Quarantined Family Re-Creates Journey’s “Separate Ways” Video Shot-by-Shot

The Heller family writes: "Solitary confinement does strange things to the best of us and this quarantine was really having an effect. My wife texted me and said, 'we need to remake a music video.' I thought that sounded like a lot of work, but her persistence paid off and here we are. Enjoy!"

via BoingBoing

Pachelbel’s Canon Played by Train Horns

Because we all need a mental health break these days. Couple it with a version played on a rubber chicken when you're done...

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via Kottke

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Jeremy Bentham’s Mummified Body Is Still on Display–Much Like Other Aging British Rock Stars

Plato’s ideal of philosopher-kings seems more unlikely by the day, but most modern readers of The Republic don't see his state as an improvement, with its rigid caste system and state control over childbearing and rearing. Plato’s Socrates did not love democracy, though he did argue that men and women (those of the guardian class, at least) should receive an equal education. So too did many prominent European political philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries, who had at least as much influence on world affairs as Plato did on Athens, for better and worse.

One such thinker, Jeremy Bentham, is often remembered as the inventor of the panopticon, a dystopian prison design that makes inmates internalize their own surveillance, believing they could be watched at any time by unseen eyes. Made infamous by Michel Foucault in the mid-20th century, the proposal was first intended as humane reform, consistent with the tenets of Bentham’s philosophical innovation, Utilitarianism, often associated with his most famous disciple, John Stuart Mill.




Bentham may also have been one of the most progressive secular philosophers of any age—espousing full political rights for everyone—by which he actually meant everyone, not only European landowning men. “In his own time,” writes Faramerz Dabhoiwala at The Guardian, Bentham “was celebrated around the globe. Countless practical efforts at social and political reform drew inspiration from him. […] He was made an honorary citizen of revolutionary France, while the Guatemalan leader José del Valle acclaimed him as ‘the legislator of the world.’ Never before or since has the English-speaking world produced a more politically engaged and internationally influential thinker across such a broad range of subjects.”

Bentham took the role seriously, though there may be the seeds of a morbid practical joke in his last philosophical act.

As he lay dying in the spring of 1832, the great philosopher Jeremy Bentham left detailed directions for the preservation of his corpse. First, it was to be publicly dissected in front of an invited audience. Then, the preserved head and skeleton were to be reassembled, clothed, and displayed ‘in the attitude in which I am sitting when engaged in thought and writing.’ His desire to be preserved forever was a political statement. As the foremost secular thinker of his time, he wanted to use his body, as he had his mind, to defy religious superstitions and advance real, scientific knowledge. Almost 200 years later, Bentham's 'auto-icon' still sits, staring off into space, in the cloisters of University College London.

His full-body parody of saints' relics doesn’t just sit in London, in the “appropriate box or case” he specified in his instructions. It has also sat in its box in cities across England, Germany, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Not unlike an aging British rock star,” writes Isaac Schultz at Atlas Obscura, “the older he gets, the more tours he seems to go on. Sometimes Bentham’s severed, mummified head," with its terrifying, unblinking glass eyes, "accompanies the rest of him.” Sometimes it doesn’t.

The head, which was supposed to have been kept atop the fully dressed skeleton, was mishandled and damaged in the creation of the “auto-icon” and replaced by a wax replica (surely an accident and not a way to mitigate the creepiness). What did Bentham mean by all of this? And what is an “auto-icon”? Though it sounds like the sort of inscrutable prank Salvador Dali might have played at the end, Bentham described the idea straightforwardly in his pamphlet Auto-Icon; or, Farther Uses of the Dead to the Living. The philosopher, says Hannah Cornish, science curator at the University College London, genuinely “thought it’d catch on.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

In his short, final work of moral philosophy, Bentham shows that, like Plato, he didn’t quite get the point of making art, advancing a theory that becoming one’s own icon would eliminate the need for paintings, statues, and the like, since “identity is preferable to similitude” (to the extent that a mummified corpse is identical to a living person). Other utilitarian reasons include benefits to science, reduced public health risks, and creating “agreeable associations with death.”

Also, in what must have been intended with at least some undercurrent of humor, he asked that his remains “occasionally be brought into meetings involving his still-living friends,” writes Schultz, “so that what’s left of Bentham might enjoy their company.”

Learn more about Bentham’s “auto-icon” in the Atlas Obscura videos here, including the video further up showing how a team of professionals packed up and moved the whole macabre assemblage to its new home across the University of London campus. And read an even more detailed description, with several photographs, of how the oldest partially mummified British rock star philosopher travels, here.

via Atlas Obscura

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

Military Vet Floored (Literally) by Discovery That Rolex Purchased for $341 Is Now Worth $500,000-$700,000

Now you know what knock me down with a feather means...

Cy Kuckenbaker’s Time Collapse Videos Let You See Daily Life As You’ve Never Seen It Before

There are apps to track the number of daily minutes you habitually fritter away on social media, but can your smartphone help you get a handle on the automotive color preferences of midday San Diego drivers?

Or the number of planes landing at San Diego International Airport on the day after Thanksgiving?

Or, for that matter, the traffic patterns of non-professional surfers hoping to catch a wave at at Point Loma?

No, but filmmaker Cy Kuckenbaker can.




His "time collapse” videos stemmed from a desire to get to know the city in which he lives with the same vigor he brought to bear as a Peace Corps volunteer in his 20s, exploring Iraq, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

This impulse might lead others to join a club, take a class, or check out restaurants in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

For Kuckenbaker, it means setting up his camera for a fixed shot, uncertain if his experiment will even work, then spending hours and hours in the editing room, removing the time between events without altering the speed of his subjects.

It’s a form that requires a lot of patience on the part of its creator.

He estimates that he spent 2 hours editing for every second of Midday Traffic Time Collapsed and Reorganized by Color: San Diego Study #3, above, providing him ample time to listen to the following audiobooks (get your free Audible trial here):

Revolution 1989 by Victor Sebestyen

How Music Works by David Byrne

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

1493 by Charles Mann

1491 by Charles Mann

With the Old Breed by E. Sledge

The Emperor of Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Each car was keyed out of the original shot, then ranked and reinserted based on color. 28 of the raw footage’s 462 didn’t make the cut due to erratic shape or movement. See if you can spot them in the extremely ordinary-looking original footage, below. Extra credit for spotting the empty Gatorade bottle that made it into every frame of the compression:

His studies may not reveal much about his home city to the average tourist, but Kuckenbaker himself is able to interpret the numbers in ways that go beyond mere quantity and averages, such as San Diegans’ apparent vehicular color preference:

Nationally, red is a more popular color than blue. But not San Diego. San Diego, there’s more blue than red, so it’s like, you know, an outlier. And I thought about that for a while and it’s like, personally, the way I understand the city, that makes sense to me. The sort of tone of the city, the attitude of the city—it’s an ocean city. I can see why people would think, “Well, I live in San Diego. Why would I have a red… I want a blue car!”

His Point Loma compression boiled an hour's surfing down to 2 minutes and 15 seconds that KPBS’ David Wagner heralded as “a surfer's wildest dream come true, a fantasy break where perfect waves roll in one after another like clockwork, no lulls in between.”

The raw footage and Kuckenbaker’s documentation of the After Effects technique used to composite the waves speaks to a slightly more tedious reality. No word on what audio books got him through this one, though he goes into the technical specs and quotes Joseph Conrad on his blog.

The compression of the nearly 70 arriving Black Friday flights that kicked off Kuckenbaker’s San Diego-based time collapses in 2012 feels a bit martial, especially if Ride of the Valkyries just happens to be playing in the background. It makes me worry for San Diego, and also wish for a Kuckenbaker to come collapse time in my town.

See more of Cy Kuckenbaker’s Time Collapse videos here.

via Twisted Sifter

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inkyzine.  Join her in NYC on Monday, September 9 for another season of her book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

The New David Bowie Barbie Doll Released to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of “Space Oddity”

This week Open Culture commemorated the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" by exploring the song's relationship to the Apollo 11 moon landing and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mattel, they handled things a little differently, releasing a new David Bowie Barbie Doll. Here's their spiel:

  • In the definitive celebration of two pop culture icons, Barbie honors the ultimate pop chameleon, English singer, songwriter and actor, David Bowie.
  • This collectible Barbie doll wears the metallic Ziggy Stardust ‘space suit’ with red and blue stripes, flared shoulders and Bowie’s signature cherry-red platform boots.
  • Special details include bold makeup -- featuring the famed astral sphere forehead icon -- and a hairstyle inspired by Bowie’s fiery-red locks.
  • Specially designed packaging makes Barbie David Bowie the ultimate collector’s item for Bowie and Barbie fans alike.
  • Honor David Bowie’s extraordinary talent and undeniable influence with Barbie David Bowie doll.

You can purchase it online.

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What Advice Would You Give Your Younger Self?: What Research Shows, and What You Have to Say

Photo of Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy via Wikimedia Commons

Almost everyone has advice they’d gladly give their younger self, so much so that Clemson University psychology professor Robin Kowalski and doctoral student Annie McCord, were moved to initiate a systematic study of it.

The first of its kind, this study compiled the responses of more than 400 participants over 30, whose hypothetical younger self's average age was 18.

The study’s data was culled from a survey conducted over Amazon’s crowdsourcing marketplace, MTurk. Respondents spent 45 minutes or so answering hypothetical questions online, receiving $3 for their efforts.




Money-grubbing, data-skewing shirkers were held at bay by question 36.

(Play along at home after the fact here.)

Kowalski and McCord’s findings, published in the bimonthly academic Journal of Social Psychology, echo many recurrent themes in their other survey of the same demographic, this one having to do with regret—the one that got away, blown educational opportunities, money squandered, and risks not taken.

Personality and situation figure in, of course, but overwhelmingly, the crowd-sourced advice takes aim at the fateful choices (or non-choices) of youth.

Some common pieces of advice include:

  • “Be kinder to yourself.”
  • “Always know your worth.”
  • “The world is bigger than you think it is and your worries aren't as important as you think they are, just be you.”
  • “Don't worry if you look different, or feel you look different, from most other people. There is much more to you than what others see on the surface.”
  • “Don’t get so caught up in the difficulties of the moment since they are only temporary.”
  • “Don’t dwell on the past. Just because it was that way doesn’t mean it will be that way again.”

There’s not much research to suggest how receptive the participants’ younger selves would have been to these unsolicited pearls of wisdom, but 65.7% of respondents report that they have implemented some changes as a result of taking Kowalksi and McCord’s survey.

Dr. Kowalski, who’s come to believe her “laser-focused on school” younger self would have benefited from some intervals of rose-smelling, writes that the better-late-than-never approach “can facilitate well-being and bring us more in line with the person that we would like to be should we follow that advice.”

If you want to double down, share your advice with children, preferably your own.

And for those who can’t rest easy til they’ve compared themselves with Oprah Winfrey:

Be relaxed

Stop being afraid

Everything will be alright

No surprise there.

READERS—WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELVES? Add your advice to the comments section below. (The author’s is somewhat unprintable…)

For inspiration, see the Advice to My Younger Self Survey Questions here and the related survey dealing with regret here.

via Big Think

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Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inkyzine.  Her monthly installment book-based variety show, Necromancers of the Public Domain, will resume in the fall. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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