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7 YouTube Yule Logs

As you gather together with friends and family, why not crank up the old YouTube Yule Log? It's easier than putting together a real fire, and you can always start it over when the flames die down! I've gathered some of my favorite virtual fireplaces below -- I recommend clicking through to YouTube and going to HD for the best effect (and best audio -- the crackling and roaring sounds are key to a good yule log!).

If you're looking for a DVD or Blu-Ray yule log, there's actually a thriving market out there -- I can personally recommend HD Moods: FIRE (Blu-ray) -- it has excellent audio, and they keep changing out the logs (to keep the fire roaring), but use clever cross-fades so it's very subtle when the change happens. (Also, for you camera nerds, that Blu-ray video was shot with a RED Camera®.) Enjoy!

The Original WPIX Yule Log

The quality here isn't great. But the WPIX Yule Log is the original TV yule log! See Kara's post on More Not-So-Famous Christmas Firsts for this log's history, including the true story of how this shot set a carpet on fire -- always use your protective fire screens, people!

Aspen and Spruce - 15 Min

This 720p video shows roaring flames from aspen and spruce logs, along with a distinctive popcorn-like crackling and popping sound. I love the roar of the flames pulling air into the fireplace!

Unidentified Logs - 20 Min

Another 720p video, showing a merry fire.

Closeup Fire - 98 Min

A full 1080p video, though it's zoomed way in. I'd turn off annotations on this one (the little red icon in the lower right) as there are some odd ad-like things at the top...begone, weird YouTube ad thingies!

Homey Fire - 10 Min

I'd also turn off annotations on this one, it has a brief ad for an iPhone app. And nobody needs that crap on Christmas!

Leftover Wood - 1 Hour

This one is decent, and in 720p, but it takes a while to get going. There are some annotations at the beginning, pointing to a 2-hour (non-HD) version and another yule log video by the same person.

Canadian Fireplace - 5 Min

At 5 minutes, and with a little background noise, this isn't the best option in the world -- but hey, it's something. Shot at Storm Mountain Lodge, Alberta Canada, Jan 6, 2010.

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John P. Johnson, HBO
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literature
Charles Dickens Wrote His Own Version of Westworld in the 1830s
John P. Johnson, HBO
John P. Johnson, HBO

Charles Dickens never fully devoted himself to science fiction, but if he had, his work might have looked something like the present-day HBO series Westworld. As The Conversation reports, the author explored a very similar premise to the show in The Mudfrog Papers, a collection of sketches that originally appeared in the magazine Bentley's Miscellany between 1837 and 1838.

In the story "Full Report of the Second Meeting of the Mudfog Association for the Advancement of Everything," a scientist describes his plan for a park where rich young men can take out their aggression on "automaton figures." In Dickens's story, the opportunity to pursue those cruel urges is the park's main appeal. The theme park in Westworld may have been founded with a slightly less cynical vision, but it has a similar outcome. Guests can live out their heroic fantasies, but if they have darker impulses, they can act on those as well.

Instead of sending guests back in time, Dickens's attraction presents visitors with a place very similar to their own home. According to the scientist's pitch, the idyllic, Victorian scene contains roads, bridges, and small villages in a walled-off space at least 10 miles wide. Each feature is designed for destruction, including cheap gas lamps made of real glass. It's populated with robot cops, cab drivers, and elderly women who, when beaten, produce “groans, mingled with entreaties for mercy, thus rendering the illusion complete, and the enjoyment perfect.”

There are no consequences for harming the hosts in Westworld, but the guests at Dickens's park are at least sent to a mock trial for their crimes. However, rather than paying for their misbehavior, the hooligans always earn the mercy of an automated judge—Dickens's allegory for how the law favors the rich and privileged in the real world.

As for the Victorian-era automatons gaining sentience and overthrowing their tormenters? Dickens never got that far. But who knows where he would have taken it given a two-season HBO deal.

[h/t The Conversation]

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LEGO Ideas
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This Fresh Prince of Bel-Air LEGO Set Could Become a Reality
LEGO Ideas
LEGO Ideas

One talented LEGO fan wants to make a The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air set, but the Banks family needs your votes to turn it into a reality.

LEGO Ideas user Bricky_Brick has designed a set consisting of the Banks' living room and seven minifigures: Will Smith; Uncle Phil; Aunt Vivian; cousins Carlton, Hilary, and Ashley Banks; and Geoffrey Butler. Appropriately enough, the Will figure is mid-laugh and equipped with a basketball. So far, the set has just 176 supporters. That's a long way to go before it reaches its goal of 10,000, at which point it will be judged by the LEGO Review Board. If selected, it could be turned into a real product. Fans have 409 days remaining to vote.

TV show-themed LEGO Ideas submissions have been successful in the past: Doctor Who and Adventure Time designs have become official sets after they blew up on the internet. Hitting 10,000 by no means guarantees LEGO will approve an idea, however. A set inspired by The Office reached the mark in 2017 but was rejected in the review stage.

See more of Bricky_Brick's Fresh Prince set below—and don't forget to vote.

Fresh Prince LEGOs
LEGO Ideas

Fresh Prince LEGOs
LEGO Ideas

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