lf you’ve read, “When A Man Poured Molten Metal Into An Abandoned Ant Nest, What He Dug Up Showed Something Magical,” you’ve been introduced to the world of anthill art. The mysterious art and architecture of anthills proved immensely popular on YouTube. It wasn’t always that way. For years, the owner of AnthillArt.com posted videos of his creative process without fervor. That changed in 2003 and now, the overwhelmed artist cannot supply enough pieces to meet demand – a happy situation for any artist.
Anthill Art creates most of its pieces using deserted hills. Yes, even ant colonies decide to go from starter home to luxury home sometimes. In the case of the 2003 YouTube video that went viral, he used a live colony of dangerous ants, red imported fire ants (RIFA), which harm the environment and cause painful bites to humans. According to Wikipedia, exterminators eradicate RIFA nests “by the millions” in the United States using boiling water, gasoline fed fires, molten aluminum and poisons. That didn’t dissuade animal activists from attacking the artist in his comment section. Between art lovers’ awe and animal lovers’ angst, the video, “Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum (Cast #043),” went super viral with more than 94 million views.
Anthill Art uses a simple process to create its intricate works. The artist measures the mound. Using a bucket with a directed pour hole, he pours molten aluminum into the nest’s entry. As the sparkly stream enters the nest, it fills the many tunnels and chambers within it. Once the liquid tops the entry hole, the molten aluminum has done its job, filling every crevice. As it hardens, the aluminum moans and seemingly cries. Steam pours forth. Finally, the mound heaves and silences.The process occurs the same regardless of the video viewed.
The artist waits while the nest cools. Using a trowel he knocks away the top layer of dirt, then each side wall, one by one. His finished metal sculpture still needs a good cleaning. He lifts it for a once over inspection. Determining its readiness for the next step, he power washes the sculpture to shiny perfection revealing an intricate work of art.
The hardened aluminum has formed an exact replica of the ornate inner workings of the ant colony. Its massive architecture represented in each outcrop and stem.
The simple process has created numerous in demand works. Some he sells on eBay. Others he offers through Facebook. You can view his artwork on display in museums. Still others he provides to educational and research facilities. The process forms a metal mold that is an exact replica of its complex structure. It makes both an aesthetic and educational piece. The sculpture made in the super viral video measures 18 inches in height and weighs 18 pounds.
Although he mostly uses deserted mounds, the RIFAs inside this one caused a ruckus. Animal lovers attacked him.
“This video and art made me first sick to my stomach and then made me so angry,” said one viewer. “How can you call yourself an artist? Is murder an art?”
Another chimed in on his Facebook page stating, “This isn’t right. Killing thousands of living creatures in the name of art. I’m not a PETA supporter but this is just inhumane.”
The artist defended his choice of RIFA mound though, pointing out that many authorities exterminate the mounds for their environmental dangers and danger to humans. A survey of his property turned up another 200 mounds, so he felt the populace of ants safe.
“I try to find abandoned nests but it doesn’t always work out. Either way, I do it sparingly and the property is still overrun with them,” he told Metro in a 2013 article.
Paul Hetherington of Buglife, an insect conservation organization said he approves of the art form, but not the killing of ants.
In the same Metro article he said, “If the nest is empty, we would support this casting as it raises awareness to the fantastic architectural prowess of ants. However, if the ants are still present it is an extremely cruel way to kill them, of which we disapprove as they are effectively boiled alive.”
The Artist Online
You can visit Anthill Art online at:
Anthill Art actualy creates other casts and molds of nature. A visit to the website shows breathtaking sculptures of mushrooms, seashells, and fish skulls. His sculptures proved so popular that the artist has a waiting list of more than 300 buyers. In the meantime, a few museums exhibit the works.
– Children’s Museum at La Habra in La Habra, CA from
March 29, 2016 to August 21, 2016
– Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France from March 24, 2016 to May 16, 2016
– Biennale Internationale Design 2015 in Saint-Étienne, France from March 12, 2015 to April 12, 2015
Anthill Art no longer adds to the potential buyers list, but does encourage fan contact. He communicates with fans through his Facebook page and Facebook Messenger. He can’t keep up with demand. It is a matter of limited supply. The artist tries to use empty nests, meaning he must wait for ants to relocate. He rarely uses occupied nests, such as the RIFA nest that caused the viral video. He does offer a bit of encouragement for interested buyers. It turns out only one of every few on the waiting list is a serious buyer. When he does create a new sculpture, he works through a few more names. In a few years, at this rate, he’ll be ready to start a new list. For now, he provides new videos and photographs on his social media that lets the public enjoy his work.
Dr. Oz: “I’m Very Concerned About the Corona Virus, Here’s Why”
While coronaviruses have been known to medical science since the 1960s, few have been anywhere near as dangerous as this new one from the market in Wuhan China.
A coronavirus is typified by its protective shell which resembles a crown or a halo under a microscope. That is where it gets its name. The average coronavirus does little more than cause the symptoms of the common cold, sniffles, cough, flu-like symptoms and so on. Part of the reason that these viruses are so hard to prevent from causing millions of colds each year is their protective shell. They can remain on a surface for hours, sometimes days, before they begin to lose structural integrity. But few trigger symptoms as severe as this one known as 2019-nCoV.
Dr. Oz had this to say about what has become known as the Wuhan Coronavirus, “It’s alarming, this is the big news today, the Chinese leadership is starting to say ‘this incubation period is a lot longer than we thought.’”
If this report is true, it means that many, many more people may be infected than have been reported- or even anticipated. It means that people could be walking around, infected, and not even know it- not taking precautions and spreading the virus everywhere they go. That means anyone who has recently returned from the area around the Wuhan market, where the outbreak started, could be carrying the disease.
At the time of this writing, the total enumerated infection count is over 1,800. The total deaths are approaching 200. Other researchers are suggesting that this virus has a rapid mutation rate. That is particularly terrifying because it is what made the HIV-AIDS virus so difficult to treat.
At present, the World Health Organization had laid down a series of suggestions to help people avoid infection.
They advise that anyone who may come into contact with the virus should:
- Wash their hands frequently
- Maintain good sanitation on and around all frequently used objects and surfaces
- Avoid centers of mass travel such as airports
- Sneeze and cough into the elbow or a tissue
- Take immunity-boosting supplements like vitamin C
The source of the infection is believed to have come from a specific market in Wuhan, where live animals were kept in stalls for sale and trade. Researchers believe the virus came from either a snake or a bat. The initial cases of illness were reported in December 2019 by employees of the Wuhan market. That market is now shut down for the foreseeable future.
As health officials struggle to understand the virus and contain its progress, other researchers are asking even more startling questions. The shell of this virus is similar to the shell of a virus created in a university research lab in 2015 at the University of North Carolina. What’s more, there is a known military biological weapons lab in Wuhan China.
If these reports are true, it could have serious implications, not only for global health- but for relations between the US and China.
Big Brother Contestants Make How Much on the Show?!?
Big Brother has been a wildly popular, dramatic reality TV game show since 2000. Audiences are captivated by the twists, the turns, the strange alliances, and the betrayals. The show is based on a Dutch program with the same premise which also became wildly popular in Spain and Germany before the reboot came to America.
As the US version grew in popularity, the producers eventually made it possible for fans to watch the contestants on a non-live streaming video feed available 24 hours a day seven days a week. Yes, the contestants on Big Brother are now on display to be viewed by anyone in the world at every waking moment. How they avoid getting caught in their all-togethers or during toilet breaks, we don’t know. Maybe they have certain camera-safe areas to which they can retreat.
Later on, the house the Big Brother contestants live in was stripped of all communication devices- depriving them of contact with the outside world. That is- except for the live feeds the public has unfettered access to. So, if one of them was being held hostage, we suppose they could let us know.
So the question came up of, how much do the contestants really earn? By playing the game they have the chance to make friends, or enemies, become Internet sensations, and to win half a million dollars. But, given everything they have to put up with; being ripped out of their lives, possibly losing jobs, experiencing the anguish of betrayal- all while being on public display- do they get anything else?
According to a report by Reality Blurred, a site that follows the happenings of reality TV stars, programs, and related matters- the contestants “[…] receive $750 per week that they’re in the house.”
Any pay they receive while in the jury house is harder to account for since nothing about it appears on the contract. However, it is believed that contestants receive consolation prizes during their time out of the main house. It also seems reasonable that the consolation prizes received in the jury house should be worth at least $500 since keeping them away from other gainful employment for less than that would be near to slavery. (We’re looking at you, jury duty.)
However, while the big prize on Big Brother is a cool half-million on top of what the contestants earn as their weekly salary, in reality- they have much more to gain in Internet stardom.
Many former Big Brother players have gone on to lucrative careers as influencers on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media sites. While any gains from that are unlikely to be as exhilarating as half a million in fast cash- the best of them certainly earn more than that over the long term.
So, it would appear that our curiosity MacGuffins on Big Brother are at least doing as well as someone earning minimum wage- while essentially fooling around Truman Show style.
Single Mom Irina Shayk, Happy Single
Those in the public spotlight seem to be an open book. Their every move seems to is covered by gossip sites. Their whereabouts are nearly always and it seems as if we are updated on who’s dating who and what luxurious vacation they are on.
That’s why it is surprising that Irina Shayk and Bradley Cooper kept their relationship under wraps for so long, dating all the way back to 2015. The couple was first spotted together after the actor and model were first seen in 2015. Cooper split from Suki Waterhouse and Shayk ended her five-year relationship with soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.
The couple was first seen together at a Broadway show, then shortly thereafter, the White House Correspondents’ dinner. Things seemed to move quickly from there. Within months the couple moved in together, soon they announced they were expecting.
Work Gets in the Way:
Irina, who has been quiet about her relationship and breakup with Bradley Cooper, recently spoke up about their relationship.
The couple ended their relationship in 2019, on the heels of the release of the stars’ remake of a Star is Born. The on-screen chemistry between Bradley Cooper and his co-star, Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, sent tongues wagging. Rumors were raging that the two co-stars were in a relationship based on their pationate adaption of the film.
Irina set the record straight in some recent interviews about the end of their relationship. According to Shayk, the couple hadn’t been getting along for quite some time. After the baby was born, Shayk was hoping that Cooper would put their family first and slow down his busy working schedule. She was secretly hoping that after A Star is Born was released and the promotional tour was over, he would spend more time at home. That was not the case.
Irina, 33, was ready to settle into family life. This included getting married and more children. But the marriage never happened, and Cooper’s work schedule was as busy as ever.
Irina felt that her expectations weren’t met and she didn’t have the commitment level she wanted from Cooper. Shortly after the Award season in June 2019, the news broke that the couple had split. Irina had taken baby Lea and moved out of the couples Los Angeles home.At first, the separation was thought to be temporary. Both partners have decided that they are better apart than together.
The couple continues to co-parent their daughter, but it seems like the couple are happty being apart. They both seem to be quite content focusing on their child and carreers.
Irina recently said that “life without Cooper” and being a single mom is “new ground.” She also said that just because two people are great on their own, they are not always good together.
Irina is a strong woman, and while she often feels overwhelmed being a single-mom, she’s ready for the challenge. Both parents are dedicated to doing what is best for their child and are curently working on a visitation schedule.