“46 percent of consumers have ever bought or rented a digital movie or TV show, according to GfK’s recent Home Technology Monitor. In contrast, 86 percent of consumers have rented or bought a DVD or Blu-ray in the past, and 78 percent have done so with a VHS tape.”
“The nightmare reviewer is the reviewer who has some sort of agenda that precludes him or her responding sincerely to the book. Often that agenda is seeming clever and/or taking someone who has received more than her fair share of attention down a notch. But again, there are people who are just on a different wavelength from you, and it’s not that they misunderstand your book — it’s that they really in their heart of hearts don’t like it. That’s actually fair.”
“People who denounce the cultural cleansing of ISIS and the Taliban are often just as likely to demand the removal of old-fashioned artwork from their own public spaces. Our Western reasons are far more sensible: We want the removal of murals and paintings that perpetuate dangerous racial or gender stereotypes (noble “natives” leading European explorers, contented cotton pickers in the U.S. South, socialist-realist mothers clasping babies behind their warrior men…). These are no longer valuable; indeed, they are offensive and may cause harm.”
The Hugo awards ceremony “only represents tiny, insular, politically motivated cliques taking turns giving their friends awards,” Larry Coreia, a ringleader of the Puppies, argued in 2015. Because of this supposed conspiracy — for which there continues to be no real evidence — he felt justified in helping organize an actual conspiracy of his tiny, insular, politically motivated clique to flood the ballot with conservatives.
“al Mahdi is not on trial for the amputations, beheadings, torture, and rapes associated with the “holy war” waged by al Qaeda, ISIS, and their offshoots. Al Mahdi is on trial for massacring history.”
“Habitual engagement with others’ minds — even fictional ones” can bolster the sort of awareness that is essential for empathy, write psychologists David Kidd and Emanuele Castano of the New School for Social Research. Their study is published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
Two years after the man’s death, doctors say they have solved the medical mystery. In a report published Monday in the medical journal Thorax, a team of five UHSM researchers coined a new term for the man’s condition. “Bagpipe lung.”
“In the beginning, before Washington had been designated the nation’s capital, much of the Mall was an empty lowland along the Potomac, made yet marshier by the Tiber Creek, which flowed into the river not far from where the Washington Monument stands today.”
“Agnosticism is often thought of, incorrectly, as a state of theological indecision. Rather, it is the conviction that it is epistemologically impossible to determine whether or not there is a deity. Agnosticism is an ideology of unknowability … ‘a recognition that we need room for mystery, for the imagination, for things sensed but not proven, intuited but not defined.'”
The decline of intellectual life has been a trope of intellectual life since Socrates, who, Plato tells us, believed writing “will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves.” More than 2,000 years later, the terms have shifted, but not the argument.
“I’m aware more than I was before I had books published that any review is a bit arbitrary – it’s not really, say, The New York Times that’s authoritatively weighing in on the quality of a book, though it seems this way to the public. It’s actually one reviewer weighing in (maybe a daily reviewer like you, but maybe a random novelist like me who reviews one or two books a year), and all of us as individuals have quirky, subjective taste.”
“There have been growing questions over the extent of illicit digging and antiquities trafficking in Syria by militant groups including Isis. While 7,000 objects have been seized by authorities in Syria since 2013, the proportion of fakes has risen from 30% to closer to 70%, both inside the country and in neighbouring Lebanon.”
The bidding is up to $2,750 so far, and the cremains themselves come from the estate of one of Johnny Carson’s ex-wives. (We are not making this up.)
“Anti-hero sagas like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Shield, and Californication may not appear to have much in common with a sitcom about four nebbishy New Yorkers. But Seinfeld‘s immense popularity proved to network executives that audiences could get on board with a show that didn’t necessarily end with a lesson and a group hug – and characters that reveled in their flaws instead of working to overcome them.”
“While I am first lady, I wasn’t first lady my whole life. I’m a product of pop culture. I’m a consumer of pop culture, and I know what resonates with people. I know what they’ll get a chuckle out of and what they think is kind of silly. And whenever my team approaches me with ideas and concepts, we’re usually like, ‘Is this really funny? Are people going to understand it?'”
“In all, about 40 percent of Cirque’s performers come from artistic, rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics backgrounds, as well as from trampoline, tumbling, diving and synchronized swimming. At the moment, 21 Olympians – two of them medalists – perform in eight United States-based Cirque du Soleil shows.”
“[Pedro Pablo Peña] came to Miami in 1980 on the Mariel Boatlift. … Over the years, he has gained a reputation for running a safe haven for Cuban dancers when they touch down in America. ‘They are able to continue their career in the United States. I offer to help with everything.’ Peña gives them a spot in his Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami or helps them contract with other companies. He also provides housing and a surrogate family for those with no local relatives.”
“An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 has destroyed buildings and homes in the mountains of central Italy, trapping residents in their homes as they were sleeping in the early hours of Wednesday (24 August). At least 38 people have been reported dead. Two towns were hit particularly hard by the tremors.” (photo journal)
– the youngest person ever to hold the chief conductor position at the orchestra, which has a history of appointing young maestros who go on to major international careers. Lahav Shani, now 27, starts the job in 2018, the Rotterdam Philharmonic’s 100th anniversary year.
“Doig, whose paintings sell for millions of dollars, ‘absolutely did not paint the disputed work,’ U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said, adding that … the evidence shows another man with a similar name, Peter Edward Doige, a now-deceased carpenter who dabbled in painting, was the creator of the painting.”