30 December 2020

Love Bugs

Dragonflies do it with an almost balletic grace, tortoise beetles are not without their own charm and butterflies protect their modesty with their wings.  As for the snout weevil? Well, they have faces only a mother could love. Yet the fact is, insects get down to doing the wild thing on a fairly regular basis.  The Ark in Space takes the plunge today with some fascinating anecdotes about the love life of the bug world.


Image Credit Flickr User Westpark


It's almost new year, a time when many consider making a new start, an attempt to get the balance right. 

This short film is about Christian Clausecker, who tells us about his passion to balance his life.  He might be taking it a little more literally than most but I am still scratching my head about just how Shua Visuals managed to get some of these shots. Don’t try this at home, kids!

Space Cat Hob

A genetically engineered flying cat (yup) crash lands on a planet only to find that he is surrounded by more even more danger than he has just escaped.  Will he survive this new hostile environment?  This animated short was created by Liok, a Paris based concept artist and independent film maker.  Incredibly it was done with a zero budget but completed through sheer time and love, after two years of work.  It was worth it!

Sunday Short Movie: 1982

We’re not all about loud bangs, laser guns and space ships at Kuriositas.  This is a new feature for our readers – a Sunday Short Movie that will be entertaining, heart-warming and perhaps even uplifting while retaining our promise to you to only deliver the highest quality film and animation.  So, make a date each Sunday for something quite special.

Our first feature presentation is 1982, written and directed by Jeremy Breslau.  It tells the story of a blocked novelist reflects on a pivotal year in his life when he struggled for the attention of his bickering parents.  It may not, from that description, sound like something which will warm the cockles of your heart, but trust us!

The Leap

In 2069, New Earth is declared open for civilian migration, a decade after its discovery. As tales of wonder and opportunity reach the Old World, taking ‘the leap’ becomes the dream of millions. Unable to afford the journey, many of the less fortunate risk their lives being smuggled aboard cargo ships. The inter-planetary Migration Administration, or IPMA, deals with human trafficking on a biblical scale.

Fifteen years later, Jacob Reiss, a disillusioned IPMA veteran, has a fateful encounter with a young cartel prostitute. A meeting that forces him to confront a dark chapter from his past in order to save them both from a bleak future in one final, violent shot at redemption.

The Leap was written, designed and directed by Karel van Bellingen.

Onbashira: The Most Dangerous Festival in Japan

2016 was a special year in Japan. Every six years the men of the towns and villages around Lake Suwa in the Nagano Prefecture participate in the Onbashira festival (a matsuri in Japanese) and in 2016 it came round again.  It has been celebrated sexenially for over 1,200 years without interruption.

Translated as ‘the honored pillars’, Onbashira symbolically renews the Suwa Taisha shrine and is a dazzling display of the power of man over nature. It is also known as the most dangerous festival in Japan.  Broken limbs are inevitable during the festival and deaths have also, unfortunately, been recorded.

Onbashira 2016
This festival would never happen elsewhere, frankly.  Hordes of health and safety inspectors would ensure that the huge logs would become nothing more than twigs. As for riding atop them at a breath-taking speed – this would simply be banned, interdit, verboten.  However, this is Japan.  Have you ever seen any of the country’s game shows which make demands on the body which should make most people quail? You may have wondered where anyone could get the idea for such risky physicality.  Perhaps their roots lie in Onbashira.

12 December 2020

500 Years of Female Portrait Paintings in 3 Minutes

Five hundred years of beautiful, fascinating women in just three minutes? It may sound too good to be true but Philip Scott Johnson has put together this compilation of half a millennium of masterpieces. It is fascinating to see how art has evolved over the centuries.  Plus if you are an expert and want to see just how many of the ninety paintings you recognize, click here to see the answers!

The Irony of Viruses

About 8 percent of our DNA is made up of viruses known as Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs). Over millions of years, these viruses have embedded themselves in our genome and now play an integral role in the functioning of our immune system.

In this short video, The Atlantic’s science writer Ed Yong explains how the very things that once made us sick now keeps us healthy.

Why Does a Dog Lick Its Nose?

Here is the question du jour – why does a dog lick its nose?  The Ark in Space has the answer (and it may not be the one that you assume) together with a large gallery of dogs being endearing while licking their noses. Just run with it. True, this may seem silly, yet there is a scientific reason behind this behavior. Pop over to the Ark in Space for a real cute fest and some science thrown in for good measure.

Image Credit Flickr User WoofBC

Leh Palace: Abandoned Bastion of the Himalayas

In the early years of the seventeenth century the Lion King of Ladakh, Sengge Namgyal ordered the construction of a great palace.  Situated atop the Himalayan city of Leh, now in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, it was the home of his dynastic descendants until their overthrow and exile in 1834.  Once the world’s highest building, Leh Palace has been abandoned since then.  Yet it remains a majestic presence in this area of India often referred to as Little Tibet.

If it seems familiar that is because it is thought to be modelled on the more famous Potala Palace in neighboring Tibet which was the home of the Dalai Lama until his flight from the country in 1959.   Some say that it is the other way around but the similarities are remarkable. It is smaller than Potala but nevertheless Leh Palace is hugely impressive in its own right.  Towering nine storeys high, its upper floors once echoed to the sounds of Namgyal royalty and their throngs of courtiers.  The lower floors were used for storage and to accommodate the precious horses of the army.

6 December 2020

Action Bill

OK, I really couldn’t make this up.  Stratford Upon Avon – my guess around 1605.  William Shatner, for reasons that will soon become obvious, travels back in time in a robot with the express intention of killing William Shakespeare.  Who will save Master Shakespeare? His savior comes in the form of someone not unacquainted with his works.  Oh – and it’s all in Lego.  Created by AMAA Productions from Austin, Texas, this is an absolute riot.

Magical Europe - Timelapse

Stan Chang spent (what looks like the best part of) two years traveling around Europe with his wife and small son.  This is a compilation of time lapse videos that he created on his family’s sojourns on the continent and it is quite amazing.  I particularly enjoyed the transitions from day to night – but the most fun was trying to spot and name the places as this compelling video played. Have fun!

Danny Boy

What happens when the rest of the world loses its head? That question may seem rhetorically metaphorical but for Danny it is a real, literal quandary especially when love is beckoning, however blindly.  You will have to watch to discover how he resolves the situation in this superlatively crafted, enigmatic and multi-award winning animated short written and directed by Marek Skrobecki for Se-Ma-For Studios.

3 December 2020

Steps That You Need To Follow When Starting a Business

Beginning a business is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes entrepreneurs do not know what to do when they start a business. It could be best payout casinos, online marketing or construction business. What entrepreneurs should know is that situations change and they have to adapt when these situations change. We are going to list some steps that you need to take when you start a business.

It Is Important to Refine your Idea

When you decide to start a business, you know what you want to do in terms of the market that yo9u want to enter. Start researching about that industry, look at some of the companies that are already in that business. There are companies that are leading in that industry, find out what they are doing and figure out a way to do better than them.

Create a Business Plan

There are a few important questions that you should ask yourself before you start your business. Your business plan should answer those questions like the purpose of your business, who you want to sell your products to and the goals that you want to achieve. Also it should answer how you will finance your business costs. You should know if there is demand for the product that you want to sell before you sell it.

Do Market Research

Market research is very important because this is how you find your target audience. Conducting surveys, holding focus groups, and researching SEO are some of the things that you can do when doing a market research. This helps you understand the customer better. Big casino review sites like casino us online casino, did not just get to Google without SEO.

Evaluate Your Finances

When starting a business, there are costs that are involved. You will need to figure out how you are going to cover those costs that you will have to face. This includes deciding whether you are going to continue working and supporting your business or quitting your job so that you can concentrate more on your business. The reason why you need to figure this out before you start is because you do not want to run out of money before you make profit.

American Football Books That Every Prospect Player Read

You can tell from online casino gaming that sometimes, reading about something will help you grasp it a lot better, this is according to best online casinos usa. There are a lot of diverse categories when it comes to the novel department. Therefore, make sure that you pick the next book you read wisely. For those who want to venture into American Football, here are some beneficial books that you can read. Hopefully, these will help you get better knowledge of the sport.

The Games That Changed the Game

The book is entitled, the Games that Changed the Game: the Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays. It was written by Greg Cosell, David Plaut and Ron Jarwoski who also happen to be diehard fans of American football. Therefore, get to read their own visions of the NFL since its inception. Cosell and Jarwoski have had their fair share of Football on the screens. Therefore, you are going to be getting accurate information.

More Than a Game

The full title of the book is, More than a Game: the Glorious Present and Uncertain Future of the NFL. It has the popular former coach of Football Brian Billick as part of the authors alongside Michael MacCambridge. The book will give a lot more microscopic look to the game of football that you will not be able to get from the benches.

Friday Night Lights

The full name of this Buzz Bissinger book is Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream. And, there is a movie versions of this book as well. Get a clearer picture of how your typical football player thinks. Not forgetting the different aspects that will push then into having those thoughts.

The Blind Side: Evolution of the Game

You might get a rough idea of what the book was about from the Sandra Bullock movie, similar to some best casino games movies. But, there is a lot more that the book looks at about the game of football and the general physique of players. Leading to why Michael Oher was one of the most sought after players of his time.

Best Disney Cartoon Movies of the 90’s

We cannot deny the fact that Disney has some of the best movies ever made in the history of man. And if there is something that most people love about Disney it’s the animations that they manage to come up when they deliver their movies. That is why today, we want to take a few steps back in time and revisit some of the best cartoon Disney movies of the 90’s.

Top Cartoon 90’s Disney Movies

The Lion King, 1994

One of the best Disney movies of all time has to be The Lion King, the story of Mufasa, Scar and Simba. The iconic movie even had a live action remake in 2019. After 15 good years, it got a live action remake and it still manages to narrate the story pretty well and give full outlines and the details almost as similar to the 1994 version. There are even online casino games for real money based on this movie.

Mulan, 1998

Another great movie that tells the story of a young girl who had to fight to be her true self. Mulan tells the story of going against all the odds and still being able to do what is right.

Hercules, 1997

There have been several movies about Hercules, but none has the great soundtracks that come with the Disney version. We are sure if we look hard enough we might even find an Australian casinos slots about Hercules. The Disney movies follows the story of a young lad who has to figure who he really is.

Anastasia, 1997

You need to know your past in order to figure who are and where you come from, that is the story that we are told in Anastasia. A young girl who loses her parents and tries to figure out who she really is. And at the end of it comes to a shocking realisation about who she is and where she comes from.

30 November 2020

How To Develop Your Nursing Career

When you first begin your career as a nurse, what are you planning for? What are your goals? You might not have any, and that’s fine; if you like what you are doing and can see yourself doing it for the rest of your life, then it’s good that you enjoy your work and can remain in a safe position forever.

However, you might want more. You might want a higher salary or more responsibility. You might want additional qualifications, such as a DNP. You might do this to challenge yourself, or to show others what you can do, or perhaps to reach your ultimate career goals. Whatever the reason, if you do want to develop throughout your nursing career, there are a number of steps you can put in place to do so. It’s good to start planning as early as possible, so you know you’re working in the right way and heading down the right path, so why not begin today? 

Look At Your Own Workplace 

Nurses shouldn’t just assume that, just because they have earned their DNP or other qualifications, they need to then begin looking elsewhere for work. If you are already working in a hospital, a clinic, a private setting, or anywhere else and you enjoy your place of work, then start there. This is a good idea for two reasons. 

The first reason to do this is that you will already be comfortable in that setting, and therefore, should you need to go to an interview for a position in a different department or in another area of nursing, you will automatically be more confident. This, plus a great resumé and your DNP, will help to make you stand out as an ideal candidate, and will give you much more chance of getting the job you want. 

The second reason is that there is a big emphasis on nurse retention in most hospitals. It is cheaper and easier to keep nurses who already work there than it is to lose a nurse who knows exactly how a particular hospital or department is run, and then have to hire a new one. Advertising, the time to interview new people, making sure they have the DNP that is required for the job, and so on, all takes time and money, which is lessened greatly if you can hire someone who is already working there. 

On a personal level, if you like where you work and are happy with your commuting time, with the hours, with the way it fits with your life, and with your friends and colleagues who work with you, it’s much less mentally challenging to stay in that familiar place—albeit working at a higher level—than it is to start again elsewhere. 

So, if you’re looking for career development opportunities, always start with where you are now. Ask around in departments you are interested in working in to see if there are any vacancies or any chances to switch, and your career can go from strength to strength without any disruption to the rest of your life. 

Use Your Benefits 

Depending on where you work and what your contract states, you might have some benefits that you can use to help develop your career. For example, your employer might offer all their nurses tuition time or even money towards gaining additional qualifications. After all, assuming the nurse earns their DNP and then stays at that hospital as mentioned above, it is an investment for the hospital to pay for training. Check out whether this applies to you, and if it does then make sure you use that benefit to your best advantage and develop your career further with it. 

These are not the only benefits that might be on offer. The hospital or other healthcare setting you work in might also allow its nurses time off to attend seminars and conferences, as long as these conferences help advance their knowledge in some way. If you want to go to a specific seminar then there is no harm in speaking to your manager about it. Prove to them that it will help you do your job better, or that the knowledge you gain will help the department work more smoothly, and they may well pay for you to go. 

There are so many different opportunities for nurses to enhance and develop their skills, knowledge base, and careers that you should always be on the lookout for these opportunities. Remember to put everything on your resumé, and by the time you are ready to use that document, you won’t have to try to remember everything that you have done, seen, and learnt. 

Become An Expert

As with any career, if you can position yourself as an expert in your field, you will have many more opportunities to advance your career. Plus, you are developing your knowledge and skills greatly simply by choosing to become an expert—the more you learn, the better you will become, so this is the kind of situation that will suit everyone. 

One of the best ways to become a true expert in a particular area is to specialize in it. Instead of being a general nurse who is able to do some of everything, you should look at becoming a specialist nurse who knows everything about one particular sector of nursing. Whether it’s working in the ER, nursing children, working with vulnerable patients, working in the community, being an OR assistant, or anything else—and there are dozens of different nursing career options to choose from—your DNP and your skills can help to point you in the right direction. Pick a sector that you are going to enjoy learning about and working in, and you can become an expert in it. 

When you are an expert, you will become an indispensable part of the team, and the career development opportunities that will open up to you will be immense. You might even become someone’s mentor or unofficial tutor. This may not have been in your initial plan, but it can definitely enhance your career and allow you to develop as a person as well as a nurse. 

Take On A Leadership Role 

If you want to use your DNP well then becoming any kind of leader in your nursing career is a good idea. There are many leadership roles you can take on that aren’t necessarily those you might think of. These could include being a nurse representative on committees and councils. When you take on a role like this, you will have a direct say in how processes are run, and how you would change the way procedures are carried out. This might be in terms of education, training, patient safety, procedure and policies, or even professional development. It could be anything that you find interesting and important.
When you volunteer for leadership roles, you are proving to those above you that you have the skills you need to move forward in your career. Not only that, but you will learn a huge amount and be able to supplement your DNP and other qualifications with real-life, hands-on experience that is like no other, and that will certainly help you to develop your role further. 

Share Your Knowledge 

When you are able to share your knowledge as a nurse, you are helping in all kinds of ways, including potentially developing your career (although this will depend on the route you take when it comes to sharing your knowledge). 

You might, for example, publish a paper in a nursing or medical journal. These publications are usually highly regarded, and if your name is attached to a paper that is impressive and perhaps even instigates any kind of change within the nursing profession, your career will be enhanced greatly. Rather than looking for positions yourself, employers will come to you with lucrative and exciting offers. Of course, this may not happen on the back of just one paper, so you will need to spend time developing a series of ideas and having them published. If you know that you can do this and that you are good at it, then it could be an ideal way to develop as a nurse. 

You can also create a blog and publish information there. This may be less in-depth than a full paper would be, so if you have less time or don’t necessarily have ambitions to become a published author as well as a nurse, this option could work out well for you. 

Set Goals 

It is difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to truly develop their career without having goals in mind. If you have a goal that you want to work towards, you will know just what opportunities are going to be beneficial and which ones are going to take you away from the path you should be working on. 

Before you can develop your career, in other words, you need to know what you are developing it into. In order to do this, you should research your career thoroughly and determine what it is that excites you the most. Once you know, you’ll also know that you need to start working towards. 

Setting goals to reach along the way is a good idea. You won’t feel quite so overwhelmed when the entire process is broken down into smaller, more manageable elements that you can reach one by one. You might not even realize quite how far you have come until you look back at what you have achieved, but this doesn’t matter as long as you have goals to reach and an end result in mind. 

Stretch Yourself 

The problem for many people is that they fall into their comfort zone and they stay there. Even if they feel slightly discontented, the idea of changing anything and moving forward in any way is much less appealing than remaining exactly where they are. 

If you’ve already gained a number of different nursing qualifications such as your DNP, then you’ll know that nursing takes hard work and dedication, and, if you want to enhance your career, you must step out of your comfort zone as soon as possible. It will be difficult, and that’s the point; most people won’t do it, but if you want to develop your career, you must. You must leave your comfort zone behind and truly stretch yourself. Try to do elements of the job you’ve never done before in terms of making yourself a better nurse—what is missing from your career right now, and how can you obtain it? 

Go Back To School 

Following on from the idea above, one of the best ways to stretch yourself and develop your career is to go back to school. You will absolutely be stepping out of your comfort zone because you will be in a new environment and you will be learning new skills. You might looking to enhance your current knowledge with a DNP, or you could decide you want to specialize and therefore you might choose a course that will help you do just that. The choice is yours, and there is a lot of choice so take the time to think carefully about what you are going to do. 

Of course, going back to school full time might actually be detrimental to your career, even if you have taken the time out to learn more and become a better nurse. Luckily, you can study online for a DNP or any other qualification. This means you don’t have to stop working in order to learn how to develop your nursing career, as you can work at a time that suits you and at your own pace. This flexible, convenient option is why so many nurses choose to study online. They don’t have to leave their work or start working part time, and neither do they have to be at a certain place at a certain time on a regular basis in order to learn, which can be hard when you work shifts.

28 November 2020

What's Inside a Black Hole?

This animated short was created by Beakus for the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  It asks the question – what’s inside a black hole?

It answers (in language specifically designed for a young audience) where black holes come from and how we know they are actually out there, not to mention what would happen if someone got near one…

Maramures Hyperlapse

Never heard of Maramures?  It’s an isolated region of Romania: effectively a valley, it is surrounded by the Carpathian mountains and was difficult to get to for many centuries.  As such it developed its own style of rural architecture which is quite amazing.  Home to some of Romania’s historic wooden churches not to mention the Merry Cemetery, Maramures is an intriguing, beautiful place as this hyperlapse shows.

The Ant-Mimicking Treehopper

This is not a photograph of a pair of ants attacking some harmless bugs.  They are, in fact, the ant-mimicking treehopper (Cyphonia clavata) which keeps itself safe from predators by mimicking an ant.  What looks like an ant here are actually extension growths on its body.  Fascinating enough you might think, but these appendages only developed due to a freak of evolution which is incredibly rare in the insect world.  Read more about it over at the Ark in Space.

Image Credit Andreas Kay

Constantine: Algeria’s City of Bridges

Town planners today might not automatically choose a plateau 2,100 feet above sea level upon which to situate an urban development.  Times change, but over 2,000 years ago when Algeria’s third largest city, Constantine, was founded, this place, framed by a dizzying ravine, was ideal for defensive purposes.  Later, as the city prospered, it became known as the City of Bridges.

Ashes to Ashes

The Grim Reaper never had an easy time of it, what with his unrelenting schedule and punishing hours (that would be twenty four a day).  So, what happens if his latest ‘job’ turns out to be nothing less than a phoenix?  Find out what the ultimate bringer of death does with something which refuses to remain dead in this entertaining animated short by a group of six students at Georg-Simon-Ohm University in Nuremberg, Germany.

22 November 2020

How the Ancient Greeks Shaped Modern Mathematics

Number 536 in our What did the Greeks ever do for us? series.  Here, we take mathematics (thanks to 12foot6 and the Royal Institution.  It may blow away a few cobwebs for you if you don’t engage (consciously) with math on a daily basis with lots of great, pithy facts about dead Greek guys such as Pythagoras and Archimedes.  Sounds a bit dry? Take a look – it’s great fun.

Sail Away

This is marvelous – especially if you have enjoyed the works of Robert Louis Stevenson. As a young boy Stevenson was beset by ill health, so much so that his nurse fondly called him Smout, which is a Scottish word for the runt of the litter. This particular runt, however, was not averse to flights of the imagination and here, thanks to five students of ESMA in Toulouse, France, we can witness one of them. Wonderful!

Dance With Me

Dance With Me offers us snapshots of a relationship, beautifully transitioned to give us a sense of the dynamic between the couple.

Written and Directed by Cristina Molino, Dance With Me is a Think Mol & BalletBoyz film for the UK's Channel 4 UK in association with Arts Council England.  It is exquisite, elegant and elegiac.

Donny the Drone (Starring Guy Pearce)

Featuring the voice of Guy Pearce, Donny the Drone is an interesting short film about a drone which, when fate intervenes, gains self-awareness. Directed by Mackenzie Sheppard and written by Andrew 'Oyl' Miller it focuses in on the moment that Donny receives the “Person of the Year” award and is given an opportunity to tell his story. I’m going to leave the philosophy to you but I found this an interesting take on the nature of humanity and the occasionally fine line between altruism and megalomania.

19 November 2020

Fly Geyser – Not Quite of this World

They look as if they were taken on another planet, or at least on the set of a new and very expensive science fiction movie. Yet these pictures are of the Fly Geyser which is very much of planet earth (Nevada, US to be exact). However – and herein lies the surprise – it is effectively man made.

15 November 2020


Hankies out. This is one of the most charming short films I have seen in a while and if this doesn’t bring a tear of joy to your eye then I am afraid nothing will! Lila is a young woman who helps people through her art, in a way you might not quite expect. At its heart I think Lila (written, animated and directed by Carlos Lascano) is a single extended visual metaphor about how individuals can help others through small acts of kindness. Hankies at the ready? Then press play…

The Pop-up Book of the Brain

The brain was misunderstood, side-tracked or ignored for centuries for a number of reasons.  Yet how did the knowledge we have of this, our most important organ, evolve and shape?

Directed by Åsa Lucander, this great animation was created for the BBC’s Science Club as part of a series to both educate and entertain. It does both wonderfully.

The Island Dwellers

I am not sure quite how to describe The Island Dwellers but I have to add right away that it had quite an impact on me.  It is a history, as it were, of three creative souls who are sustained and inspired by nature, represented here by the sun and her daily cycle through the heavens. Yet when life is so interdependent, what happens when change comes?

Written, directed and animated by Christina Moliterno, watch this significant piece of film-making right to the end or you will miss the final piece of the jigsaw. It's the kind of ooooh moment you got at the end of the original Planet of the Apes.  Watch it and you will see what I mean!

Sahara el Beyda: The White Desert of Egypt

The word sahara means desert in Arabic so when you hear the name Sahara el Beyda you could be forgiven that it means one thing – sand, sand and more sand.  Yet the sight of Egypt’s Sahara el Beyda belies the traditional way one imagines a desert.  Are those icebergs on the horizon?

How Do Cranberries Grow?

One of the few intensively farmed indigenous fruits in the US, the cranberry outranks almost every other fruit and vegetable for anti-oxidants.  However, many people think that cranberries grow under water but that isn’t the case at all!  Here the good people at How Does it Grow? give us some cranberry secrets and explode one or two myths about this marvelous fruit at the same time (plus there is a killer recipe for cranberry sauce in the video!).

7 November 2020

Frost on Glass: Ice Flower Art

When a pane of glass is exposed to very cold air on the outside while inside the air is reasonably moist, frost can form.  Known as ice flowers or fern frost, it is remarkable for the intricate patterns it creates.  The surface of the glass influences the way that the ice is formed so that the first process of crystallization, known as nucleation, is randomized.  The patterns, then, are almost infinite in variety.  Science aside, ice flowers are a source of wonder, things of elegance and beauty.  They are nature’s art at its most exquisite.

1 November 2020

Take a Stroll in Paris with Two Top Ballet Dancers

…and when you do, it’s not quite like any usual promenade through the streets of the French capital.  San Francisco Ballet dancers Kimberly Braylock and Anthony Spaulding display a certain joie de vivre and are obviously very happy to be there in this short by Calvin Walker.  Parisians as usual refuse point blank to be nonplussed by anything but they do manage to attract the curiosity of a very excitable little dog if you watch carefully!

Mont Saint-Michel as Seen by a Drone is Amazing

More than 3 million people visit Mont Saint-Michel each year yet none have seen it quite like this.  The island in Normandy, France is famous for the magnificent abbey which overlooks the town below.  It’s a stunning sight but this video by Freeway Productions goes one step further.  Using a NHK Tokyo drone their team captured Mont Saint-Michel in a way that has never been done before.  You even get close up and personal with the golden statue of Saint Michel at the very top of the abbey’s spire.  Simply amazing.

The Devil in the Cathedral: the Lucifer of Liège

Cathédrale Saint-Paul (Liège 2017)

The Cathedral of Saint Paul in the Belgian city of Liège was founded in the tenth century.  As one might expect from a Catholic place of worship it is full of representations of the men and women from the history – Biblical and otherwise – of Christianity.  Yet as the pulpit is approached, a striking white marble sculpture arrests the eye: a beautiful young man in an agony of thought. Which venerable icon of the church might this be?  A martyr? A disciple? Or even an angel? It is the latter but this angel is notorious, despised, fallen. It transpires that there is a sinner – and a significant one at that - in the midst of the saints.

The Lucifer of Liège


If a parent has ever left you in the supermarket checkout queue then you will almost certainly have a lot of sympathy for young Jacob’s predicament.  When dad goes looking for paper towels, Jason and the groceries edge ever closer to the payment point – and the closer he gets the more his imagination goes in to overdrive. Checkout was written, directed and rather joyfully edited by Jared Rosenthal.

28 October 2020

Where does the word "Casino" come from?

At some point in our adult lives, most of us step foot into a casino.  Old casinos, new casinos, posh casinos, scruffy casinos – they certainly don’t come as a uniform mass.  Yet, for a lot of people our only experience of casinos is from movies like the James Bond franchise where they feature large, opulent surroundings full of glamorous people who don’t look as if they have had to work a day in their lives. So curiosity leads us through the doors.

For me, as many of you know, the pleasure is more often in the word than the experience.  Casino is a word with immediate cachet.  We all know what it means.  Where, though, did it originate? To learn that we have to roll back a few centuries and visit a certain European country.  From the lovely roll-on-the-tongue sound of the word, any guesses?

Yes, it’s Italy.    In Italian, the word for a house is “casa”.  To get the diminutive, Italians add “ino” at the end of their nouns.  So, casino literally means a “little house”.  This implies that it is not necessarily lived in by a family but the creature comforts that they might expect at home are also available there.  As the word evolved and became its own noun rather than simply the diminutive of one, it expanded to mean more.  It could be a summerhouse, a villa in the country or a social club.  That was the origin of the word in the sixteenth century.  Later it would come to mean more.

Flash forward a few hundred years and the word certainly evolved.  In the 1800s it came to be inclusive of other public buildings – anywhere, really, where enjoyable and pleasing activities took place.  Usually built in the grounds of larger buildings, these casinos could hold any number of different things, from concerts to dancing, civic functions, sports to, yes, of course – gambling.

This coincided with the mass emigration of Italians to the land of the brave, the home of the free – and they took their words with them.  The word casino was adopted in America and soon devolved to a single meaning, that with connotations of gambling.  So that’s why the word casino all over the world – down to the Americans as much as the Italians.  However, although that’s how it went it the US of A, back in the word’s home country of Italy, things evolved even further.

If you ask a twenty first century Italian what the word casino means they will probably tell you to go and look in a dictionary.  If, however, they are feeling linguistically generous they will inform you that the word means a mess, a noisy place or a confusing situation.  If you ask about gambling they will tell you that it has an accent - casinò.  That little squiggle on top of the ‘o’ changes the meaning of the word entirely but it is not something that the rest of the world has decided to emulate.

Mind you, in Spain, if you ask for a casino you will get sent to the nearest army barracks where the word means an officer’s mess.  That sounds very much like a story for another day, so for now let’s leave this particular word to itself...! 

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22 October 2020

Deutsche Welle's Great New Video Exposes the Worries of a Dictator


This is great. I don’t know about you but my eyes often roll and my shoulders seem to be permanently shrugging when it comes to how biased the news seems to be. Fortunately, there are still some broadcasters who have the guts (some would say temerity!) to show us what is really going on out there in the wider world.

The international broadcaster Deutsche Welle is responsible for the short film above – which has already had millions of hits worldwide. In it an unknown dictator suffers a bout of somnambulistic paranoia. What causes it? He is worried that freedom of speech is being upheld by broadcasters which are showing the truth about what he is really up to in a measured an unbiased way.

As such it’s a breath of fresh air - Deutsche Welle has been broadcasting for over 50 years and although based in Germany has massive international reach. That’s just as well – it’s easy to assume that the press everywhere is as free as in one’s own country. However, that simply isn’t the case – which makes initiatives like this which promote free speech all the more important. The fact that it comes from a broadcaster is also reassuring – we are reminded that at least one has not forgotten the importance of free speech and all the complex issues around that which make unbiased broadcasting so important for healthy democratic lifestyles to exist. 

If you would like to access more information about DW’s mission to provide unbiased information and the steps they are taking to promote freedom of speech, please go to https://freespeech.dw.com

You can see more about Deutsche Welle’s mission to give the world unbiased information at their English language website. Also of interest might be “The 77 percent”, Deutsche Welle’s online magazine for young Africans. It is so named because currently 77 percent of Africans are under the age of 35 and have little political power. All to often the only information they get are from the likes of the dictator in the video at the top of the page! So this magazine aims to share the stories, dreams and challenges faced by young people in Africa. It is well worth a look as it takes on controversial subjects, trending topics and is not afraid of breaking a few taboos!

18 October 2020

Downward Dog

A dog becomes increasingly lonely but nevertheless philosophical as his owner loses interest in him.  It doesn’t sound like a very good premise but this is put together so beautifully that you will come to accept that a dog is cataloguing life’s sad ironies to you.  It’s also very funny! Created by Michael Killen and Samm Hodges, and produced by the team at Animal (animalstudio.com), “Downward Dog” is the original web series that provided the inspiration for the upcoming ABC comedy of the same name.

Crystalapse: Frozen in Timelapse

Iceland never ceases to cause wonder and this beautiful footage, captured in March 2014 is no exception.  You will witness both the Northern lights and the phenomenon of the ice caves in their surreal beauty thanks to brothers Patrick and Henrick Shyu who make up Blue Eden.  Plus if you are something of a hopeless romantic then hang around till the end for something that may not make the ice melt, but almost certainly your heart.