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Are Videogames About Their Mechanics? | PBS Idea Channel

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As we play video games over and over again, we spend a lot of time getting pretty good at the mechanics and gameplay - but at what expense? Each shot fired and potion consumed engrosses us more and more, but does that engrossing nature work against the story, the narrative, and maybe the bigger picture of what the game is (supposedly) about? Do we care more about what we do, instead of what happens? And should the interaction be more important than the message? Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

Why Were People & Critics So Infatuated With Frozen? | PBS Idea Channel

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There isn't much to say about Frozen that hasn't already been said, so we're going to talk about the fact that so much has been said about Frozen. People love analyzing and critiquing this movie. It has inspired dozens of think-pieces, covering everything from its portrayal of gender roles, to cultural appropriation, to the definition of true love. Frozen, and its complexity, has touched something in viewers. Could it be its morphing of traditional fairy tale tropes?

Hello Kitty, Minimalist Icon? | PBS Idea Channel

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With her cute pink bow and huge noggin, Hello Kitty is one of the most recognizable characters in the world. She sells billions of dollars worth of merchandise, but what is it about this simple cartoon cat that makes her such a beloved piece of pop culture? Ahead of her time when first created in 1974, we think that Hello Kitty used minimalism's bag of tricks to become the world's best salesgirl.

Did HIMYM Earn Its Ending? | PBS Idea Channel

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Are you a fan of How I Met Your Mother? Beware for spoilers! This show is a popular sitcom that has been running for nine years, teasing its audience the whole way with the riddle of the identity of "The Mother." But, with its recent finale and the mystery resolved, the reaction was mixed. Did Ted end up with who he was meant to all along? Or, did the creators pull a fast one and produce an ending that was unearned? With TV audiences notoriously fickle, TV producers must consider a responsibility to the fans and balance that with making the show they want. Was the ending of HIMYM ultimately a success or failure? Watch the episode to find out, and tell us what you think!

Are the Titans from Attack on Titan Evil? | PBS Idea Channel

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The titans, from the anime series "Attack on Titan," are most definitely the bad guys. But can we call them evil? If you're unfamiliar, the titans are huge beings that devour humans, but their motivation is a little unclear. Is it just hunger? Do they hate humans? Are they just dumb? And with all this doubt, what's the use in the label of evil anyway? Nietzsche, Kant, and Jung all weigh in, but you should probably watch the episode and find out! Tell us what you think!

Is Homestuck the Ulysses of the Internet? | PBS Idea Channel

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If you're unfamiliar, Homestuck is a webcomic created Andrew Hussie that is over 5000 pages so far! In in its own weird way, Homestuck is a lot like James Joyce's Ulysses, where only the strongest, most dedicated readers make it through to the end. Most people don't expect such expansive and daunting works to find a home on the internet, but Homestuck has apparently pulled it off.

Is Doctor Who a Religion? | PBS Idea Channel

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Doctor Who is one of the longest running TV shows on the BBC, and it's got a huge fandom surrounding it, called Whovians. And while it might not seem like it, Whovianism, might just be religion! Whovians, like other passionate fan cultures, create art & fan fiction and engage in a strong remix culture.

Should "Happy Birthday" be Protected by Copyright? | PBS Idea Channel

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You know how chain restaurants always sing some weird unknown birthday tune, instead of the actual Happy Birthday song we know and love? It's because "Happy Birthday To You" is protected by copyright! They are legally not allowed to sing it in public, and neither are you. Unfortunately, the whole system has gotten out of whack with copyright extensions that extend far beyond the life of the creator.

What is Fiction? (ft. War of the Worlds) | PBS Idea Channel

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What is fiction? That's the question that popped into our minds when thinking about Orson Welles' radio War of the Worlds performance, which set off a public panic of listeners who thought NJ was truly being attacked by aliens. Those aliens didn't really exist, since it was all pretend. But, on the other hand, they did (and do) exist in a way. They can be described, referenced, and can have as much veracity to people as physical objects. And the worlds created in fiction can contain real things - cars, people, New Jersey. Can something both exist and not exist? 

Does It Matter What Evangelion's Creator Says? | PBS Idea Channel

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Neon Genesis Evangelion may be the ultimate anime. More than just Mecha, NGE is dark and emotional, taking on serious topics such as depression, free will and a host of other intense material. But, creator, Hideaki Anno says that we're all reading way too much into it. Are his words the final say on this piece of media? Or, are the author's ideas of his own work equal to the interpretations of anyone else?! 

How Mighty is Taylor Swift's Pen? | PBS Idea Channel

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Join us for a discussion about Taylor Swift. The mega-popstar seems to be at the top of the music industry lately, with her killer new album 1989, her decreeing of Spotify's deficiency, and her general awesomeness and authenticity. Connected to that authenticity, much has been noted about Swift writing her own music. Could her power of the pen be the very source of her industrial power? 

What Does the Russian Meteorite Tell Us About Surveillance Culture? | PBS Idea Channel

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In February, 2013 a meteorite burst into flames in the atmosphere above Russia. This wasn't the first time and it won't be the last, but it is the first time such an event was captured by SO MANY CAMERAS! The incredible number of views and angles filmed was made possible by Russia's bizarre driving culture and the MILLIONS of car dash cams installed all over the country. But besides providing the world with some hilarious, frightening, and amazing footage, the dash cams also make us think about surveillance, and what role it will play in the future.

Are You A Hipster? | PBS Idea Channel

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Hipsters aren't the most likeable people, right? They seem so smug and arrogant, with their ray bans, scarves, and ironic t-shirts. Even those who clearly are hipsters still recoil at the label. Embracing irony over earnestness, the key to hipsters is not just what they enjoy, but how they enjoy it. Borrowing from other subcultures, hipsters reappropriate these fashion elements as their own. But don't we all do that? Our own fashion came from somewhere and certainly has been refined. Do we all have a little bit of hipster blood in us? Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

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? 

Is Twitter A New Form of Literature? | PBS Idea Channel

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Everyone is familiar with Twitter, the uber-popular micro-blogging site, which limits the user to 140 characters. The tweet is perfect for sharing your favorite links and updating the world about your life, but it might also be the newest literary form! This massively constrained communication, which has remarkable similarities to the Haiku, has inspired creativity worthy of the name "literature."

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