Captivating Visualization of the Solar System in the Nevada Desert

In a secluded Nevada desert, a group of friends build the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits. Using simple objects (marbles and inflatable balls), this do-it-yourself project is beautiful.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/139407849 w=600 h=400]

It’s pretty incredible that the largest orbit, that of Pluto, is seven miles away from the sun with the scale presented in the video.

I wish there was a “behind the scenes” video to see how they recorded and edited the orbits of the planets.

Alchemy: a Stunning Short Film on Transformation

Alchemy is a stunning five minute film created by Evosia Studios. They describe it thus:

Alchemy is a short film about transformation. In nature, everything is constantly changing: the earth, the sky, the stars, and all living things. Spring is followed by summer, fall and winter. Water turns into clouds, rain and ice. Over time, rivers are created, canyons carved, and mountains formed. All of these elements, mixed together, create the magic of nature’s alchemy. 

Turn up the sound and view this in full screen for maximum impact:

A few of my favorite screenshots from the film are below. Click here to read about the locations found in the film.

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The Origin of “The Harlem Shake” Viral Videos

The Daily Beast has a piece/interview with the man who made “The Harlem Shake” a viral sensation, a DJ named Baauer:

For the uninitiated, it consists of users uploading videos to YouTube that last about thirty seconds in length and feature the opening of electronic music producer Baauer’s song “Harlem Shake.” The videos begin with the song’s sample of a man giving a shrieking siren call of “Con los terroristas!”—Columbian Spanish for “with the terrorists”—followed by one person, usually in a ridiculous mask or helmet, dancing to the song alone as the beat builds. He or she is surrounded by others who are stationary, blissfully unaware of the dancer. When the directive,Then do the Harlem shake is uttered about 15 seconds in, the bass drops and the video metastasizes into pure chaos—the entire coterie engaging in paroxysms of dance for the next 15 seconds in outrageous outfits, and wielding bizarre props.

The first video was uploaded to YouTube by amateur comedian Filthy Frank on February 2. As of February 15, over 40,000 “Harlem Shake” videos have been uploaded to YouTube, totaling over 175 million views. The cast of the TODAYshowThe Daily Show and The Colbert Report, this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, and even a battalion of the Norwegian Army have gotten in on the act.

It’s Friday, February 15, and I am huddled with Baauer in a tiny bathroom inside the green room of Webster Hall, a 1,500-capacity venue in Manhattan. It’s the only place where we can find some peace and quiet for his first interview since the song went viral. The night also marks Baauer’s first show in his adopted home of New York since the song exploded. It is, predictably, very sold-out.

“It’s gotten absolutely insane,” he says. “All I did was make the song so it’s kind of a weird place for me to be at. I birthed it, it was raised by others, and now it’s like my weird, fucked up adopted teenage kid coming back to me.” 

Baauer, 23, is a tall, slight fella with a boyish face and big, goofy smile. He was born Harry Rodrigues in West Philadelphia, but moved around a lot when he was younger due to his father’s job as “a financial consultant for international companies.” He lived in Germany from age four to seven, then London from seven to 13, then to Connecticut from 13-17, then one more year in London before heading off to college in New York.

Says Baauer:

“I just had the idea of taking a Dutch house squeaky-high synth and putting it over a hip-hop track,” he says. “And then I tried to just make it the most stand-out, flashy track that would get anyone’s attention, so put as many sounds and weird shit in there as I could. The dude in the beginning I got somewhere off the Internet, I don’t even know where, and the lion roar just makes no sense.” He laughs. “There’s the sound of flames in there, too, it’s just really low.”

Pumpktris: Fully Playable Tetris in a Jack-o-Lantern

Today is Halloween, and in the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to showcase the coolest thing I’ve seen this week: jack-o-lantern Tetris. It’s fully playable! Just watch the video below.

 

Nathan Pryor describes the elaborate process of putting the whole thing together on his blog:

What do you get when you combine a pumpkin with the classic video game Tetris? Pumpktris! Fully playable, embedded in a pumpkin, and with the stem serving as a controller. Watch the video below to see it in action, then read on for the development story.

Absolutely amazing. Highly recommended reading the details if the inner nerd in you is interested in how the whole thing was assembled.

Nightfall: Stunning Time Lapse of Los Angeles and the Surroundings

This is an absolutely gorgeous time lapse video of Los Angeles and the surrounding area, created by Colin Rich:

Colin explains the motivation behind the making of the video:

I shot “Nightfall” in an attempt to capture Los Angeles as it transitioned from day to night. As you probably know, LA is an expansive city so shooting it from many different angles was critical. Usually I was able to capture just one shot per day with a lot of driving, exploring, and scouting in between but the times sitting in traffic or a “sketchy” neighborhood often lead to new adventures and interesting places.

Nightfall in particular is my favorite time to shoot time lapse. Capturing the transition from day to night while looking back at the city as the purple shadow of Earth envelopes the eastern skyline and the warm distant twinkling halogen lights spark to life and give the fading sun a run for her money- this will never grow old or boring to me.

In this piece, it was important to me for the shots to both capture and accentuate the movement of light through the day and night and the use of multiple motion control techniques allowed me to do so.

Highly recommend seeing this one in full screen mode.

Unheard Martin Luther King, Jr. Audio Found in Attic

Stephon Tull was looking through dusty old boxes in his father’s attic in Chattanooga a few months ago when he stumbled onto something startling: an audio reel labeled, “Dr. King interview, Dec. 21, 1960.” The interview was made four years before the Civil Rights Act became law, three years before King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and eight years before King’s assassination. The AP reports on the significance of the finding:

Many recordings of King are known to exist among hundreds of thousands of documents related to his life that have been catalogued and archived. But one historian said the newly discovered interview is unusual because there’s little audio of King discussing his activities in Africa, while two of King’s contemporaries said it’s exciting to hear a little-known recording of their friend for the first time.

In the interview, King says:

I am convinced that when the history books are written in future years, historians will have to record this movement as one of the greatest epochs of our heritage…I had the opportunity to talk with most of the major leaders of the new independent countries of Africa, and also leaders in countries that are moving toward independence,” he said. “And I think all of them agree that in the United States we must solve this problem of racial injustice if we expect to maintain our leadership in the world.

Video of the interview below: