Open Culture

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You Can Have Your Ashes Turned Into a Playable Vinyl Record, When Your Day Comes

Even in death we are only limited by our imagination in how we want to go out. There are now ways to turn our corpse into a tree, or have our ashes …

Culture

Bertrand Russell’s Artful Letter Refusing to Debate British Fascist Leader Oswald Mosley (1962)

Changing the minds of others has never counted among humanity’s easiest tasks, and it seems only to have become an ever-stiffer challenge as history …

Philosophy

How Did Nietzsche Become the Most Misunderstood & Bastardized Philosopher?: A Video from Slate Explains

Is there a more misunderstood philosopher than Friedrich Nietzsche? Granted, the question makes two assumptions: 1) That people read philosophy 2) …

Friedrich Nietzsche

Watch Leonard Bernstein Conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Using Only His Eyebrows

Perhaps you’ll recall the episode from <i>Seinfeld</i> when Bob Cobb, a conductor for The Police Orchestra, insists that everyone call him “maestro”–and only …

Culture

Beer Archaeology: Yes, It’s a Thing

Travis Rupp is a classics instructor at The University of Colorado. He’s also a “beer archaeologist” who works on a special projects team at the …

Archaeology

Rare Recordings of Burroughs, Bukowski, Ginsberg & More Now Available in a Digital Archive Created by the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

<i>Image via Christiaan Tonnis</i><p>Americans can be quite ignorant of the richness of our country’s cultural history. Part of this ignorance, I suspect, …

Poetry

Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America: An Animated Introduction to the Most Insightful Study of American Democracy

We cannot rightly see ourselves without honest feedback. Those who surround themselves with sycophants and people just like them only hear what they …

Culture

“Stop It and Just DO”: Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Advice on Overcoming Creative Blocks, Written by Sol LeWitt to Eva Hesse (1965)

<i>A quick fyi: this video is a little not safe for work.</i><p>You know you want to create something, but how on Earth to get it out of your mind and into …

Benedict Cumberbatch

Bach’s Most Famous Organ Piece Played on Wine Glasses

Robert Tiso takes stemmed wine glasses and turns them into a magical musical instrument–or what he calls the “glass harp.” As his website explains, …

Culture

Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda Creates a Playlist of Protest Music for Our Troubled Times

In 1992 Ice-T’s metal band Body Count mastered the art of shock politics when the song “Cop Killer” put them “at the centre of a national outrage.” …

Music

Slavoj Žižek Expounds on His Hatred of Teaching, Grading Papers, and Particularly Holding Office Hours

“Those who can, do,” so we often used to hear, “and those who can’t, teach.” Nowadays the situation seems to have transformed into something more …

Culture

13 Rules for Radicals: Discover Saul Alinsky's Tried-and

Saul David Alinsky died 36 years before the election of Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton’s first attempt at the presidency. But many feverish screeds …

Culture

Listen to Presidential, The Washington Post’s Podcast Exploring Each & Every U.S. President

A quick heads up on President’s Day: <i>The Washington Post</i> presents <i>Presidential</i>, a podcast that explores how “each American president reached office, …

Washington Post

A Hypnotic Look at How Tennis Balls Are Made

Over the years, we’ve shown you various household objects being made–everything from crayons and ink, to vinyl records, old fashioned books and …

Culture

Pixar & Khan Academy Offer a Free Online Course on Storytelling Open Culture

It doesn’t take much to spark a good story.<p>A tall man, a short woman, a setting that’s sterile to the point of soulless, and a couple dozen …

Storytelling

Buckminster Fuller's Map of the World

Last week we brought you news of a world map purportedly more accurate than any to date, designed by Japanese architect and artist Hajime Narukawa. …

GIS

Rarely Seen, Very Early Godard Film Surfaces on YouTube

Jean-Luc Godard, that living embodiment of the <i>nouvelle vague</i> who did so much to tear down and rebuild the relationship between cinema and its …

Culture

Japanese Priest Tries to Revive Buddhism by Bringing Techno Music into the Temple: Attend a Psychedelic 23-Minute Service

Many religious leaders would like to liven up their services to attract a younger, hipper flock, but few have the necessary background to pull it off …

Culture

Rufus Harley, the First Jazz Musician to Make the Bagpipes His Main Instrument, Performs on I’ve Got a Secret (1966)

Musician Rufus Harley did the people of Scotland a great favor when he took up the bagpipes. Like the Loch Ness Monster and haggis, outside its …

Culture

Japanese Designers May Have Created the Most Accurate Map of Our World: See the AuthaGraph

“The world is not an illusion,” said Alfred Korzbyski, “it is an abstraction.” You may know Korzbyski for another famous maxim, “the map is not the …

Culture

Pasta for War: The Award-Winning Animation That Satirizes 1930s Propaganda Films & Features Marching Rigatoni

From art director Zach Schläppi comes <i>Pasta for War</i>, an animation that satirizes propaganda newsreels from the 1930s. The plot is simple:<p>It begins …

Take a Few Minutes from Your Frantic Day and Let Alan Watts Introduce You to the Calming Ways of Zen Open Culture

By the end of the 1960s, Alan Watts had become one of the gurus of the counterculture. Though he was not really a Zen Buddhist, he was many a …

Alan Watts

New Animated Film About Vincent Van Gogh Will Be Made Out of 65,000 Van Gogh-Style Paintings: Watch the Trailer and Making-Of Video

One of Akira Kurosawa’s last films, 1990’s <i>Dreams</i>, saw the Japanese master stretching out into more personal territory. A collection of short pieces …

Painting

Miyazaki Meets Kurosawa: Watch the Titans of Japanese Film in Conversation (1993)

<b>Note: Please scroll to the 6:52 mark where the conversation begins.</b><p>The name Miyazaki defines Japanese animation not just in its own country, but …

Animation

The First Known Footage of Marcel Proust Discovered: Watch It Online

Ladies and gentlemen, we present the first known footage of the French author Marcel Proust.<p>Announced by Professor Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan in the …

Culture

Duet for French Horn and Chair

Pretty clever. Even more better is the comment left by one YouTube user, “I wonder if he’s first chair?” Ha!<p><i>Follow Open Culture on</i> <i>Facebook,</i> <i></i><i>Twitter,</i> …

Cool Stuff

A Handy, Detailed Map Shows the Hometowns of Characters in the Iliad Open Culture

You’ve adjusted to the strangeness of names like Ascalaphus and Phidippus. You’ve more or less figured out who’s on which side in the ancient war …

Culture

How Machiavelli Really Thought We Should Use Power: Two Animated Videos Provide an Introduction

Nice guys, so they say, finish last. Many of us might instinctively label such a worldview “Machiavellian,” partially for good reason and partially …

Culture

Watch Wagner’s Ring Cycle: A Complete 15-Hour Performance Is Now Free Online Thanks to the BBC

The word “Wagnerian” as a synonym for operatic bombast may have fallen out of favor in recent years, as has the reputation of German composer Richard …

Richard Wagner

Meet Jane Little: The Musician Who Played with the Same Orchestra for 71 Straight Years, a World Record

Last May, when Jane Little died at the age of 87, a world record came to an end.<p>Standing only 4’11” and weighing only 98 pounds, Little began playing …

Music