Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Dramatic Effects of Color Grading in Films

The company Grade, who specializes in digital color correction and grading, has released an interesting video that shows the dramatic effects color adjustments can have in films by showcasing scenes from the independent drama-horror film "The House On Pine Street" (2015), that gradually are being altered by color.

Via Sploid.

KCRW's Jason Bentley Lists His Top 10 Albums of 2015

KCRW's music director Jason Bentley is back with yet another annual list – this time with his top 10 albums of 2015.

  1. The Arcs – "Yours, Dreamily"
  2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – "Multi-Love"
  3. Beirut – "No No No"
  4. Jamie xx – "In Colour"
  5. Disclosure – "Caracal"
  6. Deerhunter – "Fading Frontier"
  7. ODESZA – "In Return"
  8. Alabama Shakes – "Sound & Color"
  9. St Germain – "St Germain"
  10. Tame Impala – "Currents"

And here is KCRW's complete list with the top 10 albums of 2015 picked by their DJs.

Bentley's list from 2014 do you find here.

Featured image: Bentley together with KCRW DJ Anne Litt at the Sundance Film Festival 2015. Photography by Mark Leibowitz.

The Art of Driving: Man Parks an Excavator on Top of a Truck Without Any Aids

I think the following footage deserves more than 27 views as of today! In less than three minutes, this skillful driver parks an excavator on top of a truck without any aids, and back again, placing the vehicle safely on the ground. Amazing!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Transcending Through Meditation: My Discovery of Natural Stress Relief Meditation (NSR)

Almost ten years ago, I took the first steps towards learning Transcendental Meditation from the TM organization after having read an excellent Swedish book about the effectiveness of the technique, but something that I first thought was a typo on the official TM website wasn't – the cost to learn was 18500 Swedish Krona (about $2,100) – which was a staggering amount for me as a student at the time – and I quickly forgot about TM for the time being.

Then, a couple of years ago, I watched the documentary "School of Thought" (2008) directed by Tony Perri, featuring director David Lynch when he visits Fairfield's TM community in Iowa. As a result, the documentary renewed and spurred my interest of wanting to learn the technique once more and to finally incorporating the practice in my daily life.

The Home Study Course 'Natural Stress Relief' (NSR)

Being a Reiki practitioner, I have taken Reiki classes both live and online, and they have all been satisfactory to me. So, with this in mind, coupled with an eagerness to begin my mantra meditation training, I began to search the web for a high-quality Transcendental Meditation online course, and stumbled upon an alternative and home study course called Natural Stress Relief (NSR). After some closer examination and having spent some time looking through their website, I ended up ordering the course material right away.

The things that stood out for me was:

  1. NSR was founded and is teached by independent TM teachers.
  2. The practice's efficiency is backed up by laboratory tests.
  3. Course material was available as an instant download (or as a printed manual and audio CD).
  4. It was easy to seek advice and assistance.
  5. Reviews were overall good and positive.
  6. Cost was only $25.

A Quick and Easy Way to Get Started

After I ordered the instant download, I received a nice PDF file with all the necessary information plus an audio file to help you work with the mantra.

I began the course by filling out a form that would help to evaluate my progress and development over time, and to assure that I was able to take the course in a safe way – depending on your mental health, intake of specific medicine etc., you might get advised not to take the training.

After this, the practical part of the course began, which meant two one-hour learning sessions a day for three consecutive days.

Working with the Class Material

The instructions was very clear and easy to follow, ensuring me that I practiced the technique effortlessly and correctly, and in the included audio file, a gentle woman voice guided me in how to use and pronounce the mantra correctly, a great aid since it can be a difficult task to know how to work with the mantra from just reading a text.

When I had completed the six sessions successfully, I was finally on my own. But, NSR encourage you to now and then take a refresher course by going through the training material once more.

Support and Checkings to Maintain a Good Practice

Upon ordering, I went ahead and paid for three email consultations, but since the class material was very easy to grasp, I have never felt the need to use any of them.

Once the course has ended and someone who has learned NSR needs to seek some additional help and advice, NSR offers proper guidance by offering consultations and checkings in the following ways:

  • via email
  • via Skype
  • in the forum

The Forum – A Wealth of Information and Advice

Four years has passed since I took up NSR, and I still regularly visit NSR's forum, which is frequented both of people who have learned this style of meditation, TM and Deepak Chopra's Primordial Sound Meditation. One of the reasons why TM:ers seem to visit the forum, is because of the easy way to get feedback, especially if they're living in a remote area with no teacher and meditation center nearby.

The forum is a wealth of information and due to its high activity and so many people contributing, it's always certain that a question you might have, already has been answered in great detail and ready to point you in the right direction. But, if you despite this can't find any satisfactory answers and still need help, NSR's teacher David Spector and other experienced meditators more often than not seem to share some valuable insights.

Give It a Go

With so much to offer, in combination with the low cost, I highly recommend you take a closer look at the NSR course – you won't regret it.

Additional Alternatives and Resources

Since learning about NSR, I have discovered some additional alternatives and resources that can benefit you greatly.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Odor of Spilled Milk Gave Birth to the Iconic Automotive Air Freshener 'Little Trees'

The iconic automotive air freshener Little Trees, that is shaped like a pine-tree, and that we so often see hanging from a rearview-mirror, is the result of a milkman's longing to get rid of odor of spilled milk inside his car, and Swiss-born chemist Julius Sämann's genius solution.

Little Trees air fresheners the world over, owe their rearview-mirror-dangling existence to a chance encounter some 60 years ago in Watertown, N.Y. On that particular day, Julius Samann listened to a milkman complain about one of his occupational hazards, the stench of spoiled milk. It turned out he was talking to just the right guy. Samann, a German-Jewish chemist who fled the Nazis, had studied Alpine tree aromas in the forests of Canada. He was interested in the technology used to transport and disseminate them.

In 1954, Samann filed a patent for paper impregnated with "odor-destroying, air-perfuming substances," a cellophane wrapper and a string to hang it on. The string was a necessity, he noted in his application, because "the substances are sometimes of an oily or sticky nature or hard to remove from the hands." The accompanying drawing featured a container holding a paper cutout of the profile of a bosomy, arch-backed pinup. But Samann eventually swapped out the pinup for the pine tree.

Watch a short segment about Little Trees' history done by Great Big Story:

H/t Devour.

What Makes A Good Life?: Harvard University's Long Run Study Points to Something Vital

In this lovely TED Talk, psychiatrist Robert Waldinger shares the findings from Harvard University's 75-year-old study on adult development about what constitutes a good life. A group of 724 men was selected to participate in this study in 1938 – a group of sophomores at Harvard University and a group of boys from the poorest neighborhoods in Boston – and over the years, they have all been given questions about work, homelife and health .

And as a result of this fine study, these men's answers and lifes are pointing towards something important that you can benefit from today: build healthy and trustworthy relationships to build a good, happy and healthy life.

Featured image: Timberline Lodge Ski Club Party, Mt. Hood, Oregon, Jan 1942. Photography by Ralph Morse / LIFE Photo Collection. Via A Cup of Jo. H/t Vintage Ski.

Via Tjock (SE).

'Here's Johnny!': Watch Jack Nicholson's Preparation for the Infamous Axe Scene in 'The Shining' (1980)

You know the infamous scene from "The Shining" (1980) when Jack Nicholson's charachter hits an axe through the door and shouts "Here's Johnny"? Here is some footage that shows Nicholson preparing for the scene, and it's both interesting and hilarious at the same time seeing him get all wined up.

Via Holy Kaw.

Monday, January 25, 2016

'A Movie Poster A Day': Designer Pete Majarich Makes One Alternative Movie Poster Every Day for 2016

Designer Pete Majarich designs one alternative movie poster every day for 2016, which he posts at the Tumblr page "A Movie Poster A Day", and the posters are up for grabs over at Society6.

Day 4 of 365 – The Bourne Identity:

Day 12 of 365 – The Man Who Fell To Earth:

Day 17 of 365 – Fargo:

Via Cool Material.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

'The Egg Painter': Detailed Art Work in the Romanian Village Ciocăneşti

The tradition of egg painting is passed down by the elders in the Romanian village Ciocăneşti and has been around for a hundred of years. The eggs' decorative motifs are inspired by local folk costumes and houses. In this short documentary "The Egg Painter" by filmmaker Titus-Armand Napirlica, we meet egg painter Elena Craciunescu, who with this art form is able to provide for her family by painting around 500 eggs per year, mostly around Easter.

Via Jungles in Paris.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The World's Most Relaxing Film Comes from Denmark

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the most relaxing track in the world according to science. Today, I'll give you the world's most relaxing film – seven minute long and shot on the west coast of Zealand (Sjællands Vestkyst) in Denmark.

By incorporating advice from experts in the fields of mindfulness, stress management and nature and music therapy, the tourist board Visit Vestsjælland says they have made the most relaxing film in the world in an attempt to make us visit this beautiful scenery in real life.

Mesmerizing Drone Footage of a Moving Reindeer Flock in Northern Norway

Jan Helmer Olsen's drone footage of a moving reindeer flock on it's way to the island Magerøya in the extreme northern part of Norway, is a mesmerizing watch. The joik is performed by Johan Anders Bær from Karasjok, Norway.

The New Must-Have: Recyclable Bamboo Bikes From Ghana

Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative is educating and employing unskilled youth and women to build eco-friendly bamboo bikes, thus making a green alternative even greener. The frame is 100 percent recyclable, and for each bamboo plant used, ten more are being planted. They're not only good for the environment, they look good too, and I want one!

Hotel Palmyra Is the Hotel That Time Forgot

Not much has changed in terms of decor since 1874 at Hotel Palmyra, located in Baalbek, Lebanon, close to the border of Syria. Current owner Rima Husseini and her staff try to preserve the hotel's original feel and look, leaving us with a journey into the past and to a hotel that time forgot.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

'Every Blade In the Field': The Traditional Way of Mowing with a Scythe

In this short "Every Blade In the Field" by Jungles in Paris and presented by Great Big Story, we meet a group of grass-cutters in Addison County, Vermont, who use a traditional scythe to mow the field. "Meditation in motion" like one of them said.

Marconi Union's 'Weightless' (2011): World's Most Relaxing Track According to Science

In a collaboration with sound therapists from British Academy of Sound Therapy, Manchester trio Marconi Union created an instrumental eight minute track called "Weightless" (2011). The track is so relaxing that Dr David Lewis-Hodgson from Mindlab International, who conducted the research, said that it created the greatest relaxation response of all the music tested in this research study, making it "the world's most relaxing song" according to Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy.

Boffins say the eight minute track, called Weightless, is so effective at inducing sleep it should not be listened to while driving.


Scientists played the song to 40 women and found it to be more effective at helping them relax than songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay.

The study - commissioned by bubble bath and shower gel firm Radox Spa - found the song was even more relaxing than a massage, walk or cup of tea.


Studies found Weightless was 11 per cent more relaxing than any other song and even made many of the women "drowsy" in the lab.

It induced a 65 per cent reduction in overall anxiety and brought them to a level 35 per cent lower than their usual resting rates.

The song features guitar, piano and electronic samples of natural soundscapes.

It is pierced throughout by buddhist-like chants that induce a trance-like state.

And according to the study, these are the top ten most relaxing tracks:

  1. Marconi Union – "Weightless"
  2. Airstream – "Electra"
  3. DJ Shah – "Mellomaniac" (Chill Out Mix)
  4. Enya – "Watermark"
  5. Coldplay – "Strawberry Swing"
  6. Barcelona – "Please Don't Go"
  7. All Saints – "Pure Shores"
  8. Adele – "Someone Like You"
  9. Mozart – "Canzonetta Sull'aria"
  10. Rue Du Soleil – "We Can Fly" (Café del Mar)

For your convenience, I have compiled these tracks in a Spotify playlist named "The Top Ten Most Relaxing Tracks According to Science".

H/t Hey Sigmund.

'Crossings' (2015): A Tranquil Video Art Work by Photographer Dennis DeHart

Photographer Dennis DeHart's tranquil video art work "Crossings" (2015) has been made in conjunction with his photo project "Confluences: Circumnavigating the Territory" (2013–2016), which takes place around the Columbia River drainage basin.

Photographer Rebecca Bathory's Photo Series "Soviet Ghosts": Abandoned Buildings From the Cold War Era

Urban explorer and photographer Rebecca Bathory's photo series and book "Soviet Ghosts", depicts abandoned buildings in the former Soviet Union and its satellite states in the former Eastern Bloc, with origins from the Cold War.

Struck by the extent of abandonment in the former Soviet Union and its satellite states in the former Eastern Bloc, photographer Rebecca Bathory sensitively and beautifully records many abandoned location within 13 countries which were once part of the Soviet Union or occupied. Including forgotten towns, factories, prisons, schools, monuments, hospitals, theatres, military complexes, asylums and death camps.

The former USSR with the fall of a Communist empire, places now lie derelict, uninhabited, broken shells of a forgotten time. The collapse of the Soviet Union left haunting memories of ordinary people who once lived and worked there. Rebecca's work shines a light on a society shrouded by the cold war, offering a touching document of the daily lives of the Soviet people.

Beelitz Sanatorium in Beelitz, Germany:

Former Soviet radar station Skrunda-1 in Skrunda, Latvia:

Satellite Communication Centre in Russia:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

One Bottle of the Single Malt Scotch Whisky 'The Balvenie 50' Will Cost You $38,000

To celebrate having been with Scotch whisky distiller William Grant & Sons for fifty years in 2012, Malt Master David Stewart selected two European oak hogshead casks that both were filled on the same day back in May 1962, and crafted the single malt Scotch whisky "The Balvenie Fifty". What a beautiful craftmanship from barley to bottle!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Thrash Metal Band Slayer's 'Raining Blood' Performed on Pink Colored Musical Instruments for Kids

Musician Drew Creal performs thrash metal band Slayer's "Raining Blood" (1986) on a setup with pink colored musical instruments for kids. This is the follow up to a popular video that shows Creal and guitarist Frank Pasquale of Pasquale Custom Guitars play a Slayer mashup (YouTube link) using a similar set of instruments.

Watch Flowers Come Into Bloom In The Wonderful Video Work 'Flowers Opening Timelapse II'

It took photographer David de los Santos Gil fourteen months and about 40.000 images to create the wonderful video work "Flowers Opening Timelapse II", in which you'll see several different species of flowers come into bloom. The beautiful piece of music is made by Roger Subirana.

The NYC Seltzer Man: The Milkman of Carbonation

The company Gomberg Seltzer Works is the last of its kind in NYC. The company delivers soda water known as seltzer, which in this case consists of filtered NYC tap water and carbon dioxide. In this short, we follow seltzer man Walter Backerman on a typical day of work.

For more, watch Jessica Edwards' short documentary "Seltzer Works" (2010) that features Kenny Gomberg, whose grandfather Mo Gomberg founded the company.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Designer Hartmut Esslinger of Frog Design Talks About Five Key Subjects in the Area of Design

Industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger (@frogmut), founder of the global design and strategy firm Frog Design, gives designers some sound advice in this short video treat by talking about five key subjects in the area of design.

BBC's Three-Part Documentary 'Million Dollar Traders' (2009)

In this three-part documentary "Million Dollar Traders", hedge fund manager Lex van Dam lets twelve people, who haven't had any experience of trading, to trade for 2 months with $1 million of his own money. Working alongside Lex, the group is supervised by former City trader Anton Kreil. The work is based on successful investor Richard Dennis' Turtle experiment from '83 and '84, who thought that trading could be taught. When the experiment ended five years later, the group of people he'd trained had earned a profit of a staggering $175 million.

Watch the playlist:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Pulling an All-Nighter Is as Bad as Unhealthy Eating

In a study done by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the results show that one night of sleep deprivation equals the harmful effects of being on a six-month-long high-fat diet.

"Our study suggests that one night of total sleep deprivation may be as detrimental to insulin sensitivity as six months on a high-fat diet," said Dr. Josiane Broussard, who directed the study. "This research demonstrates the importance of adequate sleep in maintaining blood sugar levels and reducing risk for metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes."

Sure, you can't out train a bad diet, and you can't get fit without adequate and proper exercise, but even if you're on point with both of those, if you don't get enough sleep, your overall health is suffering.

Featured image: A vintage postcard that reads "Sonno Profondo" (Deep Sleep) from 1953, depicting a father and his son on the beach. Via Pinterest.

The Reason Why Actor Josh Hartnett Took Some Time Off from the Hollywood Limelight

Actor Josh Hartnett, who's one of my favorite actors and my wife's (wonder why?!), talks with Time about his reason for keeping out of the Hollywood limelight for some time and instead focusing on making independent films.

That break included some time off to move back to his native Minnesota, starring in a string of indie films and getting involved in politics. His vanishing act prompted a flurry of publications to wonder what had happened to him. But what happened to him is that he was just trying to make independent films, he tells TIME.

"[The narrative was] either I was so disillusioned and afraid that I ran away or that I was some punk who didn't know how good he had it," Hartnett says. "And it's neither of those. It was that I tried to take a different path towards achieving good film."

Featured image: Hartnett in the GQ Style Germany Fall/Winter 2014 issue. Photography by Cedric Buchet. Via

Formula One Driver Max Verstappen Takes the RB7 for a Spin in the Austrian Alps

Well, this was a first! Belgian-Dutch racing driver Max Verstappen took his Formula One car RB7 for a spin on the Hahnenkamm mountain side in the Austrian Alps of Kitzbühel. The RedBull team knows for sure how to create virals!

Onboard camera:

Image credit: via

Friday, January 15, 2016

Photographer Michael O'Neill's Coffee Table Book 'On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace' (2015) Captures Its Roots

Photographer Michael O'Neill has released the beautiful Taschen coffee table book "On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace" (2015) in an effort to document the roots of yoga and its long and rich history.

Now brought together for the first time, this extraordinary body of work tells the story of yoga as it's never been told before, with nearly 200 photographs, most of which have never been seen. Two of O'Neill's most important subjects, meditation master His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Ashtanga guru Eddie Stern, join the conversation with their essays on the role of yoga in contemporary culture, the history of the practice from the time of Patanjali, and the healing power of what Michael O'Neill calls "the architecture of peace…a series of postures that bring the practitioner closer to touching the infinite."

"The Master", 2006:

"My E.T.", 2010:

"See God in All", 2009:

"Eddie Stern, Crosby Street", 2014

Image credit: via Artsy

Via @kenchawkin.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to Enjoy Your Morning Coffee the Norwegian Style

This is how you enjoy your morning coffee in the Norwegian town Sandvika, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) west of Oslo, as demonstrated by Trym Nordgaard. Music by Geto Boys and their track "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta" from 1992 (video link).

Via Boing Boing.

Photo Series 'Wayside Poetry': Polish Ads and Propaganda Slogans in the 70's

The photo series "Wayside Poetry" by sculptor and painter Wladyslaw Hasior chronicles the ads, propaganda slogans and bulletin boards found in Poland's public space, a work he mostly undertook in the 70's.

Photograph No.178:

Photograph No.280:

Photograph No.202:

Photograph No.307:

Via Katarzyna Piasecka.

Gigantic Glass Church in Taiwan Shaped Like a High-Heeled Shoe

In an attempt to attract more female visitors, a church in Taiwan has been built like a gigantic high-heeled glass shoe in a beautiful crystal blue color.

Erected in Ocean View Park in Budai town, along the east coast of Taiwan, the church took two months to build. Measuring 55ft tall and 36ft wide, the colossal slipper is made of 322 pieces of blue glass.

Zheng Rongfeng, a spokesperson for the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area, told local news website that the church was designed to draw in "female worshippers". The new place of worship will also apparently house "100 female-orientated features," including biscuits and cakes and a lovers' chair for couple's to take wedding photos together.

Watch video:

Image credit: Copyright by Skyline Vision Studio.

'The Saguache Crescent': America's Last Linotype Newspaper

The weekly newspaper "The Saguache Crescent" in Saguache, Colorado, was founded in 1867 by Otto Mears. Like then, the newspaper is still being made today by using a Linotype type casting machine and traditional printing methods, which makes it unique since most newspapers use modern production methods. Dean Coombs's family has owned the newspaper since 1917, and he has been its publisher for 37 years.

Via @Toth_Kanteera.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cereal Machine Built Entirely Out of Lego

I guess more than one kid dreams about having their very own cereal machine built entirely out of Lego, and this student made one – the Cheerios Cereal Machine. The machine's coin slot accepts 2 euro coins, which will give you a nice bowl of cereal with milk.

Live Streaming App Periscope Helps Spreading Meditation Around the World

From Mashable, the live streaming app Periscope is helping broadcasters to teach the art of meditation and yoga around the world.

"The word 'meditation' is often associated with a negative connotation due to the many misunderstandings people have," says Amrit Singh (@MrASingh), a UK-based creative who broadcasts art, meditations and #TimeToInspire scopes about mindfulness and gratitude. "[Through livestreaming] real people who practice various types of meditation can show people all over the world what it is and how many different types of meditation forms there are. It's amazing."

Singh has been meditating for seven years. His personal practice includes a combination of traditional, mantra (concentration on a word) and creating art pieces often inspired by nature. When people started commenting on his livestream ("this is so calming;" "I am feeling really relaxed;" and "this is my therapy"), he realized that his 'scopes were helping people to recognize that art is a form of meditation, too.


Gregory Reading, who leads meditation under @NamasteMan, says, "As humanity slowly reawakens to its divinity, meditation is becoming a key component in this process. Periscope is serving as an instantaneous conduit to help deliver this process to the people in a most amazing way."

And after reading this article, I can't see no problem with teaching effortless mantra meditation, like Transcendental Meditation, via Periscope classes since it will still be one-to-one teaching.

Featured image: The collage "Flotar entre las nubes" (Float Among the Clouds) by Mariano Peccinetti.

These Cool Nuclear Element Glow Soaps Will Light Up Your Day

I can't really come up with any real good reason why someone need to buy this set of glow-in-the-dark nuclear element soaps, more than they look pretty cool. But, hey, it's a reason nonetheless.

You can buy them over at ThinkGeek for $19.99 (currently out of stock, but available again in February) or via United Nuclear for $25.00.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Watch the Documentary 'Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?' (2011) That Deals With Economic Inequality

The documentary "Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?" (2011) deals with the subject how government deregulation has led to increasing economic inequality with 400 of the wealthiest Americans owing more wealth than the bottom 150 million.

HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream? is stunning audiences across the globe as it traces the worldwide economic collapse to a 1971 secret memo entitled Attack on American Free Enterprise System. Written over 40 years ago by the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, at the behest of the US Chamber of Commerce, the 6-page memo, a free-market utopian treatise, called for a money fueled big business makeover of government through corporate control of the media, academia, the pulpit, arts and sciences and destruction of organized labor and consumer protection groups.

But Powell's real "end game” was business control of law and politics. HEIST's step by step detail exposes the systemic implementation of Powell's memo by BOTH U.S. political parties culminating in the deregulation of industry, outsourcing of jobs and regressive taxation. All of which led us to the global financial crisis of 2008 and the continued dismantling of the American middle class. Today, politics is the playground of the rich and powerful, with no thought given to the hopes and dreams of ordinary Americans. No other film goes as deeply as HEIST in explaining the greatest wealth transfer of our time. Moving beyond the white noise of today's polarizing media, HEIST provides viewers with a clear, concise and fact- based explanation of how we got into this mess, and what we need to do to restore our representative democracy.

Watch trailer:

You can rent and buy the documentary over at the official documentary site or watch it below.

Image credit: From the official trailer.

Zero Waste Town: The Art of Recycling Happens in the Japanese Town Kamikatsu

I think I'm pretty good at recycling waste, but don't even come close to the recycling done by the citizens of the town Kamikatsu, Japan, who're sorting their waste into 34 different categories. Known as a "zero waste" town, it's environmental program began in 2003, which then met some resistance from the locals, but now has become accepted by most. By the year 2020, the town hopes to reach its goal of not producing any waste at all.

One Man's Quest to Build the Tallest Rideable Bicycle in the World

By stacking and welding the frames of Chinese Flying Pigeon bicycles atop of each other, Félix Ramón Guirola Cepero has built the tallest rideable bicycle on Cuba, measuring 19 feet, 8 inches (6 meters). Cepero's current goal is to set a new world record by building a bike that will place him 32 feet, 9.7 inches (10 meters) up in the air, and breaking Los Angeles-based cinematographer Richie Trimble's current record, whose bike Stoopidtaller is the tallest bike in the world with a measurement of 20 feet, 2.5 inches (6.15 meters).

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Growing Popularity of Yoga on Cuba

Eduardo Pimentel, yoga teacher and the president and founder of the Cuban Yoga Association (CYA), has been instrumental in spreading the teachings of yoga in Havana. Despite difficult working conditions, the practice flourish, and since the improved relations in 2015 between U.S. and Cuba, Pimentel's expertise will now benefit yogis outside Cuba as well.

Eduardo de Jesus Pimentel Vázquez—more commonly known as Eduardo Pimentel, the "Godfather of Cuban yoga"—has taught over 20,000 practitioners in Havana alone. He teaches daily in various locations, such as a rented veranda of a governmental institution, inside of a theater, at a local martial arts center, or at his own apartment with a maximum capacity of 12 students.

The conditions are minimalist—students rest in Savasana on a small area of tiled floor space, surrounded by empty walls with peeling paint and views of lush, fertile jungle outside. Pimentel dreams of one day selling his apartment for a larger space, so that he can open a yoga studio of his own—which as of today, would be the first of its kind.


Known throughout Cuba as "green medicine," yoga and other forms of holistic healing were backed by the government to promote good health among citizens. Yoga was often broadcast on governmental television networks, featuring Pimentel in many of the segments.

Yoga teacher Rina Jakubowicz Bajos in the photo series "The Cuba Libre Yoga Project" by photographer Robert Sturman:

Featured image: Eduardo Pimentel by photographer Robert Sturman.

A Calm Reflecting Pool: Meditation Teacher Bob Roth's Discovery of Transcendental Meditation

During his freshman year in college, the executive director of the David Lynch Foundation and meditation teacher Bob Roth (@meditationbob) worked part time at a Swenson's ice cream store. One of Roth's co-workers seemed to radiate an unusually strong peace and calmness, an observation that led him to learn and teach Transcendental Meditation.

I was not a hippie, I did not take drugs and I was not interested in the plethora of new sects and new age philosophies that were sweeping through town. But I was disoriented and stressed. Really stressed. I had a part time job at a Swenson’s ice cream store—the only job I could find that fit my class schedule. And amidst all the clean-cuts and longhairs and jocks and crazies that either worked or frequented that store there was one guy I worked with, Peter Stevens, who was like a calm reflecting pool.

Peter was centered, energetic, super-smart, kind to all, easy going, never agitated, with an ineffable calm about him. I found out, rather serendipitously that he "meditated." It sounded discordant to me. In my activist-centric world of "If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem," meditation was not in my vocabulary. But I was intrigued and curious, and then grew open when he told me there was nothing to believe in. And equally attractive to my busy, busy mind: he assured me it was simple, easy, and I could actually do it.

Cautiously but bravely (I had never gone to learn something like meditation before), I attended an introductory talk on the technique. A nice, well-dressed man spoke for about 45 minutes. He said a few things that struck me. He said Transcendental Meditation gave the experience of a deeply settled, peaceful state of awareness that already existed at all times deep within the thinking mind of everyone.

Featured image: 1056 E San Lorenzo Rd III from photographer Tom Blachford's photo series "Midnight Modern".

Thursday, January 7, 2016

How to Make a Submarine Sandwich According to Stop-Motion Artist PES

In this cute and adorable short film by stop-motion artist PES, a submarine sandwich is made by using objects such as boxing and baseball gloves and other sports memorabilia.

Image credit: PES' Kickstarter page.

H/t Colossal.

The Sometimes Failing Use of Props in the TV Series Mad Men (2007–2015)

Typeface designer and font developer Mark Simonson watched the beloved TV series "Mad Men" (2007–2015) with a critical eye and found that, although visually pleasing, the typefaces used in the show together with additional props belong to a different era. Simonson's piece "Mad Men, Mad Props" is from 2008, but includes the names of several beautiful typefaces, which I found interesting and valuable for my future graphic design work.

Then there is the Gill Sans (c. 1930) problem. Gill is used quite a lot in the series, mainly for Sterling Cooper Advertising's logo and signage. Technically, this is not anachronistic. And the way the type is used—metal dimensional letters, generously spaced—looks right. The problem is that Gill was a British typeface not widely available or popular in the U.S. until the 1970s. It's a decade ahead of its time in American type fashions.

Featured image: Reproduced secretary desks photographed by Eric Laignel for Interior Design's article "Welcome to 1969: Mad Men's Award-Winning Set Design". H/t web magazine Charles & Hudson.

Via Mental Floss.

The Time Lapse Film 'Iceland Aurora' (2014) Captures the Natural Wonder of Northern Lights

Shot in more than fifty locations, the non-narrative time lapse film "Iceland Aurora" directed by filmmaker Snorri Thor Tryggvason, captures the natural wonder of northern lights, also known as Aurora Borealis.

Shot in more than fifty locations, the filmmakers spent one hundred and thirty nights over three years chasing green, purple and pink northern lights, as well as sunsets, sunrises, nocturnal clouds, starry skies, city scenes and barren moonlit landscapes.

Each of Iceland Aurora's seven chapters showcases a unique aspect of the Icelandic winter, with matching scores from musicians Pétur Jónsson, Kajak and Yagya. Together, they will take you on a magical journey through the ideal Icelandic winter week.

Watch the trailer:

And to get a sense of what the film has to offer, the filmmakers let you watch chapter four for free:

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