Why the south of Westeros is the north of Ireland

As Game of Thrones ends, a revealing resolution to its perplexing geography.

Image: YouTube / Doosh
  • The fantasy world of Game of Thrones was inspired by real places and events.
  • But the map of Westeros is a good example of the perplexing relation between fantasy and reality.
  • Like Britain, it has a Wall in the North, but the map only really clicks into place if you add Ireland.
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Strange Maps

Take a pause to let your mind work

Why the culture that destroyed attention spans is now turning to podcasts.

  • Taking a pause after consuming a piece of art or media is essential to our memory, emotions, and intellectual digestion, says writer, director and podcaster John Cameron Mitchell.
  • We live in an age full of influencers and YouTube personalities, but fewer narrative powerhouses. Storytelling takes time, skill, and requires us to make space to gather our thoughts.
  • Podcasts are a storytelling rebellion against so-called ADHD culture. If the internet ruined our attention spans, can the single-sense format of podcasts bring it back?
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Videos

Is acting hazardous? On the risks of immersing oneself in a role.

It's easy to imagine why people link Heath Ledger's death to his treacherous penultimate role.

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  • In 2008, actor Heath Ledger accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills and died, aged 28.
  • One myth that attached itself to Ledger's death was that it was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker.
  • New research suggest that fully immersed actors "forget themselves" in the sense that they actively ignore facts about who they are, temporarily subordinating their own thoughts and feelings to those of their character.
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Mind & Brain
(Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central)
  • A new study used Comedy Central ratings and political survey data to examine whether the departure of Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show" had a causal effect on the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
  • The researchers found that it had a 1.1 percent effect on voter turnout, an amount that could've proved decisive in such a narrow election.
  • The researchers used causal language in the study, but cautioned that Stewart's departure was one of many factors that decided the election.
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Politics & Current Affairs

The internet made us weird – just not in the right way

Have swipes and scrolls replaced deep thinking?

  • Technological advancements were supposed to free up our time and free up our minds, leading to a cognitive surplus. That hasn't happened, says Douglas Rushkoff.
  • The digital media environment deals in absolutes: yes or no; thumbs up or thumbs down. Chasing weird uncertainties and lines of thought is not a trademark of today's culture.
  • More time should equal more thought. But humanity seems to be swiping left on true cognitive engagement. So, asks Douglas Rushkoff, has the internet made us smarter, or just busier?
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Videos