Have You Ever Wondered What Your Favorite Songs Look Like? This Artist Can Show You!

Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Lenny" courtesy of Melissa McCraken

Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Lenny" courtesy of Melissa McCraken

Have you ever wondered if musical notes have colors? For Melissa McCracken, the 26-year-old Kansas City native, seeing colors while listening to music was a phenomenon that she thought everyone experienced. It wasn't until Melissa was 15 that she realized the incredible gift she had. Describing her musical synesthesia, Melissa shares: 

J.S. Bach, "Cello Suite No. 1" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

J.S. Bach, "Cello Suite No. 1" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Basically, my brain is cross-wired. I experience the ‘wrong’ sensation to certain stimuli. Each letter and number is colored and the days of the year circle around my body as if they had a set point in space. But the most wonderful “brain malfunction” of all is seeing the music I hear. It flows in a mixture of hues, textures, and movements, shifting as if it were a vital and intentional element of each song. Having synesthesia isn’t distracting or disorienting. It adds a unique vibrance to the world I experience.
Bon Iver, "For Emma, Forever Ago" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Bon Iver, "For Emma, Forever Ago" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Melissa has taken this "cross-wiring" of her brain and shared the vibrance that she sees in the world with people through her paintings. 

When asked how she sees the colors, Melissa responded: "It just floats there in a similar way to how you would imagine something or visualize a memory. I don't need to close my eyes but it helps me visualize it better if I do."

Jimi Hendrix, "Little Wing" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Jimi Hendrix, "Little Wing" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

When speaking about what music is more interesting to paint, Melissa shared that expressive music such as blues or funk is much more interesting to paint than an acoustic singer-songwriter on solo guitar. Melissa also shared that country music tends to have more muted, brown tones, so it doesn't come out as interesting as other songs. Factors that impact the colors and structure of a painting include instrumentation, tone, melodic lines, rhythm and key, to name a few. 

Iron and Wine, "Boy with a Coin" courtesy of Melissa McCracken 

Iron and Wine, "Boy with a Coin" courtesy of Melissa McCracken 

Melissa has experimented painting the same song along with another artist with synesthesia, and they discovered that they experienced completely different colors, proving how subjective it can be. Melissa particularly enjoys analyzing the paintings of Kandinsky, another artist with synesthesia.

John Lennon, "Julia" courtesy of Melissa McCracken 

John Lennon, "Julia" courtesy of Melissa McCracken 

Pink Floyd, "Time" courtesy of Melissa McCracken  

Pink Floyd, "Time" courtesy of Melissa McCracken  

Prince, "Joy in Repetition" courtesy of Melissa McCracken 

Prince, "Joy in Repetition" courtesy of Melissa McCracken 

Radiohead, "All I Need" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Radiohead, "All I Need" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Radiohead, "Karma Police" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Radiohead, "Karma Police" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Bowie, "Life on Mars" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Bowie, "Life on Mars" courtesy of Melissa McCracken

Check Out This Incredible House Transformed Out of an Old Cement Factory

In a time when sustainability, organic, social responsibility are buzz words that we read in the headlines everywhere, Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill takes these words and makes them a reality with his gorgeous repurposing of a cement factory into his home just outside of Barcelona.

Bofill discovered the World War I era cement factory about 45 years ago - when it was closed down due to its pollutive emissions. Upon discovering the abandoned building, Bofill envisioned what was to become a gorgeous home that to this day is still a work-in-progress. 

Upon seeing the immense potential in the structure, Bofill and his team purchased the structure and named the remodeling project La fábrica, which appropriately means “the factory.”

Together, with his team, Bofill was able to produce a structure that was a massive improvement over what the deteriorating factory had ever been.

In response to the immensely negative environmental impact that the factory had when it was running, Bofill decided to turn the tops of the smoke stacks into roof gardens.

The whole structure itself is covered with and surrounded by lush vegetation, including: palm, eucalyptus and olive trees. 

Bofill plays off of the idea of "romantic ruins" - the state in which he discovered the structure. Vines cover many of the structural walls - and outdoor spaces seamlessly merge into indoor spaces. In fact, there are many spaces for entertaining both outside and inside the house. 

Upon entering the house, it is difficult to imagine that it was ever an abandoned factory. 

Bofill and his team put immense effort and creativity into the remodel, and no two rooms look alike. 

Each room's aesthetic was developed to reflect the purpose of that space. 

Bofill shares that the dining room, for example, is the central meeting space for his family.

Bofill and his team expertly remodeled the structure to take advantage of natural light - the placement of windows throughout the house allow for a lot of light to pour in and soften the potentially harsh looking industrial structure. 

The structure is so large, that in addition to being a home and place of leisure, it also houses several spaces that serve as studio spaces for his architectural firm. 

While the project of La fábrica started over 45 years ago, it is still very much incomplete. 

According to Bofill, La fábrica will always be a work in progress, saying that just as his life–is a constant evolution of creative visions, so too is La fábrica.

If you find this house as breathtakingly beautiful and inspiring as we do, please share with your family and friends. 

Don't Kill that Spider! They Eat over 400 - 800 Million Tons of Insects a Year!

Photo via Wikipedia

Photo via Wikipedia

Next time you notice a spider crawling around your room, you might want to think twice about killing it. 

In a new study released last week, researches found that spiders eat between 400 to 800 million tons of insects a year. To compare - the entire human population on earth eats about 400 million tons of meat and fish each year. When put in that context, one can't help but marvel at the sheer volume of insects spiders ingest each year!

The authors of the study wrote in "The Science of Nature," that "our estimates for spiders appear to be of the same order of magnitude as the prey kill by whales in the world's oceans which has been estimated to be in the range of 280-500 million tons annually."

This newly published information illustrates the important role spiders play in ridding the environment of unwanted pests and insects that carry disease and parasites. 

Beyond serving a very useful function, Spiders are also incredibly adaptable - they can be found living in some of the most extreme environments on the planet ranging from the hottest deserts to the cold regions of the northern most islands in the arctic. They also have been discovered in some of the highest altitudes that living organisms can be found. Wherever they can find food - they can survive.

The researches of the recent study estimated that there is about 25 million tons of spiders on the planet, meaning that each individual spider eats a lot of insects.

"Our estimates of the global annual prey kill imply that spiders exert considerable predation pressure on insect populations, especially in forests and grasslands," wrote Nyffeler and Birkhofer. 

Check Out These Magnificent Photos of Angels in the Clouds

How often do you pause to look up at the sky and appreciate the beauty of nature? When was the last time you sat and looked for shapes in the clouds? What might be some shapes you'd see? One shape that comes up from time to time is - Angels! There are a good number of people who see angels in the clouds, and when they do, they are very keen to capture them on camera. We've gathered a collection of gorgeous angel clouds captured on film to share with you. These angels have appeared all around the world from Florida to Thailand, Slovakia to Afghanistan. It shows that angels are everywhere, watching over us and sending us  blessings. Enjoy! 

Beautiful red fire colored angel, seen in Royal Palm Beach, Florida the day the current Pope was elected. 

A stunning angel captured shining through the sky above the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand.

A U.S. marine, Aaron Kressley, took a picture of this angel in the clouds that was above his military base in Afghanistan. 

Photo: Aaron Kressley

Photo: Aaron Kressley

A Beautiful Angel Face was seen above in Ireland

Fire Angel swimming in the skies of Devon, England

Photo: Ian Williamson 

Photo: Ian Williamson 

Flock of angels gracing the skies in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Photo: Watari Goro

Photo: Watari Goro

Seen during a prayer service in Aurora, Colorado

Angel wings over Mobile, Alabama. 

Photo: Jennifer Burgess

Photo: Jennifer Burgess

A stunning angel cloud gliding over the sunset at Outer Banks, North Carolina. 

Angel watching over a mom and her children in Lexington, South Carolina. 

Photo: Michaela Chewar

Photo: Michaela Chewar

Beautiful angel captured on camera in the countryside in Gerlachov, Slovakia by a mother and children.  

Photos: Andrea Dikantova

Photos: Andrea Dikantova

Angel flying in with storm clouds in Central Virginia.

Photo: Michael Hostetler 

Photo: Michael Hostetler 

Guardian Angel captured in the sky over Cape Coral, Florida.  

Just Unearthed! Ancient Statue of Famous Egyptian Pharaoh Found in Cairo Slum (Video)

PHOTOGRAPH BY KHALED DESOUKI, AFP, GETTY IMAGES

PHOTOGRAPH BY KHALED DESOUKI, AFP, GETTY IMAGES

Imagine walking out of your apartment past a construction site and seeing people unearthing a massive ancient statue that is over 3000 years old. This is exactly what happened for several people in a slum in Eastern Cairo recently on March 9 when a team of archeologists from Germany and Egypt found what they believe to be a statue of Pharaoh Ramses II. The neighborhood  where the archeologists discovered the statue is in the eastern part Cairo and is located over the ancient city of Heliopolis, the center of worship for the ancient Egyptian sun god Re. The excavation of the site is particularly difficult to work in because of a rising water table, piling rubble and industrial waste near the site.

PHOTO BY IBRAHIM RAMADAN, ANADOLU AGENCY, GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO BY IBRAHIM RAMADAN, ANADOLU AGENCY, GETTY IMAGES

The statue measures about 26 feet in height and is made out of the stone quartzite. The remains are missing a inscription bearing the name of the pharaoh, but because of the statue's proximity to a temple devoted to Ramses II, the ministry of antiquities believes that it is a statue of Ramses II. When asked about the discovery, Khaled al-Anani, Egypt's antiquities minister, reported that they had discovered "the bust of the statue and the lower part of the head and now we removed the head and we found the crown and the right ear and a fragment of the right eye." In addition to this exciting new discovery, a limestone statue of Pharaoh Seti II, the grandson of Ramses II, was also found at the site. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY IBRAHIM RAMADAN, ANADOLU AGENCY, GETTY IMAGES

PHOTOGRAPH BY IBRAHIM RAMADAN, ANADOLU AGENCY, GETTY IMAGES

Excavation will continue in Cairo and, if the remaining pieces can restore the statue, it will be erected at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is set to open in 2018.

Pharaoh Ramses II is one of the most famous rulers of ancient Egypt. He ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 B.C. His 60 year reign was one of the longest in ancient Egyptian history.  Through the course of his rule he led several military exploits to expand Egypt's geographical reach as far south as modern Sudan and as far east as Modern Syria. The prosperity and growth that happened under Ramses's 60 year reign earned him the title: "Ramses the Great." 

Pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt in Abu Simbel.

Pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt in Abu Simbel.

Just over 10 years ago, archaeologists discovered one of the largest sun temples in Cairo under a marketplace. Housed in the temple were several statues of Ramses II, some of which weighted up to five tons. One statue discovered in the temple depicted Ramses II wearing a leopard's skin; meaning that he likely served as high priest to Ra at the time the temple was erected. 

Over time, what used to be the site of Heliopolis became covered by several, modern day residential buildings. Because of this fact, many  researchers believe that myriad treasures from the ancient world lie hidden under the wider city of Cairo just waiting to be unearthed.

Here is a brief video of the excavation from March 9: