26 March 2017

20 Mildly Amusing Door-mats

Door-mats are not particularly valued– we have even adopted the noun as a metaphor to describe people who allow themselves to be used by others.  Yet these vital but unsung heroes of a clean house should be more of an everyday treasure than they are.  A few well-chosen words (or symbols) can make all the difference. Here are twenty good reasons why door-mats shouldn’t be such… door-mats.

11 March 2017

The Kermode Bear: Spirit Bear of British Columbia

This is not a polar bear which has decided to migrate to warmer climes.  Featured today on our sibling site, the Ark in Space, this is a remarkable sub-species of the North American Black Bear - the Kermode Bear, aka the spirit bear.  Living along the shorelines and central interior of British Columbia on the west coast of Canada, around ten percent of Kermode bears have white or creamy coats.  Unsurprisingly, they are revered among the native peoples of the province.  Head over to the Ark in Space for the full feature on these beautiful but rare bears.

Image Credit Valard

1 March 2017

The Monuments of North Korea

The age of huge monuments to political ideology came to an end for many with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.  In the rush towards change, many massive statues of communist leaders and heroes were toppled or consigned to scrap yards.  The time for colossal testaments to the cream of communism was, it seems, well and truly over. Or perhaps not. No one seems to have told the North Koreans.  The East Asian country, still in the thrall of totalitarian and Stalinist policies combined with a cult of personality based around a single family is awash with grandiose monuments.  Here are just some of them.

The Juche Tower
The Juche Tower was part of a flurry of moments erected in the 1980s.  Juche is the system created by Kim Il-sung, the North’s first Prime Minister.  It consists of self-sufficiency, self-reliance and nationalism – effectively a closed economy which must stagger along without external assistance or international trade. Autarky, as the self-reliance is known had been previously practiced by Nazi Germany (with the realisation that because war was inevitable with some of the countries it traded with, this could not be relied upon in the totalitarian future with plenty of lebensraum that was envisioned).

Far the Days Come

This is an enigmatic animated short to say the very least – so I won’t go in to any particular detail about it myself.  Rather, I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about its comment on the current state of humanity.  Directed by Ram Singh of Pencillati Studios with music by Letter Box, Far the Days Come may not fill your day with rainbows and unicorns but will give you food for thought.

Know Your Rights: Think Before You Buy

It’s easier than ever to get ripped off these days so when you buy something it’s best you use the old grey matter a little bit first.

This video has recently been released by Kent County Council to encourage those who live in the borough to do just that.  What makes it a little different is that it is animated using Lego which is never a bad thing.  Take a look!