Category Archives: arts, entertainment, sports

Alain de Botton’s “The Art of Travel”

I highly recommend if you plan to travel, and I just listened to it (during my commute). Surely it’s better with the video. It’s based on the author‘s book The Art of Travel.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kETN114A4IE]

THE ART OF TRAVEL, presented by Alain de Botton (and based on his bestselling book of the same name), looks into the philosophical impulses behind travelling and in doing so offers a profound and often witty view of some of the deeper issues underlying travel and our desire for it.

Thanks to Russ Roberts for interviewing Alain de Botton at EconTalk about his book The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work.

 

 

 

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Fifty Shades of Gray: Critics’ aesthetic snark as a means of dodging thought & engagement.

Nick Gillespie on Fifty Shades of Gray:

the main function of the Fifty Shades phenomenon is to let lazy elitists showcase their superior taste Mocking the literary merits of work that generates intense audience engagement is, quite frankly, the cheapest sort of criticism. It’s also a go-to move of critics who can’t be bothered to think about why audiences might respond to a given text or the issues that it raises. … Too often, aesthetic snark is simply a means of dodging thought and engagement.

Read the whole article: Fifty Shades of WTF – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

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The Economics of Ghostbusters

A recent video from the excellent website EconStories.tv, comedian Andrew Heaton “discusses Ivan Reitman’s classic paranormal comedy Ghostbusters. Subjects include entrepreneurship, subjective value, regulatory interference, and ectoplasm!”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZeYaJ8xJLA]

Also check out these excellent economics rap videos: Fear the Boom and Bust and Fight of the Century.

 

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Video Games Build Strong … Brains?

From Reason.com:

Researchers studied 152 adolescents who played video games for an average of 12.6 hours per week. They found that gaming correlated with increased thickness in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the left frontal eye field.

A study of people aged 60-85 years old published in Nature found that cognitive control is improved by playing a custom-designed, three-dimensional video game. That is, the participants enhanced their ability to multi-task, as well as their working memory and their ability to sustain attention.

via Video Games Build Strong Brains.

This echoes a portion of the book Everything Bad is Good for You.

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Hollywood hates free-markets: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps edition

From Reason.tv:

Oliver Stone’s uber-villain Gordon Gekko is back in the new film, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, which (surprise!) features greedy capitalists behaving badly. It might remind you of Avatar, Mission Impossible 2 or roughly a zillion other films in which capitalists destroy the environment, concoct killer viruses, harvest organs, and cover up murder in order to feed their lust of profit. Even when capitalism isn’t the primary target, the representatives of commerce are often flat-out repulsive (think Jabba the Hutt).

Perhaps it’s ironic that Hollywood filmmakers practice what they preach against. Sure he palls around with socialist dictators Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, but there’s no doubt Oliver Stone hopes to rake in obscene profits with his new flick.

See also Alex Tabarrok’s Wall Street Journal op-ed:  Capitalism: Hollywood’s Miscast Villain – Why the film industry is so good at getting business wrong.

(via Christian Toto at Pajamas Media)

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songs from Myers Elementary in the early ’80s

I attended Myers Elementary School (suburban Philadelphia) from first grade through fourth grade – autumn 1981 through fall of 1985. I recall our music classes singing some tunes I would not expect to find in the, err, “syllabus,” for such a class. Robert Goltz and Jan Goltz taught the classes I was in. I compile the songs can I remember here:

“Pick a Bail of Cotton”: Video (1945) by Leadbelly:

Yes, a slave song (see bottom of this page). Skiffle musician Lonnie Donegan has a version here.

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Mutually discovering & creating improvisational (comedy) scenes

The final class of the Bovine Metropolis Theater‘s Level 3 series started off with an excellent exercise: we stand in a circle. The rules are to do what everyone else is doing, and exaggerate or subdue it. Eventually everyone is doing the same thing, which is evolving. No one is leading or following. It’s clearly a metaphor for how a good scene works: everyone is present, looking out for themselves and others, and there are no “wrong” moves, as others will respond appropriately.

Then we played some games where our character had a mantra, and everything was interpreted through it. I suspect these were inspired by Viola Spolin. That works because, of course, that’s how people are in a stylized sense. Eventually that clicked for me. By the end I’d entered each scene with a song in my head, and responded appropriately according to whatever song it was. This works well because songs embody emotions, motivations, attitudes, etc., the basis of a character.

When the scenes clicked, it was because each player brought something to it (e.g., a character trait), and neither they or the audience knew what was going on. With each line of dialog the players filled in a picture consistent both with what had been said before and with their character choice. Just as in the first exercise, no one was leading, there were no preconceived paths, and the scene grew.

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