A hot August afternoon in 1982, three teens, and a BB gun--what could possibly go wrong?Read More
The principle of sexual selection, wrote naturalist Charles Darwin, deals with “the advantage which certain individuals have over others of the same sex and species solely in respect of reproduction.” A peacock’s tail, its marvelous length and iridescence sculpted by female choice, is the iconic example. Beetle horns, the elaborate nests of bower birds, and even the human brain, engine of art, music and speech, further illustrate the power of a positive feedback loop. The more refined a trait, the better suited to attracting mates shall a specimen be. Life, when not about brute struggle, becomes both beauty pageant and talent show.Read More
At their king’s behest, four grizzled blind men approach an unidentified object. He warns them that it has lain forgotten in an unforgiving place, and is a putrid, clammy thing. They nod, not daring to remind the king which sense they lack. Standing almost nine feet tall, the object forces each man to claim his own portion.
The first man, at the object’s rear, says, “It has a knobby trunk, out of which smooth, hollow tubes run. It must be a sculpture.” Caressing its top, the second man partially agrees. “A sculpture yes, but not an object. It is a soldier, wearing a large helmet, pocked and ridged with the scars of battle.” The third man, who’s been kneeling, waves a finger. “But it is long and jagged, like the skeleton of some legendary beast.” The king smiles. The fourth man does not. He has the misfortune of standing directly in front of the thing. Before he can speak, it wraps a pair of six-fingered claws around his head. The other men hear hissing before hot blood splashes them.Read More
Time-lapse photography is a miraculous thing. Like a superpower, it changes our relationship to the mundane, revealing life lived at a different pace. Desolate winter, for example, can become lush spring in seconds. Likewise, a teenager can age one day a second for four years (her hair tossing as if in a storm, the minutia of her life cascading across her bedroom walls).
When lovingly executed, time-lapse footage haunts and inspires. Details blur to give us impossible perspectives. Grander patterns and unconventional theories surface in the mind. No matter the subject, we see reflected the familiar elements of life. But what dances before us does so with a strange life of its own.Read More
In the back of our ninth grade class, you may or may not recall, there sat a silent, studious boy whom everyone ignored. He wasn’t chubby enough to bully. He didn’t have the acne to scatter female cliques. Even the teacher, busy with students who achieved things or had problems, left him be. Such invisibility worked in his favor. Devoted to fictitious worlds, he wrote and drew continuously. Socials and first kisses, trivialities compared with the act of creating, only wrinkled his nose. His imagination, however, intensified, as he learned to focus it through the noisy social web of the surrounding classroom.Read More
George R. R. Martin, screenwriter, editor and epic fantasist, has so far delivered four of the seven volumes planned in his sweeping A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Book five, A Dance with Dragons, has been eagerly anticipated by fans for at least three years now. Ideally, it will arrive in time for the Spring 2011 premiere of HBO’s television series based on Martin’s books.Read More