How I Learned To Love Van Gogh: Peter Schjeldahl

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“Like some other art mavens I know, I thrilled to van Gogh when I was young, and then, with the snobbery of the insecure tyro aesthete, I took to disdaining him for his popularity. Art that wasn’t difficult couldn’t be serious. … In fact, there is no end of difficulty in van Gogh – his own, surmounted.”

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Japan’s Most-Killed Screen Samurai Finally Gets A Lead Role – And An Acting Award

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“He’s made a career playing henchmen and underlings in thousands of Japanese samurai movies, always in the role of the kirareyaku, a swordsman whose job is to die spectacularly on film. Now, at the age of 71 and after a reputed 50,000 on-screen deaths, Seizo Fukumoto has won a prize for his first ever lead role in a semi-autobiographical movie.” (includes video)

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Lucid Dreaming: The Next Miracle Mental Technique?

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Some people use it “to solve problems, spur creativity, overcome nightmares or practice a physical skill.” Researchers are seeing early indications that the technique can improve cognition and help alleviate depression. “Many of the studies are small, however, and it isn’t always clear whether lucid dreaming is responsible for the improvements or simply linked to them.”

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Meet The People Behind “Save The Corcoran”

save the corcoran

“The court calls them ‘The Intervenors,’ which sounds as if it could be the name of a performance art collective…. The scrappy group of students, staff, faculty and concerned observers … see themselves as David fighting Goliath – which makes their recent legal intervention the proverbial sling to the forehead.”

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Major Ancient Tomb Discovered In Northern Greece

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Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, visiting the site at Amphiopolis, “said he was confident it would yield an ‘exceptionally important find’ from the early Hellenistic period. The tomb dates to between 325 and 300 BC, which coincides with the time when Alexander the Great died.” (in English)

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Violinist Played Instrument During His Own Brain Surgery

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In 2010 Minnesota Orchestra associate concertmaster Roger Frisch had a small electrode planted in his brain to stop the tremor that had developed in his hands. But for the neurosurgeons to get the device planted in the right spot, Frisch had to be awake – and to play. Erin Brodwin explains the how and why. (includes operating room video)

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Why Bea Arthur And A Unicorn Showing You The Heimlich Maneuver Isn’t Entirely Legal

bea arthur heimlich

The standard poster demonstrating the Heimlich that you see in every New York City restaurant is clear, mostly grayscale, almost demure – and all too easy to ignore entirely. So several eateries have commissioned designers to create new versions: cocktail-lounge romance, ’50s nautical theme, ballroom dancing manual, and, yes, Bea Arthur and a unicorn. But there’s a problem, and it’s not just killjoy Health Department inspectors. (includes audio podcast and sample posters)

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