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19 Apr 17:43

Kurt Vonnegut Urges Young People to Make Art and “Make Your Soul Grow”

by Ayun Halliday

Art not only saves lives, it casts ripples, as Kurt Vonnegut surely knew when he replied—at length—to five New York City high school students who’d contacted him as part of a 2006 English assignment.  (The identities of the other authors selected for this honor are lost to time, but not one had the courtesy to respond except Vonnegut.)

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals [sic]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s kind wishes and Yoko Ono-esque prompt have been widely disseminated on the Internet, which is no doubt where students at Hove Park School in Brighton, East Sussex caught the scent. Working with a professional production company that specializes in narrative-driven work, they literalized  the assignment in the video above, and while I might have preferred a sneak peek at the poems and drawings such a task might yield, pre-shredding, I loved how they acknowledged that not everyone heeds the call. (The casting of that one could have gone either way…wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that that boy has a punk band that would’ve ripped Vonnegut’s ears off.)

via Kate Rix

Related Content:

Kurt Vonnegut Diagrams the Shape of All Stories in a Master’s Thesis Rejected by U. Chicago

“Wear Sunscreen”: The Story Behind the Commencement Speech That Kurt Vonnegut Never Gave

Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Tips on How to Write a Good Short Story

Kurt Vonnegut: Where Do I Get My Ideas From? My Disgust with Civilization

Ayun Halliday is spending tonight’s Night of Vonnegut in Los Angeles rather than her hometown of Indianapolis. So it goes. Follow her @AyunHalliday

Kurt Vonnegut Urges Young People to Make Art and “Make Your Soul Grow” is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Kurt Vonnegut Urges Young People to Make Art and “Make Your Soul Grow” appeared first on Open Culture.

21 Apr 17:04

keithcalder: This is a regression analysis of the correlation...

Courtney shared this story from Super Opinionated.


This is a regression analysis of the correlation between the Meta Critic score for all Paramount wide-release films from 2010-2014 and the percentage of overall domestic box-office that’s made up by the opening weekend gross. You can see that the polynomial trend equation matches the data pretty well by eye, and this is confirmed by the R^2 of 0.3695.

Basically this proves that the quality of a film has a pretty large impact on how well a film does after its initial weekend’s performance.

However, when you run a regression analysis comparing the opening weekend box-office with the Meta Critic score. There’s clearly no meaingful correlation at all.

These two exercises prove something that I’ve suspected for a while. The quality of a film has very little impact on its opening gross, but it has a pretty large impact on how well it will do over its whole life.

Personally, I find this refreshing. You can prove that quality does matter when it comes to the overall financial success of a film. It just doesn’t seem to matter opening weekend.

So what does this mean to the overall gross of a film? If a film opens to $20,000,000 opening weekend and has a 25% score on Meta Critic, then this model predicts the total gross of the film will be $46.51 million. If a film opens to $20,000,000 opening weekend and has a 75% score on Meta Critic, then this model predicts the total gross of the film will be $58.82 million. That’s a pretty significant difference!

13 Apr 04:43

Now You Know (Source)


Olha só Xiko, lembra q tinha isso na Verenice? Fomos finlandeses =|

13 Apr 21:31

Now You Know (Source)


Darwin e Friedman deram um high five

16 Apr 13:33


16 Apr 00:00

TL;DR Wikipedia

by Miss Cellania

If you think the articles in Wikipedia are too long to read, there’s a new Tumblr ready to enlighten you on all manner of subjects. TL;DR Wikipedia bills itself as “Wikipedia condensed for your pleasure.” It’s a hoot! Some of the entries are even funnier than these; I picked out a few that lacked objectionable language to show here. Otherwise the air conditioner entry would be at the top. My accountant would disagree about the last one, though, at least in my case. -via Metafilter

16 Apr 12:00

Wow Much Perspective


cachorro losk

Wow Much Perspective

Submitted by:

Tagged: doge , gifs
09 Apr 20:30


13 Apr 20:30


15 Apr 20:30


12 Apr 05:30

tonyfromstatefarm: Me participating in a group project.


Me participating in a group project.

16 Apr 17:27


16 Apr 14:52

a little decorum

by kris


hope everyone is having a blast today! but amid all the partying and celebrating, take a little time to remember what really happening — a bunch of money leaving your account, forever

i’m back from PAX east, thanks for your patience — i wanted to devote time to getting a full three broodhollows up because it was getting the short end of my stick for a while. but i’m back and ready to get some work done, right after i finish my citizenly duty!

and i have even more good news! chainsawsuit podcast episode 50 was live at PAX this weekend, and the audio is amazing. it’s one of our very best shows we’ve ever done, please check it out!!

11 Apr 04:00

Heartbleed Explanation

Are you still there, server? It's me, Margaret.
13 Apr 15:35

Why Isn’t Pluto a Planet?

by Jolene Creighton

Because Pluto doesn't play by your silly rules, that's why!!!

Image Credit: Minor Planet Center (MPC)

Image Credit:
Minor Planet Center (MPC)

A planet must meet a minimum size requirement in order to be classified as such. After all, that’s why Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet, right? Well, not exactly.

Pluto’s reclassification as a dwarf planet in 2006 was a source of much controversy. Pluto had been in the science books for years; millions of children grew up knowing it as the tiny ninth planet of our solar system. But, seemingly abruptly, the International Astronomical Union defined (or redefined) what it means to be a planet within our solar system. The verdict set forth on August 24th, 2006 was the end of a lengthy debate beginning in the late 1970s.

Some people were opposed to the new definition and some supported it, while a vast majority of people were impartial. The cause of much of the dismay for the people who supported Pluto’s status as a planet was the misconceived notion that Pluto was reclassified simply because it wasn’t large enough to make the cut. Mercury isn’t all that much larger than Pluto, so what’s the deal? Does the requirement just so happen to land right in the middle of Pluto and Mercury?

In reality, Pluto’s minute size had little to do with its reclassification. While there is a mass aspect to the IAU’s definition of a planet, Pluto fulfills it. According to the IAU, the three criterions that a celestial body must meet in order to be considered a planet are as follows:

1. The body must be in orbit of the sun.
2. The body must have sufficient mass to undertake hydrostatic equilibrium.
3. The body must have ‘cleared the neighborhood’ of its own orbit.

Pluto is, obviously, in orbit of the sun, and hydrostatic equilibrium means that the body assumes a nearly round shape, which Pluto does. Unfortunately for our icy friend, ‘clearing the neighborhood’ means that, in the final stages of planet formation, the body will have to become gravitationally dominant. This means that, besides its own satellites (and any other bodies under its gravitational influence), there are no celestial bodies that lie within the planet’s orbit. A large body that meets the other two criteria for classification as a planet, but has not cleared its neighborhood, is considered a ‘dwarf planet.’

Pluto is a part of a somewhat stable ring of objects located between 30 and 50 AU from the sun. This ring is known as the Kuiper belt. Pluto is the largest Kuiper belt object and shares many features with the comets. Unfortunately, because of its position in this band, Pluto shares its orbit with a number of other KBOs, disqualifying itself from classification as a planet. So while, yes, Pluto is incredibly small, that’s not why it lost its place as our ninth planet. Regardless, it still has a place in our solar system (and our hearts), making its way around the sun every 246 years. In fact, from its discovery in 1930 to its reclassification as a dwarf planet in 2006, Pluto made less than one-third of a revolution around the sun.

Poor Pluto.

13 Apr 14:58

Tumblr | 8a6.gif

08 Mar 04:20

Now You Know (Source)

11 Apr 23:49

Microsoft XP Bliss Wallpaper | 1e2.png

09 Apr 20:24

Cloud To Butt, A Google Chrome Web Browser Extension That Replaces ‘The Cloud’ With ‘My Butt’

by Rollin Bishop

I said what what?

Cloud to Butt Extension

Cloud To Butt is a Google Chrome web browser extension originally created by technology enthusiast Steven Frank that replaces instances of the phrase “the cloud” with “my butt” for comedic value. Cloud To Butt Plus, which is a fork of the original GitHub project, replaces “cloud” with “butt” in certain appropriate contexts in addition to the regular “the cloud” and “my butt” swaps.

image via Alex Pretzlav

via Ross Doran

12 Apr 16:00

Beyond Earth Takes Civilization to the Stars


Ahhh shit fudeu. Adeus vida.

Humanity’s childhood has ended, the cradle of Earth abandoned so that we can find ourselves among the stars. As its name suggests, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth leaves behind our collective past--which this long-running strategy series has so thoroughly documented--and turns its gaze skyward towards our future. Cast upon some unknown world, you will encounter alien life, push the limits of humanity, and inevitably come to blows with your fellow man over whose vision of the future is "correct." For fans of the 1999 classic Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, this game has been a long time coming, and for the Civilization development team, it’s a liberating experience to finally be free from the constraints of history.

"You could see the enthusiasm in the team when they heard about this project," said Lena Brenk, one of Beyond Earth’s lead producers. "It is a very liberating thing, as all the gameplay systems we designed for Civilization are done so with an eye towards, 'Does it fit with the history of humanity?' [Beyond Earth] has been a huge opportunity to go ahead and do things that would not be possible in a historic setting." I recently spoke to Brenk, along with other members of the development team, about the many changes this game brings to the Civilization formula, and how a game of Beyond Earth compares to a game of Sid Meier's Civilization V.

Earth is dying. Humanity must now find a new future for itself among the stars.

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth begins at the end. Due to some sort of global catastrophe, which the developers only referred to as "The Great Mistake," Earth is experiencing a mass exodus. The various factions of humanity are piling aboard starships and setting forth in search of a new home for their species. With each new game of Beyond Earth, you play the role of one of these desperate expeditions.

In Beyond Earth, not only do you choose your faction, but also which spacecraft to take, what cargo to carry, who to bring, and the type of planet you want to inhabit. Each choice will greatly impact the start of your game.

Before you land on a new planet and start shaping humanity’s destiny, you must first equip your expedition. Referred to as "the seeding," this is an expanded version of your civilization selection in previous games. In Beyond Earth, not only do you choose which faction (read: civilization) to play, but also which spacecraft to take, what cargo to carry, who to bring, and the type of planet you want to inhabit. Each selection you make will greatly impact the start of your game: you could carry high-quality cargo that grants additional funds up-front, for instance, or hard-working, production-oriented colonists who build structures faster. The Civilization series has always been about defining a strategy early on, and then adapting that strategy to accommodate whatever curveballs the game throws your way. These choices should give you greater control over how you define your opening gambit.

After the seeding, you make planetfall and establish your first human colony. It is also the only human colony. The next human player won’t arrive until much later. In the beginning, you are completely alone amid the wilderness. "What’s neat about it is the feeling you get from coming into this new place," said lead producer Dennis Shirk. "It’s not the same as in other Civilization games where you already know you’re on Earth, the only threat is the occasional barbarian, and you’re going to run into other civilizations--and if one of those is Genghis Khan or Montezuma you know what your game is going to be like! With Beyond Earth, it’s basically you versus the environment in the beginning."

And by "environment," Shirk of course means alien lifeforms. Depending on the planet, these lifeforms may be indifferent to your arrival, or hostile. You must decide how to deal with them, and in doing so the development team hopes the experience will feel more isolated, more alien, than in previous games. You are setting forth into the unknown reaches of space, after all. It could be 20 turns or more before you see another player make planetfall and introduce themselves, and another 15 turns after that until the next. And if you think these newcomers are going to be easy pickings just because they were late to the party, think again. Those who arrive after you receive an extra boost to help them catch up to your civilization.

After making planetfall, you are the only human colony. The next humans won’t arrive until much later. You're on your own against the wilderness.

When other players start showing up, it will most likely result in open warfare. It was at this point in the interview that I asked whether Beyond Earth would bring back unit stacking, or continue using the one-unit-per-hex rule introduced in Civilization V. According to lead designer David McDonough, Beyond Earth will not have military unit stacking. "I am a big fan of the way warfare was designed in Civilization V," McDonough added. "I thought it was very elegant and would make a good fit for this game as well considering we’ve added these alternate game layers--such as the orbital layer--which sort of let you break that rule by launching units into space and having them effect units on the ground without being stacked on top of them."

The orbital layer is the realm of satellites. These satellites can grant your civilization an economic, espionage, or military benefit, but their orbit will degrade over time.

The orbital layer is the realm of satellites. These can grant your faction an economic, espionage, or military benefit depending on the type of satellite launched. Satellites also project coverage across the orbital layer, and this coverage doesn't overlap with other satellites. Securing coverage works on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you’ll need to move fast. However, once you have a satellite in the air it is by no means permanent. Its orbit will degrade over time, and it will eventually crash on the planet below, sometimes leaving behind recoverable salvage. Satellites can also be pulled out of orbit (read: crashed) manually or shot down by other players.

The orbital layer may let players skirt around the one-military-unit-per-tile rule, but it doesn't solve a lingering problem this rule created in Civilization V and its expansions: the AI. While this rule did create some interesting new strategies for players, the game’s AI had trouble executing those same strategies with any consistency. As an example, I often saw the AI push its archers to the front line, ahead of their sword-wielding brothers in arms, only to get slaughtered. When asked about this, McDonough explained, "We've had the opportunity to do a great deal of work and learn from the successes that Civilization V had with its AI to make AI suited for [Beyond Earth]. We’re confident it’s going to do a great job. We’re working hard on it and the war simulations we’re running in our test games are already pretty crazy and fun."

That’s good to hear, since the battles in Beyond Earth aim to provide even more variety than in the series’ past. This is thanks in part to the game’s new affinity system, an overarching belief structure which impacts every aspect of your civilization. There are three different affinities in the game: purity, harmony, and supremacy. Harmony, for example, focuses on understanding and adapting to your alien planet’s ecosystem.

Taken to the extreme, this affinity will drive your people towards rewriting the human genome so that they can fully integrate themselves as an indigenous species of that world. You scientific research will focus on the alien sciences, geology, and genetic engineering, and your military units will become faster, heal quicker, and take on a Predator-esque appearance.

There are three different affinities--purity, harmony, and supremacy--which impact every aspect of your game, including wildlife hostility.

You strengthen your affinity by doing quests or finding objects from expedition sites or by researching certain technologies--affinity works on a global level from the very first turn to the very last. Everything you do in the game feeds into the affinity system, and that system in turn feeds back into the very makeup of your civilization.

The team at Firaxis has a new, non-linear technology tree for Beyond Earth. In fact, it’s not so much a tree as it is a web.

Because this system can take humanity in some wildly different directions, chances are you won’t need to be researching all the same technologies as the other players. Therefore, the team at Firaxis has a new, non-linear technology tree for Beyond Earth. In fact, it’s not so much a tree as it is a web. As McDonough described it, this web was one of the team’s "first, favorite, and most fundamental redesigns." Each player starts surrounded by a web of technologies, with the technologies closest to you being something recognizable in today’s world, like engineering. From there you move outward in any direction towards more exotic--but still plausible--technologies.

"We call these major technologies 'branch' technologies," he added. "Each branch technology has a number of leaf technologies underneath it, representing specific specializations of the main branch. These leaves are also associated with one of the three affinities. Gaining allegiance to an affinity begins the path towards a technology victory specific to that affinity. At no time are you ever locked out of researching any technology, but it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to research everything in the game. By the end of the game, you will have a set of technologies that tells a story of who you are, and who you were."

As McDonough mentioned, the game’s three affinities are closely tied to three of the five possible victory conditions. Of course, if you’re not willing to take your affinity to its conclusion, there are two other options available that are affinity-neutral. The five victory conditions are:

Harmony: awaken a semi-sentient super organism within the planet and reach a new level of consciousness
Purity: terraform the alien planet into a mirror of Earth and relocate Earth’s populace to this new Eden
Supremacy: embrace cybernetic augmentation, then return to Earth and "free" the people from their bodies
Contact: discover evidence of intelligent life and construct a means to establish first contact
Domination: actually, domination is the same as in every other Civilization

Three of the game's five victory conditions are tied to the three affinities. The other two are affinity neutral.

Since most of these victory conditions involve several steps, the developers have designed a new quest system to help guide players along. The quests are also where Beyond Earth delivers the bulk of its narrative. "Because we’re going into the future, it’s not as clear where humanity will end up," explained Brenk. "Players don’t know anything about it intuitively, so being able to give this narrative framework for the player to tell their story is really important to us. When the game is released, we want to go on the forums and read those awesome stories fans post about their game. We love that stuff."

Affinities. Non-linear research. Satellites. Armed with these new features and others, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth is much more than "Civilization in space" or "Alpha Centauri 2." "While Alpha Centauri is in our DNA," explained Shirk, "we also made those games many years ago. They’re games we love, and that our fans love, but we wanted to approach [Beyond Earth] in a completely fresh fashion. Both games share some similarities--they’re both sim games about sending humanity into space--but in terms of being a strategy game, they don’t have much in common. We set out to create a completely new game, and we think a lot of the comparisons between this game and Alpha Centauri will be left behind as people see all the thing that are coming into play that makes this a completely new experience."

09 Apr 16:40

robotindisguise: This church has to be as least… three times...


This church has to be as least… three times bigger than this.

09 Apr 10:00

Haha! Logic!


Solução, segundo Epictetus, Napoleao, pans

09 Apr 16:00

12 Mindwarping GIFs of Fruit And Vegetables Being Scanned By an MRI

12 Mindwarping GIFs of Fruit And Vegetables Being Scanned By an MRI

Andy Ellison uses an MRI to scan the insides of various fruits and vegetables which reveal some astounding images. Some look like alien organs, and psychedelic machines, all are delicious and nutritious. The list of GIFs is below.

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: corn , vegetables , list , gifs , food , MRI
09 Apr 14:47

Understanding Poetry

by Grant
Happy National Poetry Month! This comic was inspired by one of my favorite poems, "The New Poetry Handbook" by Mark Strand. This month on Incidental Comics, I'll be exploring the world of poetry. A place, as Marianne Moore famously said, of  "imaginary gardens with real toads in them."
06 Apr 08:18


by thehilariousblog

05 Apr 19:37


07 Apr 04:33



08 Apr 14:00



07 Apr 13:43

A vida…

by capcoruja

é como um Donut.

donuts parte 1

donuts parte 2

Donut é vida, gente.

07 Apr 17:29

Now You Know (Source)


Nao sei se nossa lei permite isso, mas daora! Inclusive eu faria vasectomia por uma garrafa de Gentleman Jack