Tag Archives: Animation

Amusing Monday: Animations find new ways to talk about climate crisis

I’m always looking for new ways to visualize the causes and effects of excessive greenhouse gases and what is happening to the Earth’s climate. A clever new animation depicts the carbon cycle as a clickety-clackety machine that moves the carbon from place to place.

The video, produced by Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, shows how carbon takes on different forms as it moves from the air into plants and animals, becomes embedded deep in the ground and then is turned into fuel at a pace that upsets the natural cycle. (Don’t forget to go full-screen.)

“Humans have thrown the carbon cycle out of adjustment, with increasingly severe consequences for climate, oceans and ecosystems,” states the description below the YouTube video.

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Amusing Monday: TED Ed video features Southern Resident orcas

Last week, a new animation was posted online describing the matriarchal social structure of our beloved killer whales, in which elder females serve as guides for generations of their living descendants. (See first video.)

The new video, part of the TED Ed collection of animations, focuses on the 74 Southern Resident orcas and how they stay with their mothers for life. The video’s creator, animal behaviorist Darren Croft, credits the Center for Whale Research with studies that have successfully identified every filial relationship among the Puget Sound orcas for more than 40 years.

The TED Ed collection includes hundreds of animations created by TED Conferences LLC, the media organization responsible for nearly 3,000 online TED Talks. TED combines the concepts Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) and operates under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.” An annual conference is held in Vancouver, B.C., with smaller events held throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

The Ted Ed series was started six years ago to inspire students to discuss creative ideas, develop innovative concepts and become young leaders. TED Ed has developed a flexible curriculum that can be used by teachers or students themselves. Each video has a “create a lesson” button for teachers or students to adapt the video to their own situation and branch out into other ideas.

Students can organize themselves as a club in an after-school setting, work with a teacher in a classroom, become part of a larger ongoing program. or develop an idea alone or with a partner. The program is designed to teach students from ages 8 to 18 and welcomes participants over age 13. See “Get involved” or review the “frequently asked questions.”

The TED Ed videos cover a multitude of topics, including science, technology, health, history, art, literature, health and even riddles. Some are better than others, but the best ones provide tidbits of information that can actually cause one to change his or her way of thinking. YouTube has a large collection of TED Ed videos.

The new video about orca matrilines offers possible explanations for why female whales have been known to live well beyond their reproductive lifespan. Males and females tend to stay with their mothers for life, although males will interact with other pods for mating. As older females die off, their daughters become the new leaders of the matrilines, which together make up larger pods.

The video, called “The Amazing Grandmothers of the Killer Whale Pod,” has more than 142,000 views so far and more than 300 comments.

Other TED Ed videos I found worth watching include the second video on this page, “When will the next ice age happen?” and the third, “Jellyfish predate dinosaurs. How have they survived so long?” Also check out the following or search for subjects from the full list:

Amusing Monday: Babies have the moves

While watching TV with my wife the other night, something reminded me of the famous Dancing Baby video. Sue said she had never seen the animation , so I found a few versions, including the one featured on Ally McBeal.

While searching for those old videos, I found the Evian Water Babies, which just happens to fit the theme of this blog — although I can’t say I favor buying bottled water. Click on the video player at right to view the Water Babies clip. Another clever Evian clip features babies skating to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” There’s also the Baby Break Dance.

Here are a few other animated babies:

Kung Fu Baby

Lintik Na Baby (combines several “dancing baby” animations)

Shrek Dancing Babies

Father versus Baby video game

The Tootin’ Cousins Bathtub Duet

And, finally, who needs animation when you have this little person?

Amusing Monday: Animals Save the Planet

I have to admit a certain fondness for the clay animated creatures that have come to life thanks to Aardman Animations, which has fostered a bunch of creative animations, including Wallace & Gromit.

Since this is the week of Earth Day, I thought I would present the series of Earth-friendly tips offered by some strange but lovable animals. The short videos were produced for Animal Planet in the UK, and I’m not sure if they were shown in the U.S.

Aardman Animations, started by Peter Lord and David Sproxton, has an interesting history. Starting out with simple projects in 1975, the animations grew more sophisticated through the years. You may remember their first full-length movie, “Chicken Run,” which won numerous awards.
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