Today would be Dmitri Shostakovich’s 100th birthday. Shostakovich was one of the great composers of the 20th century, but he was born and lived his entire life in Soviet Russia, where he was denounced twice by the government, and lived in fear of being jailed, or worse. While he was enormously popular, at times his music was banned. He was a humanitarian who felt the suffering of his countrymen, but saw the need to outwardly serve his government, even to the point of joining the Communist Party in 1960. He was then not able to leave the party, which caused him immense despair.

On the drive to work this morning, I heard an interesting segment about the coded anti-Soviet government meanings possibly hidden in his music. You can listen to this here:

Do you know what else comes from Soviet Russia? Tetris. According to Wikipedia, Tetris was invented by Alexey Pazhitnov at the Soviet Academy of Sciences at their Computer Center in Moscow.

Now, like the possible political messeges in Shostakovich’s music, Tetris is hidden in OS X’s UNIX subsystem. You can unveil and play Tetris by browsing Applications Folder > Utilities Folder > Terminal. Type “emacs” and click enter. Now simultaneously press the “ESC” and “X” keys. Now type “Tetris” without the quotations. Use the arrow keys to rotate and move the falling Tetris blocks. Press the spacebar to make the blocks fall.

A whole bunch of games are hidden in emacs in your Macs terminal. To see the rest of the games, open the Terminal application, and type:

“ls /usr/share/emacs/21.2/lisp/play” again, without the quotations.

To play these games, repeat the steps above for launching Tetris, except substitute the other game’s name for Tetris. To quit emacs, simultaneously hold down the control and X keys, and then simultaneously hold down the control and C keys.

As always, be careful when you are using the Terminal application!


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