Today’s Universities Are Broken. So How Do We Fix Them?


“It’s clear that universities will have to figure out the balance between commercial relevance and basic research, as well as how to prove their value beyond being vehicles for delivering content. But lost in the shuffle of commentary here is something arguably more important than and yet containing all of these factors: culture.”

The Power Of Music: For Good AND For Bad


Music is power. In his 2010 book on noise and silence, George Prochnik asked a series of provocative questions that began with this one: “Is it really true that all our reactions to sound are dictated by simple equations: loud, low sounds equal something powerful, so be scared or be prepared to mate; soft, little sounds equals something small, so be calm, be prepared to mate, or both?”

Stunning Move: Getty Images Makes 35 Million Images Free On The Web

Celtic Connections Festival 2012: Aaron Neville & Cedric Watson

“Getty’s not doing this out of the good of its heart. It recognizes that images on the Internet are treated as de facto public domain by many people on social networks, blogs, and the scummier parts of the content web. It knows it’s highly unlikely to ever get significant money out of any of those people.”

Denver’s New Cultural Plan: Lots More Art In The City

Imagine 2020: Denver's Cultural Plan

“The plan calls for more art in just about every venue within city reach, from its buildings and theaters to its parks and even the streets themselves. In addition, it lays the groundwork for more funding of art projects, as well as incentives for planners and developers who make art a priority.”

Are Big Tech Companies Gentrifying Buddhism?


“Ire at Google buses, tech-driven gentrification in San Francisco and Silicon Valley’s close collaboration with the NSA has been all over the news, but the demonstration at Wisdom 2.0 was different. It wasn’t just aimed at the tech industry; it was also aimed at what some see as an elitist streak in American convert Buddhism.”

BBC to Shut Down TV Channel BBC3, Save BBC4

BBC3 logo

The youth-oriented channel BBC3 will be pulled from the airwaves, with programming available only online, as part of BBC Director General Tony Hall’s planned £100 million in budget cuts. “His decision also signals a reprieve for its sister channel, the arts and culture specialist BBC4, which has faced calls for it to be axed and merged into BBC2.”

Even More Trafficked Art Seized In Queens

Queens more art seized

“The hunt for Indian antiquities allegedly smuggled into New York by Subhash Kapoor, a former Manhattan gallery owner accused of overseeing a $100 million art trafficking ring, led to a Queens warehouse Tuesday where federal officials seized hundreds of Southeast Asian and Indian items that they valued at $8 million.”

What’s Up With the Feud Between 12 Years a Slave‘s Director and Screenwriter?

12 Years McQueen Ridley

No, you weren’t imagining the tension you saw during the Oscars telecast. “Long before each came away with an Academy Award, … director Steve McQueen and screenwriter John Ridley were embroiled in a bitter feud regarding credit for the film’s screenplay, a fight they kept quiet for the good of the campaign before it came to a head Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre.”

Immortality, Philosophy, and ‘Her’

Her Spike Jonze

The Spike Jonze film “raises two questions that have long preoccupied philosophers. Are nonbiological creatures like Samantha capable of consciousness – at least in theory, if not yet in practice? And if so, does that mean that we humans might one day be able to upload our own minds to computers, perhaps to join Samantha in being untethered from ‘a body that’s inevitably going to die’?”

Venezuela’s Conflict Moves From Caracas’s Streets to Hollywood Boulevard


“From pop culture to high culture, Venezuela’s conflict is leading actors, artists, athletes and fashion designers to voice their support for the antigovernment protesters, with a minority backing President Nicolás Maduro.” And those celebrity statements have inspired conspiracy theories from both sides of Venezuela’s political divide.

Watching ‘The Act of Killing’ in Indonesia

The Act Of Killing

Just this past weekend, The New York Times ran an article on how Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning documentary about the massacres after Indonesia’s failed 1965 coup is having little visible effect in Indonesia itself. Here another author describes a screening in Yogyakarta and suggests that the film is having a quiet but powerful effect in the country.

Mediums and Spiritualists as Theatre Artists

Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit in New York in 2009

Using Angela Lansbury’s upcoming West End turn as Madame Arcati as a jumping-off point, Lyn Gardner looks at the theatrical techniques and elements used by the early-20th-century séance conjurers who inspired Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit.