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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.

The Uncertain Connection Between North Korea and Hackers | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent release of The Interview could have been a movie unto itself, involving hackers, a secretive foreign nation, an inept corporation and the United States government. After the Sony leaks, the FBI said North Korean hackers were to blame, and Obama put sanctions into place in response. Foreign policy was affected by this cyberattack! But, was North Korea really the one responsible? And if it wasn't behind the leak, and we can't identify our attackers, what does that mean for the 21st century? Watch the episode to find out more, and tell us what you think!

Do We Need a Better Archive of the Internet? | PBS Idea Channel

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The internet is an archive, but it may not be as effective as we think. It saves any media we can imagine (text, photographs, films, etc.), but what about information from the network? Status updates, tweets, image macros... they all seem to disappear into the ether. Are they not worth as much to us as physical objects? We archive things so we can remember them, so is this network ephemera not worth remembering? 

Does Animal Crossing Promote Otaku Citizenship? | PBS Idea Channel

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Like us, you may not have initially realized the significance of Animal Crossing. Sure, it's a simple game for kids, with cute animals and bright colors. But, could it be true that it inspires otaku citizenship?! Otaku refers to obsessive interest and collection, usually associated with Japanese culture, but it can apply to anything. In Animal Crossing, as mayor of your town, success is defined by maintaining friendships with your townspeople and collecting natural resources to cultivate the perfect town. Is this promoting otaku? 

What Does the SAT Really Test? | PBS Idea Channel

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How's that SAT prep going? Need some SAT tips? Well, here's one: The SAT may not actually be measuring your anything. That's right, your SAT scores, despite what colleges and high schools across America may like for you to believe, may not reflect anything new. There is actually substantial evidence that instead of broad aptitudes, the SATs only measure a specific set of non-quantitative, cultural values and ideas. Don't scratch those SAT dates off your calendar yet though, because it is still important, and on this week's episode of Idea Channel, let's look at why.

Could Sports Ever Replace War? | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent excitement over the World Cup made us think: could a competitive sporting event ever replace war? It's easy to see the similarity between games and warfare: both often involve strategy, cunning, and even (sometimes especially) national pride. Plus, sports are not completely without value in terms of international relations. History has shown that politically charged soccer games and "ping-pong policy" can impact diplomacy. But, could a match substitute true combat, and the results honored as definitive during global discord? Watch the episode to find out, and tell us what you think!

Do Upvotes Show Democracy's Flaws? | PBS Idea Channel

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Are upvotes democratic? The idea behind forums like reddit that use upvoting as 'community sourced decisions' is that compelling, unique posts will float to the top, and weak ones will sink to the bottom. Reddit is a democracy - much like The United States! However, in both cases, the notion of true democracy may well be an illusion. Does seeing upvotes promote more upvotes? Does provocative content beget more provocative content? Is all content created equal? Watch this episode to find out, and tell us what you think!

Is the Internet Cats? | PBS Idea Channel

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I think we can all agree that the Internet has an intense, borderline obsessive appreciation for cats. With felines as its spirit animal, the internet can even seem cat-like in personality. Where does all this kitty love come from? Humans have made the internet, and humans have had an affinity for cats for centuries. But can we make the jump from "the internet loves cats" to "the internet is cats?" 

Is the Universe a Computer? | PBS Idea Channel

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is about everything in life and the universe. In the books, the "answer" is 42, but the question is unknown. To discover the question, a giant computer called Earth was built. Although it seems silly, perhaps Douglas Adams was correct. Maybe not just earth, but the whole universe, is an incredibility complex computational system, processing the answer to some unknown question. The universe is made of information, similar to a computer, and physics certainly is based on computational principles. But, is it running some grand program? 

LITERALLY OUR MOST AMAZING EPISODE EVER!!! | PBS Idea Channel

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"This is literally the best episode of Idea Channel EVER." Is it? Or are we just continuing the cultural trend of hyperbole? (side note: the episode is pretty gosh darn enjoyable) It's like EVERY SINGLE THING people describe is AWESOME and AMAZING and THE BEST. We're all seemingly competing to have the ultimate meaningful experiences, so how are we supposed to articulate genuine sentiment? I mean it's THE WORST I cannot even. Literally, I can't even find words to accurately describe the limits to our vocabulary and our ability to express true enthusiasm. So where does our vernacular develop from here? 

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