29 May 2021

Slime Mold - Alien Landscapes On Earth

Just the thought of mold is something that makes many people involuntarily shudder. Yet there is more to it than meets the eye – particularly if you are lucky enough to see Kim Fleming’s remarkable macrophotography.  Up close we are witness to an enigmatic and beautiful alien world on our own doorstep.

This strange and wonderful thing is Hemitrichia calyculata.  It typically has stalked sporocarps.  These are fruiting bodies which contain sporangia – the mold version of seeds.  They look like the weird plants that featured in numerous 1950s science fiction B-movies.  Or maybe even some strange alien egg pods, left to be discovered by innocent space travelers.  No need to worry, though – at most they reach two and a half millimeters in height.

Edifice


Writer and director Rogerio Silva created Edifice after watching dancers Carmine De Amicis and Harriet Waghorn rehearse.  He was, to put it in his own words: “taken with the honesty of the movement and how Carmine and Harriet supported each other equally throughout. There were no gender roles and I liked that they could reverse their roles and everything would still work”.   The result is a mesmerising dance short.

Lost property


Oh gosh. Get your hanky out.  Now. Are you one of those people who is forever losing things?  Then you will have every sympathy for this little old lady who seems to mislay virtually everything at one point or another.  Fortunately, there is a lost property office where she can at least attempt to recover her lost possessions – not to mention a sympathetic concierge.  Written and directed by Åsa Lucander, this animated short is simply lovely.

The Looking Planet


Lufo and his family, part of the Cosmos Corps of Engineers, are consigned to planet construction in, frankly, the armpit of the galaxy.  As no one is going to look, Lufo decides to escape the mundanity of his 14 billion year existence and express his creativity instead.  What he does next has consequence, certainly for us… This enigmatic and beguiling short was written, produced and directed by Eric Law Anderson.

The End

The multi-talented Fabrice Mathieu has been featured a number of times on Kuriositas. His latest offering is The End, an experimental narrative short film, in black & white and color, made only with movies gifs with a perfect loop, more than 500 of them altogether. The End is also a clever tribute to the cinema, from silent films to now. The collage effect of seeing these iconic moments in film is really compelling. If you are wondering, the rather hypnotizing music is by Ennio Morricone - "My Fault" from "My Name is Nobody".

22 May 2021

Louchébem


Grief can do strange things to a lonely butcher.  A dead lover, a fly and then a flight of fancy all figure large in this marvelous set piece from a group of students from ESMA, Boris Laprade, Fabien Masson, Stephanie Grard and Theo Girettes.

It is yet another example of the wonderful work which comes from the school, world renowned for training in 3D animation and special effects, visual communication design space and photography. I just adore the way this has been executed - almost photo-realistic animation combines in gorgeous black and white, enabling us to take a glimpse in to the soul of a man in an agony of sorrow which, for a moment, is transcended.

If you are finding a little difficulty with the translation of the title of the piece, Louchébem is an argot used by butchers in Paris and Lyon. Words are transformed by moving the first consonant to the end of the word, and the letter l is put at the beginning. In this way, the French for butcher, boucher, is transformed in to louchébem. This way of creating new words is still very much in use in France today (mostly confined to the meat retail business but some of these words do escape in to everyday French too). Oh and the music is from Nabucco by Verdi.

Werner the Vampyre

If you are familiar with Ann Rice’s novels then you are probably aware that being a vampire does come with issues all its own. For many vampires, being so long lived (if that is the correct way to describe the centuries they may exist) has its burdens and one is that they often fail to move with the times and discover that the era in which they now exist is meaningless to them.  Some vampires find this an almost impossible hurdle to overcome.

So it is with Werner (played wonderfully by Tom Micklem) in this very funny short comedy from Chris Boyle, a director based in London.  Werner (who has more than a little of the Lestat about him) has lived through many ages of man and the twenty first century is something he cannot quite deal with.  However, when he does discover a way to thrive in our electronic era he sets about it with typical vampiric gusto.  Chris Boyle obviously has an in depth knowledge if not a love for the genre he is gently satirising here as Werner the Vampyre is full of undead tropes, (devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations). Werner the Vampyre not so quietly lampoons a category of film fiction here that has, at any rate, been disappearing up its own, ahem, jugular, for a number of years.

The Skull-Faced Caterpillar of Australia’s Rainforest

Do not adjust your set, as it were. This amazing looking animal is the caterpillar of the Pink Underwing Moth, which is found in Australia.  The Ark in Space has a feature (and lots of pictures) of this remarkable creature, which has evolved a rather special way to protect itself from predators. Unfortunately, the pink underwing is on the critically endangered list, but steps are being taken to secure its future.

READ THE ARTICLE

Image Credit

The Maker


You may remember a while ago we featured Zero, an amazing stop motion animation by Australian husband and wife film-making duo, Christopher and Christine Kezelos who work together under the collective name Zealous Creative. The Maker is their follow up and, if anything, is more ingenious than their previous work.

The Maker is a strange creature but he is on something of a mission. A mysterious timer demands that he finishes the most important and beautiful creation of his life. Slowly but surely the process of manufacture reveals itself as the sand inexorably falls. You must watch it all the way through – your patience (not that you need any in this case) will be rewarded with an ending that certainly put my jaw on the floor.

Devil’s Town and the Village of Blood

The locals believed for centuries that they were formed when devils fought for supremacy. In fact their origins are much more down to earth – literally. Take a trip to devil’s town, a peculiar place if ever there was one. Devil’s Town or Đavolja Varoš as it is known in Serbian, can be found on the southern slopes of the Radan Mountains.

The area is steeped in European folklore and it is little surprise that for centuries these naturally occurring erosions were looked upon with fear and suspicion. The Devil’s Town is a series of hundreds of stone pyramids and is located in the watershed between the equally frighteningly named Devil’s Gully and Hell’s Gully.

21 May 2021

10 Reasons to Complete a Masters in Leadership

Enrolling in a postgraduate degree like a masters in leadership is a big commitment that requires time, money, and hard work. Earning a masters in leadership is not quick or easy, but it can lead to attractive rewards such as higher earning potential, job security, and career advancement. 

Completing a postgraduate degree can be a fantastic way to grow professionally and unlock top-level positions in your industry. That said, you must weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of postgraduate study and make sure that it's the right decision for you. If you're considering a postgraduate qualification, then here are ten reasons to complete a masters in leadership:

1. Develop strong leadership skills 

Most students choose to enroll in a masters in leadership because they want to develop the skills and attributes to become strong managers. A masters in leadership will teach you a diverse range of leadership skills such as change management, team building, effective communication, innovation, and strategic thinking. You must develop these skills if you hope to become a future leader or advance in your career.

Having leadership skills is important in any career, and a masters in leadership will benefit most job roles and industries. Employers will expect you to possess leadership qualities if you hope to advance in the company and move up the career ladder. The skills and knowledge that you learn on a masters in leadership can also be transferred to your personal life and improve your day-to-day functions. For instance, learning how to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts can help you build stronger relationships with your loved ones. 

2. Earn an internationally recognized degree

A masters in leadership degree is internationally recognized and highly regarded by organizations all around the world. This means that the qualification can be used in countries across the globe, not just the United States. A masters in leadership will open up exciting employment opportunities worldwide and help you stand out from your peers and impress prospective employers. 

Many graduates with a masters in leadership look for employment opportunities abroad. The qualification will allow you to travel and experience new cultures. You will also have access to a wider range of career opportunities outside of your home market. Building international experience will enhance your resume and broaden your skills and expertise. According to globalexperiences.com, "64 percent of employers said international experience in a candidate extremely desirable." Gaining international experience can benefit your career and help you secure leadership roles. 

3. Unlock top-level positions 

Graduates with a masters in leadership are in high demand across all industries and sectors. Earning the qualification will give you a competitive advantage and help you unlock top-level positions. You will be in a much stronger position when senior roles or promotions become available, and you should find it easier to advance in your company. 

A postgraduate degree will open up new doors in your career and help you achieve your goals and aspirations. Here are some top-level positions that are available to graduates with a masters in leadership:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) - A CEO is the highest-ranking executive of a company or organization. They are responsible for making important decisions relating to the business and its operations and resources. A CEO plays a vital role in driving growth and profits within a company and achieving strategic business goals. 
  • Human Resources (HR) Manager - A HR manager oversees the HR team and ensures that it is functioning efficiently. HR managers are responsible for all aspects of recruitment and must take care of a company's employees to maintain high productivity and staff morale. They act as the link between staff and management. 
  • Corporate Trainer - Corporate trainers visit different companies and provide staff with training and education on various business topics. They may show employees how to use a new piece of technology that is being implemented in the workplace, for example. Corporate trainers are in high demand, and they often work as private contractors.  
  • Sales Manager - Sales professionals are responsible for driving sales revenue within a business. A sales manager oversees the sales team and creates strategies to boost engagement and meet specific sales targets. Skilled sales professionals are sought-after in all industries, particularly those who have leadership skills. 

A masters in leadership will equip you with a diverse range of skills that can be applied to many different job roles. The qualification will prepare you to become a manager in any sector, unlike an MBA (master of business administration) that focuses on business leadership. Some other roles that you could secure with a masters in leadership are business director, community relations manager, project manager, director of operations, and many more. 

4. Enjoy high job satisfaction 

Most graduates with a masters in leadership report higher job satisfaction and engagement. This is likely to be because professionals with a postgraduate qualification typically advance in their careers faster and secure top-level positions. Higher salaries, better working conditions, and additional responsibilities in the workplace all lead to improved job satisfaction and happiness. 

Work has a significant impact on your health and overall quality of life. One study by Ohio University found that "low job satisfaction in your 20s and 30s can lead to sleep problems, anxiety, and depression in later life." Earning a postgraduate qualification like a masters in leadership can be a great way to develop professionally and improve your career outlook and overall job satisfaction. 

5. Improve your annual salary 

Many graduates with a masters in leadership transition into senior roles, and this leads to an increase in salary. For example, Chief Executives earn an average annual salary of $197,840 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and HR Managers can expect to earn just over $120,000. Leadership roles offer attractive pay that is much higher than the average seen across all other occupations. 

Increasing your annual salary can enhance your quality of life and give you additional financial security and freedom. You will have more disposable income to save each money and will find it easier to pay off debt and improve your financial position. Many leadership roles also offer additional job perks such as private healthcare insurance, generous vacation allowances, and annuals performance-based bonuses. 

6. Study for a master's online 

Many people cannot commit to attending a campus-based course due to work or family commitments. Fortunately, many education providers offer online master's programs. Earning your masters in leadership online will give you the freedom to choose your study schedule and fit learning around your responsibilities and commitments. You can also learn at your chosen pace and study without the pressure of a strict study schedule and fixed teaching sessions. Great Value College state that "an online master's degree is more affordable than their traditional counterpart." You can expect tuition fees to be lower and you won't have added expenses such as commuting costs and relocation fees. Opting for an online course could save you tens of thousands of dollars on your postgraduate education.

Enrolling in an online master's program is ideal for working professionals or students with families to look after. Distance learning will allow you to work while you earn your postgraduate qualification and make it easier to balance your studies with your family life. There are dozens of advantages to studying for a master's degree online, but distance learning also has some drawbacks. You must be self-motivated, organized, and committed to achieving your postgraduate qualification. 

Top 5 study tips for distance learning 

If you think that an online masters in leadership is the best option for you, then here are five study tips for distance learning success:

  1. Create a productive study space that is comfortable and distraction-free. 
  2. Follow a consistent learning schedule and practice good time management. 
  3. Leverage your network to connect with your peers and instructors online. 
  4. Experiment with different learning styles to find what works best. 
  5. Plan regular study breaks and avoid "cramming." 
  6. Launch a profitable startup 

Completing a masters in leadership degree can be a great option if you dream of launching a startup and running your own company. Business owners must have strong leadership skills and be able to motivate and inspire a team. Poor management is likely to lead to low engagement and high staff turnover, making it impossible to grow a profitable business. Every entrepreneur should focus on building their leadership skills and knowledge before they consider hiring a team. 

Starting a business is hard work, and you will need to make a significant personal investment, both in terms of time and money. You must plan your business venture well and create clear strategies to achieve your strategic goals and objectives. A master's degree will build leadership qualities and prepare you for the demands of managing a team and running a business. Many entrepreneurs enroll in a higher qualification like a master's in leadership as a stepping stone to launching a business. Paying for a higher degree is not cheap, but it should be a worthwhile investment that leads to long-term career benefits. Having a postgraduate qualification can also boost the reputation of your new business and make your brand appear more credible and authoritative. 

8. Build your professional network

A master's in leadership is the perfect place to build your professional network and connect with leaders in your industry. Networking can be a great way to make new connections and open doors to future career opportunities. Top master's programs attract industry leaders and skilled professionals from all around the world. Take advantage of your network and get involved with networking events offered through your master's program. 

9. Save money on tuition fees 

A master's in leadership is generally cheaper than other popular postgraduate qualifications like an MBA. The cost of earning an MBA in the US is around $60,000, according to graduateshotline.com. A master's in leadership usually costs around half the price of an MBA, making it a much more affordable option. 

The amount that you spend on a master's qualification will be influenced by things like the reputation of the school, the method of study, and the program that you choose. Research tuition fees and shop around to find the best prices before you commit to a course. You can also lower the cost of your tuition fees by applying for financial support like scholarships and grant schemes. Some employers may also be prepared to pay for a postgraduate qualification if you can demonstrate how it will benefit your role and organization. You should always explore what financial aid is available to support your education. 

10. Earn your masters faster

Another advantage of studying for a masters in leadership is that you can usually earn the degree faster than other postgraduate qualifications like an MBA. For example, most MBA programs require two years of full-time study, whereas a masters in leadership can be completed in around 18 months. 

Many online courses also offer accelerated programs where you can earn your master's degree in less than 18 months. A masters in leadership will allow you to earn your postgraduate degree in the quickest time possible and start advancing in your career. This makes it a popular degree with professionals who want to accelerate their careers but don't want to dedicate several years to their education. 

Final thoughts 

Enrolling in a higher degree like a masters in leadership is a huge decision that shouldn't be made on a whim. Earning a postgraduate qualification will enhance your skills and give you a competitive edge in your industry. However, you will need to work hard and be prepared to invest time and money to achieve your master's degree. 

Graduates with a masters in leadership typically enjoy higher salaries, excellent job security, and a fantastic career outlook. Another great benefit of a masters in leadership is that it is highly transferable and can benefit a wide variety of roles and industries. This makes the qualification a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in a career involving leadership. 

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.
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