Ian Kuijt, my archaeologist friend and colleague here at Notre Dame, pointed out this You Tube clip of the comic Eddie Izzard taking on Stonehenge. Very funny!
For those of you wanting to know more about the actual site, here’s the Wikipedia Stonehenge link. Britannia also has some good short coverage that focuses on the construction of the henge.
Eternal Idol discusses recent claims that Stonehenge was a site of religious healing, while remote central covers the emerging evidence that Stonehenge was used as a burial site. And for some actual digging, see the Stonehenge Riverside Project.
You can’t get much more cultural than this–the hours of effort, the level of expertise, the amount of geekdom. It just wouldn’t play anywhere else.
I found out about this through “Some Guy Went and Built a Sentry Gun” which provides some much needed cultural context, including 134 comments.
Ah, Stephen Colbert with his Word. This very funny and, as always, deadpan accurate video came up at the Critical Neurosciences conference I just attended in Montreal. Kelly McKinney, in her talk about the pop phenomenon of the Teen Brain (see PBS and Time), deserves all the credit for finding it!
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Here’s the transcript of this segment as well as the NY Times article Colbert mentions.
Update: Mind Hacks has provided a good discussion of “psychopharmaparenting”, in particular the alarming rise in the use of antipsychotics and Ritalin with children (often just to pacify them). As Vaughan writes, “The official line is that these drugs are the last resort, because behavioural interventions – specific programmes that teach parents to manage children’s behaviour in a more effective way – are remarkably effective with a large evidence base to back them up.”
This video really struck me, just the patterns of life and all that jazz.
The hattip goes to Ionian Enchantment, who has a thing for both ants and geckos. At Ionian Enchantment, Michael has also linked to a Carl Zimmer video on the evolution of mind and asked, Who’s the greatest modern thinker?
Spore is a new game coming out this fall and recently a creature creator was released to show off a bit of the game. Given that this is a game more or less about evolution, with male and female creatures, it did not take long until “Sporn” hit the Internet.
I’ve pasted the “nature video” in all its glory below, so please take that into account before playing it. I found it very funny–ah, the things people put their minds to–but I wouldn’t show it to my kids. The tagline for the game goes, “Starting with single-cell organisms, players work on designing life with ever more complexity.” Or designing it right into the gutters… The hattip goes to Greg Laden.
Our own Greg adds: Warning: Video contains graphic scenes of pink-skinned animated aliens mating, including growling, circling hearts, and funky dance moves. Please don’t click if you are without a sense of humor.
Improv Everywhere pulled off a great social experiment, a couple hundred people freezing all at once for five minutes in the main terminal of New York’s Grand Central Terminal. Here’s the video:
People’s reactions show public culture in action, backed up by the commentary on the making and enactment of the video at Improv Everywhere. I thought this was striking, of how the volunteers both took the mission on and brought their own creativity to it:
It was fun to see all the different choices people made for their frozen moment. I didn’t give any instructions in advance. I just told everyone to be doing something realistic and not jokey. One guy dropped an entire briefcase full of papers the second before he froze, leaving his papers scattered before him for five minutes. Many froze midway through eating or drinking. A few froze while taking off a jacket. One couple froze kissing.
At the Improv post, you can see lots more video on particular scenes, so plenty of great real-live data on a real-life experiment. And there are other “missions” like making a little league game the “best game ever” and The Moebius, where seven agents got stuck in a time loop at a Starbucks.