Social Studies

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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.

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.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Individual Freedom

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Learn about the history of automobiles in North Dakota. The automobile age gave freedom of movement and choice for passengers and freight. With more people driving cars, the push came for better roads.

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Peerless Transportation

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Learn about the role of railroads in North Dakota history. In their time, railroads had no peer in their ability to move people and goods, although shipping costs were high. The railroad companies helped increase immigration to North Dakota by actively marketing the opportunities here to foreigners, especially Scandinavians and Germans from Russia.

Red River Land | History of Travel | The Skies

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In the early days of the airplane people put on shows to display their flying talent.  Some notable performing aviators, male and female, were known as barnstormers and were from the Red River Valley.  Today modern jet aircraft transport people and freight all over Red River Land.

Competitive Gaming and E-Sports | Off Book

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Off Book takes a look at the world and culture of competitive gaming, which is now claiming a space similar to traditional sports. As games have increased in sophistication, they have become a medium for expressing human skill and brilliance. The result is a tier of the gaming world filled with disciplined, talented, and highly competitive players. Born out of arcade tournaments and LAN parties, the world of competitive gaming is now entering a mature, global phase.

Are Emoticons the Future of Language? | Off Book

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At times, computers and technology seem to dictate cultural norms. We increasingly use written language in place of face-to-face chat or phone calls. But the advantages of email, chat, and text in speed come with limitations in communicating emotional tone. Enter emoticons and emojis. Not just a playful supplement to language, these new tools allow for complexity in tone and emotion rarely possible in written language and provide new opportunities for creative expression.

The Voice of the South | Georgia Stories

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On March 15, 1922, Atlanta’s WSB (for “Welcome South, Brother”) became the first radio station to broadcast in the South. At that time, almost anyone who could do anything could get on the air. Radio became a source of comfort (Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s reassuring Fireside Chats), alarm (Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds broadcast) and escapism (adventure shows like The Lone Ranger and The Shadow).

Old Red Trail | Birth of the Interstate

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Crossing the United States before the federal highway system was in place was very difficult.  Future President Dwight Eisenhower traveled in a military expedition from Maryland to California in 1919 and took that experience with him to the White House.  He signed the Federal Highway Act in 1956, which resulted in the opening of the first part of Interstate 94 in October of 1958 between Valley City and Jamestown.  The video clip also includes discussion of how the interstate highway project was funded, its value in national defense, and secondary road improvement projects.

How Will Robots Affect Your Career Options?

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Find out how artificial intelligence could impact the future workforce with this video and educational resources from PBS NewsHour from May 20, 2015.

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