A Vinyl Record Spins So Fast That It Shatters Into 50,000 Pieces

Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy, otherwise known as "The Slow Mo Guys," took a vinyl record and spun it so fast that it shattered into roughly 50,000 pieces--give or take a few. Thanks to a Phantom v2640 camera, you can watch things disintegrate in slow motion, at about 12,500 frames per second. In a previous episode recorded several years ago, Free and Gruchy pushed a CD to its physical limits. You can watch that here.

via Laughing Squid

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Newly Unearthed Footage Shows Albert Einstein Driving a Flying Car (1931)

During his lifetime, Albert Einstein apparently never learned to drive a car--something that also held true for Vladimir Nabokov, Ray Bradbury, Elizabeth Bishop, and Jack Kerouac. But he did manage to experience the thrill of getting behind the wheel, at least once. Above, watch a newly-discovered home movie of Einstein and his second wife, Elsa, visiting the Warner Bros. soundstage on February 3, 1931. The following day, The New York Times published this report:

Professor Einstein was surprised tonight into loud and long laughter.

Hollywood demonstrated its principles of "relativity," how it makes things seem what they are not, by use of a dilapidated motor car.

At the First National studio, German technicians persuaded Professor Einstein to change his mind about not being photographed and photographed him in the old car with Frau Elsa, his wife. He cannot drive a car.

Tonight the German technicians brought the film to the Einstein bungalow. The lights went out.

Then the ancient automobile appeared on the screen with Einstein at the wheel, driving Frau Elsa on a sight-seeing tour.

Down Broadway, Los Angeles they drove, then to the beaches. Suddenly the car rose like an airplane, and as Einstein took one hand from the wheel to point out the scenery, the Rocky Mountains appeared below. Then the car landed on familiar soil and the drive continued through Germany.

It was just a Hollywood trick of double exposure and a thrilling comedy, but not for the public. The master film was destroyed, and the only copy was given to the Einsteins.

That one surviving copy of the film eventually ended up in the archives at Lincoln Center, where it sat unnoticed for decades, until Becca Bender, an archivist, stumbled up on it last year. And fortunately now we can all enjoy that light moment shot so long ago.

To learn more about the discovery of the 1931 film, watch the video below. Or read this article over at From the Grapevine.

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Come on Down to David Byrne’s Giant Suit Emporium: We’re Burning Down the House with Savings!

A funny bit of comedy that accompanied David Byrne's recent visit to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he performed 'Everybody's Coming To My House,' the lead track off of his new album American Utopia. Pick up the album. Catch one of his concerts this summer. And don't miss his new uplifting web site, Reasons to Be Cheerful.

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via @dark_shark

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A Big Archive of Occult Recordings: Historic Audio Lets You Hear Trances, Paranormal Music, Glossolalia & Other Strange Sounds (1905-2007)

Aleister Crowley in ceremonial garb, 1912, via Wikimedia Commons

We've all had our wits scared out of us by films, images, and the written word, but somehow few forms work their haunting magic quite so effectively as sound alone. Think of the snap of the twig in the woods or the creak of the staircase in the empty house — or, to take it farther, the sound of possessed children speaking in tongues. You can hear recordings of that and other unusual phenomena at Ubuweb, which hosts the collection Occult Voices – Paranormal Music, Recordings of Unseen Intelligences 1905-2007.

The eerie recordings on offer include "audio documents of paranormal phenomena including trance speech, direct voices, clairvoyance, xenoglossy, glossolia including ethnological material, paranormal music, 'rappings' and other poltergeist manifestations as well as so-called 'Electronic voice phenomena.'"




A rich mixture indeed, and one that begins with those possessed kids, all of them recorded in the post-Exorcist late 1970s and early 80s; you can hear the eight-year-old "Janet" sounding not unlike the devil-filled Linda Blair in the recording embedded above.

Later we hear from mediums like Britain's famed Leslie Flint, one of the last of his kind to ostensibly speak directly in the voices of the channeled deceased, including figures as accomplished and distinctive as Oscar Wilde in 1975 (above), Charlotte Brontë in 1973, and Winston Churchill in 1980.

The collection also contains the voice of Arthur Ford, who made his name as a medium by claiming to have made contact with the spirit of Harry Houdini. In the clip above, you can hear five minutes of Ford's final Houdini séance, conducted in 1936.

No collection of occult materials would be complete, of course, without something from Aleister Crowley, surely the most famous occultist in modern history, and one known in his time as "the wickedest man in the world." Just above we have Crowley reciting "The Call of the First Aethyr," a piece of occult poetry he recorded in a 1920 session that produced the only known recordings of his voice.

Though Crowley, like many of the other spiritualists captured here, hailed from Britain, much of the material in the collection comes from Germany, especially the kind of paranormal music heard just above. But no matter where in the world these recordings were made, and whether or not you believe in the existence of other realms beyond that world, describing any of the recordings gathered here will leave you grasping for any adjective besides otherworldly.

Enter the archive of Occult Voices here.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The “True” Story Of How Brian Eno Invented Ambient Music

Or maybe it didn't actually happen that way...

To learn more about Eno's Oblique Strategies, see our archived post: Jump Start Your Creative Process with Brian Eno’s “Oblique Strategies” Deck of Cards (1975).

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Introducing the Librarian Action Figure: The Caped Crusader Who Fights Against Anti-Intellectualism, Ignorance & Censorship Everywhere

We've featured action figures that pay tribute to some cultural icons like Edvard Munch, Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo. But now comes a new action figure that honors a less appreciated cultural force--all of the great librarians, those crusaders for the printed and electronic word, who "keep it all organized for us and let us know about the best of it." Standing almost four inches tall and made of hard vinyl, the librarian action figure is based on Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl. She has "a removable cape that symbolizes how much of a hero a librarian really is." The action figure should come in handy in your own fights again anti-intellectualism, censorship and ignorance. Enjoy!

via Boing Boing

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What Happens When a Cat Watches Hitchcock’s Psycho

Let's suspend disbelief for a moment and watch Hitchcock give new meaning to "scaredy cat." Enjoy.

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.

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