In the rainforest along the border between Brazil and Peru, an indigenous tribe is ignoring the 21st century and living life the old-fashioned way. Experts believe this “uncontacted tribe” has had no direct contact with mainstream society, but the Brazilian government has known about the tribe for 20 years and routinely flies above the settlement to check on the inhabitants’ well-being.
NOw, the BBC has released the first ever video footage of this tribe, which had previously only been seen in photographs:
The footage was filmed in cooperation with the Brazilian government, and was featured on the BBC’s Human Planet series. It was shot in the summer of 2010 along the Peru-Brazil border using a zoom lens that allowed the crew to film from more than a half-mile away.
Need to teach 13-year-old Ke$ha fans about the quest for extraterrestrial life, but worried you won’t capture their attention? Fret no more. Fresh off of YouTube comes a parody of Ke$ha’s song “We R Who We R,” refashioned into an informative and utterly dorky song about astrobiology.
The video credits Jank for the lyrics and video and mrskimful for the music. We applaud the creators for their shout-outs to moons like Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Titan and Enceladus–all promising destinations in the search for microbial life in our solar system. But we have to take exception to the quick, unqualified mention of bacteria that can thrive on arsenic, and the video’s implication that this recent finding stretches scientists’ notions about what kinds of life can exist. Have they not been following the roiling controversy over whether that finding is valid?
Discoblog: Science Sing-Alongs: Higg Boson vs Google Periodic Table
Discoblog: The OK Go Video: Playing With the Speed of Time
Discoblog: Evolution, With Dope Rhymes and a Funky Hip-Hop Beat
Discoblog: Carl Sagan Sings Again: Symphony of Science, Part 4
Discoblog: For Honey Bee Awareness Day, Music Video Asks, “Where My Bees At?”
Even the best-planned documentaries can go wrong, especially when there are curious polar bears involved.
In this case, the BBC was spying on the polar bears of the Arctic islands of Svalbard for a documentary called “Polar Bear: Spy on The Ice,” but their spy-tactics could have used a bit of help. The cameras were “camouflaged” as icebergs and snow drifts, but that didn’t fool these curious bears, who caught on pretty quickly that snow and ice aren’t supposed to move that quickly.
The cameras worked just fine in in the -40 Fahrenheit weather–it was the bears who ripped the cameras to pieces, destroying about $200,000 worth of equipment. The documentary, directed by John Downer, aired on BBC One on December 29th, but you can see it here at the BBC’s iPlayer (sadly, UK only).
Discoblog: Ape Auteurs: BBC to Premiere Documentary Shot Entirely by Chimps
Not Exactly Rocket Science: For polar bears, the price of rapid evolution is a weaker skull
80beats: Study: We Still Have a Chance to Save the Polar Bears
80beats: Bear Fight! Grizzlies Are Creeping Into Polar Bears’ Canadian Turf
DISCOVER: 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Movie Scientists
Our favorite autotuned scientists are back at it, with the seventh video in the “Symphony of Science” series. This video focuses on scientific/skeptical thought, explains creator John Boswell:
It is intended to promote scientific reasoning and skepticism in the face of growing amounts of pseudoscientific pursuits, such as Astrology and Homeopathy, and also to promote the scientific worldview as equally enlightening as religion.
Keep your eyes peeled for DISCOVER blogger Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy, who makes a few appearances!
If you haven’t seen the earlier iterations, I recommend a trip over to Symphony of Science headquarters to watch some of the previous videos. You can even pick up a seven-inch vinyl of the original “A Glorious Dawn” featuring Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan.
Discoblog: Carl Sagan Sings Again: Symphony of Science, Part 4
Discoblog: Scientist Dance Styles: Glee Episode, Spanish Whodunnit, Internet Love Orgy
Bad Astronomy: The Vaccine Song
Cosmic Variance: The Dark Energy Song
In June, the Guggenheim Museum announced a collaborative video contest with none other than YouTube. Yes, you read that right: YouTube, the video website overrun with videos of cats and each tween’s latest shopping spree.
The contest was open to anyone and everyone who has made a video in the last two years. A total of 23,000 videos were submitted and judged by a panel of artists and curators, and the competition’s 25 winners were announced last night. These 25 videos will be on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York through the weekend, and all the shortlisted videos will stay online indefinitely. While there was some excitement about the prospects of such a venture, the New York Times isn’t impressed by the final product:
At the time of the announcement, there was much talk about originality and discovery, which sounds rather hollow now, compared with the low quality of the 25 finally selected.
Ouch! When the competition was announced, some feared that it would dumb down the video art world, while others dreamed that it would break the community open to embrace YouTube’s DIY creativity and modern folk art stylings. The critics over at the New York Times seem to think the winning videos did neither, and fell somewhere between sophisticated video art and YouTube folk art:
One way to explain the lackluster quality of the first incarnation of “YouTube Play” is that almost none of the final 25 works, which are being screened in a gallery at the museum this weekend, fit either of those categories…. They seem to occupy a third sphere of slick and pointless professionalism, where too much technique serves relatively skimpy, generic ideas.
You can take a look a the 25 finalists and the additional 100 “shortlisted” videos online. In addition to the “Birds on the Wires” video above, here are some of my other favorites from the top 25:
“Many furry mammals engage in oscillatory shaking when wet.” Translation: When a dog comes in from the rain, it engages in a body-twisting, jowl-flapping shake that sprays water over the living room. But exactly what kinds of oscillations are required to make the water droplets scatter? Thankfully a team of curious researchers decided to study the physics of that motion.
In the abstract posted on ArXiv, Andrew Dickerson of the Georgia Institute of Technology and some colleagues explain that they attacked the question via high-speed video and fur-particle tracking:
MovieReshape is a program created by Christian Theobalt at the Max Plank Institute in Germany. The program will digitally alter your appearance (including height, weight, and muscle tone) in any movie clip. Women can even get a digital boob job or liposuction to automatically enhance body size and shape on the fly.
Earlier approaches to body manipulation on film required retouching of every frame, a very laborious process when you’re talking about 30 frames per second. But this approach is different–it works from a 3D body plan made from the scans of 120 different men and women of different shapes and sizes, and in many different positions.
Using off-the-shelf software the team then identifies the person to be manipulated, and tweaks parameters like height, waist girth, leg length, muscularity, and breast girth. Check out a video explanation (with some creepy demonstrations) after the jump:
Who would think a printer would inspire such beautiful art?
A collaboration between the ad company Dentsu London, Canon printers, and photographer/biochemist Linden Gledhill created these “sound sculptures” which use high speed cameras to catch tiny droplets of paint as they splatter under the force of sound waves. The resulting videos were used in an ad that celebrates Canon printers’ color quality, but honestly, who cares what they’re selling when the images are so pretty.
Gledhill gets extreme detail in his shots through his use of an ultra-high speed camera, which takes up to 5,000 frames per second, and a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 100mm Macro IS USM lens to get intense, up-close detail. He previously used the paint splatter sculpture technique in his “Water Figures” series, he said on Dentsu’s Flickr page:
I, like many people, find Water Figures almost compulsive viewing. They appeal to people in many ways because they represent a fusion of science, technology, natural chaos and art. Every image is unique and can be appreciated in all of these ways. For the scientist, who is interested in fluid dynamic or chaos theory, they capture the behavior of fluids in motion.
Hit the jump for more info and a video about the creative process.
Warning: Some viewers might find the video below disturbing and graphic.
In a move that some are calling a misguided publicity stunt, the environmental activist group 10:10 Climate Change Campaign produced and released a gory and disturbing short film, similar to Plane Stupid’s “Polar Bear” video (warning: also gory), to promote the climate change action day scheduled for October 10, 2010 (or 10/10/10).
In the video above, people who don’t pledge themselves to 10:10′s cause (including school children and Gillian Anderson) are exploded into red, chunky goo with the press of a button. It was released last week and has resulted in a media backlash, including Sony’s retraction of support of the cause. It even inspired a cartoon.
Not only does the video offend and disgust, but the New York Times’s Dot Earth Blog summarized another main problem with the video–the dark shadow the negative publicity has spread over the entirety of the climate change debate:
If the goal had been to convince people that environmental campaigners have lost their minds and to provide red meat (literally) to shock radio hosts and pundits fighting curbs on greenhouse gases, it worked like a charm. Of course the goal might have been buzz more than efficacy. Too often these days, that’s the online norm. They succeeded on that front. I, among many others, am forced to write about it. Congratulations.
In its third year, the Dance Your PhD contest is proving that maybe, just maybe, scientists can dance. From the contest’s website:
The dreaded question. “So, what’s your Ph.D. research about?” You take a deep breath and launch into the explanation. People’s eyes begin to glaze over…
At times like these, don’t you wish you could just turn to the nearest computer and show people an online video of your Ph.D. thesis interpreted in dance form?