"Be careful what you say at cocktail parties," says Joshua Klein from frog. In his case, he mused over a drink that someone should really teach all these crows flapping around here to do something useful. Someone else said that was a stupid idea, so that made Klein want to do it even more. Crows live everywhere that humans do for the most part, so there's a lot of them. And they're smart. Check out the video above, where crows drop shelled nuts onto the street where they're sure to get run over by a car in order to crack them. Brilliant! But what was notable to animal behavior scientists wasn't that they used car tires as nutcrackers, it was the fact that crows were actually learning from each other. This ability to learn cultural behavior is what makes crows exceptional. So Klein designed a vending machine that gave a crow a peanut when it inserted a coin into the machine. And guess what--the crows started to figure out that if they went out in the neighborhood and got more coins, they'd get more peanuts. So not only could crows be employed to pick up all the loose change on the streets, if you trained them to bring it to your house, you'd be rich. Amazing.
Then the lovely Eames Demetrios is onstage and it's a beautiful sight. He's standing before the famous Dot pattern designed by his famous grandparents, and he's also standing in front of their two red Plywood Elephants by Vitra, who are the stars of "A Gathering of Elephants" a delightful little film Demetrios made. From playing with plywood to making films, Charles and Ray never delegated the understanding to someone else so they wouldn't miss out on play. Plus--major bonus for Demetrios--"The great thing about having grandparents who made toys is that they always felt like it was important to be on the cutting edge of toy technology." When it the Super Ball came out, Charles said in an interview that it represented the greatest design of the year. And then Demetrios' brother promptly used one to break the third story window of their house. This didn't please Ray but it delighted Charles, in fact, the degree Charles valued the most was an honorary degree from clown college. Demetrios says that Charles and Ray would be very upset to see material objects used as status symbols in our current culture. The most valued things shouldn't be expensive things that are exclusive, rather they should be things anyone can do, like learning a language--something that proves the time and effort spent; devotion to a craft over the ownership of objects. He closed with a quote from a forthcoming book of Eames quotables: "At all times love and discipline have led to good times and a good life." The Eames stamps are out June 17, which is Charles' 101st birthday and the perfect day to send someone a real letter that shows both love and discipline.