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kottke.org posts about video

How Candles Are Made

From Factory Monster (great name), a video of how candles are made in a South Korean candle factory. I like that there’s no music or voiceover, so you can hear the sounds of the production. I also enjoyed the charmingly janky English subtitles:

Blah blah powder for hardness. Yellow powder for pure white color. Irony, huh?!

Can someone who knows something about making candles tell me why that hole is made in each of the candles with the metal rods? It was unclear from the video what its purpose is.

If you’d like to ruin/enhance the rest of your day, Factory Monster has a trove of making-of videos shot in Korean factories and workshops: retreading old tires, distressed jeans, chain link fences, customized Vans sneakers, and making a knife from an old motorcycle chain. (via the kid should see this)

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The Longest Total Solar Eclipse Ever (73 Minutes!)

Ok, I said no more eclipse posts (maybe) and then posted like two or three more, but really this is the last one — maybe! In 1973, a group of scientists witnessed the longest ever total solar eclipse by flying in the shadow (umbra) of the moon in a Concorde prototype for 74 minutes over the Sahara desert. From the abstract of a paper in Nature about the flight:

On June 30, 1973, Concorde 001 intercepted the path of a solar eclipse over North Africa, Flying at Mach 2.05 the aircraft provided seven observers from France, Britain and the United States with 74 min of totality bounded by extended second (7 min) and third (12 min) contacts. The former permitted searches for time variations of much longer period than previously possible and the latter provided an opportunity for chromospheric observations of improved height resolution. The altitude, which varied between 16,200 and 17,700 m, freed the observations from the usual weather problems and greatly reduced atmospheric absorption and sky noise in regions of the infrared.

Mach 2.05 = 1573 mph = 2531 km/h. 17,700 m = 58,000 ft. They added portholes to the roof of the plane for better viewing and data gathering. This page on Xavier Jubier’s site contains lots of amazing details about the flight, including a map of the flight’s path compared to the umbra, photos of the retrofitted plane, and a graph of the umbra’s velocity across the surface of the Earth (which shows that for at least part of the eclipse, the Concorde was actually outrunning the moon’s shadow).

By flying inside the umbral shadow cone of the Moon at the same speed, the Concorde was going to stay in the darkness for nearly 74 minutes, the time for astronomers and physicists on board to do all the experiences they could imagine to complete during this incredible period of black Sun. They were able to achieve in one hour and fifteen minutes what would have taken decades by observing fifteen total solar eclipses from places that would have not necessarily gotten clear skies.

And finally, here’s a 30-minute French documentary from 1973 about the eclipse flight.

So. Cool!

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Today’s Work Music: Philip Glass Solo

I’d missed that Philip Glass Solo (previously) came out in January, but I’ve been listening to it while I work this morning and it’s just lovely. He recorded the album in his home on his piano. Here’s a short video of Glass playing on that very piano:

This is my piano, the instrument on which most of the music was written. It’s also the same room where I have worked for decades in the middle of the energy which New York City itself has brought to me. The listener may hear the quiet hum of New York in the background or feel the influence of time and memory that this space affords. To the degree possible, I made this record to invite the listener in.

And here’s a video of him playing the album’s opening piece on his 87th birthday:

You can stream the album on Spotify, Apple Music, or Bandcamp.

You can buy the album at Bandcamp or on vinyl at Amazon.

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High-Diving Penguin Chicks

When emperor penguin chicks go for their first swim, they usually jump a few feet into the sea. The group of chicks in the video National Geographic video above decided to leap off of a 50-foot ice cliff for their first trip out.

It’s not unusual for emperor penguin chicks to march toward the ocean at a young age, even when they’re just 6 months old. They jump just 2 feet off the ice to take their first swim, according to National Geographic.

Others have jumped from a much a higher altitude, heading to “sheer ice cliffs” knowingly to make the first jump. Satellites have recorded the death-defying jumps since 2009, but what happens next has remained a mystery until now.

Having watched the video, “leap” and “jump” are charitable descriptions of what the penguins are doing here. “Flop”, “plop”, and “fall” might be better…penguins are all kinds of cool, but no one has ever accused them of being graceful out of the water.

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Papyrus 2: A Bold New Look for Avatar

Ryan Gosling was on Saturday Night Live this weekend and they did a sequel to one of my favorite SNL sketches (which is completely dorky in a design nerd sort of way) ever: Papyrus. Behold, Papyrus 2:

Avatar spawned worlds, right? Every little leaf of every little flower, every little eyelash of every little creature: thoroughly thought out. But the logo: it’s Papyrus, in bold. Nobody cares. Does James Cameron care? I don’t think so.

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Mount Etna Volcano Blowing Perfect Smoke Rings

My current natural obsession is Mount Etna, a volcano in Sicily that blows perfect smoke rings like it’s frickin’ Gandalf with a pipe-full of Old Toby or something.

It is a relatively rare phenomenon caused by a constant release of vapours and gases. The gaseous mass ascends rapidly through the central part of the conduit, promoting the formation of rings by wrapping the gas upon itself in a vortex motion.

Puff on, Etna, puff on.

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20 Minutes of Charles Schulz Drawing Peanuts Comics

This is wonderful: a collection of video clips of Charles Schulz drawing his iconic Peanuts comic strip — “everything I could find of Charles Schulz drawing his Peanuts characters” in the words of the compiler.

Unfortunately, I’m not highly educated. I’m merely a high school graduate. I studied art in a correspondence course because I was afraid to go to art school. I couldn’t see myself sitting in a room where everyone else in the room could draw much better than I and this way I was protected by drawing at home and simply mailing my drawings in and having them criticized.

I wish I had a better education but I think that my entire background made me well-suited for what I do. If I could write better than I can, perhaps I would have tried to become a novelist and I might have become a failure. If I could draw better than I can, I might have tried to become an illustrator or an artist and would have failed there. But my entire being seems to be just right for being a cartoonist.

Charles Schulz: Unbothered. Moisturized. Happy. In his lane. Focused. Flourishing.

See also a 90-minute compilation of cartoonists working (from the same YT channel) and Chuck Jones demonstrating how to draw Bugs Bunny and other characters. (via open culture)

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What Happens If We Do Nothing About the Climate Crisis?

Let’s say the countries of the world most responsible for the changing climate continue to drag their feet on doing something about it. What is the world going to look like in 20 or 30 or 80 years? This TED-Ed video describes that bleak potential future.

Reports on heatwaves and wildfires regularly fill the evening news. Summer days exceed 40 degrees in London and 45 degrees in Delhi, as extreme heat waves are now 8 to 9 times more common. These high temperatures prompt widespread blackouts, as power grids struggle to keep up with the energy demands needed to properly cool homes. Ambulance sirens blare through the night, carrying patients suffering from heatstroke, dehydration, and exhaustion. The southwestern United States, southern Africa, and eastern Australia experience longer, more frequent, and more severe droughts.

Meanwhile, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Japan face more frequent heavy rainfall as rising temperatures cause water to evaporate faster, and trap more water in the atmosphere. As the weather becomes more erratic, some communities are unable to keep pace with rebuilding what’s constantly destroyed.

(via open culture)

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David Lynch: Depression Kills Creativity

David Lynch is not having any of that “you need to struggle or be tortured in order to be creative” stuff. In this video compilation, the director talks about how poor mental health inhibits art & creativity.

It stands to reason: the more you suffer, the less you want to create. If you’re truly depressed, they say you can’t even get out of bed, let alone create. It occupies the whole brain, poisons the artist, poisons the environment; little room for creativity.

Open Culture has more on how Lynch uses transcendental meditation to improve his mental health…and a great anecdote about the one time Lynch tried therapy:

In one Charlie Rose interview, a clip from which appears in the video, he even tells of the time he went to therapy. The beginning of this story makes it in, but not the end: Lynch asked his new therapist “straight out, right up front, ‘Could this process that we’re going to go through affect creativity?’ And he said, ‘David, I have to be honest with you, it could” — whereupon Lynch shook the man’s hand and walked right back out the door.

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The Best Photos and Videos of the 2024 Solar Eclipse

Well, the total solar eclipse was once again completely awesome. I didn’t have to go chasing all over tarnation this time, the telescope worked out amazingly well, and I got to share it with a bunch of first-timers, both in-person and via text. I’m going to share some thoughts, photos, and videos from others around the internet in an even bloggier fashion than usual. Here we go.

My pal Noah Kalina got one of my favorite shots of the day (see also + prints are available):

Solar Eclipse 2024 01

Gobsmacking shot from Rami Ammoun…it’s a blend of multiple exposures so you can see the sun and moon at the same time. Love this shot.

Solar Eclipse 2024 02

And another stunner from Andrew McCarthy:

Solar Eclipse 2024 09

Ryan Cox got some great shots of the solar prominences during totality.

Solar Eclipse 2024 03

Quick solar prominence explainer interlude: if you had a clear look at totality, you may have noticed some orange bits poking out around the moon. NASA: What is a solar prominence?

A solar prominence (also known as a filament when viewed against the solar disk) is a large, bright feature extending outward from the Sun’s surface. Prominences are anchored to the Sun’s surface in the photosphere, and extend outwards into the Sun’s hot outer atmosphere, called the corona. A prominence forms over timescales of about a day, and stable prominences may persist in the corona for several months, looping hundreds of thousands of miles into space. Scientists are still researching how and why prominences are formed.

The red-glowing looped material is plasma, a hot gas comprised of electrically charged hydrogen and helium. The prominence plasma flows along a tangled and twisted structure of magnetic fields generated by the sun’s internal dynamo. An erupting prominence occurs when such a structure becomes unstable and bursts outward, releasing the plasma.

A timelapse video of totality from Scientific American:

Thomas Fuchs caught some sunspots through his telescope during the partial eclipse. (We saw these through our ‘scope as well.)

Solar Eclipse 2024 04

Quick sunspot explainer interlude. NASA: What exactly is a sunspot?

A sunspot is simply a region on the surface of the sun-called the photosphere-that is temporarily cool and dark compared to surrounding regions. Solar measurements reveal that the average surface temperature of the sun is 6000° Celsius and that sunspots are about 1500° Celsius cooler than the area surrounding them (still very hot), and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months. Sunspots expand and contract as they move across the surface of the sun and can be as large as 80,000 km in diameter.

Sunspots are magnetic regions on the sun with magnetic field strengths thousands of times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, and often appear in pairs that are aligned in an east-west direction. One set will have a positive or north magnetic field while the other set will have a negative or south magnetic field. The field is strongest in the darker parts of the sunspots — called the umbra. The field is weaker and more horizontal in the lighter part-the penumbra. Overall, sunspots have a magnetic field that is about 1000 times stronger than the surrounding photosphere.

This Instagram account has a lovingly assembled collection of solar eclipse stamps from around the world (Aruba, Bhutan, Chile, Romania, Kenya, and even North Korea).

Solar Eclipse 2024 05

A NY Times timelapse: See the Total Solar Eclipse’s Shadow From Space (assembled from NASA and NOAA satellite imagery).

Great solar prominences on this shot from Notorious RBMK. Wow:

Solar Eclipse 2024 06

A timelapse video from Ariel Waldman of totality in Mazatlán. You really get a sense of the eclipse as a passing shadow from this.

Incredible “tiny planet” panorama timelapse by Matt Biddulph. Here’s a still frame during totality:

Solar Eclipse 2024 07

The 8 types of eclipse photo from XKCD.

Solar Eclipse 2024 08

The view of the eclipse from the International Space Station.

More photos from The Dammich, fotoelliott, max GORDON, good thread of photos, and photo round-ups from PetaPixel, New Scientist, BBC Science Focus, Mashable, Associated Press, and Wired.

Video from Nate Luebbe of the moment of totality, with Baily’s beads and solar prominences.

This is a fake. Super super cool looking, but a fake. (Update: not quite a fake, just a really badly enhanced version of this composite HDR photo.) And I’m not sure I entirely trust the veracity of the trending search results for “why do my eyes hurt” but here it is anyway.

Earth Will Have Its Last Total Solar Eclipse in About 600 Million Years:

Total solar eclipses occur because the moon and the sun have the same apparent size in Earth’s sky — the sun is about 400 times wider than the moon, but the moon is about 400 times closer.

But the moon is slowly moving away from Earth by about 1-1/2 inches (4 centimeters) per year, according to the NASA statement. As a result, total solar eclipses will cease to exist in the very distant future, because the apparent size of the moon in Earth’s sky will be too small to cover the sun completely.

“Over time, the number and frequency of total solar eclipses will decrease,” Vondrak said in the statement. “About 600 million years from now, Earth will experience the beauty and drama of a total solar eclipse for the last time.”

If you want to get a headstart on trip planning, the next eclipse is going to be in Greenland, Iceland, and Spain on August 12, 2026. Cloud cover looks most favorable in Spain.

Ok, that’s all for now. Depending on what else I come across, I might update this post periodically throughout the day. I know some of you who were lucky enough to see the total eclipse shared your experiences in the comments of yesterday’s post but feel free to do so here as well.

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Film Footage of a Total Solar Eclipse from 1900

In 1900, celebrated magician (and astronomy enthusiast) Nevil Maskelyne travelled to North Carolina to film a solar eclipse on May 28, 1900. The Royal Astronomical Society and the British Film Institute reckon this is “the first surviving astronomical film in the world”.

In 1898 he travelled to India to photograph an eclipse. He succeeded but the film can was stolen on his return journey home.

It was not an easy feat to film. Maskelyne had to make a special telescopic adapter for his camera to capture the event. This is the only film by Maskelyne that we know to have survived.

The original film fragment held in The Royal Astronomical Society’s archive has been painstakingly scanned and restored in 4K by conservation experts at the BFI National Archive, who have reassembled and retimed the film frame by frame. The film is part of BFI Player’s recently released Victorian Film collection, viewers are now able to experience this first film of a solar eclipse since the event was originally captured over a century ago.

(via boing boing)

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Total Eclipse of the Heart, Literal Video Version

This video is more than 10 years old, but I hadn’t seen it before: a version of Bonnie Tyler’s music video for Total Eclipse of the Heart where the lyrics describe what we literally see.

Pan the room

Random use of candles, empty bottles, and cloth,

and can you see me through this fan?

Slo-mo dove

Creepy doll, a window, and what looks like a bathrobe.

Then, a dim-lit shot of dangling balls.

Metaphooor?

(via aaron)

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This Woman Deconstructs 100-Year-Old Books To Restore Them

Sophia Bogle is an expert at restoring old books and I was riveted by this video of her taking viewers through the deconstruction and restoration process, including a tour of her workshop and some of the tools she uses (e.g. a repair knife she designed herself to resemble a fingertip).

But reader, I gasped when she signed her work…I don’t think I could do that! (via boing boing)

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The Evolution of Mozart’s Music (From 5 to 35 Years Old)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s first surviving musical composition was created at age five and in this video visualization, you can hear and see how his music evolved from that early piece to those created in his 20s and 30s. Not knowing a whole lot about music or of Mozart in particular, I was shocked at how incredible his compositions were at ages five, six, and seven. Sheesh.

See also Hear the Pieces Mozart Composed When He Was Only Five Years Old. (via open culture)

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Crash Course Lecture: The Deadliest Infectious Disease of All Time

In this Crash Course video, author and “TB-hater” John Green takes a deep dive into tuberculosis.

This is the story of the deadliest infectious disease of all time. It’s been with us for 3 million years, since before humans were homo sapiens. We have evidence of it in the mummies of ancient Egypt, and it’s mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

We’ve made extraordinary medical advances. Vaccines, antibiotics, and clean water have saved millions of lives. And yet despite that, in 2022, this disease killed more people than malaria, typhoid, cholera, homicide, and war…combined.

It has gone by many names. In ancient China, it was known as huaifu, meaning “destroyed palace.” In ancient Hebrew, “schachepheth,” meaning wasting away. The 19th-century term: “consumption,” for the way it seemed to consume the body. Today, we call it tuberculosis.

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Making Connections

My teen daughter doesn’t care for crosswords or the Spelling Bee, but she does try to play Connections every day. We were working on this one together a few days ago and when I suggested SNAIL GALAXY CYCLONE SUNFLOWER as a group, she said “I was thinking spirals but sunflowers are round”. Which prompted a discussion about the Fibonacci sequence and the golden ratio (which she’d covered in math class) and a search for videos that explained how the sequence pops up in nature and, specifically, sunflowers.

As beautiful as the sunflower is, isn’t it even lovelier knowing there is a deep mathematical order to it?

That quote reminds me of Richard Feynman’s thoughts on the beauty of nature:

I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty.

First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees.

I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.

Games, language, mathematics, the beauty of flowers, science, time spent together — Connections indeed.

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1600-Person Pub Choir Sings Radiohead’s Creep

Pub Choir is an Australia-based organization that gets large crowds singing popular tunes, in three-part harmony no less.

Everybody can sing. Like, not well, but literally. Why should being average at something stop you from doing it!? It hasn’t yet… Singing is good for you, it’s EASY, and Pub Choir is here to show you how.

With a show that is equal parts music, comedy, and beer, Pub Choir is a euphoric sensation that transforms a crowd of tipsy strangers into a legendary choir.

By the end of the show the YOU will be belting out a popular song in three-part harmony.

In the video above, they get a crowd of 1600 people signing Creep by Radiohead. Beautiful.

You can find more of their performances on their YouTube channel, including Tina Turner’s The Best, Africa by Toto, and Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty.

See also Choir! Choir! Choir! and their performances of Sinéad O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U and David Byrne singing David Bowie’s Heroes. (thx, matthew)

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I Put 4 Million Suns in a Black Hole Over New York

Using a scale model of the solar system the size of New York City and some dazzling visual effects, Epic Spaceman explains that black holes are generally smaller than you might think (because they’re so dense) — even the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. But when you consider some of the biggest black holes we’ve discovered…wow.

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Waffle House’s Magic Marker System

I thought for sure that I’d previously written about the secret jelly packet & pickle-based system that chefs at the Waffle House use to “store” all of the orders that come in for food during service, but I can’t find it in the archive. But no matter — the Waffle House training video above runs us through their whole system, including a detailed explanation of their Magic Marker System, which involves zero actual Magic Markers and instead is about arranging condiment packets and other items on plates in a code:

Now let’s talk about our breakfast sandwiches. Just like omelettes, these sandwiches have the same four positions: ham, sausage, bacon, and plain. To mark a sandwich, place two pickle slices in the appropriate position. Here you can see I put two pickle slices in the number three position, which tells me this is a bacon sandwich. If I add a slice of cheese to the plate, I know this is a bacon cheese sandwich. To make this a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, I’ll add this right side up mayo packet to the right side of the plate.

Don’t let this mayo pack confuse you - as long as you see two pickles on the plate you know this is a sandwich. When marking a sandwich, this mayo packet and pickles means a sandwich with eggs. If a customer wanted the eggs on their sandwich to be scrambled instead of the standard over well egg, I’d move this mayo pack down to the bottom of the plate to show that the egg is scrambled.

That sounds pretty complicated and they’ve likely faced pressure to change the system over the years, but I bet it works really well in practice and cuts down on errors. I love stuff like this…seeing how different organizations manage their core processes, especially in non-conventional ways. See also Nightclub Hand Signals and The Quarryman’s Symphony. (thx, erik)

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Stile Antico, “Byrd: Mass for Four Voices - V. Agnus Dei”

Several years ago, I heard a performance from the group above while driving. I made a note of their name on my phone — Stile Antico — and later bought tickets to a concert they were having near where I lived at the time. I invited my boyfriend (also at the time), who made a point of letting me know in not so many words that he wasn’t into the music and didn’t really want to go. I think we were also fighting about something else, to be fair. Anyway, we went to the concert. But it didn’t have the magic that had captivated me on the radio, and I was too aware that my companion wasn’t enjoying himself, so we left at intermission. The group dropped off my radar until recently, but this performance of music by William Byrd, written more than 400 years ago, just blows me away (full album streaming here). I wish I had stayed for the second half of that show. I should have just been like, “You go home and let me enjoy my Renaissance music in peace!”

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The 15 Greatest Documentaries

A thoughtful video essay from The Cinema Cartography about 15 of film’s greatest documentaries, including The Thin Blue Line, Grizzly Man, The Act of Killing, Shoah, Hoop Dreams, and OJ: Made in America (my personal favorite).

I am not sure I agree with their #1 pick? But it’s been a loooong time since I saw it (in the theater when it came out, if you can believe it), so maybe it’s time for another viewing. (via open culture)

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On TV: ‘Free to Be… You and Me’

I didn’t know (or had somehow forgotten) that Marlo Thomas’s seminal children’s album Free to Be… You and Me (Spotify, Apple Music) was turned into a TV special that aired in 1974.

The basic concept was to encourage post-1960s gender neutrality, saluting values such as individuality, tolerance, and comfort with one’s identity. A major thematic message is that anyone — whether a boy or a girl — can achieve anything.

The TV show starred Thomas, Mel Brooks, Harry Belefonte, Dionne Warwick, Carol Channing, Michael Jackson, Dustin Hoffman, and many others. You can watch the whole thing (commercials included) on YouTube:

Times TV critic James Poniewozik wrote about the show for its 50th anniversary.

The opening sketch features Thomas and Mel Brooks as cue-ball-headed puppet babies in a hospital nursery, daffily trying to work out which of them is a boy and which is a girl — the Brooks baby declares himself a girl because he wants to be “a cocktail waitress” — and setting up the bigger themes of the special: What is a boy and what is a girl?

As newborns, they’re indistinguishable, just base line people - eyes, ears, hands, mouth. They haven’t yet been programmed with all the lessons about boy things and girl things, boy colors and girl colors, boy games and girl games. The rest of the special gives its young viewers a decoder ring for those messages, and permission to disregard them.

Take “Parents Are People,” a duet with Thomas and Harry Belafonte, which remains one of the most innocently radical things I’ve ever seen on TV. The lyrics explain that your mom and dad are just “people with children,” who have their own lives and a wide range of careers open to both of them.

Back in 2012, Dan Kois wrote a three-part series on the album.

Mel Brooks’ session was more eventful. Thomas had written to him that the album “would benefit the Ms. Foundation,” and when he came in the morning of his recording, he told her that he thought the material Reiner and Stone had written was funny but that he didn’t know what it had to do with multiple sclerosis. Once set straight about the MS in question, Brooks joined Thomas in the recording booth, where they would both play babies for the album’s first sketch, “Boy Meets Girl.”

“When I directed,” Alda recalls, “I would be meticulous and relentless. I would do a lot of takes. But Mel is not a guy who’s used to doing a lot of takes. He’s not used to taking direction from anybody — you know, he gives direction.” Alda didn’t love the first few takes of “Boy Meets Girl”; in the end it took, Alda remembers, 10 or 15 tries, with Brooks improvising madly all along the way. Rodgers was there that day to record “Ladies First,” and she still remembers standing in the control room laughing harder with each take. “Mel was generous,” Alda allows, “and he let me egg him on.”

We listened to Free to Be… quite a bit in the car when the kids were younger. Nice to see it pop up again.

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The Most Populous Cities in the World, From 3000 BCE to Today

I’ve always been a little fascinated by the list of the largest cities throughout history, so this animated version from Ollie Bye is right up my alley. While watching, it’s interesting to think about what makes cities grow large at specific times: a mixture of economics, demography, social movements, empire/colonialism, technology, and the like.

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Museum-Worthy?

This is a fun ad for the 2024 AICP Awards about the pitfalls of focus-grouping & corporatizing art, featuring an annoyed van Gogh (“How can a painting fail?”) and an even more annoyed Frida Kahlo. (via noah kalina)

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Cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit Sung in Classical Latin

This is so highbrow that it’s looped back around to being lowbrow: a cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit sung in classical Latin.

Sine lúce, angor minus

Oblectáte, nunc híc sumus

Mé sentió aeger, stultus

Oblectáte, nunc híc sumus

Barbarus, albínus, culex et, mea libídó

Hei! Hae, ha ha ha ha!

See also Bardcore: Medieval-Style Covers of Pop Songs. (via open culture)

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How the Great Green Wall Is Holding Back the Sahara Desert

The Great Green Wall being built in Africa to halt the southern progress of the Sahara Desert is a favorite public works project of mine — it’s massive, ambitious, long-term, important, and if it works, the effect will repay the cost many times over. This video takes a quick look at some of the work being done on the wall in Senegal.

See also The Circular, Drought-Resistant Gardens of Senegal.

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Beer Me, Obi-Wan!

When the Star Wars films aired in Chile, instead of cutting away from the movie for commercial breaks, the TV station “seamlessly” inserted ads for Cerveza Cristal beer. We’re talking Obi-Wan opening a chest to find a lightsaber for Luke and instead it reveals a ice-chest full of beer. Or the Emperor Force-reaching for a lightsaber and a can of beer flies into his hand. And of course the whole thing has turned into a meme.

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The Most Beautiful Shots in Movie History

From a YouTube channel called The Solomon Society, a pair of videos that some of the most beautiful shots in the history of film. When Denis Villeneuve emphasizes the important of image in film, these are the kinds of shots that he’s talking about.

Oh and in case you want to waste the rest of your day watching beautiful scenes from movies (no judgment here if you did): The Most Beautiful Shots in Film of the 21st Century, The Best Movie Shots of All Time, Some Amazing Shots from the Last Decade of Movies, The Most Beautiful Shots in Animation History, and The Most Beautiful Black and White Shots in Movie History. (via open culture)

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Visual Effects Oscar Nominees Go In-Depth On Their Work

I haven’t watched this yet, but it’s definitely in my queue: a recording of a livestreamed panel of all the visual effects nominees from this year’s Oscars, talking about their work on those films. I got this from Todd Vaziri, a visual effects artist at ILM, who says:

If you’re at all interested in visual effects, you gotta watch this Academy presentation that took place last weekend. It goes in-depth with all five nominees, and shows before/after material that hasn’t been seen publicly.

The meat of the program begins at around 24 minutes when they start showing visual effects reels from the nominated films (The Creator, Godzilla Minus One, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Napoleon), followed by a discussion with the members of the effects teams.

The Academy has several other nominee programs available on YouTube (including animated feature films & documentary feature films) and more to come in the next few days (including best picture and international feature films). What a trove of material for film lovers.

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The Paradox of an Infinite Universe

Is the universe finite or infinite? If finite, what shape is it and how does that shape influence its overall size and properties? If it’s infinite, what meaning of “expanding” can be applied to it? I don’t know if this video provides any satisfying answers, but even being able to ponder these questions is thrilling.

Infinity gets much weirder though. As you travel with your spaceship in a straight line, you find new galaxies, stars and planets, new wonders, new weird stuff, probably new aliens and new lifeforms stranger than you could ever imagine. But after a long time, you might find the most special thing in the universe: Yourself. An exact copy of you watching this video right now.

How can that be? Well, everything in existence is made of a finite amount of different particles. And a finite number of different particles can only be combined in a finite number of ways. That number may be so large that it feels like infinity to our brains — but it is not really. If you have finite options to build things, but infinite space that is full of things in all directions forever, then it makes sense that by pure chance, there will likely be repetition.

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