of complex quantum physics and good old family banter.  That is so true. Let's set the scene. It is the summer of 1982. Teo claims he has found a wormhole. His brother Óscar does not believe him - at least not for now.  It may take a few decades, but...

This charming short film was written and directed by Olga Osorio.  It’s a delight to watch from start to finish, not only for the script and pace of the action but the excellent performances, particularly from the two youngsters.  My feeling is that they didn’t have much of a clue what they were saying, but they certainly give the impression that they do!

Happiness


It is riven with his usual joie de mourir and I couldn’t take my eyes off it throughout – so how did I miss the new Steve Cutts animation by a month?  Perhaps I was going through my own particular version of this old metaphor given coruscating new life.  After all, I do refer to my real world job as akin to being a hamster on a wheel.  At least I haven’t ended up like the young every-rat featured here. Yet.

Nazi VR


Virtual Reality is a fairly new technology and the crimes committed by the Nazis in Europe are further in the past as each sun sets.  So how can the two possibly be connected?  , Germany deployed VR technology to re-create Auschwitz, and proved that an SS guard would have seen the atrocities taking place all around him.  

In what turned out to be (currently) the last ever World War Two nazi trial, virtual reality was pivotal in ensuring that some justice was victorious over one of the perpetrators of the greatest evil of the twentieth century.  This incredible short documentary was made by MEL Films.

Cough: The Australian Flu Movie


The British media is at full throttle at the moment, spreading fear and panic about Australian Flu. So, it's great to see that Cough, a rather prescient short film has recently been made available for wider audiences. It is set in Australia and one can easily imagine that this is just a few short months down the line from today.

This is a post-infectious society on the verge of a collective breakdown, Cough (directed by Jason Kempnich) features the social effects of a deadly virus on just a few individuals.  When food shortages during the pandemic force recently widowed George to drive far from home to survive in search of food,  a simple purchase of rations derails when he stumbles upon a Shopkeeper's secret, placing all of them in mortal jeopardy.

13 January 2018

The Golden Hour: Magical Photography

Have you ever taken a photograph that seems to have a magical quality to it, because of the way in which the light has been captured in the shot?  The chances are that you took the picture during the two times of day that photographers know as the golden hour.

The first hour of sunlight of the day makes the first golden hour.  As the sun rises the light is softer than later in the day when the full and harsh rays of the sun shine down upon us.  Likewise at the end of the day in the hour before sunset, the sun is close to the horizon again.  As in the morning, the light travel in an oblique manner and so, instead of hitting objects straight down, hits them at an angle.

7 January 2018

What Are Those Things on Giraffes’ Heads?

Perhaps we spend so long looking at the main creature feature of giraffes – their elegant, incredibly extended necks – that we miss other interesting bits.  That may be the case with those things on the top of their heads (and we don’t mean their ears!).  So, what are they and what are they used for?  The Ark in Space, our sibling site, has a new feature on this most interesting anatomical oddity with a cool gallery of giraffes to boot. So, nudge nudge, wink wink, pop over and take a look!
They certainly have the most fascinating of faces…

First Image Credit Second Image Credit

6 January 2018

If You Have Never Wanted to Visit New Zealand, You Will After You Watch This


New Zealand is an incredible place to visit and if you have five months, as Man and Drone did, then you will be able to take in a great deal of this fascinating country.  Here you have a combination of drone footage and timelapse which showcase the simply gobsmacking beauty of the place.  If you are planning a visit to New Zealand you  might want to read the accompanying article to this incredible piece of film.

Donny the Drone (Starring Guy Pearce)


Featuring the voice of Guy Pearce, Donny the Drone is an interesting short film about a drone which, when fate intervenes, gains self-awareness. Directed by Mackenzie Sheppard and written by Andrew 'Oyl' Miller it focuses in on the moment that Donny receives the “Person of the Year” award and is given an opportunity to tell his story. I’m going to leave the philosophy to you but I found this an interesting take on the nature of humanity and the occasionally fine line between altruism and megalomania.

Stephen King on Childhood


Many people think that something awful must have happened to Stephen King when he was a child, something that translates itself in to his work.

Here he explains in an interview why childhood is, to him, a different state of being, a culture of its own divorced from the realities of adult life.  This animated short was created by Patrick Smith as part of the PBS series Blank on Blank.

Frost Flowers: Beautiful but Rare Wonders of Nature

Frost Flowers
Back in 2012 we published a feature about frost flowers - you can read the original here (which includes all the science!).  Created in the autumn or early winter, the frost flower is a morning phenomenon.  Ice is pushed through in extremely thin layers through the stems of plants, creating and astounding whirl of beautiful patterns.  We thought we would take a look and see whether any new frost flowers had been caught on camera since then.  We weren’t disappointed.  So here is a collection for you, embedded from the photographers' pages on Flickr.
Ice Flowers

4 January 2018

Aquatic Human


Put two athletes at the bottom of the sea and give them a seabob each and the likelihood is that you won’t end up with something like Aquatic Human. However, take a team like Behind the Mask and then it’s another story altogether. You will probably have to watch this a few times – I know I did – as it’s a pretty amazing piece of film – I’m not even going to start thinking about how some of the shots were done as it might make my head explode.

Dream Child


Intelligent animation allows your imagination to take flight and this is exactly the case with Dream Child (Rêve d’enfant in French), produced by Papy3D Productions.  The animation is simply but exquisitely done.  The animation tells the story of the relationship between a troubled mother and her son.  This may sound somber and it probably is but I guarantee you won’t forget this short in a while.
Amung Feedjit
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