Cú Chulainn: Irish mythology's Incredible Hulk

Humanity has long been obsessed with individuals who, in a fit of rage, transform into something not-quite human. Irish mythology serves up another example.

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  • There are plenty of cultural figures who are known for their inhuman transformations: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Incredible Hulk, werewolves... the list goes on.
  • One infrequently mentioned example is the Irish version of Achilles: Cú Chulainn.
  • What does the mythological Irish hero represent?
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Culture & Religion

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

How storytelling gives life meaning

Since the advent of communication, humans have used stories to create meaningful lives.

Still from James Cameron's 1997 film, Titanic.
  • "An experience of being alive" is what mythologist Joseph Campbell said humans strive for.
  • Though we live in an age of distraction, short videos still tell big stories.
  • That said, losing a connection to the environment to stare at a screen has disastrous consequences.
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Culture & Religion