Birth of a bee

1 minute

Madagascar: a treasured island

5 minutes

Neurosymphony

2 minutes

Hunting for Hockney

3 minutes

Hurricane Katrina, frame by frame

6 minutes

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From egg to the air: 21 days of bee development condensed into one mesmerising minute

After just three weeks of development, worker bees emerge from their brood cells fully formed, flying out to begin supporting their hive. In a stunning high-definition time-lapse video, the US photographer Anand Varma follows the bee’s stages of development from egg to larvae to pupa to worker bee, with a sprightly score to match the insects’ rather startling journey into being.

Director: Anand Varma

Music: Rob Moose

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What economics look like in resource-rich yet poverty-stricken Madagascar

A large island nation off the eastern coast of Africa, Madagascar is at once resource rich, highly biodiverse and poverty stricken. It has more endemic species than the whole of Africa, but according to USAID, it is also ‘the poorest non-conflict country on Earth, with 92 per cent of people living on less than $2/day’. In 2009, an uprising and subsequent military coup left the country in a state of disarray and largely isolated from the international community. While elections in 2013 relieved some political tensions, the country’s society and economy are still scarred by years of upheaval, with smuggling operations and other illicit trades operating largely unchecked. This innovative short made in 2013 by the UK filmmaker Toby Smith uses motion-tracking graphics to explore the legal and illegal corners of Madagascar’s economy, reflecting the entanglements between development and conservation, exploitation and luxury.

Via Labocine

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See and hear the human brain as you’ve never experienced it before

The Laboratory for NeuroImaging of Coma and Consciousness (NICC) at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston studies the process of recovering consciousness after traumatic brain injuries. Using more than 100 hours of MRI scans of a human brain unaffected by neurological disease or traumatic brain injuries, a team at the NICC compiled the highest-resolution rendering of a full human brain on record, detecting objects smaller than 0.1 millimetres. Neurosymphony, exclusive to Aeon, explores three distinct perspectives on the brain, using videos of the scans made freely available by the NICC. The video pairs the imagery with an excerpt from the album Chapel by the US electronic musician and music-cognition researcher Grace Leslie, in which she converts her brainwaves into music. Beyond providing an unprecedented glimpse into the intricacies of the human brain, the NICC team hopes that these images will assist other researchers in identifying abnormalities associated with complex brain conditions such as coma and depression.

Via Kottke

Editor: Adam D’Arpino

Composer: Grace Leslie

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A dreamy animated tale of grief, friendship and a road trip to David Hockney’s house

‘You were too young to lose your mum. And we were too young to be organising a funeral.’

When her friend’s mother died, the UK filmmaker Alice Dunseath and her friend set out on an unplanned road trip through Yorkshire, mostly because they didn’t know what else to do. The only destination they gave themselves was the house of the artist David Hockney, supposedly somewhere in the town of Bridlington. Dunseath’s brief animation echoes some of Hockney’s signature stylistic flourishes, including dreamlike landscapes and saturated colours, but her narration offers an arresting counterpoint to the images – a simple, aching account of how grief can both heighten and numb the senses, render words meaningful and meaningless, and make goals simultaneously important and absurd.

Video by Alice Dunseath

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Who is ‘looting’ and who is ‘finding food’? How image gatekeepers shape the news

In August 2005, Alysia Burton Steele was just two months into her job as a photo editor on The Dallas Morning News when she decided to dispatch the photographer Irwin Thompson to New Orleans to document the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Her newspaper’s bold journalistic work went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2006. In this short interview, Burton Steele describes how her team approached their coverage of the storm and its aftermath, and discusses the telling disparity between how news outlets presented African Americans and white people affected by the tragedy. This video is part of Topic’s Frame by Frame series, in which ‘celebrated photojournalists explore images of the people and events that helped shape the American experience, and discuss how working with photographs impacts them personally’.

Director: Yvonne Michelle Shirley

Producer: Jennie Bedusa

Website: Topic

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From egg to the air: 21 days of bee development condensed into one mesmerising minute

After just three weeks of development, worker bees emerge from their brood cells fully formed, flying out to begin supporting their hive. In a stunning high-definition time-lapse video, the US photographer Anand Varma follows the bee’s stages of development from egg to larvae to pupa to worker bee, with a sprightly score to match the insects’ rather startling journey into being.

Director: Anand Varma

Music: Rob Moose

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Essay/
Nature and landscape
Rooted

What if, rather than mere props in the background of our lives, trees embody the history of all life on Earth?

Dalia Nassar & Margaret M Barbour

Essay/
Stories and literature
Orphans and their quests

The sympathetic plot is a type of story, rich in tropes, that is universal to human cultures. With one big twist…

Manvir Singh