1905 Video Shows New York City Subway Traveling From 14th St. to 42nd Street

≡ Category: History, Technology |2 Comments

If you’re a New Yorker, you know this stretch of subway inside and out. You’ve schlepped from Union Square to Grand Central Station on the 4, 5, or 6 trains how many times? Probably more than you care to count. But don’t worry, you’re in good company.


Martin Scorsese Reveals His 12 Favorite Movies (and Writes a New Essay on Film Preservation)

≡ Category: Film |19 Comments

Cinema as we’ve almost always known it — “Edison, the Lumière brothers, Méliès, Porter, all the way through Griffith and on to Kubrick”  — has “really almost gone.” So writes Martin Scorsese in his recent essay for the New York Review of Books, “The Persisting Vision: Reading the Language of Cinema.


New Archive Reveals How Scientists Finally Solved the Vexing “Longitude Problem” During the 1700s

≡ Category: Archives, Astronomy, Education, History, Science |2 Comments

For centuries, seafaring explorers and merchants reckoned with the longitude problem. It was relatively easy to figure out a ship’s location on a north-south axis, but nearly impossible to determine how far east or west it was. And the stakes were high.


Classic Monty Python: Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw Engage in a Hilarious Battle of Wits

≡ Category: Comedy, Literature |2 Comments

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be present when Oscar Wilde was delivering those dazzling epigrams of his? In this classic sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, we’re presented with one hilarious possibility.


Bryan Cranston Reads Shelley’s Sonnet “Ozymandias” in Ominous Teaser for Breaking Bad’s Last Season

≡ Category: Poetry, Television |5 Comments

Since his improbable but riveting rise from put-upon, cancer-stricken chemistry teacher Walter White to sociopathic meth kingpin Heisenberg, Bryan Cranston’s character in Breaking Bad has come to embody all of the characteristics of an ancient despot: cunning, paranoia, the nursing of old wounds and pretensions to undeserved greatness.


Stephen Colbert Tries to Make Sense of MOOCs with the Head of edX

≡ Category: Comedy, MIT, MOOCs |Leave a Comment

Last week Anant Agarwal, President of edX (the MOOC consortium launched by Harvard and MIT), paid a visit to The Colbert Report. And it didn’t take long for the host, the one and only Stephen Colbert, to ask funny but unmistakably probing questions about the advent of Massive Open Online Courses. “I don’t understand.


Stanley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films: The First and Only List He Ever Created

≡ Category: Film |25 Comments

Image by Moody Man, via Flickr Commons
When, over the past weekend, I noticed the words “Stanley Kubrick” had risen into Twitter’s trending-topics list, I got excited. I figured someone had discovered, in the back of a long-neglected studio vault, the last extant print of a Kubrick masterpiece we’d somehow all forgotten.


Noam Chomsky Went Gangnam Style … Ever So Briefly?

≡ Category: MIT, Music, Philosophy, Random |5 Comments

I’m usually pretty dialed into this stuff, but somehow this one slipped by me last fall. During the Gangnam Style craze, MIT shot a parody video where Noam Chomsky, the father of modern linguistics, made a cameo appearance. Maybe it slipped by me because the appearance is brief. About 5 seconds, starting at the 3:20 mark.


The Lost/Animated Interview with Fidel Castro: If the Revolution Fails, Cuba Will be “Hell Itself” (1959)

≡ Category: Animation, History |Leave a Comment

“If this Revolution falls, what we will have here in Cuba is a hell,” Fidel Castro said in Havana in 1959. “Hell itself.”
Castro was 32 when he made the proclamation during an interview recorded just weeks after the overthrow of dictator Fulgencio Batista.


Guitar Stories: Mark Knopfler on the Six Guitars That Shaped His Career

≡ Category: Music |12 Comments

When Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler was a kid growing up in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, he dreamed about getting his own guitar. “I remember standing outside music stores with my nose pressed up against the glass, just staring at those electric guitars,” he told People magazine in 1985.


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