8 May 2021

Bhangarh – India’s Haunted City

It has lain abandoned for the best part of 400 years and is said to be the most haunted place in India. Situated between the cities of Delhi and Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan the true reason for its abandonment has been lost to history, though there are several legends surrounding its fate. Even today no-one is allowed to enter the ghost city of Bhangarh after twilight – it is said that if they do they will never return.

Within the grounds there are still majestic temples to major Hindu deities: Shiva, Lavina Devi and Gopinath are represented among others but the throngs of worshipers who clamoured for entrance to the temple are long gone. The town was first built in the reign of Bhagwant Das, a powerful maharaja, in 1573. It is said that a local guru was asked for permission to build the city.

Unexpectedly Funny Things to do with Hamsters When You're Bored

The Ark in Space veers off its usual scientific agenda today by showing us some things to do with hamsters when you're bored. It sounds quite possibly a little scary for the hamsters involved (the one above certainly has a slightly worried look on his face!) but is actually a rather amusing post about a very sweet looking creature.  Plus there are plenty of interesting facts about the little tykes too!

Image by kind permission of Flickr User pyza*

Home Sweet Home


In Home Sweet Home, a house decides to escape its desultory urban surroundings and sets off to find a new home.  Before long he has companions and this trio become an inseparable band of explorers in their pursuit of a place to call their own.  Yet there are some things that even the bonds of friendship cannot overcome.

This beautiful, funny and melancholy animated short was made by a very talented group of students in their last year at the superlative Supinfocom Arles.  They are Pierre Clenet, Alejandro Diaz, Romain Mazevet and Stéphane Paccolat: the music is provided by Valentin Lafort.  I expect that animation aficionados might hear a lot more from them in the future.

The Suitcase


It is 1940 and the borders have been closed. It looks as if the regime will be able to round up those who stand against it at their leisure. Yet Cleophea owns an extraordinary suitcase which she uses to help fugitives cross the frontier.  However, one fateful evening it looks as it perhaps her luck has finally run out.  This suspenseful animated short was created by a group of students at LISAA in 2013.

Birth of a Star


Have you ever wondered how a star is born? Then look no further as it is all explained in this fantastic video, produced by: Jason Drakeford, Jonathan Corum and Dennis Overbye for the New York Times.

Take a visit to the Orion Nebula, a vast galactic nursery where clouds of gas and dust mingle, birthing new stars and planetary systems.  The narration is wonderful – I loved the way that proto-stars are referred to as cosmic tadpoles – and the footage from NASA, ESA and the European Southern Observatory is simply stunning.

2 May 2021

Tardis Cover for Disposable Coffee Cups

If you are getting a little embarrassed by the logos on your disposable coffee cups (perhaps because the company behind the logo is a tax avoiding multinational the executives of which should know better) and you just happen to be a big fan of a certain Time Lord then perhaps this is just what you have been looking for.

Or perhaps not. Maybe you didn't even know that this was what you have been looking for until this moment.

Flickr User seelensturm has designed a great cover for your coffee cup.  It comes on an A4 single sheet which, after a little printing, cutting, wrapping and sticking, wraps around your cup and does an excellent impression of that august vessel which travels through time and space, the Tardis (as seen on BBC TV’s Doctor Who).

Click on the design to get your own!

Helping to End Oppressive Child Labor in the US – The Photography of Lewis Hine

The 1900 United States Census showed the population of America growing by over 20% since the previous census ten years before. Good news for a still expanding, young country. Yet there was another astonishing figure which appalled many. One in six children aged between five and ten were recorded as being in gainful employment.

May 1910: Bundle boy. St. Louis, Missouri.
Yet there was worse. This number, shocking in itself, represented a massive increase of 50% over a twenty year period in the number of children in this age group who worked, often in appalling conditions. America’s children were working in greater numbers than ever before - 1,752,187 of them all told between the ages of five and ten. With the country seemingly going backwards in its treatment of its children from poorer backgrounds, a group of people decided that something had to be done.

Notes from Next Door


This is for any of you who have to deal with noisy neighbors – though I doubt you will thank me if yours are anywhere near as distracting as these little guys here. They just happen to be living next to a real life flesh and blood young artist in this mixed media short from Dave Maggio, Jon Lawitts and Jaime Klein who created this for their Senior Thesis Project from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

As much as the young artist wants and means to pursue his studies, the anarchic mini-toons next door keep disrupting his every attempt with their twenty four hour partying. Yet, perhaps there is a mutually beneficial solution to this problem….

Catello


Cats. They very much live by their own rules, especially when a ball of wall is involved. That pretty much sums up Catello – a group of cats and a ball of wool.  I know that the internet is already littered with everything and anything to do with cats and I enjoyed this so much I figured that one more addition to the pile would be forgivable! Plus it's loosely based around the theme of Othello (yeah).

Catello was created by a group of international students who attended this year’s Tallinn Festival of Animated Dreams.  They are Martinus Klemet (Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia), Julia Malasok (Estonia), Armelle Mercat (La Poudriere, France), Michael Rykunov (BALL, Russia) and Fedor Shurmelev (Belarusian State Academy of Arts, Belarus).

Laika


Laika was, famously, the Soviet space dog that became the first earthling in space in 1957.  This charming animated short by Avgousta Zourelidi is an imagining of her journey.  Once she is launched in to space, Laika reminisces about the last three years, from the time she was plucked from the streets of Moscow to her training at Space City where she was chosen above two other dogs for the mission.

Of course, if you know the real story, you know that this cannot possibly have a happy ending.  Yet Zourelidi manages one.  For many thousands of people who look to the stars and the future (myself included), Laika has a special place in their hearts. This adds, beautifully, to her legend.
Amung Feedjit
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