Weekend reads: Test your dance music radar, show me your chess face, explore modern art

Kristin Tyndall's read

Is it the future yet? Barbara Fister considers that question when she stumbles on a 1901 conference presentation from Melvil Dewey, in which he makes predictions about how libraries and books will be used 15 years later, in 1926. Fister notes that some of his predictions have come true today, such as "access to information matters more than ownership" and "libraries are more than just books." Others are a little more fanciful, such as that books will be so inexpensive and freely available that students will cut them up for notes and scrap paper.

Show me your chess face. A recent Wired article shares a few images from David Llada's new book of chess portraits, The Thinkers. According to the article, Llada manages to capture the intensity and drama of chess through the players' tortured faces. Llada says one of his favorite portraits from the collection is that of his childhood hero, Garry Kasparov. "I think it captured his soul, all that energy in him," he says.

Kathleen Escarcha's reads

Some types of songs are universally identifiable, finds a new study from Harvard University. Cognitive scientists assembled a database of dance, health, love, and lullaby songs from 30 sub regions around the world. More than 700 English speakers listened to 14 second clips of the music­—and almost all were able to distinguish lullabies from dance songs. It’s not clear what's behind the phenomenon, says Manvir Singh, one of the study’s lead authors. One theory is that human societies evolved to have similar ways of expressing themselves through music, he explains. You can test out your own listening skills here.

You don't need to buy a plane ticket or pay a museum entrance fee to enjoy what may be the world's largest contemporary art exhibit. All you need is internet access. The Wrong is a website that presents online exhibitions of more than 1,500 artists. The website’s homepage has only a picture-free directory, which can feel overwhelming and disorienting if you try to see all of the exhibits in one go. Instead, people should visit the website periodically and click around until they find something interesting, recommends the founder. 


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