31 March 2018

Living Rock – Massive Monuments Carved In Situ

Most buildings and sculptures are made out of stone which is quarried and then taken somewhere else to be carved or used in construction. Not so these places, where the sculpting took place on site to give us some of the most remarkable sites in the world.

The Giant Buddha, Leshan
China has many a Buddha dotted throughout its extraordinary landscapes but the Giant Buddha of Leshan is unique in that it was carved directly out of the cliff face. The sculpture, which is seventy one meters (or over three hundred feet) tall dwarfs the tourists that flock to see it. It is positioned so that it faces Mount Emei and stands at the meeting place of three rivers.

26 March 2018

The Eternal Spring of Tenerife

Of all places in the entire world that you can possibly visit, Tenerife, which is located in the Canary Islands is without a doubt not only one of the most breathtakingly beautiful spots that can be, but is also home to one of, if not the absolute best places in terms of it’s climate without a doubt.  If you are looking for your next destination spot, the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel el Mirador will most definitely not disappoint and will make your every dream come true.

Tenerife is in fact known to be the Island of eternal spring throughout the world. Due to it’s perfect geographic position, located in a dreamy strip consisting of the best holiday spots possible. It is actually said that this strip is imaginary since it is so perfect and surreal.

There are several reasons for the gentle and ideal climate in Tenerife. One of the many reasons is the prevailing winds.  The trade winds, the orography of the terrain on it’s own together with the cold current of the Canary Islands makes for the beaches of Tenerife and the coasts to all year along always have stunning temperatures. Sometimes it is even above the temperature of the air.

Overall, the Island of Tenerife has a mild climate. Sometimes it becomes temperate and moderate throughout the other months of the year. However what is most special and impressive about the island is that throughout all months, and all seasons there is never both extreme cold, nor is there terribly suffocating heat.
Temperatures in the Island on average range anywhere between 17 and 18 degrees Celsius in the winter. During the summer months, the temperature ranges from averaging anywhere between 24 or 24 degrees Celsius at this time.  These values are all relative and rather general, however are most applicable in the costal areas in which the majority of the popular and happening tourist resorts are very systematically located.

One of the most impressive and surprising aspects of this Island is it’s variety of micro-climates.  Tenerife is very ideally located in the subtropical zones. The Island has the exact same latitude levels as do the great hot deserts of the northern hemisphere. Among them is the Sahara, located nearby to the Tenerife Island.

There is a strong presence of a high belt pressure, known as the Azores anticyclone. The Azores anticyclone creates a great deal of atmospheric stability. Furthermore, it also softens the temperatures of the climate of the Island. The influence of the Canary Island’s cold current, which is part of the current North Atlantic system, brings in water that is even colder than the norm into these latitudes. This in turn cools down the surface layer of air over the sea.

Throughout the majority of the year, trade winds blow which are created by the Northern Atlantic high pressures. These high pressures are loaded with humidity and they pass through their journey in the ocean. Among the impact together with the Island terrain, they condense themselves into a blanket of clouds. This process is known as stratocumulus and takes humidity into the surface of the Island.

This fascinating phenomenon happens on the very slopes which face north-northeast. On the other side, the slopes which face the west and south sides are dry and warm once they have reached the top. This makes for an increase in the sunshine and overall temperatures. At the same time it also reduces the humidity of leeward Islands.

This regime found in the northeast trade winds and the northeast weather overall is the most common kind of weather to be found in the Island, making those who live there very lucky, happy and healthy people. It is also makes for a great deal of tourism with everyone wanting to come visit this beautiful Island with the most perfect weather.

Another common type of weather that is seen in the Island during any time of the year is when the warm winds of the southeast blow. It comes from the Sahara, bringing dust in suspension. This raises the temperature and decreases the visibility and the humidity. This is known as south weather.

 During the winter months, there are often disturbances which are related to the general circulation of the west, which is a common property of the northern hemisphere.  In some cases, the pressures become so low that the latitude drops towards the south when the west circulation slows down. This also weakens the Azores anticyclone, which is very likely to occur in the Canary Islands area.

Cold storms will sometimes begin in mid-latitudes. It depends on their size and latitude, however low pressures mostly will come from the north-northwest or south-southwest. This produces heavy winds and rain in large and intense amounts and can result in flooding. Rainfall is seen the most in the areas that are exposed to winds. For more important about the magical Island, Iberostar.com will provide you with everything and more.

25 March 2018

The Leaning Tower of Yekaterinburg Leans No More: World’s Tallest Abandoned Structure is Demolished

Back in 2013 Kuriositas featured the Yekaterinburg TV Tower.  Construction started in the 1980s but faltered as the city felt the repercussions of the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Both loved and despised by locals, the 220-meter (720-foot) tower had stood unfinished since then.  Sealed to stop builderers (those who climb the outside of tall structures for fun) and BASE jumpers (those who jump off them for fun) it is our unhappy task to inform you that the tower was demolished on Saturday 24 March.  While the tower was not destined to be preserved for posterity, its demise was recorded from a number of angles.

Why, after so many years of inaction, has this finally happened?

Yekaterinburg is one of the host cities of the forthcoming soccer World Cup – it is after all Russia’s fourth city in terms of population and has undergone something of an economic boom lately.  Some of the country’s tallest and newest skyscrapers are in the city.  With the imminent arrival of tourists from all over the world hoping to experience the glamour of the World Cup, officials judged the TV tower’s continued existence to be no longer in the interest of the city. When rich relatives come to visit, the house gets a tidy.

There were demonstrations, of course.  The TV tower has become beloved by a fair amount of the local populace and those that cared organised a demo just before the demo (if you see what I mean) in order to give the tower one last metaphorical embrace: the demonstration was called Hug the Tower.

Yet the hug the tower received from the explosives, wrapped close to its base to produce a controlled collapse, was the mightier of the two.  Within seconds of the detonation the remains of the tower lay bereft in the spring snow.

The demolition was not inexpensive.  It cost 200 million roubles, which translates roughly in to 3.5 million USD.   In its place the city plans to build a new ice rink, right next door to the circus, the domed building visible in the background of the first video.

So, it’s goodbye (or more appropriately da svidania) to the leaning tower of Yekaterinburg: although you were too unsightly, too strange, too shabby to be saved, we will remember you.

24 March 2018

What Would Happen if Teachers were Given Guns?

That’s a question that has been asked many times recently – writer Anna Hozian and director Meghann Artes seem to have come up with a realistic scenario in their short film Different This Year.  Starring Atra Asdou and Sara Sevigny, we meet a pair of teachers who have undergone the training necessary to protect the classrooms of tomorrow.  And it really should put your mind at rest…

18 March 2018

The Clock and the Compass

America in the near future: Islam has been banned and all Muslims are kept under close surveillance and a sundown curfew.  One family prepares for the evening meal – only to have it interrupted by a zealous security guard.  Yet the daughter of her family is this evening to face something which she always expected but for which she is not yet ready.  The Clock and the Compass is a short film by FWD Stance.

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

Moscow as the sun goes down is something to behold but like any other city in the world, when the stars come out so do those who want to have a great time. Alex Soloviev captures the Russian capital beautifully in this short film, Moscow Moves.  There is a lot to see in this grand old city, the very old; yet there is also a vibrancy to the youth culture which puts Moscow on a par with any other capital.

For a Handful of Chanterelles

Has an animation ever made you feel hungry? No? Then this one might.  Created by Julien Grande for his final project at Belgium’s ENSAV La Cambre it tells the story of an extended family’s preparation for lunch – and in particular the trials and  tribulations of the pater familias in his search for his favorite culinary delicacy, a handful of chanterelles (the “une poignée de girolles” of the title).  This is beautifully made, a quiet, understated pleasure.

Light Pillar – Nature’s Beautiful Special Effect

Light pillars scrape the night sky over Alaska.  It may look as if an alien invasion force is beaming down to overrun our little planet but, in fact, this is a purely natural phenomenon.  Light and water is all that is needed to produce this remarkable special effect.

10 March 2018

The Swimming Pool that Turned into a Museum

In the last few years of the twentieth century the Mayor of Lille in northern France had a quandary. The old swimming pool in the small town of Roubaix had been closed in 1985 due to safety problems. 

So, why not simply knock the old building down? What was the problem?

The swimming pool just happened to be a stunningly beautiful example of Art Deco architecture. Time for a peculiarly French solution.

The Kiosk

For years now, the kiosk has been Olga‘s little home simply because her sweet tooth and monotonous life has made her bigger than the exit. To distract herself, she reads travel magazines and dreams of being far away. An absurd incident starts the beginning of her journey. The Kiosk is written and directed by Anete Melece, a Latvian illustrator and animation filmmaker currently based in Zürich,

Emerald Rush – Jon Hopkins

Jon Hopkins should have made an appearance on Kuriositas at some point over the last ten years but hasn’t.  Fortunately we’re able to put that right with this video for his track Emerald Rush, directed by Robert Hunter and Elliot Dear.  I’m not quite sure what to make of it (and perhaps that’s the point) but it hooked me in very quickly - and fantastic combination of music and artwork.  See what you think of it!

Above the Clouds: The Yuanyang Rice Terraces in China

We have covered some of China’s extraordinary rice terraces before on Kuriositas but this needs to be included!  Henry Jun Wah Lee of Evosia Studios captured this amazing arial footage of the Yuanyang rice terraces with a drone and the results are incredible.  This extraordinary landscape has been cultivated for thousands of years yet I expect they have rarely been recorded in such a way as this.  Sit back and enjoy!

2 March 2018

Holi - Festival of Colors

If you live in a large, multi-ethnic city virtually anywhere in the world it is a possibility that in the next few weeks you will see groups of people in parks merrily spattering each other with paint. While you might be excused for thinking that it is a new form of corporate team building – and what a great one that would be – you would be wrong. The throwing of multi-colored water and powder is in fact the popular Hindu spring Festival of Colors, also known as Holi.

This festival has been conducted in India and Nepal for hundreds of years but as the Hindu diaspora grows other countries as far afield as the UK and the US are getting involved in the fun. It may be that outside of the Hindu communities, however, that is religious aspect has been somewhat diluted - some Holi celebrations look more like a rock concert! However, as a rite of spring, most agree it can hardly be beaten.