Announcing the Undiscovery Channel

Undiscovery Channel logo

No, I’m not starting a new blog! Five is enough, thank you. This is a channel. Really, just a fancy name for a place where I group all my videos together on Vimeo. Which I’m mostly just using to host the videos that I embed here, having gotten tired of YouTube. Vimeo has better esthetics, a more sophisticated clientele (at least until I joined), and they encourage uploading higher-resolution videos. And I think they’re popular enough to survive the coming shake-out when the Web 2.0 bubble bursts. (But I’m keeping my YouTube account open in case they aren’t.)

If you’ve been reading Via Negativa for a while, you know I have a thing about porcupines. Actually, that goes back to my pre-blog days: porcupines were a leitmotif of my original website, as well. Like a porcupine, I’m a slow-moving pacifist, I love trees, and I have large front teeth. Also, while we’re not on a first-name basis or anything, I do usually have a porcupine in residence under my house. Just the other morning, I wrote about watching it return after daybreak. What I didn’t mention is that I went inside and grabbed my camera when I saw it coming. Here’s the result.


Subscribers must click through to watch the video, as usual, or go here.

I was in the process of grabbing the embed code for this video this morning when I noticed the link to Vimeo Channels and said, Hey — that looks like a branch I could chew on for a little while. But I assure you, this isn’t going to be like Visual Soma or The Morning Porch; I set up the Undiscovery Channel purely as a lark. I have absolutely no intention of getting into filmmaking yet.

Anyone have a digital video camera they’re looking to get rid of?

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

17 Comments


  1. Great video! Is that the sound of chewing I hear? You do keep busy with all your blogs, photo and video channels. I’ve been thinking of trying video sometime, and this Vimeo looks like a good place!

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  2. Oh, and forgot to say I don’t have a video camera, only the short option on the digital still camera.

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  3. Yep, that’s chewing!

    There seem to be a lot of artists on Vimeo. I think you’d fit right in.

    I’m also just using the video option on my still camera — don’t know if I made that clear.

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  4. A channel, not a blog. Uh huh.

    Great video. I wanted to comment on your twitter about it the other day – love the tagline. Good thing for those protective quills cuz that critter is damn slow.

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  5. Now that’s a porcupine for you! Hope you don’t have nosy dogs around – I can tell you that removing those barbed quills from a dog’s nose is no fun for the dog and no fun for the human, either.
    Must check out vimeo, thanks for that lead.

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  6. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to be sitting in foggy but otherwise entirely unwhitened London and actually *seeing and hearing* your porcupine! Holy wow!! Totally riveting.

    Does s/he have a limp? or do they all affect that uneven gait?

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  7. leslee – Or maybe it’s slow because it has the barbs – running could be hazardous (though the quills do contain an anaesthetic chemical, presumably to avoid infection in the event of accidental self-impaling). But rather than “slow,” I like to think of it as being deliberate. When attacked, porcupines can actually spin about fairly quickly to moon a predator.

    Lee’s River – Nope, no dog – and this is one of the reasons. Porcupines are living proof that “curiosity killed the dog,” not (in general) the cat.

    rr – Glad you liked. Yep, they all waddle like that. I don’t think it’s an affectation.

    (By the way, I’m glad to see that Rachel Barenblat doesn’t have a monopoly on “Holy wow” – it’s a good expression. Not that I’m going to switch from “Holy shit,” of course. It’s a matter of principle for me: if shit isn’t holy, nothing is.)

    Peter – Thanks. I was rather pleased with myself for coming up with such a via negativistic way of spinning my sub-optimal equipment and lack of experience.

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  8. What a great laugh for this morning without an animal in sight. I can just imagine you waddling about like that in your beloved woods, except that you come back in the evenings, right? Do you chew on your door, too?

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  9. I don’t waddle (yet), but ever since I was bit by the photography bug, I do walk almost that slowly. I tend not to chew on the door most days.

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  10. I love this, Dave, that drunken ball of barbs waddling purposefully through the snow to its hideout. Felt like I was actually up there (where? On the roof?) behind your camera. Wish you had been able to catch some close-ups too. Maybe next time?

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  11. Oh, and another very good and easy place to upload videos is blip.tv
    That’s the one I use and they also automatically can place the video on your blog. Check it out.

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  12. Re: “Holy wow” and “Holy shit” – I’m still tickled to read “Christ on a bike!” which never fails to make me snort.

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  13. Natalie – Taken from my porch, actually, with the camera propped on the top railing. If you want a closer view of a porcupine, check out my my other video from last summer on the Undiscovery Channel.

    Another factor in my decision to go with Vimeo is that it is one of the handful of video services supported by WordPress.com (Blip.tv is not). This is important because the Plummer’s Hollow blog is hosted there. WordPress.com also has its own video hosting (we use it at qarrtsiluni), but that’s an extra $15/year and I’m a stingy bastard.

    leslee – Never heard that one. I always liked the alliteration of “Christ on a crutch!” though.

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  14. Great video! Looks like a tight fit, do you suppose the munching was to widen the door a tad?

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  15. I don’t think so. What happened was that I startled it, causing it to go under at a place different from its usual, larger opening a few feet away.

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  16. Love all the videos…and the lovely background bird – and other – sound, noises.

    Damn cute porcipine. I understand your fascination.

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