Monday, August 31, 2009

It's a Bird

Thought I had blogged about this piece of animation history but when I saw it recently on a Monsters and Rockets post I went looking for it and it was nowhere to be found. I must have shown it to my students and never linked to it online. I will correct that now. Wish I could fix my faulty memory as easily.

It's a Bird was an animated short done by Charles Bowers in 1930. He was one of the early pioneers in film animation and stop motion. From what I can find, the car used in the animation was an actual car, not a model. So, it had to be cut up piece by piece for the effects.

Interesting article/review on Charles Bowers at the DVDJournal. The DVD is called Charley Bowers: The Rediscovery of an American Comic Genius out although it is currently out of print (stock). I did a short online search and couldn't find any vendors that had a copy in stock.

[Image captured from video]

Friday, August 28, 2009

Funny: Schrödinger's Cat

Listen to the explanation first.

This clip is a little shorter. Use it as a quick review before you go to a party where you know there will be quantum physicists hanging out at the snack table.

Now watch this clip from the Big Bang Theory and laugh even harder because you have a deeper understanding of the concept.

Amaze your friends and family when you can explain cartoons that reference Schrödinger's Cat! [Lab Initio]

Finally, order a poster or t-shirt to show your friends in the know that you get it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Friend: Music Video Created using SketchUp

Here is a creative use of Google SketchUp. The author made most of the visuals for a music video using the software. Watch the video and then check out the interview with Dave Righton on how he created this video for $12. He initially was using the program to storyboard out a project when he came up with the idea of using it as the basis for his music video.

[Image captured from the music video for "My Friend Ship"]

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Green Wall

Getting close to putting a shed in my back yard. I spent much of the last month creating a spot for it and now am looking at pre-built or diy type sheds. Either way, I got to thinking a green-wall on at least one side of the shed would be neat. So, rather than weeding in the backyard, I slipped inside to my office and logged into Google. Found this site with lots of pictures and references for green-walls.

Gave me lots of ideas.

[Image captured from Gardenopolis:]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Modular Refrigerator Design

Here's a clever idea for a refrigerator design. It takes the idea of a separate freezer and cooler section even further. Break the appliance up into even smaller units. Each unit takes less energy to cool and loses less cold air when you open the door.

We bought one of those fridges with the freezer on the bottom several years ago and love it. It made so much sense to put all the items on the top in the compartment that was opened the most often and the freezer on the bottom that is opened less often.

[Image captured from]

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Lovecraft Dream

Wonderful Lovecraft inspired animation. I couldn't gather much from the site or related links. There are some nice effects here using cutouts. I think the ocean waves are a combination of paper and computer animation but not sure?

[Send me a note if anyone has any information on the artists or how they went about creating the film.]

[via Monsters and Rockets]

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Archive of Television Ads

AdViews is a fun archive of TV commercials from the 50s and 60s. The commercials have been made available for "research, teaching, and private study". Duke University, where the collection is housed, is not the copyright holder. You'll have to track down who controls the images if you want to use them commercially. Although, I suspect the age of some of these puts them into the public domain. There are also some French commercials such as the ads for Fluffo! I've spent way too much time today watching old advertisements.

One note. You need to access these ads using iTunes. There is no cost but you still need the Apple program to gain access

[via Boing Boing]

[Image captured from "Fluffo Shortening, 1960s (dmbb09814): D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles advertising archives]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tree House

I love this idea. I've known for years about shaping the growth of trees for landscape design. The most common of these is the living fence. Prune and stake a tree out to take on the shape of a fence. A famous example of this (in USA) is the living fence around George Washington's garden at his home in Virginia. He did this back in the 1700's and the fence is still there.

So lets take it a step further and integrate a living tree into the structure of our homes using prefabricated forms to help shape the trees into the desired support structures. Even if the tree dies, you still have this framework that was grown to specs. I suspect it would be incredibly strong. Watch the video for a quick explanation by Mitchell Joachim.

Short animation of what this structure might look like.

[Image captured from]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Laurel and Hardy Remix

Neat little remix of an old Laurel and Hardy clip form the movie Way Out West (1937) with the song Party Train by the Gap Band.

I was trying to find the original clip and fond out several folks have used this dance clip in remixes. Here is another to Tainted Love performed by Soft Cell.

And finally here is the original sound clip with a little green screen magic added in.

[via Miss Cellina]

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stop Motion: Rainbow Bunnies in a crowd

This commercial from 2007 is astounding. It looks like they did the stop motion on the rabbits with little care for the rest of the world. If someone walks or drives through the problem. If someone steps and flattens a pops back up again. (Planned or accidental, either way it's cool.)

The blurb on the YouTube page says, "The stunning new advert from sony, it took 3 weeks, 40 animators and 3.5 tons of clay to make it to make it."

So, head out to the streets Do your stop motion. It could turn out astounding.

Found this "making of" video for the bunny ad just before I posted. There was a more complete list of materials and time:
  • 2.5 tonnes of plasticine on set
  • 40 animators
  • 3 weeks
  • 189 2ft bunnies
  • 150 1ft cubes
  • 10ft x 20ft purple wave
  • 30ft giant rabbit.
  • 6 cameras.
  • 40 animators working through 4 hours generated 4 seconds of footage.
  • 40 animators working on the same scene had never been attempted before.
  • The 60 second spot will be constructed of approximately 100,000 stills.

[via Monsters and Rockets]

[Image captured from the video]

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Space Station Piece by Piece

I was looking for a picture of the space station and ran across this video showing the station as each section is added.

There is a glossary on the side that lets you click on each part to get a brief description.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jay Leno talks about the Aptera

Jay Leno recently did a nice video about the Aptera on his website Jay Leno's Garage. He has some good footage and commentary on driving the vehicle.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Here is a amazing piece of film making. It is one continuous dolly shot through the middle of a bank robbery where the action has been stopped. First watch the clip. Then watch the "making of" video. If I understand this correctly, it was created as a showcase piece for the new Cinema 21:9 television.
"The world’s first ultra-wide TV that perfectly matches the original 2.39:1 movie format used by directors. Be blown away by movies the way they’re meant to be seen. No more black bars in your movies."
I was blown away by the video.

[Image captured from the video]

Friday, August 7, 2009

Funny: Literal Video

Here is a fun idea (for a song or two). Take a well known music video and redo the lyrics to match what is happening on screen. No more trying to figure out obscure metaphors and allusions.

Your Beautiful by James Blount (literal by Simeon Bisas)

Total Eclise of the Heart by (Literal by dascottjr)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grate Art

This video gives a little background on the artist, Joshua Allen Harris, who creates those cool scultpures out of plastic bags that become animated when a subway draft fills them up.

[via Accidental Mysteries]
[Image captured from the video:Street Art: Joshua Allen Harris' Inflatable Bag Monsters:]

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I'm working on my "computer safety" lessons for the upcoming year and found this article by Justin Reich helpful in organizing my thoughts. He talks about the failure of filtering in our schools and that our money should be spent on educating the kids in the following areas:
  • Safegaurding personal information
  • Cyber-bullying
  • Dealing with advances from strangers
  • Avoiding online scams
  • Courteous online communication
Then monitor the kids an make them accountable for their online behavior.

Each of these bullet points will be a lesson plan in my classes this year. Nice way to break it up into units.

[via 2¢ Worth]

[Image: "No tresspasing":Uploaded on February 12, 2008 by diankarl ( Creative Commons: (Creative Commons License Deed Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic)]

Monday, August 3, 2009

Capturing energy from moving cars

Interesting idea. Cars move over plates that generate electricity. My understanding is that this will be used in a shopping center in the UK and the energy will be used to run the cash registers. What if you put something like this at every intersection. They already install pressure plates to help control the lights. With a little modification, you could also help keep the lights running. Add a solor cell and they might be self sufficient?

I had a similar idea while watching the students stream into school a couple of months ago. What if we attached generators to the entry doors. The movement of the doors opening and closing could generate power. I'm pretty sure the power generated as the kids rush out of school every day could light an entire city block!

[via DailyMail] [Image captured from the article:]

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kangoo Aerobics

I've started thinking about winter.

We had a lot of rainy, snowy days that kept me inside last year. I did some bouncing in the house last spring but I got to thinking I need some routines I can do in the house to forestall boredom in case it's another wet winter. I started listing out some some foot drills (like the dot drill) and some aerobics steps I could do with the boots.

No problem, I thought. I've been bouncing for twenty or thirty minutes at a time in the neighborhood. I should be able to handle some interesting footwork in the house. I was wrong. Jogging does not prepare you for some of the lateral movements you make in aerobics. I barely made it through a dot drill without taking a tumble. And after about ten minutes, I was ready to die. I stopped and decided I was going to have to work up to a more complex routine. I'll keep you posted on what I come up with.

(Of course, I guess I could order one of the DVDs from Kangoo? Nah....where's the fun in that?)

[Image: "Al is too Old for Aerobics": Creative Commons. If you use it just give me credit.]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

John Medina Interview

So here's my question. If scientists like John Medina say that we learn better when we are physically fit and exercise regularly, why is physical education a low priority in schools? Why aren't we running massive research to prove or disprove this concept? Seems to me if this were true, it wouldn't take a whole lot of extra money to build more activity into each school day.

One of the questions that comes up for me when I hear that exercise improves cognition is that from my own experience as a teacher this doesn't hold true. My best students haven't always been athletes or even athletic. Some of my worst students have been star athletes. And vice-versa. I've never noticed a pattern?

Anyway, here is a nice interview with Dr. Medina where some of the basics from his book Brain Rules are covered.