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The Minecraft Generation

It’s a world of trial and error and constant discovery, stuffed with byzantine secrets, obscure text commands and hidden recipes. And it runs completely counter to most modern computing trends. Where companies like Apple and Microsoft and Google want our computers to be easy to manipulate — designing point-and-click interfaces under the assumption that it’s best to conceal from the average user how the computer works — Minecraft encourages kids…

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Photos inspired by Wuthering Heights

A photographer blogged about taking photos inspired by Wuthering Heights. Note please the dark clouds and the wall of rain looming in on us…. We were racing against the impending drenching, and chuckling at the comments from a family of climbers “oh how beautiful! I think they just got married!” We had to break the spell and tell them sadly it was just a photoshoot lol. —Kat Roberts – Stargirlphotography…

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Annoyed and Bored by Anachronisms in The Great Gatsby Movie

I just watched the recent Great Gatsby movie. I didn’t care for the use of modern hip-hop music, though I can accept it as a director’s choice to appeal to modern audiences — like the added narration about the stock market and prohibition. But with all the money they put into the costumes and the CGI camera effects (swooping across the bay between Gatsby’s pier and Daisy’s green light, like…

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The Boat (Graphic Novel)

My mother had a cousin who served in Viet Nam. In the late 70s, he brought dozens of Vietnamese refugees to America, and one summer there were 30-40 Vietnamese men and boys living in my house, sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder on the floor of our rec room, as Cousin Jim worked out places for them to stay, and eventually started up a furniture business to help them earn a living. As a…

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Museum of Endangered Sounds

Imagine a world where we never again hear the symphonic startup of a Windows 95 machine. Imagine generations of children unacquainted with the chattering of angels lodged deep within the recesses of an old cathode ray tube TV. And when the entire world has adopted devices with sleek, silent touch interfaces, where will we turn for the sound of fingers striking QWERTY keypads? Tell me that. And tell me: Who…

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from “The Poet” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses. For, though the origin of most of our words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius, and obtained currency, because for the moment it symbolized the world to the first speaker and to the hearer. The etymologist finds the…

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Video Game about Cancer and Grief

On my list for the next time I teach “Video Game Culture and Theory.” The “extra life” was a fixture of early video games, a reward for skilled players that was imbued with the language of reincarnation. Players would not say they earned additional time to play, or a bonus turn, upon reaching a certain score. They were bestowed an extra life, a new chance at existence. Death is not…