Academy Award winner: “Logorama”

August 16, 2010

Delightfully creative.  Surely there is at least a bell ringer in here, just in identifying the different logos.  For economics and sociology classes, this is a study in branding, done in very interesting fashion.

Can you use it in class, even at 16 minutes?  The language may be too edgy for freshman and sophomores, yes?

A short description from the Vimeo post, by Marc Altshuler, who owns the company who created and recorded the music for the film:

This is a short film that was directed by the French animation collective H5, François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy + Ludovic Houplain. It was presented at the Cannes Film Festival 2009. It opened the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won a 2010 academy award under the category of animated short.

In this film there are two pieces of licensed music, in the beginning and in the end. All the other music and sound design are original. The opening track (Dean Martin “Good Morning Life”) and closing track (The Ink Spots “I don’t want to send the world on fire”) songs are licensed pre-existing tracks. All original music and sound design is by, human (

Brilliant little work even if you can’t use it in class.

More Billy Blob: Bumble BeEing and the Butterfly Effect

August 16, 2010

Also from Billy Blob (as the Space Probe cartoon posted here on August 15), “Bumble BeEing, Part 1:  The Butterfly Effect.”

How to categorize such a cartoon:  Philosophy?  Science of Chaos (from which we get the hypothetical “butterfly effect”)?

Education?  Religion?

We Are Science Probes

August 14, 2010

Still from

Still from “We Are Science Probes.” Full clip of movie below.

In animation, a parable about the dangers of being intentionally ignorant of science. In the not-distant-enough future, a probe from another planet arrives on Earth after the demise of human civilization. Unfortunately, the probes land in Kansas, the land of creationism and woo. The plot thickens.

[My apologies — the version I found did not come with a “pause” button.  It will play automatically when you open this post.  Fortunately, it’s almost perfectly safe-for-work.  If you don’t like the music, turn it off.  There is no spoken dialogue in the cartoon.  If you wish to pause the playing of the cartoon, right click to get to the Adobe Flash Player controls.  To pause the playing click the checkmark next to “play.”]

[Update August 18 — Okay, I give up — 100% of comments I’ve been getting ran against the video without the “start” or “pause” buttons.  You’ll have to go see it at another site — here, for example.]

[Years later, it’s on Youtube!]

Found it at a site called NewGrounds, which includes several other animation pieces.  The piece was created by a group that goes by the handle Billy Blob.

Sure would love this group to turn their creative faculties to hard history — say, the Progressive Movement and Gilded Age.  (Probably less chance of commercialization there, and perhaps less chance of awe-striking art, too.)

Tip of the old scrub brush to P. Z. Myers at Pharyngula.

Quote of the moment: Books as lighthouses in the dark sea of time

July 3, 2010

Jeffrey Robbins, a human character in the animated cartoon series,

Jeffrey Robbins, a human character in the animated cartoon series, “The Gargoyles”

The written word is all that stands between memory and oblivion. Without books as our anchors, we are cast adrift, neither teaching nor learning. They are windows on the past, mirrors on the present, and prisms reflecting all possible futures. Books are lighthouses, erected in the dark sea of time.

Jeffrey Robbins, a character in the cartoon series, “The Gargoyles”

Now available on Youtube.  To get the quote above, to go to 21:30 in this video:

Tip of the old scrub brush to James Kessler.

What if the old curmudgeon teaching economics married that cute, brainy geography teacher?

April 23, 2010

Or, was it the cute curmudgeon teaching econ and the old cartographer in geography?

I think I’ll add this to my TAKS review.  What other classroom uses can you find for it?

I found it at Cool InfoGraphics.

Seriously, geography and economics teachers, this is big stuff:

Follow the Money” is a video summarizing the results from the project by Northwestern University grad students Daniel Grady and Christian Thiemann.  Using data from the website Where’s George?, they have been able to track the movement of U.S. paper currency.  What can you learn from this?  That there are natural borders within the U.S. that don’t necessarily follow state borders, and it can also be used to predict the spread of disease because it maps movement of people within the U.S.

From Maria Popova on This may sound like dry statistical uninterestingness, but the video visualization of the results is rather eye-opening, revealing how money — not state borders, not political maps, not ethnic clusters — is the real cartographer drawing our cultural geography.  The project was a winner at the 2009 Visualization Challenge sponsored by the National Science Foundation and AAA.

Tip of the old scrub brush to VizWorld and Maitri’s VatulBlog

Great animation: “The Chesnut Tree”

March 14, 2010

Wonderful film from 2007, by Hyun-min Lee.  I found it on PBS World this weekend, and then found a YouTube version.

Watch it with your young children.


Definition of “urbanization”: Glowing Cities Under a Nighttime Sky on Flickr – Photo Sharing

October 2, 2009

Pleasant to watch, this time-lapse composition highlights the light pollution aspect of increasing urbanization across the United States.  The photographer, a Dutch architect, notes that each streak of light represents a city, as he flies across the American Midwest to touchdown in San Francisco (SFO).  It’s a visual definition of urbanization, isn’t it?

On my night time flight back to SF from Amsterdam, I noticed that the lights from cities were making the clouds glow. Really spectacular and ethereal – it was really seeing the impact of urban environments from a different perspective. Each glow or squiggle represents one town or city!

Luckily the flight was half empty, so I was able to set up an improvised stabilizer mound made up of my bags, pillows, and blankets for my camera to sit on.

We were around the midwest at the beginning of the clip, and there were fewer cities once we hit the rockies. the bridge at the end is the san mateo bridge.

Technique: 1600iso; beginning – 1 (30sec) exposure / 45secs; end – 1 (4sec) exposure / 10 secs; total elapsed time: around 3 hours?

Equipment used: Nikon D300 (interval shooting mode), Tokina 12-24mm.

Music: Bloc Party – Signs

Stunning, beautiful and troubling at the same time.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Definition of “urbanization”: Glowin…“, posted with vodpod

Can you use this in your classroom?

Tip of the old scrub brush to One Man’s Blog.

Share the light with your friends:

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Hubble Deep Field , 3-D animation

August 28, 2009

Here’s something that will make the Texas State Board of Education cringe and cower under their desks; watch it in good health:

Tip of the old scrub brush to DVice.

Fun in merchandising

July 25, 2009

HEMA is a department store in the Netherlands.  Like all other businesses, it now has on-line shopping.

Inside a HEMA store in the Netherlands - Wikimedia image

Inside a HEMA store in the Netherlands - Wikimedia image

But it’s online with a diffference.  Load this page, and then wait a few seconds . . .

(Can you tell whether this is a real HEMA page, or just a good parody?  Anyone?)

(And, what kind of software does one need to do that kind of animation?  Is there any classroom use for this?)

Cy? Si! Mel Blanc and Jack Benny

May 22, 2009

One of my favorite comedy routines from the Master of Voices, Mel Blanc, and his accomplice Jack Benny:

We were talking about this old routine today, and sure enough, we could find it on YouTube.

In 1974, they repeated it for old times’ sake, on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

Note:  May 22 is the anniversary of the last time Johnny Carson hosted the Tonight Show, in 1992. George Bush the elder was president then; the Soviet Union had been out of existence only five months.  Osama bin Laden was a little-known, former ally of the U.S. in the Russo-Afghanistan war.  E-mail was just coming on, cell-phones were rare and expensive, as well as analog, wireless broadband hadn’t been invented.  Apple was still making computers far, far behind the IBM-compatible PCs — new chips like the 486 promised a revolution in computing.  A lifetime ago.

Why is this post tagged “animation?”  You remember, don’t you? Blanc was the guy who did almost every voice in the Warner Bros. cartoons from the classic era.  Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Foghorn Leghorn . . . as someone noted, remarkable to think Yosemite Sam and Tweety Bird are the same guy.

Update, 2014:  Mel Blanc’s birthday was May 30, as Richard Daybell reminded us; sweet, short tribute to Blanc at ‘Tis Pity He’s a Writer.

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