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Do You Choose To Have Your Privacy Invaded By Using Tech? | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent Heartbleed bug was, for many, just another reminder that our information will never be secure on the internet. We feel vulnerable and hopeless in the face of a long string of privacy concerns, and many argue that this is an inevitable result of technology. But since our culture has wholly jumped on the digital bandwagon, do we as individuals truly choose to sacrifice our privacy? Or maybe the better question is, how much do we even choose to use technology? 

Is There an Introvert Craze Because of Technology? | PBS Idea Channel

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Introverts are super popular right now, celebrated to the point of meme-level. Stereotypically quiet, smart, and reserved, they are often conflated with nerds, who are also currently deemed awesome according to pop culture. But why do we suddenly want to self-identify as nerds and introverts? Is this popularity connected to technology? 

Why Are You Ignoring My iMessages?? | PBS Idea Channel

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Why are you ignoring my messages? Are read receipts amazing or infuriating? When you check iMessage on your iPhone, iWatch, iMac, or iPad and see a little note that says your friend saw your message, but they aren't responding, don't you wonder why they're ignoring your texts? 

Why Makeup Isn't Superficial | PBS Idea Channel

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When someone puts on makeup, there is no easy way to know why they've done it or why they made the decisions they did about their makeup. Answers to those questions might not even be clear to the makeup-wearers themselves! After a very long history of putting stuff on our bodies to accentuate our features, cosmetics - both the products and the idea of them - have taken on a good amount of baggage. So, its tough to know... Is it for the person wearing it? Is it for the people who are going to see the person wearing it? Is it for one by way of the other? This episode of Idea Channel approaches some of these questions, inspired by beauty and makeup tutorials found on YouTube and the tradition of person-to-person sharing of makeup knowledge. 

Are There Internet Dialects? | PBS Idea Channel

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We consider ourselves natives of Internetland, which has made us wonder if there's such a thing as an internet dialect. Is there a common way of communicating through word choice, vocabulary, and how these words are arranged and used? So what is Standard Internet Speak? Acronyms, emoticons, and hashtags? Purposeful misspellings and abbreviations? 

Are There Rules For Spoilers? | PBS Idea Channel

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Spoilers can be infuriating because they can ruin the suspense in a piece of media. But some people like them, actually preferring to have the endings divulged. What camp are you in? Why aren't there better guidelines regarding spoilers? We caught up with some of our favorite Youtubers at Vidcon and got their two cents. Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

Can Dungeons & Dragons Make You A Confident & Successful Person? | PBS Idea Channel

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There are some deeply ingrained stereotypes about Dungeons & Dragons, and those stereotypes usually begin and end with people called D&D fans nerds. But, the reality of the D&D universe is much more complex. Rather than being an escape from reality, D&D is actually a way to enhance some important real life skills. It's a chance to learn problem solving, visualization, interaction, organization, people management, and so on. Plus, there are some very famous non-nerds who have declared an affinity for D&D, so perhaps it is best to stop criticizing and join in if you want to be a successful at the game of life! Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

How To Create Responsible Social Criticism | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent matter of Sam Pepper's "social experiment" videos has inspired a lot of discussion and debate. Here at Idea Channel, we thought we'd take this opportunity to talk not specifically about Sam Pepper, but about media in general and its ability to comment on serious social issues. If Sam Pepper's video successfully critiqued assault, then why all the uproar? If media can be potentially hurtful, then how can we best comment on social issues? 

Net Neutrality: Is the Internet a Public Utility? | PBS Idea Channel

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Is the internet a public utility? No. Should it be? That's an interesting question. The internet, as we've said many a time, is a glorious series of tubes, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) sell us access to those tubes. But the FCC is considering a new two tiered system, in which some companies could pay ISPs for faster delivery. This topic (aka net neutrality) has made us think about the important role the internet plays in our lives. Is internet access so important that it should be classified as a public utility or common carrier, like water & electricity, or public buses and subways? 

Is Facebook Changing Our Identity? | PBS Idea Channel

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With 955,000,000 worldwide users, it seems like just about everyone makes use of the social media giant Facebook to connect with friends, share photos, and update everyone they've ever met since grade school about their dinner plans. But, what you may not realize is that Facebook's new timeline layout is enhancing the ability to construct our self identity by super-charging our memory. Philosophers have been arguing about the link between identity and memory since John Locke first proposed the idea in the 17th Century, but human memory has always been deeply flawed and limited. Now with Facebook's incredibly easy interface and ability to remember anything and everyone we want, people have a whole new way to understand their past and thus understand themselves. 

When Do Memes Stop Being Funny? | PBS Idea Channel

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"Old meme is old." But why is this such a bad thing? Once the height of internetiness, the sight of a LOLCat is now unforgivable. Memes become passe very quickly: after just months or even weeks of a new meme, we tire of the once hugely popular joke. Why does this happen, and so rapidly? Is it a reflection of the sheer volume of visual information we absorb from the internet? Or, does it say something about this specific visual culture? 

What Does Too Many Cooks Say About the Meaning of Life? | PBS Idea Channel

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Adult Swim's Too Many Cooks is awesome, bizarre, and like so many other things on the internet, absurd. The video is perfectly suited for internet obsession, because the internet loves meaningless and irrational content. So, how does this meaningless video connect to Sisyphus, Albert Camus, and Alex from Target? 

Will Minecraft and Makerbot Usher in the Post-Scarcity Economy? | PBS Idea Channel

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From the Jetsons to Cory Doctorow, science fiction writers of all stripes have imagined a world where any object could be instantly created. Modern economics on the other hand, is built on the principle of competition for scarce resources. And while it may not seem like a video game and printer could alter this economic reality, we beg to differ. Minecraft's creative mode is the perfect vehicle for understanding a Post-Scarcity world: a place where resources are permanently available and constantly regenerated. It shows that with unlimited resources, people end up creating amazing digital structures! Of course, a world of infinitely available resources seems pretty fantastical until you consider the Makerbot and the future of 3D printing. The Makerbot is an at home device that allow you to print real, three dimensional objects, meaning a Minecraftian future where you can print anything you want at anytime might not be that far away. Watch the episode, and tell us what you think!

Can Bullet Hell Games Be Meditative? | PBS Idea Channel

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Bullet Hell games are crazy. Their onslaught of lasers and bullets (also known as "dakka") seems overwhelming or even impossible to the uninitiated. Is playing these games an elaborate and stressful mastery of patterns and strategy? Or could it instead be a form of meditation? Maybe the way to find your way through the dakka is to fall into a mental autopilot in the face of complexity, finding harmony within the haze. Is this wild overstimulation a form of modern meditation? Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

How Powerful Are Algorithms? | PBS Idea Channel

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If you've ever used Google, Netflix, Facebook, or Amazon, then you've come into contact with algorithms. In fact, it's guaranteed that your life has been impacted by algorithms, even in ways you're unaware of. The importance of algorithms in today's world cannot be overstated, and their role has been the focus of much discussion- especially in how they're shaping our lives, for better or for worse. But, how far does the algorithmic rabbit hole go? Could their influence even have spiritual correlations? 

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