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Boxed in, Jukebox heroes, Courtship

Very Short List delivers one excellent item to your inbox, daily: Books, films, music, web-things, and dispatches on science and technology. Click through to hear your favorite songs, see some bizarre love rituals, and play an excellent, ultra-minimalist Web game.

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VERY SHORT LIST

Boxed in
Mark Rothko Russian nesting dolls Infinity
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WEBSITE
Click Bored

Gerard Ferrandez’s Click Bored is a Web toy that doubles as a time machine: Click once, and ten minutes of your life disappears.

The site’s opening page shows you four boxes. Two are black. Two are red. Click on one, and it breaks into four smaller boxes. Click on one of the smaller ones, and . . . well, you’ll see. Tests at VSL’s home laboratory indicate that young children are especially fascinated by the invention, which is as simple, and as elegant, as it is addictive.

[Editor’s note: Yesterday’s VSL contained a reference to “the late Sidney Lumet.” In fact, Mr. Lumet is very much alive. We regret the error.]

PLAY Click Bored

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VSL:WEB

Jukebox heroes
Cassette From My Ex Last.fm Don't Stop Believin'
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MUSIC SITE
Songs You Used To Love

Songs You Used To Love couldn’t possibly be simpler: The site posts one excellent song a day and invites you to guess what you’re hearing. It’s an online “Name That Tune” — except in this case, the tunes themselves are fantastic, and guessing correctly is its own reward.

Today’s song could be Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” It could be the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” Or Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam.” (As it happens, today’s song is Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby.”) Occasionally, a selection fails to hit its mark. (Wham!? No thanks.) But the clinkers are few and far between, and the site even takes requests. Did somebody say “Free Bird”?

HEAR Songs You Used To Love

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VSL:SCIENCE

Courtship
The Invention of Love Sexual selection Joan Roughgarden
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SLIDE SHOW
Animal seduction

When male hippos set to wooing, they don’t go in for flowers or chocolate — they fling their feces at females. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, may be the animal world’s biggest romantics: Males and females adjust the acoustic frequency of their wings until they’re emitting exactly the same sound.

This Wired Science video compilation lets you see just how weirdly wonderful nature’s courtship rituals can be. You’ll see horseshoe crabs, which mate only when the moon is full. Elephants, which don’t mate for life but do court slowly and carefully, showering each other with gifts over the course of several weeks. And hermaphroditic flatworms, which hold “penis jousting” contests before settling on male and female roles. The routines may seem bizarre, but they’re often grounded in practicality (e.g., those hippos are merely demonstrating the vitality of their digestive systems). And really: Is Internet dating any less odd?

VIEW “Penis Jousting and 7 Other Animal Courtship Rituals”

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