What We Really Taste When We Drink Wine

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Researchers are finding that we – all of us – are way more suggestible than we’d like to think, and influenced by factors even the savviest of us might not expect. (They’ve even fooled a class of oenology students by coloring a white wine red.)

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When One Culture “Steals” From Another Culture (Why Is That Wrong?)

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“Over time, the concept of cultural appropriation has morphed into a parody of the original idea. We are now to get angry simply when whites happily imitate something that minorities do. We now use the word steal in an abstract sense, separated from any kind of material value. It used to be that we said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But now there is new way to see the matter: Imitation is a kind of dismissal.”

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The Genius Of Lorin Maazel

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“He had an incomparable stick technique (something he pooh-poohed as a technique). A brilliantly accomplished musician (he was a virtuoso violinist and a composer), he boasted what must have been a genius-level IQ. He appeared capable of playing four-dimensional mental chess while carrying on a dinner conversation with lesser mortal beings.”

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Fair Trade Music?

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“Fair trade deals with the ethical treatment of labor in the production and supply chain rather than the ethical sourcing of materials, so it works well for a field like music, where the primary product is good vibrations. The fair trade movement is a project 50-plus years in the making, with a core set of criteria by which to evaluate if products have been produced ethically.”

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Video Game Industry’s Obsession With Big Sales Hurts The Art Form

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“It’s as if, through sales figures, profits and other assorted fiscal headlines video games will be able to buy their way to legitimacy. How fitting that a medium which typically encourages its players to exert dominance over the competition would frame its worth as a battle, usually with cinema, as if this were a fight to be won, as if the winner would somehow usurp the loser, as if each venue for human expression didn’t have unique capacity for joy, wonder and meaning.”

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Opera: The Familiarity Problem

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“According to Operabase, an opera-statistics website, the world’s 40 most-performed opera composers last season were all dead. The most-performed living composer, Philip Glass, only saw his operas performed 66 times, compared with 2,586 performances for the top-ranked Verdi. Contemporary theatre, in contrast, is not only performed regularly, but attracts large crowds.”

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Do We Still Need To Learn To Write Cursive? Here’s Why

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“The benefits of writing by hand, and doing so from a young age, are fundamental: improved and sustained development in social skills, hand-eye coordination, long-term memory. And when one considers “fluency” in its literal sense, it makes sense that cursive especially can energize a more fluid and coherent process of thought.”

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David Mitchell Is Tweeting A Short Story

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The author of Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet “turns to the ‘diabolical treble-strapped textual straitjacket’ of Twitter for the first time to tell a new short story, ‘The Right Sort’. Mitchell will unveil his tale, about a boy tripping on his mother’s Valium pills, in Twitter’s 140-character bursts for the next seven days.”

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Did Slavoj Žižek Plagiarize A White Supremacist Magazine? (Sort Of)

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“[The] superstar Marxist philosopher … [has] been accused of the worst professorial misdeed of them all: plagiarism. And not just any plagiarism – plagiarism of a 1999 article in American Renaissance, a white supremacist magazine published by an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a ‘hate group’.”

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Top Posts From AJBlogs 07.14.14

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The Jazz Cemetery

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“We’ve only got a few left,” he comments, adding that a “high percentage” of those who have invested will have done purely because of the proximity to the trumpeter.

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Nobel Laureate Nadine Gordimer, 90

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“Regarded by many as South Africa’s leading writer, Gordimer was renowned as a rigid moralist whose novels and short stories reflected the drama of human life and emotion in a society warped by decades of white-minority rule.”

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