Idea Channel

Is William Gibson a Modern Day Oracle? | PBS Idea Channel

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The science fiction writer William Gibson has not only written some fantastic scifi novels, but in the process predicted the internet, Miku Hatsune, reality TV, and a crazy amount of other technological and societal developments that have come into being. His impressive rate of accuracy seems almost mystical. Is he a modern soothsayer?

Do Knock-Offs Prove the Value of a Brand? | PBS Idea Channel

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Living in the consumer culture that we do, we've learned that specific brands can carry very different meanings and values.  The counterfeit industry is huge and isn't going anywhere, and companies spend huge amounts to dissuade people from buying "fakes". But are knock-offs really a negative for the brand?

Is Minecraft the Ultimate Educational Tool? | PBS Idea Channel

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Video games, like Minecraft, may be good for more than just fun. Some experts have brought Minecraft into the classroom, allowing teachers to customize lessons and students to engage with concepts in new ways. Minecraft has some unique advantages that could usher in a new direction in education. In the future, students across the world may spend their class time punching trees.

Is Diablo III Turning Virtual Economies Into Real Ones? | PBS Idea Channel

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The U.S. economy may be in the dumps, but you can find solace in the fact that your Second Life avatar is living the life of the 1%.  What if the economies of video games could be transferred to the real world? We're actually already seeing this in Diablo 3, where axes, swords, and other awesome gear have taken on real world value at the Diablo 3 Auction House. People are buying and selling them with real US dollar bills!

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? 

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.

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? 

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!

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.

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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