1. Roger Callois on the difference between play, work, and art:
A characteristic of play, in fact, is that it creates no wealth or goods, thus differing from work or art. At the end of the game, all can and must start over again at the same point. Nothing has been harvested or manufactured, no masterpiece has been created, no capital has accrued. Play is an occasion of pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often of money … As for the professionals—the boxers, cyclists, jockeys, or actors who earn their living in the ring, track, or hippodrome or on the stage, and who must think in terms of prize, salary, or title—it is clear that they are not players but workers. When they play it is at some other game.
(Via: Culture Making)
Lord of the Rings—starring the Beatles
It’s widely known that the road to filming Lord of the Rings—first published in 1954—was nearly as long and torturous as Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom. Early on, Tolkien stated a preference for the “vulgarization” of an animated version over the “sillification” of a dramatization. According to Roy Carr’s The Beatles at the Movies, talks were once in the works for a Beatle-zation—with John Lennon wanting to play Gollum, Paul McCartney Frodo, George Harrison Gandalf, and Ringo Starr Sam. Collaborating with director John Boorman, screenwriter Rospo Pallenberg thought the Beatles should play the four hobbits (and agreed with McCartney that he would be the ideal Frodo). It’s difficult, but entertaining, to imagine the Fab Four subsuming their personas to Tolkien’s storytelling, but United Artists decided not to move ahead on the project, with the Beatles or without them.
4. Fact of the Week: Finland has become the first country in the world to make broadband internet access a legal right for all citizens.
5. Daniel Davies on differing characteristics of whisky versus wine, considered purely in financial terms:
Whisky matures in barrels rather than bottles, so some of it evaporates every year which has to be factored into the yield. More importantly though, whisky is an industrial product rather than an agricultural one; the quality and other characteristics are standardised, and you know pretty much exactly how it’s going to taste at different ages. This is why it makes sense to think in terms of a forward curve in planning for a distillery, but probably a lot less so for a vineyard. Whisky’s a bond, wine is an equity.
6. From a panel of 52 experts surveyed by Vanity Fair, a list of the 21 most important works of architecture created since 1980.
7. Russell Moore on why every Christian is called to rescue orphans:
The creepiest sound I have ever heard was nothing at all. My wife, Maria, and I stood in the hallway of an orphanage somewhere in the former Soviet Union, on the first of two trips required for our petition to adopt. Orphanage staff led us down a hallway to greet the two 1-year-olds we hoped would become our sons. The horror wasn’t the squalor and the stench, although we at times stifled the urge to vomit and weep. The horror was the quiet of it all. The place was more silent than a funeral home by night.
I stopped and pulled on Maria’s elbow. “Why is it so quiet? The place is filled with babies.” Both of us compared the stillness with the buzz and punctuated squeals that came from our church nursery back home. Here, if we listened carefully enough, we could hear babies rocking themselves back and forth, the crib slats gently bumping against the walls. These children did not cry, because infants eventually learn to stop crying if no one ever responds to their calls for food, for comfort, for love. No one ever responded to these children. So they stopped.
8. Quote of the Week: “Why does looking at animals covered in oil make me sad, but looking at animals covered in oil and deep-fried make me hungry?” — Stephen Colbert
9. Ad of the Week
[The Animal Science researchers] found playing classic music with specific ambiance sound such as dog barking, human conversation and crow’s crow inserted over the music is the most effective combination to relax dogs.
12. The Cat and the Hat meets Chuck Taylors: Converse’s Dr. Seuss Collection
15. Thought Experiment of the Week: God & Time Travel
Imagine, if you will, the following science fiction situation. Sally is working on a time travel project and during one experiment, her own smartphone appears in the lab. Startled, she checks her pocket and finds that her phone is there. Yet it also appears to be on the table. Picking it up, she finds that video has been recorded on it. Much to her horror and dismay, it seems to be a video of her saying that she has killed her husband for having an affair with her friend, only to find out after that she was wrong. In the video, she can she the body of what seems to be her dead husband. The video closes with her future self saying that she is sending back the phone to tell her past self to not kill her husband; future Sally then shoots herself in the head as the phone is being sent into the past.
Being something of a skeptic, Sally checks the phones carefully and finds that (aside from some blood on the future phone that matches her husband’s blood type) the two are identical. This convinces Sally and she does not kill her husband.
Now, let God be brought into the picture, at least hypothetically. If one prefers to leave God out of this game, then an omniscient observer who judges people for their deeds and misdeeds can be used in His place.
In this scenario, what would God actually “see” and how would He judge?
-Instruments must be tuned by a wiry sarcastic guy named Shorty, Lou, or Lightnin’.
-If venue is a sporting arena, scoreboard should read “Steve 1, Bluegrass 0″
-Buffet [must include] one (1) whole roasted chicken for Steve to use as dancing puppet.
19. A chart that explains how Google works
20. Letter of the Week I: Adolf Hitler wrote a begging letter to a Mercedes dealership asking for a loan for a limousine until his royalties for Mein Kampf came through.
21. Letter of the Week II: After an LA Times interview of George Michael in which the singer talks of his desire step away from the limelight, Frank Sinatra wrote the Times and Michael a letter:
Come on George, Loosen up. Swing, man. Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we’ve all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments.
And no more of that talk about “the tragedy of fame.” The tragedy of fame is when no one shows up and you’re singing to the cleaning lady in some empty joint that hasn’t seen a paying customer since Saint Swithin’s day. And you’re nowhere near that; you’re top dog on the top rung of a tall ladder called Stardom, which in latin means thanks-to-the-fans who were there when it was lonely.
22. HistoricalLOL of the Week
23. The books, authors, and literary references found in the TV series “Lost”.
24. James Crimmins on how we are not as consistently adventurous as we think:
While dogmatism seemingly requires balance so do most of life’s activities mental or otherwise. Show me the adventurous eater or traveler and I will show you a stick in the mud reader, investor, dresser. Show me the wide-eyed dreamer in one area and the odds are she or he has an anchor to windward somewhere else, if only what they wear to work or play. Human beings who are wildly adventurous in one area, say sports, tend to dine on hamburgers, but think they are adventurous in all things. he same applies to free thinkers who are downright sodden when it comes to design. The chance takers forget they also have their safe sides. We tend to huddle with like chance takers, somehow our security blankets are seldom shared.
25. The Flying Car
The Terrafugia Transition, a light aircraft that can convert into an automobile, will soon go into production, according to Britain’s Telegraph.
The vehicle received a unique exemption from the U.S. government, which allows the production models to be 110 pounds heavier than a normal “light sport aircraft.”
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Israel developed a computer program that they think can detect depression among bloggers. To test their hypothesis, they scanned 300,000 English-language blogs and had clinical psychologists read the subjects that the computer indicated were depressed. The psychologists agreed with the computer 78% of the time.
29. How-To of the Week: How to embed a YouTube video as an audio player
30. An animated visual representation of the growth and spread of Wal-Mart
31. The Great Tortoise Escape: Two days after Maddie Tibble and her family moved to a new house, their family pet, a tortoise named Lottie, escaped. Two years later, they found the runaway tortoise … one and a half mile away from home!
32. Another 33 Things
33. Fluffy McCloud
A sweet little cloud tries to do the right thing. This animation was Conor Finnegan’s graduate film project at IADT National Film School. (Via: Neatorama)