Kennedy Center Names Deborah Rutter As Its New President, To Succeed Michael Kaiser


“Rutter, 57, will succeed Michael M. Kaiser, who has led the Kennedy Center since 2001. As president, she will serve as both artistic and administrative director of the Kennedy Center’s theater, dance, chamber music, jazz programming and education initiatives, while overseeing the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera.”

500 Writers From 100 Countries Protest Mass Surveillance


“The global initiative, called ‘writers against surveillance’ is calling on all states and corporations across the globe to respect the rights of people to determine the extent to which their personal data may be collected, stored and processed. The group are also calling on the UN to create an International Bill of Digital Rights.”

Who Was The Greatest Person In History? (A Statistical Answer)


“In 2011, Jean-Baptiste Michel and multiple co-authors published an article in Science, helpfully if not colorfully titled “Quantitative Analysis of Culture Using Millions of Digitized Books,” which announced that more than five million books had been digitized, thus giving us a new tool by which to identify cultural trends and to quantify changes over time.”

How America Lost Its Real Rural Music


“It’s not discussed enough… someone should write a book on it – how we really lost how we make and listen to music with the onslaught of mass media. It’s changed so much – in 1933 there were 20,000 jukeboxes in America. By 1939 there were 400,000 jukeboxes! That immediately eliminates so many live musicians.”

Radio’s Christmas Music Bonanza


“The fact that Christmas music on the radio performs best the night before Christmas shouldn’t surprise you, but after digging into the data for the top holiday-format stations in each of those markets last year, a few interesting trends emerged.”

LA Scala Names New Director To Succeed Barenboim


“La Scala said in an email Tuesday that Riccardo Chailly, a 60-year-old Milan-born conductor, will be La Scala’s principal conductor from 2015 before becoming musical director in 2017.”

The Kinda Creepy Mistakes People Are Finding In Google Book Scans


“Scavengers obsessively comb through page after page of Google Books, hoping to stumble upon some glitch that hasn’t yet been unearthed. This phenomenon is most thoroughly documented on a Tumblr called The Art of Google Books, which collects two types of images: analog stains that are emblems of a paper book’s history and digital glitches that result from the scanning.”

The Kennedy Center Honors’ Emotional Night


“This year, the Kennedy Center honored actress Shirley MacLaine, opera singer Martina Arroyo, musician Carlos Santana — who beamed while sitting next to first lady Michelle Obama — and two piano men: Herbie Hancock and Billy Joel. If the honorees had performed together, it would have been a dream collaboration — but as is the 36-year custom, they sat, smiled and watched others pay tribute to lives lived on stages and screens.”

How Museums Name Their Shows


“Like naming a baby, getting the title right can do much to determine how others perceive and remember an exhibition. And how many people will attend.”

The Great Literary Feuds Of 2013


“Among this year’s conflicts, presented here in rough chronological order, a few themes emerge: clashes over the function of online literary criticism, questions about gender and literature, and struggles over who controls an artist’s legacy and fortune.”

Nadine Gordimer Remembers Nelson Mandela


The Nobel laureate reveals the terrible secret he told her after he was released from prison, recalls the joy of seeing crowds cheering him in Oslo after he won the Nobel Peace Prize, and recounts one telling instance she witnessed of his extraordinary capacity for forgiveness.