I recently happened upon this book, which promises to be a truly fascinating read - This Is Your Brain on Music - The Science of a Human Obsession, by Daniel J. Levitin:
Whether you load your iPod with Bach or Bono, music has a significant role in your life - even if you never realized it. Why does music evoke such powerful moods? The answers are at last becoming clear, thanks to revolutionary neuroscience and the emerging field of evolutionary psychology. Levitin unravels a host of mysteries that affect everything from pop culture to our understanding of human nature, including:
Are our musical preferences shaped in utero?
Is there a cutoff point for acquiring new tastes in music?
What do PET scans and MRIs reveal about the brain's response to music?
Is musical pleasure different from other kinds of pleasure?
This Is Your Brain on Music explores cultures in which singing is considered an essential human function, patients who have a rare disorder that prevents them from making sense of music, and scientists studying why two people may not have the same definition of pitch. At every turn, this provocative work unlocks deep secrets about how nature and nurture forge a uniquely human obsession.
You might, of course, wonder what the author actually understands about what makes music.. so, I had a peek at his bio on Wikipedia:
Within cognitive psychology, he has published articles on absolute pitch and music cognition and perception. He has worked as a producer and sound designer on albums by Blue Öyster Cult, Chris Isaak, and Joe Satriani; as a consultant to Stevie Wonder and Steely Dan; and as a recording engineer for Santana and The Grateful Dead. Records and CDs to which he has contributed have sold in excess of 30 million copies. [...]
Levitin has worked on and off as a stand-up comedian and joke writer, performing at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco with Robin Williams in 1984, and at comedy clubs in California; he placed second in the National Lampoon stand-up comedy competition regionals in San Francisco in 1989, and has contributed jokes to Jay Leno, Arsenio Hall, as well as the nationally syndicated comic strip Bizarro, some of which were included in the 2006 compilation "Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro"
Now there's a life. ^_^
Quite a nice piece of casting news: Thomas Sangster, whom some will recognise from Human Nature/The Family of Blood, has landed the lead role in the forthcoming live action Tintin movies.
A pleasantly silly feature on consumerist polling, posing questions like "What brand would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?" No huge surprises, with various top global names making their way into different top five choices for each scenario. The selections for which brand they'd like to resurrect are mildly interesting, with Atari coming in at number three, and "none" at number one.
You may well have come across The Video Game Name Generator before; but as otter3 discovered, someone's been running a contest to actually create Flash games based on titles tossed out by it. =:D Fancy Narcoleptic Soccer Rush, Enraged Rocket House, Extreme Bedtime: the Next Generation, or Furry Punching Nitro?