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YouTube

John and Hank Green Sell Out Carnegie Hall

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YouTube

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. But how do you sell it out? By writing touching novels, hosting educational internet shows, singing geeky songs, and constantly building a fanbase for half a decade. (In other words: yeah, practice.) On Tuesday, Mental Floss contributors John and Hank Green performed at Carnegie Hall -- and they sold every seat.

The event was called An Evening of Awesome, a reference to the brothers' amazingly successful charity, Project for Awesome. (It also could be argued that these guys are inherently made of awesome, so an evening featuring their talents would of course be an evening of awesome.)

The evening was timed to celebrate the one-year anniversary of The Fault in Our Stars, John's bestselling novel. To make this Flossy affair even Flossier, John's book spent some time sharing the top two spots on the bestsellers list with Floss contributor Ransom Riggs's first novel in 2012.

The event featured songs and discussion from both brothers, along with appearances by The Mountain Goats; Kimya Dawson; Hanna Hart; a surprise guest appearance by Neil Gaiman, who hosted the Q&A portion of the evening; and many more. You can watch the whole thing below (running time is about two and a half hours, starting roughly 35 minutes into this YouTube video).

My favorite moment? At 1:32:30, The Mountain Goats perform "Love, Love, Love" on a distressingly out-of-tune guitar. And how does Darnielle know John likes the song? Probably because of John's classic vlog from June 18, 2007.

Nerdfighter trivia note: The New York Times reported on the event, stating: "The followers of the VlogBrothers call themselves Nerdfighters — not because they fight nerds but because they 'un-ironically' and 'passionately' embrace being smart and having eccentric interests." Of course, if the NYT writer had actually seen that first year of vlogs, they'd know that "Nerdfighters" was John's misreading of the name of an arcade game he came across in an airport, and only later came to mean all that other stuff.

Guess What

If you've read this far, you're probably a fan. So you'll be interested to know that John, Hank, and Mental Floss are cooking up a secret project. Get excited, people!

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Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Sylvia Plath's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry Is Up for Auction
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
Nate D. Sanders Auctions

A Pulitzer Prize in Poetry that was awarded posthumously to Sylvia Plath in 1982 for her book The Collected Poems will be auctioned on June 28. The Los Angeles-based Nate D. Sanders Auctions says bidding for the literary document will start at $40,000.

The complete book of Plath’s poetry was published in 1981—18 years after her death—and was edited by her husband, fellow poet Ted Hughes. The Pulitzer Prize was presented to Hughes on Plath’s behalf, and one of two telegrams sent by Pulitzer President Michael Sovern to Hughes read, “We’ve just heard that the Collected Plath has won the Pulitzer Prize. Congratulations to you for making it possible.” The telegrams will also be included in the lot, in addition to an official congratulatory letter from Sovern.

The Pultizer’s jury report from 1982 called The Collected Poems an “extraordinary literary event.” It went on to write, “Plath won no major prizes in her lifetime, and most of her work has been posthumously published … The combination of metaphorical brilliance with an effortless formal structure makes this a striking volume.”

Ted Hughes penned an introduction to the poetry collection describing how Plath had “never scrapped any of her poetic efforts,” even if they weren’t all masterpieces. He wrote:

“Her attitude to her verse was artisan-like: if she couldn’t get a table out of the material, she was quite happy to get a chair, or even a toy. The end product for her was not so much a successful poem, as something that had temporarily exhausted her ingenuity. So this book contains not merely what verse she saved, but—after 1956—all she wrote.”

Also up for auction is Plath’s Massachusetts driver’s license from 1958, at which time she went by the name Sylvia P. Hughes. Bidding for the license will begin at $8000.

Plath's driver's license
Nate D. Sanders Auctions
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Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]

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