Social Studies

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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!

What do MP3s and Magic Spells Have in Common? | PBS Idea Channel

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The MP3 seems to be everyone's favorite musical file format. But, there's something you might not know about the Mp3 - it has a lot in common with the magic spell! Both spells and music were born from a freely available folk culture but are now sold as commercial goods. There are thousands of artists and witches trying to figure out how to make a living in an age where their products can be infinitely copied. And with commercialization, the morality and legality of sharing these once open cultural products has become quite complicated. How should we, as responsible consumers, handle this new digital age? 

Be Kind Online

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How do we act when we are on the Internet? Here are some good manners for when we are on the Internet. Use good words, not rude or bad words. Be patient with others. Sometimes others are beginners and are just learning how to use the Internet.

The Crisis Divides Rural Communities (14) | Farm Crisis

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Rural communities face deep rifts because of the farm crisis, especially between farmers and their lenders. This segment is part of the The Farm Crisis documentary, which examines the tragic circumstances faced by farmers for most of the 1980s, when thousands were forced into bankruptcy, land values dropped by one-third nationally, and sky-high interest rates turned successes into failures seemingly overnight.