17 May 2020

The History of the Tulip


The Himalayan mountain range was the original home of the tulip even though most of us associate the flower with the Netherlands.  How it got there makes for a fascinating story, from the courts of the Turkish dynasties to its Dutch arrival, this animation gives us the whole history.  That shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise as it was created especially for the Tulip Museum in Amsterdam by Stepahne Kaas, an independent Dutch maker of film, documentaries, short fiction, music videos, commercials and this.

When the tulip got there it was considered such a rare and interesting flower that it sparked something of a social frenzy which would eventually lead to the down fall of an entire economy (known as the tulip bubble).  It’s amazing to think that a single flower could be responsible for all of that, but watch the video and discover the truth for yourself!

5 May 2020

We’ll Meet Again – Possibly the Best Lockdown Project Yet?


Filmed in the Garden Quarter district of the ancient city of Chester, this is a “socially distanced production” featuring some of the best World War II songs, snippets of each sung by one of the neighbors with “We’ll Meet Again” featuring strongly. It's a great concept, the wandering accordion player introducing each of the participants - the coronavirus may be causing us to keep our distance but there's always a way to keep calm and carry on when there is human creativity at play.

As a lockdown project, it’s something else. Plus, with the 75th anniversary of VE Day about to be celebrated this group effort, orchestrated by Matt Baker (who just happens to be a musical director, so, handy) is timely to say the least. It is very obvious, too, that a lot of fun was had in the making of this mini-masterpiece.

This is what Matt has to say about the project on his Facebook page.

"This is a tribute from our community to a past generation which came together in the face of adversity. The residents of this one small street in the Garden Quarter, Chester created, rehearsed, directed, choreographed, performed and filmed this little tribute. They were also incredibly careful to adhere to every social distancing restriction throughout each step of the process.

A very special thanks to the lovely neighbours of nearby streets who have had to endure listening to the rehearsals over the past couple of weeks. Thanks also to the people who stopped at a distance on their way to the shops to enable us to complete filming. Thanks to Paula Cain from Chester Costume House for the special delivery!"

It hasn’t been online long but has only garnered just over 20K hits at the time of writing – and this should have many times that number of views, really.

This video has an added resonance for me.  For the first 18 years of my life I called Chester home and my mother still lives just five minutes away from where this was filmed; in fact, she was born just around the corner in Garden Lane in 1940 – the very time that the songs featured here were so important to people all over the United Kingdom and beyond.  I used to walk past this little street every day on my way to school – and it’s lovely to see its residents coming together in this community project.  Someone pass me a handkerchief…

15 April 2020

Hitler’s Hospital: The Eerie Remains of Beelitz Sanatorium

In the last years of the nineteenth century the population of Berlin was expanding rapidly. The attendant issues of housing large numbers of people in cramped conditions were not far behind.  By 1898 the German National Insurance Institute had a sanatorium built for the victims of tuberculosis.  Beelitz-Heilstätten (or the Beelitz Sanitorium) steadily grew and functioned for many decades, playing host to a number of infamous patients, including Adolf Hitler. Yet most of it is now abandoned.

Although just a short distance from the German capital, the Beelitzer forest was considered suitable for a sanatorium as the area enjoyed fresh air and countryside.  However when the First World War broke out in 1914 it was not long before it was requisitioned and converted to care for the massive casualties inflicted at the front.  In the later months of 1916 a young soldier called Adolf Hitler was sent there to recuperate from a thigh injury acquired during the Battle of the Somme.

The Bizarre Nest of the Central American Paper Wasp

Take a look at the photograph above.  Is it some strange kind of blooming plant?  Is it a fungal growth attached to a tree?  It is something else entirely.  This is the bizarre nest of the Central American Paper Wasp.  It is notable for one thing – an apparent lack of nest altogether.  Those pale yellow cigar-shaped objects? They are the wasps, huddle together in neat order, waiting for the evening to come. Our sibling site, the Ark in Space, has the story with lots of fascinating photographs.

Casino Hawks: The Best Online Casinos for the Lockdown and Beyond

How is it going for you? Certainly, for me, the lockdown is giving but taking away at the same time. I miss personal contact with friends and family (those family members who do not live with me, that is). I also miss my work colleagues like crazy – something I didn’t think would happen. Yet they used to make me smile a lot more than I had previously considered – they gave me real ‘value for money’ in their own way – and metaphorically speaking of course. In terms of value, if you enjoy online casino games then you may want to consider becoming one of the casino hawks.

I will put this into context of my recent online purchasing experiences. I am a keen gardener and the lockdown has given me the opportunity to really put my patch in order. Local garden centres are closed but I have still been able to go online to purchase my seeds and bulbs. Now what I do is to figure out what I want – say allium bulbs for example – and then price them up on a website. Do I add them to my basket and proceed to the checkout? Hardly!

 I check a number of websites for the same bulbs and go with the one that provides me with the best value. It takes time but what I end up with is money in my pocket to spend elsewhere. What would be perfect, in this instance, is a website that provides me with that service – something that collates the best plant prices from across the web.

Why? That’s because although I am keen to get the best value for my money, this is all very time-consuming. I would much prefer it if someone did it for me!

This is exactly what happens with Casino Hawks. The guys there collate the best news, tips and reviews from the internet and put them all in the one place, so you don’t have to do the hard work – it’s all done for you. So, this increases the value of your “brass in pocket” as you can discover where the best bonuses are to be found (it’s all kept up to date on a daily basis) and save yourself money in the process.

The Casino Hawks are a bit fussy too – only the best UK casino bonuses, rewards and payouts make it on to their list – so this is where to go if you want something specifically tailored to you. Whether it is the latest online slots you are looking for, table games or live casino action, then the reviews on this website will help you to select the ones that will give you the best value for your money.

So, if you are looking for greater value, head over to Casino Hawks. I just wish they did a site for gardeners too!

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15 March 2020

The Strange Sarcophagi of the Chachapoya

By the time the Spanish arrived in Peru at the beginning of the 16th Century the Chachapoya people had already been subsumed in to the great Inca Empire.  Although they had resisted the Incas fiercely, the lands of these Warriors of the Clouds as they were known had been annexed and had been forced to adopt the customs and culture of their conquerors. Yet they left one thing behind – the strange sarcophagi in which they would bury their dead.

1 March 2020

The Cannonball Tree

It is the case with a number of plants that they are given popular names which reflect how they look or what they do.  So it is with the Cannonball Tree whose fruit is so large that they look like cannonballs.  Not only that, when they fall to the ground a large noise is created similar to... you guessed it.

The fruit will of course fall when it is good and ready.  So you will not find a Cannonball Tree near a public pathway or a road.  One of these fruit, weighing in at several pounds and often up to ten inches in diameter could kill you.   So, you really want to avoid standing directly under them when they are in fruit.

9 February 2020

Medicine - A Dance Film


Dancer and choreographer  Zack Benitez approached creative agency Carlos et Marcos with the idea of telling a story through dance. It is a love story tangled in addiction. It tells of a lover struggling with her partner’s disease and the person he once was, only to succumb to his demons and dive head first into his addiction. Tamara Marthe joined Benitez to tell this powerful story, shot in an abandoned warehouse in Paris.

1910s America in Color

In this color photograph you can see a group of children who have dressed up to back the war effort, one proudly bearing the US flag. Is this from the Vietnam War? The Second World War?  Neither – the picture was taken about 1918 and it is the troops sent to fight in what became known as the First World War that they are supporting. This extraordinary photograph is almost a hundred years old: it is highly unlikely that even the longest lived of these children is still alive.

We often perceive the past in black and white – after all, the vast majority of photographs from the 1910s through in to the 1930s and 40s are monochrome.  Yet a color photography process called the Autochrome Lumière was patented in 1903.  It remained the foremost color process until the second half of the 1930s. The pictures you are about to see are mostly dated about 1915-18 with some earlier and a few from the 1920s.

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


Stas Tolstnev is a Russian photographer who recently visited Lake Baikal in southern Siberia.  Baikal is the deepest and purest lake in the world and it is under ice for over four months each year.

Tolstnev captures both its immensity and incredible beauty in this painstakingly made film. You have to wonder how he managed to get some of the shots but not for long: you will find yourself adrift with the elements on the shores of Baikal for a few minutes without a care in the world.

1 February 2020

Las Lajas Sanctuary: The South American Church that Looks Like a European Castle

If you take the immediate exterior of the Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia it doesn’t look too much like an atypical South American Catholic church. Yet it retains many of their qualities: it is ornate, richly elaborate and, to many eyes, beautiful.  Just another minor basilica church in a country dotted with them, you might think.  Yet take a few steps back from the door of the church and look down. You are in for a surprise.

The Assassin Bug – Malaysia’s Macabre Miniscule Murderer

I do hope you have had your lunch, in which case you might be ready for a short afternoon horror story. This is a member of the assassin bug family found in Malaysia. It has a particularly cunning plan when it comes to avoid being eaten.  Once it’s had its own lunch (by sucking out the liquefied insides of its victims) it hoists their empty exoskeletons on its back – tens of them all held together by a sticky secretion. The Ark in Space tells the rest of this macabre tale!

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New Zealand Casinos™ - One of the Top Leading Casino Guides in NZ

Annually, a total of over $2 billion is invested in gambling activities by New Zealand citizens. That makes gambling a significant part of local culture & a favourite pastime for citizens of the region.

Even though gambling is so popular among locals, the amount of casinos in New Zealand is surprisingly less. There are currently only about seven casinos in the country. This generates a specific contrast as opposed to New Zealand's race tracks & bingo halls. A growing number of high-street betting shops now sell sports betting.

Besides that, the popularity of online casinos is on the rise in New Zealand, the market is growing and there are so many online casino brands and new casino guides that are showing up in New Zealand. Unfortunately, there are too many fake websites and unreliable casino guides that can harm Kiwis.

New Zealand Casinos™ brand that stands out

This is where  New Zealand Casinos™ guide is stepping up with its expert team (MediaClever AB) that is helping to players and directing them at the only the best casinos with its casino ratings, bonus comparing and casino reviews over 10 years already.

New Zealand Casinos™ is made for sharing the latest info about New Zealand's best online casino sites that you play online. Reliability, safety, bonuses, payout rates, and other factors are taken into consideration to make the list of top-notch online casino NZ brands.

The principal criteria are as follows:

License: - Just ruled out gambling sites that do not comply with the legal requirements. Licensed casinos are the ones that you can trust to be sure about the money you invest is in the right location. Gaming authorities like the Curaçao Gaming Control, the Alderney Gambling Commission, and so on helps to determine which websites to choose from.
 
Options for gambling:  Whether you are a seasoned gambler, a casual tourist, or a newbie, the website's costly choice of games is, in any case, right. Blackjack, Keno, Online Slots and Video Poker, Roulette, Craps, and other sports-that is not the entire list. Newbies can even continue their online casino gambling experience with demo accounts & then move on to the actual money.
 
Device:- Top online casino websites are accessible from computers, phones, tablets, etc., which means you can experience gambling anytime, wherever, with your favourite online casino and.
 
Deposits and cashing out: - You can choose any payment option that fits you. Visa / MasterCard payments, Paysafecard and PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, and even popular cryptocurrencies method gambling websites from our list.
 
Help or Support: -  New Zealand Casinos™ online casino NZ catalogue clarifies the process of selecting casinos for cash play. They provide 24/7 support from the gambling service providers for its consumers.
 
Scroll through and see the latest updates about New Zealand's popular Internet casinos with Online Casino Handbook by your side. What are the things to pay attention to when you evaluate these sites?
  • Check the user personal data protection
  • Check which methods of withdrawal & deposit is available
  • Check games & slots
  • Contrast payout amounts & rewards
  • Test software & game providers
Online Gambling in New Zealand

Internet Gaming in New is legally banned under the 2003 Gambling Act, except for some tightly regulated lotteries & sports betting games & activities. 

Online gambling is often called remote interactive gambling & classified as gambling through the use of a variety of communication devices, including computers, phones, radios, etc.

That is precisely why online gambling in the country isn't completely banned and is accessible to its players to a certain extent. The National Lottery went online half a decade once the Gambling Act in 2003 passed. Local players thus cannot access their beloved lottery games.

Some of the best casinos at New Zealand Casinos™ are:
  • BLACK SPINS which has more than 1000 games and great design specialized for All Blacks
  • WISHMAKER is also one of the famous casinos of the country
  • DREAMZ with 1300+ games and modern design
  • BETZEST with 1200 + games and sportsbook
  • ROYAL PANDA (great brand with a lot of awesome options like sportsbook)
Gambling at this site it is not illegal for Kiwis, but marketing and advertising these sites in NZ is prohibited.

Conclusion:

Thus all the above casinos are in the top list of NZ Casinos. Furthermore, the Totalizator Agency Board is selling lottery games and goods over the World wide web. The latter are only entities, along with a New Zealand Lotteries Commission, that is allowed to offer online gambling practices on the country's territory.


The Popularity of No-account Online Casinos in Sweden


The online casino technology in Sweden is currently at the top of its development. In Sweden, casino players can play at the casino without creating an account, and today we are going to show you more about what options are offered and see its cons and pros.

No more lengthy registration requirements and forms to fill out online. This is just one of the benefits of a no-account casino.

If you reside in Sweden then get ready to enjoy these new features.

What is a no-account online casino?

Just like the name implies, it simply means that registration at an online casino is not compulsory to enjoy games online. Open an account by logging into your bank account or an online payment method. The online casino will gather all your details and create an account for you instantly.
Sounds like a privacy invasion right?

Don’t worry; we are going to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of this shortly.

Start playing at a no-account casino online

In case you don’t know, online no-account casinos have been around since 2018. This trend is the latest innovation in the casino industry. It is not as difficult as you may think.

What you need is a bank account that has a verified identity to play at a no-account casino. In Sweden, personal details of customers are linked to their verified bank account. A player simply has to connect via the casino website to their verified BankID portal. An account will be created immediately without filling any forms.

To start playing at a no-account casino online, follow these easy steps;
  1. Tap the "Play Now" button at the casino's website
  2. Choose any payment method to make your first deposit
  3. Verify your identity via your bank id.
  4. Start playing
Is it safe to play a no-account casino online?

This method of playing an online casino appears unsafe, doesn’t it? However, the brain behind this method claims it is safer than the standard registration process. Trustly is the mastermind of this method. They claim that they invested so many years researching on the safety of a no-account casino method.

According to Trustly, players have a unique digital signature while carrying out transactions online. So through careful encryption from the casino site and the BankID, a third party cannot access your details. In other words, it is safe and free from any privacy risk.

How to know a legit no-account casino?

  • Scam sites are all over the place, so below are features that you should look out for before you sign up;
  • Ensure that the casino is validly registered by Swedish Spel Inspektionen. They are the Swedish Gambling Authority that regulates the activities of online casinos
  • The casino has a valid license
  • Ensure that the casino has a Trustly logo at the bottom of their website
  • The online casino needs to be verified by BankID

Pros
  • It is fast and saves a lot of time. In less than 20 seconds your registration is completed
  • It is a convenient way to register at a casino online without much stress
  • Deposits and withdrawals are instant
Cons
  • It is not available in other countries yet

From the content above, it is obvious that a no-account casino is relatively new even if it has been around since 2018. However, this method is quite safe and easy, especially for new players. Just ensure that the casino has all the features listed above.

Finally, for more information about the best no-account casinos in Sweden, visit one of the Swedish top casino guides “CasinoPro”.
Source: 

17 January 2020

Steps to an Effective Content Strategy for Your Nonprofit

Many non-profit organizations underestimate the power and value of an effective content strategy. This is a document that outlines the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content aimed at creating and sharing awareness about the nonprofit organization. It is like when you need homework help for college - you need to make a strategy.

A well thought out content strategy for nonprofit improves the image of the organization and overall level of engagement with its audience. However, coming up with an effective content strategy takes a lot of time and financial resources, which are usually scarce for most nonprofit organizations.

Here are five simple steps you can take to develop an effective content strategy for Your Non-profit.


1. Content alignment

You should understand and be able to articulate what you are trying to achieve as an organization and then map it to your user-specific questions and problems. The end goal is to convince the consumers you understand them and their journey and that you want to meet their needs in every tailored way.  This is exactly the way that essay pro works too - you get the content that you need.

Luckily, nonprofit organizations have the unique advantage of strong missions that enable them to create a successful content marketing strategy.

To align your content with the consumer journey, needs, and problems, you need to have a deep understanding of how they navigate your site and social media. You also need to gauge their engagement level with the content marketing strategies previously used, such as email campaigns. 
Information can also be gathered through Google analytics, personal interviews, online consumer surveys or any other content marketing tools that are available online. Use the information to develop the topics, questions, and needs that will be addressed by your content. 

2. Content audit

A thorough assessment of all your content across all platforms is a great way to determine where you are and where you need to go. It is also great for showing you areas of improvement for your content such as where you need to optimize your content and where you need to engage with your audiences more. 

Once you audit your existing content, you should be able to determine whether it can be used as-is or it needs some editing. You will also find out whether you need to build new content from scratch. 


3. Production plan

Every effective content strategy must have a production plan, also known as an editorial calendar. This part of the process includes determining which type of content to produce and who the content owner will be. You will also determine the subject experts that will contribute to the content, how the content will be pushed out and the production dates.  Similarly, when you think "I need to pay someone to do my assignment" you need a plan to produce the content.

The various small steps at this stage include: defining your content pillars (this is usually to empower and inform for most nonprofits), determining the genre and the format of each content piece, then coming up with the topics and methods to deliver the content.

At this stage, you can ask “write my capstone paper” and professionals can come up with the content material that you will need. It ranges from website content to flyers and guide books to research proposals. The writers working with online services are highly trained, so they will write and edit according to your specifications and deliver in a quick time.

4. Performance measures

Once you have developed your content topics and overall production calendar, it is important to determine what each content piece should accomplish so you can track and measure success. 

For example, a blog's measure of success may be to attract 25% of donations. Defining the aim of each piece of content and how performance will be measured will help you determine whether you have a successful content marketing strategy. 

The performance metrics should be well laid-out and clearly communicated to all the teams involved in the process lifecycle so that they are well aware of their jobs.

5. Distribution plan

The last step of an effective content strategy for nonprofit is finding out which distribution channels to use that will optimize your time, resources, and engagement with your audience. Identify short-term and long-term strategies that incorporate over one channel. 

For example, your strategy can have online channels such as social media and offline channels such as direct mail. The channels used should be able to get your content to donors or members.
Conclusion

A content strategy helps you to figure out which content is doing poorly, which is doing well, how you can create better content, and how to coordinate better with other groups. An effective strategy enables the organization to have multiple ways to promote their content and tools to help them analyze their efforts. 

However, it is good to note that content strategy is a continuous process. Your strategy will require constant updating to make sure that the voice and needs of your audience are reflected. You always need to prepare yourself to plan, create, publish, analyze, and repeat the process.

4 January 2020

The Tree of Life – Mexico’s Evolving Art Form

Everything must change, so the saying goes.  Art is no exception and folk art has always been particularly in tune with cultural shifts being, by its nature, by the people for the people.  So it is with the Mexican sculptural tradition of the Tree of Life or Árbol de la vida.  It has gone from an instructional tool of religious imposition to, contemporarily, something quite different. Yet it wasn’t itself an art form which sprang spontaneously in to being with the arrival of people from the Old World: its roots are much older.

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A Biblical story is now considered traditional, but Árbol de la vida originates with the Olmec culture, which arrived in central Mexico around 800 AD. This, together with the huge cultural influence of the pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan (which at its height in the first centuries AD was at least the sixth most populated city in the world) brought about an age of intricate, sophisticated ceramics.  The Tree of Life embodied the four cardinal directions (north, east, south and west) for these ancient cultures as well as connecting the realms of the underworld and sky with the dominions of the Earth.

2 January 2020

The Turning Point


Imagine the destruction of the environment from a different perspective where it is not the human race paving the way to species extinction but rather all those usually at the receiving end of what we think is a satisfactory duty of care to planet Earth.  Steve Cutts, an animator not unknown for the bleak messages contained in his work – here presents humanity as the species at risk in The Turning Point.  There are too many memorable moments in this short animation to mention but one that particularly resonated with me was the site of the orangutans destroying the rain forest: very Planet of the Apes gone completely psycho.  Yes, bleak this may be, but the message is incredibly powerful. Mr Cutts does it again.

TS: Terminators - The Sequel You Always Secretly Really Wanted


Are you fed up with Terminator sequels that don’t quite “cut the mustard”.  Well, fear not as Fabrice Mathieu is here with his own – and it turns out to be quite the tribute to Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger into the bargain.  The plot?  In the future John Connor scrambles Skynet’s mainframe meaning that all the T-800s are given a new target – the other T-800s.  As well as using footage from all of the Terminator maovies, Mathieu also mashes it up with bits of Hellboy, Jurassic Park and Zombieland – to name but a few.  The result is pretty seamless – can you see where a clip from one film ends and another begins?  Good luck – but enjoy too!

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