It’s Banned Books Week: Listen to Allen Ginsberg Read His Famously Banned Poem, “Howl,” in San Francisco, 1956

≡ Category: Books, Literature, Poetry |7 Comments

According to Ruth Graham in Slate, Banned Books Week is a “crock,” an unnecessary public   indulgence since “there is basically no such thing as a ‘banned book’ in the United States in 2015.

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Aubrey Beardsley’s Macabre Illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe’s Short Stories (1894)

≡ Category: Art, Literature |1 Comment

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Earlier this month, we featured Oscar Wilde’s scandalous play Salome as illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley in 1894.

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Hear Ray Bradbury’s Beloved Sci-Fi Stories as Classic Radio Dramas

≡ Category: Literature, Radio |Leave a Comment

Image by Alan Light released under Creative Commons license.
When he passed away in 2012, science fiction master Ray Bradbury left us with a number of instantly quotable lines. There are aphorisms like “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

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Why You Can Never Tune a Piano

≡ Category: Math, Music |12 Comments

Grab a cup of coffee, put on your thinking cap, and start working through this newly-released video from Minute Physics, which explains why guitars, violins and other instruments can be tuned to a tee. But when it comes to pianos, it’s an entirely differently story, a mathematical impossibility.

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Nikola Tesla’s Predictions for the 21st Century: The Rise of Smart Phones & Wireless, The Demise of Coffee, The Rule of Eugenics (1926/35)

≡ Category: Life, Magazines, Science |1 Comment

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The fate of the visionary is to be forever outside of his or her time. Such was the life of Nikola Tesla, who dreamed the future while his opportunistic rival Thomas Edison seized the moment.

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An Animated Tom Waits Talks About Laughing at Funerals & the Moles Under Stonehenge (1988)

≡ Category: Music |Leave a Comment

Popular music has a rich tradition of literary songwriters, including—to name but a few—Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Kate Bush, and even Alan Parsons, who released not one, but two concept albums based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

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“A Glorious Hour”: Helen Keller Describes The Ecstasy of Feeling Beethoven’s Ninth Played on the Radio (1924)

≡ Category: Music |Leave a Comment

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These days, if you like a piece of music, you might well say that you’re “feeling it” — or you might have said it a decade or two ago, anyway. But deaf music-lovers (who, as one may not immediately assume, exist) do literally that, feeling the actual vibrations of the sound with not their ears, but the rest of their bodies.

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Human: The Movie Features Interviews with 2,020 People from 60 Countries on What It Means to Be Human

≡ Category: Environment, Film, Life, Travel |2 Comments

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What is it that makes us human? And how best to ensure that we all get our fair say?
For director, photographer, and environmental activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the answers lay in framing all of his interview subjects using the same single image layout.

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Fantastic Mr. Fox Meets The Shining in an Animated, Cautionary Tale About Consumerism

≡ Category: Animation, Business |1 Comment

In this short stop-motion film, Alexandra Lemay draws some creative inspiration from Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick and leaves us with a “cautionary tale of what happens when we don’t think enough about what we buy.

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Gabriel García Márquez Describes the Cultural Merits of Soap Operas, and Even Wrote a Script for One

≡ Category: Film, Literature |1 Comment

The relationship between literary writers and the film industry has given us many a story of major creative tension or downward mobility. Most famously, we have Fitzgerald—who gravitated to Hollywood like most writers did, including the more successful Faulkner—for money.

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