14 July 2024

Welsh Kid's Ensemble Choir Performs for King Charles III

 
King Charles III recently visited the Senedd in Cardiff to mark the 25th anniversary of devolution in Cymru (sometimes known as Wales). His plan - to make a speech reflecting on the quarter century and looking to the future.

However, the show was somewhat stolen...  Before his speech and the ceremony, there was a performance of the song Safwn yn y Bwlch by Ysgol Treganna Ensemble.  It's a beautiful rendition of a powerful and popular song and, quite rightly, has been doing the rounds on Instagram and TikTok.  As the viewing public only got a minute or so of the ensemble's performance on the news channels, however, I thought it best to show the complete song as they sang it in competition at the Youth Eisteddfod of 2024.  It's sung in four parts (or voices) and the harmonics, particularly when the age of the singers is taken into account, is a joy to behold, as well as the expressive (and typically Welsh) facial performances. Little wonder that they were chosen to perform it in front of the King and Queen on 11 July.

Screenshot (c) S4C

Some of the lyrics are reproduced below.  I do love how this hymn to independence (craftily?) made it into the Senedd celebrations. 

'The dawn of independence is breaking!' 

'We shall not move one inch until Wales is free. 

'Wales is in our blood, we stand for Wales, Her freedom lies within.' 

'We stand in the breach... we stand for our nation, our language, our children, our folk. Together we stand as one.'

The King did deliver some of his speech in Welsh.  You might call it lip-service (literally) to the language as his prononciation of the iaith yr nefoedd (language of heaven) has not improved since his investiture as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle back in 1969.  That sounds a little like sour grapes (and possibly, it is) but he's had a long life in which to get to grips with the language.

Apparently, once the children had finished singing Safwn yn y Bwlch, the Llywydd of the Senedd, Elin Jones, said to the king - "follow that!" which produced a grin before he launched into his speech.  Sometimes, you jusr know when you've been upstaged.

28 June 2024

What is Nanoscience? (Narrated by Stephen Fry)


You may well ask. However, if you have ever wanted a great introduction to nanoscience and nanotechnology you can’t go wrong with NanoYou, a short documentary narrated by Steven Fry.

The film was mainly shot at and with the assistance of the Nanoscience Centre at the University of Cambridge and features researchers involved in exploring the world of Nano.

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.

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index: How Much Could You Take?

You may well have been stung by a honey bee (above) in the past and your memories of it are quite likely not too fond.  However, have you ever wondered how that sting compared to others? The Ark in Space has quite a list on offer – of the creepy crawlies which make up the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.

It’s named after a guy who took time out to experience hundreds of stings for himself so he could describe the pain for himself – and for us fingers crossed.  So, which insect has the nastiest sting? Go find out for yourself!

Bog Bodies


Bog bodies have been found throughout Europe, the cadavers of people preserved in peat bogs some of which are thousands of years old.  Ritual sacrifice has long been suspected as a reason for a number of these deaths and this fantastic animation by Plazma for Mummies Alive (a six part documentary series) imagines the fate of just one bog man.  It is chilling but fascinating dramatic reconstruction of how a man may have died many centuries ago.

The Prandtl–Glauert Singularity – Amazing Jet Plane Shock Collar

It’s an amazing site – a cone of vapor appearing around an aircraft which is travelling at transonic speed.  Known as the Prandtl–Glauert Singularity this astonishing effect simultaneously widens the eyes and drops the jaw. Yet how does it occur?

Alien Communications


How do you finally bond with the boy that you have crushed on for years? By discovering an alien probe in the woods and making sure that he’s the first person you call about it.  Yet even then the course of true love never does run smooth.  This charming and funny coming-of-age short was created by Pennsylvania based Something's Awry Productions and stars upcoming actors Evangeline Young and Luke Baxter.

26 June 2024

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.

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.

Lovebites


Cecil the praying mantis is in the mood for a little love and he knows just the present for the lady mantis he has in his sights.  However, poor Cecil is blissfully unaware of the fate which will befall him once the object of his affections has had her wicked way with him.  Can he escape her clutches before he gets a love bite to end all love bites? Lovebites is a 2014 animated short film by students from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Sydney, Australia.

Iguazu Falls – Big Water of the Borders

In the local Tupi language, the word means big water.  One look at the staggering Iguazu Falls, located on the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná and the Argentine Province of Misiones and you realise that this is no exaggeration.

Surf City Surf Dogs Catch the Waves

Wipeout! Now in its fifth year the Surf City Surf Dog event, held in Huntington Beach, California brings together over forty surf fans together with their human companions who are there to ensure that all the fun is safe for the surfer dogs.  This fund-raising event helps to raise awareness of various dog related causes, including animal rescue and medical care.  The Ark in Space has a feature on these surfing canines accompanied by some fantastic photos.

Image Credit San Diego Shooter

We’ve All Been There


There are many films out there that make you shed a little tear because they are so desperately sad – and gaining the sympathy of an audience to that extent is a pretty difficult trick to pull off.

Perhaps even harder in terms of film-making is the ability to get your audience all lachrymose because the film has warmed their hearts so much.  Well, call me a big softy but We’ve All Been There by the Australian creative collective Truce Films, made me reach for the happy hanky – and all in just a little over seven minutes.

The recession, triple or quadruple or whatever dip we’re on at the moment has hit everywhere, even the hinterlands of Australia.  There, Jess, eight months pregnant and so far behind on her rent she has received an eviction notice, asks for more hours at the diner at which she works in a desperate bid to make ends meet.

Her request is not received with much sympathy by her manager but when an old lady arrives for a late night supper, a connection is made that will impact the two in ways they both could never have imagined.

We’ve All Been There won two awards at the Tropfest 2013 festival, Best Film and a very deserved Best Actress for Laura Wheelwright who plays Jess (who you may have seen as Electra in Underground: The Julian Assange Story).  Stalwarts of Australian film and TV Penne Hackforth-Jones and Ditch Davey play the lady visiting the diner and Matt the mechanic.  The film was written and directed by Nicholas Clifford.

You might well say you saw the end coming (I did but I didn’t and you will see what I mean when you watch the movie) but what’s that at the corner of your eye?

18 June 2024

Smelling Great on a Budget: The Ultimate Guide to Inexpensive Men's Cologne

Ever gasped at the price of a designer cologne? You're not alone. The good news is, you don't need to break the bank to smell amazing. With the rise of quality inexpensive men's colognes, smelling your best is more accessible than ever. So, if you've been holding back on exploring fragrances due to budget constraints, it's time to rethink that!

Why You Need to Try Inexpensive Colognes

Let’s face it — we all want to smell good, but high-end fragrances can make our wallets weep. But here’s the truth: “cheap” doesn’t have to mean “low quality.” In fact, some of the best affordable colognes out there have rich, sophisticated scents and remarkable staying power.

Plus, the low price points give you the creative freedom to explore different scents and amass a versatile fragrance wardrobe. Why stop at one fancy bottle, when you can experience an entire olfactory world?

Tips for Selecting an Inexpensive Cologne

Ready to start the hunt for your signature scent? When you know how to do it, it’s not that difficult. Come, are you an expert in men’s fragrances or just starting out? With this guidance you will know how to find the best cheap men’s cologne.

  • Know Your Preferences

First, learn something about your senses before you start discovering the wide cosmos of fragrances. Would you prefer something citrus and fresh? Do you want a deeper scent with woodsy notes? This information will help you to exclude some colognes and detect the most suitable for you.

  • Tester Strips and Samples

Don’t consider this step useless. Always ask for testing strips and samples. You might do it in any store. Do you want to try a particular cologne? Find testing strips in the store and spray each cologne on a separate strip. Take those strips and wear them the whole day. You will notice how these colognes change on your skin from the very beginning.

  • Seasonal Scents

You might want to think about building a fragrance wardrobe to cater to different seasons. A light, aquatic scent might be the perfect finishing touch for a summer barbecue, whereas a warm, spicy fragrance might be more fitting for a romantic, winter night in. That way, you’ll always have a fragrance to suit the mood and the occasion.

Top Inexpensive Men's Cologne

Woody Sage

Similar to the popular Le Labo Santal 33, Woody Sage is a woody and earthy scent that is quite unisex. The beautiful and captivating scent is a solid everyday go-to that can be dressed up or down. It is highly recommended for just about anyone; a good affordable scent to add to the rotation.

Woody Chestnut 

Fall and Winter seasons call for an ultimate snug, warm scent. Woody chestnut will do the trick. Smoked woods and amber are the epitome of this snuggling smell. Inspired by Maison Margiela By the FirePlace, the fragrant backdrop completes time at the fire, all snuggled up.

Sunny Vetiver and Neroli

Transport yourself to a sun-drenched beach with Sunny Vetiver & Neroli, a refreshing and invigorating fragrance inspired by Tom Ford's Neroli Portofino. This zesty scent blends citrusy neroli with earthy vetiver for a captivating aroma that's perfect for summer days.

Smell Your Best, Always 

Don’t let money get in the way of making sure you smell your best. With a little searching for cheap men’s cologne and some advice from the pros you can build a selection of fragrances that work for your personality, style, and price.

There are cheap cologne options for every occasion from Dossier. Go ahead and explore your options, find your go-to, and enjoy smelling great with the boosting confidence that comes with it. 

Image Credit

17 June 2024

Danger Planet


During a routine scan on a distant planet, a young space scout finds romance with a female pilot. But when peril strikes the two star-crossed explorers, he must face what lurks in the darkness of the planet to rescue the girl.

Perhaps something is in the air - this is the second love story that we have posted up on Kuriositas today - even though they could hardly be any different from each other!

Danger Planet is an animated short created by students at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee. This 4 minute student animation was finished primarily in a summer after over a year of preproduction. You may (or may not) spot some possibly accidental references to a number of science fiction movies. See if you can spot them!

The Mystery of Resin

No one knows for absolute sure why some trees secrete resin. However, with the aid of some marvelous macrophotography, although the mystery surrounding this subject cannot be solved for certain, its beauty – at times deadly – becomes evident.

Resin is a chemical that oozes out of various trees. It is known as a secretion rather than an excretion. Excretions are purely waste products whereas, although the reasons behind resin are still a little obscure, most scientists believe that it has some sort of purpose or function. It is probably not simply to trap insects, although there is something almost morbidly satisfying about the sight of an insect being ‘consumed’ by resin. Perhaps it is the fact we have watched Jurassic Park too many times and take some satisfaction in imagining a scientist in the year ten thousand working out the DNA of an amber trapped insect. Most probably it is the wonder of seeing something trapped in time as perfectly preserved as it was on the day it died.

Naptime!


If you have children who are about to start their summer holiday then you might appreciate this – as long as you keep in mind that its creator, Chris Capel, has his tongue so firmly in his cheek it’s probably a surprise that he can talk.  If you are easily offended then, again, don’t press that play button.  If you dread what the summer will bring with your enfants terribles, get your credit card ready….

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!

The Roof of Africa: The Spectacular Beauty of the Ethiopian Highlands

Do not be uncomfortable if the first words that come to mind when Ethiopia is mentioned have negative connotations. If you live in the developed world then you may easily connect the country to its well documented recent history of insurgency, civil war and famine. Yet although Ethiopia’s troubles are far from over there is much more to the country than this. Its Highlands contain the largest continuous area of high altitude land in the whole of the continent. Little wonder then that the Ethiopian Highlands are often called The Roof of Africa. They are also, without exaggeration, simply spectacular.

The Highlands are enormous and are divided by the Ethiopian Rift. All of the pictures you will see here are from the northwestern side of the highlands. Designated a National Park in 1969 (the first of ten in the country), this portion contains Simien Mountain and Ras Dashan which is the highest peak in Ethiopia.

24 May 2024

Explore the Thrilling World of Slot Games at Bitcoin Casino

As the digital revolution unfolds, the integration of cryptocurrency with online gaming is altering the casino landscape, introducing players to innovative forms of entertainment and investment. Tucked within this budding intersection of technology and leisure is the thrilling and diverse world of slot games showcased on platforms such as Bitcoin Casino. This exploration will not only provide a closer look into the intricacies of slot gaming mechanics but also their compatibility with digital currencies like Bitcoin, creating a dynamic playground for both novice and veteran gamblers.

The allure of slot games extends centuries back, evolving from simplistic mechanical devices known as one-armed bandits to sophisticated online platforms offering myriad themes, intricate gameplay, and immersive graphical interfaces. The enhancement of slot games through online casinos leverages cutting-edge technology to create interactive and engaging gaming experiences enhanced by the security and anonymity of using cryptocurrencies.

Central to understanding the magnetism of slot games in the realm of cryptographic wagering is recognizing how these platforms integrate Bitcoin for transactions. Digital currencies offer decentralized transactions, shielding users from the traditional constraints and scrutiny of conventional financial systems. This mode of transaction bolsters user privacy and expedites fund transfers, making it a preferred choice among tech-savvy casino enthusiasts.

Slot games on Bitcoin casino platforms like Bitcoin Casino Us are crafted to cater to diverse player preferences. These games range from classic reels reminiscent of the original slot machines to modern video slots equipped with advanced graphics and multitude of paylines. Notably, each game is designed from the ground up with Random Number Generation (RNG) algorithms. These algorithms ensure fairness and randomness in the game outcomes, essential for maintaining the integrity of games and trust of the participants.

It is pivotal to delve into the legal and regulatory frameworks surrounding online casinos and cryptocurrency usage, which can vary widely by jurisdiction. In some countries, cryptocurrencies and online gambling are fully embraced, whereas others have stricter regulations or outright bans. The blockchain technology underlying Bitcoin logs every transaction on a publicly accessible ledger, thereby providing transparency and a traceable history that helps in complying with regulatory requirements where they apply.

However, the intersection of cryptocurrencies with casino gaming is not without challenges. Security concerns, though alleviated by blockchain's inherent nature, can escalate in the presence of malicious attacks or when platforms are poorly secured. Players are advised to verify the credibility of the casino, ensuring it has robust security measures and credible licenses. Additionally, since cryptocurrency prices can be extremely volatile, players should be conscious of market conditions when wagering with Bitcoin.

Advocates argue that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology contribute a layer of security, transparency, and convenience to online gaming far beyond traditional currencies. These features coupled with the inherent anonymity of blockchain transactions, place Bitcoin casinos in a favorable position within the online gambling market, appealing especially to a younger, technologically adept demographic.

In an ecosystem as vast as that of online gambling, accessibility to diverse game types is crucial in retaining player interest and engagement. Slot games in particular offer a wide array of themes, ranging from ancient civilizations and adventure, to fantasy, and modern pop culture, all designed with rich visuals and captivating soundtracks that entice players to return. High-quality graphics, often rendered in 3D, enhance the visual appeal further, making gameplay an immersive experience.

Progressive jackpots in slot games are another draw. These jackpots accumulate over time and can pay out life-changing sums, adding an element of excitement and competitive spirit among players. The anticipation built around progressive jackpots keeps the community active and engaged, continually drawing in new players eager for a chance at instant wealth.

Slot games are also celebrated for their bonuses and rewards structure. Many bitcoin casino slot games feature free spins, multipliers, or bonus games that offer additional ways to win, thereby enhancing the player's gaming experience and providing more value for each spin. Something as simple as a free spin can alter the trajectory of a game, significantly increasing potential payouts.

Community and social interaction are not typically the hallmarks of online gambling, yet in the Bitcoin casino space, there's a moving shift towards incorporating social features. Live casino games, forums, and interactive support features ensure that players are part of a community, enhancing user experience and retaining players through social engagement.

Education is also a cornerstone in responsible gambling. Reputable online casino platforms provide resources about game rules, the mathematics of gambling, risk management, and responsible gaming practices. By informing players, casinos foster a safer gambling environment and promote longevity of player engagement by equipping them with the tools needed to gamble responsibly.

With the integration of slot games in bitcoin casinos, the gaming experience has been redefined. Players are drawn not only to the aesthetic pleasures and potential financial gains but also the unique conveniences offered by blockchain technology. As platforms continue to evolve, the fusion of technology, entertainment, and strategic finance heralds a new dawn for the casino industry, making it an exciting time for both players and investors alike.

In conclusion, the realm of slot games in casinos like Bitcoin Casino Us represents more than just a digital frontier for gambling. It epitomizes the confluence of technological innovation, financial trading, and entertainment. As such, these platforms are not merely places to gamble but a spectacle of innovation displaying the vast potentials of combined human ingenuity.

Image Credit

6 May 2024

J’attends – I’m Waiting


Can spring be in the air finally?  Perhaps – but certainly one young woman’s thoughts turn to romance. 

J’attends is a delightful study in that part of the relationship when a couple start to get to learn about each other, enjoy each other’s company and wait for it to happen.  Just wait.  

The couple are played here with a certain Gallic panache by by Mariah Bonner (who also provides the voice over) and Mathieu Forget and this delicious little slice of joy is directed by Stewart Maclennan.

Secretive Supersize Squirrel on Steroids

The Indian Giant Squirrel is something else - it is far larger than the European and North American squirrels for a start - it makes them look like Oompa-Loompas for a start! However, if you are averse to squirrels you need not worry too much - they live in India and so they are unlikely to spring at you from the trees any time soon (plus they are vegetarians anyway!).

Nevertheless, their size is quite remarkable - one can only wonder how the trees take their weight as they leap up to twenty meters between the branches. You can get the low down on these amazing beasts over at our sibling site, The Ark In Space.

Image Credit

Ormie


This is dedicated to any of you out there who have had a similar experience to our porcine friend featured here – Ormie. Sometimes something takes your fancy but try as you might you just can’t get to the object of your desire!

Here, Ormie the pig spots a wonderful jar of cookies on top of the refrigerator and sets his heart on devouring those gorgeous biscuity treats!  However, the path to satisfaction is not always an easy one… as this hilarious animated short follows Ormie's increasingly frustrating and frustrated attempts to get hold of the cookies of his heart's desire!

This animated short film had festival audiences laughing and cheering since its introduction on the circuit. Ormie garnered itself 8 Festival Awards including Best Short Film (Savannah FF 2010, Palm Springs International Shorts Fest 2010, Sprockets 2010, Seattle International Film Festival 2010) and the Audience Award (New York International Children's Film Festival 2011). Ormie is created and directed by Rob Silvestri and produced by Graham Moloy of Arc Productions.

Hope


Hope springs eternal – or so it is said.  Yet sometimes it seems lost.  In this animated short film, a small boy is separated from his mother and put to work in an internment camp.  There is one thing which he still has in his possession to remind himself of the mother he has lost – yet this one thing that is keeping him alive is, by its discovery, threatened. Hope is a film by Michael Sherrer for Pixcube Animation Studio.

The Forgotten Battle: The Japanese Invasion of Alaska

In the early morning of 6 June 1942, 500 Japanese soldiers landed on Kiska, one of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

They took the only inhabitants of the island, a ten man (and six dog) US Navy Weather Detachment by complete surprise and quickly took control of American soil.

Today, the island is one of the USA’s National Historic Landmarks: the aftermath of the Japanese invasion can still be seen on the rolling hillsides of Kiska.

It is now known as The Forgotten Battle but the invasion caused widespread outrage in 1942.  Pearl Harbor was still a fresh memory, having been attacked on December 7 of the previous year.

Yet a Japanese military force had stepped foot on American soil – and the 500 had grown to over 5,000 men.  Although Kiska and neighboring Attu (which had been overrun two days previously) were part of the distant Aleutian Islands they were, nevertheless, American. Plans were immediately drawn up to retake the island, known as the Aleutian Campaign. The campaign would not succeed for over a year and would claim many American lives.