5 March 2023

The Art of the Japanese Manhole

The Japanese have a wonderful relationship with their manhole covers: they treat them as art.  Here is a selection of the ornate, the artistic and the slightly bizarre.

4 February 2023

Urbex – The Art of Urban Exploration

Most of us now live in towns and cities and you might assume that these areas are fully mapped out and known to all. However, some places become unseen or out of bounds and, left to their own devices, become almost geographical blind spots. Join us as some of these off-limits areas are infiltrated – with some startling photographic results.

The Strange Life Cycle of the Ladybug

Over at the Ark in Space, there is an excellent article about the strange - no, bizarre - life cycle of the ladybug. What you can see above is what they look like before they become those ravishing little dots of red and black in your garden.

These insects are the favorite of many children but behind the pretty exterior lies an eating machine of devastating proportions which will stop at nothing to get at its next meal and involves itself in some quite ghastly goings on in the shrubbery, even involving intraguild predation (cannibalism, basically).

Altogether it is quite a remarkable life cycle, going on right under our noses.

Take a look

Image Credit Flickr User Giles San Martin
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The Embroidered Zoetrope

We have featured any number of zoetropes, those amazing devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion, on Kuriositas.  Now thanks to animator Elliot Schultz we can make good on that omission.  The zoetropes featured were made for Elliot’s degree project at the ANU School of Art in 2013.  I suspect he may have been awarded a high grade.

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Wojtek - The Polish Soldier Bear

During the Second World War a bear was adopted by a group of Polish soldiers and quickly became accustomed to the rigors of army life.  He spent years with the Polish Free Army and survived the war yet his ultimate fate was bitter-sweet to say the least.  Here is his story, animated by Marianna Rackin as graduation project from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.

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Yesterday's Tomorrow - A Portland Journey

In “Yesterday’s Tomorrow,” Uncage the Soul Productions brought their cameras to the same position and angles of their favorite Portland historic images. We wondered, what’s changed? What’s remained the same?  This is not quite the ‘then and now’ video you might expect however – what makes it different is the fact that it is done through motion – plus there is a wonderful narration.
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The Test of Time

When Time and Space enter the ring for the title of ‘Fourth Dimension’ who can say who is going to win?  This very entertaining animated extended metaphor (I think) is cleverly scripted and put together – not sure if I got all the references but I think I did!

The Test of Time was the graduation thesis film for Ringling College of Art and Design student Michael Ropple.

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15 January 2023

Elephant Trunk Hill – Guilin’s Legendary Protector

Tramping through the hills around Guilin in China is busy work, so at the end of the day an elephant gets thirsty. There’s nothing like dipping your trunk in to the river to cool off and taking a long, thirst quenching drink. Yet when you’re made of stone you might be there for quite a long time.

The Tortoise Beetle - Amazing Metallic Arthropods

Things that make you go mmm, number 976.  This little guy is for real.  It is a golden tortoise beetle and it is featured on Ark in Space today.  They don’t just come in gold either- there’s a silver variety as well other species which come in a number of hues all with an amazing metallic sheen.  Plus they have this amazing outer covering (known as a cuticle) which is often transparent. Altogether they look like insects from planet steampunk.  Read about them over at our sibling site, The Ark in Space.

Image Credit Wikimedia
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Dublin Time Lapse

Take a look at the Fair City in a different way. This time lapse by Richard Twomey (his first, believe it or not) captures the capital of Ireland beautifully.

The feeling of depth in many of the shots such as via clouds and stationary objects in the city shots paired with the camera movement is wonderful.

Although this will entrance you if you live in Ireland perhaps it is only fitting that we dedicate this to the Irish diaspora.

Wherever you are in the world I think this may fill you with homesickness!
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A Twirling Day

Someone’s spotted the zeitgeist. A Twirling Day is the latest short by ModernEye (a creative studio / director duo based in London) and it captures very well the sense of absurdity many people feel in this day and age about the decisions they have to take.

You know the ones, the ones which we have to make even though we know there isn’t really any possibility of us having any control over them whatsoever; the kind of decision that just seems to be fate playing another one of her practical jokes on you.

Directed by Jon Uriarte, and starring Alberto Rolan as the Everyman figure, A Twirling Day is not guaranteed to lighten your mood but I think a number of you may recognise yourself somewhere in here.
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The Ballad of Thaddeus Lowe

Have you ever heard of Thaddeus Lowe? No, I hadn’t but a quick check on Wikipedia verified that he did actually live and everything that you see here actually happened.  It tells the little known story of Lowe - aeronaut, scientist and inventor who came to prominence during the American Civil War when he performed aerial reconnaissance on the Confederate troops on behalf of the Union Army – in a balloon. Unfortunately his endeavors were not too well received and he had to resign in 1863.

This very amusing animated short was written, directed, animated and narrated by Kelly Jones who also wrote the accompanying song which is probably going to be in my head all day now – for which I don’t know whether to thank Ms Jones or invoice her. 

If Lowe’s civil war activities were not widely appreciated then a later invention was.  He conceived the water gas process by which large amounts of hydrogen gas could be manufactured from steam and charcoal – his patents and ice making machines associated with this process made him a millionaire.  Unfortunately he invested unwisely later in life and died without much to his name – financially speaking at least.  We, of course, will always remember him for his services to his country as an aeronaut – not to mention his ballad… “Oh Thaddeus, Thaddeus Lowe… it’s too bad you’re still unknown”.
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28 December 2022

Gedi – Kenya’s Hidden History Revealed

The thirteenth century was one of turmoil. The crusades were in full swing, the Mongol empire under Ghengis Khan swept forever westwards while Marco Polo turned his own eyes towards the east. 

Meanwhile in Kenya, East Africa, a group of enterprising people began to build a settlement which would endure for over three hundred years. Gedi, a sophisticated coral-brick built town belies the perception many have about this part of Africa - and its architecture - before the arrival of Europeans. Take a look at Kenya's hidden history revealed.


A terrible industrial accident changes little Dinki’s life forever.  Now Dinki’s fate may ride on the wings of her eccentric friend, Birdboy, a misfit who hides in the dead forest lost in his own fantasies.

This is very grown up, allegorical animation and was written and directed by Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vázquez. Birdboy is strange, more than a little morose but quite compulsive - I am sure you will feel the need to see what happens to Dinki and Birdboy. It is a film basically about decisions.  Can you identify with a character who dreams about learning how to fly rather than actually doing it? Perhaps, and so can many film festival goers who have given this film numerous awards.  In fact after winning the Foyle Film Festival in Ireland last year it made the Academy Award short list.

Birdboy is based on a comic entitled Psiconautas written by Alberto Vázquez and published by Bilbao publishing house Astiberri.
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27 December 2022

Six New Online Casinos You Can Join Today

Online casinos provide the ideal blend of premium casino games, huge bonuses, and high-level user security and encryption. 

However, with so many options, you are bound to find slow payout times and unreliable customer support bundled behind a flashy-looking website made to entice you.  But an online casino guide can help you through the process.

So, we've analyzed the market using our tried-and-true methods to identify the top casino sites that provide various casino games, large bonuses, and reasonable playthrough requirements in this guide. They also have a quick customer care service to assist you in avoiding such online casinos.


Mirax is one of the best game and crypto casinos offering players outstanding gaming experiences with cryptocurrencies. Their website is easy to navigate with a beautiful user interface. 

Mirax is much more than the standard casino. They provide players with a futuristic circus carnival of magic in France, where they experience the thrill of an exciting show with different entertaining elements.

Here are the perks you get from playing at Mirax:

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Slots Ninja

Start your casino games adventures with Slots Ninja and boost your casino repertoire with their daily, weekly, and monthly coupons. If you are new to their website, you get a welcome bonus redeemable four times, with 30 extra spins on Zhanshi every time you use it.

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Slots Ninja Casino also has a collection of Slots and Table Games for gamers to explore. Every game comes with unique features to give players an exhilarating experience. 

Ducky Luck

Ducky Luck is an online casino game site launched in 2020. The platform has over 400 games from top software providers worldwide and is available in over 40 countries, including the United States. Players can play with four crypto deposit options with the opportunity to select live dealers. Ducky luck is mobile-friendly and can be played on the go. 

DuckyLuck has some fascinating casino promotions and bonuses. But be careful, as some restrictions may not match your gambling style. Make sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of the platform before playing. 

Slot Madness

Slot madness is your go-to online casino games platform for the best Vegas online casino action. The website is secure and fast-paced, and reliable payouts and deposits. Explore a variety of their online casino games and catch all the inside scoop of the world of casino games news on their website. 

Slot Madness Casino gives you the best experience with its free casino games. Ensure you read and understand the website's terms and conditions and abode by them to avoid being kicked out of the game. Also, you should ask questions whenever you need clarification about a policy or if something seems out of the ordinary. 

Lucky Tiger

Players at Lucky Tiger Casino enjoy a diverse collection of games through its smooth, flash-play website, supported by a wilderness-like storyline and attention to massive prizes taken into consideration.

Launched in 2020, Lucky Tiger is still fresh, but the owners understand the strategy to manage a top-notch casino website. Lucky Tiger operates on no accreditation services, which is a red flag. 

However, players are made to feel safe through various security rules of conduct on the platform, which includes modernized high-tech standards. Lucky Tiger's flexible user interface makes the gaming site easily accessible to players. The jungle-like setting gives it an even more thrilling feel and experience. 

Rich Palms

Rich palms casino is one of the best online casinos in terms of functionality, stunning user interface, and design. As a fresh player on the platform, you get a 280% welcome deposit to your bonus account. You can use that to try some exciting casino games available in the lobby. 

They also support cryptocurrency banking, making paying and cash-out rewards much more accessible. The customer support system is available 24/7 with solutions to any issue encountered while using the website. Rich Palms casino offers newbies a free trial period to play and practice before they can start playing with cash. It is compatible with mobile devices. 

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Cities and Stadiums You Should Visit in Europe as a Soccer Fan

Football is not just a sport for fans. It is a lot of experience with thrilling joy and love for the players. They will go to the end of the world for footballers they love and adore. And part of the experience is visiting and seeing where the action takes place in real-time. You can even make Super Bowl picks during your visit. 

There are many stadiums in Europe to explore and get a thrilling feel of the world of your favorite players that offer much more than watching them live on TV. Being able to experience this at least once in a lifetime can enrich a voyage immeasurably.

The joy of being present at these stadiums can sometimes be found in the fantastic atmosphere that the football stadium provides before, during, and after a game. Other times, it's all about the extra activities available in addition to watching your favorite sport. 

Suppose you remove football rivalries from the discussion. In that case, you'll probably discover that even some of the clubs you've grown to despise have stadiums that contribute to the sport experience as a whole.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London

The stadium is relatively new, as it was opened in 2019. With incredible architecture and top-of-the-world modern design, ensure that fans and viewers have the most breathtaking view of the pitch no matter where they are seated. 

The bowl design gives room for a brilliant atmosphere, while the South Stand rivals Dortmund's Yellow Wall, housing 17,500 fans in a single tier. The stadium is built with the idea of being able to house American Football matches as well as Spurs games in mind, meaning that there are separate facilities for teams from the two sporting disciplines. 

The Goal Line Bar in the South Stand is 65 meters, making it the longest in Europe and, therefore, well worth a visit for those who enjoy a pint at half-time. The Tottenham Hotspur stadium is an imposing and magnificent one true to the club's spirit, which is why it is a place for all lovers of football should explore at least once in their lifetime.

Parc des Princes, Paris

The first sound you'll hear from this place on game day is "Allez Paris," which can be heard around the Parc des Princes. The stadium was launched in 1972 and is home to Paris Saint-Germain of Ligue 1. The "Princes' Park" was once the hunting land for the royal family, but today, it is best known for its extraordinary and iconic exterior design and boisterous football supporters.

Allianz Arena, Munich

The home stadium for Bayern Munich is called Allianz Arena. It is intriguing to note that the stadium, constructed in 2005 to host the needs of the World Cup, failed to do so but is used for Champions League matches due to various UEFA regulations. 

The Allianz corporation paid for the 30-year license to use its name on the stadium. Every game features extraordinary lighting and laser effects released from the stadium, making for a sensational show.

Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid

Although it was first constructed to host the 1997 World Athletics Championships, Wanda Metropolitano is now the home field of Atletico Madrid. Given that the household belonged to Athens, the 20,000-seat stadium was left without a use. 

The stadium was initially known as the Madrid Community Stadium. It later changed its name to the Madrid Olympic Stadium when Spain's bid to host the Summer Olympics was turned down. 

As a result, the stadium was shut down in 2004. It was acquired by Atletico in 2013, though, after the club's new owner, the Chinese company Wanda, took over. Wanda made a significant financial investment in the stadium, which now seats 68,000 people and has a contemporary appearance. In September 2017, it was formally inaugurated.

Camp Nou, Barcelona

The Nou Camp is undoubtedly one of those places that football lovers must visit to get a feel of the pitch. 

The 99,354-seat stadium in Barcelona made it to this list for its cultural importance. Popularly referred to as the "temple of football," this stadium attracts visitors from all over the world yearly due to its historic architecture and flair for cultural preservation. 

There are chances that you know someone who has visited this place even if you have yet to explore it; yep, it's that famous and a favorite tourist place in Barcelona.  

Anfield, Liverpool

Everton played there when Anfield first opened in 1884, but over time Liverpool, Everton's local rival, began to dominate its reputation. Due to Anfield's illustrious past, the Reds' current owners decided against constructing a new home for their footballers. The club's colorful background sets it apart from other structures despite lacking beauty or a smoldering mood.

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26 December 2022

School Portrait

A somewhat jaded school photographer is on his latest assignment.  The brown stuff has really hit the fan in his life and his current cynicism is reflected in the way he asks the children to pose for their photographs.

That is, until one little girl comes along...

Comedy is difficult and comedy with children even more, so hats off to director Nick Scott for attempting this and succeeding so wonderfully.  I paticularly like the little boy who says he hasn't filled out his tax form because I don't want to. Ah - if only life were that simple!

It isn’t often that a short film of less than three minutes in length can show a turning point in someone’s life so effortlessly. Despite its less than happy subject matter, School Portrait is a funny and affecting short film.
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The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Bohol in the Philippines is home to a dramatically unusual geographic feature – the Chocolate Hills. A shame, but a certain Mr Wonka has not been visiting (and neither is this the entrance to the fabled land of the Oompa Loompas). In the summer the lush green grass that covers the hills turns brown and it is this, rather than any fictional intercession which gives the place its name.


What happens when two very different characters from two very different movies get caught up with each other as their celluloid world slips and slides (and skips!) around them? This is the question posed by Skip, a very cool animated short by Sarah Jolley who made this short when she was a student at the Vancouver Film School where the standards are always of an incredible quality.

I love the look of this animation, the character design and the clever use of colors, not to mention the (ever so slightly) knowing take on the various genres of movies you see here.  I suspect we have not heard the last of Ms Jolley!
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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore - Academy Award Winner

I have to say, I was not expecting this, but The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore made me shed a little tear, such is its gentle loveliness.  A natural but somewhat introverted bookworm, Morris is swept away by a tornado to a land where books can fly and he can help heal people through the curative power of storytelling.

Little wonder then that out of five animated short films that were considered for the 2012 Academy Award for Short Film (animated), this won! Congratulations to all involved.

This gorgeous Oscar winning piece of animation was created by award winning author and illustrator William Joyce together with Co-director Brandon Oldenburg via Moonbot Studios.
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20 December 2022

Nicholas Was... by Neil Gaiman - Animated Version

If you haven't been looking forward to Christmas and you think you are going to have a terrible time then spare a thought for Saint Nicholas.  Father Christmas, Santa Claus - whatever name you use for him, consider this.  Howe many centuries has this poor man endured his yearly task to take presents to the (sometimes ungrateful) children of the world?

Not only that, he disappears before the children wake up and have a chance to thank him.  Well, by way of thanks - or at least commiseration - here is a wonderful animated version of the Neil Gaiman poem Nicholas Was...

It is actually the creation of 39 Degrees North, a Beijing based animation studio and there way of doing the same thing.  Don't have nightmares for poor old Santa...
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Waiting for Santa

Did you ever have a sleepless night on Christmas Eve waiting for you-know-who to arrive with your presents?  This young man is certainly finding the land of nod a difficult place to reach but will his dreams of a new red bike be realised?

This charming silent short by J Palmroos answers that question but it left me with another! Who really enjoys Christmas the more – the child or the parent?
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A Dandelion Going To Seed - Carl Sagan on Space Travel

In 1977 Carl Sagan gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures Lectures on space travel. In his final lecture, he spoke about the human race venturing out into space; his words are as relevant now as they were then.  

A wonderful simile that Sagan used when imagining the human race venturing out in to space was ‘a dandelion going to seed’.  Once can only wonder if, as we look to send people to Mars and then beyond, are we finally realising Sagan’s vision?

This clip was animated by the Ri animator-in-residence Andrew Khosravani. Although I love the pale blue dot animations I have seen it's great to see another set of Sagan's memorable words brought to life again through the medium of animation.
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Sign of Christmas

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The Titty Fruit – A Crop like No Udder

Sometimes you really do give the name of a plant a quick double take just to see if you had read it correctly.  Solanum mammosum, to give the Latin name to this strange fruit, is one of those.  It has a variety of names in the English language – but the best by a long chalk is the Titty Fruit.  We will have a look at some of the alternatives (which are almost as Carry On in their capacity to raise a dirty snigger) a little later. 

The Caterpillar with Penguins on its Back

Over at our sibling site, the Ark in Space, there is a feature on one of nature’s oddities. If you look at the caterpillar of the forest tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma disstria) with a little imagination you can see something remarkable. Found throughout North America, along the top of this caterpillar is ranged a set of what looks like dancing penguins. It looks as if his grandma knitted him a sweater for Christmas but decided that one motif simply wasn’t enough.

Click on the links or the picture to read the full feature and see a host of other photographs of this remarkable creature.

Image Credit
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