WONDERS OF LIFE

THE PACE OF FORMATION Dives Into Hawaii’s Most Active Volcano

As we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of February, it seems the warm weather of summer is further away than ever these days! Thankfully, filmmakers Aaron Mendez, Brian Hawkins, Chaz Curry and Matt Givot have brought us a "lava hot" film sure to warm us up on these chilly winter nights. Their film "The Pace of Formation" gives being us an up-close look at the Kilauea Volcano situated on the outskirts of Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park. Studying both the beauty and diversity of the area, the short also dives into the 8 different climates zones found on The Big Island of Hawaii. Get ready to get up-close with one of the most active volcanoes making up the Big Island and check out the lava-filled short film below! 

Sculptor and environmental activist Jason deCaires Taylor, an artist well-known for his underwater sculpture installations, has done it again. His new mind-boggling installation, the Museo Atlantico, consists of 12 different sections, each making a comment on a modern humanitarian issue. Near the island of Lanzarote (Canary Islands), beneath the surface of the sea, stand hundreds of life-sized concrete works of art. There also sits a 30-meter wall and botanical garden as part of the display. Not only aesthetically pleasing, Taylor’s work brings awareness to ocean conservation issues by acting as artificial reefs and creating habitats for fish and coral to flourish. The concrete also brings to light humanitarian affairs we face as well, including the topics of immigration and climate change. Beautiful, unique, and haunting with a good message: definitely our type of innovator. Check out more of Taylor’s work over at The Creators Project.

After living through the politically charged year of 2016, you may be looking ahead to 2017 with some mixed confusion and a bit of wavering hope. Need a quick escape before the turning of a new year? Disappear for a few minutes today into the wonders of our solar system - a place beyond our Earthly troubles. TIME Magazine has released their best space photos of 2016 and they are a shining reminder of our own world's beauty, existence and strength. Find some inspiration in the stars and get head over TIME’s gallery now! Just remember to come back down to Earth, a place where you have the chance to make a difference!

It has been a long week in post-election America. Need a little something to help you escape and remind you of the majesty and beauty of this world we live in? Well, if you've been living under a rock or have been totally consumed in politics (and hey, we don't blame you), then you probably haven't gotten the chance to read up on the recent "Planet Earth 2" UK release. BBC has just released two behind the scenes videos from the film, with one shot in 360°, no less. Fancy getting up close and personal with a snake and iguana chase on the Galapagos Islands? Seems like it's your lucky day! Head over to No Film School to get in on the BTS action.

In celebration of Indie Street’s VOD release of scifi film “Sankofa”, we’re checking out some of the best in astronomy photos from this year! Earlier last month, the 2016 Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year Awards released their winning photographs (or “astrophotographs”) to the public. A mix of both professional and amateur astrophotographers’ work was celebrated - with images of the solar eclipse, moon, dwarf galaxies, and stars on display. Check out the otherworldly images and be prepared to be awestruck by the beauty and mystery of our universe!

Ah, the majesty of nature! It has a way of being both terrifying and beautiful at the same time if you know how to approach it the right way. Take for example this past May, when the world’s largest salt flats in Bolivia were flooded with water. The salt flats, known as Salar de Uyuni, suddenly morphed into this gigantic mirror, reflecting back the vastness and overwhelming wonders of the Milky Way. Russian photographer Daniel Kordan was able to capture the moment with his Nikon D810A camera. The results? Mesmerizing and striking long exposure images of a universe reflected back on our own Earth. You can check out more of Kordan’s images here!

Each summer, deep in the mangrove forests of Thailand, fireflies come out and illuminate in droves. Artists Robin Meier and André Gwerder saw this as an opportunity to experiment and “question the idea of free will” by creating a rather lovely use of technology in nature. Setting about a few firefly mimicking LED lights to flash on and off at intervals, their resulting film shows that the fireflies started to respond to the LEDs, flashing in synchronocity. The experiment even became an installation at Wood Street Galleries in PA, where fireflies and crickets responded to the lights set up by the two artists. For more information about the artists, the project and a teaser of the full film, “Synchroncity (Thailand)”, head on over to The Creator's Project.

In exciting space & film news, NASA has teamed up with Apple to produce a short film called “Visions of Harmony”. The film’s focus is on celebrating the arrival of its Juno probe on Jupiter - set to happen this upcoming 4th of July! Nothing says Happy Independence Day like leaving this planet and arriving at another uninhabited planet! The film is currently available for free on iTunes & Apple Music, featuring music by former Nine Inch Nails and now Apple Music Executive, Trent Reznor, as well as others. A journey 5 years in the making, we can’t wait to see what the Juno spacecraft tells us about the formation of our solar system! Read more about the short film and mission here!

When nature meets art, who would have thought the source would be glowworms?! Well, welcome to the limestone caves of the Waitomo area of New Zealand, home to a very special kind of glowworm.  These impressive little creatures emit a phosphorescent light that turns the nooks and crannies of the caves into incredibly impressive natural light shows. Thanks to photographer Shaun Jeffers, we can enjoy the beautiful “installations” without personally having to make the trek to the underworld of New Zealand (though who would complain about that task). The images range from having between 30 second to 6 minute exposures - requiring Jeffers to stand in cold water for over 6 hours a day to capture! Read here for more info and to check out the photos.

Though at first glance you could almost imagine you’re looking at a piece of modern art hanging in a gallery, these insanely nuanced and striking photos are actually part of a more scientific venture. The US Geological Survey has released the fourth collection from its “Earth as Art” project. The series is full of photos taken by the Landsat 8 satellite, a joint venture between the USGS and NASA. You’d be surprised to see the colorful, “out of this world” side to our very own planet. And it's all thanks to the satellite’s sensors that record infrared as well as visible wavelengths of light, showing Earth in a way we could never see it - as a total masterpiece. You can check out more images from the project on the USGS website.

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