12 April 2021

Is Your Math as Good as a Teenager's? Try this Quiz to Find Out!

Do you remember that math exam you did just before you left school or is it too shrouded in the mists of time (or trauma) to be recalled? 

How would you get on with it today? We’re going to give you the opportunity to find out, but we’ll only give you ten questions worth a mark each – there were 80 marks available for this exam when it was put in front of our teenagers just four years ago. So you just got lucky. 

Plus, we’re giving you only the questions that appeared originally as multiple choice. Yup, you get the warmup questions! 

Spare a thought for the young people who had to do this exam. The other questions were not multiple choice and had to be done without the aid of a calculator. Not only that, the exam these questions are taken from was the first of three that had to be done to achieve the qualification. 

This field of pain is known in the UK as GCSE Maths (the GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education) which is done in Year 11 – when the students are 16. It’s also available to adults but teenagers who didn’t pass it the first time have to do it again and again until they do (or don’t) up to the point that they leave education. So, the above being fair warning, are you sure you want to do this? 

After you press submit, you may have to scroll back up a little! 
As ever, rest assured that this quiz will not ask for or “harvest” any of your own personal data – so it is entirely risk free. The only “data” that is logged is how many people have done the quiz and how many answers they got right. It was created using Google Forms so when you finish answering, you will need to click “Submit” to see how many you got right.

The Crabs that Build Their Own Galaxy

The Ark in Space has returned with a look at the crabs of Malaysia and Australia which create their own galaxies. Well, not quite of course, but you can see how it might look like that.  Although the post on these wonderful formations does not mention whether or not these crabs are an advanced alien society trying to get back home before we blow up the planet, we suspect that may well be the case!

Image Credit Flickr User scjody

Madam Butterfly Animated

Madama Butterfly is undoubtedly one of the world’s favorite operas telling the tragic story of Cho-Cho-San and her love for the US naval officer Pinkerton.  This gorgeous animation was created by Mark Warner for Sinfini Music and was also shown at the Royal Opera House during their staging of the opera.  It may be a condensed version but it tells the story beautifully. Time for a little weep in to your coffee, methinks.

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

Rome has an appeal like no other city in the world and when you see it through the eyes of timelapse and hyperlapse professional photographer Kirill Neiezhmakov then it isn’t difficult to see why.  As with all of Neiezhmakov’s work I am left wondering not how he made the city look so splendid (that’s not a hard one!) but how he physically managed to capture Rome in this way.  Certainly, if you have never wanted to visit Rome (and the Vatican City is thrown in here for good measure) you will after you watch this!  The piece is called A Gift from Rome and it certainly does what it says on the packet!

Every Star

Sometimes the simplest stories can be the most profound and this is the case with Every Star.  A mysterious boy, alone in nature, takes it upon himself to ensure that all city dwelling children get the see the magic of a star.  And that’s it.  Quite lovely.  Every Star was created by Yawen Zhang as her first year animation at USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California.

11 April 2021

Quiz: Can You Name All Ten of these Common British Birds?


These British birds are everywhere – in fact, they are way more common than you might think!

However, how many of them do you know by name? 

Take the quiz below to find out..! 

This quiz will not ask for or “harvest” any of your own personal data – so it is entirely risk free. The only “data” that is logged is how many people have done the quiz and how many answers they got right. It was created using Google Forms so when you finish answering, you will need to click “Submit” to see how many you got right. 

Well, we did tell you they were common!

After you press submit, you may have to scroll back up a little! 

Image Credits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Title

10 April 2021

If You Love Barcelona, You Must Watch This!

You may have seen Barcelona’s stunning city-scape as a time-lapse or in slow-motion. Yet have you seen it in flow-motion? The brilliance of this gave me one of those rare jaw on floor moments – watch it and you will see why. Whether or not you know and love the city as I do this short tour, appropriately named Barcelona Go! will take your breath away.

Created by prominent urban filmmaker Rob Whitworth (so talented I hope he doesn’t need slapping too often), this captures the life of this glorious city perfectly.  This makes me want to make a dash for the airport right now...


A bored young businessman acquires the latest technological advancement – Servo.  The robot servant, however, isn’t quite up to the job but nevertheless an unlikely friendship is struck up.  Yet the company plans to rectify the fault and it looks as if the fun might be over… This sweet and funny short was created by students at the Kaywon School of Art and Design in Korea for their moving image graduation project. And altogether, it all adds up to a rather fine bromance.


Poor little Harley.  This hapless fantail goldfish has not been a success down at the local pet store.  People just keep returning him as damaged goods.  Another day and another return – Harley seems to be the fish that no-one wants to keep.  This charming animated short was created by Tom Teller for his Intermediate Production class at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.


This isn’t so much the butterfly effect as the pop up tent effect.  A group of time travelers realize that they have left something important behind when they return from the past and must return to retrieve it before the time continuum is changed forever.  However, a young Aztec warrior has got there before them.  Can they retrieve their tent without changing history?

This is a whole lot of fun and is the end product of a great deal of work by four students at ESMA in Montpelier, France.  They are Francois De Morangies, Arnaud Jourdan, Thibault Stoyanov and Julie Barthel. Well done - and thank you!

Lofoten – Arctic Circle Anomaly

The archipelago of Lofoten in Norway is north of the Arctic Circle.  Yet throughout the year it has temperatures which belie its position.  

This is because of the largest positive temperature anomaly in the world relative to latitude.  

It makes Lofoten an unexpected delight – its early settlers must have thought they had stumbled across an arctic paradise.

Prepare to have your breath taken away.

What they found there was a sea teeming with life and the largest deep water coral reef in the word.  There are literally millions of sea birds with many species represented, such as the sea eagle, the cormorant and the puffin.  Otter are common in the area and on the larger islands of the archipelago there are moose.

7 April 2021

Quiz: How Many of These Literature Questions Can You Get Right?

How many of these (fairly random) literature questions can you answer correctly? 

I put this quiz together as a response to the countless quizzes I see on Facebook that are, frankly, rubbish! This quiz may not be much better in your opinion, but it will not do one thing – it will not ask for or “harvest” any of your own personal data – so it is entirely risk free. The only “data” that is logged is how many people have done the quiz and how many answers they got right. It was created using Google Forms so when you finish answering, you will need to click “Submit” to see how many you got right. 

Have fun!

After you press submit, you may have to scroll back up a little!

5 April 2021

First Footprints

Imagine what it must have been like to be the first person to set foot on a new continent.  You may not have realized that was quite what you were doing, but the sense of complete isolation from the rest of humanity must have been as exhilarating as it was frightening.

Documentary maker Murray Fredericks has created this amazing footage of the outback of Australia.  The remarkable time-lapse sequences are from the documentary Series First Footprints.  The scenery is breath-taking and the way that this has been shot adds to the mystery of those early Australians and the beauty of the art that they left behind.

4 April 2021

The Cat House of Riga - A Feline Feud

If you have ever felt slighted by an individual or group then this is a lesson in revenge for you! Riga, the capital of Latvia is home to the Cat House, known as such because of the two sculptures of cats high on its roof. 

It is one of the city’s landmarks and is a testament to the desire of one man to have vengeance (if only metaphorically) on his enemies.

Many, many years ago if you lived in Riga and were in business then you just had to be a member of the Great Guild. Until you were invited in to its hallowed halls you simply had not made it. One Latvian businessman was incensed when he was not admitted to the Guild and hatched a peculiar, personal and unique form of revenge.

The Lifecycle of a Mushroom

This very cool animation is by Thomas Beg, a digital artist who created this while studying CG Arts and Animation at UCA Rochester.  If you ever wondered how mushrooms reproduce then look no further! Sure, Wikipedia will have all the necessary animation but will it have animation?

This animation forms part of Spectacular Science, a collaborative project between the University for the Creative Arts and the University of Kent which aims to provide a wide audience with access to scientific knowledge and support the education of students in science subjects.

You may have spotted a nod in the direction of 1920's animation such as the Silly Symphonies series and other early Walt Disney shorts and you would be correct in thinking that Mr Beg was inspired by the animation of yesteryear in order to explain the science of today, in this case the lifecycle of a mushroom.


Sometimes life can bring about unexpected, chance encounters. Here, a technician on board an aircraft carrier comes across a kite during his duties. This leads to something of a flight of the imagination for the weary sailor. 

Elegiac and poetic, this short animation is really something special.

More so when you consider that Eole is a short 3D movie directed by three students at Supinfocom Arles in France. The students are Aurélien Martineau, Etienne Métois and Moana Wisniewski.  This is an exception piece of animation.


Meanwhile, in darkest South East London a little girl sees something strange in the local nature reserve.  This sets of an unexpected chain of events centered on the place, Woodhouse. There, beyond the padlocked gates some thing, some creature is living.

This very entertaining short (perhaps the first film we have presented based around cryptozoology!) was made by Flim Lonodn and Tread Softly Films, with support from Blink Productions and the Kevin Spacey Foundation. It was written and directed by Fred Rowson.

Ever Wondered What Happened to Your Favorite Toons of the 80s? Brace Yourself…

Jessica Rabbit lays it all bare about what came to pass after the cameras stopped rolling – and the years have not been kind.  As well as Roger and Jessica (plus daughter...), we get to see what happened to a number of 80s cartoon icons, including Garfield and He-Man. Where Are They Now? is the new short by animator Steve Cutts, a London based artist specialising in animation, illustration, painting and sculpture.


A young boy spends time with his grandfather and the difference between the generations cannot be more marked.  Yet combining skill and imagination is something that cannot happen without inspiration and the young boy must take a journey in to his mind’s eye to connect both to his art and his grandfather.

This visually stunning animation was created by five ESMA students, Joanne Smithies, Eric De Melo Bueno, Michael Moreno, Hugo Bailly Desmarchelier and Camille Turon.
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