Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, September 07, 2021

Because Baltic Avenue and Boardwalk are so 20th Century, Monopoly City Streets is taking it to the real-world, online streets:

A live worldwide game of MONOPOLY using Google Maps as the game board. The goal is simple. Play to beat your friends and the world to become the richest property magnate in existence. Own any street in the world. Build humble houses, crazy castles and stupendous skyscrapers to collect rent. Use MONOPOLY Chance Cards to sabotage your mates by building Hazards on their streets.

This smacks of some unofficial appropriation the Monopoly boardgame, similar to other Google Maps mashups, and thus destined to be cease-and-desisted out of existence in short order. But improbably enough, the Whois information points to Hasbro, making City Streets a bona fide spinoff of the franchise. I’m sure fans of the game will be all over this latest time-waster as soon as it fires up on Wednesday.

I won’t be among them, as I’ve never taken to Monopoly in any format. I’m more of a Battleship guy. Now if they merged that salvo-launching game with Google Maps, and based it off real-life naval formations around the world? It’d be a helluva a good time — before it inevitably triggered a nuclear exchange or two…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/07/2021 09:21 PM
Category: Creative, Internet, Pop Culture
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Disco may have died thirty years ago, but the disco ball survives — and thrives, as this dreidel version from last year’s Matisyahu show in New York attests.

Just as modern-day versions of this dance-club symbol transcend musical genre, so did earlier models. In fact, the “disco ball” had been around long before its now-eponymous boogie-down sound:

The February, 1897, issue of the “Electrical Worker” discusses the Third Annual Ball held on on January 6, 1897, at Roughaus Hall, Charlestown [Massachusetts], and of the spectacular lighting display, which could be seen for miles around Boston. The letters “N.B.E.W.” were done with incandescent lamps of various colors on wire mesh over the ballroom, highlighted by a carbon arc lamp flashing on a mirrored ball.

That 19th-Century citation is best the Internet can offer on the origins of the “mirrored ball”, and I had to glean it out of an ancient MetaFilter thread. Old movies are another notable source for spotting pre-disco instances, notably in Casablanca. Patterning a decoration with tiny mirrors and shining lights on it for the scatter-shine effect had to be invented by someone, but I guess the credit is lost to the mists of time.

I don’t mind telling you how surprised I was by this mini-history lesson. I always assumed it was called a “disco ball” because it had been conceived during the ’70s. Turns out that it just became so identifiable with that era that the new name supplanted the previous descriptors of “mirrored ball”, “glitter ball”, etc. Shine on…

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 09/07/2021 02:21 PM
Category: History, Pop Culture
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