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July 1, 2020

Blue Stag Selects: June

Rhi
Rhi
Oscar Ukonu - Ballpoint Pen Artwork

Welcome to Blue Stag Selects: June edition, where we serve up some of the most inspiring and interesting stories we have seen each month.

Celebrating and showcasing the innovative work that is shaping and influencing our culture today, June Selects include mindblowing ballpoint pen portraits, a 10 year timelapse of the sun and a new app to teach children the value of money.

NASA Decade of the Sun
NASA

A decade of the sun

Since June 2010, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has been collecting images non stop of the Sun. A decade on, it now has 425 million high-resolution images, amounting to 20 million gigabytes of data! With a triad of instruments, SDO captures an image of the Sun every 0.75 seconds. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument alone captures images every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths of light.

NASA has collated these images into a mesmerising hour-long timelapse, with each second of the video representing a single day. These photographs have enabled countless new discoveries about the star and the influence it has on the solar system.

As you watch the video, you notice the rise and fall in the activity that occurs as part of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and notable events, like transiting planets and eruptions. It is incredible.

The Gigantic Change - Extinction Rebellion
Extinction Rebellion

Passion Pictures team up with Whoopi Goldberg for an Extinction Rebellion video

To mark World Environment Day (5th June), Extinction Rebellion launched a video narrated by the legendary Whoopi Goldberg and created by Passion Pictures. The animated video is an emotive piece with a powerful message about the damage we are doing to the environment.

The animation is set in the year 2050, Whoopi Goldberg voices a grandma reading a bedtime story to her grandchild. The grandma picks up ‘The Big Change’, a story about our treatment of the earth today. The story paints a bleak picture of the disastrous ways humans were harming the earth in 2020. Closing the book midway through, she asks her grandchild to complete the story using her imagination. Here the animation switches from a gloomy outlook to a hopeful and bright future – with the message that all is not lost if people take action.

The animation was created by the same agency behind Greenpeace’s lovable Rang-tan animation. Passion Pictures is an animation production company established in 1987 and has studios in London, Melbourne, Paris, Toronto and New York City.

This video is a powerful message, beautifully illustrated and cleverly angled. By finishing the message with a hopeful and inspiring message, it avoids the feeling of making the viewer feel overwhelmed with a sense of impending doom. Instead, it inspires change and a feeling of optimism for the future… But only if we take heed and make changes to our life today. Find out more information about ‘The Gigantic Change’ campaign and what you can do to save the planet.

Oscar Ukonu - Ballpoint Pen Artwork
Oscar Ukonu

Amazing ballpoint pen hyperrealism

Oscar Ukonu, a self-taught Nigerian ball pen artist that makes portraits look so real using his ballpoint pen technique.

These are portraits using a medium that we are all very familiar with, the humble ballpoint pen. Oscar works approximately 200 to 400 hours on a decent sized piece – including time spent studying his reference materials to truly understand his subject and to connect with them. Through his artwork, he has found a medium to share voice on pertinent issues in society, a way that expresses more through art than words ever could.

His work is so detailed that it doesn’t seem possible that these hyper-realistic images are made with an everyday ballpoint pen. How he captures lighting, texture and depth in his work is truly awe-inspiring. They are simply breathtaking and you can’t help but feel inspired by Oscar’s talent.

It is easy to mistake his artwork on Instagram for a beautifully shot photograph until you read the caption. The detail with the water running over the contours of the face is incredible, how he captures the wet hair and eyebrows to the ribbons of water that flow from the chin to chest. You can see how much time and care has been put into each of his work and the effect of each piece is profound.

Nestlums - Blue Stag Selects June

Money training app for kids (and parents)

As our society becomes increasingly digital-based, so has our money. This is fantastic in so many ways, but it also brings challenges when teaching children the concept of money, because it is more abstract and invisible than ever before.

Nestlums is a new app which is looking to help parents teach children financial literacy in a fun and engaging way. The game has been invented by Cauldron and in collaboration with Glitchers, the creative arm of Thought Machine.

The app will help children grasp the concept of digital money in a safe environment before they own a smartphone or bank account. This is achieved with the help of little conscientious creatures called the Nestlums, who love to count pocket money, work toward savings goals and play numeracy games. There are no financial transactions within the game. It is purely a way for parents to keep tabs on the pocket money they give their child in real life and helps children have a deeper understanding of the value of money.

Apashe - Blue Stag Selects June
Apashe

Pushing musical boundaries by combining two opposing genres

Apashe is a 27-year-old electronic music producer from Brussels, now based in Montreal. He has just launched a new album called Renaissance, mixing epic orchestral music with heavy basslines and hip-hop.

The score was performed by a 69 piece orchestra in Prague and was then mixed with a heavy bassline and hip-hop elements to create something entirely unique and incredible. Even though this was a huge feat and so much work to get it right, the time and passion poured into the album really shines through. Apashe’s drive to push boundaries and create his vision is really inspiring.

It can be easy to look at what other people in your area of work are doing to gain inspiration, but sometimes the most inventive and inspired ideas come when you look further afield. This creative thinking not only applies to music but also any area of business or creativity, the management jargon term is called ‘lateral benchmarking’. Look to other industries or fields and you may find a gem of an idea, e.g. how Formula One changed the airline industry.

Climate Science, Risks & Solutions

All the evidence for human-caused climate change put into one beautiful website

This website has nailed the perfect balance between being beautiful and informative. Sticking solely to the facts around climate change, this website aims to prepare you for enlightened conversations with others about values, trade-offs, politics and actions. As the intro sentence says: “Climate Knowledge for Everyone”.

Climate change is the biggest problem facing humanity, but so many of us know so little about it. This website takes you on an interactive and educational journey through 4 sections (climate science, climate change, risks and solutions) and covering 11 chapters in total.

The author of this site is Dr. Kerry Emanuel. He is the Cecil and Ida Green professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been on the faculty since 1981. Professor Emanuel’s research interests focus on tropical meteorology and climate, with a speciality in hurricane physics.

“The goal of this site is to summarize the most important lines of evidence for human-caused climate change. It confronts the stickier questions about uncertainty in our projections, engages in a discussion of risk and risk management, and concludes by presenting different options for taking action”.

Thanks for reading Blue Stag Selects: May! If you’d like to catch up on last month’s here’s Blue Stag Selects: May. Check back next month for our next selection of inspiring and interesting stories from around the world.

Dan Sargent

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    There’s a rustle in the Welsh woods that has been whispered about for generations. They believe it to be Blue. They say it’s not sasquatch, but Stag. All that’s been spotted is the odd antler in the overgrowth or hoofprint on the forest floor.

    We’ve taken matters into our own hands and set up a series of cameras to try and locate Seb the Stag for ourselves. Brave visitor, can you help us in our quest to unravel the mystery and marvel at the myth?

    Launch forest cam
    Live
    Time
    18:34
    Date
    ..
    Camera
    Number 4
    Weather
    13°
    Location
    Craig-y-Nos Country Park
    51.8815° N, 3.4435° W