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In the short film Bead Game (1977) by the acclaimed Indian-Canadian filmmaker Ishu Patel, stopmotion animation of coloured glass beads offers a beautiful yet dark vision of life, characterised by brutal cycles of competition and consumption. Beginning with a single bead, a series of organisms – real and imagined – split, combine, transform and devour one another, yielding first the emergence of human forms, and eventually the horrors of nuclear war. Inspired by the beadwork of Inuit women, Patel’s dazzling and urgent response to the atomic age won critical acclaim upon its release, receiving a BAFTA award for Best Short Fictional Film and an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Film (Animated).
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
History of ideas
How did ‘personal responsibility’ evolve into its opposite, ‘everyone for themselves’?
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one
A whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s high-rises is an awesome meditation on urbanity
The Standard Model might be the most successful theory in science. But what is it?
An artist grapples with the loss of his brother, and the problem of canine abduction
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races
History of technology
Remarkable historical footage is locked behind paywalls. It’s time to set it free
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher