One of the most intriguing items in the British Library Persian manuscripts collection is a small unexceptional looking volume which contains a personal record, written in his own hand, of 37 dreams of Tipu Sultan, Sultan of Mysore (r. 1782-1799). [Complete translation.]A figure of continuing interest, Tipu Sultan's depiction in a 2014 parade float was the subject of a minor controversy, revisited expansively this year in a TV news report. A video history lesson for children offers a brief portrait of the ruler, sometimes remembered for his use of rockets against the British and his anti-British mechanical pipe organ (examined carefully here, but here used to play two tunes, including "Rule, Britannia!"). [more inside]
Wallace Shawn interviewed by Liese Spencer in The Guardian. Wallace Shawn interviewed by Susan Bernofsky for Public Books. Wallace Shawn interviewed by Hilton Als for The Paris Review. Wallace Shawn interviewed by Andrew O'Hehir for Salon. [more inside]
Fort Griffin State Historic Site, just north of Albany, Texas, recently had one of its historic buildings claimed as a den by a mother bobcat and her two kittens. The site's trail cameras have been documenting their lives since: the first glimpse into the lives of roly-poly inhabitants of a well-protected stone building came in January. With uninvited visits by raccoons, skunks, coyotes, and male bobcats... [more inside]
Suspense was a thriller-style radio drama that ran on CBS from 1942 to 1962 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest Old Time Radio (or "Golden Age Of Radio") series and model for "The Twilight Zone". In addition to theme music by Bernard Herrmann and scripts by leading mystery authors of the day, Suspense also featured a stunning roll call of big-name Hollywood stars, often playing against type or in more lurid material then the movie studios would allow. While nearly all 947 episodes are available online (exhaustively comprehensive previously) the sheer number of episodes can be daunting. Old Time Radio Review is halfway through the series with a convenient rating system to finding the best - why not enjoy these Youtube versions of a few episodes starring Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Robert Taylor, Orson Wells, Agnes Moorehead (again), Cary Grant, and more
At Kidzania, the theme-park chain where children pretend to be adults, children from Mexico to Kuwait can learn about responsibility and citizenship by renting go-karts, making Quaker granola bars, delivering packages for DHL, cleaning up dog poop, making plastic gewgaws, and flying planes, but they may not be able to answer the important questions "Is it a school? Is it a nursery? Is it some devil-run thing that isn’t acceptable in our culture?"
Pencil and Paper Games is devoted to games you can play with nothing more than a pencil and a piece of paper (some of which can be played on the site, for those who do not have access to a pencil and paper, or remember what those are.) [more inside]
Groove Is in the Heart celebrates the ritual of recording a compilation tape in the days before the infinite jukebox of the internet. [5-minute Guardian microplay] [more inside]
Rob Sherman meditates on the connections between writing and games. "This difficulty lies in the very word “games”, this glyph that we all accept to stand for something greater, and its association, in our culture, with another word. Play." [more inside]
In 2008, Outside the Wire, a theater company, began productions of Sophocles' Ajax and Philoctetes to audiences of soldiers and marines returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.
And whither must I go? What end, what purpose Could urge thee to it? I am nothing, lost And dead already. Wherefore- tell me, wherefore?- Am I not still the same detested burthen, Loathsome and lame? Again must Philoctetes Disturb your holy rites? If I am with you How can you make libations? That was once Your vile pretence for inhumanity. Oh! may you perish for the deed! The gods Will grant it sure, if justice be their care And that it is I know. You had not left Your native soil to seek a wretch like me Had not some impulse from the powers above, Spite of yourselves, ordained it. O my country! And you, O gods! who look upon this deed, Punish, in pity to me, punish all The guilty band! Could I behold them perish, My wounds were nothing; that would heal them all.[more inside]
"When Dystopia Rising went well, there were moments that felt natural, perfect. My first night was filled with gang warfare and hunts for a cult of radiation-worshipping Social Darwinists, but one of the parts I remember best was sitting next to a busker who played me a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, gave a mythologized retelling of the musical, and ended up explaining the origins of a group I believe was called the Church of Daft Punk" -- The Verge on playing in the massively complex post-apocalyptic LARP ( Live Action Role Playing) game, Dystopia Rising.
Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins is an animated children's show about 6-year-old Dottie McStuffins, who wants to be a doctor like her mother, and pretends to be a doctor to her toys. Doc McStuffins has done well as a TV show, but it's as a doll that Doc's success has been stratospheric, with over $500 million in sales last year. “'When little white girls embrace Doc McStuffins, for them Doc McStuffins is a girl, and Doc McStuffins is powerful,' Dr. [Margaret Beale] Spencer said. 'For a little black girl, it may be all of those things, but also that she’s black.'”
Frustrated with the modern toy market's focus on female characters with uncomfortable costumes, uninspiring back stories, and unrealistic body proportions -- "most are created for the adult male collector, decidedly more Hooters than heroine" -- Wellesley alumnae Julie Kerwin and Dawn Nadeau joined forces with the legendary creative team at EleventyPlex to crowdfund a new line of fierce, Joan of Arc-inspired action figures, designed to encourage girls to embrace their inner strengths and imagine themselves as self-made superheroes: I Am Elemental. [more inside]
"But in a consumer culture committed to prolonging adolescence at all costs, the boundaries demarcating child and adult experience have blurred to the point that it’s no longer obvious just who is imitating whom. The American state of play is terminally confused. Much of it feels grimly compulsory, and carries with it a whiff of preemptive failure to achieve the target level of revelry." Mandatory fun, the drudgery of child's play, and the American trend toward rejuveniliaztion are among the topics touched on in "Play, Dammit."
HBO's controversial new True Detective series has sparked a renewed interest in an unlikely subject: an 1895 book called The King In Yellow. Praised by H. P. Lovecraft, the book is a collection of short stories in which a play called The King In Yellow is somehow involved. A play, which, in an alternate world, "could not be judged by any known standard" but in which it was "acknowledged that the supreme note of art had been struck" leaves its readers changed, and perhaps insane. It's inspired other authors (and the occasional imitator) ever since, and you can read it for yourself in your browser or, still free, on your e-reader. True Detective's bleak world view and story of lives tinged with madness fits right in, whether the mythology eventually pans out in the series or not.
As an antidote to the "economic calculator" view of behavior, OWS's Graeber offers a counter principle: "The free exercise of an entity’s most complex powers or capacities tends to become an end in itself."
Primary school in New Zealand ditches safety rules, loses bullies in the process. But this wasn't a playtime revolution, it was just a return to the days before health and safety policies came to rule. [more inside]
Ever wanted to know why the Bluetooth symbol looks like it does, or what the deal is with the logo on the Command button on Apple keyboards? This link, which tells the story behind the design of many common user interface symbols, has got you covered.
Evolutionary psychologist Peter Gray, writes about why play is an important part of learning, and also key to good mental health. He believes that American kids are over-structured at home and school, with too much focus on adult-directed activities. He also explores the value of play from an evolutionary perspective, in different cultures around the world.
A full hour-long musical based on Breaking Bad and inspired by Andrew Lloyd Webber, as performed last month at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in Los Angeles: Walter White And The Amazing Blue Crytal Meth.
Godville is a text-based "massively-multiplayer zero-player game" in which you play a god with rather tenuous control over a hero. Changes to the game, including quests and items, are crowd-sourced and voted on by the community The game is playable in browser and via Android and iOS apps. Official game wiki.
Happy snow day, superkids! Here's a raven, havin' a time. SLYT, about a minute long. Dig it.
Ever played Monopoly? Then you've played a board game that was designed by a woman (it was, under its original title, "The Landlord's Game," the creation of Elizabeth Magie). Want to play more board games designed by women? Let's go! [more inside]
The Tech, a newspaper at MIT, has published a report about MIT students' stress. (via) [more inside]
MONSTRUM believes that playground design should be a reflection of the world surrounding us. We see the world as a place full of colour. We meet boys that like pink and girls that likes climbing trees. Why only play on a monky frame and a sandbox, when you can play in a moon crater or a submarine or a giant spider or an enormous snail or a Trojans horse or a rocket or an ant or a princess castle. The fantasy is infinite.
"The experiences of women may not be easy to portray in the aggressive world of videogames. If such a game is made - and I hope it is - it will be because its creators demanded to be heard. It will be created because women made it." (Source)While the vast majority of video game titles are designed primarily by men, women have been a part of video game development since the earliest arcades. Here are some of their games: [more inside]
The author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, a popular MetaFilter topic, was born 177 years ago today (November 30th 1835) in Missouri. The printer, riverboat pilot, game designer, journalist, lecturer, technology investor, gold miner, publisher and patent holder wrote short stories, essays, novels and non-fiction under the pen name Mark Twain. This included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (recently adapted into a musical), one of the top five challenged books of the 1990s, published in 1884-85 to a mixed reception and with an ending that still causes debate. [more inside]
A study-based analysis of UK gaming magazines in the 1980s and 90s argues that the analysis of computer games, independent of attributes such as the platform or narrative, becomes more evident after March 1985 when the term 'gameplay' begins to be used in this media.
Staying_On-Topic in r/intelligentanimals posts a huge number of links explaining why Corvids (crows, ravens, magpies, etc) are amazing.
"In a genre of its own—Live-Action Graphic Novel—The Intergalactic Nemesis saga is a hilarious, uplifting adventure of heroes-by-circumstance overcoming impossible odds. But the telling is what makes the experience of The Intergalactic Nemesis so incredibly unique: while three actors, one Foley artist, and one keyboardist perform all the voices, sound effects and music, more than 1,250 hand-drawn, full-color, hi-res, blow-your-mind comic-book images blast from the screen, all performed live." [more inside]
Across America, people on golf courses have noticed the trend of foxes stealing golf balls. More, more, and more.
The phenomenon has now spread to France, where foxes have been caught snatching boules de pétanque.
The phenomenon has now spread to France, where foxes have been caught snatching boules de pétanque.
Lessons in the Art of Pillow Fort Construction "Tether your sheets and blankets securely, but try not to get too attached yourself." [more inside]
Before Joy Adamson went to Africa, before Margaret Mead sailed to Samoa, before Dian Fossey was even born, a Kansas teenager named Osa Leighty married Martin Johnson. Whether dancing to jazz in Congorilla or meeting headhunters in Borneo, her life with Martin ultimately led to hours of pioneering documentary footage, books, movies and more. Her autobiography inspired a Kate Spade purse, a perfume and her marriage an entire line of clothing while her joie de vivre put her on the cover of a book on trailblazing women of history. Osa Johnson went on to become a character in a play, in a poem while her married life gave birth to a museum (or two). When Osa met Martin, she married adventure.
A squirrel enjoys playing with a ball, to the tune of "The Mighty Mouse Theme". Strangely satisfying.
The Winter's Tale [SLYT] A splendid one-person (+dog+sockpuppet) rendition of Shakespeare's play. [more inside]
Off the coast of Hawaii comes the first scientific evidence of cooperative play between a bottlenose dolphin and a humpback whale. In two separate incidents a dolphin rode on the head of a whale above the surface of the water. It is not, however, the only footage of dolphins and whales playing around and helping each other out. [more inside]
"Transforming the second chapter of Ellen Ripley's ongoing war with the Xenomorphs into an icecapade is the kind of loony idea that that can only possibly exist after someone has exploded fireworks inside a crowded bar to simulate RoboCop's iconic gas station explosion while the titular cyborg breaks into a musical interlude describing his existential crisis. Anything else would be a step back after that."The Old Murder House Theater is a comedy troupe in Austin known for doing... shall we say... unusual movie adaptations. Last weekend's show: "Aliens On Ice!" (Scroll down for Youtube footage, or check out a two minute summary of the show, from the troupe.) [more inside]
The decline of play. As a society, we have come to the conclusion that to protect children from danger and to educate them, we must deprive them of the very activity that makes them happiest...
Glengarry Glen Ross endures mainly as a spectacular display of verbal warfare and alpha-male gamesmanship. There’s a musical quality to it, with a great composer and a great chorus hitting the complicated runs of broken dialogue and solos that weave into profane poetry and nuggets of philosophical wisdom. Perhaps the greatest sign of the movie’s success, owed equally to Mamet’s script and this cast, is that it does a great sales job in itself, convincing us that there’s nobility to men who lie for a living — a bill of goods we’re all too happy to buy. [more inside]
"Better a broken bone than a broken spirit". So said the appropriately-named Lady Allen of Hurtwood, pioneer of adventure playgrounds - play spaces which sacrificed a little security in the interests of imagination and creativity. Her work on adventure playgrounds - along with the sight of young Londoners playing in the bombed-out sites of post-Blitz London - inspired a young Richard Dattner, a New York architect now probably best-known for the Bronx Public Library Center. [more inside]
Psykopaint is really fun, visually interesting and free. It is a rich internet application in which you can turn your pictures into paintings by grabbing one of the 6 brushes provided and start painting while the colors are selected automatically for you. Created by Mathieu Gosselin.
GLOBALTIMOTO - one man, on a motorcycle, around the world, in a quest for gameplay.
OMG CHRISTMAS KITTY. Move over Maru, the internet has a new cat sensation: Linus! He taps things. He licks things. . He apologizes to chairs. And sometimes he wears little costumes (wait for the end).
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