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IDEAS

Sondheim Also Revolutionized Crosswords

"Sondheim is particularly remembered among connoisseurs of word puzzles for his role in introducing Americans to British-style cryptic crosswords. ... The crosswords that he created for New York Magazine in 1968 and 1969 were instrumental in popularizing the cryptic genre on this side of the Atlantic." - Slate

In 2021, We Were Still Cry-Laughing, Or Laugh-Crying, A Whole Lot

At least, according to our collective emoji use. The "face with tears of joy" accounted for five percent of all emojis sent online last year. (A red heart was also right up there, but watch out, kissy face is moving up.) - The Verge

If Democracy Is Institutions, What Institutions Are Democracy?

Political institutions differ considerably from one purportedly democratic society to the next. Voting procedures, representation schemes, conceptions of free speech, and judicial arrangements are not uniform across societies that are widely regarded as democratic. - 3 Quarks Daily

Has America Lost Its Imagination?

Americans used to go to movie theaters to watch new characters in new stories. Now they go to movie theaters to re-submerge themselves in familiar story lines. - The Atlantic

What Ails Us: Our Search For Cures

Adam Phillips tells us again and again, the quest for self-improvement is itself the problem. What we suffer from “are our self-cures”, otherwise known as “symptoms”; what we need to be cured of are our cures, and our hankering for them. “There is no cure.” - New Statesman

Inside The NFT Hype Bubble

After “community,” the second-most used word at NFT.NYC is probably “rich.” As in, “Do you want to be rich?” The speakers ask the audience variations on that question a lot. -Artnet

Is Society Failing, Post-Pandemic?

Jill Lepore: Of course, there is such a thing as society. The question now is how the pandemic has changed it. Speculating about what might happen next requires first deciphering these statements, and where they came from. - The Guardian

When Each Of Us Is Turning Into An Investment Opportunity

Parallel shifts in culture and technology are forging a new paradigm. The rules around how we create and capture economic value are being rewritten, opening up new roads to the kind of wealth creation previously limited to a select few. - The Atlantic

Sondheim Placed The Musical Firmly At The Heart Of American Culture

Before the pandemic, his songs permeated U.S. media. "His primacy within wider culture came from the widest possible acknowledgement that not only had Sondheim created a succession of groundbreaking hits, but that in the mostly reactionary world of the American musical, he was a revolutionary." - The Guardian (UK)

Our Brains Are Prediction Machines

And that's because human brains are so energy hungry that they train hard to be energy-efficient. What happens when actual machines can mimic the brain? - Wired

If Politicians Can’t Fix A City’s Problems, Can Art Do Something?

Manchester intends to find out. - BBC

An Artificial Reality Of Self-Improvement?

If computers gave each and every one of us a better way to gauge where to put our resources and energy and everyone of us had a better shot at living longer healthier lives, would that be a positive development? - Cody Pallo

Diversifying Your Emotional States

The more finely you can identify different body states—distinguishing, say, among aggravation, irritation, frustration, hostility, anxiety, and disgruntlement—the more you will understand yourself, and the more effectively you will move in the world. - The Atlantic

These Days You Can Bet On Almost Anything. But Why?

The most straightforward reason for the surge in gambling is a change to the law: In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, opening the door to online sports betting across 21 states. As a direct result, sports-betting revenues grew 69 percent. - The Atlantic

End Of Times – Identifying The Anthropocene

In the face of such debilitating immensity, we cannot merely shrug and take a selfie. We cannot allow the scale of the crises we are already living through, and of those to come, to trump their urgency. - Boston Review

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