Monthly Archives: August 2012

Lego Celebrates 80th Birthday with Animated Short Film

 

17-minute story traces company’s history By David Kiefaber.

 

Lego turns 80 this year. To celebrate, the company released this really neat cartoon short about its humble origins (key words are “fire” and “low sales”) and how it revolutionized the toy industry by offering kids a “system of play” instead of readymade toys with few, if any, customization options. It’s weird to hear Lego talk about this now, when half of its output consists of assembly kits for branded properties (Batman, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.) with tons of specialized parts. It’s also weird that, according to the film, company founder Ole Christiansen didn’t start visibly aging until his 60th birthday. But that stuff can’t diminish how charmed I was by the animation and voice acting and the “fail, try harder, succeed” message communicated here. They should make another short film in five or 10 years about the sadistic person who made Lego bricks razor sharp, because he obviously never stepped on one.

Amazing! Lego and Legoland was a massive part of my childhood. When I have children, I cannot wait to take them to Legoland – it was always such a magical and fun experience for me. I wasn’t aware of the Lego story, but watching this is very inspiring.

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The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is true for these insects as stunning pictures show their abdomens changing colour as they sip on sugar drops.

Father of three Mohamed Babu set up the photographs after his wife, Shameem, showed him some ants had turned white after drinking spilt milk.

He gave the creatures the brightly coloured sugar drops and watched as their transparent stomachs matched the food they were eating.

 A good palette: Some of the ants even wandered from one colour to another, creating new combinations in their stomachsA good palette: Some of the ants even wandered from one colour to another, creating new combinations in their stomachs

Some of the ants even wandered from one colour to another, creating new combinations in their bodies.

Scientist Dr Babu, mixed the sugar drops with edible colours red, green, blue and yellow and placed them in his garden to attract the insects.

By placing them on a paraffin base the drops kept their shape when touched by the ants.

The 53-year-old discovered the ants preferred lighter colours such as yellow and green.

He said: ‘The idea for the photograph came to me after my wife showed me some ants that turned white sipping the spilled milk drops on our kitchen counter.

‘I shot the photo in my garden to take advantage of the natural lighting and set a paraffin sheet with coloured sugar drops near some ants.

‘Even though I could get enough of a crowd within a few minutes, it required several retakes to have a shot up to my satisfaction.’

Ring of colour: An ant's transparent abdomen shows the colour of the food they have eatenRing of colour: An ant’s transparent abdomen shows the colour of the food they have eaten

Dr Babu, from Mysore, in South India said:  ‘As the ant’s abdomen is semi-transparent, the ants gain the colours as they sip the liquid.

‘The secret is the paraffin base, which prevents the drops collapsing when the ants touch them.

‘I really toiled to get a photo. The crowd always used to become unmanageable within a few minutes and while I managed my camera with my right hand, my left hand was busy removing the extra ants.

‘Once I lost the chance, I could only repeat it the next day.’ he explained.

‘Curiously, the ants preferred light colours, yellow and green.

‘The darker green and blue drops had no takers, till there was no space around the preferred yellow and green drops.

‘So I put larger drops of yellow and green, and smaller red and blue, to get maximum saturation around all the colours.’

Eating their greens: The ants seemed to prefer lighter colours such as greens and yellow to darker bluesEating their greens: The ants seemed to prefer lighter colours such as greens and yellow to darker blues

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