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 a Tagged Instagram More Than Just a Photo? | PBS Idea Channel

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Instagram may be pretty awesome, but it's even more #interesting than you think! The hashtag, so simple and ubiquitous, raises the image from mere photo to a new complex entity. An extension of the social media aspect of the Instagram app, the hashtag enhances searchability and allows a connection to a variety of communities. Some tags can definitely be redundant or even useless, but the right ones can add context, greater meaning to the picture, and chronicle our changing relationship to photography! 

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? 

Will Kickstarter Replace Hollywood? | PBS Idea Channel

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You may have heard about the recent overwhelming success of the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter, or you might have contributed yourself. This is a big moment for fan communities, with Kickstarter giving them the opportunity to challenge the closed gates of the Hollywood system. Although its funding is nowhere near the amount Hollywood invests in moviemaking each year, crowdfunding is a much better indicator of what the audience wants to see, the one area in which Hollywood has failed in time and time again.

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? 

Five Fallacies | PBS Idea Channel

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Arguing on the internet seems to be everyone's favorite pastime! But, unfortunately, some people don't do it very well or, at least they could do it better. You owe it to them (and yourself!) to help them out and make their claims and/or arguments less fallacious. In doing so, you'll increase the quality of discourse between the both of you, perhaps even helping you to finally figure out some deep questions.

Did Someone Say Philosophical? | PBS Idea Channel

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In this short episode, Mike responds to Michael from VSauce's philosophical question: Are the bacteria and skin cells that live on your body "You?"

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