Life imitates art: the TED Prize

In a somewhat odd series of events, the TED prize (associated with the eponymous talk-producing website, naturally) – normally $100,000 USD has increased to a total sum of $1,000,000. Moreover, the process by which the prize is awarded has changed slightly. To quote the organization’s blog post:

“But, while historically the prize has been awarded to individuals who then made a wish, this year articulating the big wish is done up front, with the idea getting heavy weight in the selection process.”

Remind you of anything? It’s is eerily close to the premise of Eden of the East.
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Anime still has it: Space Brothers

For a while there, I stopped believing that the anime industry was capable of crafting shows like Space Brothers (Uchū Kyōdai.) When I seriously started getting into anime, there were series like Planetes, Gankutsuou, Monster and Mushishi all being released in and around the same time. These were series not influenced by other anime and not trying to pander to an existing fan-base. At the time, I seriously thought anime would take over the world.
At some point, though, the bubble burst, and suddenly the idea of a 74 episode murder mystery set not in a Japanese high school, but in mid-Nineties Germany with barely a teenager in sight, seems more like a joke. It’s all the more remarkable, then, that a series like Space Brothers is actually being made right now: the story of a bunch of middle-aged adults chasing their dreams of becoming astronauts.
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Wanderlust girls: The manga of Tsuruta Kenji

Have you ever travelled, my friends? Have you ever packed your bags, left home, returning months later? Or not at all? With a nervousness that travels from the soles of your feet to the soles of your feet to the whites of your eyes, borded a plane, feeling as if every atom in your body was quivering? I have. Tsuruta Kenji’s protagonists – wandering girls – have as well.
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Virtual/Reality: Sword Art Online

“There is no doubt that this is a virtual world, that everything we see and touch is an imitation created from data. But to us, our hearts do exist within this reality. If that’s true, then everything we’re experiencing here should also be true.” Asuna, Sword Art Online

I’ve never played an MMO, but I’ve always enjoyed listening to the stories of friends who have. Particularly in the case of games like World of Warcraft, where users have invested months of their lives into their characters. There’s drama amongst teams, scandals, heroes and villains. People can become renowned for their talents, make friends and hang-out all week-long. As such, can we really say that these experiences are so trivial as to be “just games?”
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