Earth-Size Tornadoes On The Sun

What a sight to behold. Earlier this month, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) beamed back stunning images of the sun’s plasma moving violently around the star’s magnetic field for 30 some hours, creating a tornado as large as the Earth itself, with gusts reaching up to 300,000 miles per hour. That’s according to Terry Kucera, a solar physicist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. NPR has more on the makings of solar storms. Find more awe-inspiring footage in our collection of 125 Great Science Videos.

36 Free Oscar Winning Films Available on the Web

LOS ANGELES - JAN 16:  Oscars at the 86th Academy Awards Nominat

How about some hors d’oeuvres meant to accompany the main course, the 2014 Academy Awards? We scouted around the web and found 36 Oscar-winning (or nominated) films from previous years. The list includes many short films, but also some long ones, like Sergei Bondarchuk’s epic version of War & Peace. Sit back, enjoy, and let us know if we’re missing any other Oscar winners…

Find more films in our collection of 700 Free Movies Online.

  • A Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass Double Feature – Free – A precursor to modern music videos, this Oscar-winning animated film by John & Faith Hubley is set to the music of two popular songs recorded by Herb Alpert. (1966)
  • A Story of Healing – Free – Won Academy Award for best Documentary Short Subject. Follows a team of volunteers in Vietnam. (1997)
  • Churchill’s Island – Free – WWII propaganda film chronicling the defense of Great Britain. Won the very first Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject. (1941)
  • Der Fuehrer’s Face – Free – Disney’s anti-Nazi propaganda movie featuring Donald Duck. Won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. (1942)
  • Every Child – Free – Eugene Fedorenko’s animated short about an unwanted baby cared for by a homeless men. Won 1979 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.
  • Father and Daughter Free – Michaël Dudok De Wit’s heartbreaking short won the 2000 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. (2000)
  • Flamenco at 5:15 – Free – Oscar-winning short film about a flamenco dance class given to senior students. (1983)
  • Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life – Free – Directed by Peter Capaldi, the Oscar-winning short film shows Kafka, on Christmas Eve, struggling to come up with the opening line for his most famous work, The Metamorphosis. (1993)
  • Glass Free – Directed by Bert Haanstra, this short documentary about the glass industry won the Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject in 1959. (1958)
  • Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty– Free – 6 minute animated black comedy. Shortlisted for the 2010 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. (2008)
  • Logorama – Free – François Alaux and Herve de Crecy’s 17 minute film, Logorama, won the Oscar for Short Film (Animated) in 2009.
  • If You Love This Planet – Free – Oscar-winning short film on the need for nuclear disarmament. (1982)
  • I’ll Find a Way – Free – Oscar-winning documentary presents Nadia, a 9-year-old girl with spina bifida. (1977)
  • Is It Right to Be Always Right? – Free – Narrated by Orson Welles, this Oscar-winning film directed by Lee Mishkin is a parable that comments on divisions in the United States. (1970)
  • J’attendrai le suivant – Free – A French film nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Short Film in 2002.
  • Madame Tutli-Putli Free – Oscar-nominated animated short film by Montreal filmmakers Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski. (2010)
  • Neighbors – Free – Norman McLaren animates live actors with techniques normally used to put drawings/puppets into motion. Oscar winner. (1952)
  • Ryan – Free – Oscar-winning animated short from Chris Landreth based on the life of Ryan Larkin, the influential Canadian animator. (2004)
  • Special Delivery – Free – Hilarious story won 1978 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.
  • Superman – Free – Max Fleischer’s short animated movie. Nominated for the 1942 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. (1941)
  • The CathedralFree – “The Cathedral” is the title of a sci fi short story by Jacek Dukaj. It was turned into a short animated movie by Tomasz Bagiński and nominated in 2002 for the Academy Award for Animated Short Film. (2002)
  • The Critic Free – Mel Brooks 1963 animation features an old Yiddish watching abstract animations. Hilarious film won Oscar. (1963)
  • The Danish PoetFree – Animated short film written, directed, and animated by Torill Kove and narrated by Liv Ullmann, won the Academy Award in 2006.
  • The Dot and the Line Free – Chuck Jones’ animated film celebrates geometry and hard work. (1965)
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – Free – Oscar-winning film by Moonbot Studios pays homage to a bygone era when elegantly printed books inhabited our world. (2011)
  • The Hole – Free – A 15-minute animated film by John Hubley and Faith Hubley that won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1962. Features the voice of Dizzy Gillespie. (1962)
  • The Last Farm – Free – Short Icelandic film nominated for Oscar in 2006.
  • The Lunch Date – Free – Adam Davidson’s commentary on race in America. The short film won an Oscar and a prize at Cannes. (1989)
  • The Man with the The Golden Arm Free — Directed by Otto Preminger. Starring Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. Nominated for three Academy Awards. (1955)
  • The Old Man and the Sea – Free – Aleksandr Petrov won the Academy Award for Short Film for this film that follows the plot of Ernest Hemingway’s classic 1952 novella. Made of 29,000 images painted on glass. (1999)
  • The Red Balloon – Free – A short fantasy film directed by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse. Won Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and a Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956.
  • The Sand Castle – Free – Short animated film about the sandman and the creatures he sculpts out of sand. 1977 Oscar-winner for Best Animated Short Film.
  • Tin Toy – Free – John Lasseter created this Oscar-winning short film in 1988 at Pixar. It was the beginning of the company’s transition into being a premier animation studio.
  • Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom – Free – Disney’s music education film. First cartoon released in widescreen CinemaScope. Won 1954 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). (1953)
  • Walking – Free – Oscar-nominated animated short film by Ryan Larkin. (1969)
  • War & Peace – Free – Soviet director Sergei Bondarchuk turns Tolstoy’s great novel into what Roger Ebert calls “the definitive epic of all time.” Won Academy Award – Best Foreign Language Film in 1969. (1965-1967)
  • Why Man Creates Free – Saul Bass’ Oscar-winning animation on the nature of creativity. (1963)

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore: Film for Book Lovers Wins Oscar

Remember The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore? The short film we featured a month ago? Well, it won an Oscar tonight for best animated short film, and we’re bringing it back for one more showing, plus adding it to our list of Oscar films available online.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore offers a modern tribute to an old world. Made with an animation style that blends stop motion with computer animation and traditional hand-drawing, the silent film pays homage to a bygone era when elegantly printed books inhabited our world. The 15-minute short is the first made by Moonbot Studios, a fledgling animation shop in Shreveport, Louisiana. For their efforts, Moonbot’s founders (William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg and Lampton Enochs) received an Oscar-nomination this week (Best Animated Short), putting them in competition with two other films featured on Open Culture: Sunday and Wild Life.

We recommend watching The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore on YouTube, or downloading it for free in HD from iTunes. iPad owners will also want to consider buying the related app ($4.99) that turns the film into an interactive narrative experience.

For more animated bibliophilia, don’t miss:

Spike Jonze Presents a Stop Motion Film for Bibliophiles

Books Savored in Stop Motion Film

Going West: A Stop Motion Novel

Books Come to Life in Classic Cartoons from 1930s and 1940s

Dhani Harrison Presents The George Harrison Guitar App for the iPad

About a month back, we featured George Harrison’s long lost guitar solo on “Here Comes the Sun,” and you went gaga for it. Little did we know that George Harrison’s son, Dhani, was just about ready to unveil a new iPad app called The Guitar Collection: George Harrison. It runs $9.99, and it’s only available on the iPad, which hardly makes it an instance of Open Culture. But we love The Beatles around here, and the app does something fairly special. It gives you a high-tech introduction to seven George Harrison guitars, using 360° images, sound files, videos, and lots of text and factoids. The video above offers a quick tour of the app. In the video below, Dhani Harrison explains how the the app came together on the Conan O’Brien Show. Thanks for the heads up Liz.

Jim Henson Pilots The Muppet Show with Adult Episode, “Sex and Violence” (1975)

In the early 1970s, Jim Henson was worried that the Muppets were becoming typecast as children’s entertainment. So in December of 1974 he produced a pilot episode for The Muppet Show and gave it a name that was about as far away from Sesame Street as you could get: “Sex and Violence.”

The half-hour pilot was first broadcast on ABC in March of 1975. It’s a fast-moving series of vignettes, featuring a motley cast of characters–many of whom would become familiar in later years–appearing and reappearing throughout. Sam the Eagle, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, The Swedish Chef, Statler and Waldorf, and a wrestler named The San Francisco Earthquake all make an appearance. At one point, Kermit the Frog propositions a female with the line, “I might be able to get you a job on an educational show for kids.” The story, to the extent there is one, centers around preparations for a “Seven Deadly Sins Pageant.” Alas, the pageant never quite gets off the ground. As Sam the Eagle sagely asks: “Do we really want to get into a ‘deadly sins’ situation?”

You can watch “Sex and Violence” above, or in three parts here: one, two and three.

H/T Metafilter

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

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Related Content:

Puppet Making with Jim Henson: A Primer

Jim Henson’s Zany 1963 Robot Film Uncovered by AT&T: Watch Online

Inspirations: A Short Film Celebrating the Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher

Almost two years ago, Spanish filmmaker Cristóbal Vila shot an exquisite little film, Nature by Numbers, which captured the ways in which mathematical concepts (Fibonacci Sequence, Golden Number, etc.) reveal themselves in nature. And the short then clocked a good 2.1 million views on YouTube alone.

This week, Vila returns with a new film called Inspirations. In this case, the inspiration is M.C. Escher (1898-1972), the Dutch artist who explored a wide range of mathematical ideas with his woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. Although Escher had no formal training in mathematics beyond secondary school, many mathematicians counted themselves as admirers of his work. (Visit this online gallery to get better acquainted with Escher’s art, and be sure to click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images). As Vila explains, Inspirations tries to imagine Escher’s workplace, “what things would surround an artist like him, so deeply interested in science in general and mathematics in particular.” It’s a three minutes of unbridled imagination.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

“The Periodic Table Table” — All The Elements in Hand-Carved Wood

In 2011, Theo Gray (co-founder of Wolfram ResearchPopular Science columnist, and element collector) won the ACS Grady Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public. And here you can see why. In this clip, Gray introduces you to his DIY masterpiece – the world’s first “periodic table table.” Yes, we’re talking about a hand-carved wooden table that brings to life the Periodic Table, and lets you play with the elements. The project began back in 2002, and now, a decade later, Gray puts it on display in a video produced by the American Chemical Society.  H/T BoingBoing

Related Content:

Chemistry on YouTube: “Periodic Table of Videos” Wins SPORE Prize

Jefferson Airplane Plays on a New York Rooftop; Jean-Luc Godard Captures It (1968)

Just when you think you’ve seen everything Jean-Luc Godard has ever shot, something like this surfaces. If you’re only now considering tucking into the feast that is Godard’s filmography, don’t let his abundance of uncollected odds, ends, clips, and shorts intimidate you. Not only do they promise a little thrill down the road when you’ve already digested his major works, but they offer quick bursts at any time of the revolutionary cinematic zest with which the filmmaker took on the world. With the man alive and working, I should perhaps say “the revolutionary cinematic zest with which the filmmaker takes on the world,” but that gets into one of the most fascinating conversations that swirls around him: has Godard still got it?

Some say yes, that his latest picture Film Socialisme presents the logical continuation of all Godard has ever represented; some say no, that the Godard to watch remains the scrappy star of the 1960s’ French New Wave. In his study Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard, New Yorker film blogger Richard Brody somehow makes both claims.




In the chapter “Revolution (1968-1972)” he describes Godard’s improvised method of shooting a 1968 Jefferson Airplane concert:

He took over from the specialists and operated the camera from the window of Leacock-Pennebaker‘s office on West Forty-fifth street, shooting the band on the roof of the Schuyler Hotel across the street. (Pennebaker recalled him to be an amateurish cameraman who could not avoid the beginner’s pitfall of frequent zooming in and out.) The performance took place without a permit, at standard rock volume: as singer Grace Slick later wrote, “We did it, deciding that the cost of getting out of jail would be less than hiring a publicist…”

Amateurish or not, a piece of the footage has surfaced on YouTube. Listen to the Airplane perform “The House at Pooneil Corners,” watch Godard’s dramatic swings of focus and zoom as he attempts to convey the spectacle of the band and the spectacle of countless surprised Manhattanites at once, and think for yourself about this peculiar intersection of two bold lines in the era’s alternative zeitgeist. As Jefferson Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner said in a 1986 interview, “Just for a while there, maybe for about 25 minutes in 1967, everything was perfect.” But these seven minutes in November 1968, from opening shouts to inevitable arrest, don’t seem so dull themselves.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

Related Content:

Listen to Grace Slick’s Hair-Raising Vocals in the Isolated Track for “White Rabbit” (1967)

A Young Jean-Luc Godard Picks the 10 BestAmerican Films Ever Made (1963)

How Jean-Luc Godard Liberated Cinema: A Video Essay on How the Greatest Rule-Breaker in Film Made His Name

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.