Film Review: Ancient Woods

Film Review: Ancient Woods

I saw this film at the recent New Zealand International Film Festival. The festival has grown and developed over the years and has become quite a magical event. I thoroughly recommend it if you are in Auckland. Ancient Woods is a Lithuanian production and it’s a magical foray into the flora and fauna living in…

Every Picture Tells a Story: Lucky's 18th Birthday

Lucky’s 18th Birthday

Lucky sadly left this planet in recent months. Here he is a year ago on his 18th birthday. I just love this look of absolute and unfettered delight at eating the ice-cream cake. He was a good boy. My parents got him when he was only a puppy from the animal shelter. He was sentenced…

Summer in Melbourne Part 1: Mushroom Reef Sanctuary, Flinders.

Secrets of the Mornington Peninsula: Mushroom Reef Sanctuary, Flinders.

Following on from my previous post about Tyabb Packing Centre, here is another little known wonder from the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne where I return to whenever I get the chance.  The Mushroom Reef Sanctuary is home to a gigantic mushroom shaped basalt reef near Flinders in Westernport Bay. Located 86 km from central Melbourne,…

The Jigsaw Puzzle of Pangea: What It Tells Us About Our Fragile Human Lives

The Jigsaw Puzzle of Pangea: What It Tells Us About Our Fragile Human Lives

Around 200 million years ago the world's landmass was contained in one giant supercontinent called Pangea surrounded by a mega ocean. I know that this isn't news but I still find it startling and incredible nonetheless. In the graphic below you can see the composition of Pangea but with the modern countries boundaries superimposed on…

Six Quirky Facts About Red Pandas

Six Quirky Facts About Red Pandas

Red pandas are sweet looking, unobtrusive and stunning mammals that live in the mountainous forests in the Himalayas. With their lustrous and vibrant reddish brown fur and round sweet faces; they have the vague appearance of a fox rather than a Giant Panda. Here's more about a mysterious animal that my boyfriend and I fell…

The Viking Imagination: Medieval Cartography of Scandinavia http://wp.me/p41CQf-Iuf

The Viking Imagination: Medieval Cartography of Scandinavia

Just because I love cartography, here's a couple of remarkable Scandanavian medieval maps. Note the dominance of several kraken and sea monsters off the Norwegian coast and how each country is barely hanging on by a thread because of these menacing beasts. Here be magic, Vikings and mysterious beasts. Velleius Islandia by Abraham Ortellius (1603)…

Welcome to a strange and forgotten alien world: Socotra

Welcome to a strange and forgotten alien world: Socotra

Looking like a cross between a surreal computer game and an alien planet, Socotra is a relatively unexplored and remote island off the coast of Arabian Peninsula. It's a sparkling diamond of natural diversity and rugged wildness, with over 700 endemic species of flora and fauna. Only a small number of countries have more endemic…

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal From Berlin

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal Of Berlin Zoo

Roland was a goliath 4,000 pound sea elephant (A.K.A an Elephant Seal Mirunga patagonica. He lived in Berlin Zoo from the late 1920's until his death during the second world war. Here he is getting a snow bath from his handler at the Berlin Zoo (date unknown) In this film you can see his large…

A placid and beautiful Highland Cow, found roaming on the Isle of Skye. Copyright Content Catnip 2010.

Travel: A History of the Beautiful Highland Cow

Highland Cows or as they are commonly known in Scotland Highland Coos are an ancient breed known to have grazed the rugged Scottish landscape since the sixth century. Their genetic origins are still up for debate. They may be native to Scotland or introduced by the Vikings to Great Britain. One scientific train of thought…

Kea - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

Maori tribes have long held beliefs and customs about the native birds of Aotearoa New Zealand. Birds or Nga Manu had a vital place in Maori tribal life as they provided food, beautiful feathers for adornment and their strengths and personalities were a rich source of metaphor and poetry. Their behaviour was use to predict…

Tui - Birds, Mana and Maori Culture

The ultimate guide to collective nouns for New Zealand birds

This post is for all of the New Zealand and global bird-lovers out there. New Zealand has some wonderful and incredibly intelligent birds that also tend to have rambuctious, mischievous and cheeky personalities. Check out this video of a kea being, well... a kea if you don't believe me... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxoCuRuHlt8 Here are some little known…

Exquisite Marine Invertebrates of the 19th Century http://wp.me/p41CQf-rWG

Exquisite Marine Invertebrates of the 19th Century

In this blog in previous years, I've talked about how humans and cephalopods are oddly similar, explored the underwater realm of Sydney Harbour in great detail, and the invisible realm of microscopic creatures rendered by Ernest Haeckel. But in terms of delicate creatures, the Blaschkas were the 19th Century heavy-weights. I originally posted this post…

Featured Artist: Jen Muir's Photorealistic Pet Portraits   

Featured Artist: Jen Muir’s Photorealistic Pet Portraits   

Jen Muir is an illustrator currently residing in Scotland where she crafts intricate, sublime and whimsical watercolours and pencil drawings. Although she’s always loved making art, Jen begun working as an artist when she took a year off University to do a visual communications course. “I usually use watercolour and graphite for making things, but…

The Private Lives of Animals circa 1842

The Private Lives of Animals circa 1842

This collection of funny and witty animal fables was originally published in 1842 in French as Scènes de la vie privée et publique des animaux. The authors of these fables are a who's who of literature in the mid 19th-century including Honoré de Balzac, George Sand. Also The Private Lives of Animals boasts some fine,…

How animals would look in Minecraft

How animals would look in Minecraft

One clever coconut named Aditya has taken images from Unsplash and pixabay and created blocky, cube-shaped animals in novel art form known as Anicube. She created the images in Photoshop using the Liquify (Shift+Command+X) keys and then uploaded them to instagram. The comical and surreal results won her a lot of fans. See more of her…

<3 The Internet: Fuglefjellet a remote island in Norway in 3D

In this unique and captivating 3D immersive storytelling tool, you can learn about the lives and habitat of birds living on the remote island of Fuglefjellet off the coast of Norway. Initially in Norwegian, the app has thankfully for us been translated into English. It's a scroll through wet-dream of beautiful animation. I couldn't think…

Amazing Human-Crustacean Architectural Collaborations

Amazing Human-Crustacean Architectural Collaborations

If you thought that the Auckland or NYC property market was hot right now, spare a thought for the tiny and unpredictable housing market of the hermit crab. They have a complex and sometimes cooperative and sometimes aggressive strategies for occupying shells aka homes for their fragile little bodies. Some of these strategies involve hostile…

<3 The Internet: Dolphin Voices in the Sea

Dolphin Voices in the Sea is one for all the lovers of marine life. This lovely web based app is a bit dated but still delivers the goods with intriguing tidbits on different species of dolphins and spectograms of dolphins communicating with each other in the wild. The website features videos and scientists talking about their research efforts and…

Churches, Weeds, Wildflowers and Wonder

Asmrion the online generator of positive feelings

Asmrion is an elegant and beautiful ambient sound simulator that's best enjoyed with headphones. It's completely interactive and has a very natural, organic and soothing user experience with subtle buttons to shift up and down volume. It's possible to attune yourself with these app tools to varying states of consciousness, all pleasant, reassuring and relaxing…

<3 The Internet: eSkeletons of primates, monkeys and homo sapiens

eSkeletons is an ingenious online resource that compares the skeletons of primates and including the most notorious of the bipeds homo sapiens. Created by the Department of Anthropology at the Univrsity of Texas in Austin, eSkeletons provides an interactive environment where visitors can examine skeletal anatomy through an osteology database. It's a very engaging and…