I Have Been Away from Here

If you are a bot and run across this lonely and neglected corner of the Internet, please know that housekeeping has been alerted about its sad state.

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News from the Econo-Genetic Divide

In which it’s revealed that TED, SXSW and suchlike are really all breeding experiments designed to generate a race of Master Hipsters to benevolently rule us all.

“Dan Gould, 35, who has attended Renaissance Weekends, TED, EG (Entertainment Gathering) and a number of other conferences said they are self-selecting for people who have big ideas and want to change the world.

“You’re not going to easily find someone like that on OkCupid or in a bar,” he said. “You have people who have similar values and who care about the same sorts of things.”

Mr. Gould, a founder of the video sharing site Chill.com, had heard of couples who met at one conference or another, but he never gave it much thought — until he met a woman at TED. They happened to be seated near each other during a talk and, as is common at TED, they continued to bump into each other throughout the four-day conference.”

“As Kathryn Irwin, who first attended SXSW in 1994 and hasn’t missed a year since 2000, put it: “There’s been some babies, there’s been a lot of dating, and a lot of hooking up.” Not necessarily in that order. After splitting with her husband in 2009, she too jumped into the SXSW dating pool. “I was like ‘Oh my gosh, there’s so many beautiful men,’ ” she said.”

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Miyazaki Nostalgia

Up on Poppy Hill

Still from Studio Ghibli’s “Up on Poppy Hill”

One thing that Goro Miyazaki’s film Up on Poppy Hill shares with films directed by his father — especially My Neighbor Totoro — is its ability to conjure, for me, an instant sense of longing to spend time in a place I’ve never been in, but which feels immediate, real and vital, even if also idealized and romanticized. Up on Poppy Hill doesn’t make quite the emotional impact of a film like Totoro, nor does it try for the wild imaginative reach of Howl’s Moving Castle. In fact, there’s no supernatural element in the story at all — it’s a small-scale melodrama whose plot is, frankly, a half-done affair, and maybe the least interesting thing about it. But it nevertheless felt immersive — transmitting a kind of sunny melancholy, if that makes any sense.

Most of all, it makes the Yokohama of 1964 about as gorgeously appealing as a town can be. I watched the film at the IFC Children’s Film Festival this morning — thanks to my prescient wife’s attention to the upcoming screening — with our daughters, and our eldest and I agreed it made us want to visit Japan rather keenly. But of course what we were enraptured with was the landscape of someone’s memories, a place we can never otherwise visit. It stung a bit to know that, but it’s also what lent an otherwise slender film real weight.

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Science: Iliad Still Really Old

They say the findings here “won’t have classicists in a snit” – but come on. They’ll find a reason. Classicists and their snits!

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