Friday High Five: Gaiman’s video game, America in the 70s and German power plants

We share our favourite finds from around the internet this week.


New research shows psychopaths can feel empathy

A brain-imaging study of 18 violent, psychopathic criminals in the Netherlands, the largest such study undertaken, suggests they can summon empathy when prompted. ‘Empathic circuits that are unconsciously activated in the brains of normal people may be dormant or switched off in psychopaths - not absent, as commonly thought. Those circuits, the study showed, can be activated after psychopaths are prompted to see a situation from someone else’s point of view.’

Germany’s power plants documented before they close

Germany will close all its nuclear power plants by 2022 - German photographer Michael Danner visited 17 power plants, to document them before they disappear. ‘I wanted to document these sites because to a lot of people they are just a name or an idea,’ he told Wired. He’s tried to take an objective view of the plants, and to photograph them in the context of the countryside they’re located in, and the huamns who work there.

Neil Gaiman releases his first video game

Shape-shifting writer Neil Gaiman has taken on a new guise, adding to his roles as graphic novelist, YA and adult novelist, and occasional journalist - now, he’s a video game designer.

Wayward Manor is inspired by Gaiman’s love of both supernatural and slapstick genres. The game follows the misadventures of a ghost who wants nothing more than a peaceful afterlife, and to kick out the motley crew living in the house he once called home.

Watch: Gaiman’s 2011 appearance at the Wheeler Centre

Natalie Portman to direct film of Amos Oz’s memoir

Natalie Portman will make her directing debut with a film of Israeli novelist Amos Oz’s memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness. The book details Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem in the chaotic period at the end of the British Mandate for Palestine, as well as the writer’s experiences during the early years of the state of Israel and teenage years on a kibbutz.

Oz has been working on a screenplay, and says that he sold the rights to the Jerusalem-born Portman five or six years ago. ‘I agreed because of my high esteem for her work. She’s an excellent actor,’ he said.

Watch: Amos Oz on Israel: War, Peace and Storytelling

America in the 70s

Last week, the Atlantic ran a week of photo essays, featuring regions of the US covered by the photographers of the Documerica Project in the early 1970s.

Brooklyn payphones, in 1974. This photo was taken a month before the first mobile phone call was placed.

Brooklyn payphones, in 1974. This photo was taken a month before the first mobile phone call was placed.

The project was put together by the Environmental Protection Agency and its goal was to document adverse effects of modern life on the environment - but photographers were also encouraged to capture the daily lives of ordinary people.

Empty steel beer and soft drink cans were accumulated from a variety of sources near Taos, New Mexico, to be used in building experimental houses. 1974.

Empty steel beer and soft drink cans were accumulated from a variety of sources near Taos, New Mexico, to be used in building experimental houses. 1974.

Regions covered include New York, the south-west, Chicago’s African-American community and Texas.

Las Vegas, Nevada, 1972.

Las Vegas, Nevada, 1972.

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