It’s been a good year for Alfred Hitchcock, what with Vertigo beating out Citizen Kane in the once-a-decade Greatest Movie of All Time poll conducted by Sight and Sound. At Full-Stop, Rachel Baron Singer takes a look at Hitchcock and The Girl, both of which examine “the dark side” of Hitchcock’s genius.
This fantastic essay from The Rumpus argues for the abandonment of realism in American fiction. Charles Finch wrote an essay for The Millions on the truce between realism and fabulism in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude that pairs quite nicely.
Wow, NPR, this is kind of amazing: "A non-stop mix of every song ever played during the 10 years of All Songs Considered."
In the late 1860s, James Crichton-Browne, director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum, gave Charles Darwin a collection of photographic portraits depicting the “afflicted and insane.” What followed was a six-year relationship in which both men corresponded about “the physical manifestations of natural selection.”
“I’m a total database nerd. In college I worked as a troubleshooter for a database of medical research, trying to predict and prevent mistakes in the data entry process to avoid screwing up the records. Is anything more satisfying than a successfully written query delivering precisely the required results? It’s so much more direct than writing fiction. A query either works or it doesn’t.” Steve Himmer’s Nervous Breakdown self-interview.
Cat's Cradle's Felix Hoenikker would be so proud: Stanford scientists have found a way to make a dense, extraterrestrial ice called Ice VII (via The Rumpus). See also: "2 B R 0 2 B", a "lost" Vonnegut story that first appeared in the sci-fi journal Worlds of If in January 1962.
At the Philadelphia Inquirer, neurologists look at cases where serious brain injury has actually brought about higher levels of creativity in artists, particularly where linguistic ability is harmed. “Language is the bully of the brain," [one neurologist] says. "It takes up its own space and if something else gets crowded out, too bad." (via Book Bench)