Tag Archives | Animation

Enter the Uncanny Valley with Animated Giorgio Tsoukalos

There's already something endearingly cartoon-like about Ancient Aliens star Giorgio Tsoukalos: his hair alone has launched a thousand memes, to say nothing of some of his Cosmic Love God fashion sense and compulsive quotability. (To his great credit, Giorgio is very much aware of his internet-fame and has a wonderful attitude about it. When I met him two separate kids approached and asked if he "was the guy from the memes." Giorgio responded with a friendly smile and struck this pose long enough for each of them to snap a photo.) Well, anyway, now Tsoukalos isn't just cartoon-like, thanks to the efforts of one animator. Check out this (admittedly creepy) animated take on Giorgio. (It seems to be a one-off effort, but I wouldn't mind seeing a Tsoukalos & Pals cartoon in my local television listings....)
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Experimental Animation Pioneer Robert Breer Dies

BREER1-obit-articleLargeHis style was followed by everyone from Monty Python to MTV, but for sheer optical pleasure, Robert Breer's short avant-garde animations can't be beaten. The New York Times eulogizes:
Robert Breer, an animator whose use of novel techniques opened up a new language for film, died on Aug. 11 at his home in Tucson. He was 84. Mr. Breer, a painter by training, early on saw the potential for breaking with the narrative sequences and anthropomorphic forms that defined the medium [of animation]. Viewers were bombarded with wiggling lines, letters, abstract shapes and live-action images that jumped and flashed, zoomed and receded. “He was a seminal figure in the new American cinema and the American avant-garde beginning in the 1950s and continuing right up to the present,” said Andrew Lampert of the Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan.
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Nuclear Apocalypse Animation That Scared Ed Sullivan Audiences Still Scares Today

io9 and CONELRAD Adjacent detail a broadcast of the Ed Sullivan Show that "scared the hell out of kids" when a short animation was aired on 27 May 1956. Peter and Joan Foldes' cartoon, A Short Vision, depicts a nuclear apocalypse, showing the faces of men and animals melting off, the audience off guard when Sullivan shared no warning but this introduction:
"Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped. Now two great English writers, two very imaginative writers - I'm gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it's a fantasy, the whole thing is animated - but two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called ‘A Short Vision' in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped. It's produced by George K. Arthur and I'd like you to see it. It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner."
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Secret of NIMH? Memory Implant Boosts Brain Function in Rats

Secret of NIMHThis article reminds me a bit of The Secret of NIMH. Yes, my first awareness of animal experimentation was likely from a(n) Disney animated movie. Benedict Carey writes in the New York Times:

Though still a long way from being tested in humans, the implant demonstrates for the first time that a cognitive function can be improved with a device that mimics the firing patterns of neurons. In recent years neuroscientists have developed implants that allow paralyzed people to move prosthetic limbs or a computer cursor, using their thoughts to activate the machines.

In the new work, being published Friday, researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of Southern California used some of the same techniques to read neural activity. But they translated those signals internally, to improve brain function rather than to activate outside appendages.

“It’s technically very impressive to pull something like this off, given our current level of technology,” said Daryl Kipke, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the experiment.

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Psychedelic Anti-Marijuana PSA

"It's the hula-hoop of the jet generation." Out of several decades worth of iconic anti-marijuana television scare-verts, my favorite is this vintage American Medical Association PSA, which appears to have definitely been made by animators who were high on something.
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Supercontinents of Planet Earth: 650 Million Years in Under 2 Minutes (Video)

SupercontinentAlasdair Wilkins on io9.com has a great post about the past and future of our planet's continents. Definitely worth a read:
Earth's continents are constantly changing, moving and rearranging themselves over millions of years — affecting Earth's climate and biology. Every few hundred million years, the continents combine to create massive, world-spanning supercontinents. Here's the past and future of Earth's supercontinets.
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