That “Public Radio Voice” – Is It A Cultural Problem?

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“The voices on podcasts and public radio are informed, interesting, gentle friends. They keep me company as they share important, entertaining, and sometimes tragic stories. But the timbre, accent, inflections, rhythm, metaphors, and references of these voices reflect class, region, ethnicity, gender, and other components of identity.”

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One Of This Year’s Best Sundance Festival Movies Was Shot On An iPhone

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“Plenty of amateur films have been shot using iPhones, but by all reports, this is the first movie at the Sundance Film Festival to be shot almost entirely on an Apple device. It was a decision that indie writer and director Sean Baker made to accommodate the film’s small budget. But you’d never guess the camera, to look at it.”

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The Problems With Obsessing About Measuring Impact Of Art

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“If we are constantly debating what “good” or “quality” looks like, we’re wasting time we could be using honing our work to better deliver on the social impact we’ve all agreed is important. I’d love to work for an organization that clearly knows that the impact it wants to have is X–so we can focus on doing X.”

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The New Lands Of Opportunity: Buffalo, Detroit

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If moving to New York City is like dating the most popular kid in your high school only to discover “all the blemishes that aren’t visible when gazed upon from a distance,” then Buffalonians will tell you that moving to their city is like dating the girl next door who’s undergoing a She’s All That-style transformation.

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One Of The Most Infamous Behavioral Experiments, Rethought 50 Years Later

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Under the watch of the experimenter, the volunteer—dubbed “the teacher”—would read out strings of words to his partner, “the learner,” who was hooked up to an electric-shock machine in the other room. Each time the learner made a mistake in repeating the words, the teacher was to deliver a shock of increasing intensity, starting at 15 volts (labeled “slight shock” on the machine) and going all the way up to 450 volts (“Danger: severe shock”).

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Why Novelists Turn To The Vividness Of Music

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“Perhaps, fearful of losing the attention of their readers, novelists are borrowing the captivating force of music, feeding off its sensuousness in an effort to regain a lost immediacy. The lengthy musical passages in recent novels, including a few loving and climactic concert scenes, seem to strive for music’s Orphic power.”

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French Comedian Stands Trial Over Comment Against Jewish Journalist (Est-Il Charlie?)

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“The provocative French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala stood trial in criminal court on Wednesday over a comment he made lamenting that a prominent Jewish journalist did not die in ‘the gas chambers,’ prosecutors said. Mr. M’bala M’bala has become an emblem in France of the struggle between upholding the secular republic’s commitment to free speech while maintaining public safety and preventing hate crimes.”

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A Struggle Over The Very Nature Of Science (Seriously)

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“There’s a battle going on at the edge of the universe, but it’s getting fought right here on Earth. With roots stretching back as far as the ancient Greeks, in the eyes of champions on either side, this fight is a contest over nothing less than the future of science. It’s a conflict over the biggest cosmic questions humans can ask and the methods we use – or can use – to get answers for those questions.” It’s a conflict over … string theory.

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Snowpocalypse, The American Media, And Lewis Carroll’s White Queen

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Adam Gopnik: “The ruling deity of this form of panic and pensive regret is Lewis Carroll’s White Queen, from Through the Looking-Glass. The White Queen, in some Joseph Campbell realm of archetypes, is indeed surely a variant of Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen, and so perhaps it’s no wonder that in Carroll’s rendering she governs the Kingdom of the Snow That Fell Before It Started Falling.”

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India’s Only Opera Tenor Wants To Bring The Art Form Home

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Anando Mukerjee: “If it is done, if it is packaged right, if it is not diluted, if the artistic integrity of the music is not diluted, and it is given an Indian narrative and an Indian context, then there is no reason to suppose why it can’t work. … You can certainly have something like Carmen which is a great opera set in Spain, being set in India, Rajasthan. So you’re not masalafying it, you’re not chutnifying it, you’re not making it into a kind of fusion experiment. You’re simply contextualizing it to the Indian setting.”

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Such A Stoic: How Seneca Became Ancient Rome’s Philosopher-Fixer

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“Even in imperial Rome, matricide was, apparently, bad P.R. … And so Nero turned to the man he had always relied on … The letter ‘explaining’ Agrippina’s murder is just one of the ways Seneca propped up Nero’s regime – a regime that the average Julius, let alone the author of De Ira, surely realized was thoroughly corrupt. How to explain the philosopher-tutor’s sticking by his monstrous pupil?”

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Zaha Hadid Settles Defamation Lawsuit Against NY Review Of Books

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“After a five-month legal battle, [the] London-based architect … has withdrawn a lawsuit regarding defamatory comments made about her attitude to migrant workers and her Qatar World Cup stadium project … and has donated the settlement money to an undisclosed charity that ‘protects and champions labour rights’.”

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At The (Very Crowded) Jaipur Literary Festival

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“The heaving, barging, chattering throng of a thousand or so people, packing the aisles and testing the walls of the auditorium … was remarkable and exhilarating. It was a much younger, livelier and more euphoric crowd than literary festivals usually attract. It wanted to be provoked, was eager to laugh and fought to be heard: as the microphones went around for questions, eager hands snatched at them.”

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Jaipur Isn’t Even India’s Biggest Book Bash – Or Most Bookish City

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That would be Calcutta Kolkata, where “roadside tea shack owners will talk at length on important writers of the day and rickshaw pullers adorn the backs of their vehicles with the names of writers” – and where the world’s largest non-trade (i.e., for the public) book fair, the Boi Mela, attracts 1½ million people.

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Justin Peck Watches Himself Making A Ballet

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Says the choreographer about Ballet 422, Jody Lee Lipes’s new documentary about the creation of Peck’s first dance for his colleagues at New York City Ballet, “I was actually a little bit surprised by how young I look in it. I felt like I was watching this kid stand in front of the room and make a ballet.”

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What Does An Orchestra Engaging With Its Audience Look Like?

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“No more music stands. No more physical barrier between musicians and audience. Musicians free to look at the audience, to make eye contact (if the lighting allows them to see anyone’s eyes). To smile. To show how much they love the music, and love playing it. (And if they don’t love it, or love playing…that’s another long discussion of orchestra culture.)”

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Carnegie Hall Will Commission 125 New Works

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“Carnegie Hall will celebrate its 125th anniversary next season not only with its customary assortment of the world’s leading orchestras and performers playing long-cherished masterpieces but also by starting a new project to commission some 125 new works over the next five years.”

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Surely Self-Censoring Art Is Not An Acceptable Answer

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“While we desperately need an open debate about free speech and the freedom to offend in our society, the obsessive focus on Muslims, religion, and blasphemy has diverted attention away from the bigger question of how we handle offending and being offended as part of a big, broad society where not everyone is going to agree.”

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Take That Marriott – FCC Bans Blocking Of Wifi Signals

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“Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal…The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premise.”

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