It's You Tube's 17th Most Viewed Video of All Time, and the 4th Most Liked, "Somebody That I Used to Know," sung principally by Wouter "Wally" De Backer, also known as "Gotye," who took his clothes off and got a paintjob from designer Emma Hack.
We'll start in a cornfield — we'll call it an Iowa cornfield in late summer — on a beautiful day. The corn is high. The air is shimmering. There's just one thing missing — and it's a big thing...
This is your brain making things up.
What you see isn't really there.
Even if I tell you "this isn't what you think," you'll think it anyway -- until I make a simple move, and suddenly -- you know.
I'm giving thanks in two ways today, first for things that have lasted, persisted (and here's hoping they keep on going), and second -- for change; for our ability to create beauty in new ways. So I'm saying thank you for what's old and what's new.
There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.
If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That's how we'll know when we've learned something: when we've mastered the technical words.
I didn't know what to make of this when I saw it. I live in Manhattan, in a city where people bike, take buses, subways, trains, live and work in towers where they share elevators, share water, share electricity. I thought my town is setting the example for energy-efficient, communal living. And then, the guy who runs the place, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, releases a study — including (see below) a shocking video — that says, you think New York is great on energy? You think that? Well, check this out...
You walk into a room. There are people there, cars outside, dogs, phones ring, the radio is on, somebody coughs; it's the pleasant blur of a busy world, until something, someone catches your attention. Then you lean in, the other sounds fade back, and you focus. That's how listening works -- for most of us.
It was 1569, or maybe early 1570, when it happened: A young French gentleman was out for a ride with his workers, all of them on horseback, when suddenly, "like a thunderbolt," he felt something thick and fleshy slam him from behind. (It was an overzealous, galloping assistant who couldn't stop in time.) Michel de Montaigne's horse crumbled, he went flying up, then down, he crashed to the ground. Then things went black.
I'm going to take you somewhere, but before I do, I should warn you that there's something not quite right about what you'll see. This place I'm going to show you will be astonishingly beautiful. It will be cold. It will be wet. But it will also be a touch -- more than a touch -- mysterious. So watch carefully.
Surgically, this will be complicated. Mathematically, it will be elegant. What we are going to do is take an ordinary bagel, and rather than cut it in half, we are going to turn it, delicately, into two intertwining, interlocked bagel parts, connected, unbroken, one twisting through one the other. In other words, a Mobius bagel.
When a species gets rare, its market value rises. The higher its price, the more it's hunted. The more it's hunted, the rarer it gets. Not a happy cycle, and this keeps happening ...
Illustration by NPR