Two favorite pastimes in popular culture—especially USA popular culture—are watching motion pictures and listening to sound recordings. The 20th century advent of music videos represented a fusion of movie-making techniques with song-making techniques in the form of short storytelling vignettes. Although not as popularly embraced as motion pictures and sound recordings, reading books also is a favorite pastime for many humans. And, consistent with the 21st century's trend towards globalization and consistent with the changing times, surfing the World Wide Web has become a more recent favorite pastime of humans.

What are the highest grossing motion pictures in the history of Earth as of this writing on 06-25-2016? What are the top-selling sound recordings in the history of Earth as of this writing on 06-25-2016? What are the best-selling books in the history of Earth as of this writing on 06-25-2016? What are the leading social networks in the world as of this writing on 06-25-2016? The tables below provide answers to these four questions. Keep in mind that the numbers in the tables below are not precise. The numbers in the tables below are estimates.

Top-Grossing Motion Pictures

With the emergence of new technologies (such as electronic or digital versions of movies and cloud-based versions of movies) and notwithstanding the impact of inflation, tallying the top-grossing motion pictures in history is not as simple and straightforward as it appears. Complexity in tallying exists because there are numerous channels to market and distribute movies. For instance, when tallying motion pictures gross sales, to get a more complete picture, in addition to box office sales, it would be necessary to include VHS and DVD sales in retail stores, television re-broadcast sales, sales of digital downloads, digital streaming sales, and so forth. To simplify matters, the table below is restricted to a tally of top-grossing motion pictures based on box office sales.

Rank Movie Title Director Estimated Worldwide Sales Year
1 Avatar James Cameron $2,787,965,087 2009
2 Titanic James Cameron $2,186,772,302 1997
3 Star Wars: The Force Awakens J. J. Abrams $2,068,178,225 2015
4 Jurassic World Colin Trevorrow $1,670,400,637 2015
5 The Avengers Joss Whedon $1,519,557,910 2012
6 Furious 7 James Wan $1,516,045,911 2015
7 Avengers: Age of Ultron Joss Whedon $1,405,413,868 2015
8 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 David Yates $1,341,511,219 2011
9 Frozen Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee $1,287,000,000 2013
10 Iron Man 3 Shane Black $1,215,439,994 2013
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Top-Selling Sound Recordings

Tallying the best-selling sound recordings of all time is plagued by the same kinds of challenges that apply to tallying motion picture sales. That is to say, sound recordings come in numerous formats and are marketed through numerous channels such as retail CD sales, digital downloads, and digital streaming. The table below is restricted to a review of the top-selling albums in history as determined by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Rank Album Title Recording Artist Estimated Worldwide Sales Year
1 Thriller Michael Jackson 48,100,000 1982
2 Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) Eagles 32,200,000 1976
3 Come On Over Shania Twain 29,600,000 1997
4 Led Zeppelin IV Led Zeppelin 29,000,000 1971
5 Gold: Greatest Hits ABBA 29,000,000 1992
6 Slippery When Wet Bon Jovi 28,000,000 1986
7 Spice Spice Girls 28,000,000 1996
8 Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture Various artists 28,000,000 1978
9 ...Baby One More Time Britney Spears 28,000,000 1999
10 Rumours Fleetwood Mac 27,900,000 1977
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Best-Selling Books

Tallying the best-selling books in history is even more convoluted than tallying the top-selling sound recordings in history. According to, the Holy Bible, the Holy Quran, and Chairman Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book are considered to be the best-selling books of all time. However, as shown in the table below, these three books normally are excluded from official top-selling counts because no reliable sales records exist for them. It is interesting how some (best-selling) books are made into motion-pictures renditions. Sometimes the motion-picture renditions turn into box office successes.

Rank Book Title Author Estimated Worldwide Sales Year
1 The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkien 150,000,000 1954
2 The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien 142,000,000 1937
3 The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery 140,000,000 1943
4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone J.K. Rowling 107,000,000 1997
5 And Then There Were None Agatha Christie 100,000,000 1939
6 She: A History of Adventure H. Rider Haggard 100,000,000 1887
7 Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin 100,000,000 1754-1791
8 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C. S. Lewis 85,000,000 1950
9 The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown 80,000,000 2003
10 Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill 70,000,000 1937
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Leading Social Network Websites

At the dawn of the 21st century, surfing the World Wide Web has emerged as another favorite pastime of humans. Social networking has become one of the most popular activities on the World Wide Web. What, then, are the most popular social networking websites on the World Wide Web?

Again, there is not a straightforward answer to this question. The reason why is because there are many different categories of social networking websites. When tallies of the leading social networking websites are made, there is a tendency to exclude social websites that fall into one category or another. For instance, in the table below, although very, very popular with at least one billion videos viewed per day, YouTube is excluded because it is categorized as a video hosting service instead of a social network.

In gauging the popularity of social network websites, the reader should keep in mind that the registered users undoubtedly are overstated in the table below. That is to say, in some cases, these are not unique registered users. In some cases, there are duplicate reegistered users. Some users establish multiple accounts with the same social network using multiple aliases.

Rank Name Country Estimated Registered Users Year Launched
1 Google+ United States 1,600,000,000 June 2011
2 Facebook United States 1,280,000,000 February 2004
3 Twitter United States 645,750,000 July 2006
4 Qzone China 480,000,000 June 2005
5 Instagram United States 300,000,000 October 2010
6 Sina Weibo China 300,000,000 August 2009
7 Habbo Finland 268,000,000 August 2000
8 VK Russia 249,409,900 September 2006
9 Tumblr United States 226,950,000 February 2007
10 LinkedIn United States 200,000,000 May 2003
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Closing Thoughts

On the website, I went to great lengths to emphasize that all forms of murder is wrong. In preparing for 21st century living and beyond, I went to great lengths to reiterate that murder, violence, and hatred are relics of a human Pastime Paradise (Stevie Wonder).

Although not anywhere nearly as serious as murder, digital theft and copyright infringement also are wrong. The so-called bootlegging—and the illegal reselling—of fake, adulterated, counterfeit versions of patented, designer, and brand-name products is a very serious global problem (for example, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, jewelry, purses, and so forth). Duplicating schemes such as peer-to-peer file sharing—and the illegal reselling—of copyrighted digital works are very serious global problems (for example, software applications, motion pictures, sound recordings, digital books, and so forth).

Watch [Don't Copy That 2 (Official Sequel to Don't Copy That Floppy)]

Do not succumb to the temptation of stealing and cheating. Support your favorite creative artists and designers by purchasing legitimate or original copies of their works.

It remains imperative for humans of today to do the right thing by elevating their conduct to the highest ethical plane, that is, if humans are to succeed in realizing a "future paradise" right here on Earth—and in deep space. The future is about humans rising above the mire.

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