A New Year’s Wish from Neil Gaiman

A few days ago, we gave you Neil Gaiman’s dark ani­mat­ed Christ­mas poem. Now, it’s time for his entire­ly upbeat New Year’s Bene­dic­tion, which has some per­fect words for any­one with a cre­ative urg­ing. This short video was record­ed in 2010 at Sym­pho­ny Hall in Boston. Best wish­es to all…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free Neil Gaiman Sto­ries

Neil Gaiman Gives Grad­u­ates 10 Essen­tial Tips for Work­ing in the Arts

Neil Gaiman Gives Sage Advice to Aspir­ing Artists

The Best of Open Culture 2010

That’s it. We’re putting a wrap on 2010. We’ll hit the ground run­ning again on Mon­day. But, until then, we leave you with a handy list of our favorite and most pop­u­lar posts from 2010, all ordered in a rather ran­dom way. If you crave a lit­tle more Open Cul­ture good­ies, you can always browse through our com­plete archive here, and fol­low us on Twit­terFace­book, and RSS. Hope you have a safe, hap­py and pros­per­ous New Year!

More to come Mon­day…

Stephen Hawking: Abandon Earth Or Face Extinction

As the year winds to a close, Big Think has pulled togeth­er a list of their Most Pop­u­lar Videos of 2010. Per­haps the biggest thinker on the list is Stephen Hawk­ing, the renowned the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist, who issues a stark warn­ing. “Our only chance of long term sur­vival, is not to remain inward look­ing on plan­et Earth, but to spread out into space.” Pop­u­la­tion growth, lim­it­ed resources, cli­mate change – these pres­sures could dri­ve the human race into extinc­tion with­in two cen­turies, and pos­si­bly even one. That makes space – plan­ets beyond our own – the next great fron­tier.

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The Beauty of Pixar

Ear­li­er this year, Lean­dro Cop­per­field spent days re-watch­ing the films of Quentin Taran­ti­no and the Coen broth­ers. Then, using 500+ scenes from 17 movies, he devel­oped a mon­tage trib­ute called Taran­ti­no vs Coen Broth­ers, which nice­ly com­ple­ments his oth­er short trib­ute, Kubrick vs Scors­ese. Now comes some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent – a mon­tage cel­e­brat­ing the films of Pixar Ani­ma­tion Stu­dios. This mashup brings togeth­er moments from 11 Pixar films made between 1995 and 2010, start­ing with Toy Sto­ry, mov­ing to Find­ing Nemo, Mon­sters, Inc and The Incred­i­bles, and end­ing with Toy Sto­ry 3. The Young Turks, Louis Arm­strong, Randy New­man and Peter Gar­briel pow­er the sound­track…

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Denis Dutton (RIP) Talks Beauty @ TED

Denis Dut­ton – the founder of Arts & Let­ters Dai­ly and phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Can­ter­bury in Christchurch, New Zealand – passed away today. He was 66 years old. In 2009, he wrote his most recent book, The Art Instinct: Beau­ty, Plea­sure, and Human Evo­lu­tion. Above, we have Dut­ton speak­ing at TED, elab­o­rat­ing on these themes in a great lit­tle talk called “A Dar­win­ian The­o­ry of Beau­ty.”

Orson Welles Narrates an Animated Parable Freedom River (1971)

More than 40 years (and sev­en pres­i­den­tial admin­is­tra­tions) have passed since Orson Welles nar­rat­ed Free­dom Riv­er. And although the ani­ma­tion shows some age, the para­ble, a com­men­tary on the role of wealth and race in Amer­i­ca, still res­onates today. Or, at least I sus­pect many view­ers will think so.

The back­sto­ry behind the film deserves a lit­tle men­tion. Accord­ing to Joseph Cavel­la, a writer for the film:

For sev­er­al years, Bosus­tow Pro­duc­tions had asked Orson Welles, then liv­ing in Paris, to nar­rate one of their films. He nev­er respond­ed. When I fin­ished the Free­dom Riv­er script, we sent it to him togeth­er with a portable reel to reel tape recorder and a siz­able check and crossed our fin­gers. He was either des­per­ate for mon­ey or (I would rather believe) some­thing in it touched him because two weeks lat­er we got the reel back with the nar­ra­tion word for word and we were on our way.

And now anoth­er Orson Welles bonus. Tonight, we stum­bled upon Welles’ 1937 radio drama­ti­za­tion of Vic­tor Hugo’s clas­sic nov­el, Les Mis­érables. You can stream/download record­ings at the Inter­net Archive, or find it list­ed in our Free Audio Books col­lec­tion. A pre­vi­ous Open Cul­ture post points you to oth­er vin­tage Welles radio record­ings (includ­ing his famous 1938 “War of the Worlds” broad­cast) right here.

For more free films, vis­it our mega list of Free Movies Online.

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. And if you want to make sure that our posts def­i­nite­ly appear in your Face­book news­feed, just fol­low these sim­ple steps.

Relat­ed Con­tent

Orson Welles Names His 10 Favorite Films: From Chaplin’s City Lights to Ford’s Stage­coach

Watch Orson Welles’ The Stranger Free Online, Where 1940s Film Noir Meets Real Hor­rors of WWII

Orson Welles Explains Why Igno­rance Was His Major “Gift” to Cit­i­zen Kane

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Robot Masters Rubik’s Cube in 15 Seconds

Where was this when I need­ed it 30 years ago? Two stu­dents at Rowan Uni­ver­si­ty, Zachary Grady and Joe Ridge­way, have con­struct­ed a robot­ic arm that can solve the Rubik’s Cube in 15 sec­onds. As The New Sci­en­tist explains, the “sys­tem uses a cam­era to cap­ture how the cube is scram­bled and sends the images to a com­put­er. It deter­mines the pat­tern on each face and algo­rithms are used to solve the cube. The solu­tion is then trans­lat­ed to the arm’s pneu­mat­ics and motors.” For more bril­liant robot tricks, you can watch robots shoot archery, lead the Detroit Sym­pho­ny orches­tra, and even make eth­i­cal deci­sions

The Rosetta Stone: A Quick Primer

No doubt about it, the dis­cov­ery of the Roset­ta Stone in 1799 ranks as one of the great­est archae­o­log­i­cal dis­cov­er­ies. One slab of stone deci­phered Egypt­ian hiero­glyphs and demys­ti­fied the his­to­ry of Ancient Egypt. Now, we had a win­dow into the real his­to­ry of Ancient Egypt, not the imag­ined one. The sto­ry behind the Roset­ta Stone gets nice­ly told here by Beth Har­ris (Direc­tor of Dig­i­tal Learn­ing at MoMA) and Steven Zuck­er (chair of His­to­ry of Art and Design at Pratt Insti­tute), as part of their series of Smarthis­to­ry videos. The British Muse­um, which hous­es the famous arti­fact, has more on the Roset­ta Stone.

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