15 January 2023

Elephant Trunk Hill – Guilin’s Legendary Protector

Tramping through the hills around Guilin in China is busy work, so at the end of the day an elephant gets thirsty. There’s nothing like dipping your trunk in to the river to cool off and taking a long, thirst quenching drink. Yet when you’re made of stone you might be there for quite a long time.

Image Credit Flickr User Archer10

The Tortoise Beetle - Amazing Metallic Arthropods

Things that make you go mmm, number 976.  This little guy is for real.  It is a golden tortoise beetle and it is featured on Ark in Space today.  They don’t just come in gold either- there’s a silver variety as well other species which come in a number of hues all with an amazing metallic sheen.  Plus they have this amazing outer covering (known as a cuticle) which is often transparent. Altogether they look like insects from planet steampunk.  Read about them over at our sibling site, The Ark in Space.

Image Credit Wikimedia

Dublin Time Lapse

dublin timelapse panoramic

Take a look at the Fair City in a different way. This time lapse by Richard Twomey (his first, believe it or not) captures the capital of Ireland beautifully.

The feeling of depth in many of the shots such as via clouds and stationary objects in the city shots paired with the camera movement is wonderful.

Although this will entrance you if you live in Ireland perhaps it is only fitting that we dedicate this to the Irish diaspora.

Wherever you are in the world I think this may fill you with homesickness.

A Twirling Day

Someone’s spotted the zeitgeist. A Twirling Day is the latest short by ModernEye (a creative studio / director duo based in London) and it captures very well the sense of absurdity many people feel in this day and age about the decisions they have to take.

You know the ones, the ones which we have to make even though we know there isn’t really any possibility of us having any control over them whatsoever; the kind of decision that just seems to be fate playing another one of her practical jokes on you.

Directed by Jon Uriarte, and starring Alberto Rolan as the Everyman figure, A Twirling Day is not guaranteed to lighten your mood but I think a number of you may recognise yourself somewhere in here.

The Ballad of Thaddeus Lowe

Have you ever heard of Thaddeus Lowe? No, I hadn’t but a quick check on Wikipedia verified that he did actually live and everything that you see here actually happened.  It tells the little known story of Lowe - aeronaut, scientist and inventor who came to prominence during the American Civil War when he performed aerial reconnaissance on the Confederate troops on behalf of the Union Army – in a balloon. Unfortunately his endeavors were not too well received and he had to resign in 1863.

This very amusing animated short was written, directed, animated and narrated by Kelly Jones who also wrote the accompanying song which is probably going to be in my head all day now – for which I don’t know whether to thank Ms Jones or invoice her. 

If Lowe’s civil war activities were not widely appreciated then a later invention was.  He conceived the water gas process by which large amounts of hydrogen gas could be manufactured from steam and charcoal – his patents and ice making machines associated with this process made him a millionaire.  Unfortunately he invested unwisely later in life and died without much to his name – financially speaking at least.  We, of course, will always remember him for his services to his country as an aeronaut – not to mention his ballad… “Oh Thaddeus, Thaddeus Lowe… it’s too bad you’re still unknown”.