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Is Piracy Helping Game of Thrones? | PBS Idea Channel

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If you're like us, you love watching Game of Thrones, but you may not have cable. In this case, how are we watching this amazing show on HBO, which is stuck behind a pay wall? A huge number of viewers are downloading the show illegally. But, despite being the most pirated show of 2012, the Game of Thrones DVDs are top sellers, breaking HBO's own sales records! Could it be that piracy is actually helping the show? 

How Does Glitchy Art Show Us Broken Is Beautiful? | PBS Idea Channel

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You may have noticed "glitches," where people purposely push machines to malfunction and therefore create fascinating "mistakes." Instead of being frustrated and disdainful of these errors as we usually do when our technology fails mid-workflow, we find them to be bizarrely beautiful. Why are we so interested in these images, music, or objects that are structurally or formally broken? 

How Is Technology Changing TV Narrative? | PBS Idea Channel

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Watching our favorite TV shows is one of the most fundamental ways we entertain ourselves. For most of TV history, these stories were simple and episodic: you could watch one episode when it aired, and it was a self-contained story. However, now that we have the ability to find the whole back- catalogue of a show online, is it changing the way TV show are created? Not only can people catch up without waiting for a DVD release, but entire seasons are also released and consumed in a single weekend. How might that be changing the types of stories we're being told?

Is YouTube Making Us Smarter? | PBS Idea Channel

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Did you know there's a place where you can learn just about anything you'd like? It's true! It's called YouTube! Sure, YouTube has hundreds of thousands of hours of deliciously time-wasting content, but it's much more than just a black hole of pet videos and funny clips. If you know where to go, YouTube has some of the best educational content on the planet! Although watching Kahn Academy all day might be a bit dry, the creativity of YouTube creators has allowed "education" to be transformed in a variety of amazing and engaging ways. YouTube probably won't replace schools anytime soon, but it's a pretty awesome alternative. 

The Experience of Being Trolled | PBS Idea Channel

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In a very special episode, Mike rethinks his approach to hosting. Most of you have heard the phrase "Don't Feed the Trolls," but do trolls actually serve a purpose? Found in every place people converse online, their combative rhetoric can be annoying, even harmful. Can a valid argument be made for the value of trolls? 

How Much Can Data Improve Your Health? | PBS Idea Channel

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You may have heard of the Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike Fuelband, or one of the myriad of other wearable self-tracking gadgets. You might even be wearing one right now! These gadgets help track everything from hours slept, calories consumed, to number of steps taken in a given day. But, can they actually make you healthy? Sure they provide us with tons of data about our bodies, but what do we do with all that information? Is it just about the knowing? Or does this actually motivate us to change and enhance our behavior? And if it does, can that be a bad thing? 

Do You Choose To Have Your Privacy Invaded By Using Tech? | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent Heartbleed bug was, for many, just another reminder that our information will never be secure on the internet. We feel vulnerable and hopeless in the face of a long string of privacy concerns, and many argue that this is an inevitable result of technology. But since our culture has wholly jumped on the digital bandwagon, do we as individuals truly choose to sacrifice our privacy? Or maybe the better question is, how much do we even choose to use technology? 

Is There an Introvert Craze Because of Technology? | PBS Idea Channel

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Introverts are super popular right now, celebrated to the point of meme-level. Stereotypically quiet, smart, and reserved, they are often conflated with nerds, who are also currently deemed awesome according to pop culture. But why do we suddenly want to self-identify as nerds and introverts? Is this popularity connected to technology? 

Bored Americans Using Teleporters! | PBS Idea Channel

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It's time for you to put on your thinking cap, because we have three new ideas for you to consider. 1) What's so bad about being bored? 2) Why are Americans so sensitive? 3) Is that really you on the other side of the teleporter? Watch the episode and discuss it all with your fellow bored, overly-sensitive, teleportation-obsessed Americans! And tell us what you think!

Why Are You Ignoring My iMessages?? | PBS Idea Channel

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Why are you ignoring my messages? Are read receipts amazing or infuriating? When you check iMessage on your iPhone, iWatch, iMac, or iPad and see a little note that says your friend saw your message, but they aren't responding, don't you wonder why they're ignoring your texts? 

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? 

Are There Rules For Spoilers? | PBS Idea Channel

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Spoilers can be infuriating because they can ruin the suspense in a piece of media. But some people like them, actually preferring to have the endings divulged. What camp are you in? Why aren't there better guidelines regarding spoilers? We caught up with some of our favorite Youtubers at Vidcon and got their two cents. Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

How To Create Responsible Social Criticism | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent matter of Sam Pepper's "social experiment" videos has inspired a lot of discussion and debate. Here at Idea Channel, we thought we'd take this opportunity to talk not specifically about Sam Pepper, but about media in general and its ability to comment on serious social issues. If Sam Pepper's video successfully critiqued assault, then why all the uproar? If media can be potentially hurtful, then how can we best comment on social issues? 

Net Neutrality: Is the Internet a Public Utility? | PBS Idea Channel

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Is the internet a public utility? No. Should it be? That's an interesting question. The internet, as we've said many a time, is a glorious series of tubes, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) sell us access to those tubes. But the FCC is considering a new two tiered system, in which some companies could pay ISPs for faster delivery. This topic (aka net neutrality) has made us think about the important role the internet plays in our lives. Is internet access so important that it should be classified as a public utility or common carrier, like water & electricity, or public buses and subways? 

Is Facebook Changing Our Identity? | PBS Idea Channel

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With 955,000,000 worldwide users, it seems like just about everyone makes use of the social media giant Facebook to connect with friends, share photos, and update everyone they've ever met since grade school about their dinner plans. But, what you may not realize is that Facebook's new timeline layout is enhancing the ability to construct our self identity by super-charging our memory. Philosophers have been arguing about the link between identity and memory since John Locke first proposed the idea in the 17th Century, but human memory has always been deeply flawed and limited. Now with Facebook's incredibly easy interface and ability to remember anything and everyone we want, people have a whole new way to understand their past and thus understand themselves. 

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