Social Studies

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Clifton Suspension Bridge

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This video segment from Building Big highlights the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of the earliest of its kind. Though it was completed in 1864, when pedestrians, animals, and horse-drawn carriages were its main forms of traffic, its iron chain-link cables and stone piers today carry four million cars and other vehicles a year.

Architecture 2030

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Learn about efforts to protect the environment by changing the way buildings are planned, designed and constructed.

The Druk White Lotus School: Ladakh

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See how local cultures can sustain their way of life while also utilizing technologically advanced methods.

Animated GIFs | Off Book

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Off Book explores the visual artistry of one of the oldest image formats used on the web: the animated Graphics Interchange Format. Throughout their history, GIFs have served a variety of purposes, from functional to entertaining. In this episode of Off Book, we chart the history of GIF, explore the hotbed of GIF creativity on Tumblr, and talk to two teams of GIF artists who are reshaping the format with powerful new visual experiences.

The Art of Data Visualization | Off Book

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Off Book takes a look at how the practice of data visualization has gained even more importance in this digital age. From scientific visualization to pop infographics, designers are increasingly tasked with incorporating data into the media experience. Data has emerged as such a critical part of modern life that it has entered into the realm of art, where data-driven visual experiences challenge viewers to find personal meaning from a sea of information, a task that is present in every aspect of our lives.

Greening the Federal Government

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Observe efforts to elevate government architecture across the country through the hiring of the best architects "of the day".

Melbourne Reborn

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In this video, find out how the city of Melbourne, Australia revitalized its downtown community. By the mid-1970s, Melbourne was a dying city.

Egypt's Treasure Guardians | Full Program

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Meet Egypt's "treasure guardians," a group of archaeologists, scholars, conservators, and engineers working to guard national heritage, following years of political upheaval, by building a museum. To preserve its rich history and to tempt visitors back, Egypt is building the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM)—the greatest Egyptian monument since the pyramids! Archaeologists across the country are opening new dig sites to find artifacts for display, with the hope that teaching the public about important historical areas will keep those places protected in the future.

Up the Yangtze

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Nearing completion, China's massive Three Gorges Dam is altering the landscape and the lives of people living along the fabled Yangtze River. Countless ancient villages and historic locales will be submerged, and 2 million people will lose their homes and livelihoods. The Yu family desperately seeks a reprieve by sending their 16-year-old daughter to work in the cruise ship industry that has sprung up to give tourists a last glimpse of the legendary river valley. With cinematic sweep, Up the Yangtze explores lives transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history, a hotly contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle.

Are Hologram Tupac and Hologram Freddie Mercury Nostalgia or New Aesthetic? | PBS Idea Channel

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Everyone has heard about the Tupac Hologram that played at Coachella earlier this year. But with Queen's recent announcement of a Hologram Freddie Mercury and TLC's plans for a Hologram Lisa Left Eye Lopes, it looks Hologram pop stars are here to stay - what does this mean for art and technology? At first glance, it might seem like this is just more of the same old nostalgia, but we think these Holo-Popstars represent something much bigger and entirely new. They are the heralds of New Aesthetic, a hotly debated new art movement dedicated to the blending of art and technology. 

Is Over The Garden Wall About Having Faith? | PBS Idea Channel

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Our viewers really enjoy the Over the Garden Wall series on Cartoon Network, as indicated by all the comments and tweets. We do too! Wirt and Greg's journey to find their way home through The Unknown makes for not just a great show, but a great exploration into the idea of faith in the face of fear. The show and its two central characters seem to perfectly illustrate cynicism and optimism. So what can we learn from the brothers, as well as Beatrice and their frog, about faith and facing the impossible?

Is BMO From Adventure Time Expressive of Feminism? | PBS Idea Channel

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BMO from the show Adventure Time identifies as both male and female, and because of that expresses the ideals of Third Wave Feminism. Third Wave Feminism questions if gender is actually binary, tied to our biological sex. Is our understanding of masculinity and femininity fair, or even accurate? Of course, BMO has no biological gender, so there's no cultural expectations that anchors her (him?) down. It all seems to be a non-issue in the Adventure Time world. What do you think, is BMO male or female? Or does it even matter? 

How is Seeing Enders Game a Political Action? | PBS Idea Channel

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The science fiction novel Ender's Game has been a part of the sci-fi canon for the past 30+ years and with its huge new blockbuster movie release, it's bigger than ever. But its author, Orson Scott Card, has inspired more debate than the novel itself. Card has been labeled homophobic, racist, and a handful of other distasteful things, and the opinions held by Card have created a great deal of anger and opposition. Now that Ender's Game has been made into a movie, this leads to a big question: should you see it? Does buying a ticket to a film equal an endorsement of the creator's ideas? Or, should you join the bandwagon of boycotts against the film? Should you avoid it based on your moral beliefs? 

Sandwiches, Modernity, and Lyrics: A Thanksgiving Episode | PBS Idea Channel

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In honor of Thanksgiving, we present two ideas to discuss with your loved ones around the dinner table. First up: sandwiches. They are the perfect food for today's fast-paced lifestyle. But was it the creation of this versatile food that ushered in the period of classical modernity? Next up: music lyrics websites. We all love singing the wrong lyrics and then looking up the actual lyrics on rap genius. But are these sites stealing from the recording industry by profiting off of artist's lyrics? 

How is Jurassic Park A Commentary on Capitalism? | PBS Idea Channel

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It doesn't matter if it was intended or not: the film Jurassic Park (as does its source book) accurately illustrates investment and risk, money as motivation, negligent management of capital, and profit as the ultimate end goal. But can anything in our culture avoid this metaphor of capitalism? By stepping back and looking at all media in our culture, we can see echoes of the capitalism theme everywhere.

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