Summary of “To See What the Upcoming Year Holds, Take a Solo Walk in a Dark Forest”

Årsgång is the Swedish tradition of a solitary, night-time walk in the forest.
While rituals like circling the house three times counterclockwise with a porridge scepter before eating Christmas dinner were supposed to provide a limited glimpse of things to come, the year walker had the potential to learn not only his own fate but that of the entire village.
The walk took place on New Year’s Eve or another winter holiday, when Europeans believed dark forces and supernatural beings were active and the dead mingled with the living.
The year walk may be accompanied by supernatural creatures.
“One of the rats slipped on the ice and fell on his back while farting so loudly that it could be heard across the whole parish. At that moment, the year walker burst into laughter, and the vision disappeared, which meant his quest was for naught.”
The walker might gain information about marriage, the harvest, the possibility of war, or if there will be fires, but the most common information was about who was going to die in the upcoming year.
Although the ritual mostly died out a century ago, there is a modern option for people who don’t want to trespass on church property: The Year Walk video game released by Simogo in 2013.
After Simogo’s Year Walk was released, Tarestad says he saw people writing about going on a modern-day year walk on social media.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The cult books that lost their cool”

What exactly defines a cult book? Its qualities are subjective, often intangible and niche, though we all know one when we see it.
Underexamined, feature of the cult book is this: in contrast to the examples above, it can sometimes age really badly.
Don’t rush to empty your home of anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ at the behest of a book that may yet turn out to be our own era’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
As with so many books on this list, its flaws have been magnified by the passage of time.
A few years back, a spate of books and films inspired only a flicker of revived interest in his legacy.
In 2013, the book was updated for the era of internet dating and sexting, but it still seems positively Victorian in the context of a cultural marker like Lena Dunham’s Girls.
Yes, Jonathan Livingston Seagull really is a seagull, but he’s a seagull with aspirations, a non-conformist who yearns to soar above the flock and up into the heavens, just as the book itself conquered the bestseller charts back in the day.
The hero worship has rendered books like Infinite Jest – whose physical heft makes it big enough to be used as a weapon – symbols of ‘bro-lit’.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Video games can bring older family members’ personal history back to life”

My fellow game designers and I refer to it as “Gaminiscing” – using the tools of video games to share personal history.
In general, few video games portray older characters accurately.
The game is a walking simulator, a popular genre of video games in which players trigger stories by exploring 3D environments.
Other games have emerged that take on more expansive historical topics, though still using very personal experiences.
In particular, for my qualitative work, I met a number of older adults who deliberately sought out games that would meaningfully contribute to their interest in the post-World War II era.
An 82-year-old Belgian man told me, “I barely remember the Second World War but I was a child back then. What I remember is extremely vivid, though. The lights, the bombings, the noise. Airplanes flying over our house and being shot down. I can still see it. It was an adventure, and I relive that adventure by playing games about it.”
Another Belgian man, aged 62, explained, “I recently went to Normandy; it is amazing to visit places in games that you can later on visit in real life. You have never been there but you know the place from the game. They can be so realistic.”
One parent told me, “They’re going to play video games regardless, so it’s great that they’re drawn to something educational.” Another parent who said his child was on the autism spectrum and had trouble concentrating in school praised “Brukel” for its ability to engage with his son.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Neil Gaiman on the Good Kind of Trolls”

Our sacred mysteries become myths become folktales, and Frost Giants and gods become trolls and heroes.
Our sacred mysteries become myths become folktales, and Frost Giants and gods become trolls and heroes, given enough time.
In a translation as crystalline and pellucid as the waters of the fjords, Tiina Nunnally takes the stories that Asbjørnsen and Moe collected from the people of rural Norway, translates them, and gives them to us afresh.
Each story feels honed, as if it were recently collected from a storyteller who knew how to tell it and who had, in turn, heard it from someone who knew how to tell it.
There are a great many sensible people in these stories.
There’s an ease and a community I love, as well as a way with stories.
You will meet youngest sons and foolish farmers, clever women and lost princesses, adventurers and fools, just as in any collection of folk stories from anywhere in Northern Europe.
The Norwegian Folktales come with trolls, and if Asbjørnsen and Moe did not see them, as Kittelsen did, then they got their stories from people who had, people who had seen the trolls walking in the mist at dawn.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Good Guy/Bad Guy Myth”

Then the nature of a bad guy is that he does things a good guy would never do.
Virtually all our mass-culture narratives based on folklore have the same structure: good guys battle bad guys for the moral future of society.
Stories from an oral tradition never have anything like a modern good guy or bad guy in them, despite their reputation for being moralising.
Once the idea of national values entered our storytelling, the peculiar moral physics underlying the phenomenon of good guys versus bad guys has been remarkably consistent.
Another peculiarity in the moral physics of good guys versus bad is that bad guys have no loyalty and routinely punish their own; whether it’s the Sheriff of Nottingham starving his own people or Darth Vader killing his subordinates, bad guys are cavalier with human life, and they rebuke their allies for petty transgressions.
Good guys work with rogues, oddballs and ex-bad guys, plus their battles often hinge on someone who was treated badly by the bad guys crossing over and becoming a good guy.
Stories about good guys and bad guys that are implicitly moral – in the sense that they invest an individual’s entire social identity in him not changing his mind about a moral issue – perversely end up discouraging any moral deliberation.
Watching Wonder Woman at the end of the 2017 movie give a speech about preemptively forgiving ‘humanity’ for all the inevitable offences of the Second World War, I was reminded yet again that stories of good guys and bad guys actively make a virtue of letting the home team in a conflict get away with any expedient atrocity.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Custodians of a Ghostly Campus Legacy”

The door guarding Croft Chapter House, the circular room at the southwest corner of University College, is still scarred by the heavy blow.
We ascended to the first floor and headed to the Croft Chapter House, or the roundhouse, the building whose chimney flue is adorned by Reznikoff and Diabolos’ carved likenesses, whose door carries the mark of the big man’s maul.
We didn’t turn our investigation on its head for a moment to recount the story of the custodian ghost of Hart House, a building connected to University College on the east side by a structure called Soldiers’ Tower.
Our investigation led to Hart House when we were shown a locked, ornately painted steel door, hidden behind a locked wooden door, in the basement of University College.
According to custodial lore, behind that locked door there is a tunnel to Hart House.
Hart House houses, among other things, the Hart House Theatre.
Hart House Theatre, as Paul tells the story, had been in the care of a custodian named Burt in the 1950s.
Paul began working in Hart House in 1981, and was the production manager at Hart House Theatre in the late 1990s.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 100 best films of the 21st century”

Hugh Grant recently called this the best film in which he’s ever been involved – and he might well be right.
A beautiful, strange dream of a film, Italian director Alice Rohrwacher’s drama looks at first as if it’s set sometime in the dim and distant, a portrait of villagers exploited by feudal oppression.
The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw ranked The Incredibles as Pixar’s best ever film, the jewel in the crown.
A knockout blow for the lazy, patronising stereotype that Germans don’t have a sense of humour, Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann is one of the funniest films to hit cinemas in years.
Who is the double-crosser? Depending on your tastes, a candidate for sexiest film of the century.
Kelly Reichardt is a master of slow cinema, the maker of films about American outsiders, living without a safety net.
Probably most Wes Anderson-y of Wes Anderson’s films and certainly his finest, with a to-die-for cast and the best fur coat in the history of cinema.
“To ache?” Few films try to answer: this Fabergé egg of a film does.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Some People Take Breakups Harder Than Others”

It’s a question that often plagues people after a painful break-up: What went wrong? As they work to figure out the answer, people typically create new relationship stories, analyzing the events leading up to the breakup and using them to build a cohesive narrative.
My colleague Carol Dweck and I research why some people are haunted by the ghosts of their romantic past, while others seem to move on from failed relationships with minimal difficulty.
In one study, Dweck and I asked people to reflect on a time when they were rejected in a romantic context, and then write about the question: What did you take away from this rejection? For some people, their answers made it clear that the rejection had come to define them-they assumed that their former partners had discovered something truly undesirable about them.
One person wrote: “Things were going well when all of a sudden he stopped talking to me. I have no idea why, but I think he saw that I was too clingy and this scared him away.” Another said: “I learned that I am too sensitive and that I push people away to avoid them pushing me away first. This characteristic is negative and makes people crazy and drives them away.”
A healthy behavior can become an unhealthy one when people take it too far and begin to question their own basic worth.
People reported becoming more guarded with new partners and “Putting up walls.” One study participant wrote: “I feel like I constantly withhold myself in possible future relationships in fear of being rejected again.” The belief that rejection revealed a flaw prompted people to worry that this defect would resurface in other relationships.
One person wrote, “Sometimes girls are not interested. It’s nothing to do with yourself, it’s just that they’re not interested.” Another noted how rejection wasn’t a reflection of worth: “I learned that two people can both be quality individuals, but that doesn’t mean they belong together.” Other people saw the rejection as a universal experience: “Everyone gets rejected. It’s just part of life.”
What makes people more likely to do one or the other? Past research by Dweck and others shows that people tend to hold one of two views about their own personal qualities: that they are fixed over the lifespan, or that they are malleable and can be developed at any point.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Scandals & Death in the Afternoon: An Oral History of the American Soap Opera”

Romance! Love! Agony! Adultery! Angry aliens! The American soap opera has seen them all, and much more.
Ken Corday, executive producer, Days of Our Lives, and a second-generation soap man: Irna Phillips was the grand pharaoh of soap operas.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, soaps were increasingly welcomed into the daily lives of American women.
Sam Ford, co-editor, The Survival of Soap Opera: I had a high school teacher who came home from school one day, and her mother was talking to her aunt on the phone, saying, “You won’t believe what happened to Joe!” She listened to the conversation, and it was getting worse and worse, and she thought, “My God, which neighbor could she be talking about?” Of course, they were discussing soaps.
Sam Ford: Suddenly every other soap starts pushing their longtime characters far into the back burner, and they each have their super-couple.
Stephanie Sloane, editorial director, Soap Opera Digest and Soap Opera Weekly: You’re still looking at ratings that some shows on the CW don’t get.
On April 14, 2011, to the dismay of soap fans, ABC announced the cancellation of both All My Children and One Life to Live.
Kay Alden: The potential exists for a return to the very origins of the soap opera format.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Homo Narrativus and the Trouble with Fame”

Social groups are far more complicated than any individual story.
My own research has shown that fame has much less to do with intrinsic quality than we believe it does, and much more to do with the characteristics of the people among whom fame spreads.
In 2006, Matt Salganik, myself, and Duncan Watts reported the results of an online experiment of ours called Music Lab.1 We gathered roughly 14,000 Internet participants, and gave them a total of 48 songs by unknown artists to listen to, rate, and download. What we didn’t tell them was that they were randomly assigned to nine separate worlds: one world in which participants acted independently of each other, and eight parallel social worlds in which participants saw the current number of downloads of each song within their world-an indication of popularity.
Fame has much less to do with intrinsic quality than we believe it does, and much more to do with the characteristics of the people among whom fame spreads.
Our research has shown that a match-centric viewpoint completely fails to describe many model social networks.
Just as real forests must be ready to burn before a forest fire can erupt, the key condition for spreading in social networks is a global one: Many average, trusting people need to be able to experience and then want to share choices in their social networks, far away from the source.
For more complicated model networks, where our mathematical analyses come up short, Duncan Watts and myself have studied social contagion and influence through simulation.
In our paper, “Influentials, Networks, and Public Opinion Formation,”3 we again found that, for certain networks, individuals with many friends were actually less useful for spreading social contagion, and were less able to start social wildfires than those with a moderate number.

The orginal article.