Watch Andrei Tarkovsky’s Films Free Online: Stalker, The Mirror & Andrei Rublev

The stench of Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine shouldn’t taint everything Russian, especially some of its finest cinema. So we’ll give you this heads up: Mosfilm, the largest and oldest film studio in Russia, has posted several major films by Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986), on its official YouTube channel. Above, you can watch Stalker, which we’ve covered amply here on Open Culture. Below, stream The Mirror, Andrei Rublev, and Ivan’s Childhood. Stream other Mosfilm movies here.

The Mirror

Andrei Rublev

Ivan’s Childhood

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Coca-Cola Was Originally Sold as an Intellectual Stimulant & Medicine: The Unlikely Story of the Iconic Soft Drink’s Invention

We all know that sweetened, carbonated soft drinks have effects on those who drink them. The most conspicuous, among especially avid consumers, include obesity and its associated health troubles. This, fair to say, was not the intention of John Stith Pemberton, the Georgia pharmacist who in the 1880s came up with the drink that would become Coca-Cola. In that era, writes’s Kat Eschner, “people overwhelmed by industrialization and urbanization as well as the holdover of the Civil War and other social changes struggled to gain purchase, turning to patent medicines for cures that doctors couldn’t provide.” And it was in a patent medicine, one of the countless many dubiously ballyhooed in the nineteenth century, that Coca-Cola first appeared.

Injured in the Civil War, Pemberton developed a morphine addiction for which he fruitlessly sought treatment. But then he got word of a new substance with the potential to cure his “morphinism”: cocaine.  At the time, cocaine was an ingredient in a wine-based beverage enjoyed by Parisians called Vin Mariani.

“It actually made people feel great, and it was sold as medicine,” writes Eschner. “Combining cocaine and alcohol produces another chemical more potent than what’s normally found in cocaine, enhancing the high.” Adapting Vin Mariani for his own local market, Pemberton introduced what he called “French Wine Coca”: a treatment, as he promoted it, for everything from dyspepsia to neurasthenia to constipation, as well as a “most wonderful invigorator of the sexual organs.”

Coca-Cola carries many associations today, few of them having to do with the life of the mind. Yet it was to upper-class intellectuals, their minds disordered by the rapid development of nineteenth-century America, that Pemberton promoted his invention. It would be called “a valuable Brain Tonic, and a cure for all nervous affections.” Its supposed mental benefits became the main selling point in 1886, when temperance laws in Atlanta prompted a re-engineering of the formula. Even the non-alcoholic version contained “the valuable TONIC and NERVE STIMULANT properties of the Coca plant and Cola nuts,” as advertisements put it, but in the early decades of the twentieth century (long after Pemberton’s death in 1888, by which time he’d sold off his rights to the drink), the Coca-Cola Company phased that ingredient out. If it weren’t illegal, a cocaine-fortified soft drink would now benefit from the retro appeal of the eighties — the eighteen-eighties and nineteen-eighties alike.

Related content:

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“Soda/Pop/Coke,” A Creative Visual Remix of Harvard’s Famous 2003 Survey of American Dialects

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“The Virtues of Coffee” Explained in 1690 Ad: The Cure for Lethargy, Scurvy, Dropsy, Gout & More

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Hear The Beatles’ Abbey Road with Only Paul McCartney’s Bass: You Won’t Believe How Good It Sounds

In addition to playing the beating human heart on the Beatles’ glorious swan song Abbey Road, Paul McCartney’s bass provides melodic accompaniment, harmony, counterpoint, emphasis… and sometimes it just sings a little tune up and down the neck, the sort of thing a bass player can turn into needless showboating in rock and roll.

That’s not at all the case on “Something,” where McCartney runs, slides, and bounces through the guitar solo, a moment when a support player might conserve his musical energy…. McCartney totally goes for it, as he does on every song, Fender amps pushed into overdrive through Abbey Road Studio’s famous compressors.

Go on… put your LP on the Hi-Fi and listen to the way he swings on “Oh! Darling,” how he anchors “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” so heavily he almost makes Ringo’s bass drum redundant (but it isn’t), how he bounces through Ringo’s “Octopus’s Garden” with an exaggerated music hall lilt, then, in the bridge, obliquely turns the song into an almost fuzzed-out rocker.

Do I even need to mention “Come Together”….? Do we need to talk about Side 2?

“Ngl,” writes Reddit commenter karensellscoke on the site’s “Loudest and Most In-Tune Community of Bassists,” r/Bass. “I’ve been sleeping on Paul for a bit and calling him overrated and a ‘dad’ bassist but I think this may have changed my tune.”

By this, our commenter refers not to Abbey Road proper, but to the isolated bass tracks of the entire album, just above (with plenty of microphone bleed from the rest of the band). I don’t know what a dad bassist is, but I agree with the sentiment, “These are some well crafted basslines executed with personality.”

Paul plays with a feeling rarely heard on modern recordings. Much is due to his guitar-like playing style. Much is due to the absolutely distinctive tone he achieved on the instrument. And much is due to the technical limitations of recording at the time.

“The limitations of Beatles-era technology were substantial,” writes Justin Lancy at The Atlantic, “and they forced a commitment to creative choices at earlier stages of the recording process.” No infinite number of takes as in our digital audio workstation times. Paradoxically, in the right hands, at least — most especially those of the white lab coat-clad technicians at Abbey Road — lower tech made for better recordings.

When you listen to recordings from a generation or two ago… you often hear all sorts of rough edges: large dynamic transitions between loud and quiet, the sounds of oversaturated tape and tubes, instruments bleeding together. Chunked notes. Vocals that are out of pitch. Drums that drift in and out of time. Mistakes. Lots of mistakes.

Do you hear McCartney’s mistakes? Surely he did. “It was because artists were stuck with the mistakes they made that they sometimes decided to embrace them.” This explains why another r/Bass commenter found the isolated bass tracks “inspiringly sloppy…. There’s a great roughness that’s absent today.” Musical_bear describes being “blown away” on “Oh! Darling” by “how sloppy the isolated bass is…. Things I’ve never noticed before, like a random power chord starting verse 2 I think, and even some botched/missing notes completely… but it all somehow sits great in the final mix.” (Read legendary recording engineer Geoff Emerick’s track by track analysis of how he helped make all that happen here.)

We feel every note of McCartney’s playing, instead of just admiring its precision or whatever. “I listened to this entire thing in one sitting, just his bass,” writes a converted karensellscoke (recalling the adage that there are Beatles fans and there are people who just haven’t heard enough Beatles), “and loved it.”

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

Watch Sir Ian McKellen’s 1979 Master Class on Macbeth’s Final Monologue

If only we could have had a teacher as insightful as Sir Ian McKellen explain some Shakespeare to us at an impressionable age.

Above, a 38-year-old McKellen breaks down Macbeth’s famous final soliloquy as part of a 1978 master class in Acting Shakespeare.

He makes it clear early on that relying on Iambic pentameter to convey the meaning of the verse will not cut it.

Instead, he calls upon actors to apply the power of their intellect to every line, analyzing metaphors and imagery, while also noting punctuation, word choice, and of course, the events leading up to the speech.

In this way, he says, “the actor is the playwright and the character simultaneously.”

McKellen was, at the time, deeply immersed in Macbeth, playing the title role opposite Judi Dench in a bare bones Royal Shakespeare Company production that opened in the company’s Stratford studio before transferring to the West End. As McKellen recalled in a longer meditation on the trickiness of staging this particular tragedy:

It was beautifully done on the cheap in The Other Place, the old tin hut along from the main theatre. John Napier‘s entire set cost £200 and the costumes were a ragbag of second-hand clothes. My uniform jacket had buttons embossed with ‘Birmingham Fire Service’; my long, leather coat didn’t fit, nor did Banquo‘s so we had to wear them slung over the shoulder; Judi Dench, as Lady Macbeth, wore a dyed tea-towel on her head. Somehow it was magic: and black magic, too. A priest used to sit on the front row, whenever he could scrounge a ticket, holding out his crucifix to protect the cast from the evil we were raising.

The New York Times raved about the production, declaring McKellen “the best equipped British actor of his generations:”

Mr. McKellen’s Macbeth is witty; not merely the horror but the absurdity of his actions strikes him from the outset, and he can regard his downfall as an inexorable joke. His wife pulls him along a road that he would travel anyway and he can allow himself scruples, knowing that she will be there to mop them up. Once her prosaic, limited ambition is achieved, she is of no more use to him and he shrugs her off; “she would have died hereafter” is a moment of exasperation that dares our laughter.

What fuels him most is envy, reaching incredulously forward (“The seed of Banquo kings?”) and backward to color the despair of “Duncan is in his grave.” The words, and the mind behind them, are rancid, and it is this mood that takes possession of his last scenes. Everything disgusts him, and his only reason for fighting to the death is that the thought of subjection is the most disgusting of all.

McKellen begins his examination of the text by noting how “she would have died hereafter” sets up the final soliloquy’s preoccupation with time, and its passage.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

McKellen makes a true meal of  “out, out, brief candle”,  relating it to Lady Macbeth’s final appearance, the fools proceeding to their dusty death earlier in the monologue, and Elizabethan stage lighting.

He speculates that Shakespeare’s description of life as a “poor player” was a deliberate attempt by the playwright to give the actor an interpretive hook they could relate to. In performance, the theatrical metaphor should remind the audience that they’re watching a pretense even as they’re invested in the character’s fate.

The production’s success inspired director Trevor Nunn to film it. McKellen recalled that everyone was already so well acquainted with the material, it took just two weeks to get it in the can:

The claustrophobia of the stage production was exactly captured. Trevor had used a similar technique with Antony and Cleopatra on the box. No one else should ever be allowed to televise Shakespeare…There is so much I was proud of: discovering how to play a soliloquy direct into the eyes of everyone in the audience; making them laugh at Macbeth’s gallows humor; working alongside Judi Dench’s finest performance.

For more expert advice from McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Ben Kingsley and other notables, watch the RSC’s 9-part Playing Shakespeare series here.

– Ayun Halliday is the Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine and creator, most recently of Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Dracula Daily: Get the Classic Novel Dracula Delivered to Your Email Inbox, in Small Chunks

On Substack, starting on May 3 and ending on November 7, Studio Kirkland is running a project called Daily Dracula, where you can get Dracula delivered to your email inbox, in small chunks. They write:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is an epistolary novel – it’s made up of letters, diaries, telegrams, newspaper clippings – and every part of it has a date. The whole story happens between May 3 and November 10. So: Dracula Daily will post a newsletter each day that something happens to the characters, in the same timeline that it happens to them.

Sign up here.

via Boing Boing

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Jon Kabat-Zinn Presents an Introduction to Mindfulness (and Explains Why Our Lives Just Might Depend on It)

The practice of cultivating mindfulness through meditation first took root in Europe and the U.S. in the 1960s, when Buddhist teachers from Japan, Tibet, Vietnam, and elsewhere left home, often under great duress, and taught Western students hungry for alternative forms of spirituality. Though popularized by countercultural figures like Alan Watts and Allen Ginsberg, the practice didn’t seem at first like it might reach those who seemed to need it most — stressed out denizens of the corporate world and military industrial complex who hadn’t changed their consciousness with mind-altering drugs, or left the culture to become monastics.

Then professor of medicine Jon Kabat-Zinn came along, stripped away religious and new age contexts, and began redesigning mindfulness for the masses in 1979 with his mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program. Now everyone knows, or thinks they know, what mindfulness is. As meditation teacher Lokadhi Lloyd tells The Guardian, Kabat-Zinn is “Mr Mindfulness in relation to our secular strand. Without him, I don’t think mindfulness would have risen to the prominence it has.”

His secularization of mindfulness, however, has not, in practical terms, taken it very far from its roots, which explains why Kabat-Zinn’s groundbreaking 1990 book Full Catastrophe Living receives high praise from Buddhist teachers like Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzburg, and Kabat-Zinn’s own former Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh.

While Kabat-Zinn says he himself is not (or is no longer) a Buddhist, his definitions of mindfulness might sound just close enough to those who study and practice the religion. As he says in the short segment at the top: “It’s paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” And then, “sometimes,” he says, “I like to add, as if your life depended on it.” The quality of our lives, the clarity of our lives, and the depth and richness of our lives depend on our ability to be aware of what’s happening around and inside us. This ability, Kabat-Zinn insists, is the inheritance of all human beings. It can be found in spiritual practices around the world. No one owns a patent on awareness.

Nevertheless, Kabat-Zinn is particularly leery of what he calls McMindfulness, the commodity-driven industry selling coloring books, apps, puzzles, t-shirts, and novelties touting mindful benefits. Mindfulness based stress reduction is “not a trick,” he says. It isn’t something we buy and try out here and there. “MBSR is exceedingly challenging,” Kabat-Zinn writes in Full Catastrophe Living. “In many ways, being in the present moment with a spacious orientation toward what is happening may really be the hardest work in the world for us humans. At the same time, it is also infinitely doable.” It can also be highly unpleasant, forcing us to sit with the things we’d rather ignore about ourselves. Why should we do it? We might consider the alternatives.

MBSR began (“in the basement of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center,” notes NPR) helping patients with chronic pain recover. It proved so effective, Kabat-Zinn applied the insight more globally — “using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness.” This is not a cure-all, but a way of living that reduces unnecessary suffering caused by overactive discursive thinking, which traps us in patterns of blame, shame, fear, regret, judgment, and self-criticism (illustrated in Scottish psychologist R.D. Laing’s book of neurotic narratives, Knots) — traps us, that is, in stories about the past and future, which affect our physical and mental health, our work, and our relationships.

The medical evidence for mindfulness has only begun to catch up with Kabat-Zinn’s work, yet it weighs heavily on the side of the outcomes he has seen for over 40 years. MBSR also comes highly recommended by Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar and trauma expert Bessel Van Der Kok, among so many others who have done the research. The evidence is why, as you can see in the longer presentations above at Dartmouth and Google, Kabat-Zinn has become something of an evangelist for mindfulness. “If this is another fad, I don’t want to have any part of it,” he says. “If in the past 50 years I had found something more meaningful, more healing, more transformative and with more potential social impact, I would be doing that.”

As Kabat-Zinn’s 2005 book, Wherever You Go, There You Are, shows, we can bring what happens in meditation into our everyday life, letting assumptions go, and “letting life become both the meditation teacher and the practice, moment by moment, no matter what arises,” he tells Mindful magazine. This isn’t about escaping into blissed out moments of Zen. It’s fostering “deep connections,” over and over again, with ourselves, families, friends, communities, the planet we live on, and, in turn, “the future that we’re bequeathing to our future generations.”

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

An Online Archive of Beautiful, Early 20th Century Japanese Postcards

The world thinks of Japan as having transformed itself utterly after its defeat in the Second World War. And indeed it did, into what by the nineteen-eighties looked like a gleaming, technology-saturated condition of ultra-modernity. But the standard version of modernity, as conceived of in the early 20th century with its trains, telephones, and electricity, came to Japan long before the war did. “Between 1900 and 1940, Japan was transformed into an international, industrial, and urban society,” writes Museum of Fine Arts Boston curator Anne Nishimura Morse. “Postcards — both a fresh form of visual expression and an important means of advertising — reveal much about the dramatically changing values of Japanese society at the time.”

These words come from the introductory text to the MFA’s 2004 exhibition “Art of the Japanese Postcard,” curated from an archive you can visit online today. (The MFA has also published it in book form.) You can browse the vintage Japanese postcards in the MFA’s digital collections in themed sections like architecture, women, advertising, New Year’s, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau.

These represent only a tiny fraction of the postcards produced in Japan in the first decades of the twentieth century, when that new medium “quickly replaced the traditional woodblock print as the favored tableau for contemporary Japanese images. Hundreds of millions of postcards were produced to meet the demands of a public eager to acquire pictures of their rapidly modernizing nation.”

The earliest Japanese postcards “were distributed by the government in connection with the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), to promote the war effort. Almost immediately, however, many of Japan’s leading artists — attracted by the informality and intimacy of the postcard medium — began to create stunning designs.” The work of these artists is collected in a dedicated section of the online archive, where you’ll find postcards by the commercial graphic-design pioneer Suguira Hisui; the French-educated, highly Western-influenced Asai Chi; the multitalented Ota Saburo, known as the illustrator of Kawabata Yasunari’s The Scarlet Gang of Asakusa; and Nakazawa Hiromitsu, creator of the “diver girl” long well-known among Japanese-art collectors.

Surprisingly, Nakazawa’s diver girl (also known as the “mermaid,” but most correctly as “Heroine Matsuzake” of a popular play at the time) seems not to have been among the possessions of cosmetics billionaire and art collector Leonard A. Lauder, who donated more than 20,000 Japanese selections from his vast postcard collection to the MFA. “In 1938 or ’39, a boy of five or six, or maybe seven, was so enthralled by the beauty of a postcard of the Empire State Building that he took his entire five-cent allowance and bought five of them,” writes the New Yorker‘s Judith H. Dobrzynski. The youngster thrilling to the paper image of a skyscraper was, of course, Lauder — who couldn’t have known how much, in that moment, he had in common with the equally modernity-intoxicated people on the other side of the world.

via Flashbak

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Revisit Morphine, the 90s Power Trio Who Played the Two-String Bass, Saxophone & Drums

No 90s band flew as low under that radar as Cambridge, Massachusetts three-piece Morphine. Too odd for nostalgia radio, not commercial enough to pop up on a big-time modern soundtrack, Morphine either means nothing to you or, if you were in the right place at the right time, everything.

YouTube channel Rock n’ Roll True Stories would like more people to discover Morphine and their introduction video does an adequate job of stitching together interview quotes, band pics, and some daffy stock photography. The only thing missing: actual examples of their music. We’ll get to that in just a bit.

Morphine were somewhere between a rock band and a jazz trio. Led by Mark Sandman, the group consisted of drummers Jerome Deupree or Billy Conway, and saxophonist Dana Colley, with Sandman’s two-string bass front and center. “In a pop universe where every singer, guitarist, and keyboardist instinctively goes to a higher note to attract attention,” wrote the Washington Post at the time, “Morphine stays hunkered down low.”

Live, Sandman mostly kept to his bass, but on their five albums, he also included homemade instruments like the “tritar,” consisting of two guitar strings and a bass string. He also added piano and keyboards to the mix. Colley sometimes played two saxes at once, or he switched out his main baritone for soprano, tenor, or bass saxophones.

After their first indie release Good in 1992, Rykodisc signed the band. But Morphine remained as resolutely anti-commercial as they could, turning down offers to license their songs for commercials. (Ryko, however, could license their music for TV and movies without the band’s approval.) “You Look Like Rain” was a college radio “hit”; “Buena” was the single release. There’s a bit of Tom Waits or Nick Cave in his voice; a bit of be-bop by way of Twin Peaks in the music. It’s a formula they tweaked, altered, and perfected. Their critical apex came with the album Cure for Pain in 1993, but each successive album sold more units. The label Dreamworks took over from Ryko, but Sandman felt they were pushing the band to be something they were not, a “new Beck” or a sound beyond the trio of instruments. But they didn’t falter and remained true to themselves.

Instead, the band ended when Sandman suffered a heart attack on stage in 1999, possibly due to stress and the oppressive heat of the venue itself. Their fifth and final album The Night was released posthumously. The surviving members have formed a few Morphine-adjacent bands since, as well as starting a scholarship in Sandman’s name.

Ryko recently re-released their early discography on vinyl with bonus tracks, so a new generation is poised to discover Morphine, look around and wonder, who else knows about this band? That’s how it starts.

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Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

A Whirlwind Architectural Tour of the New York Public Library–“Hidden Details” and All

The New York Public Library opened in 1911, an age of magnificence in American city-building. Eighteen years before that, writes architect-historian Witold Rybczynski, “Chicago’s Columbian Exposition provided a real and well-publicized demonstration of how the unruly American downtown could be tamed though a partnership of classical architecture, urban landscaping, and heroic public art.” Modeled after Europe’s urban civilization, the “White City” built on the ground of the Columbian Exposition inspired a generation of American architects and planners including John Nolen, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and John Carrère, co-designer of the New York Public Library.

Carrère appears in the Architectural Digest tour video of the NYPL building above — or at least his bust does, prominently placed as it is on the landing of one of the grand staircases leading up from the main entrance. The staircases are marble, as is much of else; when the NYPL opened after nine years of construction, so the tour’s narration informs us, it did so as the largest marble-clad structure in the country.

On the soundtrack we have not just one guide, but three: NYPL visitor volunteer program manager Keith Glutting, design historian Judith Gura, and architectural historian Paul Ranogajec. Together they tell the story of this venerable American building, and also point out the “hidden details” that a visitor might not otherwise notice.

Take the terrace on which the whole building stands, a feature of the European villa and palace tradition. Or the murals depicting the history of the written word from Moses’ stone tablets on down. Or the pneumatic tubes, artifacts of the analog information-technology system in use before the NYPL computerized in the nineteen-seventies. Or the rendering of the world in the library’s formidable map room that mistakenly depicts California as an island (not that every New Yorker would disagree). The video also includes other, even lesser-seen wonders both old and new, from a 1455 Gutenberg Bible — the first in the New World — to the automated trolley system that brings books out of the stacks. But it is the building itself that inspires wonder, its extravagant solidity and detail that hark back to a time of consensus, however brief, that nothing was too good for ordinary people.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

Why Do Oreos Never Come Apart Evenly?: MIT Researchers Build an “Oreometer” to Find the Answer

Despite having been around for well over a century, the Oreo cookie has managed to retain certain mysteries. Why, for example, does it never come apart evenly? Though different Oreo-eaters prefer different methods of Oreo-eating, an especially popular approach to the world’s most popular cookie involves twisting it open before consumption. That action produces two separate chocolate wafers, but as even kindergarteners know from long and frustrating experience, the crème filling sticks only to one side. It seems that no manual technique, no matter how advanced, can split the contents of an Oreo close to evenly, and only recently have a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sought an explanation.

This endeavor necessitated an investigation of the Oreo’s rheology — the study of the flow of matter, especially liquids but also “soft solids” like crème filling. Like all scientific research, it involved intensive experimentation, and even the invention of a new measurement device: in this case, a simple 3D-printable “Oreometer” (seen in animated action above) that uses pennies and rubber bands.

With it the researchers applied “applied varying degrees of torque and angular rotation, noting the values that successfully twisted each cookie apart,” writes MIT News‘ Jennifer Chu. “In all, the team went through about 20 boxes of Oreos, including regular, Double Stuf, and Mega Stuf levels of filling, and regular, dark chocolate, and ‘golden’ wafer flavors. Surprisingly, they found that no matter the amount of cream filling or flavor, the cream almost always separated onto one wafer.”

Crystal Owens, a mechanical engineering PhD candidate working on this project, puts this down in large part to how Oreos are made. “Videos of the manufacturing process show that they put the first wafer down, then dispense a ball of cream onto that wafer before putting the second wafer on top. Apparently that little time delay may make the cream stick better to the first wafer.” But other physical factors also bear on the phenomenon as well, as documented in the paper Owens and her collaborators published earlier this year in the journal Physics of Fluid. “We introduce Oreology (/ɔriːˈɒlədʒi/), from the Nabisco Oreo for “cookie” and the Greek rheo logia for ‘flow study,’ as the study of the flow and fracture of sandwich cookies,” they write in its abstract. For a scientifically inclined youngster, one could hardly imagine a more compelling field.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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.

Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Greatest Architect? –A Free Streaming Documentary

From Timeline comes a free streaming documentary called Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Greatest Architect?: 

Frank Lloyd Wright is America’s greatest ever architect. But few people know about the Welsh roots that shaped his life and world-famous buildings. Now, leading Welsh architect Jonathan Adams sets off across America to explore Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces for himself. Along the way, he uncovers the tempestuous life story of the man behind them, and the secrets of his radical Welsh background . In a career spanning seven decades, Frank Lloyd Wright built over 500 buildings, and changed the face of modern architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright: America’s Greatest Architect? will be added to our list of Free Documentaries, a subset of our collection 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, Documentaries & More.

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