In the long history of pinball machines, a new golden age of pinball was started with the introduction of player-controlled electronic flippers, first seen in 1947 in D. Gottlieb & Co's Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately, this was five years after the start of the War on Pinball, ushered in by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and others who saw pinball machines simply as another form of coin-machine gambling (PDF) and source of moral decline. Following New York, pinball bans spread throughout the United States (PDF) and Canada, with fears escalating to the point that some in criminal law looked to alternative solutions to the Pinball Problem (PDF). Even though a bold "Babe Ruth" move by Roger Sharpe in New York City in May of 1976 overturned the local ban and other cities again followed suit, some local pinball bans have only recently recently been lifted, after people discovered such laws were still in place. See also: Pinball: From Illegal Gambling Game to American Obsession (VICE short documentary).
Chance the Rapper and The Social Experiment's new album Surf is available as a free download at his home page here, or iTunes.
Sunday Candy is a charming new video by Chicago based Chance The Rapper and the Social Experiment.
Why Chance The Rapper Is Forgoing Solo Fame To Make Jazzy Songs With Friends (Chance previously) [more inside]
Forget your magic eight balls, your I-Chings, your tarot cards, and your oblique strategies: Augur is an iPhone app that predicts the future by using the communal (sub? super?)conscious that is Twitter. [via mefi projects]
The Year of the Crush: How the Radically Unfair Candy Crush Saga Took Over Our Lives We are clearly drawn to structured entanglements with chance. We use rules and money to define the stakes, and we use cards or dice or candies not as generators but as channelers — mediums — of the chance we believe is already out there, secretly running the show. Despite whatever other beliefs we have about fate or God or a deterministic universe, we often act as if luck is quite real in our daily lives. Candy Crush Saga has capitalized on this to become the mobile game of the year. Not the best, nor the worst, but the mobile game that dominated the charts, that succeeded at free-to-play in a way that will be studied for years, that penetrated the wider culture and came to stand in for all of addictive, time-wasting mobile gaming in 2013. And yet Candy Crush is not simply game of the year in the way that Stalin was once Time’s Person of the Year. It’s a genuinely compelling game that fully commits to radical unfairness. In fact, this is the primary source of its appeal.
"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]
Shuffle Literature and the Hand of Fate: an article about aleatory literature— including mention of Marc Saporta’s Composition No. 1; B. S. Johnson’s The Unfortunates; Robert Grenier’s Sentences and Herta Müller’s Der Wächter nimmt seinen Kamm.
A short look at the role of chance, chaos and coincidence in three films: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Run Lola Run, and Three Colors: Red.
A little old, but chock full of enough wackadoodle quotes to be your morning cup of head-go-boom-iness. FOX News on Mr. Rogers and his effect on "the narcissistic society he gave birth to": "This evil, evil man has now ruined a generation of kids." "Do you think that Mr. Rogers [...] ruined a crop of our newest, youngest generation?" "Instead of telling them 'you're special, you're great', why didn't he say, 'there's a lot of room for improvement, keep working on yourself'?" [more inside]
Beyond the Reach of God. Thought experiments involving the God-universe and the Nature-universe, the Turing-complete Game of Life, and a lot of insightful back-and-forth in the comment section, to boot. One of the most interesting and thought-provoking essays I've read on the Internet in a very long time, by Eliezer Yudkowsky on his blog, Overcoming Bias (via).
20 Most Amazing Coincidences, "the noteworthy alignment of two or more events or circumstances without obvious causal connection" and other superlatives. [previously]
Please pick a random number between 1 and 100 (Explanation follows after filling out a short form.)