28 October 2021

The Life of Death

It must be a lonely existence, being death – and although this topic has been covered in numerous films and TV shows, I really think it’s worth your while watching this touching animated short by Marsha Onderstijn.  Death is ever-present in the forest but he is halted in his tracks by the exquisite beauty of a young deer.  A tentative friendship ensues but can death ever escape his nature?

The Temples of Angkor: A Glidecam Tour

New York based videographer, cinematographer, photographer and editor Tyler Fairbank shot this over three days during a trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. He and his companions visited the temples and ruins of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Preah Khan, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, Ta Keo, Banteay Srey, and Thommanom. Thanks to glidecam technology he was able to shoot and edict this visually stunning piece of film.  Enjoy!

Alberobello – Hobbiton on the Mediterranean

One glance at the Italian village of Alberobello and you know that you have stumbled across something unique.

Neat rows of whitewashed dwellings like something out of a fairy-tale.

It is almost as if the Hobbits of Middle-earth had set up a Mediterranean colony.

These strange but charming dwellings are known as trulli.  They are built without using mortar, part of a drywall culture of construction which predates written history in this part of Italy.  Many of the trulli pictured here are around six hundred years ago – the large slabs of limestone from which they are built was gathered from fields in the area.

The Old New World

Take a trip to times past in a steampunk time machine.  This amazing animation has been created with Camera projection based on photos.  The result is something wonderful – if eerie – as the past comes to life in front of your eyes.

A number of the large cities of the New World are included here, including New York, Washington and Boston.  Just wonderful!

My Stuffed Granny

Little Sofía loves her grumpy granny: even though she is always hungry and eats what little food they can buy. Her pension is the only thing keeping her and her father alive. To what extremes will they go to once granny is no more?

My Stuffed Granny is based on a story by Nina Kouletakis and directed and narrated by the wonderfully named Effie Pappa.

Competition and Latest News in Poker - On and Off the Tables

Online poker is big business in a competitive market place, and providers are needing to work hard to get noticed. For poker providers, not only are they competing against each other, but all other forms of gaming too.

Globally, online gambling is worth around $67 billion, and is expected to surpass $100 billion by 2026. Online poker makes up a significant slice of that pie, but so do casinos, lotteries, and, the giant, sports betting.

It’s no wonder then, that companies are having to get creative when it comes to securing their market share. 888poker recently won an EGR Marketing and Innovation Award for their latest campaign, and their strategy is an interesting one.

Gone are the glamorous James Bond images of traditional poker advertising, as are the kitsch jingles of other recent campaigns. Instead, 888poker has concentrated on two things: the experience and the player.

In order to get this message across, the company launched a marketing campaign titled ‘Made to Play’. This campaign pushed the message in three ways: traditional video advertising, ‘random’ incentives, and influencer marketing.

The Video

The campaign’s 30 and 60 second videos ran on television and on-demand streaming services around the world. Moving away from traditional images, they instead put the player at the heart of the experience.

This ad focused on the various highs and lows which make up the excitement of playing online poker. It also shows a variety of individuals playing in a range of situations and styles.

This strategy repositions poker from trying to be sexy and full of jeopardy to being inclusive and fun. It also demonstrates the flexibility of ways in which the game can be played, especially with mobile gaming now available.

The Incentives

Over the course of the campaign, 888poker gave away $1,000,000 in ‘random’ prizes to existing and new players. This included tested methods of maintaining engagement such as free rolls and daily spins, but also something more innovative.

‘Gift drops’ were the unique element in this giveaway, and they generated excitement and word-of-mouth marketing amongst players. Every few minutes a random table would be selected to receive no-strings prizes ranging up to $1000.

All players’ screens would begin to show presents raining down and everyone at the table would benefit. This positioning of the platform as generous and fun and the communal excitement for players is new for online poker.

The Influencers

The final thing that 888poker has done is assemble what they call the StreamTeam. These are a hand-selected group of gaming influencers who can sell the platform on a person to person level.

The StreamTeam primarily work through Twitch, a platform known for content makers who commentate on their gaming as they play. They humanise the marketing by taking the message away from the ‘salespeople’ and speaking to customers as peers.

Both on Twitch and other mediums, these influencers focus almost entirely on the gameplay experience. They talk about the software, the platform, the features, and give the impression of really getting inside the product.

They can also offer gaming and poker tips, something the platform itself offers but in a more friendly, trustworthy manner.

One marketing video from 888poker shows these influencers talking through their downloadable app. They bring the features to life by relating them to their own gameplay and the social side of their experience.

The very features they discuss in relation to 888poker’s product highlight the unique reframing they are aiming for. Cute emojis, custom-built avatars, even tomatoes players can digitally through at each other, it’s all about fun and interaction.

In the modern world, poker is light entertainment, not high stakes gambling. It can be played by anyone, anywhere, whenever they like, and it can be played with a smile.

Recent News

Not only did the ‘Made to Play’ campaign earn an award, it has made a great impact for the company. In September 2021, 888 Holdings, the parent company of 888poker, announced a $3 billion buyout of William Hill’s European business.

The traditional gambling giant was previously bought by Caesars Entertainment who are now selling off all non-US elements. This is the first step into the high street for the online company, which now owns 1400 UK betting shops.

The ambitious deal shows just how successful the online casino industry has become, and how competitive the sector now is. If previously small players online are now taking over the interests of established giants, the fight is truly on.

Taking on a presence on the fading high street while online and mobile gaming is surging may seem counterintuitive. Coming after a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, however, it highlights how important winning the branding war is seen to be.

As online poker and casinos have exploded, so have the number of providers entering the marketplace. Not all will profit, and not all will survive, so now is the time for the competition to go to the next level.

Purpose-built and heavily branded apps and gaming experiences have become the next essential in online playing. If a provider wants to be first choice, they will need to be innovative in marketing theirs, and quickly.

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16 October 2021


The Second World War is raging and in the blizzard struck hinterlands of the USSR Factory 293 is in trouble.  An inspection is due and the power has just gone out but that is just the start of the day’s difficulties for war-hero Grigori and his female workforce.

Written and directed by Roderick Mackay for Meaning Maker and Digital Media Arts, you may not believe this but FACTORY293 was filmed entirely in the much sunnier climes of Perth, Western Australia.  Yet although this is surprising in itself the strength of the film lies in its direction and the wonderful performances of the actors, particularly its stand-out leads Lizzie Schebesta and Myles Pollard.

The Biology of Risk Taking: Why Do Teenage Boys Put Themselves in Danger?

If you have ever wondered why teenage boys act so, well, stupidly, then this should give you an insight.  Created by Stefane Lefort for an exhibition about risk in La Cité des Sciences et de l'industrie de Paris, it follows young Maxine who is enjoying a day out at the pool but wants to impress some girls. Should he leap off the top of the diving platform or retreat back to his friends, tail between his legs?

The biological processes around risk are set in motion, starting in his brain.  Will the fight or flight impulse kick in and advise on discretion being the better part of valor or will Maxine jump? As he is a teenager you can guess what happens but this is a fascinating insight in to how, in so many ways, as a teenager he just can’t help himself.

Metrolapse: The Beautiful Metro Stations of Naples

Naples is associated, primarily, with things other than its metro stations.  This is hardly surprising when you consider that this city of almost a million people has an almost 3,000 year history.  Yet they should not go unremarked and neither are they.  Here, Andrea Buonocore takes us on a tour of these architecturally rich stations which put those of much more populous cities somewhat to shame!

Monkey Symphony

Planet of the Apes this ain’t.  Or maybe it is – it’s all about timelines, after all.  Two talented chimpanzee pianists are forced to go their separate ways but years later their paths cross again.

This enjoyable animated short was created by a group of very talented students at ESMA, the world renowned graduate art school in Montpelier, France.


Baxter likes candy.  No wait.  Baxter loves candy.  So when he sees Granny’s Candy Shop one evening he can’t resist going in.

Yet once in a while a stronger obsession of his takes over from his desire for candy.  Written and directed by Ty Coyle, Baxter was a collaborative project created at the Savannah College of Art and Design. 

Paper Marbling: This is How to Do It

Filmmaker Oguz Uygur is a very lucky man.  He has incredibly talented parents who practice the art of paper marbling. This is a method of aqueous surface design, which can produce patterns similar to smooth marble or other stone.  It is intricate work and is simply fascinating to watch from beginning to end.  Watching this does not make me want to rush out and start studying the ancient art of Ebru, however, as it just looks horribly difficult and I do not have the patience of a saint!

The Kalash – The White Tribe of Pakistan

In the mountains of the Hindu Kush in Pakistan, six thousand or so people live who look and sound very different from their neighbors.  They claim to have lived in the area for thousands of years and they look to all intents and purposes, European. 

14 October 2021

Top Tips on How to Choose a New Online Casinos in Canada

Tons of new online casinos grace the iGaming industry with their presence every day. With such a broad range of options, it can be rather confusing when you want to try a new online casino. Look, not every online gaming house at your disposal is perfect for your unique gaming needs. Some of them could be scams waiting to fleece you of your hard-earned cash.

This article covers crucial tips that go a long way in helping you make an informed decision when looking for a new online casino. So keep reading!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a New Online Casino in Canada

No experienced online gaming enthusiast joins a casino that exhibits the signs of a scam. But what when you are a beginner interested in learning how to start online gaming? Chances are, you don’t even know how to distinguish between a scam and a legit online casino. Well, here are the fundamental factors you should consider when choosing a new online casino in Canada:

Licensing and Regulation

This is one thing beginners often overlook when looking for an online casino. A licence is the first thing we consider when choosing a new online casino. Equally important, the casino must hold a licence from a renowned and trusted gambling licensing and regulatory authority. We are talking about the likes of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Kahnawake, the UK Gambling Commission, and so on.

Safety and Security

Your safety while transacting at any online casino should never be negotiable. Hackers lurk in cyberspace intending to cause harm to vulnerable internet users. And the online casino industry is one of the places they look for loopholes to execute their malicious plan. Precisely, the casino you choose must have industry-standard security protocols, including SSL (Secure Socket Layer) data encryption.

Customer Service

 It makes no sense playing at an online casino where you are all alone when you need some help. Indeed, we’ll never recommend a casino that has no customer service. We won’t recommend one with poor customer service, either. Therefore, the new online casino you opt for should have a customer support crew comprising competent and responsive agents. Furthermore, there must be effective support communication channels such as a live chat facility, an e-mail, and a phone number.

Game Variety

The casino should have a game library packed with various cutting-edge titles. Moreover, the game collection should be diverse. In other words, it should consist of different games like slots, roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat, etc. The games should also be from verified software providers. That way, you are sure they are fair, and their quality is impeccable. And that points to a seamless gaming experience.

Bonuses and Promotions

Whether a novice or an expert, every online casino fan will appreciate a casino that gives them some goodies. When joining a new casino, you want to explore its game collection for real money before you start spending anything from your cash account. In this case, a risk-free welcome package is all you need to achieve that. Therefore, the new online casino you choose should have a welcome pack for new players. It could be in the form of bonus credits, free spins, or both. Apart from that, there should be other regular and seasonal perks.

Wagering Requirements

 Some casinos will give you bonuses with unfair wagering requirements. For instance, we have seen casinos that provide you with mouth-watering bonuses. But then, they require you to wager your bonus even over 100 times to withdraw any winnings you derive from it. This is a common trend with scams. For that reason, always check whether the play-through indicated is attainable within the specified time frame.

Responsible Gaming

Problem Gambling is real. When you realize you have no control over your gambling habit, we advise you to take a break and seek help. Thankfully, most modern online gaming platforms come with an in-built responsible gaming tool. It helps you set your gaming limits. For example, you can set how much you want to spend within a given time frame, how much to place per bet, how frequently you wish to play, etc. So, the casino you choose should have this vital tool. What’s more, the site should have information on how to play responsibly.

User Experience

The site should be a breeze to navigate. Besides, the design should appeal to the eye and the sections neatly laid out with legible labels. Also, nothing annoys you like a site that takes ages to load on your device when you try to access it. Therefore, ensure the one you choose has a fast loading speed. Better still, it should be compatible with different gadgets, including mobile devices and personal computers.

Payment Options

Banking is core to your gaming experience at any online casino. For that reason, the new casino you choose should accept various payment options. That gives you the freedom to opt for the deposit and withdrawal methods that suit you. Popular payment options online casinos accept include e-wallets, bank transfers, credit/debit cards, mobile wallets, and cryptocurrencies.

Payment Processing Duration

Playing at an online casino that takes an eternity to process withdrawals can be so frustrating. Note that withdrawal processing duration varies from casino to casino. Further, banking service providers take varied time to process withdrawal requests. Generally, e-wallets are some of the fastest payment options across online casinos in Canada and other corners of the world. On the whole, payment processing at your preferred casino shouldn’t go beyond ten days.

Advantages of New Online Casinos

        VIP programs: Most of them come with VIP programs to reward players for their loyalty.

     Irresistible welcome bonuses: New online casinos have generous welcome packages to attract as many new players as possible.

      24/7 customer support: The casinos tend to focus much on customer experience. In most cases, they offer customer support around the clock.

    Advanced Technology: New casinos take advantage of the latest technology. As a result, the platforms offer more in terms of functionality.  

Now you know what goes into making the right choice when looking for an online casino in Canada. As aforementioned, there are numerous options on the internet. It is, therefore, entirely upon you to choose a new casino that piques your interest and fits your gaming needs. So look for one and have fun!



10 October 2021

Star Stuff – Inspired by the Life of Carl Sagan

This is really something rather special and will give you goosebumps if like me you have only fond memories for the work of Carl Sagan and his great contribution to humanity.  Here you get the opportunity to watch Sagan as a child, developing his curious mind and the questions he would ask throughout his life.  

Star Stuff was written and directed by Ratimir Rakuljic.


Have you ever wanted to be something but know it will never happen no matter how hard you try?  Well, spare a thought for Woody.  He has always wanted to be an acclaimed pianist.  There’s just one thing holding him back – he has wooden panels for hands. This makes him ideal for one certain job but it doesn’t stop him from dreaming. Unfortunately, as he discovers in this wonderful animated short by Stuart Bowen, dreams can quickly turn to nightmares.

The Uses of Envy

Were you ever told off as a child for being envious of someone else? Whether you coveted their wealth, good looks or animal magnetism, envy is something that is generally frowned upon.  In fact a certain book places it in the top seven of sins which might prove fatal.  Yet Alan de Botton has a little something to add to the debate and together with great animation from Lara Lee and Hannah Jacobs and narration from Anna Martine you have to admit one thing – he has a point.

Meenakshi Amman Temple – India’s Dazzling Shrine Saturated with Statues

The city of Madurai in the South Eastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and has been a functioning metropolis for over two thousand years.

At its heart lies something extraordinary – a temple to the Hindu Goddess Parvati and her husband consort, Shiva. 

The Story of Zero

Is zero a number or not? Yes it is but the debate has raged for centuries. This very educational and informative (as well as entertaining – a hard trick to pull off) video by the Royal Institution gives us a potted history of zero from the times it eluded capture (metaphorically) up to today where it is pivotal in most if not all of the mathematical breakthroughs of the last 50 years.  It was animated by Andrew Khosravani.

The Beauty of Lofoten

If you are a regular reader of Kuriositas then you will already know that Lofoten is one of our favorite places in the entire universe not only because of its outstanding beauty but because it really shouldn’t be there.  However, thanks to a weather anomaly it is and Dennis Schmelz was lucky enough to visit northern Norway to capture its almost unspeakable beauty from the air. The result is jaw-slackingly gorgeous.

4 October 2021

How Technology Makes Casino Games Possible

We have come to expect more from our technology and for the companies we visit to take full advantage of the conveniences that new technologies have made available. One industry that is an undisputed leader in technology is casino gaming, both online (like casinogorilla.com) and in brick and mortar casinos.

Aria Casino Las Vegas
The first true high-tech casino to open was the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, which is part of the CityCenter complex. The Aria uses technology to offer visitors a mixture of luxury and convenience in every aspect of the casino from guest rooms, to dining options and on the casino floor.

The Aria has over 200 individual telecom rooms, which power the data and communication system. A broadband antenna network covers the entire resort, and provides constant wireless connectivity along with touchscreens, information kiosks and 3D monitors.

All of the more than 4000 guest rooms feature in-room automation. The system opens the curtains, sets the temperature, turns on the TV and plays music. When the guest leaves the room, the lights turn off, the curtains close and the TV and music systems deactivate. While in the room, guests can control virtually every in-room function from a remote control or through the HDTV. Guests set their preferences when they first enter the room. That information is saved and the preferences are loaded to the room the next time a guest returns.

On the casino floor, technology is used to make the gaming experience more enjoyable. The slots, video poker and other electronic games are monitored in the data center and can be updated and changed on the fly. Everything except the expected payouts, which once set cannot be changed without a gaming commission review, can be modified with just a few mouse clicks. For example, if the video poker stations are nearing full, slot machines can be converted to video poker to meet the demand. Likewise the stakes can be changed at a touch of a button based on player demands.

Plans are to use the technology to send information to players’ smartphones. Currently special offers are routinely sent for specials and deals. Sending information tailored to guests’ stated preferences, such as announcements that a new table of their preferred game is opening, is the logical next step in providing a personalized gaming experience.

Online Casinos
Advances in technology have provided the key in the development of online casinos. The online gaming market is one of the fastest growing and most popular. Players desire realism, a wide selection of games, and a safe and secure gaming environment. The also expect that the games faithfully mirror the conditions of the brick and mortar games.

Whether it is slots, video poker, or blackjack, some online Casinos use Random Number Generators (RNGs). An RNG is a piece of software that assures that the next card that is dealt (whether in video poker, poker or blackjack), or the stopping place of a slot reel is totally random. This is the software that makes online casinos possible. Online casinos have long been a driving force in the development of RNG technology, which is also used in brick and mortar casinos where the software resides in each machine.

How RNGs Work
Basically RNGs first select a starting or “seed number” and then, through a complicated algorithm, calculate a new random number. That number becomes the new seed number and the process repeats. The range of numbers from which is seed number is selected is commonly in the quarter of a million range.

Brick and mortar casinos and online casinos share more than just a similar game menu; both are subject to stringent oversight. As we mentioned with Aria’s programmable electronic games, the basic payout structure cannot be changed without approval of the gaming commission. Each game in a brick and mortar casino is inspected to insure that the game is fair. This includes every aspect of the game including the RNG.

Online casinos are subject to the same inspection process. The leading independent international testing agency is eCOGRA, which was established in London in 2003. The agency is fully accredited and specializes in online gaming software.

eCOGRA not only certifies the RNG, they also focus on protecting the privacy of customer information and ensure that players receive prompt and accurate payment, that the operating environment is secure, safe and reliable, and that the casino’s marketing is responsible.

2 October 2021

The Honduran White Bat

No, they’re not mutant hamsters although you might (just might) be forgiven for thinking that. It’s a rare beasty called the Honduran White Bat and is found only in handful of Central American countries.  It’s not albinism either; the species has evolved its white fur as a form of camouflage. You may think that would warrant inclusion in this year’s Darwin Awards, rainforests being predominantly green, but the Ark in Space website has the answers.

Image Credit Flickr User Wanjah Krah

Beyond – Action Adventure Short

Fancy a Spielbergian adventure movie but only have ten minutes to spare? Then try Beyond – it has all the required elements but has the additional attraction of being quite brief on its side too.  Written and directed by Jeremy Haccoun, the short film centers on young Leo. When a rock fall traps his parents inside a burning car, he must find the hero within him in order to save their lives...

Fact about the Flu Vaccine you Need to Know

Are you thinking of having a flu jab?  There are many myths around the flu vaccine and the side effects it can cause – in fact around its efficacy in general.  Questions like whether the vaccine damages your immune system or even gives you the flu, how long the virus is effective for, what age groups are affected by flu and whether antibiotics can treat the flu are answered in this short video created by We Are Formation.

Jabuticaba – The Tree that Fruits on its Trunk

No, this is not a belated April Fool’s prank. They look as if they may have been pinned there by an over enthusiastic gardener to impress the neighbors but the fruit of the Jabuticaba really does grow off the trunk of the tree.

Otherwise known as the Brazilian Grape Tree (Plinia cauliflora), this plant is native to South America, notably Paraguay, Argentina and (obviously from its name) mostly from Brazil.  The fruit, a succulent looking purple color can be plucked and eaten straight from the tree.

Dancing on Air: When Indoor-Skydiving becomes Ballet

This is quite incredible to watch.  Professional dancer Inka Tiitto just happens to be a champion indoor skydiver too.  However, at some point she decided that to combine the two was a great idea.

She is right – it is – and she is something to behold as she seemingly effortlessly counters high speeds of up to 180mph.  However, when you watch this you realise that her hope – that indoor skydiving can evolve in to a performing art – is not unrealistic.  Can you imagine Swan Lake being recreated like this?  This video was created by Great Big Story.